As promised, here are some highlights of my afternoon wandering the Brooklyn Botanic Garden:
The bees that live there are the fattest, drunkest, slowest and happiest I think I've ever encountered.
The wisteria was lovely but what fascinated me most was the size of the trunks. I don't normally think of flowering shrubs as being a witness to history like these apparently are. The stories they could tell...
A tad early in the season to experience the full-bloom splendor of the rose garden, I was more focused on the patina and patterns of the structures.
(there's someone's peaceful little home up in there)
Don't you just love this time of year? What goodies are in bloom right now where you live?
I was only there for a week, so I admit there wasn't really a chance to develop a true, deep love. Technically it might just be a cute little crush. A general warmhearted fondness. But love stories have been written about less, right?
It was my first visit to the borough, and I can't imagine it will be my last. I can see why people fall in love with this place, how it becomes part of those who live there. I realize my Brookly experience barely scratched the surface, but I sensed it: there's a vibe. It's good.
Street after street after street of beautiful old brownstones. Amazing food. History, stability, community. Did I mention the good vibe? Yeah, that.
I've been going to New York every May for 15 years now. The first 14 of those were spent exhibiting at Surtex. It's where I built the foundation for my art licensing business; it's where I met favorite clients and dear friends, it's where I learned and grew into the businessperson I am today.
This year, however, has been different. The art licensing industry, and life in general for that matter, is a living, changing, organic thing: growing, stretching, twisting - never the same. Growing and stretching with it (or when possible, just ahead of it!) is necessary for survival. Change is good! And it was time for a change. For me and my business, focus has been the key word this past year. Focusing on work I love to do, people and companies I love to work with, art I love to create. Exibiting at the show had started to get in the way of that for me. It was a big decision. A long, slow, sometimes difficult one. But then change can be like that. And after all is said and done, I feel an incredible sense of peace and satisfaction about it.
I still ended up in New York in May, but this time it was with a very specific and focused agenda. I visited my friends at Henry Glass, whose offices are there. I got to spend time with a few other favorite clients who were in the city for Surtex. I helped a good friend out in her booth a little bit, and was able to walk through NSS and Surtex and soak in all the great energy and inspiration those shows had to offer. And best of all, I spent quality time with some of my favorite people, really enjoying the city. Amazing friends graciously opened their homes and entertained me - it was a blast, all of it.
The sky over the Metropolitan Museum of Art - from inside and out on the rooftop
I've been home since Monday but still haven't really come down yet. And haven't unpacked all the way yet, but we won't talk about that right now.
The Mart is always an exercise in overwhelmingness. Over the top sensory overload in every possible way, so much so you can't really escape it at night when you close your eyes. You'd think that all the cocktail receptions might help with that, but no, not really. Close your eyes at night and all you can see is colors, products, people talking, more products, more colors, stuff people people stuff stuff stuff . . . or maybe that's just me who does this.
We've already determined that I don't get out much.
At any rate it's an intense crazy experience, super fun, and super productive.
Atlanta was just coming out of single-digit temperatures when I arrived late Wednesday night. It was still pretty cold out when I hit the ground running the next morning. The next few days there was drizzle, dramatic downpours, flash-flood warnings, tornado warnings . . . I mean, come on Atlanta. You're just showing off now.
I was ridiculously giddy about running to a few showrooms first to finally meet my new products in person; these were all projects that were started after meetings at last year's Gift Mart - what a treat to get to see the items like this after everyone's hard work on them last year. These items are not in stores yet - but there were retailers placing orders for them at the show so they should start hitting store shelves by spring. I'll keep you posted when I know more.
There are little doors for your tree trunks, little tables, chairs, accessories . . . I seriously can't wait for spring to start playing with this stuff in my own yard.
I used to create these kinds of vignettes in the woods when we'd go camping, with pine cones and moss and rocks and sticks and stuff. Resin figures drawn by me? Forget about it. I am on it. I am 7 again.
