Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Year in Review

I have to say, 2013 was a great year for me, both personally and professionally.  I started a new business with The Retro Ranch, visited new cities and states while selling at art fairs with Eighty Acres Art, made a couple new lines of work, and experimented a lot with new materials and techniques.  I now proudly make clocks, art, stickers, candles, vases, and cards and sell old and rusty junk from Kansas.

How 'bout some photos!

First up, The Retro Ranch:

My first Retro Ranch sale on Etsy.  Sold to an artist in Florida.

 Springtime pickin'.  I sold the long lattice just this week at River Market Antiques.

The backside of several sheds that hold treasures great and small,
 and constantly make me wonder about my ancestors.  This IS the "Ranch."
I also seemed to be featured in many publications, both paper and digital.  This has been a real honor for me, and quite a surprise, as I don't actively seek this kind of publicity out.  It's a right place/right time kind of thing.  Big thanks to KC Magazine, mash handmade, BizBaz blog, The Scoop KC, InkKC/Kansas City Star, and the Travel Kansas blog!

Indulgence section of KC Magazine, early 2013.

Travel Kansas blog

Some behind-the-scenes goodies:
Photo shoot in my bedroom of table top clocks...Ginger isn't a very good assistant, honestly.

Found sheet music + small desk clock = happy customers!

This is the glamorous set up I have for product shots outside.

New frameables with a Kansas flair and found linens reproduced on fabric.
Wood and horseshoe provided by The Retro Ranch.
On the road: 
On my way to Oklahoma at a Flint Hills rest stop.

That's me!  In my booth in OKC.  Thanks to Laura Nugent for the great photo.
We got every kind of weather in Oklahoma: snow, hail, sun, rain, wind...this day was pretty nice.
The Devon Tower was ominous the night of the big storm in OKC.
We got outta there early and are SO glad we did!  The white circle is where the show was, the red circle is where we were staying.  We avoided most of the hail and scary conditions.

My first trip to Iowa City was great and I loved the college town feel.
Not the biting flies, however.

Post-Iowa City trip to Des Moines.  On the road a person often drives through
some crazy weather, and I could see it all from behind the wheel.
A cool thing! At Loring Park in Minneapolis.  This was my first trip to Minnesota;
 it was beautiful and lived up to its great reputation.

A super fun thing about setting up my tent is the occasional
disrespectful critter (in this case, I think it was a pterodactyl) leaving
a huge surprise for me to deal with. 
This is literally one of the only things between Minneapolis and Des Moines on I-35.

I also liked the wind farm somewhere north of Des Moines.
Custom Orders:
I had so many custom orders this year, but one of my favorites now lives with
my niece in Texas.  This has her favorite things: her seahorse (named Happy),
pink, and a rainbow.

8 x 8 Giraffe clock with numbers
8 x 8 I Love You American Sign Language clock
8 x 8 Glittery purple Dachshund clock
And a very big part of my life is my cats.  Here's the full family:
Ginger (male): age 8ish; FIV+; great at spooning; originally a porch cat.

Gracie: age 10; looks like a coffee bean when she sleeps; loves boxes,;
came to the family as a kitten (Sean's side).

Elsie: age 7; followed us home on a walk in '07; disappeared for two months this fall and
was given back to us; very tiny and my best frenemy.

Clover: age 10; found in a barn in Kansas as a wee babe; blogging and studio assistant;
very good at jumping after cat toys like a goalie.
Zevon: 2003-2013; brilliant biscuit maker, sleeper-onner, purr factory;
 medical mystery, and missed horribly every single day.
I feel I've grown this year, and even if it might not look that way on paper, I know my business and artwork has, too.  Thanks to one and all! 

2014 is going to be great.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Made It: Sheet Music

My newest product line, table top clocks, have been doing pretty well.  They're small, easy to ship, affordable, and of course, ADORBZ.  But I had no idea that using sheet music was going to be the key.  Over  half of the sold clocks have been decorated with antique sheet music from either a hymnal or kids' music book.  And as it turns out, people love gifting these to their kids' piano teachers (at least three have sold for that purpose).  Way to love your teachers, people!

Here's some behind the scenes footage!

Reminds me of this.

After the clocks I moved on to experiment with how I can incorporate the material into wall art.
Rubber cement on back, then I ripped the pages into strips and...

laid it down on matte board.

Added vinyl flowers and sprayed it with clear lacquer.


