Sunday, September 18, 2011

Trunk Show!

Little Brown Bird will be participating in the 2nd Annual White Oak Interiors Trunk Show.
You can preveiw the latest LBB jewelry at LittleBrownBird.

Featuring home accessories, handbags, and hand crafted jewelry.

Thurs. Sept. 29 10am-6pm

Fri. Sept 30 10am-7pm

Sat. Oct. 1 10am-4pm

Hope to see you there!

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

How to Survive an Art Fair

A month of preparation, making new pieces to show, making a new display, getting all my ducks in a row...and then...

This was year 3 for my participation in Fair Diddley in Woodstock, IL. A favorite event for the town and surrounding areas for 43 years, it normally draws tens of thousands of fair-goers to browse items from 400 or so of the country's best artists.

Fair Diddley 2010, beautiful weather.

For the past two years my best friend and I have enjoyed wonderful weather at the fair. We had been blessed with clear skies, plenty of sunshine, and weather in the mid 70's. It is always a long day, beginning at 5am to start setting up our booth by 7am and selling until 5pm. Lots of work, but lots of fun too. But this year, Mother Nature had other plans for us.

It began with a light mist in the morning after raining all night. We were prepared for the weather dressed in heavy sweaters and winter coats, gloves, blankets, hot coffee, etc. And we had clear plastic tarps ready to throw over our tables at a moment's notice if it started to rain. I was a bit worried when we arrived to set up to find the booth next to us taking their tent down already to pack up and bow out of the day's event. They told us the wind was too much for them and since they needed to have their tent sides down for their display, it was not safe for them to set up and risk losing thousands of dollars in merchandise if the tent blew away. "Duh, ok" I thought. What did I know? I figured having the sides of the tent down would cut down on the wind. Apparently, as I was told, you need to keep the sides up in the wind to keep the tent from blowing up like a balloon and taking off. "Duh, ok." I've always had nice weather for outdoor events to this point so I was grateful for the advice. But I decided to give it a go anyway and set up, keeping the tent sides off and grabbing the sand bags out of the car to weigh our tent down.

Soon enough, the event planners had filled our former neighbor's booth with a vendor from one of the side streets who was caught in a wind tunnel. They asked as they set up their tent if we would like to bungee our tent to theirs. "Duh, ok." Safety in numbers I thought and they seemed to have done this before. Again, I was grateful for the advice. Four of us in a row tied our tents together and weighed down with our sandbags and cement weights. Even with that, there were some tense moments with the wind!

Our display suffered a bit in presentation as we were forced to tape our earrings displays and table cloths to the tables. But a handy roll of clear packing tape is a must when doing a show! The tape also came in handy when setting up the tent, which had been stored all winter in the garage. Upon opening up the tent we noticed that a field mouse had chewed it's way into the heavy canvas bag and chewed a hole in the tent top where we found piles of seeds, feathers, and other provisions for waiting out a long cold winter.

"Grrrrr!!!" A roll of canvas tent repair tape would have been a good thing to have on hand but we had none. With a threat of rain, we had no choice but to tape up the hole with our handy packing tape and hope it would work-it did.

While the wind was heavy all day, our modified display held up well. We kept everything low, eliminated any tall standing displays, and anchored down what we could. I had been prepared to have any signs and price labels taped to the table before hand. I did have a brief heart attack when, as we were still setting up, a heavy gust of wind blew through our tent and several boxed earrings that hadn't yet been secured went flying down the street!!! "DOH!!!!" Thankfully, several people went scurrying after them and we were able to recover everything.

It was a freezing cold day with a constant threat of rain, but we managed to keep our spirits up. We laughed with fair-goers about the wind, sang ("'s a sunshine day! Everybody's smiling...") and danced all day, wrapped in blankets to keep warm. (A stash of Mike's Hard Cranberry Lemonade in the cooler helped a bit too!) I actually think the icy weather helped break the ice with customers who stopped in for a look. Sales were good, a testament to our prime location (directly on the Square and near the Starbucks booming with business on such a cold day) as many shoppers told us that they would not bother going down the side streets in this weather, and instead just go around the square and head home. I feel for those vendors on the side streets caught in those wind tunnels, I'm sure they had a rough go of it.