Really cool for me that my dear friend Shelly's adorbs dog and cat figurines were scattered around with mine in the display. I love it when my stuff and my friends' stuff gets to be friends, too. Along with the figurines are treat jars, pet mats, leash-hooks, wall art, and more.
I almost cried when I saw the tiny Flossies.
This collection was extra special for me because I created all of it during my last month with my precious little white beastie on my lap. She oversaw every detail. See all the sketchy little cross-hatch work in the flat pieces? You might remember this video of her while I was drawing it.
And there were spring garden flags in the Carson Home Accents showroom, love how these turned out!
My little birdies around my head and my Easter eggs below. The Easter eggs are actually sparkly (you know I love that!) and the egg colors are actually really bright and fresh in person, but they photograph sort of greyish because of the sparkles.
I think I squeeeeed out loud once again when I saw my cupcake tabletop collection on display in the Transpac showroom. I've seen photos, but in person . . . a-whole-nother thing. I'm not accustomed to seeing my drawings translated into 3D - this is all still fairly new to me and soooooo exciting.
I'm also really happy with my Les Veggies kitchen goodies by Transpac - those of you with the La Cuisine recipe binders will soon be able to coordinate the rest of your kitchen as matchy-poo as can be. I love this!
And Transpac also printed some really nice wall canvases with my designs
including . . . my favorite:
Ok, I think there may be one or two 1980s Cornish alumni out there reading this: who remembers this quote? A certain college president and his answer to every problem? I'd been wanting to put it on a design for years, and finally did.
There were other Beth Logan goodies in other places, but we can talk about that another time. I think we've all had about enough of me me me me me for now.
One of the best things about this show is the opportunity all of us self-employed work-at-home artists get to meet up and share - it's a big lovey hug-fest of ginormous proportions. I mean, really. It totally is. I am so blessed to be part of an industry where these kind and gifted people are my colleagues, my friends, my confidantes . . . this amazing group of crazy-talented folks is the best.
This picture represents only the ones who were able to stand still long enough for the photo, many others at this get-together were still milling about outside the frame, and others were still busy with meetings and signings back at the Mart while this was going on.
But what this crazy picture is: it's a veritable Who's Who of the Art Licensing industry. Do you live on the earth? Do you own stuff? Have you ever received cards or gifts? Then you have things with these people's art on it. And guess what? They're all really neat folks. You'd like them.
A whirlwind of meetings, receptions, meet & greets, dinners, research & trend-spotting, shopping (!) and suddenly it was my last day there: gorgeous and sunny and in the 60s. After days of quick cab-rides through the cold rain, I finally got my chance to leisurely stroll through the park back to my hotel,
soaking in the sun (it's been a while since I've soaked in 60-degree sunshine),
and feeling good about all I accomplished business-wise
I smiled as the sun set on my trip,
and I knew that soon I would be home . . . back to jammie pants and fuzzy socks, cuddling with Molly, Ted, and Husband Guy here in my quiet, plain, comfortable little house. There's no place like home.
But it did, and we spent a gloriously refreshing couple weeks at the cabin.
Ted got the hang of it pretty quickly.
Constantly inspired by everything surrounding me there
I started playing with beads.
Inspired by the golden glow of the sunsets
or maybe it was just my beads...
...even my drawings coordinated with it all.
With so few distractions
"Hey guess what, let's go to the beach."
I started making earrings.
and more earrings.
Like, a ridiculous amount of earrings (more on these soon). I couldn't stop. It happened sort of on accident, I hadn't set out to make that many. Really, I think it was the lack of distractions.
"Hey, I have an idea. Let's go to the beach."
Another thing that happened totally on accident: my finished necklaces caught my eye one afternoon
and a thought popped into my head
about all the super neato suncatchers and mobiles I keep seeing on Pinterest.
The challenge here was making it fit in the long window without distracting from the beach view. I built it in several shorter sections and fastened them together, some while they were laid out flat and others after hanging it up. For a mobile it's pretty heavy, and about as tall as me.
Glass, shells, rocks, even a small float are mixed together with the glass beads, jewelry wire, and some random rusty hardware from my Granddad's basement that I'd thrown in a bag to take with me, not knowing what I'd make with it.
