Monday, October 22, 2007

*gulp* + Holiday vending schedule

*gulp* I just signed up for the four day Visiting Artist Program in March at the Art Business Institute in Philadelphia.

It's in conjunction with the Philadelphia Buyers Market of American Craft, produced by craft marketing guru Wendy Rosen and company.

I guess I'm getting serious about this whole endeavor. Actually, my plan from the start was to do retail shows for 2-3 years in order to get direct customer feedback, work out my products, etc., then start doing wholesale shows and just be in the studio more and in production. I really enjoy interacting with the public, but retail shows - it's a lifestyle. So much of it is not the fun social/selling aspect, but traveling away from home a lot, packing, setting up, breaking down, keeping up your display, etc.

The experiences I've had over the summer and fall in Norwich, Woodstock, and the Open Studio Tour, as well as some mentoring I've received from other artists, has taught me so much. I've gotten a lot of valuable feedback. Much of it is telling me that my work would do well in big cities.
Like Seattle.
Portland, OR.
Washington, DC.
Most of the aprons I've sold went to NYC.
I just can't go to those places to do enough retail shows to make a living, so I'm looking into this wholesale business about a year ahead of schedule. Don't worry, I'm going to meet with a business counselor at the Vermont Women's Business Center before I completely shift gears.

And in the meantime I'm going to enjoy the holiday vending season right here in Vermont (and Southern New Hampshire). I hope you can stop by one or more of these events. I'll have discounted items at the Open Studio Tour and the Wellspring School Holiday Faire and I'll be having a big New-Product-Naming-Contest-Prize-Drawing-Giveaway going on throughout all 5 events!

Here's my schedule:

11/17 9am-3pm Wellspring Holiday Faire
Chelsea Town Hall Chelsea, Vermont

11/24 10am-5pm Women's Festival of Crafts
11/25 11am-4pm Women's Festival of Crafts
Burlington Town Hall on Church St., Burlington, Vermont

12/1 10am - 5pm Queen City Craft Bazaar
Union Station (bottom of Main St.), Burlington, Vermont

12/8 9:30am-4pm The Orchard School Craft Fair
The Christmas Trees Inn, Marlow, New Hampshire

12/8 and 9 10am-5pm Vermont North By Hand Open Studio Tour
Topsham-Corinth Road, Topsham, Vermont

Please email me for more info, directions, etc.:

And stop by the Howe Library in Hanover to see my display (pictured here) before it comes down October 25th (that's next Thursday).


Saturday, October 13, 2007

RevCo pre-show antics

I had so much fun at the Revolution Vintage Fall Fashion Show last weekend. "Fashion Show" is not even the right term for this event. It's more like 48 short performance art pieces with amazing costumes, make-up and hair. But the stage aspect is such a small part of the experience for me. The fun is the hours spent visiting and hanging around watching everyone slowly transform into fantastic butterflies - or something. It is such a social and upbeat scene. Here are my pictures on my new flickr account:

see more by visiting...

Friday, October 5, 2007

Don't you want this kind of help in the kitchen?

Please meet my new spokesmen. I don't want to call them "mascots" because that rather takes away their personhood, don't you think? I try to think of these guys not just as vacant pin-ups but as complete human beings, suspended in this moment of cheeky sensuality. Their names are even starting to come to me: Tommy, Steve, Oscar...

When I started this whole endeavor to get HotHolders out into the world in earnest I was inspired by some retro beefcake beach boys who were depicted snuggling up to their surf boards, holding giant lobsters, strumming their ukuleles, etc. Very friendly and charming and they disseminated almost immediately. I've been hankering for them, or at least some worthy replacements, ever since.

I discovered the Handymen above in the spring and they have been one of my best sellers all summer. When I bought my first couple of yards, I thought, "Maybe the ladies will like these." Well, the ladies have been buying them up almost exclusively for their gay male friends, bless them. One exception was the woman who bought one for her 83-year-old mother as a stocking stuffer. "It's okay because he's winking...and because she's my 83-year-old mother."

I think it will be okay for lots of other ladies, too, of all ages and stages of mother/daughterhood when these handymen make their Montpelier debut next week at Swingin' Sphere and when they make the rounds at my holiday fairs. I'll post a schedule when I have it finalized.

related/unrelated announcements:
Come see me, my theatrical lumberjack friend Nick, and about 40 other characters who are "a little bit brave and pretty on the inside" as we skip down the AstroTurf catwalk tomorrow night at 9:30 at the Tip Top Cafe for the Revolution Vintage semi-annual "fashion freak show."
I think Kim just called it that because she gives us complete creative license on the runway. I get to strut two fab outfits this time: one rather butch and one very femme - in fact, if anyone has a long, thin black cigarette holder, I could use it for a prop.

then...Please come help me stay alert and cheery the next day at the last Norwich Craft Sunday of the season, Sunday, Oct 7, 10-3. I made Nick promise to get up early and help me put a tarp above my stall if the forecast threatened rain. Lucky for him, it looks like the precipitation will hold off.

