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.

Countdown to Christmas

Fair season is over for me, but shopping is still allowed in these 10 days before Christmas.

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I just posted the angels and frosties I have in stock on my Facebook page. You can see individual photos of the angels here.

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Reds and Greens:

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My remaining frosties have individual photos here.

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I also still have a selection of ornaments in 4 Chicagoland retail locations that are each worth a visit.

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Go visit The Collage Cafe for inspirational joy-bringing and creativity-fueling gifts. You can get something tangible or give the gift of a workshop.

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Sacred Art has a lovely array locally made artisan gifts. This shop holds presents for all ages, genders and price-points. It’s also a one-stop art boutique for Chicago aficionados.

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See Jane Sparkle has extended holiday hours you can confirm on Facebook, and offers all kinds of sparkly jewelry, vintage fashion, and unique ornaments.

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ChromaK8 Beautique also has a variety of gift items for you to peruse while your hair treatment processes or after you get your nails done at Noktivo.

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Contact me if you saw anything at fairs or in my booth snapshots that caught your eye. My online store will remain sparse until January, when I will have a chance to take stock and photograph the pieces to be uploaded.

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I ran out of Rainbow Angels, but will be making more with new outfits my friend created, and will post those on Facebook soon.

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Here’s to more ornaments hanging on other people’s trees this season.

Small Business Saturday Consignments

It’s been a whirlwind of making enough angels and frosties for my pop-ups as well as the four spaces I am consigned to this holiday season.

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Just in time for Small Business Saturday, my ornaments are now in three Chicagoland retailers: The Collage Cafe and See Jane Sparkle in Evanston, and ChromaK8 Beautique and Sacred Art in Chicago. My angels went under the sorting hat to determine which ones would fly off where.

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A few went to Chromak8 Beautique, where I get my hair done. ChromaK8 strives to deliver the highest quality beauty services with the cleanest, high performing products.

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On Black Friday, ChromaK8 will debut special holiday gift sets and a local artist showcase. The salon is located at 5425 N Lincoln Avenue in Chicago.

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I am thrilled to be in a new location in Lincoln Square as well.  Sacred Art offers a variety of gift items for the whole family, including wonderful Chicago-themed items. Owner Kate curates a selection of work from 110+ makers with a focus on Chicago-made art.

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Check out the Facebook page for extended store hours on Small Business Saturday, with nibbles offered to shoppers. Sacred Art is located at 4619 N. Lincoln Avenue in Chicago.

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I hope these characters enjoy their slumber party and find new owners.

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The sneak peek in the store is gorgeous.

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I switched out my inventory at See Jane Sparkle on Tuesday, so you will see brand-new pendants, bracelets and earrings in Sara Jane’s store. 

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The new pendants went straight from my studio to her.

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I hope you like perusing them.

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You can also peruse my sparkle ornament collection, created specifically for the boutique. 

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I’ll have my full collection available on December 8 during the Warm Bevvy Walk.

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The Collage Cafe also has brand-new pieces in the shop, and I cannot wait to see how my ornaments look in this lovely playspace.

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A few angels incorporate alcohol inks purchased at the store.

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Both The Collage Cafe and See Jane Sparkle are participating in the Hip Circle Studio Holiday Hike on Small Business Saturday, with special bags and goodies for shoppers walking off their Turkey coma.

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Check out the holiday offerings online at The Collage Cafe  and See Jane Sparkle

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I am so excited to be supported by these lovely women entrepreneurs, and look forward to visiting their holiday setups soon!

Making Angels

Angel is literally making new friends.

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When I signed up for Bead & Button workshops there was a reverse engineering option but due to lack of registration the workshop was dropped.

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Instead, Brenda Schweder offered to help me reverse engineer my angel ornaments remotely, and I sent one in.

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Soon I received an email with the required Now That’s A Jig! Parts, and I ordered the pegs to supplement my StartrKit.

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I got my very own angel design template in the mail, and decided to test the design prior to working on a commission. Getting the violin clef right took some effort after being out of practice for 6 months.

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Then I set about picking out pink paper for the memorial angels. I traced a musical score onto the handmade paper.

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Then I added a sparkle bead.

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I picked out outfits for the other angels and waxed them up.

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The delicate hearts are so sweet.

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Soon they were all dressed and cooling off.

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You’ll see them at the upcoming Main-Dempster Sidewalk Sale.

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I’ll be taking up See Jane Sparkle’s Sidewalk between 10 and 4 July 19-31 with new wares.

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Turquoise Frosty got a new outfit too, in hopes of it making him more attractive at the holiday fairs.

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Come October I’ll be jigging up a whole collection for the holiday season! Any color requests?

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Holiday Shop at the EXPO

Last week I browsed the Evanston Art Center’s 12th Annual Winter Arts & Crafts EXPO at the Evanston Art Center.

