Saturday, November 30, 2013

Handmade Promenade Holiday Pop-up Shop

I'm pleased to announce that for the second year in a row, I'm selling my work at Handmade Promenade's pop-up shop on College and Mass Ave. I'm really excited to be selling there again! I've made some fun new items for this years shop, including new hand painted pendants, magnets, and ornaments. If you haven't stopped in already, be sure to check it out. It's chock full of awesome! I promise, you will find gifts for everyone on your list, and they will all be totally unique and handmade. 

If you snagged one of my pendants from the Small Business Saturday swag bags today, thanks for stopping by to check out my stuff! Please be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep up with nifty things I'm working on.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Role Models: Lori Leaumont

My badass lady friend Talia over at Conduit Press did this write up about me and my work on her blog, and I just have to share it because it made me cry. Not like a single, glistening anime-style tear, either.

Through all my art and passion projects, I often wonder if any one is paying attention, and if any of it will make a difference. Reading something like this reminds me to keep it up.

Thanks for the love, Talia.

Role Models: Lori Leaumont

While you're clicking about, check out Talia's creative reuse of books! Nich and I have one of her flask book safes on our shelf, and it makes me feel like I live in a mystery. One day I'll rig it up so it'll sit right next to a bust of Beethoven that is actually a lever for a secret room.

Conduit Press

Monday, January 28, 2013

Big Car's 5 x 5

I'm excited to announce that I've been selected as one of the final 5 presenters in Big Car's 5 x 5 event! Friday, February 8th at 7pm, I get 5 slides and 5 minutes to convince the audience and judges why they should give me $10000 to create a mobile workshop. Wish me luck! 

Here was the proposal I submitted. Whether I win this or not, I'm gonna make this happen! 

Thanks to one of my backers for sharing his daughter's story about my Star Girl jar. I think it made my proposal complete:)

The Action Girl's Storytelling Workshop

"The star is where it's from. I want Patch the Puppy to play with Star Cat. I want Star Cat to be a cat. I want Star Cat to be a Star Cat. She likes to be Star Cat...playing with me. [I would] pet her and play with her. Mostly like to pet and mostly like to love and tell stories and tell stories. She loves me." - Star Cat, a story made up by a 4 year old girl

From the time we can speak, human beings tell each other stories. Ask a little girl to tell you a story, and she'll spin a wild yarn off the top of her head without hesitation. However, as girls grow up into teens, and then adults, something changes.

Despite the fact that girls make up half of the world's population, the world is short on female storytellers. In 2012, only 9% of the top grossing films in the US were directed by women. But more surprisingly, male characters outnumber females in kids movies 3:1. Why is this a problem? Because when girls don't see themselves reflected in the stories they consume, they are taught that girl's stories don't matter.

The wonderful thing about the world we live in today is that big budget movies and network TV are no longer the only media available. Thanks to the internet and social media, people from all over the world are creating the kind of content they want to see independently, and sharing it with the world. Human beings are now able to connect and communicate on a scale never before possible in human history. We live in an exciting time!

But if we want half of the world's population to be a part of this global conversation, we have to empower girls to speak up, to create, to lead.

The Action Girl's Storytelling Workshop is an idea to create a mobile art studio and media project, designed to empower girls all over Indianapolis to create stories by girls, for girls, and then share them with the world. Using public spaces such as libraries, classrooms, and community centers, the mobile studio will provide video and camera equipment, art materials, and a safe, fun environment that will encourage girls to be creative, take risks, and make something real. It will connect students with creative mentors that will teach them how to turn their story ideas into reality. Most importantly, student storytellers will be able to share their creations via the Action Girl website, specifically created for this project. Their stories will be shared and enjoyed by the world. 

By using art to empower girls to value their voices, we will be giving them the tools they need to be active members of our community, to be leaders, makers. They will grow to be women of action who will make Indianapolis a better place because they believe they have something to contribute to it, and because their stories are a part of it. Because girl's stories matter, they are a part of who we are, and they can change the world. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Girl Stories show tonight!!!

Tonight is the first of two gallery openings showcasing the Girl Stories project. Here's my artist statement for the show tonight. If you're in Indy, it's at Beech Grove Clay Works from 5p-8p. The address is 339 Main St, Beech Grove Indiana. Hope to see you there!

About the Girl Stories Project


I am an artist whose work has always revolved around storytelling. As a lover of stories in all media, my work involves elements of illustration and narrative, telling visual stories on the surface of my porcelain pots and sculptures. I love folklore, pop culture, and stories meant for children, so my work has always looked like something out of a children’s book – bright, colorful, and sometimes a little strange, but fun. Stories, especially fiction, interest me because they are treated as entertainment, but they both reflect and influence the culture we live in.

I’ve always been annoyed at the lack of diverse female characters in the majority of movies, books, and video games that I loved, but having a daughter of my own brought my interest in girl’s stories to a head. I wanted stories for her that depicted girls as more than just princesses or damsels in distress, and while they existed, they weren’t nearly as plentiful as I’d like. I began researching gender bias in the media, and it influenced my artwork so much, I decided to do a project.

In August of 2012, I launched a fundraiser on an internet site called Kickstarter, calling for backers interested in my project to donate money to help me make my project a reality. My original idea was to create a series of girl character jar sculptures with stories to go with each. I smashed my goal of $700 in less than 24 hours, and ended with over $2500 by the end of the month. I definitely wasn’t alone in my desire for better stories for girls.

