Thursday, December 31, 2009

A resolution of sorts, and reflection.

Well, it's New Year's Eve, 2009, and I thought I'd finally give up on catching up with blogging. What I mean is, my mind keeps telling me that I can't write anything on here until I have time to start where I left off, which was really back in early August after the Minneapolis show. Since then, I'd have to report on Bucktown Arts Fest, Penrod, Starving Artists, Rockford, Lakeview East, St. James Court, and then all the holiday shows. What can I say? Things just got really, really busy, and that's excellent! But I can't just not write ANYTHING because I am not current with my show experiences, etc. Lost opportunities for writing, like my big October photo shoot with Audrey Keller Photography, slipped through the cracks. Ah well, I am still kinda new to this blogosphere, and I guess I have to allow myself some failures.

The good news is, things will slow down a bit here for late winter/spring, (I keep telling myself, anyway), and I might attempt to re-visit some lost opportunities. It just might be good for the soul to get back to reporting on summer during the cold winter months...


So now, as I sit here still in my pj's, I will reflect on 2009, and what a great year it was for
Rapt in Maille. My best out of 11 art fair seasons. Awards won, sales records broken, and lots of new fans. I count myself very, very lucky...and grateful. Thanks to everyone who has supported my work past and present, and I look forward to an even more successful and adventurous 2010....

Friday, October 23, 2009

Autumn: switching gears from summer to holiday show season

Well, the summer '09 art fair season came to a close earlier this month with the St. James Court Art Show in Louisville. It was a great show all around, and a perfect way to end the season.

For the last few weeks I've been scrambling to re-stock for holiday shows and get some wholesale orders done. Still scramblin,' come to think of it....and also had a successful photo shoot of my new pieces, along with my new collection "Woven." I will be getting the edited photos from my photographer, Audrey Keller, in early November, so look for updated products, along with a website overhaul in mid-November - just in time for holiday shopping!

Gotta get back to the grindstone, but I'm also posting an image of my new business card. I just got them in the mail today, and I must say, I'm pleased! I'll have to get used to having a vertical business card, but it was the best way to fit all my information. I really wanted to put links to all my networking pages....whatcha think?

I promise I'll catch up on show reports next month! I've got a big 5-day event coming up next week in Milwaukee - The USM Christmas and Holiday Show. Hope to see all my Milwaukee peeps out to visit this one!

Later,
Melissa

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Busy bee!

Hello everybody,

Just a quick blog note here to apologize for not writing in so long...my year has been absolutely crazy with busy and successful art fairs, so I am a bit behind on reporting. In 2 short days, I leave for my last outdoor show of 2009 - St. James Court Art Show (4th St. Section) in Louisville. This will be my 4th year exhibiting at this show, and it's always such a great way to end the season. Looking forward to reporting on it, as well as the lovely stay in our usual B&B, The Aleksander House. Also coming soon....reports for the Bucktown Arts Fest, Penrod/Starving Artists, Greenwich Village/Rockford, and Lakeview East. Wow! I am behind.....forgive, forgive!

Oh, also.....here is another picture of my fancy new stainless steel clasp. I'm still working on converting all my wide bracelets to accommodate this awesome finding! Until next time.....

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Uptown Art Fair, Minneapolis

Well, the Uptown Art Fair came and went, and I never took any pictures there. I guess I was too distracted by the weather or something, whoops :(

Mike and I headed out to Minneapolis for the show, which was held Aug 7,8 & 9. This was my second year doing the show, and like last year, we also got a David Sedaris book on CD to listen to for the trip. I highly recommend this for long car rides, he's freakin' hilarous. The drive was about 7 hours - long, but not bad. We got to our hotel and had some dinner and crashed.

We set up the booth on Friday morning - in the rain. The worst! It wasn't pouring, but any rain is bad rain when you're trying to set up the tent while unloading and keeping your stuff dry. The show began at noon, and it was an OK day.

