Angel Sessions

I just finished inspecting all my pieces for the Bucktown Holiday ArtShow. Sometimes they get battered during teardown and transport, so I make sure all the waxed paper is properly secured.

As I reviewed my stock, I noticed my musical angels were running low, so I added to that stash.

Now I feel more confident about having the right song for the right person.

 

As I reviewed my stock I realized I’ve held some back from view because I am so attached to them.

But it’s time to let go of ugly sweater angels and other favorites. This photo is in the running for Now That’s A Jig!’s latest challenge that runs through December 31.

It’s been a month of inventorying and tagging.

I just made my 1000th jewelry piece, a pendant. This tracker includes earrings, bracelets, keychains, collar necklaces and pendants created since September 2012.

It’s this musical pendant that reminds my mom of a baby grand piano.

For those counting, my angels, frosties and other ornaments are currently at 469 and I started making them in 2013.

Druzy Angel is the latest in that collection.

Someone will be attracted to that sparkle!

My “Swarm”, including butterflies, ladybugs and dragonflies, expanded to stake format and now also include bats and witchy books. I started these in 2016 and have made 143 to date.

Red dragonfly turned a bit evil during creation.

I also played with a 3D Dreidel. I don’t know whether my Judaica ornaments will find an audience or not, but when someone in retail asks, I create!

I did think the Beetlejuice Angel would be snatched up last month.

It may not be the right time for a snowflake angel at this time

Bucktown usually is a good venue for Chicago Flag Angels.

I might not be able to recreate this skull angel cage.

Some of my dragonflies got blinged up for the last show, but are still awaiting adoption.

I’m incorporating more beads into the ornaments, and can always add custom birthstones to any of my creations.

So many more ideas are waiting!

You can find the angels below at Sacred Art this month, while they are in stock.

I look forward to seeing you at the Holstein Park Fieldhouse this weekend!

Here’s to Marbled Angel finding a home there.

Angel Making

It is angel making time.

No matter the season, I consistently sell angels throughout the year. So after my angel count session last week I had to replenish some more.

My purples and blues are popular. I also keep selling the skull angels I have in stock. After a 3D encaustic workshop my friend and I went to Blick’s and I found this lovely gold sugar skull paper which of course needed to be angel-fied as well. I love the result.

My aim for the Beetlejuice angel turned out to have a different effect when I went with horizontal stripes instead. Ah well, it’s cute whether you see a jail bird or Audrey or anything else in it.

I wanted to make an ugly sweater angel as well, and this one turned out to be a wine and sweets lover.

I had some Christmas carols from prior seasons that I converted into new angels as well. Some are from when I didn’t jig my angels yet, so I had to adjust the size of the bodies to fit the printed text.

Sometimes the multiple transports of the ornaments take a toll, and when this angel’s wing came loose I decided to refresh its wings entirely, while humming Mr. Mister.

Other angels got new accessories to see if that makes them more attractive to buyers.

Sometimes color decisions are difficult, so there may be multiple poinsettia angel iterations.

My friend Kaitlyn colored a bunch of scraps for me last year when rainbows were trending. I had time to incorporate those scraps into new creations this week.

The polka dots were begging for pompoms, and I am super delighted at the two pastel angels that came out of that.

Today I sent some off to local stores.

Sacred Art will be bringing a batch to Show of Hands this weekend.

My Evanston Pop Up Gallery section got a makeover today too.

The rest of inventory will be with me at the Handmade Market on Saturday, and at the Jewelry & Gift Show in Highland park next weekend.

I look forward to seeing these adopted to new homes. It is a pleasure to keep making dragonflies and angels, so I look forward to getting jigging some more after the Thanksgiving Holiday with family.

December is coming soon, and I am happy to work on commissions for your holiday needs. Contact me if you have a gift idea in mind.

The Ornament Factory Opens

The holiday season is about to kick in for me, so the other day I pulled out my angels for a thorough count.

