Wednesday, January 29, 2014

My new studio!

After months of slow renovations with lots of delays, I am just days away from moving into my new studio. It is a small, cozy space — just 150 square feet, give or take — but it is a lovely little nest, perched up on the second floor among tree branches, with tons of sunlight flooding the room and a great view of the comings and goings of a sweet, active neighborhood in a college town. The smell of fresh paint is in the air, and as soon as the floors are coated with their last layer of tung oil, I can move in. I am most excited about this custom bookcase that my contractor built into an otherwise wasted space with too little depth for a piece of furniture but too much wall space to waste. The shelves extend down the hallway and over the door that is around the corner. And while I imagine them sparsely populated with clever books and interesting knick-knacks from foreign travels, they will most likely be crammed with bubble envelopes, mailing boxes, packing tape, business cards, ink cartridges, printer paper and all the stuff that goes into running my Etsy business. Either way, some serious organization is coming my way!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Valley Artisans Market

I just celebrated my 15th year as a member of an artisans cooperative in my area. I remember the excitement when I first heard about its existence and the pleasure I got visiting the shop to look around and gain inspiration from all the amazing artwork created by local artisans. I remember the courage it took to approach the woman behind the counter to ask for a jury application, and the greater courage it took to fill it out and hand it back in. And I remember the thrill that ran through my veins when I found out I was accepted. That one leap of faith took me from hobbyist hidden behind closed doors at home to artisan. Make that Artisan with a capital A. What surprised me most was how all the members were excited to have me and my work. They weren't laughing or pointing. They were inspired and excited. By becoming a member there, I embraced my new life as an artist and I have never looked back. There is a gallery in the back of the market that has monthly exhibits. It is on my bucket list to some day have my own shown in that gallery. I didn't do it for many years because I was intimidated by the size of the room and what I would have to make to have a cohesive show to fill it up. Now I am so busy with my full-time papermaking business that I can't imagine when I would have the time to put together a show. We just recently freshened up the store and I moved to a new display space. The work displayed is a mixture of many different media, from paper sculptures to my framed Petal People to plantable paper tags and cards. Just the thought of all my work tucked together there and pleasing our customers and browsers give me infinite satisfaction. Thank you, Valley Artisans Market, for accepting me into the fold and changing the course of my life!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

New year, new poem!

I have been making my plantable paper for years now, and have always been very proud of the original poem I wrote to accompany my paper, explaining how to plant it:
In this paper, little seeds lay asleep, Waiting to be planted in soil 1/4 inch deep. Water well then keep moist for 4 to 6 weeks. Until little plants come out of the soil for a peek. Many flowers will share their colors to the max. Like purple cone flower, red poppy and blue flax! ©
Recently, I added a new poem to one of my products. I started making plantable paper apples as a nifty and unusual gift idea to thank teachers for all they do for our children. I really felt deeply about honoring teachers so I pulled out my pencil and paper, reached deep and wrote this new poem:
Every day, you plant seeds of knowing, Though the harvest you may never see. But with hope, you continue sowing, To plant young minds with what could be. And tend to the flowers and the weeds, To find what is hidden in a seed. ©
I am especially grateful to one particular math teacher and wrote it with her in mind. I hope you have special teachers in your life. The good ones make such a difference.