Saturday began pretty well, but it rained around 1pm and the humidity rolled in and made the air like pea soup. I felt like I could cut the air with a knife. Hot and unpleasant, yuck. Sales were pretty good, but were down from what I expected due to the weather. Later that night we decided to get sushi in Calhoun Square, and there were apparently tornado warnings going on while we were in the restaurant. They had passed by the time we left, but a couple had touched down outside of the city - yikes! Really scary. Our friends, Dolan and Ali, got caught outside during the all the warnings, and took shelter in the YMCA basement (read about it on Dolan Geiman's blog here).

Sunday the weather was actually very nice, and I was hoping for a big surge of customers who had stayed inside the previous 2 days, but that didn't necessarily happen. I can't complain though, I still sold a good amount even if it was a little below expectations for the weekend. I do have to say, I love this show for their organized load-out procedures, which is huge when at the end of the show, all you wanna do is get the F outta there - no offense, but we're exhausted, folks ;)

When we were all packed up, we met Dolan, Ali, and a few other artists for food at Namaste Cafe, and had a family-style dinner, passing around a ton of absolutely delicious Indian dishes. Such a great way to end a show - great company, great food, great conversation - and of course, some wine ;)

Getting ready now for the Bucktown Arts Fest in Chicago this weekend! This show is near and dear to my heart because I've been doing it so long, it's in a great neighborhood, the organizer is great (Maria!), and it's always falls on or near my silly birthday. This is my TENTH year in a row at the Bucktown Arts Fest - come celebrate with me!!!! See ya there.....

Friday, August 14, 2009

Better late than never...a shout-out to Zingerman's Deli


The Ann Arbor Art Fair seems forever ago now, but as promised, I will write a little love note here to Zingerman's Delicatessen.

A good friend of mine named Marie helped me out at the Ann Arbor show last year, and a co-worker of hers had highly recommended that we visit a place called Zingerman's. Marie, being the slave labor for
the weekend, made daily trips there for lunch to pick us up some sandwiches. I ordered the #17 and was hooked, and ate it every day of the show. Called "Helen's Have Another," the sandwich consists of Stonington smoked salmon, scallion cream cheese, tomato & red onion on pumpernickel bread. Delish!

We decided to go there for breakfast on our way out of town on Sunday, but I could barely appreciate the glory of the deli since my back was out and I was in immense pain. However, I hobbled up to the coffee side of the joint to have some tea and a scone, which were amazing.


This year, Mike was able to come along for the slave labor, and even though my back was not out, it was tired, so he made the t
rip to the deli. I ordered the same sandwich, which was delicious, but I forgot to have him order the larger size, so my sandwich was too much bread, not enough filling. Oh well, we saved our next trip to the deli for Sunday morning before we hit the road.

When we arrived Sunday morning, there was a line inside that went to the door, but it was not bad, and it moved pretty quick. I was almost disappointed at how fast the line moved, because there was so much to look at and take
in! It overwhelms the senses. The space is tiny, but packed with all kinds of fresh, delicious food - to your right is the bread counter, and to your left is the deli counter with tons of different cheeses and various other yummy things.


A young girl stood at the front of the line taking orders, who then gave you a receipt and instructed you to pay at the counter in the next room, the go to the next building to get any drinks you ordered, then sit at any table and someone will bring your order out. We crossed the outdoor patio to the "coffee" building, which also had lovely baked goods and many chocolate goodies for sale. We sat outside at a picnic table, where I had "The Special," which was almost just like my sandwich, but on a bagel. Mike ordered a Reuben sandwich, and holy crap, was it good. And I don't even like Reubens.

I am also a little curious about their mac & cheese, since the girl taking our order told us that people came from far away specifically for it...and one day they were out of it, and it drove a person to tears. That must be some amazing mac & cheese. I will have to make a point to try it next year.

After we finished our meal, I bought some ginger scones to take home, and Mike a bag of their house coffee (he loved it). By the time we left, the line was out the door and around the building. If I lived in this town, I'd be a regular for sure.


