Thursday, July 29, 2010

Handmade Promenade recap

Well guys, my first real craft fair came and went, and sadly did not go as well as I'd hoped. I told myself not to get my hopes up too much - I'm just starting out, and it was on a Tuesday. I told myself I'd be happy just to get out there and get my stuff seen. But I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't very disappointed that I didn't sell anything except to three friends of mine. I got a lot of compliments on the work, but every time someone walked by without even stopping, or with only a cursory glance, I felt wounded. After working so hard to make ceramic designs that I was really excited about, I started doubting myself and all my hard work. I started doubting my pricing. I doubted my display set up. I definitely have some doubts about the appeal of my business cards. I really started doubting the ceramics themselves. *sigh* As my husband is fond of telling me, I'm really good at beating myself up, and this was a perfect opportunity.
My husband perfectly expresses my feelings here.

But I'd also be lying if I said I didn't have a good time. I really did! We were lucky enough to have a booth next to Talia of Conduit Press (whose handmade journals and secret stash books are AWESOME), who is an acquaintance of my husband, along with her husband Jim. I'm so bad at introducing myself to people I don't know, so it was cool having someone to talk to that I'd already met.

And man, there were some amazing crafters there! There was not a single booth that didn't have stuff I would buy if I weren't broke as hell. I felt pretty honored to get to show my work along side such talented folks. Most of them I've seen at other events I've gone to as a shopper, so I was already an admirer of a lot of them. It was very cool to meet them as a fellow crafter, and give them all a mustache sticker.
Nich's Dad, who doesn't need the sticker, but was a good sport about it.

In the end, I feel like it was a good trial run. I got to test out a display arrangement, and I know what I'd like to tweak next time. And having this deadline got me going on a banner and a new kiln load of stuff, which is excellent. Yes, my bank account is on it's last legs, and I'd like to make a little money, but I know that will come in time if I just keep at this. I'm reminded of how many people's work I've admired but couldn't afford at one fair, but saw at another and finally got to make a purchase. Hopefully people will begin to recognize me and my ceramics if I just keep it up. It's worth it to get to make things I love.

To see pics of the whole thing, with links to all the crafters that were there that day, visit my facebook page.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Handmade Promenade and RIP Dr. Girlfriend

Today is my first craft fair. That's right, my first craft fair ever. I've been a vendor at Kentuckiana Pug Rescue's fund raisers a few times, and sold pottery at the student sale at IUPUI, but this is my first real craft fair. I was fine until around 7p last night when our goldfish, Dr. Girlfriend, died after a week of struggling at the bottom of the tank.
RIP pretty lady.
My mood took a dive, and then I started thinking about what I had left to do before the fair, and I started getting panicky. My husband and I sat pricing and wrapping pottery for about 2 hours last night before I had to go into work. We got everything packed up and in the car. The only thing I can't find are my dadgum business cards. I had to remind myself to breathe.

Somehow I'm a little calmer today. I guess because I know there's not much left for me to do but have a cup of coffee and go setup. I have shelves and bags and a credit card machine and a bunch of cute pottery. I've gone over my stuff to bring checklist twice. I feel like a professional.

ALRIGHT! If you're in Indy and you want to come see me, I'll be at Handmade Promenade at the Stadium Village Farmer's Market in the Schapiro's parking lot from 4p-7:30p. 

I think if I can get a Reuben sandwich from Schapiro's today, all will be right with the world.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


A friend of mine is doing a paper for her folklore class about clothing, accessory, and body art selections and the choices we make while dressing ourselves. She asked me to help her out by telling her about what I'm wearing and why. At first I thought my clothing has little significance (I'm wearing a t-shirt and jeans), but as I started writing, it occurred to me how much who I am and how I grew up influence what I wear everyday. Anyway, I thought it was kind of interesting, so I'm posting what I wrote here.

"Right now I'm wearing my "Pugs Rock" t-shirt because it was sitting on the top of the clean clothes pile (er, yesterday - I didn't go anywhere, so I'm wearing it again today - it was closest to the bed). I did actually plan to throw on the wheel and get dirty today, but since clay washes out, I'll usually wear any t-shirt around the house that isn't for Fedex. Also, this t-shirt has my artwork on it, and was given to me free because I designed it.

I'm wearing jeans that are clean and free of holes enough that I can leave the house in them. I believe they came from a thrift store, but I can't be certain. I also generally pick out jeans I'm going to wear based on whether I've gained or lost weight and whether they fit. This seems to be a constantly changing assessment.

