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August 2011
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October 2011

I didn't realize

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I'm a little worried that I talk about my quiet & dark little cave retreat too often.  It's the same as my worry that you might misinterpet my shyness and introversion as aloofness and unfriendliness.  It's just that as an introvert working in retail, I do have my moments where I'd like to just lock the door and turn out the lights and be alone in my little space.  I think I'm still working out the tempo of my days, figuring out what work needs to be done, feeling pressure to work to make the business a success.  I'm not quite sure I have scheduled myself for enough quiet time.  Naturally, I am thankful for my customers and like everyone pretty well on an individual basis; collectively, being an introverted control freak and not knowing from minute to minute who will walk into the store does present a bit of a challenge for me.  I'm not complaining in the sense of needing to make changes; these are just the particular challengs that come for me as I pursue this path.  Being in the public setting has brought so much to my life that I wouldn't have had otherwise (had I stayed in my dark little cave).  I'll still pay the price of forced extroversion and a few disinterested time-killers to be able to share so much creative inspiration with so many.

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I return to a quotation I found on Pinterest:

"I'm not telling you it is going to be easy - I'm telling you it's going to be worth it" - Art Williams

That said, I truly did not realize how much I needed my weekend away at Valley Ridge Art Studio.  There were several moments where I got choked-up - something about the intensity of the experience, the depth of the caring that everyone exhibits, the slight exhaustion that comes from focusing on art projects for the whole day (and into the night).  

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I know I always heap praise upon Valley Ridge, but each time I go there, I find nothing to retract.  There were moments when I totally forgot what day it was, what time it was, even that I should have been tending the shop.  And to be able to lose oneself so completely in art-making, to know that someone would come and tell you when lunch was ready, that someone was there to troubleshoot when you got stuck, that someone was there to bounce ideas off of and share inspiration with, all of these things are very precious to the experience.  I've also been keenly aware of the ways that the workshops I've taken over the years have contributed to where I am as an artist - when I sit down to create, it's like all my teachers are standing there behind me (So I hope you'll forgive me for the name-dropping in this post, it's just that I do truly have these instructors in my head).

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And did I mention the setting? We spent some time on our second day, walking around the property and finding shapes to inspire us.  There was plenty to choose from.  The enforced break into nature and away from ordinary routine (strengthened by the fact that I camped there overnight), is yet another way that the experience is so unique.  I'm a city girl, no doubt about that, and as a result tend to forget to give myself time to rest and be in nature.

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For the introvert, Valley Ridge presents its own share of issues.  Ordinarily, I go to my little cave to create - sitting on the floor in my living room, working alone on a project while watching a movie.  There is something a little intimidating about making mistakes in a room full of fellow artists.  And yet, we are all there together, making our own mistakes and attempts, sharing our successes and our questions, as well as our creative inspiration.  This group aspect of a Valley Ridge workshop is a very valuable part of the whole experience - it is not just what you learn from the instructor, but what you learn from your fellow classmates.  And for the same reason I opened a brick & mortar shop, I think there is something you get from Valley Ridge that you can't get from an online workshop.  Online, you definitely don't get to see a dozen other people as they go through the creative process, nor eye, somewhat jealously, their workspaces & supplies & creations.

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This particular weekend, my classmates and I were fortunate to spend the days with Michelle Ward, working on collage and painting. Michelle is a great teacher, very warm and totally willing to share all the various tips and techniques she knows.  It was also great to see some of her work in person, after eyeing things in print and online.  Michelle was one of the artists in the True Colors book, which really got me started on the whole collage/art journal path.

I had some ideas in advance as far as themes for my collage, so that helped keep my focus.  We learned some different ways to get paint on the page, ways to create our own stencils, and many other techniques, but the workshop was also about infusing work with your own meaning, something which really speaks to me.  Even though I like the shortcuts of purchased stamps, stencils, paper and other elements, I am also finding that I am less and less interested in incorporating other people's work into my own artwork.  That is, the only way I can truly express what I want to say, is with my own artistic expression.  Duh, I know. 

Over the course of 3 days, we worked on three pieces of 11" x 14" watercolor paper.  When I first saw the three pages, I was a little disappointed, but then three pieces of paper turned into 6 sides, which turned into 12 pages, each of which will eventually have their own collage.  So, um, yeah, that was plenty.

