Art in the Wild Exhibition

Photo curtesy of Eli Warren

Photo curtesy of Eli Warren

I’m still bursting at the seams with inspiration, thanks to my time as Artist in Residence at Poinsett State Park. In case you missed it, I spent a week in a cabin in the woods, creating a collection of work related to my beautiful surroundings. Next week, that collection of work will be exhibited at Art & Light Gallery in Greenville, SC.

40 wool paintings are included in my “Art in the Wild” show, and they range from landscapes to birds, to other nature studies. The show runs June 14-16 and if you’re not in Greenville, the gallery will be happy to ship. Once the show is over, the work will be available on my website.

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Here’s an exclusive peek at the collection. Which is your favorite piece? Please comment!

Now that’ you’ve seen these, are you interested in learning to needle felt? It’s so much fun! I’m teaching a class this Saturday (June 9th) and another one June 30th at GCCA in Greenville.

Signup here for workshops: https://www.artcentergreenville.org/summer-workshop-descriptions

Photo curtesy of Eli Warren

Photo curtesy of Eli Warren

During my residency at Poinsett, I also created a new landscape pendant series called “Mill Pond” and I’m doing a double giveaway on Instagram this week. Check it out and win a pendant for yourself and a friend.

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Commissioning Artwork FAQ

Commissioning a piece of original art may be intimidating if you've never done it before. There’s so many unknowns. Will it look like what you envisioned? How much will it cost? How long does it take? Is the artist you have in mind currently taking on custom requests?

I wouldn’t want any of my customers to feel this way or to rule out custom orders because they’re unsure about the process. Commissioning art can be an enjoyable experience so I thought I’d share how I personally handle commissions and answer some FAQ. A huge part of my handmade business is custom work, so I welcome special requests!

Q: I’m interested in commissioning a wool landscape painting. What do I need to do?

A: Send me a message via Facebook, Instagram, Etsy, or contact form to get the conversation started. If you have a photo you’d like me to use as a reference for the piece, please include that. We'll work out the size, frame choice, deadline, and go from there. Pricing depends on size and complexity of the piece, but a good ballpark budget number for custom felted landscapes is $2 per square inch. For example, an 8x10 scene would typically run $160, which includes the frame.

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Q: I saw something in your Etsy shop or Instagram that I liked, but I want it in another color (or a slightly different design, size, etc.).

A: No problem! Nearly all of my jewelry can be customized, and often times the fiber art can be recreated or tweaked to be a specific size, alternate color range, etc.

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Q: Do I pay before or after the work is done?

A: 99% of the time I’ll request payment upfront. This goes for jewelry, fiber art, or any other custom orders. Once I’ve received payment, your order will be added to my list and I complete them in order of payment received (unless there’s a specific deadline previously discussed).

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Q: Does a custom order cost more?

A: Not necessarily! The price is usually the same, but it may take a few days longer to create, depending on the request and if I need to special order materials.

Q: Do you offer proofs or photos prior to shipping a custom order?

A: I typically don’t do this for custom jewelry, ornaments, or smaller items. However, for the custom wool landscapes, I’m happy to to show you progress pictures upon request.

Q: Do you offer discounts on bulk orders? 

A: When it comes to jewelry, yes, I'm happy to work with you on the total price if you're ordering 10 or more pieces. When it comes to the fiber art, the price is firm. Needle felting is a very tedious process and this is the reason my fiber art work never goes on sale online or at events.

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 Q: The piece I wanted to buy has already sold. Can you make another?

A: Probably so! I don't mind recreating pieces (although they'll always be slightly different than the original because they're handmade). If you see something that's sold, get in touch and I'll let you know if I can recreate something similar. 

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A quick run down of do’s and don’t when commissioning art:

DON’T commission artists to knock off other artist’s work. It’s not cool, and it’s no fair.

DO ask artists for references or examples of past work if you’re unsure if they’re the right person for the job.

DON’T expect the artist to deliver the finished piece in person, even if they’re local.   

DO ask for progress images if you’re particular about the composition, materials, etc.

DON’T be afraid to be specific if you have a certain size, look, or deadline in mind. Share that with the artist from the start so they can accommodate your wishes.

DO allow the artist to do what they do best and embrace their process. The finished piece will surely look different than what you had in your mind, but hopefully it’ll be even better than what you imagined.