It was good wire-wrapping practice. Some are swirly and nice, others not so much.
But it's the beach. The beach is supposed to be imperfect.
I made other stuff too and can't wait to share in more posts, but for now I'm just starting to settle back into home and studio, back to reality, where it is starting to feel like . . . fall.
I really should give May more credit. I mean, out of all of the months, May is the prettiest shade of green. It's when the garden begins to come alive. When birds hatch and sing all day. When lilacs bloom.
May smells good.
May is good.
But I can't help feeling a huge sigh of relief when May is finally over. And this particular May, yeah. That. As most of you know, May started in this house with a profoundly empty feeling. I found a sort of comfort pouring myself into my annual extreme crazy busy freakout that is the final countdown to Surtex.
There were little reminders along the way to be happy . . . smiles in unexpected places.
I'd like to think a little friend sent them.
Another great comfort has been the fact that She-Who-is-Afraid-of-Cameras has now taken on the role of Studio Pal. Used to be, I couldn't get her to stay more than a couple minutes at a time in here, even when she had a big cozy bed taking up the entire floor. The bed went elsewhere a long time ago, but when I laid her blankie on the studio floor at the beginning of the month, she decided this is where she should spend her days . . . she's here right now.
And that makes me happy.
Then suddenly, I was in New York.
I'm not kidding - the second I typed that, this song came on in a random iTunes shuffle. How crazy is that?! So maybe you should listen to it with me.
After the gorgeous sunrise that greeted me Saturday morning,
there was the ever comforting sight of my little green box waiting for me in my booth.
I've told you before what a relief that is every single year, seeing that the displays I worked so hard on made it across the country safely and on time.
The show was great - I had super productive meetings with some of my favorite clients and met some new folks that, hopefully, will someday fall into that category.
When we found out sort of last-minute that Husband Guy would be staying at home, the Amazing and Adorable Amber Alvarez dropped everything and hopped a cab from Brooklyn to come help out in my booth.
By the way, will someone please tell me how much a cab from Brooklyn to Javits costs, she refuses to discuss this with me.
I so enjoyed some time catching up with dear friends while there, but for the most part I laid low in the evenings, getting a jump-start on my show follow-up
and quietly enjoying the view from my little suite.
just like that,
I was saying goodbye to the city
and before I knew it,
I was cuddling on my own couch with Molly and Husband Guy.
Back to my funny little garden and the heavenly goodies that are starting to come from it.
The last days of May were filled with show follow-up and starting new projects discussed at meetings, but I did finally finish unpacking and put away my suitcase day before yesterday.
And with that familiar sigh of relief, I'll say goodbye to another May.
Overlooked, and often grumbled about, by me. You don't have to look far within this blog to find me complaining about dumb old boring grey.
It gets a bad rap most of the time. It's the muddy shade you end up with when mixing all your old leftover paint together; the color of naval ships, scratchy old wool, parking lots, badly-done laundry, the ashes left after the embers have cooled. It's the color of winter in the Pacific Northwest: the dull absence of bright, cheerful color purportedly responsible for our high rates of depression, madness, suicide.
What grey does, however, is make every other shade around it seem that much more exciting, beautiful, and dramatic.
I was reminded of this recently on a visit to Long Beach, WA.
It says, "Hey, don't mind me, I'm just Grey. But check these other colors out!" It's sort of selfless that way. Thanks, Grey.
I've gone on here many times before about my love for our Northwest beaches in the wintertime. It's just part of me, inside me. I feel whole again when I hear the surf roar and that icy wind whips across my face, the wet sand and seafoam blows across my boots.
A few days later, on a ferry ride from Seattle, I was struck again by the beauty and drama of a dull grey day.
Time to stop and breathe, stare at the sea, romp on the beach, and draw, just for fun. Time to spread my supplies out on my big table and make stuff. Time to quietly celebrate that party we threw on this very beach 19 years ago, when we made all those promises about commitment and a lifetime together in front of a bunch of poeple we love.
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