When I leave the house to go pick up my ceramics, I will put on my black and white converse, which are really comfy and quick to lace up, and sometimes I don't bother to lace them up. I like how they feel on my feet (like socks with soles), and I've always wanted a pair of converse, but only just bought these a few months ago second hand from Plato's Closet. I also bought them because I plan to paint them at some point, which is half of why I like Converse so much.

I'm wearing my wedding set, the only jewelry I ever really wear. I'm a tomboy and rarely wear jewelry, though I will on special occasions. My wedding band is titanium, which was affordable and also super shiny and silver looking, and I always wanted a simple silver wedding band. It was also handmade by a couple who sells titanium jewelry on Etsy, and I liked having a handmade wedding ring. I wear my engagement ring because I never wanted a fancy engagement ring, but this one is antique (belonged to his grandma) and also didn't cost anything except to resize it. I always said I'd kill a guy if he spent thousands of dollars on a ring when he could get us a car or something. Anyway, it appeals to me because I'm cheap but also sentimental, so I wear it all the time. I think it's the most beautiful piece of jewelry I've ever owned:)

As for my haircut, I've literally been saying for years how big a pain having long hair is, and how I should just shave it all off. I used to say it at least once a summer. I've never owned a car with A/C, so that was a big part of it. Having your hair whipping around and sticking to your sweaty face when your windows are down sucks. Plus, I've always bristled at the idea that there are clothing, hairstyles, or activities that girls should not do, that are considered "not ladylike". I've been stubbornly and sometimes childishly rebelling against those conventions most of my life. Cutting all my hair off is kind of a big fuck you to people who still hold certain ideas about gender, sexuality, and masculinity and femininity. I feel like I can still wear make up and a dress and be bald and drive a forklift and make pottery with pink birds and flowers on it. I don't have to choose one or the other. I like combat boots AND 10 in stiletto pumps.

My Dad's family are all working class, and my grandmother was a single mom who grew up in the depression, and has this exaggerated sense of wastefulness and thrift. I think she's a crazy old bat, but I think her being a cheapskate influenced my Dad, which influenced me. I have a real hard time spending money on things that aren't "practical". I rarely buy new clothing, and when I do it's generally for a special occasion. Sometimes I have to remind myself that it's ok to go out and buy clothes and things for the house, that they are necessities, and that I don't have to wear and use *everything* until it wears out or dies. But it's a hard habit to break, so most of the clothes I own are pretty ragged, and I'll continue to wear them despite various stains, holes, and tears. I'm also lazy as hell, so I often don't bother to do much to fix those things. At times I feel like I should care a little more about my appearance, but most of the time I feel like I have other more important things to worry about, and that being reasonably intelligent and creative is more important to me than being fashionable or neat. I want people to like me, not my appearance, and while I know that even the kindest people will judge you at least a little based on what you look like, I feel like my appearance helps me weed out people who are shallow and who I'd rather not waste my friendship on.

Whew! And I here I thought my clothing choices were simple."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My melodramatic life.

The last couple posts I've made probably gave you the impression that things were going pretty well in the realm of Lori Leaumont. Kick ass pottery was being made, genius ideas were being hatched and attempted, and stunning graffiti was discovered. I'm sure you were all hanging on the edge of your seats to hear the outcome of some of my recent escapades.

DISASTER! DESPAIR! HEARTACHE! Life sucks right now, in short. Sorry to disappoint you.

After feeling like some kind of she-woman mechanic that could fix anything, both our cars are once again breaking in every imaginable way, and I'm so exasperated with both of them that I just want to drop them off at a mechanic, or possibly a junk yard, and be done with them. My driver's side door will no longer open, so I have to crawl over the passenger side to get in. Also, the lack of a muffler (did I mention my muffler fell off?) is causing the interior of my car to be filled with barely tolerable gasoline fumes when I drive. I also apparently changed the spark plugs and wires for nothing, because the car still sputters when its wet outside, which leads me to believe I need to change the distributor cap as well (that's assuming I know what the hell I'm talking about, which I don't. I know only as much about cars as I have gleaned from a 15 minute perusal of one section of the Chilton's manual, which obviously makes me an expert.)

Remember, also, that really cool deer head project I was so excited about? The one that was such an unbelievably cool idea that it was probably going to be the center piece of my booth at Oranje in September? The one I was patting myself on the back about, dusting off my shoulders, and daydreaming about how stores and customers were going to be knocking down my door to get one of these? (Maybe you don't remember all that, because maybe I didn't say all that in my blog; however, that's certainly what was going on in MY head.)

Well, it fucking FAILED.