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A lot of the focus in the workshop was on painting.  I still need to work a bit more on that end.  It seemed like everything that I did, while enjoyable and not half-bad to look at, didn't really stand on its own as a painting, so I pretty much converted everything to background, upon which I layered my collage pieces.  Still, I was quite pleased with my backgrounds (see above).  Some of them would have been lovely for wrapping paper or wallpaper.  Background, that is.  That said, when I took a workshop with Claudine Hellmuth, she talked a lot about the complexity of backgrounds and they way they add history to a piece.  Even if the viewer doesn't immediately know how much effort went into a background, they register, if only on a subconscious level, the complexity and history, and that adds to the piece in a way a wash of a single color wouldn't have.

Michelle talked a lot about adding layers of meaning to your own work but that is something that I've been going about in a somewhat backwards manner of late.  After my Juliana Coles workshop, I have been working more intuitively, trusting in whatever it was that caused me to pick up one collage element over another.  Maybe the meaning isn't immediately obvious, but I've found that it makes itself known - and usually the art goes together more easily this way, than if I start out with a meaning and try to find things to fit what I wanted.

So, my process.  Deandra up in Minnesota has got me thinking about terrariums.  That's about as far as I've gotten because I'm really not good with plants.  But she has reminded me that I love those little hens and chicks.  I decided that was going to be one of the main images that I'd work with so I searched on Pinterest in the weeks before the workshop, and also went to the library to check out some books.  All right, hens and chicks, it is.

But Michelle also told us that one of the themes we'd work with would be birds so we could bring some bird imagery to work with and share.  Now, just to be clear, I am not a chicken person so, no, I was not going down the chicken route with my hens and chicks theme.  Since I'm trying to incorporate more of my own imagery, and since I think collages are more interesting with people in them, my first collage with the bird theme included a picture of the adorable girl.  So, one page bird & girl.  Another page hens & chicks with kind of a party feeling... hmm, where am I going with this?  But when I woke up on the second morning, it suddenly hit me - it's a hen & chick party for my maternal line - which lets me keep the chandelier and the cake, the bird, the girl.  And add in a page about the guest list (the lineage), a page with a collage of my mom and her mom, a page with myself and one with my sister too!

I'm still working out some text and some imagery but I think I might actually complete this book by the end of the week.

COVER, started like this, playing around with positive/negative space, stencils that I made myself...

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ended up like this:

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First: setting the stage for the party. The cake.  The chandelier.  Layers of paint underneath include sequin waste printing, my carved stamp of a succulent, my cut stencils of succulent shapes.

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Second page: Mom, then & now.  The start of the maternal line.  Still needs work.  I used melted wax to adhere the various elements because I like the translucent effect, but the photo of Mom and Grandma kind of fades into the background too much.

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Third: The current end of the maternal line, little bird.  As an example of meaning coming in later, I used that fragment of paper tape "7  8" to attach the photo of the girl at the beach.  It looked rather lonely and random, until I added the rest of the number series and made a little rhyme: "1 2 what do you do" "3 4 on the shore" "5 6 pick up sticks (and stones and shells)" "7 8 don't make me wait."  The column of moons on the left margin also have text from the Owl and the Pussycat: "hand in hand on the edge of the sand, they danced by the light of the moon," calling up the party theme.

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Fourth: The guest list.  My mom actually has a rather complicated family (birth family, foster family, adopted family, half siblings all around).  Unfortunately I already waxed this page so my options for gluing and painting are limited.  In hindsight, I would have made that egg piece a pocket so I could tuck in a little blurb about my mom's story. As it is, I have only hinted at it with all the women's names on the eggs.

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Last: Me, and the colophon.

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Michelle is big on collecting the evidence of your work.  Sharing all those little pieces and scraps that you generate in the process.  You know, all those pieces that you allowed yourself to throw away at the end of the day?  Turns out that piece of newsprint that you paint on ends up with some interesting painting...  Anyway, my last page has tags with the evidence of my work: the sequin waste stencil, fragments of the attempts to carve my own stamp...
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I've been home for two days now.  Staying up late each night to add little finishing touches.  There's always that challenge of knowing when something is done and not going too far past that point.  We'll see how that works out this time.  I'm really close.  And starting to feel a little groggy from the late nights. 
 





