Friday, September 27, 2013

mutant family

Steeb's been organizing an amazing art show with over 45 artists making pieces about superheroes. He's become Super Coach, encouraging people to make awesome work. I've been his trusty side kick, making food, editing emails and letting him sleep in a little when he is at the studio until 4am. Along with all the artist wrangling, we made our own art for the show. Even franklin.

After almost four years of struggle with how to be a parent and an artist, it kind of feels like we are figuring it out. At least for a half an hour (that I documented!) we were a creative family all together making art in our studio, supporting each other and having fun.

Getting to this point has involved a lot of mutations. Letting go of what we should do and be and look like, how our schedules ought to run. It means our family doesn't look like the average family. (But honestly these days, what does an average family look like?) It means we work odd hours and don't travel or go on dates very often. We work weekends and always have some project in the living room as well as in the studio.

And the studio itself is hardly a retreat from family life, though Steeb and I create most of our work in solitude. When we need to, we pack snacks and trains and I will listen to scratchy stories on a fisher price record player if that buys me 5 more minutes of work with Franklin hanging out. There are glass jars that used to hold buttons and piles of buttons scattered in random corners. Piled everywhere are toys and dust bunnies and sketchbooks and black threads. And it suits me just fine.

I wouldn't necessarily recomend our choices to anyone else. But there is comfort in peeking into someone else's world. To see that there are so many wonderful ways to live a life, to see what is possible. Even with a family.

Come see our mutant family October 4 at make.shift gallery for the opening of MUtants R Us.

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

3 simple tricks to take good enough photos

I am pleased to announce I was just accepted into the winter Urban Craft Uprising in Seattle December 7 & 8. This is my seventh holiday show with them, but I never take it as a given that I will be chosen. I know there are a ton of talented crafters who apply every year. Amazing artists not only from around the northwest, but across the country apply to be a part of this indie craft fair.

Whether applying to craft fairs or trying to sell online, image is king. This was one of my photos I submitted. My photos aren't professional, but here are some tricks I've picked up along the way that make my pictures good enough to get into shows. 

1: natural light. I cannot regulate light super well inside, so I try to take most of my photos outside on a slightly overcast day.

2. neutral background. The worn wood of our shed adds nice texture without any distraction.

3. simple clothes that add to the story of the product. The denim gives a feeling of autumn and a classic, rustic vibe that I wanted to play up, without being more interesting than the hats.

bonus pointer for working with kids: Franklin is barefoot and wearing a batman cape during this photo shoot. By throwing the denim jacket on top, he has a unified look with Steeb and his commercial shirt/cape doesn't compete with the handmade element of the hats. He sometimes gets upset when I ask him to change his clothes for a photoshoot (or any reason, really) but by just adding something over his chosen outfit, we were both satisfied.

Deep gratitude to Steeb and Franklin for being my super models. And thanks to Marie Forleo and my B-School training for keeping me on my game. The B-School assignments helped me write some great answers to the brief essay questions that were a new part of the application.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Are you learning anything new this autumn? Or returning to a practice? Maybe with kids back in school you have an extra moment to do something that is just for you.
I'm doing all three. And reading books like crazy. Autumn makes me want to be a better person with regular schedules and healthy habits and growth. Even more than New Year's. I'm nerdy like that. But Back to school isn't always new denim and cute lunchboxes.

Back to school can be terrifying, like when my family moved to a new town just before 7th grade. awkward.
And back to school can be so inspiring, like the first semester I took a course on Sustainable Living and made awesome friends while planting garlic.
Back to school is just a moment that keeps returning, even when we aren't in school. We can choose what to do with that energy each autumn.

So Franklin had three days of preschool this week and I've been painting in my studio again for an upcoming group art show. About superheroes.

I decided to just do a regular old painting. No fabric on boards, no stitched portraits, no sewing a doll or a quilt for a gallery. No gimmicks. Just paint on wood. I was so nervous about my idea that I didn't even tell Steeb (who is organizing the whole show and my best friend even!) what I was working on until I had it started.

But you know, it's fall and back to school and return to learning, so I went for it. I realized that even as A Creative, I have huge creative blocks. I have sewn myself into a craft corner and a profitability mindset. I have a good time in my little corner mind you, but still...

Sometimes I need to just push paint around on wood and make something that is personal and a little vulnerable and maybe even awesome.

Come to Make.Shift gallery October 4 to see the rest of this painting. And another one with a chicken. Because I also remembered I really like painting chickens. And you will see how this boy with binoculars and a chicken have anything to do with comic book superheroes.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

application out take

Working on my Urban Craft Uprising application always means roping the guys into some back yard photo shoots. Franklin's rates have gone up from a handful of cheddar bunnies to 14 mini peanut butter cups in the past 3 years. Totally worth it though to get some images of the new Ralph Superstar hat. It is always a challenge to look at the pictures and decide what is actually a good photo of the product regardless of how much I like the people wearing it. So I thought I would put up one I like, but honestly doesn't show the details of the hat in a way that will win me any prizes.