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It is a vibrant exhibit of local artists who have hand-crafted holiday gifts for you and your family.

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Numerous fiber arts promise to keep you and your loved ones warm, while cheering the spirit with fun colors.

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Those in love with ceramics can peruse a roomful of creations.

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Jewelry is abundant, and so varied.

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I am inspired by all I see.

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And look, I have a cute little tree showcasing my ornaments (and keychains).

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There is also plenty of wall art ranging from cigar band collages to encaustics.

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The EXPO is open to the public Monday through Saturday 10 am to 4 pm and Sundays 12 pm to 4 pm until December 22.

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Encaustic artist Robin Samiljan is back, like a few other familiar names from last year.

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I’ll be gallery sitting on December 19 for a few hours.

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Mens’ Shopping Day is Saturday, December 20th from 10 am to 4 pm.

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The last shopping day will be December 22nd.

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All proceeds from the EXPO sale will benefit EAC’s ongoing exhibition, scholarship, and outreach programs, which is where I got my start exhibiting.

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Maraviglia at the Winter EXPO

This weekend I dropped off 70 pieces for the 12th Annual Winter Arts & Crafts EXPO at the Evanston Art Center.

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It was a veritable tagging fest the night before.

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The EXPO opens on Friday evening and will be open to the public Monday through Saturday 10 am to 4 pm and Sundays 12 pm to 4 pm until December 22.

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The Annual Winter Arts & Crafts EXPO features original, handmade works of jewelry, ceramics, fiber, metal, glass, painting, photography, mixed-media and more. It offers Chicagolanders a venue for purchasing Christmas presents while supporting 100 local artists.

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A Preview Party for early shopping will be held on Friday, November 21st from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 at the door).

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A Student Expo opens on Saturday, December 6th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jewelry Fest will be held on Saturday, December 6th from 10 am to 4 pm.

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I’ll be gallery sitting on December 19 for a few hours.

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I included some keychains for Mens’ Shopping Day on Saturday, December 20th from 10 am to 4 pm (though I think they’re supposed to shop for their leading ladies).

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The last shopping day will be December 22nd.

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All proceeds from the EXPO sale will benefit EAC’s ongoing exhibition, scholarship, and outreach programs, which is where I got my start exhibiting.

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The Evanston Art Center is moving so it is also the last month to peruse the charming historic Harley Clarke Mansion before it changes residents.

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Jigging Frosties

My offline life is speeding up so the online blog is getting off-schedule. Here’s a peek at what pulls me away from the computer these days.

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In mid-October I was able to purchase Brenda Schweder’s Now That’s A Jig Starter Kit, which I eagerly anticipated.

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I consulted with Brenda via email on the various Rounds she had, and ordered the Big Rounds set for my Frosty the Snowman Holiday Ornaments.

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I joyfully set up the jig on a sunny day.

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Then I dove in with the frosty-making.

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Once I had added an ‘allowance’ for the wire, twisting the strips was easy-peasy.

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Having the option of making various sizes of Frosties is great.

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It beats using the household mandrels I used last year, and makes the process much faster.

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I still do some hand-bending after the base is completed.

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Then I heat up the griddle for their adornments.

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Sometimes a bit of smashing is required to flatten the snowmen out again.

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I tried setting up the jig for trees and angels too but that requires a little more finessing (more pegs in particular).

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Productivity is booming for the holiday season!

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You’ll see my frosties, angels and other holiday ornaments on Etsy, at Aurora Rose Boutique in Lemont, Dragonfly Boutique in Evanston, The Evanston Art Center’s EXPO, the Waukegan West class of 1990 fundraiser and the Bucktown Holiday Fair.

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Necklace pendants, earrings and key chains are also in the works.

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Christmas Holiday

Today the remaining pieces from the EXPO are coming back home, and then I am taking a holiday break.

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While I will be tempted to write up blog posts for the remainder of the year, I am going to allow for time to reflect and not post anything until the new year.

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This will help me close out the year business wise, spend time with family, and also catch up on some travel blog posts in progress that I am looking forward to sharing with you.

“Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice;
it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body,
and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets.
The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition
for standing back from life and seeing it whole,
for making unexpected connections and
waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration —
it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.”
~ Tim Kreider

My Etsy shop is closed for the holiday as well, to eliminate the pressure of not being able to ship right away while I am visiting family. So hold your gift cards til the new year. 😉

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I wish you and yours a wonderful Christmas holiday, and a festive, cozy end of 2013.

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See you in 2014!

Fair Hangover

It’s been a whirlwind of fairs and I’m a bit exhausted from navigating new neighborhoods, weather fluctuations and setting up and tearing down my booth multiple times.

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Setup

It sure is exercise to haul bags, which are streamlined to three since October.

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I trimmed the tree 7 times in 2 months.

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At one company fair it was fun to see fundraiser creativity in action.

