Saturday, February 28, 2009

First Day Back at the PSM

It didn't rain! Perhaps a little chilly, but honestly it was a good day and it was great to be back (and exhausting!)

Here are a bunch of pictures from the day:
Here are the earring displays in action:

Friday, February 27, 2009

DIY Displays for the Portland Saturday Market

What do you think of my hand-made earring tree? After some serious detective work (thanks Judi and Danielle for the help!), I could not find one of those photo-umbrella-tree things that I was envisioning using to display my cute new earring line... honestly Ikea, Target and Pier1 all no longer carry those wire things... so I made my own. Its a work in progress, but hey, its a display.

I also made a few hanging displays for my little Oreccini Collection, I'll take some pictures tomorrow in my booth. I used round canvases that I've had for years, and T pins, and a mirror from the craft store... pictures would explain better than words.

The Pellegrini house has been all a whirl this week, preping for the beginning of the 36th PSM season, it will be my 8th season! Cleaning all my display stuff, everything that I had in storage and all the tubs of stuff here at the house. I have officially re-packed everything and I have a few tubs and bags of inventory ready to load in the car in the morning. Whew.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

3000 Hearts on Etsy

I have received over 3000 hearts on Etsy! Thank you to all the lovely people out there in the cyber world who have marked my shop as a favorite of theirs on Etsy (for anyone reading this who is wondering "what is a heart on Etsy mean?" - its when someone marks your shop as a "favorite" in their Etsy profile)

Common back and shop! In fact, if you happen to be reading this, and happen to have marked me with a heart over the years (or do it today and reap the benefits!) I will give you 25% off any purchase from my shop (purchase must be made before March 1, 2009) Just leave a note to seller in the invoice and I will discount your purchase.

My way of saying thank you to internet shoppers!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My First Newspaper Coverage

The Plain Dealer, 1983 (Cleveland, Ohio)
thats me sittin' on the sweet bike

My Aunt Joan sent me this article in the mail (thank you!)... she has been cleaning out the home my late Great Aunt June (who was the bestest great aunt ever - I miss her). Evidently Aunt June was the keeper of family pictures, its been fun to see all of what she kept from over the years. This article was a surprise, I had to share.

This article is about a book that my mother and her friend had just published: "1983 Cleveland Guide to Daycare and Nursery Schools".

I remember the book, mostly because for a period of my childhood there were boxes and boxes of them in the house. Also I remember the book because my mother went to the same publisher as the founder of American Girls (then called Pleasant Company) and they became friends and I received the catalogs for these dolls right from the very beginning of that company. I saved all my money (I was 8 when the first catalog was released and I remember the dolls costing about $100) and bought a Samantha doll. I would pretend to play with her school books (for some reason I was affraid to ruin their perfectness), so the pencils still have their original tips and the books aren't scribbled in at all (my mother kept that doll and all her chachkees). But that is a random side story (of me being a very strange little kid)... how easily the story diverges :)

To get back to the article... This book that my mother and her friend published continued to be the only resource available to parents in the greater Cleveland area for more than a decade. I couldn't be prouder of my mother for putting out this book. It was 1982 and she and Mrs. Crawl did all the research themselves, hired a printer and found a publisher. Not too shabby for a couple of stay at home moms. Seriously.

Love you Mom!

New Glass Creations

After a couple months of experimenting, Jan and I are excited to be launching two new lines.

This weekend at the Portland Saturday Market these collaborative glass pieces will be available in our booths. There's nothing like seeing artwork in person to make you really love it!

In Jan's booth where you can find her beautiful prints and amazing hand-bound books, now you will be able to purchase printed glass plates. The image above shows a set of plates printed with leaves, food safe, dishwasher safe.

In my booth I will be showing our mobile creations, printed glass pieces in kinetic constructions. Its a wonderful evolution of my work. So far I have listed one of these mobiles online, but there are many more to see.
Jan has been so gracious about me blogging about our experimentation process, and she is going the extra mile now. As a paper artist at the Portland Saturday Market, creating and selling a new line of glass artwork requires her to submit this new product line to the Product Review Committee (of which I am a volunteer). She is going to let me publish pictures of this process in my blog for anyone who may be curious - so stay tuned and feel free to ask questions.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Give-Away: FREE Mystery Package

I've always loved a good mystery - whats not to love about a free package that has hidden surprise inside!!