I love the old books' natural state, but I wanted to try color, so I watered down some acrylic paint and sprayed it in a thin layer on the paper.
And then I had to try it with non-clocks, too.
Put a cat on it!
I'll matte this up and see what  happens.

Here's a new set of clocks that I have for sale at this weekend's open studio.
Line 'em up!
Find them on Etsy, too!

I can't wait for this weekend's sale...I've been making and baking and hanging.  It's a party with some art involved!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

One of My Favorite Things & Open Studio

I love this:
It's from a Spencer's Gifts catalog from the 1970s.  You could order a mystery box of crap from them for only $5.98!  Get a whole lot more mystery crap for $19.98!  WHAT COULD IT POSSIBLY CONTAIN?!?!  "Useful housewares, thoughtful gifts, fun-packed toys, clever gags & gadgets."

I think they were lying when they used the word "useful."

Other news...
I'm getting ready to have my final showing of the year.  It's the 2nd Annual Holiday Open Studio sale at my friend Amy Meya's house.  She's a talented ceramic artist and has generously asked me again to participate in this event.  We're going to have lots of cool stuff, and lots of delicious stuff, too!

See art by other cool peeps Laura Nugent and Allan Winkler.

Stop by Friday night, Saturday 10-6 and Sunday 11-5
3345 Baltimore Ave.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Found It: In the Newpapers

Old advertisements!  I love 'em!  Not just because almost everything was drawn (!!!) but the typography strikes a special chord in my heart.  I was looking through a pile of papers I found in the shed a while back and, even though these seemed to have been kept for the recipes on the page, it's the imagery I love the most.  These are from the 1940s...I'm pretty sure.

Here, I'll share.

What a happy lion!  I think the labor laws have changed since 1949, though.

Early form of texting while driving.

He won't love you unless you douche with Lysol!

Oh, jeez.

I know from experience that cats slide all over the place on a wood floor.

Adorable.  Also, I love ketchup.
I hope we all agree that Love Quiz is straight messed up.  I knew that Lysol was suggested for "cleaning" a woman's most private/horribly-disgusting-to-society's parts, but seeing it right here makes me feel so gross.  [Insert feminist rant here!]

Two weekends in Lawrence, Kansas, and then it's open studio time!  I can't wait to see all the cool stuff people make in my neck of the woods.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Made It: Desk Clocks

A surprisingly few times over the years since making the small clocks, I've been asked about table top clocks.  All mine are wall-dwelling, but recently I've been asked more often.

Customer: "Do you have stands for the small clocks?"
Me: ", I'm sorry, I don't...buuut you can go to [insert big box hobby or everything store] and get one for, like, five bucks."
Customer: "......" (Translation: That's lame, I don't want to work for this.)
Me: "....." (Translation: I agree, I should really figure this out.)

So!  After trying to decide just how to remedy this situation, I realized that my clock mechanism supplier probably had what I needed.  Bingo!
AND the bottom comes off for easy shipping!
I decided to make some super mini clocks using this handy stand.  They are quite unlike my vinyl-and-aluminum standard wares and more like my frameables.  I have so many different kinds of found fabrics I can reproduce on paper, as well as acquired vintage/antique ephemera that I love using in my work.  Add to that some luck running across discarded MDF for a sturdy backing, and we're in business.

Behold, the newness:
It has at all!  Numbers!  A floral motif!  Function!

Vinyl dots on a decorative map from an old calendar.
Reproduced found polyester napkin...I think this works better.

Not just for desks!  Blue and white reproduced fabric w/vinyl numbers.
And this is what a 5 x 5 clock looks like on its feet.  Not bad!
To make these minis I cut MDF (medium-density fiberboard) into 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 inch squares, sanded the corners round like their larger aluminum brethren, sprayed the exposed edges black, drilled a hole in the middle for the mechanism, glued on the paper background after rummaging through my stack of papers, placed vinyl numbers or dots on the surface for the numbers, and FINALLY added the mechanism, hands, and securing nut.

After typing that all out, it doesn't really seem like it's a smaller feat than the other clocks, but I decided to make some smaller gift items that could be actual stocking stuffers for the season. I just can't stop with all the making! 

Hopefully I'll sell some at the three shows I have up-coming:

Sunday, Nov. 24:
There will be beer there!
Friday, Nov. 29 and Saturday, Nov. 30:
Find me downstairs and hang a right.

Friday, Dec. 6 through Sunday, Dec. 8:
I'm also bringing cupcakes, y'all!
See you there!