Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Beauty in Full Circle or An Elephant Never Forgets - Part Two

A coincidence. When it happens once, it's pretty nifty. When it repeats, you know the universe is tapping you on the shoulder. Hello universe! You have my attention! What are you trying to tell me? This story is part two in a series of serendipitous events. 
Can you feel it too?
Here is an abridged version of part one (click HERE for the full story if you're interested). Last October, I drove home from Bethel on a very stormy night and a flatbed truck slowly pulled out in front of me from a side street. It was carrying some pretty amazing life-sized elephant sculptures. I drove in awe behind the behemoth beauties almost all the way home. I was so blown away, that I quickly snapped a pic. Months later, I took a day trip to NYC. Thom and I headed to Columbus Circle to visit the MAD Museum. When we reached the museum, the same two elephants greeted me in the center of the circle. The reunion with my elephant friends made me giddy. I contacted the artist Peter Woytuk to tell him about the experience and he wrote back a kind response thanking me for sharing the story and wishing me a Happy New Year from China.
Bethel - elephant encounter 1
NYC - elephant encounter 2
This past weekend, one of my favorite jewelry displays broke while I was setting up for the Greenway Open Market. Copious amounts of white duct tape barely held the wire frame together for the day.  I knew I had to get it welded back together once I returned home. I set Thom on the job on Tuesday. He looked up all the welding places in the area and decided to contact Edelman Metalworks in downtown Danbury. Thom stopped by the shop on Tuesday at the very end of the day. When the owner saw how minimal the repair was, he graciously offered to fix it for free. He told Thom to just remove the metal part from the wooden base and return with it on Wednesday (today).
broken display with jenky tape repair
Early this morning, I woke up and did my regular routine of checking my email and Facebook page. I did a double take when I saw a picture posted on my friend Chrissy's Facebook page. Recently, she drove behind two bold geese sculptures on the highway and had the same response that I had driving behind the elephants. I knew instantly that it must be another sculpture from Peter Woytuk. It made me smile, think of the elephants, and I continued on with my day.

Chrissy's picture
After school today, I came home to a fixed jewelry display. It looked as good as new and I was so thankful that the welders did such a kind deed. Thom and I headed out for dinner. While eating, he told me about his day, including his trip to Edelman Metalworks. Thom talked with the owner's wife while they quickly fixed the broken parts. During the conversation a big truck pulled up. This is what Thom saw:
Thom's picture
As soon as he showed me the picture on his phone, my eyes bulged out of my head. It was almost the identical picture that Chrissy posted earlier that morning! Both Chrissy and Thom were at the right places at the right moment for the double Woytuk encounter.

Two encounters with two elephants. Two encounters with two geese.

What does it all mean? I have two sets of animals collected in my Noah's ark o' coincidences. If it's true that things happen in threes, what's next?

My antenna is up. I'm ready.
tuned in
Thank you Edelman Metalworks for your generosity. Thank you Peter Woytuk for your sculptural safari. And thank you universe for making me stop and take notice.

UPDATE (5/31/12) - It turns out I wasn't 100% listening to Thom's story when he was telling it to me. Peter Woytuk was actually in the truck that pulled up to Edelman's Metalworks. Thom briefly met him at the shop and he said he was really nice. I can't wait for part 3 to happen!

