Tasty RAW Art

I last posted to this blog very early on Saturday morning, and now I am writing fairly late at night after the Ravenswood Art Walk is over. I am exhausted and happy. All I can say is, it was a wonderful event and I definitely want to do this one again next year. There was a great crowd, amazing artists, music and yummy food. I was able to take a good look at the other vendors in the big main tent. I do wish I’d had a chance to walk through some of the artists’ studios in the neighborhood. There are some wonderful artists’ work spaces nearby and I want to see more of them.  Over the next several posts I’ll be showcasing some of the different artists I met including pictures of their work, but I’m way too beat to delve into that tonight! I will, however, leave you with a bunch of photos in my flickr stream so you can get a peek at the visual feast from this weekend. If you are in the Chicago area, plan on visiting RAW next year, it is well worth it to take an afternoon stroll through the art spaces of Ravenswood.

Our display

This the booth I shared with Rose Bachi from 13 Moons Designs

RAW big tent


On my way to RAW

It is 5:30 am (yes, 5:30 am) and I’ve already eaten breakfast. Breakfast of Champions: Two eggs, scrambled (Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm, where eggs actually have color in them), and Victor’s favorite bread (not mine but it makes good toast), Beefsteak soft seedless rye bread. I mean, what’s the point of rye bread without the seeds or the dark color? But when that’s what your 5 year old reliably eats, then hey, that’s what you eat with your eggs, ’cause we just don’t eat more than one loaf of bread a week around here. But I digress. Coffee, with goat milk and a drop of honey. My favorite, although the chiropractor just admonished me for my coffee intake, so  I only had one cup. Coffee, good. Migraines, very bad.

My art is neatly packed and ready to go into the car and has been for a week, but my clothes for crashing at Rose’s tonight (she lives in Ravenswood) are in a heap on my bed. I’m not the fashion maven, I’m good at picking outfits for other people but can’t seem to pick a decent outfit for myself. I’d love to wear one of the necklaces I made but they are all packed away already, so I’ll go sans jewelry. Yeah, the jewelry maker wears no jewelry. I guess I’ll stick with the basic black dress and pack some different layers for changing temps throughout the day.

Speaking of weather, it couldn’t be more perfect this weekend! So everyone should come out and join the fun at the Ravenswood Artwalk. Besides art there will be food, drink, music and general merriment. 

RAW is a pretty big event; nearly a mile of arts and entertainment in one of my favorite Chicago neighborhoods. Actually, it is tied with my current Chicago neighborhood, Galewood, as my favorite place in Chicago to live. The thing is, this is probably the largest arts event I’ve ever participated in. That thought just occurred to me this morning, as in “Hey, this is a pretty big event I’m participating in. There might be lots of people there. Does my butt look big in this black dress? Well, there’s only so much the color black can do for you.” When in fact, hopefully all they are really looking at is the art, which I am actually pretty pleased with! 

I don’t know how musicians and performers do it, when your art IS your body, your movement, your voice. It is hard enough to put your work out there when you can wear black and stand off to the side while people look at what you’ve made. Speaking of RAW, displaying your work to the public can be a somewhat raw feeling, with layers of emotional facade peeled away. But then raw food is supposed to be good for you, and I’m guessing that fresh, raw art is too. We should all make and share our raw art with the world, I think we’d all be healthier and happier for it! 

I know I’m always feeling a little bit shy right at the beginning when my art goes up on display, but once those initial jitters go away there are few things more fun to me than getting the chance to connect and hang out with so many creative types, the people who make art and the people who love art. I feel incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to do so for a whole weekend! 

I know this has been a long rambling blog post, but that’s what you get when a night owl tries to write coherently at 5:30 am. 5:30 am!!!

Ravenswood Artwalk is in 6 Days!


I am in my studio packing everything up for the Ravenswood Artwalk next week. Everything looks great and I can’t wait! Rose and I have been busily preparing for this for the past few months. Everyone cross your fingers and hope I get my car back by then…or at least a vehicle that can carry a lot of stuff…since my car died about 10 miles south of Fond du Lac, WI. My husband and son were stranded for a bit on the way back from Mike’s half marathon but fortunately a family member rescued them. Victor gets to miss a day of school tomorrow ’cause they won’t be able to get the car looked at by a mechanic until tomorrow morning (Monday).

So what will I have at RAW, you ask? 40 + magnets, 16 handmade paper collage/assemblage pieces, 28 necklaces,  and 75 bracelets. For more info about this event that will have almost a mile of vendors set up in the Ravenswood neighborhood in Chicago, check out their website and facebook page.