The slots shrunk and were too irregular; the slabs were too thick, and the parts were too brittle to withstand me trying to force them to fit together. It snapped multiple times, and in my further attempts to improve upon the design, it became rapidly and abundantly clear that this was NOT a good idea for a ceramic construction. I've given up on the damn thing. At least, for now anyway. (Grumble, grumble, stupid deer head.)

Guess what else? Remember that pitcher and bottle set I made with all the cool carving and painting and whatnot? Well, my kiln decided to choose now, right before a slew of shows and fairs, to stop working properly and underfire, leaving me with a bunch of very brittle and delicate bisqueware. While everything else is ok, and I've already managed to successfully glaze a lot of it, I suffered a casualty - the handled pitcher. I foolishly picked up the pitcher by the handle to glaze it, and it snapped right off. I was pretty disappointed, but I decided to just file down the nubs left behind as close to being level with the surface as possible, and paint over it. I'll know tomorrow what it looks like when I get it back from the glaze kiln. Also, my super secret project was weirdly affected by the glaze firing, and the colors came out all wrong, not to mention the bottom of one of the pieces stuck to the kiln shelf due to warping, so I have to grind shelf and glaze off the bottom and hope it's salvageable. *sigh*


In short, money is tight, my kiln probably needs new elements, my cars are screwed up (Nich's got a flat yesterday. It NEVER ENDS), one of my favorite pieces broke, and I've been having chest pains for two weeks that lead me to believe I should go see a doctor and get back on some anti-anxiety medication, especially since driving a forklift at night that I'm still not completely comfortable with still freaks me out, and has caused me to break down into tears at least once.

On the bright side (DEAR LORD, there's a bright side?), I mixed up my dates for the upcoming Handmade Promenade which I'm attending, and inadvertently gave myself an extra week to prepare by rushing to get things done this past weekend. I got a bunch of new stuff glazed, and I'm really pleased with the outcome of a lot of it. I've got some crappy cell phone shots so you can see what I've been up to.

If you're in Indianapolis, you can stop by Handmade Promenade from 4:30p-7p on Tuesday, July 27th in the Schapiro's parking lot on south Meridian. It will be going on in conjunction with the Stadium Farmer's Market, and there are going to be some awesome crafters there, so it's definitely worth checking out. If you're out and about, stop by and say hi, pat me on the back, and tell me everything is going to be ok.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Work in progress. Yeah, I'm a rebel.

When I was still in school, I did a lot of very intricate, heavily carved pieces. They took forever, but my professor liked them and encouraged me to continue making them, and everyone liked those pieces best, it seemed. So of course, as soon as I graduated, I decided I was burnt out on carving my stuff. "Fuck carving!" I said to myself. "I'm a rebel! I won't be tied down to any one process! I'm not gonna make stuff just because other people like it!" And I jumped up and down and made childish faces and crossed my arms firmly and grumpily.

I knew I needed to stop spending so much time on single pieces and improve my throwing by making lots of quick things. I'm glad I did that, because I think I've learned a lot in the past year. I'm certainly much better at making mugs with handles that don't crack off when they dry. But I really haven't made a lot of "fine art" pieces since graduation. (Whatever that means).

About a month ago, one of my friends and former classmates commented on how she didn't have the patience to do the kind of intensive, intricate work I did on my pieces. My response was "Oh, I don't do that kind of stuff anymore. I just did it to please Mark (my somewhat terrifying professor/head of the Ceramics Dept)." Which I realized soon after I said it was an outright lie.

I remembered I had started carving on my pieces originally because I was taking block printing at the time, and I found carving the block of linoleum rather soothing. Once I'd drawn out my design, I would sit and carve out all these little swirls and details, and my brain could just kind of zone out and float around, daydreaming and thinking of new ideas for artwork. It was really kind of ideal, and I was happy to bring a similar process to my porcelain pieces. I had even started to incorporate print making into my ceramics with various different processes, and I was excited to be carrying a dialogue back and forth between the two bodies of work - my prints and my ceramics. After graduation, I let both print making and carving fall by the wayside. Both processes were too time consuming and labor intensive, and I needed to start making work to sell.

When I got home that night, I took a bone dry bottle I'd thrown the previous week and began carving on it. Then I took a pitcher and carved it as well. I painted on them both, and made them into a set. Then yesterday evening I grabbed a blank tile I'd made and never did anything with, drew on it in pencil, and started carving it.

My friend was like "You just told me the other day you didn't do carving anymore! Yay!" "Yeah, lol, I guess I did." I'm happy to be doing it again.

At least until I get bored with it, anyway. Or people like it too much and I feel a childish need to rebel.