I also checked last year’s sales to see what colors sold.

There is no science to prior sales as a predictor, but it always helps to know what colors customers gravitate toward.

So now I am off to the studio to replenish the most popular designs, as well as create new angels that pop into my head.

I have so many accessories for them, and I love watching them get matched to their new owners. This original angel is not going anywhere, though.

I have plenty of frosties due to the limited snow last year, and will probably come up with some more ornament designs.

I have 3 shows coming up in November. The Wilder Mansion’s 7th Annual Holiday Market takes place November 3 & 4 in Elmhurst. Handmade Chicago returns to the Empty Bottle November 11.


The Jewelry & Gift Show by Amdur Productions takes place November 17 – 19 at the Highland Park Art Center.
Of course I will also distribute ornaments in various consignment locations, so stay tuned for where you can find them in a brick & mortar venue.

Bat and Bar Mitzvah mini-books

In August I was asked to create a Bat Mitzvah book. After brainstorming with a person practicing the Jewish faith, Ruth 1:16-17 was selected as the appropriate verse to use in the gift commission.

I printed out the verse on paper and created the mini-books.

Then I cut out the verses and coated them with encaustic medium.

It was important to keep each line in the correct order and ensure they would fit within each steel frame.

I cut the pages to size and adhered them to the book.

Soon the first one was completed.

With new creations, I always want to give my customers options, so I also created two other versions for them to peruse.

Sizing pages is pain-staking, which is why these mini-books are more pricey than my other pieces.

Working in tandem helped me learn more about various design elements.

These were admired by others on my way to delivering the final three.

Both the first book and the third book were snapped up within the week. So I got back into the studio to replenish.

Practice practice practice.

This one is still available.

This blue one accommodated smaller page sections before the printout spacing was fully figured out.

I have a new one on my desk.

Contact me to design a custom mini-book of your choice.

What’s your favorite quote?

Halloween Stake-Out

Fall is trying to make its entrance and it’s been getting spooky in the studio.

I reviewed the pieces I have on hand from last year, and was inspired to make more.

With my plant stakes having such a positive response I decided to try a batty design as well.

I pulled a generic bat shape from google, designed by Rubberboots and Elf Shoes and placed a printout on my Now That’s A Jig! as a guideline.

Then I started wrapping wire around the lines, mostly in freeform. Soon I added the paper.

The result makes me happy.

 

I also had my book setup on the other jig, and decided to use my halloween stamps to make magic spell books.

Of course my witches only cast good spells, we’re all about spreading kindness and making the world a better place.

It is time consuming to attach the individual pages, but the result is worth it.

I’m playing with various colors and ‘contents.’

My skull pendants tend to ‘disappear’ each season so I made a few of those as well.

Sacred Art has parts of my Halloween Collection in stock now. When I head for my next haircut ChromaK8 will get some pendants as well.

I also dropped off some items at the Evanston Pop Up Gallery.

You can peruse the newest Halloween Creations at the Handmade Market on Saturday. I am looking forward to that new-to-me event at the Empty Bottle from noon to 4 pm on October 14.

I’ll bring the Calcite stakes I made out of a shattered gemstone.

I am also making skull bead pendants, and this red one was snapped up right away.

I hope the Halloween revelers enjoy these new pieces, and look forward to watching the parade of trick or treaters go by.

Do you have a costume in mind yet?

Another fun Ravenswood ArtWalk Weekend

In mid-September I pulled out the checklist and started gathering my art booth supplies for the weekend.

This year my booth for the Ravenswood ArtWalk was in the Hayes Properties Atrium. This was a new venue to me, but a few veterans directed me in where to set up my booth.

Soon we all had determined the layout and the empty thoroughfare became an indoor art fair.

Our venue was just outside of the main artwalk.

A flag soon pointed people in the right direction.

Every year it is a different setup with new additions to be added to the configuration, like my stakes this year.

The venue was filled with lovely art. The atrium light was cast a wonderful glow.

