Monday, June 30, 2008

Pain for the sake of Art-yet Again...

I spent eight or nine hours on Saturday cutting an molding new leather masks. I had planned on making it a weekend project, but I over-worked my poor hands and could not get more than three done on Sunday. So here is a preview of eleven new unpainted masks:
They have been cut, tooled, molded and hardened and await a coat or two of luminous paint.
The white faces you see are plaster casts I made of a plastic face form I got when I first started mask making. They are sturdier than plastic and don't move around when I am working the leather. I did have to seal them to prevent plaster dust adhering to the masks and the bottom has a layer of felt or foam to keep them from marking my table.
I am looking forward to my time off next week: my next mask project is to design masks for people who wear glasses.

Friday, June 20, 2008

I'm Featured on the StylePhile Blog!

Jamie from Style-Phile has posted an interview with me about my line of dragon wings on their new blog!!!

On the left you can see the first incarnation of my dragon wings modeled by this charming young man-er, dragon-at the Maryland Fairy Festival back in 2006.
I recently re-designed the line (see this post about my baby dragons)
to include two new baby dragons and two large dragons.

Here are pictures of Bastian (the gold one) and Edward (the green one), my two new large designs.
These wings were designed with teens and adults in mind, so I nixed the tail (I thought it would look silly hanging from the middle of their back) and went for matching felt spikes instead. The frame is the same sturdy wire one I use in my fairy wings, the one that opens and closes and the lock clips so you don't have to tie them on. I am working on a Goliath sized pair of the Bastian design, but I think they don't look masculine enough.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Midsummer Night's Dream Exhibition by the talented members of Faeetsy!

The newest exhibition by the amazing Fantasy Artists of Etsy is now available for your viewing pleasure! Stop by to see beautiful jewelry, gorgeous art dolls, amazing fine art paintings and prints, charming sculptures and herbal goodies. The ever-so -talented Aquariann will be updating throughout the month, so be sure to stop by often and see whats new!

I was so busy trying to keep my head above water the last few weeks that I missed the call for entries, but keep an eye out to see some of my goodies featured there in the future.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Maryland Fairy Festival 2008

This is usually my favorite event of the year.
This weekend, however, has me questioning my sanity and whether or not I even want to do these outdoor shows at all anymore.
My Mom and I drove down to set up on Friday: it was brilliantly sunny, super hot and sticky humid. In the hour it took us to set up the tent and my frame for the wings to hang on, we were drenched in sweat. Other vendors around us were talking apprehensively about the next two days would be like. Saturday dawned in a haze of fog. The fair grounds looked surreal with the tents peeking up through the mist. I wish I had had a chance to snap a few pictures, but we were too busy setting up. Even at 7:30am the heat was oppressive. Then the sun came out and things went from bad to worse. I believe the recorded temperature reached 97*F, but the heat index was over 100*F. Julia, Jill, my Mom and I all agreed that we had never sweat so much in all our lives. All of my wire jewelry and crowns became too hot to touch and I heard that a little girl got a second degree burn from picking up a piece of jewelry a few spots away. It was brutal, and my Mom ended up getting very sick from all the heat. Because there were so few customers and because it was to be even hotter on Sunday, we decided to pack up and go home than risk my Mom getting worse from being outside for another day.
It was a real let-down. I love the air of magic that the festival usually inspires, but this year I just felt limp. I was so drained by the sun that I couldn't walk around and visit other vendors or see the concerts. I have major respect for all the singers and dancers that performed and all the wonderful people who braved the heat to attend.

But this experience has really made me stop and think. I know that the full-time life of a traveling crafter is not for me. My art takes too much time to create to keep enough stock for more than a few shows a year. But those few shows are so draining that it zaps my energy for the next week or two after. Caravan artisans are at the mercy of the elements, whether it be brutal sun, pouring rain or freezing cold. You always seem to be stuck at 6's and 7's, never knowing what sort of turnout to expect from the customers or if you will be able to recoup your expenses just to get there. I hate to be so dependent on the intangible and incalculable.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

A quick order then I am off to the fair!

I just finished these fabulous black feather wings for a very tall guy to wear to a weirding (wedding). I think that was the fastest I have ever started and finished a pair of wings in my life (so far!). I usually work on anywhere from 5 to 25 pairs of wings at a time, so it can take me months to make any real progress. The feather wings are the simplest to make, and with just one pair to do, I knocked this one out in 3 1/2 hours!! Our kitty Raven even tried to help (by help I mean sit on whatever I am working on).

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

43rd Annual Media Arts and Crafts Festival

On Sunday, June 1st I spent the day on State Street in Media, PA for their annual Arts and Crafts festival, sponsored by TownTalk, the local newspaper. It is a juried show for local artists and artisans to exhibit and sell their handmade works.
Here are some pictures of my set up: I LOVE my EZ-up tent, it is huge, sturdy and easy to use. The only problem with it is that you need at least two people to set it up. So I dragged my sister, Carisa, out of her warm bed at 6:45am to help me set up.
My crazy set up takes a minimum of an hour and a half to put together. A few years back I decided to lash together some coated wire shelves to hang my wings on-it was the sturdiest thing I could come up with on a shoestring budget. I use metal shower curtain hooks to hand the wings and curtain pins to hang the masks.
I had so many people walk by with their mouths hanging open-I suppose this isn't something you expect to see at a local craft show. They are usually even more flabbergasted when I tell them, "Yes, I did make all of this myself." And then there is the question about my wings that never gets asked at fairy festivals: "But what are they for?"
But even with my colorful display of wings and masks and a table full of glittering crowns, tiaras and crochet wire jewelry, the most eye-catching and crowd stopping thing at my tent was the flower decorations I hung from the tent frame.
I took these giant daisy-like flowers my mom gave me a few years ago, popped out the centers, strung them with looped wire and tied on ribbons to hang them from the tent frame so I could have an up-side down garden inside. I had no less than a dozen people ask me how much they were so I guess next year I will have to make some to sell!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

What a month of general ickiness!

May was a real killer for me. Besides battling ongoing health issues, I spent every moment not at work (at my day job!) on churning out my new line of fairy and dragon wings in preparation for the Maryland Fairy Festival and the summer show season. I've been working so hard, but feel like such a slacker because I have not had the time or energy to post more listings on etsy, answer emails or hang out with my teams.
In addition, my furbaby Ringo has been really sick. He spent an entire week at the cat hospital with a blocked urinary tract and a terrible infection. The doc finally let him come home last Friday, but he still has not bounced back. He is very happy to be home even if he isn't feeling well-he spends most of his time catnapping on the bed, stretching from time to time to let us rub his belly.
Now I am counting down to MMDF - three days to go!