Minnesota highlights

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My head is kind of spinning.  And I have a feeling that the walls of the St. Paul Crowne Plaza are still buzzing.  What an amazing time we had at The Creative Connection Event.  Kudos to the organizers, the sponsors, the vendors, the teachers, and especially all the participants.  It is wonderful to have all those women come together with the common purpose of supporting each other in their creative business ventures.

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I'd been rather nervous the month before, wondering if we had packed enough... But our table was plenty full.  There are always some people who can't cope with the density; then again, we usually sell a little bit of everything so I can't help feeling that we would lose some sales if I didn't have a little bit of everything.  We took our Mom's little VW, which still managed to fit all our boxes and suitcases, with room to spare for the IKEA purchases we brought home.  I know that my sister is tired of me saying this, but the gas mileage on that car was incredible - we only used 1/3 of a ten-gallon tank of gas on the entire trip from Madison to Minneapolis.  I'm kind of having trouble seeing why anyone would buy any other car.  Then again, we are a short family, so leg room isn't really an issue.

We enjoyed getting away for a little bit, though we might have to add an extra day to the trip next time around.  There are so many great shops in the Twin Cities, not to mention all of our friends to visit.  We didn't have enough time to do all that we wanted.  A familiar problem.  The Creative Connection Event was in a new location from last year and we saw many improvements that enhanced our weekend.  We got a thrill as we passed famous crafters in the hallway, trying to be discreet as we whispered about who it was.  We overheard many mutual-admiration societies forming on the spot, and enjoyed opportunities to meet famous bloggers in person.  The letter-press artist next to us seemed to have met all the bloggers whose work she followed.

When I think about the little ways that Anthology & I inspire people to be creative, and then multiply that.. I don't know a hundredfold? a thousandfold? It truly is something else.  What fun to be a part of all that...

 

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Sachi and I each took a workshop on Friday morning.  Although it made for a long day, we do feel that it is important for us as artists to keep trying new things, learning techniques and actually creating, not just inspiring other people to create.  Sachi took a screenprinting workshop from Celina Mancurti and is already brimming with ideas, as well as thoughts of embellished clothing, inspired by many fabric embellishments we were surrounded by.  I'm quite fond of my caged trinkets and looking forward to exploring steel wire some more.  Thank you, Brenda Schweder

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It was a thrill that Jo Packham, co-organizer/publisher/editor/all-around-guru of the creating world, bought my Blurb book, and wondered aloud why she didn't know the author of the book.   Then there were the many people who followed our blog but hadn't been in the shop, who were excited to get a little in-person taste.  Many people stopped by and said, "oh, I remember you from last year! I'm so glad to see you. I got these great ___ and had so much fun creating with them."  Not to mention the woman who bought paper packs the first day, stayed up 'til 1 am crafting, and came back the next day to get more.  It is always fun to see immediate action of one's creative inspiration.

We were also inspired by the many other vendors keeping us company in the marketplace: I like You, Kelly Hanson, Dottie Angel (is her booth just the cutest?!  And the book, from Uppercase publishers is awesome - please cross your fingers that we can get it for the shop), Tinsel Trading, Curly Girl, the list goes on. 

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And it was fun to have such a big Wisconsin contingent: Whimsy House, Glitter Workshop, Artsy Fartsy, Mirasol Farm, Space Oddities, dainty daisies.  Even if it was a little silly that I had to drive all the way to Minnesota to purchase something from Glitter Workshop.  I'm loving all the button- and trinket- laden pieces that Naomi has been creating lately.  And we were inspired by all the creative outfits that everyone was wearing, as well as their artful accessories -- everyone was showing off their workshop creations and their own talents in jewelry-making, sewing, etc.

In all, we count it a very successful trip and we are thankful that we were able to be a part of it all.


optimism rising

Maybe it is the caffeine that I had with breakfast.  (I have a caffeinated beverage only once a week or less so it can lead to a little bit of over-excitement).  I am doing a bit of an ostrich thing when it comes to state and national politics.

Otherwise, I'm feeling a little giddy.  First of all, compliments today from a San Franciscan who so genuinely loves our store.  Ahh... seriously, it warms my heart. Oh, and on Saturday, someone at the Farmer's Market recognized me as Anthology.  Nice ego boost.  And I've been thinking about some new arrangements in my living area so I've been distracted thinking about colors of paint and different ways to hang pictures on the wall.  Pinterest is providing me with many many options.  Too many, if truth be told.  Also, I can think endlessly about paint colors. I'm feeling an abundance of people choosing their paths in life, strengthening their community connections, supporting others on their journey (buying local), really being present (like the Little Free Libraries project, just for one example).  We all have so many wonderful and amazing things to offer each other!