We started getting a steady flow of artwalkers and creations started walking away to new homes.

A few of my friends stopped by and snapped some photos of me in action.

Here a scribble ball will be repurposed into a jewelry creation. I love it when my customers tell me what they plan to do with my creations.

My batty pieces caught a few eyes, but the summery weather kept people from planning for Halloween. Most of these pieces are now at Sacred Art in Lincoln Square.

The Hayes Building has a lot of vintage neon signs that illuminate the hallway.

There is also a lovely replica of a Frank Lloyd Wright Garden Sprite.

Soon it was time to close the building and put the booth to sleep.

The chandelier in the Hayes Building casts lovely shadows.

There was a lovely art installation by Dana Parisi around the corner by the ArtWalk.

The next morning I passed this lovely reminder by the Swedish American Museum.

The organizers had replenished the booklets by our venue.

We uncovered our booths and geared up for another day of interacting with art walkers.

It was nice to touch base with vendors from last year and get to know new artists who were setting up their booths for the first time ever.

Although Halloween was ‘too soon,’ angels had no trouble flying off for Holiday gifts.

Musical pieces always find owners.

And Christmas Carol angels have a steady adoption rate too.

Soon it was time to load up the car.

Laura Matzen demonstrated how we all felt after two days of vending and tearing down our booths.

The drive home went quickly, with fun dashboard company.

I capped the evening with a lovely meal by the Lucky Platter, as always.

When I got home, I had my first Square review.

I unloaded the car and repurposed the suit case for my Houston trip.

I am looking forward to the holiday season. Things are looking up thanks to your support!

My next fair is the Handmade Market on October 14. Hope to see you then!

Scarfpin Collection at Evanston Stitchworks

Since my foray onto sewing I have been eager to incorporate fabric into my wax and wire designs too. The Ladybugs with fabric scraps are holding up well. Then a few weeks ago while popping by Evanston Sticthworks Amalia asked me about making scarf pins. I had already designed a safety pin for a friend, which was well-received.

I sat down with that design and made a prototype for Amalia to test.

Then the pin-top got dremeled and filed a bit to ensure no one pokes themselves.

We both like the result.

I was given a lovely array of fabrics to experiment with.

Last week I sat down and created a bunch of clasp-y designs.

I freewheeled with Brenda’s Now That’s a Jig! pegs, not anchoring them to her jig but just wrapping shapes by hand.

Then I added the fabrics that wanted to be paired with the shapes.

Each type of fabric has its own reaction to heat and wax, but on the whole the designs worked.

I delivered 7 pins to Stitchworks on Tuesday, and a customer already called dibs on two!

We arranged them on a lovely hand-knit sweater.

The prototype goes beautifully with Amalia’s hand-knit scarf.

I also prototyped some stitch markers and got feedback on which ones Amalia thinks are most useful for her purposes, so I have some homework to do!

Exacto knives don’t work well with warmed waxed fabric, so I got some special scissors to use on the next designs.

There is a plethora of other fabrics to make pins out of, and lots of different wire designs to experiment with!

Evanston Stitchworks offers a wide array of artisan designed fabrics, great sewing patterns, hand-dyed yarns and all the knitting supplies you need with those.

The store is located at 906 Sherman Avenue in Evanston and offers a variety of excellent workshops as well.

Can you pick a favorite out of these lovely fabrics?

They’re all so lovely in their own way, even if I say so myself.

I’m excited to add more to this collection, and figure out the stitch marker assignment too!

Shop Local!

I’m off to assist family with a post-Harvey move in Houston, but you can still shop my pieces in various Chicagoland places.

I brought my magick spell book stakes over to Sacred Art, along with some bats to keep them company. An orange ladybug also decided to stow away in the batch.

Owner Kate also picked out some Halloween themed pendants you can peruse at her lovely gift shop. Sacred Art is located in Lincoln Square at 4619 N Lincoln Avenue, Chicago.