Since I received more money than I needed, I decided to use the surplus to encourage other girls to tell stories with art too. I teamed up with Beech Grove Clay Works and Big Brothers Big Sisters to make a free workshop available for girls and their mentors. I was inspired by Girls Rock Indy and the Girl Scouts, both programs who focused on single sex environments to encourage girls to feel safe expressing their ideas and try new things, without feeling self-conscious or shy.

I hope to continue this project, making workshops available to girls who need them most, and who might otherwise not get an opportunity to use a ceramics studio, or may not be able to afford it.  It is my hope that by creating artwork that tells good stories about girls, and encouraging more girls and women to tell stories of their own, the next generation of artists, filmmakers, programmers, scientists, writers, and leaders will come from girls who learned to value their voice and ideas, and tell stories of their own.

“The function of art is to do more than tell it like it is - it’s to imagine what is possible.” 
bell hooks

Monday, September 24, 2012

Reflections on doing my Kickstarter

It is 7:00 on a Monday morning. I am sitting here with a cup of coffee, determined to get some work done like a real, live adult. I'm downloading writing software for my iPhone so I can write stories while Maddy is asleep (her crib is in the same room as our computer). I don't know how long it's been since I've posted to this blog, but it feels like an age.

Most of my energy has been directed towards my Girl Stories project, which is SUPER SECRET. I've only been sharing my updates on that with my backers, which doesn't leave much artwork to share here. Everything else I've felt like sharing has been everyday Facebook type stuff - lots of stupid MS Paint style drawings, and videos of Maddy. There's not much left over for the blog.

The one thing I've been meaning to blog about but haven't is a wrap up on my experience with running a Kickstarter. 

One of the coolest things about doing that project was that it forced me to reach out to a lot of people. I don't just mean asking people for pledges, either. I mean that it gave me a reason to contact organizations, fellow artists, and friends to talk about the work I wanted to do. That's something I've always struggled with - putting myself out there, believing in what I'm doing enough to tell people about it. Suddenly, I find myself less intimidated by the idea of calling a gallery or the director of an organization. This project gave me a laser-light focus for my ideas, and a framework to talk about them that got people excited. I realized just how many people  I can link up with to get things done for girls and for myself; whose interests and passions line up perfectly with my own. I don't think I realized how much my shyness was holding me back, making me miss out on opportunities that would enrich my life and my work.

Doing this project made me realize that what really gets me fired up is storytelling and human connection. I've always been turned off by the elitism of the art world, and have found traditional gallery settings cold and disengaging. I am drawn to the low brow, to art that is accessible to the masses. Not that I want art dumbed down - I don't think that public art has to be unintelligent, and I think its foolish to assume that because the general public is not educated about art in a traditional sense, they are stupid and unable to enjoy it. I just want to make art that is authentic, not contrived. I want art to be placed in the hands of people who feel the least like they have a story to tell. I want to connect with those people, and figure out how best to have a conversation with them.

My friend Courtney just shared a TEDtalk with me given by Brene Brown ( about human connection and vulnerability that has really stayed with me. Suddenly, the word storyteller is popping up everywhere I look, and it lights my brain up. I feel like a kid playing punch-buggy, suddenly seeing VW beetles everywhere because I'm looking for them. I watched this TEDtalk about vulnerability and risk, and how the happiest people are the ones who live with "wholeheartedness", a willingness to make themselves vulnerable to others, to live with authenticity and take risk in personal relationships. I always thought I was a very open and unguarded person, but I'm coming to realize that I am the very definition of guarded. I have a hard time letting people in. I crave friendship, but socialization exhausts me. I fear being rejected or judged. I feel strange and alienated from the people I'd most like to build relationships with. I am afraid that if put myself out there, I will be unwanted. People will see my strangeness, and be repulsed by it. 

Fear of rejection has limited my friendships, my sense of connectedness to the community, and even my artwork. I'm beginning to take a hard look at how best to lay my guard down, how to lay myself bare, make the most authentic artwork I can make, and really open myself up to people, even if I risk the most brutal rejection. The alternative is to hole myself up with my family and my cats, playing iPhone games and surfing the internet, catching up on seasons of New Girl on Hulu. I could easily see myself falling into that trap, forever. I do, from time to time. I have to push myself to get out into the world, and I'm always happier for it when I do, but each time still feels like a colossal effort.

This blog post is ridiculously disjointed and rambling. It is in dire need of editing. But the point I am making, if there is one, is that I'm so glad I pushed myself to do a Kickstarter. I didn't really believe it would succeed, or that people would get behind me. I had no confidence in my work, but I faked it to myself, and pushed myself to do it, to believe in it, and to get excited. It really makes me wonder what else I can do. Can I talk to strangers on the street about art? (Utterly terrifying!) Can I found a non-profit organization for clay art for underprivileged girls? (Someday! Maybe soon!) Can I push my work to a level of technical and conceptual excellence that I want it to achieve? (YES! With hard work, and a lot of vulnerability! And a lot of heartache and insecurity, and more hard hard work. Yes. I can do this.)

Fall is coming now, and I'm already bracing myself for the chilly weather, and my studio concrete floors getting horribly cold. My first inclination is to curl up in a corner with a blanket and a mug of hot cocoa and hibernate away from the world. Instead, I'm going to buy a new space heater, a kettle, and some tea, and LIVE IN MY STUDIO until I can pour out every ounce of creativity and heart into my work, and my studio shelves are fit to burst with new art. I'm going to "lean into (my) discomfort," as Brene said in her talk. I'm tired of being comfortable. I want to be alive.