Saturday, November 29, 2008

Feeling the Pressure

1936 Mickey Mouse Card on Ebay
Vintage Lindbergh Plane Holiday Card on Ebay
Antique Postcard with Star of David on Etsy (Catskillpaper)
Handmade card on Etsy (Pagibbons)

So the flu took three precious days of production away from me. Now I am stressed to produce as much as I can in the next week for my up coming shows. All four of them in a week.

Fortunately one piece is ready to go in the local ASK show, the other two for the DONSKOJ show just have to be framed (blech-did I ever mention I hate to frame even though I know how to do it professionally?) and I have two craft shows.

"It all is what it is" has become my mantra so that I don't get too excited about it all and work myself into a tizzy.

Over the past few days I have put more things on both of my Etsy sites, and have listed some of my specialty items on eBay. Things like rare holiday cards, a magazine with illustrations by Maxfield Parrish. Ebay or Etsy are not great these days due to the economy, but I am not selling big ticket items, just items that someone will indeed want, and if I sell enough it pays for my Internet for the month, or some of my studio heating bill.

Here are a few pictures of things you can find on Ebay (Catskillpaper ID) or from Etsy, but my links for Etsy are located here on the blog.

Looking for something special? Need a special card or collaged journal? Give me a shout.

My mantra is try and give American Handmade this holiday season. Support the economy by supporting the arts.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Nursery Crimes

Two cards from my Nursery Crime series.

Why do I call it that? Because the words used are from an antique nursery rhyme book. When paired up with the right image, they mean something QUITE different from their original intent.

Somebody will enjoy them. They are posted on my Etsy site!


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Show Pieces

In my high school film class we are watching Basquiat, a film about a young man of color who becomes a star in the art world. Though I do not think I would WANT to live the lifestyle of a famous artist who is HOT on the scene, married to the studio in frantic creation and whipping one's art around the world, I do fantasize about someone finding my work and thinking it is the best thing since sliced bread. It is probably every artist's dream.

I suppose some day my things will be collected...after all, I have thousands of wonderful one of a kind cards that have been launched into the world, as well as a handful of paintings and collages, with a fair amount of art in my studio and house. Maybe 200 years from now...a piece will show at MOMA. PA Gibbons: A woman who kept a low profile, but was outspoken in her work -- too humble for the ego driven world of dealers and gallery owners, but on top of injustices, politics and wit. A never recovered Catholic who committed sins in her art.... Hmm...back to earth.

I made two pieces for the upcoming show "We're in it for the Money" down at Donskoj for the December show. Part of the show rules is to use a dollar bill as a component of the work. I made two pieces, and I have to say, loved every friggin moment of creating them. I also did two more W pieces, as seen on my Eat Man Drink Water blog.

I wonder if they are too over-the-edge. I find them very funny, and they each tell a little story, incorporating folds of dollar bills that I learned many years ago. Of course there was a "W" card, and well, the pictures say 1000 things. Even if he doesn't want them, I do. And that is what counts in the end, no?


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

In Production

I am in the production mode which means that I work all day teaching, come home and work for a few hours in the studio.

Today I have off, and am trying to work a schedule. An hour in the studio, and a half hour to do computer work, and some house work. Back to the studio for an hour, then back to the house to do some more work for 1/2 hour. Somewhere I have to figure in time to stop and breathe, eat, and sit for a few minutes.

I think I am going to hire Jessie again, a high school student who works for me when I need her. I delegate the glittering, packaging, labeling, and base painting work that I need done. Why do that when I can be designing.

I wonder how it all pulls together sometimes. This year's resolution for the art business is to have a calendar JUST for deadlines for shows, openings, and other art related things that I have to do. I can't keep up with it very well, and am not that organized to put it into planners, computer calendars etc. A simple solution that will keep me on task and not forgetting about important shows I should enter.

Back out to the studio! This is one of two cards I will be posting on Etsy later, it reminds me of the weekend I just had. Oh, and this Xmas issue of Mary Englebreit has an article about Etsy. They are wonderful to sell on, and I am glad they have done so well. Check out the full page ad they have in the magazine too!


Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I have a paper obsession for those of you who don't already know it. Antique paper, art paper, handmade paper.

Over the years the antique paper has become hard to find and more expensive, thanks to Ebay for one. What I used to be able to pick up for next to nothing at an auction or junk shop, now commands some high prices, out of this artist's reach. What was once considered junk is now highly sought after by collectors and artists such as myself.

I have kept my paper shopping to a minimum, working with the inventory that I have.But I am out of my holiday images, and I have at least one show this fall, so I was forced to attend my local Postcard and Paper how in our little city.

Twice a year the show is held mid town, and over the years I have come to know some of the vendors. One vendor, Christine, is alwasy excited to show me things that she thinks I might use in my work, AND, she is reasonable in price. I love to sit for hours and pour through the postcards and ephemera, choosing items that I can use in my work, or that I can sell to other artists and collectors to help keep my business afloat.

Sunday, along with the postcards and other paper that I found, I stumbled upon two treasures.

Today's photos are of an early handmade Valentine card by Whitney, dating to the 1870's. It took me a while to do the research to confirm this, as I had to verify it was a Whitney, and with the use of a loop and some investigation, date the stamp used on the envelope. (FYI-it is rare to find an envelope with any of these cards, which was a big help in the date identification.) I have indeed listed it on ebay as I could use to make a bit of money to replace the money I spent at the show, and I do want this card to go to someone who will give it the home it deserves. Aside from making some money (and sometimes not---the time it takes to list on ebay and the fees often makes my profit very marginal) I often have sold rare items to museums and collectors. My biggest find was three pieces of Early American paper weaving that grossed me 850.00! The money was spent on an art class which was some distance from me, as well as a room for the weekend there!

When I was doing my master's thesis on the role of women in American Craft, I learned how women made handmade cards to make some extra money, employing their entire family to help. Once such woman, Ester Howland, started such a business in the 1850's. By the 1880's, she was making over $100,000 in sales, and eventually sold the company she has built to the Mr. Whitney. This card was probably made by Whitney before he bought Howland's company, but it was certainly inspired by her fine work. Even their way of stamping the cards is almost the same, save for hers was stamped w/an H, and his with a W.

These cards made by women and their families inspired the cards that I started making some 15 years ago, and still make today. Over the 15 years my style has morphed several times, and I still get excited when I develop a new style or way to use the materials I have.

Next post will be about my second find...