In the end, it was a good show and quite an experience. I finally feel like a show veteran now, having finally experienced doing a show in crappy weather. And I thank all the intrepid shoppers who didn't let a little bad weather dampen their spirits. Die-hard fair-goers know that a little wind and rain doesn't mean they can't find something really special and original, made from the heart. A big thanks to all the vendors who stuck it out all day! And huge thanks to my best friend who I will truly have to bribe next time to help me with another outdoor show. I honestly couldn't do it without her help. You're the bestest, Pokeedot!...."ACHOO!" (Oh ya, and have lots of vitamin C, tissue, and cold medicine on hand as well.)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

All better now!

I have recently become aware of a teeny tiny glitch on my website that was preventing anyone from outside of Illinois to purchase from The Little Brown Bird. I'm very sorry for the inconvenience! Be assured, the problem has now been fixed and once again, all items from The Little Brown Bird can be purchased by anyone on the planet!

I hope you will stop back soon and take a browse through all the new items that I will be posting from my upcoming Spring 2011 collection.

As always, thank you all for supporting me and my hopeless addiction to all things shiny. I'd love to know what items strike your fancy the most, please comment. And I hope you take the time to share links to your favorite items from the site with your friends, or build your own wish list. Spread the love!
Love to all!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Lost in Transition

There will be no pictures with this post. LOL! You do NOT want to see my studio right now!

For the past few weeks, I've been moving my studio and reorganizing everthing. You know, so I can work faster, find everything easier. I'm in the process of moving my studio to another space and, well, I can't find anything!

I have been organizing tools and supplies into drawers to make the space a bit cleaner. Each drawer set is designated for a specific technique or craft. Sounds like a really organized operation, doesn't it?

However, as an artist, I believe in a different sort of "organization system". I've been so used to my stacks of very highly "organized" piles. I'm definately one of those out of sight, out of mind people.

I will soon have the cleanest, most organized studio in which not a single thing can be found!

(sound familiar to any of my artist friends?)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Experimenting with Metal Etching

I'm always looking for new techniques to try out, stretching my imagination, and pushing the boundaries of what I think I'm capable.

This time I wanted to experiment with etching metal.

There are a few techniques that can be used to etch metals such as copper, brass, or bronze.
For this first try, I used an etching solution. (Next time I will try a less toxic form of etching)

I started with a small piece of scrap copper sheet and sanded it with 600 grit sand paper.
Then I cleaned the copper off using an acetone solution to make sure any film, grit, or coating was removed.

Next, I needed a "resist" with which to apply my design on the metal. There are other methods that will allow me to produce my own unique designs, but for this project I used an ink stamp pad to stamp a design onto my piece of copper and let it dry for about 5 to 10 minutes. I laid the copper down on a large piece of tape, covering the back side so the etchant would not effect it, and left a long piece of tape extending so that I could retrieve the piece from the solution more easily.

After submerging the copper into the etchant solution, I used a small air bubbler to agitate the liquid, constantly exposing new metal to the etchant. (Keep a cover over the container to prevent splashing!)

As the etchant wears away at the copper piece, the areas covered with the resist will remain untouched.

After about 20-30 minutes, the design was etched into the metal. I used acetone to remove the remaining resist.

After a bit of sanding, cleaning, and applying a heat patina, I think I ended up with a pretty cool test piece! I can't wait to get started on one of my original designs!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

New Year, New Metal

It's a new year so I thought I would challenge myself by working with a new metal (for me). I have been dying to try using bronze metal clay. It's a totally different texture than the silver that I'm used to, making it a bit different to work with. But so far, I'm hooked. I've done a few trial and error (mostly error) pieces so far. But with practice, I think this will be a medium I will keep using for a long time.

This is one of my first pieces. I call it Archeology for obvious reasons. This piece was probably over heated to achieve the affect, but I kind of like it. It's rustic, interesting, and it looks like it has a story that's dying to be told. One of a kind, of course.

This piece will be listed soon in my shop LittleBrownBird on Etsy, and on my website The Little Brown Bird.
Posted by Picasa