The story here is over a year ago while doing my shipping I mistakenly sealed this box and completely forgot what was inside. See how its an older version of the USPS Priority shipping boxes :) I really don't remember the circumstances at the moment, but for some reason at the time I decided to put the box aside and not ship it (the recipient received what they ordered, and whatever is inside this box remains a mystery...) I know its a miniature mobile, I think its one that can stick onto a computer monitor (but I could be wrong there) and I have my guess what is inside, but who knows?! (my best guess is that its one of these guys)

So leave a comment on this blog and enter a chance to win the package! This give-away will run thru March 10th 2009. I will draw a winner and email them for shipping info. This give-away will even be sent to you USPS Priority Mail (its already in the box, so hey, you get 2day shipping!)

And the Winner Is...

The winner of the Cupcake Jewelry give-away is Gaffer Girls! Congratulations girls!

Stay tuned, the next give-away is kinda funny... I'll be posting details later today

Monday, February 23, 2009

Portland Saturday Market Opens This Weekend

Come spend the day down on the Portland waterfront and welcome the Portland Saturday Market back for its 36th season!

The new site is not exactly finished yet... as you can tell from the picture above, the construction is still underway (when is construction ever finished on time?!). The new site is now scheduled to be open in April. But have no fear - the market will be open this weekend! We'll just be in the old setup, we will be there!

Come join us and get a chance to shop for all the fresh new designs that the Portland Saturday Market artists have been working on. New paintings, new jewelry lines, new clothing... how can you resist the fun!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Jurying Handmade Art Submissions

Is "jurying" a word? My spell check doesn't seem to think so!

Last week I spent a few hours downtown at the official meeting of the Product Review Committee for the Portland Saturday Market. I am a juror.

For anyone reading this who is not a member of the PSM:
Portland Saturday Market is the largest arts and crafts market in continuous operation in the United States. The Market has over 350 vendors who generate about $8 million in gross sales annually and attract over 1 million visitors to the historic Old Town district of Portland each year. All items sold at the Saturday Market are required to be handmade by the person selling it, and a product review committee of members juries each new item against a high standard of quality.
I have been on this product review committee for the past 2 years, this will be my third season of being an official volunteer juror.

If I could share my observations on being a juror, it would go something like this:
  • it is incredible opportunity to sell my artwork at a venue that is juried by the artists themselves (as opposed to the management and organizers, let alone as compared to a venue that has no jurying whatsoever)
  • taste is relative - it makes me uncomfortable to pass judgment on other artists'/craftipersons' creations. However, the market has clear cut rules that serve as our guidelines for jurying. this makes the whole process much more comfortably objective.
  • the PSM guidelines have been mindfully crafted and evolving over the past 30 years and printed into a comprehensive booklet (which is subdivided by materials and types of work) so that any artist interested in applying can pick up this book (they can view it online as well) and see what the membership requires of them.
  • not only do the guidelines uphold a high quality of work that can be found at the PSM, they also serves to maintain peace between all the different opinions of the 300+ members of the market. this is so key- conflict resolution is actually a huge function of the guidelines.
  • the PSM book of guidelines is really intimidating. for however helpful they are to the jurors like myself, the book of rules is very lengthy and specific. I fear many potential PSM vendors are turned off by the book of rules and never bother to submit their work for jury. I think this is sad because the market is such an incredible opportunity for sales.
So, while I didn't take a picture at my meeting so you could actually see what a jury committee meeting is like... I thought I'd share a few words none-the-less.

If you are local and thinking about becoming an artist at the PSM - I say read the guidelines and jury in! Honestly this market is such an incredible opportunity for your small business!

And if you are considering submitting your work to any juried venue and looking for advice from a juror... heres my 2cents:
1. if there are guidelines - read them! honestly most failed submissions are due to applicants negligence to submit something that the guidelines clearly detailed
2. don't take failure too personally - many times the jury will have a suggestion or two for how to reapply with success. Not only can this offer you the opportunity to take your craft to the next level but it also can be very constructive and helpful for your business. That is if you don't take the criticism personally.


Friday, February 20, 2009

PS. the fun story behind the picture

The picture I used in my post yesterday was an image taken while I was on vacation years ago down in Belize. Its a bar located on the very tip of a small Island, you could sit up on the rooftop of the bar and have a drink while appreciating the beautiful sunsets.

