Previous month:
June 2017

so much Portland love

Sachi and I just got back from a long weekend in Portland. So much fun! Well, we were "working" (as my niece says, with air quotes): in addition to attending the Portland Renegade Craft Fair, we went to lots of paper/indie craft/gift stores. There were so many in Portland! I am feeling much more optimistic about the future of brick and mortar retail. Obviously we are biased, but we think that there is a lot of value in small and independent stores, in local business, and in being able to put one's hands on the merchandise you are interested in buying. We enjoyed seeing the many Portland artists at work, and finding their work at many local and indie shops. There is something going on with illustration out there which we haven't seen as much of here in the Midwest. Can't quite put our finger on it, but there were several people doing goache and watercolor to pleasing effect. Sachi was constantly sketching out new designs so she should be busy for the rest of the year. We are always a little jealous traveling to larger cities which have a much wider pool of artists making custom souvenir goods... but that just means more for Sachi and I to make. You can review our travels on Instagram. 

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Some of our favorite shops were:

Collage

Noun

Flutter

Crafty Wonderland

Little Otsu

Tender Loving Empire (between them and the MSP airport, we are feeling optimistic about the future of airport retail in particular).

 

We were also totally charmed by an art exhibit at The Tiny Llama with work by Becky Margraf. That was a surprise find and all the more charming for it.

And, yes, we ate at Voodoo Donuts.


summer in full swing, and Sachi still creating like mad

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It has been a busy few months here at Anthology. As the weather warms up, summer tourist season starts in earnest. There's a different feeling to downtown now that most of the students are gone for the summer, but they are replaced by vacationers from all over the world. I hope we are being good representatives of liberal sentiment in the U.S. - certainly the buttons have remained popular tourist purchases, as well as symbols for people to wear when they travel abroad. At least a half-dozen customers have come in to buy buttons so their politics are clear when they travel. I've given up on trying to keep up with reacting to the current administration, but Sachi just put together a new set of buttons which will debut this week.

Speaking of Sachi, today's picture, I think, best captures this first half of the year. Sachi has been on fire! She made this little diorama of the store, including miniature wrapping paper display and mini Laura and Sachi (and mailman John, not pictured). How amazing is that?! I have lost count of the cards she made: 2 Madison summer postcards, a Prince card, a cheese curd card, a bike Madison t-shirt, a trike Madison t-shirt. I'm sure I'm forgetting some things. Oh, lots of Christmas cards. Things usually get busier in late fall and we had at least two years of thinking we should make cards but not getting to it. Sachi is being proactive and has a bunch lined up for the printer.

As for me, I have a few designs rolling around in my head and I have made a few cards. I am working on two big photo snippet prints which are taking forever but are getting close. I have mostly been collaging (playing) with the books started in Kelly Kilmer workshops. There are several piles of collage materials on the living room floor at home. We are heading to Portland at the end of the month to Renegade Craft Fair, and to the many indie and local shops in the city. We aren't only going to see the wall of washi tape at Collage, but that's obviously a big draw.

As for the store, Wisco goods continue to be strong. Tourist season is always a good time for selling tea towels as those are easy and portable gifts. Just this week we received three big boxes from across the Pacific, filled with bookmarks, postcards, washi tape and stickers. Sigh... stickers. I love them so. We have started receiving goods from our May trip to New York so there are new cards, stationery sets, journals, and more. I still see a few spaces where I can do some crunching and rearranging, but it's all pretty full. I sometimes think back on the early days of the store - we used to fit all our card backstock in three little boxes in our white metal medicine cabinet. That would hardly do the trick nowadays. But there is so much temptation to be found!