I've also been revisiting my quotation-collecting.  I used to have a book I filled with all sorts of inspiration.  Pinterest (again) has allowed me to revisit these quotations, find more, and also see them in a lovely visual format.. providing further inspiration of design and text and fonts.  I love text.  But there's something about reading positive text and then going out to live it.

Then there's the upcoming trip out to Valley Ridge which is always such a treat, even if I am overpacking (every time I go out there, I have great ambition for what I will get done, even bringing along extra projects for working in the evening.  I really hope I get some photo blocks painted though.  I totally missed out on restocking those for summer tourists).  I've been having fun wallowing in collage supplies, thinking about paint colors and themes, and generally savoring the bubbling anticipation.  There's always some unexpected new direction that comes out of these workshops, so I'm curious to find out what the new inspirations will be. 

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I'm also working on a piece for an upcoming exhibit for the Wisconsin Book Festival.  My set of eyeglass books is coming along (one book for each year of the last decade), accompanied by the feeling that I'm so glad to be where I am now and not where I was then.  As always, there's nothing like lots of art projects to keep me happy.

The list of things to do is still quite long but I passed that one point of feeling totally overwhelmed & crabby and have managed to parse things out a bit.  I've made progress on sewing skirts for my trip and packing art supplies for Valley Ridge, but also stayed somewhat focused on the most imminent trip: up to Minnesota tomorrow for The Creative Connection Event.  That particular trip is now so close that there's nothing more to be done and I'm ready to shift into vacation mode, or at least out of town mode (not thinking about how the bathroom really needs to be cleaned).  I was feeling anxious about packing but brought the car in early today and it all fits.  Phew.

But here's a little story: Last week I started to think seriously about my upcoming trip abroad, specifically, what I would pack/wear.  I casually posted a comment about backpacks on Facebook.  (I have decided that is the most practical approach to take given the distances that we are traveling and the fact that I seem to be dealing with a little bit of tennis/button elbow which suggests that lugging a roller suitcase up and down train stairs would be ill-advised).  Within minutes, I had a backpack offer and I am now the happy owner of a backpack within my budget.  And in blue, my favorite color.  Now I know that this seems like a little thing, more a matter of luck or coincidence, except that I come from a family which is divided by science (Dad) and faith/synchronicity (Mom).  Even though my background is in the hard sciences (Dad), a combination of optimism and hope have steered me closer to Mom's side of the story: that is, there's no such thing as coincidence, there is a force (God, or whatever you want to call it) that bends towards truth and beauty and good and happily-ever-after for YOU...

And I know that my Dad would totally dismiss this little incident, but I was left feeling, hey, if God is concerned with even the littlest detail of finding the right backpack for me, making my life so much easier by providing a solution so quickly, SURELY God will help with the big things too.  And, fine, maybe "concerned" isn't the right word to use, but I have this underlying sense that things are supposed to work out for the better and easier and happier.  That's my story and I'm sticking with it.


un/packing

I seem to remember that the first two Septembers of Anthology were rather slow - a little lull between summer tourists and holiday shoppers.  As a result, last year we decided to participate in The Creative Connection Event in Minnesota, and take the show on the road.  Now it seems like September is crazy busy; perhaps we overcompensated.

Thoughts of Christmas windows, the Holiday Craft Lounge and other holiday preparations are already whirling around in my head and I'll confess to that panicked and overwhelmed feeling one gets when one thinks about all the things that need to be done in the next four months, and behaves as if they all have to be done this minute.  I've calmed down a bit from earlier in this week but I'm still realizing how quickly my deadlines are coming up.

This weekend is an ordinary, sunny, early fall weekend downtown, with the addition of thousands of athletes and spectators for IronMan Wisconsin.  No biggie.

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For the past couple weeks we've been packing our little suitcases and getting ready for this year's Creative Connection Event, held in St. Paul.  We are looking forward to a little getaway, a chance to take a workshop or two, visit with our friends & aquaintances in the biz, promote Anthology, do a little shopping...  One advantage to this show is that it gives us a little kick in the pants to get going on holiday stock.  Sachi has been busy making bird nest necklaces.  I've mostly been trying to clean up the store so that we leave it in reasonable condition for our part-timer and our mom, who are tending shop while we're away.  In the process of packing, I've realized several items that I need to make myself, so I've started a long list of to-dos.  Sigh.

