Tuesday, October 7, 2014

My First Big Non-Fiber Craft Show -- Sugarloaf Craft Festival, Here I Come!

Zazzy Peacock "Feather" necklace, one of a new series
in which I'm felting 
several felted components together
to form larger sculptural pieces.
After going to Sugarloaf Craft Festivals for over fifteen years, I am getting ready to do my very first one as a vendor.  It is literally a dream come true.  Even before I poked my first felting needle, I used to go to these shows and think -- I wish I could have a booth here someday.  Well, that day is only about a week away now!

From Friday, October 17 through Sunday October 19, Zazzy Peacock Studios will be at the Sugarloaf Craft Festival in Gaithersburg, MD.  The show is held at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds.  My indoor booth will be #79 in Building 6B (on the lower level).    (I am also doing two more Sugarloaf shows this fall -- November 21-23 in Gaithersburg and December 12-14 in Chantilly, Virginia.)

Zazzy Peacock Geometric Statement Necklace
Not only is this my first Sugarloaf show, but this is really my first big "general" craft show -- with one small exception, every show I've done so far has been a fiber or wool show.   There's a big difference.  For one thing, I'm expecting a whole lot more competition.  These Sugarloaf shows have lots of jewelry vendors, whereas fiber shows have very few.    On the other hand, I'm hoping more customers are there actually shopping for jewelry, whereas I'm used to customers looking for yarn -- or wool or supplies --who are often surprised to find themselves buying jewelry in my booth.  I guess, we'll see how it goes.

I'm also expecting that most people will have no idea what needle felting is.  At the fiber festivals, most customers have an appreciation for how time-consuming and detailed my work is.  In fact, the most rewarding sales I've made at the Sheep & Wool Festival are to the customers who are experienced needle-felters.  The fact that they appreciate my work enough to pay for it is especially encouraging.  For this upcoming show, I have a feeling that I'll be doing a lot of explaining about my needle felting and wet felting process. (Have I mentioned that I needle felt everything about one millimeter at a time, then I wet felt it, then I needle felt it again?)  I usually have a little felting demonstration going, but that will be more important than ever next weekend. And I'm hoping the intricacy of my designs and my unique color palettes will speak for themselves. In any case, I'm excited to see how my Zazzy Peacock felted jewelry is received by the craft-fair-going crowd.  

Zazzy Peacock felted Cascade Petal Necklace with matching earrings
I should be crazy busy getting ready, but by some miracle, I am feeling quite prepared.  I've got plenty of inventory, most of which is well-organized and ready to display.  And my booth design worked really well as the Sheep & Wool Festival, so I'm sticking with that.   I am way overdue to post about the evolution of my booth and what I've learned (a lot!) since my first show back in May 2013.  That's next on my to-do list...

In the meantime, you can check out more of my work on my website.  Or better yet, come visit me next weekend in Gaithersburg at my very first Sugarloaf Craft Festival.  Hopefully, it will be the first of many!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Fall Gathering of Artisans for Special One-Day Show

Amethyst Lamp from Crystal Luxe Lighting

This fall, a Home & Fashion Accessory Showcase will feature the work of six talented local artists.  The one-day show will be held at a private home in Bethesda, Maryland by invitation only on October 18 from 10 am to 4 pm.  

Bring a friend (but not the kids, please) and enjoy a glass of wine, hors d'oeuvres, and a relaxed atmosphere while you shop for unique hand-crafted items.  It's a great opportunity to get in some early holiday shopping or to treat yourself to a one-of-a-kind gift.    Here are some brief descriptions and photos of what these wonderful artists will be offering at the show.

Aldeane Josephs -- Elegant custom-made lamps from Crystal Luxe Lighting -- each made from a one-of-a-kind exotic crystal or semi-precious stone set on an acrylic base with nickel hardware and a custom silk shade. Crystal Luxe Lighting lamps were featured in the 2014 D.C. Design House. See more of these sophisticated lamps in the Crystal Luxe Etsy shop.

"Girl Power-Let's Run Ms. T," acrylic on canvas by Beverly Rogers © 2014

Beverly Rogers -- Beautiful original abstract paintings on canvas, pillows, placemats,  and unique totes.  Beverly's lively art and home decor focus on color, balance, and connection.  

Kathy Berbakos -- Hand-knitted scarves and "corsage" bracelets.

Betty Farrell -- Unique jewelry made from semi-precious beads and crystals.

Personalized Ballet Tutu Tote Bag from Nancy Marshall

Wenzell Carter -- Original photography, note cards and holiday cards made from original photographs taken by the artist all around the world.

Nancy Marshall -- Unique handcrafted gifts including silk and beaded purses, monogrammed ballet tutu bags and aprons, children's hair ribbons and accessories, super hero capes, and chalk placemats.  Visit her Etsy shop, Fancy by Nancy, to see more.