I'm ending this post with a special commemorative beach boys HotHolder I made recently using the last scrap of that fabric I have depicting one of their sweet faces. But Tommy, Oscar and company are sweet, too. I think I've found very worthy replacements.

Mountain Ash Design behind glass

Stop by the Howe Library in Hanover to see a display case of my wares complete with interpretive signage- up until October 25th.

To see more bags go to my September posts or try this link:

To see more aprons go to



To see more HotHolders, well, they are all over the place! Start with the post below. More coming soon.

Cowgirl with French bicycle

Some selections from my latest lines of HotHolders featuring...

Mexican loteria cards,

retro pin-up cowgirls. These are in response to all the people who have seen the handymen HotHolders and ask where the girls are.
Wranglers against cutesy Asian kittens and fishies - the perfect combo.

Dancing and flirting Day of the Dead characters.

New vintage-inspired western fabric. I think cowgirls would consider French bicycles in the right situation.
Some of these and more, plus pretty hostess aprons, will be available soon at Swingin' Sphere, Montpelier's new indie craft boutique. Visit them online at the link below.'sphere

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Open Studio Weekend Report

The open studio weekend was great! I want to express a warm thank you to everyone who came by: friends and neighbors, friendly strangers, and my customers from beyond my neighborhood. I was very pleased by both the number of visitors and the amount of sales. I just didn't know how it was going to go being one of 22 artists fairly spread out over several driving miles. And Richard has such an unusual product and established client base (he's been at it for 11 year in this location) I feared people would identify our driveway as "the papermaker's stop". And there certainly were people who only went into the barn, but I'm coming to a place of acceptance about that. Some people just aren't into textiles. And that's okay. I had my own special visitors, though, including some of my customers from the Norwich Craft Sundays, and a few accomplished seamstresses who closely examined my work. These pictures look weird with no people but I was too distracted by said visitors to take pictures of them when they were here. I marked down a lot of HotHolders from the previous year and most of the pillows. Suddenly objects I thought no one was ever going to want where flying out the door - and I was getting cash in return! These deep discounts are going to be offered again at the Open Studio weekend December 8 and 9 so if you didn't get your deal yet, there's still a chance.

The studio part of an open studio is the most compelling to me. When I was in college in the Boston area we used to go to open studio in the area and I would explore the Putney artists' studios when visiting my aunt there Thanksgiving weekend. As a budding artist I was very interested in getting some insight into how these people worked. I wanted to learn about their creative process, how they actually made their art. I remember being particularly disappointed in Putney one year when I drove a long way to find a quilter's studio. She dyed her own fabrics and I wanted to learn about her process. She didn't have any of her pots or dyes out - just things she'd made that were ready to sell. It wasn't actually a studio at all. More like a show room. And she was very engaged talking with friends at the time and I was too young and shy to interrupt and ask questions. Ah, regrets of my youth...

Well, now I'm the artist and even though I couldn't actually invite folks into the room where I do my creating (it's in a part of the house not good for the public: up steep stairs, through my daughter's bedroom, etc.) I did want to be all mysterious with just the end products out on display. So I set up production on the dining room table and was framing, cutting and sewing while folks looked around. And I had some examples of HotHolders in different stages of construction: full of pins, just quilted with the three inner layers visible, border and loop pinned up for final stitching. And I had some work in progress hanging about.

In these pictures you can see some wall quilts I am working on. I also had some fabric and thrifted button-downs hanging together which I call "bags under consideration." I explained that I choose some fabrics that I think might go well together and hang them together on the wall of my workroom for a few weeks. After looking at them for a while, if I still like them I sew them up. My picture of that part didn't turn out so I guess I am being mysterious. Hmmm, maybe this calls for a future post...

We got lots of comments about our wood stove (seen in this photo - in the back, on the way to the pantry), which is one of the best features of the house, especially now that it's getting colder.

Okay, here's a beautiful sight. This is probably why so many people went straight into the barn. Picture this off our short driveway: Huge barn door wide open, on one side a long row of firewood beautifully stacked (by Richard. I stacked last year's 6 cords while figuring out what I was next going to do with my life: This! Yay!!), artistically arranged giant Hubbard squash and gourds (grown by Kitt) and gorgeous painting of pears, cheese, hills and quail chicks by John Hurlburt, our friend and Richard's part-time papermaker. He is a wonderful artist. A really stunning scene for those leaf-peepers/art lovers.

The bundles of grassy things above the woodpile is the flax Richard grew in our "field garden" this year, for anybody reading this who came over for the Garden Tour in June.