(Mike standing across the street from Zingerman's after we ate breakfast. The Deli building on the left, the coffee building - called "Zingerman's Next Door" - on the right)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Michael Jackson guy, Ann Arbor

It seems like forever since the Ann Arbor art fair (only 2 weeks), but I am finally writing my post about "The Michael Jackson guy," as everyone called him....my entertainment for the entire 4 days of the show.
My booth was on Liberty Ave, and there was a walkway between my booth and my neighbor's, of about 7 feet or so. Behind our booths, beyond the sidewalk, was a long alley decorated with graffiti.

Near the beginning of the first day of the show, (Wed.), we heard a Michael Jackson song being played somewhere in the vicinity. There was a woman in my booth looking at my jewelry, who casually said "Oh yeah, that's the Michael Jac
kson guy, he's here all the time." Mike and I then took turns peering into the alley, where there was a small "boom box" on the ground at the entrance. At first I felt like a voyeur who should not be staring at this dancing man in the shadows, but soon realized that what I was doing was completely the norm. Several people gathered at the entrance of the alley with me, I snapped some pictures, and eventually I went back to my booth, satisfied that I'd seen my fill.


We soon learned from random people who came into my booth that this guy had been dancing, and going a pretty darn good impression of Michael Jackson, for years and years in this Ann Arbor alleyway. Most people who lived in town were completely unfazed by this unusual spectacle, because it was an everyday occurrence to them. But there were also many people who would excitedly run to the alleyway with their friends exclaiming - "There's the Michael Jackson guy!" or "Let's go watch the Micheal Jackson guy!"

Sometimes there were no people gathered at the alley to watch him, and sometimes he collected a crowd so big, they blocked the sidewalk. The entertainer seemed to have his slow and busy times, just as the artists did. However, the crowd did not seem to effect his performance one bit. When he was alone, he still dance
d like it was nobody's business, like he WAS in fact Michael Jackson - on stage performing for thousands of people. Sometimes, even when he had a large crowd, he would see someone he knew pass by and wave, then stop and talk to them like nothing out of the ordinary was going on. I noticed he did know many people who walked by, and would stop and talk to them casually. For some reason this kind of shocked me. Maybe because the real Michael Jackson would not just be able to do this on the street, or maybe because I thought he was just this crazy guy who thought he was Michael Jackson, and would only talk inane jibberish when he came back down to Earth.

However, this was not the case. As you can read on his Facebook fan page, this man's real name is Brian Woolridge, a 35 year-old man who works as a janitor at a local Meijer store. He has been dancing and lip-synching to Michael Jackson's hits in that alley since 1995, simply for the joy that Michael Jackson's music had given him since childhood.


Now, since he was there every single day of the art fair, I was able to observe a few things about this phenomenon. This alley was "his," although he was very humble and never put up a fight about it. Sometimes, when he would take a break, another street performer would sneak into his alley and begin their act. This was very jarring to me. Somehow, even though I had been listening to MJ all weekend, it never bothered me, and then when it was replaced with something else, I found myself annoyed. One time it was a violin player, one time it was a drummer, and another it was a saxophone player. But every time, I missed Michael Jackson. I think the reason for this was that this guy seemed to bring so much joy to the town - he seemed so beloved, and he exuded a great energy - and it didn't really matter whose music was playing. (Not to say that I dislike MJ - I loved him as a child, but I think we've all had our fill of his music lately.)


One time, while an "intruder" had taken over the alley, I went out of the booth to take a break, and saw the MJ guy walking back towards his alley/home, boom-box in hand, and I thought, "Oh man, sorry - that other dude is still over there." Later I realized that having his "home" taken over did not stop MJ. I spotted him performing on another street corner until his alley was available again, which made me feel a little better for him. And, I have to say, also a little jealous that others were enjoying his act, which seemed somehow wrong and out of context.

Another thing I found curious was that he did not play the entire Michael Jackson library throughout the weekend. One would think, doing this for 14 years, that you'd want to have the widest variety possible in the songs you danced
to, right? So instead of having danced to "Beat It" say, 25,000 times, you'd only have danced to it say, 5,000 times. I don't know off hand how many MJ songs there are in existence, but I would guess there are hundreds. This guy played the same probably 25 songs over and over (although not in the same order), the highlights being "Billie Jean," "Rock With You," and "Thriller." Surprisingly, he also did some ballads, where he mostly stood in one spot, but still had the MJ body language going on. Most times, he picked an observing child to serenade.