One day I rented a canoe with my friend Ian and we diddled around the Island. We easily cruised past this little bar as there was a very fast current whipping thru the space between the tip of the island and a patch of mangroves.

After hours of relaxing and fishing and whatnot, we attempted to return the boat to the rental place, which meant rowing back thru this current.

Attempt after attempt we would get about halfway and then be swung around by the current and spat back out. It was really exhausting. Ian was laughing and saying "canoeing is a homewrecker!" because I am sure he thought I wasn't paddling as hard as I could (which I was!).

Eventually we simply drove the boat up onto the sand and decided to take a break before trying again.

At this point that the people up on top of the bar came down and offered to buy us a drink. They were all riled up and giddy - a whole group of people had been watching our shenanigans in the water and placing bets on whether or not we were going to make it thru! Clearly someone had bet against us and won - but they made up for it by getting us a few drinks. We ended up having dinner with these people - after picking up the boat and walking it back to the rental place. And then a few months later, back in Portland, I received an email with a picture of Ian and I in that boat. I love both the picture of the bar and the picture of us in the boat, so I had to share the story with ya.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Where Do You Purchase Art?

Do you know that over 90% of art is purchased while people are on vacation?

Interesting eh?

I heard this statistic yesturday and its been rolling around in my head ever since.

Most of my business at the Portland Saturday Market is tourists traveling thru the city. The PSM is one of the number 1 tourist destinations in Portland, on any given weekend there are thousands of out-of-towners that come and peruse the artwork at the market. So its no surprise that the bulk of my business is these tourists.

While on vacation people are looser with their credit cards, more impulsive with their choices and eager to take home a reminder of the amazing places they visit.

Buyers of art apreciate a good story that goes along with the artwork they collect, and having the associated memories of a great vacation only makes this story more personal and meaningful.

So the question is this: how do we deal with these statistics when trying to market our artwork online? Psychologically, the power of associated experience is profound, its hard to tap into this when we sell online. I just think its really interesting food for thought...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentines Day Baking

Happy Valentines Day!
Today Tim and I are baking bread. I wanted to "get crafty" for the holiday (instead of buying silly presents for each other when the budget is tight) - and Tim has been asking about baking bread for weeks now... so a couple of days ago I bought some yeast and a new bag of flour (he insisted on wheat, I pitched for unbleached white as well, my recipes call for using half and half of both, but Tim likes straight up wheat. Can you hear me sighing heavily thru the internet?)

I love baking bread. The sensual elasticity of the dough and the unpredictable nature of the yeast. I like eating bread too! In all its various shapes and forms. And fresh baked bread is the bestest. The house smells sooo good today. Its bliss.

My mother used to bake bread all the time. This is the bread book she gave me. There were many years when she would make a fresh loaf of bread to have with dinner, and many times I would wake up in the morning to the smell of fresh baked bread for breakfast. Frequently she would bake bread and forget it in the oven... oh the memories of her jumping up at the diner table exclaiming "Oh I forgot about the bread!" and pulling an overcooked brick out of the oven. :) If I were a good daughter I wouldn't have disclosed this. But honestly, I do the same sort of thing all the time! I always forget to set a timer.
This bread book is amazing, its recipes from a Buddhist monastery. Monks know how to make nice with yeast, for real, they make the best beer and bread. When I pick up this book it falls open to the walnut coffee cake recipe. Its a well loved page. Back in college I had a friend who would come over and make this cake all the time (at least a couple of times a week) and you better believe I always had the necessary ingredients on hand! So now it brings a smile to my face to see how crunchy these pages are.

It was fun to go thru the bread baking process with Tim. I even made one little heart shaped loaf!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Give-Away: FREE Cupcake Jewelry

I am giving away this fun cupcake set of jewelry, they are translucent pink and have sparkly cupcakes printing inside the glass (earrings and pendant)! Free! They could be yours!

Post a comment here on the blog to enter to win, spread the news to your friends, who doesn't like cupcakes!!

I will choose a winner and contact them for an address to send these treasures to (when you post in the comments make sure I can contact you) on Feb 23rd, 2009.

My friend Jan carved out blocks for me from funny little sketches I made of cupcakes. For some reason when I play with these blocks I cannot help but chant (out loud - sorta singing) "cupcakes, cupcakes". I like saying the word "cupcakes" and I certainly like eating them!

I am thinking about a fun little line of cupcake jewelry, I am also wanting to make little mobiles that are cupcake themed. So let me know what you think - feedback is welcome and appreciated!


