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November 2016

heading West

oooh.... I'm SO excited! I'm heading off to the San Francisco area to take workshops
from Kelly Kilmer
, an artist I have long admired. More specifically, an artist I have admired and who works in a similar medium/style such that what I will learn from her will be ... not just useful, but, that too. I'm trying to calm down about it all - I've never taken an art workshop so far away, one that requires me to pack my workshop supplies and clothes for a week into a carryon suitcase. It has also been a while since I've treated myself to three solid days of art making. Not that I can really complain since I have time for that every day, but there's something about the solid block of time that has got me constructing lists of projects to work on. I have an idea about making some collage pieces including Madison imagery that would eventually turn into prints or cards for the shop. I have an idea about using some of Dad's old pictures (now bound in a spiral bound  book) as collage background. I had an idea about continuing work in a book that I started in another workshop. So many ulterior motives. I had an idea about bringing a gelli plate along so I could print during the workshop. I had an idea about having to go to the art supply store and see what else I might like to have with me.

But I've calmed down now. With only two days to departure, that's a good thing. We are making two books in the workshop so I've decided not to bring along any other books to work in and I am giving myself permission to just learn and play and not necessarily generate something on the spot for the shop. Those things have a way of coming out.... eventually. Today is for all those last-minute errands and schedule-checking. I'm bringing a travel journal along - and, yes, I did not go out an buy a new one, I'm using one that Sachi gave me for Christmas last year, plus washi tape and some modified pages, and have been plotting out my itinerary. And in the theme of not actually calming down, it occurred to me at the last minute that although I am not packing all of my washi tape with me, I could take little pieces of washi tape in my travel journal and use them if I need to.

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In addition to the workshop, Mom is coming with me for part of the trip and we'll be visiting her brother, plus I get two days by myself in San Francisco, plus a day of dragging them to the inspiration stores in Berkeley (Castle in the Air) and Oakland (FLAX). I know I've mentioned this before, but that particular leg of a trip, with my uncle, was when he lowered the boom and declared that it was really time for me to open a store of my own. It has been a while since I haven't traveled with Sachi, who is the travel agent extraordinaire, so there's some extra level of preparation required. Oh, and at the last minute, I remembered Fluevog shoes which I've never even tried on (so maybe they don't fit my wide foot) but which several friends have been recommending. Because, let's face it, thinking about shoes is so much more pleasant than thinking about the presidential race.

Which, well, I won't say anything here, you pretty much know where I stand on the matter. We have been making more buttons and I'm very excited to be partnering with a formerly-of-Wisconsin-now-in-Texas artist on some new designs. She's been drawing and painting and I've been busy in PhotoShop making them into files to print and make into buttons. 



I did install the pre-election window and haven't had too many men yell at me for it. And, no, I am not making generalizations about that because in the history of the store, the only people who have actually yelled at me for my political views have been men. Two older men yesterday asked very sincerely if I had Trump buttons. They were both really puzzled, one even asking me why (which, really?) but I have now prepared my simple, "we don't agree with his values" reply. Because there's nothing that a long conversation can actually resolve, particularly given that we are in a "customer is always right" power imbalance. After I replied, the man turned to his middle-aged daughter and said "they don't have Trump buttons?" The daughter said, "don't start with me, Dad. I mean it." Has this election season been particularly trying or what? I find myself holding my breath when people are near the button table - looking for cues as to which way this is going to go. Is there laughter? silence? 

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As far as the rest of the shop goes, lots of great product has been arriving. We've both been busy working on new print, card and t-shirt images and are awaiting another delivery from our Willy Street printers. We've still been getting goods from the Stationery Show so there's plenty in the way of new cards.



Also some particularly lovely new wrapping paper, which required a total revamp of the sheets. We still dream about having floor to ceiling rungs for wrapping paper so that each sheet gets its own rung. Someday....


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The desk signs continue to be big hits, and we expect the unicorn and rainbow washi tape to be as well.




And we are happy to keep adding to our collection of Wisco goodness. And over the moon that includes Kennedy Prints.

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oh, and I've been working on Halloween costumes. Food-themed this year, and I had lots of fun making my popcorn crown. To the point where I am seriously tempted to make a vote crown and stand in the medians near the Madison Public libraries in my spare time and send people in to vote early. Sachi is still working on the logistics of her mac and cheese pizza slice. I think this afternoon we'll be gluing the candy dots on the tunic for Lily's costume. The Downtown Family Halloween is on Wednesday this year and it is always a fun and lively afternoon of candy distribution.



Finally, it is not too late to start thinking about holiday shopping and craft fairs! Unfortunately, the Craftacular is taking a break this year but we always enjoy the artists who come together for The Crafty Fair. Mark your calendars!