The second thing I found curious, was that he did not try to LOOK like Michael Jackson. No makeup, no wig, no gloves or special clothes. He was just this plain-clothed guy in jeans and a t-shirt who just walked into an alley, plopped down his tunes, and turned into a dancing, singing fool.
Needless to say, I will request the same spot for next year's Ann Arbor show. Not only was it a successful spot for me business-wise, but I just don't think the show will ever be the same for me without "The Michael Jackson guy" in the background.


video

Monday, July 27, 2009

Ann Arbor '09 - July 15-18

It's been a week since I got back from the Ann Arbor show. It was slow getting back in the swing of things, for sure. A four-day show, plus one day for set-up, and another for travel, made this a 6-day excursion.

Just on the heels of the Krasl Art Fair - I was home for one full day, grabbed Mike, and headed out to Ann Arbor, MI. The drive was about 4 hours, but we had to allow an extra hour for the time change (I've been burned on forgetting the time change before, and I know I'm not alone). It was a pretty smooth, uneventful ride, with the exception of passing a long flat-bed truck carrying 4 of these HUGE bears. Pretty hilarious.

We drove into town in the early evening and set up the tent without a hitch. My location was pretty awesome - I was in the State Street Area of the show on Liberty Ave. (there are 4 different art fairs that make up the weekend, I heard nearly 1800 artists altogether). It was very near the Michigan Theater, which is an old, gorgeous movie palace, where the bathrooms and artist break area was. Also on my breaks, I could do some fun shopping (which I always thoroughly enjoy). There were many sidewalk sales (Urban Outfitters has a huge one - everyone knows about it), along with cute vintage stores, etc. I found an awesome ottoman/foot stool that I traded for.

But I get ahead of myself.....we headed over to the University Hotel for the artist's party after setting up the booth on Tuesday. They have an INCREDIBLE artist party. A large table of cheese, fruit, and veggies, a bar area, another large table of main courses, and even a carving station. The room was set up with large, round tables, and Mike and I took some empty seats at the nearest one we could find. Little did we know, we had sat down at the MAYOR's table, which had other interesting characters and a few of the show's directors (pretty funny). The mayor eventually got up and said a few words....interesting to know that Ann Arbor is one of the greenest cities in America, and he discussed current projects, etc. Anyhow, after having a blast, dessert, and maybe a little too much wine, we went back and checked into our hotel, Weber's Inn. This place is really awesome, and I'll stay here every time I do the show. It has pretty cool decor - stained glass windows, very German feel - great service - great restaurant. Our friends, Weener Ware, stayed in the room next to us, so we hung out with them every evening.


The crowds were out all four days in full force, didn't find there were any slow times. The show hours are brutal (10am-9pm). If you figure in waking up, getting to the show in time to set up, and also packing up at the end of each day, they were about 12 hour days. Thankfully, the weather was not too hot, and it was even chilly at times. This was a HUGE contrast to last year's show, when it was about 100 in the shade with dead, heavy air, and my darn back went out on the second day. I did most of the show in massive pain on top of dealing with the intense heat. Needless to say, this year's show seemed like a breeze to me.

Many, many of my artist friends were at the show too, so when I had time and the energy to fight the crowds, I tried visiting with them as well. One of them was Kathy Frey, who makes really intricate and stunning sculptural wire jewelry. She is from Chicago as well, but is making a big move out to Nevada City, California - actually probably as I type this! I wish her much luck and fun on her new life out west.....here is a picture of her in her booth at Ann Arbor, and be sure to check out her website.

Other highlights from the show include "The Michael Jackson Guy," and Zingerman's Delicatessen, but I will give them their own blog posts (they deserve it - check back soon!) All in all, I have to say, even though this show is probably the one of the hardest to do, it has been my most successful to date :) I end with a photo of break-down time, 6pm, Saturday evening - aahhhhhhh........

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Krasl Art Fair, July 11-12: I love you.