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

And the Winner Is...

Carolyn G. is the winner of the little glass mobile that has a flaw. Congratulations Carolyn!

Thanks everyone for entering to win! And thanks Amanda for twittering about this giveaway!

Stay tuned for the next give-away. I have a set of earrings with a small flaw that I am sure someone would love to win!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Earring Images

I feel like a broken record about the images of earrings lately - but here I go again!

The other night it was really late and somehow the topic of QVC came up (Tim's grandmother is a big fan of collecting jewelry off that show). So I found that channel on TV and watched as they sold out of a couple of collections. I became curious how they photograph their earrings (hey they certainly are selling them!) and on their website it seems they use a zero white background with the two earrings on a diagonal. Clean and simple, so I Photoshoped one of my earring images to try out this look. It was pretty easy, the earrings were photographed hanging from clear fishing line, so I simply highlighted one of them and dragged in up in the frame. A little recropping so the earrings were centered again and Voila.

I still have more creative ideas for photographing these puppies (still yet to try them in water and on top of bubbly glass - but I won't have time till tomorrow to try these ideas out). At this point I have plenty of decent images to start listing them in my shop, so if you like them and want some for yourself or your valentine - I will have them in my Etsy shop asap.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

the Oregon Coast

It was a windy day at the Oregon coast! I love watching the grasses blow in the wind and the sand whip down the beach. Sorta painful, but beautiful all the same.

It was due time for an excursion, so today Tim and I hit the beach. I love me an impromptu adventure.
We tried to fly a kite (one must always have a kite ready in the car - when we bought the new car that was one of the things I had to transfer from old car to new: the handy kite, my GPS and my car mobile of course, oh and a roadside assistance kit and window scraper thing). It was really windy :)

This was the first official impromptu adventure in the new car. I must admit I didn't drive at all. Pure bliss.

When we bought this car it had 7miles on it!! Now it has about 500. There will be many many more adventures to be had on those 4 wheels. I look forward to it.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Pictures from Today

I thought it'd be fun to show some pictures I took today... it was such a nice sunny day in Portland! I visited with my friend Naomi at Splurge in NE Portland.
Naomi suggested I try photographing my new earrings by hanging them from invisible string (nice idea! courtesy of our friend Kim the professional photographer who takes amazing shots of Naomi's work). So I did and its a brilliant idea.
Later I attended a bizness meeting at the studio. It was nice to see everyone and talk about how last year was a good year and this next year will be even better!!! Growth is good.
Back to taking pictures of earrings (cuz thats what I've been doing for 2 days straight now) I took more silly pictures. I am not sure I have gotten what I am looking for yet. These little tiny earrings are so delicious in person, I am trying to capture that fun-ness in a photo and its challenging.
Here they are, all washed up on a beach. I want to be on a beach wearing them :). Maybe I need to take a trip out to the Oregon Coast. Honestly its just a piece of paper from the craft store that has a beach shot on it, how funny is that!

Show and Tell: New Earrings

My new jewelry line is fresh and ready to hit my shop... I love these new earrings! They are so fun, and I made all sorts of varieties... I've taken so many pictures. The little green ones above are particular favorites of mine - they are made of little tiny dots of green glass dangling from a round handmade earwires. Its hard to get a good shot of earrings. I took over a hundred and there only seem to be a couple good ones:

After all those pictures, its sorta exhausting picking thru the pile... I'm not really happy yet with what I've taken... but there are some fun shots in there somewhere...

This little red set is available in my Etsy shop... soon :)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sneak Peak: Earwires

Okay, so I am working on this whole jewelry line concept, the above picture is very misleading (but cute eh?!)... this is one of the earwire shapes I've been making... although they will look different when I am done and in the picture there are just paper dots hanging from them... but I liked the picture and I thought I'd share!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Economic Stimulous Micro Style

Shop and save some money! The collective of Etsy Glass Artists is having a brig February Fling Sale - check out the website for links to all the shops that are involved.

Me - I am flinging mini mobiles around the globe! BOGO 1/2 off!

Thats BUY ONE GET ONE 1/2 OFF! Sweet livin. Come and get it!

I will deliver by valentines day and you can distribute them to your friends. I'll even include a card if you like that says:

"You move me in ways I cannot even explain"

And know that your shopping is so appreciated!!!