The weekend after Minnesota, I will be heading to a workshop at Valley Ridge Art Studio with Michelle Ward.  I cannot wait.  It is always such a treat and retreat to go to Valley Ridge... although there is some prep work to be done (mainly decide upon what collage supplies and colors of paint to bring).  So my living room is a disaster of piled art supplies and things to pack.  Sachi will be hosting the adorable girl's FOURTH birthday party (FOUR?!  Do you remember walking by Anthology when she was a baby sitting in the window before we opened?  How can she be four already?).  The theme is mermaid and Sachi's going all out, though the girl keeps coming up with other things that are supposedly going to be at the party.  We hope she won't be disappointed that everyone doesn't get a sparkly glass crown.  In any event, I'm pretty sure that Sachi's living room is a disaster of piled mermaid party supplies.

In addition to those piles, arrivals continue almost daily at the shop.
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The print collection continues to grow, with some new letterpress additions from Kimberly, Wisconsin.  I just love text.  And of course, we continue to indulge our paper passion: new notecards, new wrapping paper (Mexican wrestlers!), ephmera for cards and scrapbooks and collage, calendars, and more.

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Vintaj brass has come up with some fun new pieces which I still have to incorporate into necklaces, but which also make sweet earrings; Re-Ment has new assortments of little mini play foods; Beth brought a new assortment of stamped ceramics from Milwaukee, and Deandra sent new t-shirt necklaces from Minneapolis.
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Karen brought more mosaics from Minnesota, Emily sent bottlecap map necklaces from Illinois, Michelle sent cheery hair clips from Oshkosh.  And then there are Muppet t-shirts, jellyfish t-shirts, and the popular "varieties of beer" t-shirts, too.

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And we are really excited about these great upcycled skirts for girls.  They are made from fun striped polo shirts and have great color combinations. I'm a little jealous 'cause I'd like one for myself.

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And as if there weren't enough things, I have a sudden ambition to finish up some skirts that I've been working on for ages.   I stayed up late last night and made some progress.  So I will soon be able to diversify my closet.  The first batch I made was quite heavy on purple/green and I can't shake the feeling that some people think I'm just wearing the same skirt over and over again, when really I'm wearing three different skirts.  I am especially pleased to use this paint-by-numbers bird fabric that I've been sitting on for ages.  The scale of the print was rather large to cut up for a quilt; it works well as a skirt panel:
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And in other fabric-related news, I finally made it the Quilt Expo!  It is held annually and somehow I've never made it.  Of course, this year, the girl came along with us.  Luckily I am a fast looker so I mostly managed to see all the quilts and keep up with her pace.  It's truly amazing what people can do with their hands and their imagination.  So many quilts exhibited such an amazing level of skill, detail and patience.

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newsletter: early fall 2011

Greetings from Anthology!

We hope you enjoyed a lovely summer, despite being hot and sticky and over too quickly (wait, that sounds like an old joke :).

Thanks to everyone who came out for Maxwell Street Days in mid-July. For the second year in a row we partnered with Absolutely Art to offer a Studio Garage Sale; customers bought over $400 worth of donated art and craft supplies and all proceeds went to local children’s art programs such as Shirts That Supply and the MMoCA Art Cart. The sale was extremely popular with school teachers and parents of crafty kids.

 

We have so much to look forward to this Fall!

 

Once again, Anthology will be a vendor at The Market Place, part of The Creative Connection in St. Paul, Minnesota Sept 16-17th. Both Laura and Sachi will take workshops in screen-printing and jewelry-making and we’re eager to share our newfound skills with all of you. If you have friends in the area you might suggest they check out the show.

 

Laura will take a mixed-media & collage course out a Valley Ridge Art Studio toward the end of September. If you haven’t had a chance, we highly recommend a workshop at this retreat near Dodgeville, WI. It is like a spa treatment for your creative soul. You can check out the schedule here:  www.valleyridgeartstudio.com.

 

We have a few personal trips planned in October: Sachi will head to New Orleans and Laura will jet off to Italy. Both should be incredibly inspiring destinations so you can look forward to some new work reflecting our journeys.