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Happily several of my favorite pieces found new homes, which is always a validating experience.

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I like the thought of my Maraviglia making their way into the world.

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My inventory is back up on Etsy for last-minute shopping, but will close on Friday for the holidays.

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The Evanston Art Center’s EXPO continues through Sunday.

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Aurora Rose, Stella Boutique and Peaceful Parlour have my pieces on hand as well for last-minute shopping through December 23.

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Get your wishlist on!

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Radvent 2012 5: Humbling

How often do you truly appreciate your health: the ability to be fully in command of your body, mentally and physically? This spring I came into contact with an organization that has me reflecting on that a lot.

The Arts of Life provides studio space for artists who don’t have full control over their bodies, and whose minds preclude a mainstream lifestyle. I don’t know what it means to be on watch for a person who is present, but cannot express him or herself. I’ve only spent a chaperoned hour or two with them, but not a whole day, 24 hours, and certainly not multiple decades.

Art available for sale at the Arts of Life

As an almost obsessively self-reliant person, I cannot imagine cleaning up after an adult, who might need diapers, who might have seizures, who has no “mainstream” vocabulary, who cannot take care of basic needs on his or her own. I am not conditioned to make sure someone doesn’t eat/drink/destroy something on impulse, who is oblivious to the disruptive repercussions of this momentary compulsion.

Art available for sale at the Arts of Life

Yet on Friday evening, I had a fantastic time interacting with these individuals. People who aren’t “all there” according to our intellectual label of things, but who were far more alive and present in that moment than I was.

Gifts available for sale at the Arts of Life

I watched a fantastic dance-off to the Kodiak Farm Boys during the Arts of Life Holiday Boutique. You know that saying of ‘dance like no one is watching’? Well, these guys were dancing like everyone was watching, and reveling in it. And we loved it and clapped harder to encourage them more. Some of us wished to go up there with the same kind of abandon and just let loose.

The Kodiak Boys at the Arts of Life

The band didn’t mind having the designated ‘emcee’ run up stage and correct the lyrics to Jingle Bells (and proceed to solo the entire song). They probably had the most responsive and most lively crowd that evening compared to gigs in “regular” joints.

 

Art available for sale at the Arts of Life

I noticed when I bellydanced years ago, that the American culture has lost its folk dancing roots. Clapping is allowed, but spontaneous dancing as a community is nearing extinction. Moves are choreographed now, and getting caught up in the rhythm of a song, swinging hips, shimmying shoulders, stomping feet and clapping loudly is only tolerated momentarily, with much self-consciousness when called to participate in a dance.

Where did our innocence go? Why do we have to be so ‘self-aware’ or ‘proper’ all the time?

Ornaments available for sale at the Arts of Life

Prior to the dancing and clapping, the Chicago Painters and Artists Meetup Group assisted some of the Arts of Life artists with painting holiday ornaments. At a time where I hyper-analyze the ‘quality’ of my own work, it was so refreshing to watch the eagerness of these men to create a craft (Arts of Life is co-ed, but this evening it was resident men in attendance). With the verbally impaired we communicated with gestures, and my sentences were replied to with grunts.

Ornament making at the Arts of Life

You know what became an art and a source of pride? Stapling! Wielding scissors wasn’t an option for the majority of residents in attendance, but they watched like hawks as I fanned a freshly painted (by them) toilet roll to get it to dry faster, and even more eagerly when I cut it into the petals. The moment the stapler was placed in front of them, I could not get the pieces lined up fast enough for them to press that stapler so their ornament would come together. I was art directed quite a bit during a task that in ‘normal world’ I would have dismissed as ‘just stapling’.

T-shirts available for sale at the Arts of Life

These artists create with intensity. Their paintings are vibrant and meaningful. Their art creates a link to the families who at times went decades without being able to communicate with mute and physically hindered children/siblings/aunts & uncles. Now their art gives a glimpse into their observations, and a channel of expression.

Arts of Life Holiday Cards and Calendars 

Some are more expressive than others. A few are more extroverted and become spokespeople for the Arts of Life organization. But each artist resident has something to say. I am humbled by the creativity, joy, expressiveness, compassion and intensity of the Arts of Life residents. They are fully present. They take pride in their work. They are eager to share their work with others.

 

Buy wrapping paper from the Arts of Life!

We can learn a lot from the light they shine upon the world. From their ability to live each moment with abandon; from the trust they exude as they dance and sing and create. There is no judgment here.

Ornaments made during our craft session

Princess Lasertron’s Radvent 6 topic happens to be Humbling. I am privileged to be humbled on a different level regularly by occasions that remind me to never ever ever judge another human being, and that teach me to not be so harsh on myself, either.

Being humble doesn’t negate your abilities, talents and skills. It is about having empathy, and meeting another human being where they are. Life isn’t all about you or propriety. Allow others to glow in their moment, and let that light shine back on you.