Monday, May 28, 2012

On the Road - The Opening of the Greenway Market

Memorial Day weekend was meant for adventure. On Friday night, Grace Napoleon of Folk Couture and I hit the road in her new-used Volvo. Miraculously our two craft show set ups fit into her new vehicle better than her older, bigger car. You gotta love Volvos! We took off for Boston the night before the opening of the Greenway Open Market and had a smooth ride in. On Saturday, we were happy to be back at one of our favorite weekly Boston shows. It was a hot day but it didn't stop both locals and tourists from coming out in full force. The spray of the Rings Fountain and the shade of our tents kept visitors happy as they walked the green promenade.
The Greenway Open Market
Twitch and Whiskers at the Greenway
Often the best ideas come from utilizing materials in unconventional ways and Hoist Away Bags is the perfect example of this. The very clever Laura Cleminson gives a "second wind" to old and abandoned sails by turning them into one-of-a-kind, tote bags, handbags, and wristlets. These incredibly sturdy and unique bags use the original sail  grommets, lettering/numbering, and trim to add to the nautical flair of each piece. The bags feature draw string tops, bottle openers, pockets, and key chains to add further function to the beautiful form. My favorite part of each bag has to be the tag on the inside that gives a snippet of the sail's history. Laura's business is steeped in kindness and generosity. All the sails she uses are donated by others and she in turn contributes to the non-profit "Rocking the Boat." Visit Hoist Away Bags online and sail away with the perfect gift.
Laura Cleminson of Hoist Away Bags
stow away with a tote bag
get drawn in
the story behind the sail
Lately, when I've been complimenting fellow vendors on their lovely floral earrings and brooches, they've all responded the same thing: "Wendy Baker made these. You will love her jewelry and her!" Well, when you're right, you're right. When I came upon her Bendywho booth, I was in color wonderland. Wendy hand paints vintage metal flower components to make the most whimsical and joyful pieces you will ever see. Her layered petals, brightly hued beads, and mish mosh of baubles spoke to me on so many levels. After chatting with Wendy for a few minutes, I also loved the artist behind the pieces. Within a few short moments we were cracking up and chatting like old friends. I cannot wait to see her again at the Festival Fete Garden City show. You better go check her out too before I hoard all her pieces to myself.
Wendy Baker of Bendywho
not your garden variety necklace
I treated myself to a ring. How could I resist?
Midway through the steamy day, I took a quick gander to find some eats. Through the heat, I thought I saw a mirage. Was that really a food truck called "Mei Mei" (a childhood family nickname of mine) and did they really offer Chinese-American cuisine? Was this food truck plopped down at the Greenway just for me? I think it was because when I saw the menu, I found the perfect fusion of foods from both of my cultures. It was a hard choice but I finally ordered the savory bread pudding with scallions and cheddar. I could have sat down with a whole tray of the bread pudding - it was THAT good! Visit Mei Mei Street Kitchen's website to take a look at their other delish offerings and to learn more about the cool family behind the name.
Irene of Mei Mei Street Kitchen
Mei Mei Street Kitchen
well hello!
savory bread pudding with scallions and cheddar - bliss!
Now that outdoor show season is in full swing, I get to see so many of my favorite friends/artists. Carrie Wager of SepiaLepus was at the Greenway with her adorably illustrated, creature-featured art, prints, cards, pins, magnets, and new local maps. I have always admired her stuffed bunnies that dangle from tent and when I mentioned that my students would appreciate it, she donated one to the class. I cannot wait to share my new balloony bunny with my 2nd graders. Grace and I always enjoy each others' company on the road and we had fun chatting the day away. I loved her new red, black, and white Folk Couture dress with pugs and tear drop patterned skirt. Lots of lovely frocks went home to happy ladies, including a dress with a mama and baby polar bear. It made one mama very happy!
Carrie Wagner of Sepia Lepus
new Sepia Lepus Boston map
new Folk Couture pug dress
bear essentials
The big hit of the Greenway for me had to be the REcap bracelets, upcycled out of Crayola marker caps. A bunch went home to the young and young at heart. A nice variety of compact necklaces, a French bicycle head badge necklace, and some Thimblism necklaces also left with vistors from all over. I will be making more metal thimble necklaces this week with nautical charms (whale tails, steering wheels, and anchors)for my upcoming shows. I love this busy time of year!
REcap bracelets
Magic Garden - right
Dennebouy - bicycle head badge necklace
After a sunny day on the Greenway, Grace and I squeezed everything back into her car, cleaned up, and headed off to dinner with Jen of Zooguu plush handmade toys. There's nothing better than unwinding with friends, dinner, and ice cream after a full day. The following Sunday, Grace and I went off on a thriftavaganza before heading back to Danbury. It was her special treat to me for my birthday. It started with a scrumptious breakfast at Sofra Bakery and Cafe and continued on to a string of local thrift shops. My big find of the day was a vintage polka dotted Victor Costa dress with ruffles for miles. Grace also surprised me with a popcorn box full of birthday treats, including a ceramic "stinky stuff" jar with skunk. Oh the things I can put in there!
Volvo = volume
Sofra - so good
Olive Oyl chic
warning: jarring scents
It was a fun-filled weekend in Boston. In just a few days (6/3), you can catch me at stART on the Street in Worcester, MA.
The following Saturday and Sunday (6/9 & 6/10) I will be at Festival Fete's Garden City Art Festival in Cranston, RI.