I'm back at home and a little shell-shocked from the success of the Krasl and Ann Arbor Art Fairs, both in Michigan. I have finally dowloaded my pictures, so first I will write about my Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff experience in St. Joseph, MI.


This is only the second year I have been to Krasl, and this year was even more pleasant than last year. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, and the setting didn't hurt either - a view of Lake Michigan from my booth. This year I requested a corner spot, and they gave me a corner with a large paved walk-way next to it, which was VERY nice. First let me say that this show rocks for many reasons, but one being their booth spaces are about 14x12 (as opposed to the barely 10x10 spots most shows try to squeeze you into). So even if I didn't have a corner, I would have had plenty of space.


My good friend, Marie (pictured above working the booth), went with me this time because Mike stayed home to attend a librarian's conference at McCormick place. It was great to catch up with her because we never seem to spend enough time together due to busy schedules, so although the show was work, it was also kind of like a girlfriend getaway too. We stayed at the Silver Beach Hotel (which I stayed at last year with my intern, Erin), that was within walking distance - so nice! We left the car parked in the hotel parking lot the whole time. This is huge.

Patrons of the Krasl art fair come out in abundance, and are there to spend. Some are St. Joe residents, and many are Chicagoans on vacation at their summer homes. The Krasl Art Center runs the show, and they do a FANTASTIC job. They say they are here for the artists, and they want to be every artist's favorite show, and they seriously deliver on that (not like some other shows that will remain anonymous, ahem). Coffee and pastry stations in the morning, a great artist break room with food and water, an artist party (which I missed due to setting up late), and a nice artist round-table on Sunday morning with breakfast. Besides all that great stuff, they have a ton of friendly helpers, great promotion (billboard on I-94), great communication, and just sweet and concerned all around.



I had a great day for sales on Saturday, and we went to dinner at Schu's (where we also went last year), and I met my art fair friends Judy and Mimi at an outdoor table. During dinner, I checked my voicemail and had a message from someone at the art fair saying that they hoped I could come to the artist breakfast for the awards ceremony (hint, hint) - so needless to say I was ecstatic, and nervous, to be receiving an award the next day! We also took a walk after dinner through quaint, dowtown St. Joseph, where there are a lot of cute chocolate and coffee shops. We found a guy making fudge in a window.....


I got up Sunday earlier than usual, which is already way too early for me, but was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, as they would say, and hopped on down to the artist breakfast and round-table discussion. They had a large tent set up outside on the front patio of the art center, with a nice breakfast. The director of the show took the microphone and began the "round-table discussion," where she introduced all the helpers, did an overview of the show, and addressed any concerns. Then the artists where invited to pass the mic around and voice any questions/comments, which was very nice. Then they gave away the awards, which were by category, and I got a nice big ribbon for best of jewelry, non-precious, (and also a cash award, which was great)!

Sunday's sales ended up being good too, the weather was great
again, and I also have to mention that my booth neighbor was super nice as well - Josh, a painter from Indianapolis - I forgot to get all his info, but his paintings were great. Can you tell yet by this post how I can't say one bad thing about this show? Anyhow, Marie and I packed up the booth, and were on our way home! Looked forward to seeing Mike, the new kitten, and had to get ready to leave in a day and a half for a 4-day show in Ann Arbor.......

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

F*** YEAH!

Can I have a drum roll please?

*********************************************

It's been YEARS working up to this - replacing my base metal hook and eye system with a stainless steel tube/slide clasp. I just got 3 samples Fed Exed to me today. The clasps are super strong and heavy, which keeps the ends of the bracelet at the bottom of your wrist, and the main part of the bracelet on the top of your wrist, where it belongs ;)

I don't want to hear any more complaints about my clasps, OK now? ;)

RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRROCKIN'!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Fountain Square Art Festival


Hope everyone had a great 4th of July holiday! I was able to relax for about a day, but I even brought work home with me when I visited my family. It's early July, and that means I'm prepping for 2 big shows back to back. I leave this Friday for the Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff in St. Joseph, MI, drive back Sunday night, then leave Tuesday morning for the Ann Arbor art fairs, which runs from Wed. the 15th to Sat. the 18th. It's a completely insane venture - 10 days on the road for 2 art fairs with one day at home in between.