Indie Craft Parade 2015

The 6th annual Indie Craft Parade was this past weekend, and as always, it didn't disappoint. Far from it! This highly competitive, well-organized regional craft fair showcases 80 artists and brings out 6-7,000 attendees in Greenville every September. I was pleased to participate once again this year, and just as in years past, it was one of my best shows ever. How does that keep happening? This particular craft show is just THAT good!

My Indie Craft Parade 2015 booth setup

I saw so many familiar faces, people who have been coming to my booth year after year. I always enjoy seeing "vintage" Once Again Sam jewelry in the crowd, pieces I made several years ago, still being enjoyed. That's probably the coolest part of the weekend - having happy customers come back again and again.

This is a big weekend for my business, so I spend a good chunk of the summer preparing for it. I'm proud to say, this was the first Indie Craft Parade when I didn't run out of bags or dollar bills. In previous years, I vastly underestimated how many shoppers would come through, so I'd double up on supplies the following year, and of course the number of customer would double up too, so I still had the same problem. Not this year! I took $150 in singles, and over 500  paper bags (which I hand stamped one by one) and it seems I finally have a feel for just how to prepare for this show. It only took me 5 years to get it right! 

Here's the rundown of my weekend in numbers, just as I shared last year, plus a peek inside my shopping bag at my fabulous finds. I always enjoy supporting other artists, and at a show like this one, you truly have to restrain yourself! There is so much talent, so many gift ideas, so many splurges to consider. In the end, I brought home items from 12 other artists. 

My 2015 Indie Craft Parade purchases will full artist list below:

1. Origami flowers by Paperform

2. Mixed media block art by Heather Murphy

3. Ceramic bowl by Daniel Bare

4. Paper wall art by Paperform

5. Lip balm by Hello Soap

6. Weaving on woodblock by Twenty Two West

7. Mixed media assemblage by Jon Andrews

8. Wood block paintings by Sunny Mullarkey Studio

9. Brass stud earrings & ring by Melting Sun Apparel

10. Print by Elizabeth Foster

11. Painted wood sign by Olive + Grey

12. Handbag by Hawks & Doves

Art & Literature Collide: The Days Lost

Writing can be a lonely sport. It’s rare that I get the chance to talk to others about it in depth, or compare publishing experiences. For the longest time, I only knew other readers, not other writers. When I first met my friend Shannon McCrimmon, she was working on her first novel, just like I was, and I quickly discovered how helpful and inspiring it can be to have a fellow writer to relate to and discuss ideas with.

Since publishing her first novel, The Summer I Learned to Dive, Shannon McCrimmon has published 2 more, The Year I Almost Drowned, and most recently, The Days Lost. She has self-published all 3 on Amazon.com, and I was lucky enough to be a beta reader for The Days Lost. It was an honor to get a sneak peek at her new book before its release, and I enjoyed the fact that I could read along and think about what I might adjust, since it wasn’t set in stone just yet. I really had to dig deep for comments or suggestions - The Days Lost was a great story, even as a work-in-progress! It’s a YA must-read, and it’s completely different from her first two books so be sure to check it out. 

The Days Lost by Shannon McCrimmon

The Days Lost by Shannon McCrimmon

Even more awesomeness about The Days Lost: Shannon McCrimmon has a love for the arts, especially local. She came up with the idea of having an art show where Greenville artists could contribute work inspired by her new novel. The Art & Literature Collide show opened this past weekend at Art & Light Gallery in conjunction with the book signing, and my husband and I each made a piece for the show. I typically stick to making leather and wood jewelry or needle felted fiber art, but I was inspired to make something completely out of my comfort zone for the show. I sculpted a life size copperhead snake out of clay and cut out hundreds of tiny leather scales for its skin, then mounted the whole thing on an antique wormy chestnut plaque. What part of the book inspired this 3D piece? You’ll have to read the story to find out!

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Shannon made a story, I made a snake. 

Shannon made a story, I made a snake. 

Work by Tim Speaker, Sheila Lutringer, Teresa Roche, and Annie Koelle

Work by Tim Speaker, Sheila Lutringer, Teresa Roche, and Annie Koelle

Work by Chris Jones, Teresa Roche, Josh Mandell, and Sarah Mandell

Work by Chris Jones, Teresa Roche, Josh Mandell, and Sarah Mandell

Work by Kent Ambler, Paul Flint, and Annie Koelle

Work by Kent Ambler, Paul Flint, and Annie Koelle