Time Flies When You’re Having Fun.

You may wonder why I haven’t been keeping up with my blog in these past few weeks. Well, time just slipped away from me! It seems like yesterday that I hauled several month’s worth of hard work over to What’s Blooming and tried my hand at the art fair thing. Several plastic tubs are still sitting in my office, waiting to be unpacked. The handmade paper artwork has made it safely into my flat files for storage, but my office is a disaster! Life gets busy, my garden needed weeding and planting, laundry and dishes and bills must be paid, relationships tended to, work is work, and before I know it another week has gone by!

Yet the next wave of artwork is bubbling under the surface of my brain, a heady brew of ideas simmering. Rose and I have decided to do another fair in the fall and we are already signed up for the Ravenswood Art Walk on September 29 & 30th. I’ve got ideas for how to better display my artwork and jewelry; I like the idea of making some free-standing partitions for the handmade paper art, drawings and paintings, and I’ve been on the lookout for fabric to dress up the tables.

I’ve also bought some new beads on Etsy, my new favorite place to buy art supplies! I can’t wait to work with the gorgeous beads I bought. Included in the bunch are frosty, green and blue sea glass beads, these sweet Steampunk Lampwork Beads, gorgeous beads made from seeds and bone, as well as more paperbark and cow horn beads from Mzuribeads.While kayaking in Wisconsin found birch bark that I’m going to use in paper making and bead making. Just today I walked by a couple of Kentucky Coffee Bean trees and collected a bunch of seeds…I thought I’d have to wait until the fall to collect more seeds but the tree was full of pods and already dropping them. They make awesome beads! I also just read that if you bake them for 3 hours and grind them up, they can be used as a coffee substitute (they are poisonous prior to baking I guess).

In my overgrown, unruly garden I see many long, thin branches I’d like to weave into my art projects (or at least make my own twig trellises for the garden). In addition to my edible summer veggies I’ve also planted my scarlet runner beans and my canna lilies, both of which will provide seeds I can use in my projects.

But underneath it all I need to build a bit of structure…this next wave of creativity will be a bit better organized with a couple of spreadsheets and maybe a binder.

Now I’m just rambling though. You get the picture. Go check out the links to the Etsy stores though, seriously! There’s some pretty stuff.

What’s Blooming?

What do you get when you cross an art opening at a gallery with a farmer’s market? An art fair! That’s kind of what it feels like to me, anyway. I’ve been in gallery shows, and helped out a farmer’s market booth, and find both activities immensely enjoyable. Tomorrow is my first outdoor art fair and I’m really looking forward to meeting lots of new folks and showing off the fruits of my labor. The weather is supposed to be on the hot side of perfect.

I’m ready!

If you’re in the area and looking for something fun to do, check out What’s Blooming on Harrison. 

I’ll be at booth #78 on the South side of Harrison Street, east of Lombard.

Then after that I’ve got to focus a little bit on What’s Blooming in my garden. The weeds have definitely gotten the upper hand this year, so they need a little talking to! My little dwarf peach tree is leafing out and my fig tree looks awesome. The persimmons, japanese maple and paperbark maple are looking happy too. It occurred to me the other day that I might eventually be able to take the flaky bark from the mature paperbark maple and roll them into beads, kind of like the Ugandan barkcloth beads I bought from Mzuribeads.com. That might work together in a necklace. I also need to plant my canna lilies so I make sure to have lots of the perfect, round, unbreakable seeds that look great as spacer beads. They are a deep chocolate-brown. And of course, over the next week or so I need to plant lots of scarlet runner beans, the magic bean that started my jewelry making frenzy.

I’ll still have plenty of edibles, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, tomatillos, and such are going in the ground too. And then I need to harvest the bumper crop of garlic, carrots and purple peacock broccoli that lived through the winter and completely took over the square foot gardens.

What’s Blooming indeed!


I’m excited!

Less than a week to go before my first art fair as a vendor! My friend Rose and I will have a booth at What’s Blooming on Harrison, in Oak Park, IL. We’ll be street vendors on Saturday only, but the event is happening on Friday at the brick and mortar galleries in the arts district, too. For a little information about What’s Blooming, check out this link.  Personally, I’m hoping I can take a break from my booth long enough to check out the beekeeping demonstration.

As an aside, I like bees a lot. They keep me well fed, between all of the fruits and veggies made possible by bee pollination and the delicious honey they make, as well as all the things you can do with bees wax…what’s not to love?