But before all that craziness, I have to back up and report on the last show.....


Sat. and Sun. June 27-28 was the Fountain Square Art Festival in Evanston, IL. This show became somewhat infamous last year for having a microburst run through the show, destroying tents and artists' work, and causing some injuries....not to mention scaring the bejesus out of everyone there. It just so happened that I had applied for Highland Park and gotten accepted last year, so I was a few suburbs away when all this happened, dodging a MAJOR bullet, because my tent would have been in its usual spot at the intersection, where I hear most of the damage occurred. Highland Park got some high winds and scary clouds, but not nearly what Evanston did.


Needless to say, I was not so happy with how Highland Park had gone for me last year, so I decided to return to my Fountain Square, where I figured - what are the chances for lightning striking twice? (almost literally). Saturday was lovely - a bit hot, but not too bad. The crowds were good, had good sales, things were looking great for the weekend's outcome. However, towards the end of the day, the word on the street was that a possible storm was going to move in over night, so we decided to batten down the hatches. Tired as we were, we decided to lower the tent to discourage any wind from picking us up during the night. You can see in my pictures that I have 2 weights on each leg of the tent that are strapped to the top corner of the frame. In order to lower the tent, we had to detach each weight, adjust the length of the straps, and reattach the weights once the tent is dropped. The height of the tent is reduced by about half, and stays lower to the ground, therefore less chance of destruction (we all hope).



Walking from the parking garage to my tent Sunday morning, I saw a fair worker dragging a mangled tent frame along the ground. He must have seen the look of horror on my face, because he said "Yep, used to be a tent!" Thankfully, when we got to my booth, everything was intact. We set everything back up, and went about our day. The temp was a little more bearable, and it was still sunny, but the WIND. Ugh, the wind. The wind is my nemisis. Although I have about 55-60 lbs weighing each leg of the tent down, the wind still rocks the tent back and forth, which is very unsettling, and it can knock some of my displays over. I learned a few shows ago that I could C-clamp my tall bust necklace displays to my shelves/tabletop, so that is a GREAT feeling knowing they aren't going anywhere. But there are other things I haven't quite figured out how to secure.

Anyhow, probably about half-way through the day, a HUGE gust of wind came out of nowhere, and lifted the tent right in front of me straight up in the air, and it landed upside down on the tent 2 booths away. In the meantime, I grabbed the closest leg of my tent, while other random people grabbed the other legs (thank you!) to hold everything down, while you could hear chaos from other areas of the show - breaking glass, etc. A second huge gust happened about 30 seconds after the initial one - and I yelled "heads up!" because you never know what's going to fly and hit you in those situations, and I was fully expecting something to land on MY tent, since I had just seen it happen in front of my eyes. Now, I have heard many horror stories of booths being destroyed at shows, especially last year, but I have never seen anything in person (somehow I've been lucky), and I'll tell you - my heart was beating so fast, and my hands were shaking for about 5 minutes afterwards. I was going to take a picture, but my poor neighbors - they probably would have punched me in the face taking a picture of their misfortune. I felt so bad for them, their work was scattered everywhere.

So scary. There were various other wind issues - other tents blew over, friends of mine had their tents either destroyed or they simply couldn't use them....and lots of the ceramic/glass artists packed up early and left to prevent any breakage/loss of inventory.


All I can say is - I am so thankful my tent survived! Another bullet dodged....and the weekend, although a bit trying, ended up to be a successful one.

And so here are a couple more pics of my booth......

A friend said my tables looked like the bow of a big ship! I've never set up like this before - it was an unusual arrangement of booths, with a row down the middle (where I was), and since I was open on 3 sides instead of 1 or 2, I set up my tables more like a "V" instead of an "L" - I liked it!

My mom took this picture of Mike and I - her and my oldest sister, Jennifer, came out to visit for a few hours, and I took a break and went shoe shopping with them - nice!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A wrench in the works...

