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January 2016
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March 2016

constellation obsession

Funny how things work out... I treated myself in early February to a workshop at Middleton Public Library (taking, not teaching). It was using Sharpie markers on silk to make a constellation scarf. I joined a drawing a day Facebook group for February, though mostly as observer, but spending a couple hours one evening looking at patterns of constellations got the wheels turning. In class, I decided to make a scarf of made-up constellations, which ended up being somewhat autobiographical. Then I started thinking about making a scarf for Mom with custom constellations (like binoculars and other things I associate with her). And then this all led, naturally, to what I would make for the shop. I ended up drawing a set of Madison constellations (like the Octopus car wash, the Bascom Hill flamingo), all with the ease that comes from knowing that most constellations never really look like what they say they look like - pressure off for this non-draw-er! I'm ending up working on a couple different variations - a little drawing by hand, but quite a lot of work on the computer in PhotoShop. Not exactly fulfilling my idea of frivolous creating for the sake of creating (there's something about working on the computer that doesn't quite count in my mind). But it all came of frivolous creating... in the form of my scarf which I still have to finish. I'll end up with a screen print in white and gold ink on navy paper, and a full color print in purple, blues, and golds. The latter derives from another session of frivolous creating from a few years ago - proof that I should keep doing that, even if only for how it ultimately generates product for the store. Oh, and for my own sanity as well. I'm still working on the prints: probably driving the copy shop people crazy with the many drafts I've gone through. But I'm making progress. The one advantage to working in Photoshop (as long as I remember) is that I can save all my different layers and if I go one step too far, I can backtrack. Unlike my collage work and painting which always creates challenges of knowing when to stop. The disadvantage is that I can't really tell how things look on the computer screen (hence the frequent runs to the copy shop). But I'm getting close to done.

Constellationstudy

And in other store news? Sachi has a brand new print, new note cards and other Wisco goodness have arrived to the shop and we're working with a couple new artists on some commission pieces for the shop (one in particular we are SUPER excited about), and otherwise gearing up for Mother's Day, graduation, and summer tourist season. Time goes fast in the retail world. I will make time soon to fill you in on all the new arrivals if you haven't already checked them out on Facebook or Instagram.


wisco works

Just a few more weeks and I should be all caught up on year-end clean-up from last year. Phew! I've been able to do a little of the planning for the current year so it feels like I haven't fallen too far behind. To some extent, this is definitely a lull. We certainly don't have to restock to holiday levels and we are on hold awaiting the new goodies at the National Stationery Show in May. Of course, that hasn't stopped us from finding new things. More paper scraps and washi tape should be arriving soon, as well as some new Wisconsin prints and note cards, ceramic earrings and more.

Sachi has been working on her Madison alphabet! How cool is that? I'm not quite sure exactly when we'll be sending that to the printer, but it's getting close.

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I feel like she's been working like crazy since right after the holidays, coming up with several new designs, like these new note cards:

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I am both a proud sister, excited shopgirl.... and envious/competitive sister. I've been told I can be all those things. Something about the competitiveness between the two of us, I have never been able to grow out of. So what do I have to show for this time other than sulking and feeling like I am behind?

Well, my color swatch project for an upcoming exhibit is almost done so that is good. And there were taxes to deal with. I seem to be doing quite a lot of work on the computer which still results in product but somehow feels less productive. Well, I spent a lot of time making Blurb magazines and those are really far off from being product for the shop. Mostly I wanted to have all my photos printed so I could start to use them in collaging. I did include a lot of Madison photos in the books (ended up making three 240-page volumes) so I'm hoping those will make their way into collages that are suitable for sale at the shop. We'll see where that ends up. I have several new note card plans to work on, and maybe a Madison photo snippet print. However, I did start work on a Madison calendar for next year so that's progress.

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It seems like a lot of my attention has been on finding new Wisco goods for the shop. My old boss was fond of saying "listen to your customers" - not just what they say (what they are looking at, where their attention is drawn) but what they say with their money (what they are buying, what they are not). For us over the years we've been open, a big thing we are hearing is the desire for things with Wisconsin on them. People seem like to like the local and handmade aspect of our shop but what tips them over the edge of purchasing tends to be the memento aspect. As a result, we were quick to restock some best-sellers from the holiday season, as well as pick up some new Wisco goods (and have been keeping our eye out for more - I think both Sachi and I have some irons in the fire with possible custom work). So, yes, we have the Wisconsin bottlecap map back in stock, also some new Wisconsin notecards, more of our coloring cards and super charming coffee cozies made in Oshkosh.

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Our Wisconsin coloring book (and all other coloring books for that matter) continue to sell well. Sachi set up a great clipboard wall to display some pages. Now I feel like hanging up clipboards everywhere I go.

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The bottom two rows, with the exception of one far lower right card, are all cards by Sachi. Yeah, no problem catching up... .sigh....