Click here for my full spring/summer schedule. Hope to see you out and about!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Tomorrow! Twitch and Whiskers at the Opening of the Greenway Open Market

Tomorrow is the opening of my favorite weekly Boston show - The Greenway Open Market. Situated throughout the Wharf District Parks on the Rose Kennedy Greenway, this market is full of hustle, bustle and the great outdoors. In the center of it all, families stay cool and splash around in the Rings Fountain and participate in fun activities provided by the city. Just steps from the The New England Aquarium and pick up for the The Old Town Trolley Tours, you can always find a great mix of locals and tourists walking the promenade. 
Hooray for the Greenway!
The Rings Fountain
Twitch and Whiskers at the Greenway 2011
Every Saturday at the Greenway, you will find 60 handmade artisans, makers, and designers sharing their unique, handmade wares. I am excited to be traveling up with Grace Napoleon of Folk Couture. Just wait to you see the new hand sewn dresses and tunics she has to offer! Many of my other favorite designers will be there, including: Sepia Lepus, Zooguu, Liz Rodriguez, and Stone House Studio. If you haven't seen Twitch and Whiskers since last year's Greenway Open Market, swing by! I have a lot of exciting new pieces to offer!
Set Sail - brass protractor necklace
Mister Softee and Cocoa Marsh (with spinning wheel)
Twitch and Whiskers was at the Greenway Open Market four times last year and I cannot wait to return for five more shows this summer/fall season! Read all about last year's Greenway here
The weather is supposed to be gorgeous this Saturday. If you are going to be in Boston this Memorial Day weekend, definitely swing by the Greenway Open Market. With so much to do in and around the Greenway, I guarantee you will have an amazing time!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

On the Road - Spring Crafts in Chelsea

Start with one terrific public school: PS 11. Stir in a generous helping of the Etsy New York Team. Gently fold in amazing artists & makers, live music, and one gorgeous day and what do you get? Spring Crafts in Chelsea! This was my first outdoor show of the season and I couldn't have picked better weather for the event. Grace Napoleon of Folk Couture and I loaded up her car and drove in together on Saturday. We set up nice and early and our tents book ended our friend Liz Rodriguez of Liz Rodriguez Ceramics. There's nothing better than being near friends at a show!
PS 11
singin' on the steps of the school
Spring Crafts in Chelsea
all smiles for a sunny day
Twitch and Whiskers
Liz offered new, cheerful house shaped trivets/wall hangings and her whole line of mugs, planters, platters, vases, and jars. I got up close and personal with Liz's brightly hued ceramics and learned about her process of working in the studio. One of her favorite steps is doing her wax relief designs. She hand paints her whimsical leaf patterns to achieve two unique ceramic finishes. I will get to see Liz again next week at the opening of the Greenway Open Market in Boston. If you can't catch her there, you can follow Liz Rodriguez Ceramics on FB, on her blog, or visit her shop on Etsy
Liz Rodriguez Ceramics
dressed to impress
 Grace has been busy finding amazing once-loved pieces of clothes to make her hand sewn Folk Couture apparel. Her racks were lined with lovely new dresses and tunics. Grace was recently the proud recipient of an overflowing bag of ball trim that I had found while treasure hunting. It was exciting to see touches of the fringe along skirt hems! Our friend Karen Seiger of Markets of New York and her husband James came by to spread some market cheer. Karen found THE PERFECT dress for herself - an C3PO dress with swaying polka dot skirt. Grace too will be at Greenway Open Market next week. Find her on FB for more upcoming shows and newly posted pics.
Folk Couture
The Force is with her
As a teacher, I love doing shows to benefit local schools. I got to meet many of the enthusiastic students and families from PS 11. One of the best parts of doing school benefits is sending my jewelry home with kids. They wear it so well! This crowd definitely appreciated the REcap bracelets made from upcycled Crayola marker caps. Folks also enjoyed the jewelry that incorporated vintage game pieces, like my rings and the perfect sunny day necklace called "I Scream. You Scream." A nice selection of my Thimblism necklaces, one of a kind assemblages, and tin/compact locket necklaces also went home with market shoppers including one of my favorite new compact necklaces called "Photo Finish." I also had a chance to show my new Lucite necklaces made from vintage beads and components.
Remarkable in REcaps
Lookin' sweet in I Scream, You Scream
Fabulous in Photo Finish
new necklaces: Barbarella II, Dewdrops, and Ebb
After a day of traveling, heavy lifting, meeting, greeting, and selling, it's always refreshing to end the day with a delicious meal. Once everything was packed up and the last tent weight was heaved into the car, Grace and I walked around the corner to find a bite to eat. We came upon Tipsy Parson and when we saw "Belly-Filling Goodness " written on their window, we knew we found our place. We thoroughly enjoyed every bite of our meals. Grace had succulent lamb with herbed dumplings and I savored every forkful of my shrimp, grits, and fried green tomatoes. But oh, it got even better. Dessert of coconut cake and brandy soaked almond cake with fresh berries and custard were the perfect finale to our weekend adventures. 
I did want to kiss my grits.
more please
This was certainly a great way to launch my outdoor show season, and there are many more outdoor shows ahead! See you at the opening of the Greenway Open Market in Boston next week. Click here for a full spring/summer schedule. Take advantage of my May promo. "hooraymay" gets you 15% off anything in my Etsy shop.