Two big shows have come and gone, finding me in need of ordering more supplies for my jewelry. Much to my disappointment (not to mention a big freak-out), two different suppliers of mine are out of stock on chain I often use; the slinky Deco gunmetal chain, and the hefty chain I use throughout my Glam Collection. What is an artist to do? Well, it's either wait (not so) patiently until they get it back in stock, or scramble to look for an alternative.

I've searched for the 3mm curb gunmetal (Deco) chain online, but with no luck. I can't really go with something that is similar because my designs dictate an exact match. I sent a sample to another great chain supplier of mine, who is able to replicate the gunmetal finish, but the links on the sample they sent back are too large. Only by about 1 mm, which is very small in the grand scheme of things, but in the Rapt in Maille scheme of things, this will not work.

I called back Rings & Things, which is my supplier for all things gunmetal, and got THE nicest salesperson on the phone (Ann - holla!), who informed me that they will be getting it back in stock early July. Have I mentioned how happy it makes me when I get a nice person on the phone?? Anyway, my plan is to have them overnight it, and hopefully I will have it in enough time to cut a mass amount of it, and assemble pieces to bring with me for the Krasl Art Fair, and Ann Arbor, which are big back-to back shows. Fingers crossed! I'll be on pins and needles until I get that chain back....it's killing me! I'm too "Type A" to accept not going to 2 big shows missing an entire collection in my stock. But I just may be forced to accept it.

Now about a week ago, I called to order my stainless "Glam" chain, when I was told it would be 2-3 weeks until it was back in stock. This week, I called to see if they had an exact ETA, and was told it would be 3-4 weeks - WHAAA? Damn! So now again, I am sending a sample to my other chain supplier to see if they can replicate it, which if they can, will probably take 2-3 weeks at best. So I just may have to accept that I could go to 2 big shows without TWO of my collections.

So, I just thought I'd share another aspect of running the biz here at Rapt in Maille. Problems arise, and you gotta juggle and deal with what you can. What I keep telling myself is that I have plenty other designs that I can stock up on for the shows, and maybe I'll design a few new things in the process. It won't be the end of the world, although it may drive me a little crazy ;)

Hope to see you out at the Fountain Square Art Festival in Evanston this weekend! We asked for it - we got it - hot, hot, hot weather to come! At least the sun will be out - no rain! Hooray!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Wells Street Adventure

As always, Wells Street was an adventure in my own town. It's known as a spectacular show for artists, but also grueling load-in/set-up, longer hours, and lots of "happy" drunk folks enjoying the festival to be patient with (Note: Best Drunk Pick-up Line overheard at Wells Street: "So...you wanna be able to say you got pregnant in Chicago?" Yuck.) In other words, it can be trying as an artist, but well worth any pitfalls that may arise, including WEATHER.

This year we had rain from early morning until about 2pm on Saturday. However, setting up in the rain is nothing new for an artist, and thank go
d I had my newly purchased raincoat. After 2pm, the sun and the people emerged, and it was back to business. (Morning hours were mostly spent hopping from booth to booth saying hello to fellow artists. We gotta keep each other company during the rain!) Eventually, Wells Street became Wells Street, and Mike and I were busy helping customers until about 9pm. Needless to say, we were exhausted, but happy. We went home to order a pizza and I fell asleep waiting for delivery. I woke up to eat 2 pieces and went promptly back to bed ;)

Sunday's weather was absolutely g
orgeous! It really was the perfect art show weather. Sunny, high 70's, no wind. Perfect to wear jeans and a t-shirt and be comfortable (my personal favorite kind of weather. Mike would prefer it slightly more chilly). People who missed the show Saturday due to the weather came out in droves for Sunday, so we were swamped all day. A great, great show! Here are some pics to document the weekend - enjoy!

See you at the next festival:
Fountain Square in Evanston in 2 weeks - June 27-28.

Saturday morning, around 9:30am, Mike walking back from finding parking to help finish set-up. A dismal looking start to an art festival, but word on the street is we just have to hold out until about 2pm.....

Booth set-up and ready to go....now all we need are customers....

Layered up, raincoat on, hot tea in hand. When will summer actually start?

View down the street Saturday morning. A few dedicated art patrons out with umbrellas. My booth was right next to fried goodness, which I avoided (for the most part).