 

Anthology is delighted to announce the 2nd annual Holiday Craft Lounge, Saturday, November 26th at Overture Center as part of the Downtown Madison Holiday Open House. We are currently seeking applications from vendors who would offer materials and instruction for an affordable craft project such as holiday ornaments, jewelry, decorative garlands, greeting cards, gift tags and paper wreaths. Please visit our website for details. Artists can sell their own wares, too, so it’s a great way to earn a little extra Christmas cash, and the sale is a wonderful opportunity for attendees to create their own gifts by hand.

 

What’s New/What’s HOT:

Madison neighborhoods map

"The Many Varieties of Beer" t-shirts and prints

Greeting cards with Spanish phrases (gracias, te quiero mucho, hola).

Luchador wrapping paper

Adorable animal ABC blocks (perfect baby gift to hang in the nursery)

Hand-cut mosaics featuring smashed tea cups, game pieces, and vintage barkcloth under glass

Strip scarves made from upcycled jersey t-shirt fabric

Threadless-brand t-shirts printed in Chicago featuring sock monkeys, little luchadors & the Muppets

The 2012 Nikki McClure Calendar

Hand-stamped pottery from Milwaukee with images of boom boxes, roller skates & circus performers

Banksy cards with heart-shaped balloons pictured

*Coming soon: 8-panel skirts for little girls made from upcycled polo shirts

 

Stop in and see what’s new! We’ve already had to re-order many of the cards from last May’s Stationery Show because they were so incredibly popular.

 

Laura & Sachi

 


Labor Day weekend special

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Announcing Anthology's first Labor Day weekend special ever:  All protest buttons are 50% off!  (I use the word "protest" loosely - this applies to all the buttons on our back table, though not elsewhere in the shop).  Saturday through Monday, readymade buttons only.  And, yes, we have plenty of non-partisan buttons related to people of any political stripe.  "Librarians are Sexy" - surely we can all agree on that?!

Sometimes it seems like Labor Day sales are rather contrived, but we thought what better way to honor Labor than to show your favorite state worker that you think he/she is sexy. or let your teachers know you know they can do it!

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When I look back a year ago, I can hardly believe how much has changed.  I can't even remember what I did on Labor Day.  And in my little retail world, Labor Day has rarely meant a day off of labor (though perhaps a day of abbreviated hours), and certainly not a long weekend.  Not so this year.

After all the events in Wisconsin and around the country, I have never felt that Labor is as little-valued as it is right now. And, no I am not just talking about the attacks on state employee collective bargaining.  I'm also talking about this general sense that I have of businesses and government using the excuse of the economy and consumer demands to get the most work they can get, for the least amount of money.  The sharp inequality between the richest and the poorest, the denigration of the work that people do, the erosion of the safety net that more and more people are in need of...  and we're supposed to be celebrating Labor on Monday?  It seems a half-hearted and token gesture at best.

And I know, I can be a starry-eyed optimist.  But as I was enjoying my birthday present massage, thinking about the wonderful talents of Candice, the small businessperson with the talented hands (if you are in town, I recommend you check her out: In Balance Massage Therapy), I was thinking how lucky she and I were to be able to pursue our passions and our talents.  And yet how nice it would be if our Labor was rewarded just as someone's labor of collecting capital gains is rewarded.  Feeling a little sad about all the ways that we make compromises about what it is we enjoy doing and what it is that pays the bills; feeling indignant about the valuation that is made of which work is "better" or at least more deserving of higher wages....   Though, to be clear, I wasn't actually thinking about this during the massage, I was too relaxed to think.

So, I had to go to the source:  the U.S. Department of Labor website, which says the following:

"Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take were outlined in the first proposal of the holiday: a street parade to exhibit to the public "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations" of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families.

The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation's strength, freedom, and leadership: the American worker."

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And I know, not all of our protest buttons are Labor related but we still feel that the protests here in Wisconsin and the state of Labor in general are very much connected.  A sale on buttons is a small gesture from a small business, but it seemed like a fitting way of sharing our appreciation.

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Like most holidays, it never really seems like one day is enough.  But then, I'm the girl who takes a month to celebrate her birth.  Still, over this long Labor Day weekend, we do hope you take a moment to think about all the ways that Labor has contributed to the prosperity of the nation.

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