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Art (and dogs) in the Park

>> Monday, May 31, 2010

This weekend marked my very first craft fair, and overall it was a very enjoyable and successful experience. I met some great new people and saw some impressive work by other artists. One of the highlights was discovering that my booth was right next to those of Dolan Geiman's mother and sister, further adding to the list of coincidences mentioned in this post.

Leading up to the event, we were worried about the weather; it stormed on Friday night and there was a threat of rain for the weekend as well. But aside from a brief rain shower on Saturday afternoon (which caused us to quickly rearrange our booth by pushing all of the tables toward the center of the tent) and temperatures in the high 80's on Sunday, we really lucked out.

One of the great things about selling at the craft fair, as opposed to just selling online, was that I was able to get a sense of what products people seemed most drawn to as they were browsing in my booth. In addition to my handmade journals, photo albums, and wedding guest books, I was also selling handmade notecards, printmaking, photography, and my wine bottle gift bags made from shirt sleeves. I was surprised by how popular my prints were, especially "Swimming with the Jellies" (which is my favorite as well). Also, my wine gift bags were a huge seller on Saturday. I sold almost half of the bags I had in stock the first day, but not a single one the second day. In general, the words of wisdom I heard from a veteran craft fair seller rang true: people shop on Saturday and browse on Sunday.

We found out the day before the show that Art in the Park was a pet-friendly event, so we decided to bring our sweet brindle bullmastiff along. Riviera was a huge hit throughout the weekend, bringing tons of visitors to our booth. There were all sorts of dogs (and even one pet snake) in the park this weekend, from tiny puppies to huge great danes.

My husband Tony helped me to make this bulletin board that displayed my linenlaid&felt logo, and some other information about my business. In the upper left, there's a short bio about me, which includes a description of my study abroad experience in Cortona, Italy where I learned the art of book making. We also included samples of linen, laid, and felt paper textures, a guide to the different binding styles of the books that I make, and info about custom orders.

I would also like to mention that Tony was a huge help with the preparations for this event. He helped keep track of my inventory, ironed my tablecloths, packed up our cars, set up my tent and tables, kept me company in my booth the entire weekend, and so much more. I could not have done this show without him, and I am so thankful for all that he contributed.

While sitting at my booth throughout the weekend, I worked on binding several books together as a demonstration of my craft. I made several Japanese stab-bound photo albums and some Coptic-bound journals and wedding guest books.

During the past month I had been so busy getting ready for the craft fair that I hadn't added many new products to my Etsy shop, but I will be adding a whole bunch of new products in the upcoming week. Today I photographed some new books, notecards, and wine bottle gift bags, so as soon as I write the descriptions they'll be up.

I would love to hear what all of you think of my craft show set up. Since this is the first show I've done, we decided to keep it simple at first, but I'm sure there are things I can do to make it better next time around. Please feel free to leave your critiques and suggestions in the comments.


Art in the Park

>> Wednesday, May 26, 2010

My blog posts have been few and far between lately, mainly because I've been busy getting ready for linenlaid&felt's first craft fair. This weekend I will have a booth at Art in the Park in Staunton, VA. I will be selling my handmade journals, sketchbooks, photo albums, and guest books. I will also have a few woodblock prints and photos for sale, as well as handmade notecards and my wine bottle gift bags made from upcycled shirtsleeves.

If you'll be in the Valley this Memorial Day weekend, please stop by Gypsy Hill Park and say hello. I will be there, along with my husband (and dedicated business partner), on Saturday from 10-5 and Sunday from noon to 5.


Congratulations, Sean and Julie!

>> Saturday, May 15, 2010

I would like to start off by congratulating Sean and Julie, who tied the knot today. They both went to college with my husband in Michigan, and coincidentally are now living about a half hour away from us in Virginia. I can not wait to hear all about their wedding when they get back. From what I've heard, it sounds like it will be absolutely lovely and full of personal touches. The reception is taking place on a farm in Julie's home state, and her wedding dress was custom made by a woman she found on Etsy.

I had the pleasure of creating the wedding guest book for Sean and Julie. I was given the creative freedom to design the book using their wedding colors, blue and yellow. For the recessed label in the cover listing their names, wedding date, and location I took my design cues from their beautifully modern invitations. I used a navy blue paper for the covers, light blue paper for the guards that you see along the spine, and pops of yellow for the stitching and label. I also used yellow paper for the paper on the insides of the covers.

The book is 8" x 8" which is the same size as the guest book I made for my own wedding. I think this large size is perfect for guest books because it gives friends and family plenty of room to write heart-felt messages, rather than listing just their names. I also use unlined pages for the guest books I make, which at least in our case, encouraged guests to leave us drawings and doodles on the pages as well. I know that Tony and I have enjoyed going back and reading through the messages in our book, and I hope the same holds true for Sean and Julie.


A love story

>> Monday, May 10, 2010

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a friend of the family who received my three cherry blossom journals. She loved the books that I had made for the three little sisters, and wanted me to make a set of custom books for her. She had been leading a church group for several years, and four of the girls in the group were getting ready to graduate (from my alma mater!) The four personalized journals that I made were to be given as gifts to the graduates.

The woman who ordered the books came up with the idea for the personalization. Each book's label read: "God and Emily: A love story" (but customized with each girl's name). She was also going to write a message to each girl inside the book before giving them to the graduates to fill with their thoughts and reflections.

I was given complete freedom to select all of the colors, patterns, and papers. I did e-mail the customer a few "sneak peek" photos throughout the process though. Based on my photos, she selected which of the four patterns she wanted for each girl's book. It was enjoyable to sort through my stash of decorative papers and pick out four of my favorites. And I think I've come up with a few new combos that I might use again in the future.

Since the books were to be given as gifts, I packaged each one in a little colored box. I also made gift tags using extra pieces of decorative paper from the covers and included coordinating ribbons as a finishing touch.


Vacation photo album

I've been binding lots of books lately, both custom orders and books for my booth at an upcoming craft fair. Unfortunately, my blogging hasn't been able to keep up with the flurry of books coming out of my studio. I have folders of photos on my desktop just waiting to be shared with you, so I'm going to try to catch up before I return to my bookmaking this evening.

I made this book a while back for a co-worker of mine. She will be taking a few trips to the beach this summer with her family, wanted a photo album to use for her vacation pictures. We chose these blue papers because they are reminiscent of the sea, and the speckled quality of the paper reminds me of sand with glimmering bits of shells peeking through. I bought this paper while I was in Italy years ago, and this seemed like the perfect time to use it. The book is bound using the Japanese stab binding.


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