A nice couple stops to wave at my picture :) Sun finally came out after 2pm as predicted!


I believe this was Sunday morning. A stark contrast to Saturday morning. And part of my beloved Chicago skyline in the background....

Ah, there's the crowd I like to see....

I had to take a picture of my booth sign Sunday evening that was half out of its plastic sleeve. I felt just how that sign looked. Exhausted and haggard, ha ha.

CHEERS! A free brew from the nice guy at the beer tent across the way. Jewelry packed up, displays half packed up, one curtain down.....

This is seriously hard work after a long weekend on your feet dealing with all the elements....my booth almost broken down, around 9:30pm. We got home around 10:30pm, and just missed the last showing of the season premiere of True Blood. Darn it. No fretting, we saw it last night and it was great :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

57th Street Art Fair a huge success!

This past weekend Rapt in Maille exhibited in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago for the 57th Street Art Fair. It was a rocky start for me, because I showed up with JUST enough time to set up my booth, but then discovered that someone was already set up in my spot! The show double booked space #26, grrrrrrr. And it was a corner spot, which I had requested. So they finally placed me in a booth (not a corner, unfortunately, but it worked out) which was across the street and down a bit from my original assignment. A little late setting up, but not many people around at that time anyway.

Once the people showed up (not long after I was finished displaying my jewelry!), it was gangbusters until the end of the day - hooray! The unfortunate part of the day was the chilly weather - I had a t-shirt, a heavy hoodie, and a quilted jacket on and was still cold! Was wishing I had brought gloves - but who knew - in JUNE? That crazy Chicago weather......

Sunday's sales were almost as great as Saturday's, and the weather was a BIT warmer. Overall a fantastic show! Hyde Park is beautiful, and it's residents were lovely as well.

I partly forgot, and partly had no time to take photos of this show, so I'll have to make sure to take some at this weekend's event - Wells Street Art Festival! Another great show - hope to see you out in Chicago's Old Town neighborhood!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Indie Designer Market on Randolph Street

Wow, we lucked out with the weather for this Memorial Day weekend's art fair! Sunny and 70's, couldn't be much better. This weekend kicked off the Chicago Antique/Indie Designer Market, which happens now once a month until September (however, I only exhibited for this month's opening show). You can really find some great stuff here with a mix of independent artists and antique dealers. Booths are both outside and inside Plumber's Hall near Randolph and Ogden. Saturday sales were fantastic, however, Sunday proved to have mostly browsers, which was disappointing, but an OK show overall - easy to do, great weather, in town.

I'm on the wait-list for Summerfair in Cincinnati this weekend, so I'm just waiting for that last-minute call that someone cancelled - and maybe I'll be next in line! Not holding my breath, but it sure would be nice to get that phone call! I've never done an art fair in Ohio, and I'd love to expand my customer base there.....most likely, I'll be home stocking up for the next shows - 57th Street in Hyde Park and then Wells Street! Two huge shows back to back, and very much anticipated!

Here's some shots from the Indie Designer Market.....until next time!


Me in the booth - I also hung up my mother's handmade windchimes (right) that she assembles from vintage silverware, glass cups, and other odds and ends. They are really cool!



Mike the patient helper



Looking east.....



Looking west.....



Melissa Kolbusz of Wired...set up inside Plumber's Hall



Pistol Bazaar's booth - visit the store at 1717 W. Chicago Ave!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Maybe I can train him to make chainmaille.....

I can't seem to get much jewelry made tonight because I am too excited to get my new kitty-cat tomorrow! Mike is bringing him home from the Anti-Cruelty Society after work, since he works right around the corner. I went to visit him today after a friend sent me pictures - and how could I resist this face? I was powerless, and therefore had no choice.


I've been sending his picture to everybody, being the proud momma, and I gotta get his little room ready tonight, and kitten-proof the condo. Work.....BAH! I think I have a name, but I am not revealing it yet in case I happen to change my mind. It's not yet official....

But please help me in welcoming my 8-week old Snowshoe Siamese little boy....he shall be very loved!