Thursday, February 25, 2010


Where to Begin?!

February - in a nutshell: prepped for the Buyers Market of American Craft wholesale show in Philadelphia. That's pretty much it.  Worked on creating a shared space with artist-friend-supertalent Christine Street of Chocolate and Steel. Designing a space based on our common banner colors and personal styles took some time - parallel, as it were, with creating new Moda di Magno designs.

I am very pleased with the way the booth turned out. Will we make a few changes before we bring the show to the August Buyers Market in Baltimore? Yes, a few minor things. We were gifted with a consultation from a long-time exhibitor at the BMAC who shared some tips and tricks to make our booth even better.

Creating new designs - well... that alternated between flashes of creativity that I could barely keep up with; ideas on scraps of paper, post-its, edges of newspapers, OMG I HAVE TO GET TO THE BENCH RIGHT NOW - and moments of staring at a notebook, starting a piece and then (thank you metal clay) rolling it up and putting it back in the package. Yech, blech, blah. With no pressure except the pressure from within - creating work that you want to share with the world (let alone the wholesale buyers of some pretty fancy places) can be a painful experience.

Artist, judge, warrior for your craft, it can be difficult to remember that order. Staying free in your mind when designing, in your hands when trying to execute that design and being prepared to stand up and explain what it is you've created (and why it is right for someone's customer) can knock you for a loop. Trying to do all of this while maintaining a normal life - tougher still. Trying to balance family, work, fulfilling orders and all the other things we do can make you feel like a trainwreck, but with a lot of help from beloved husband I pulled it together.

Communicating (sometimes in-artfully) with beloved husband about what I needed help with, what I needed opinions on (and thank God for talent in the family) what I needed photographed (everything. And for both of us.) Tom not only helped review the master plan for the trip to Philly, as a neutral party, he made recommendations about lighting the booth, he converted light fixtures for us, he drove me to not-near-our-house IKEA (twice) and he prepped the Magnomobile to depart day early to beat SNOWPOCALYPSE, part deux (the second blizzard to hit Philly in a week.) Oh yeah - and he drove me to Philly and helped us set up the booth. That's a good man.

While we were in Philly we rolled with the craziness. The fact that we were only one of two artists in row 400 to get to our booth on set up day was pretty scary. The lovely and talented Paul Dannecker managed to get in early and was quite kind to Christine and me, giving us a 'BMAC pep talk' and tips to survive the show. We worked a little MacGyver action in the evenings - generally building things out of foamcore and gluestick and reviewing what was working and what we could optimize.

We were blessed with really delightful people in our row - Donnabeth Mitchell, Eric Nelson, Ricky Bernstein and Deirdre Olson (and Jeff) were our nearest and dearest for the show. I am grateful for their humor and help. I got to meet some of my Internets peeps, Twitter friends and a blog crush. I got to meet Danielle Miller (a show veteran whose work I admire) I met Meghan Riley and Rose Braunstein and Kendra Roberts and Lauren Henry and Jill Italiano  and Annette Martinsen Kapfer and gloriously tall Kristen Stein and so many other lovely, talented and fabulous peeps.

I became part of the C.R.A.F.T. organization by virtue of winning the 2010 Craft Design Challenge at the BMAC. I also won $250 to spend on the show floor, so I sought out a Massachusetts artisan and selected Beehive Kitchenware. This Fall River, MA company is a gem and one of my favorite kitchen items (ever) is my coffee scoop that I use every day. With several weddings this year - everybody's getting goodies from my score at Beehive!

I'll write more soon - but this is a good start.