I also dropped off some Halloweeny pieces at the Evanston Pop Up Gallery Evanston Pop up Gallery, 1627 Sherman Ave, Evanston.

This lovely gift store in downtown Evanston continues to attract local artisans and keeps surprising me with new inventory.

The Hip Circle Empowerment Center continues to carry my pieces as well, along with other women-owned merchandise.

ChromaK8, where I get my hair done also has a few pieces, and will be carrying more of my skulls when I go back in for a haircut.

I’ll be coordinating a trunk show with ReVive Consignment, 606 W Pratt Blvd, Chicago soon. I picked up some bargain tops there recently and will need to peruse the fall collection soon.

Lena Rose Natural Beauty, 4668 N. Manor Avenue, Chicago has a few of my bangles in its store.

I also just delivered something special to Evanston Stitchworks, so stay tuned on that!

Meanwhile, I love knowing that these have already made their home elsewhere in the world.

Heart in Texas

I’ve been trying to maintain normalcy since August 25, but there is a lot of emotional upheaval when the town you spent 8 years in is devastated by a catastrophic storm.

My mom and brother still live in the greater Houston area, as do many of my high school classmates whose parents are still rooted in the subdivision I finished High School in.

Since the airports were closed and the surrounding infrastructure tentative, I wasn’t able to rush out and be with my family. Now I keep tabs on them daily, watch the Facebook feeds of my friends in the aftermath, and feel helpless and guilty and on edge. I was too agitated to go into the studio last week; it felt too trivial to make art when lives were in danger.

The beauty is that so much unity is coming out of this. A lot of kindness and helpfulness and an abundance of love.

With my heart heavy, I decided to get back into my commissions yesterday, and worked on a Texas angel as well. Concentrating on the wire and pieces I have been assigned to make helped settle me again. I should remember that art is therapeutic, and that it would have helped me last week as well.

This storm has marked my family and friends. The full extent of the aftermath is not yet known. Neighborhoods that made it through numerous storms have become floodzones. My family was lucky in spite of the material losses. For my friends, their kids are displaced as Kingwood High School undergoes repairs, some of their families are dealing with devastating home damage, and emotionally everyone is spent.

I am aware of raging wildfires, more water damage around the world, political craziness going on, and all the microcosmic events my friends in non-disaster areas deal with day to day. I see the cynics utilizing images and opinions to promote their divisive agendas.

But Hurricane Harvey is deeply personal, and it is OK to sit with that for a moment while the rest of the world rages on.

What gives me peace is that my firefighter brother is utilizing his skills to help his neighbors, completely in his element, as weird as that seems. I know mom will be OK, and we all still have each other.

As volatile as the world and life seems just a few weeks after my birthday, I will continue to pursue what I am called to do, which means sending more angels out in to the world as I gear up for my mid-September fairs.

An Emerald Keychain

Sometimes a newsletter can lead to a commission. In response to my July newsletter, I got a request for a keychain. My friend wanted to carry a reminder of her ‘emerald green’ aura with her, and as soon as I read that I was thrilled.

I wasn’t sure if I had Emerald, but it turned out that I had picked up a small strand at the Bead & Button Show a few years back. So then I set about matching that green to my stash of green wire.

Bridgette has a family of four, so I picked 4 beads to encage into her scribble ball.

Then I wrapped the wire around the steel, and made a keychain.

After that I perused my crystal healing books for information on the beads and the color green related to the heart chakra, and made an information sheet. As always, the gems incorporated in my projects tend to suit the person who will receive the piece. So this one was especially fun to read about.

Bridgette is a fabulous encaustic artist and painter, and recently completed a 100 day drawing challenge, for which she chose to capture birds.

I own two of her beautiful encaustic paintings, and love her journals as well. One of my encaustic classes was with Bridgette.

photo copyright Maike's Marvels

You can learn more about Bridgette’s upcoming art events here.

I am happy another keychain is traveling elsewhere in the U.S.