So, as you can see, there will be something for everyone at this Home & Fashion Accessory Showcase.  If you receive an invitation to this special one-day event, please go enjoy the show -- Saturday, October 18 from 10 am to 4 pm.  

Note:  I unexpectedly had to pull out of this show.  I apologize to my customers and especially to my fellow artists for any confusion or inconvenience I have caused.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Awesome Guitars! From Cool Centerpieces to Fundraisers for a Great Cause

Photo credit:  Josh Barry Photography ©2013
Wow, I have so much to catch up on, I'm just going to jump right in with what's going on  now...  Well, it's been a while since my son's bar mitzvah, but we are finally following through with his mitzvah project.  This weekend, we are donating five electric guitars to a wonderful organization, Guitars Not Guns.  In a few weeks, our family will be volunteering at two fundraisers for GNG, where they will be raffling and/or auctioning off those guitars.  (See more about events below.)

So how exactly, you may ask, do we have five extra guitars to donate?  Well, for my younger son's bar mitzvah, we had a guitar-themed party.  He's been playing guitar since he was seven years old, so this was a no-brainer.  But as I'm not a big fan of styrofoam centerpieces that just get tossed after the event, I decided we would collect used electric guitars to add to my boys' small collection of electric guitars and bass guitars.  We would use those real guitars as centerpieces and then donate them to charity after our event.  It worked out great!  The guitars, which are really works of art in themselves, looked awesome on the tables lit up on shimmering CDs scattered with custom picks.

Photo credit:  Josh Barry Photography ©2013
I can't tell you how excited I was when we found the DC chapter of Guitars Not Guns.  This was just the perfect organization for us to help.  With locations across the U.S., they provide free guitars and lessons to foster kids and at-risk youth. In their words, "Using music as a catalyst we encourage children and teens to use their creativity to foster personal development and to help divert them from self-destructive influences such as drugs, alcohol and gang-related activities. By providing free guitars and lessons we hope to engage their creative potential and help them achieve their dreams."  How awesome is that?  As if that's not enough, please watch this video about their amazing DC director, Gregg Hammond, and then go to their website and make a donation!

GNG's great work was inspiring and got me thinking -- what else can we do to help?  Someday, my son hopes to volunteer for GNG giving guitar lessons.  In the meantime, we had plenty of guitar-themed stuff from the bar mitzvah that we could sell to raise money.  Most fun of all for me, I made pick jewelry for party favors for the bar mitzvah, and I had plenty of leftover supplies.  So for these upcoming fundraisers, we will also be selling some unique pick jewelry, with all proceeds going to GNG.  We also have some cool guitar pens and inflatable guitars that I'm hoping will be a big hit at street festivals.

Assorted handmade (by me) pick jewelry with my custom Rainbow Rock design, along with resin guitar pens.  The black picks have my son's name on the back (also in a unique design) and were used for the party favors. I made sure to order extra picks (all from Pick World) for GNG fundraisers.  Designs © Jill Newman 2013.  

So if you're in the DC area, come out to one or more of the GNG fundraisers this fall.  On Saturday, October 11, 2014 at 7 pm, a benefit concert will be held at the Howard Theatre in Washington, DC.  Three bands will be performing, and we'll be there selling raffle tickets and pick jewelry and taking donations. Click for details.  On Sunday, October 12, 2014, we will be at the GNG booth at the Courthouse Arts & Craft Beer Festival, a music and beer fair in Clarendon, Virginia.  We can't wait!

For those considering a guitar-themed party, here are a few more photos to give you some ideas.  Feel free to ask for more details.   I had fun doing it and would be happy to share my experience. :-)

I got a few miniature replica guitars -- this is Joe Strummer's "Trash City" Telecaster--
to decorate the cocktail tables.  Photo credit:  Josh Barry Photography © 2013
I made this sign out of plywood, enlarged prints of my custom pick designs,
rope lights, and a styrofoam guitar.  Yes, I caved and bought a few foam guitars from www.guitarcenterpieces.com to decorate spaces where real guitars
wouldn't work (and because how many guitars could I buy?!).
Pick designs © Jill Newman 2013; Photo credit:  Josh Barry Photography © 2013
This was clearly overkill, but I got little prints of famous guitars (also from guitarcenterpieces.com) to decorate the favor bags. I'm quite sure the kids barely noticed!  And yes, those are paper coffee bags, which were the perfect size.  I got them from one of my gift wrapping suppliers, Nashville Wraps.
I painted a replica George Harrison "Rocky" guitar for
 my son.  But that's a whole other post for another day. ;-)
Photo credit:  Josh Barry Photography © 2013