This weekend! You're invited! Bring friends if you like.
I've been busy with shows and making very little art this week, but I still have a lot of new stuff from this fall for the show, as does Melissa, who is always trying new things. I love her new "Onward" plates, to go with my small letterpress banners.
I'm doing a lot of getting-ready-for-shows work, but I managed to take a little time and work on my Will you?/Won't you? signpost self portrait. It's almost finished.
I also printed the invitations for the upcoming studio sale today on my treadle operated Chandler and Price. It's always great fun to run the big press.
Plus I had a deadline for the Memphis Daily News today for my monthly sketch feature, so I headed down to the Woodruff-Fontaine House to sketch it all decked out for Christmas. They're having an open house this Friday evening, so it seemed like a good moment to feature them.
I had an intensive week of printing getting ready for the Dog Days studio sale this weekend with Melissa Bridgman. As I was wrapping and gathering, I realized I had four brand new prints, a new letterpress poster, and a good handful of recent watercolors. I decided to take a cue from bookstores with their "recent arrivals" shelf and have a rack devoted to new work. It felt lovely to have enough to do that, and it also rewards the repeat comers by making it easy for them to see the new things. It's a nice idea to have that to work towards for future shows as well.
Below is some of Melissa's lovely pottery. I have a tea tray with her moths (like those small plates) that I use daily. I was delighted when my parents bought both teapots in this photo, because I had been admiring them myself. We are a heavily tea drinking family.
Mr. Darcy was the perfect greeter all weekend. He's really relaxed in the three years since I got him from the shelter. He wore himself out, though. Here he is stretched out at the end of the show, which truly is pretty much how Melissa and I felt as well, though we didn't join him. I am so grateful to have friends and neighbors both show up for these shows and also send their friends, which happened a good bit this weekend. I love being able to do what I love for a living and also have this level of autonomy over my career. Thanks to all of you who read this blog, share my work on facebook, come out for a show sometimes, and wish me well in this. I'm truly grateful. It takes a village, and I feel very lucky.
I'm getting ready for my Valentine Open Studio Sale, which will be Friday, Feb. 5th, from 5-8pm and Saturday, Feb. 6th, from 11-3. Melissa Bridgman will join me again with her gorgeous pottery.
I've been wanting to do some more note cards, and this year a valentine of Mr. Darcy seemed right. I got my press right around Valentine's several years ago, and a valentine block was the first thing I carved for it. I've tried to continue that tradition each year. I had fun doing the bigger block of him and decided to make a small one as well. Sometimes people ask if I can have a
smaller version of a given print. As you can see above, carved blocks don't zoom like a computer image, so I'm carving a small one from scratch. It's fun to think about simplifying a block I enjoyed doing large.
I'm also typesetting a postcard for the show. I had a leftover sliver of linoleum that seemed the right size to make a small border with. I continue to be grateful to Cheryl Parker, who traded me a cabinet type for paintings when I was just starting out. I would never have managed such a collection on my own, and it's delightful to have.
It was such fun to have Melissa and her beautiful pottery in my studio gallery for the weekend. She's great company, and our work looks good together. I enjoyed meeting her friends and introducing her to mine. I'm grateful for everyone who came out and who spread the info on facebook. I do think both fb and the visibility of my current Dixon show made it a great weekend for both of us. I have so enjoyed working for myself, doing smaller work, and being able to throw my own shows instead of relying on galleries. Facebook and Square (which lets independent operators accept credit cards and a doable rate) have both been power-to-the-people developments over recent years. Much like the music industry, it is now possible to cut out the middle man and still have an art career. I love doing smaller, more affordable prints instead of all large gallery paintings. And I'm grateful to everyone who comes out to shows, comments, or spreads the word on fb. You all let me do what I love for a living, and I could not be more lucky.
I decided to celebrate (and take advantage of the cleaning I did) and have a party last night as well. Sadly, my regular jam group is losing our mandolin player to Louisiana, so we gave him a send off party last night. I love having friends, music, and dancing in my house. Two of the three over the last few days is not bad at all, and I'm hoping to add in a little dancing soon as well.
Melissa Bridgman of Bridgman Pottery is teaming up with me again this year for my holiday sale. We'll be open this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 12 and 13, from 12-5 both days at 1780 Autumn Ave. in Midtown Memphis. I love her work and use her bowl for breakfast and her tea things throughout the day. We'll both have small present priced work as well as our bigger things. I'll have all the prints from my current Dixon show available as well as my new dance and musician prints I've been playing with since. And we were both baking last night for the show. Banana bread, tea cakes, and cookies. Drop in and say hi!
We've got tea time covered.
Melissa has some Memphis map platters, and I've been playing with printing on tee shirts. Sizes and colors are limited, since I'm using shirts I find in thrift stores. It's a bit of a treasure hunt. This isn't what I want to do in bulk, but I thought I'd try a few as a special holiday show option.
Memphis has a great public radio station that does something unique in my experience (and I listen to a lot of NPR as I travel). Every single day and usually twice a day, they have a short program called Checking on the Arts. They interview artists, actors, musicians, people putting on fairs and booking concert halls, anyone doing something artistic in Memphis. Lots of stations get occasional bands into the studio, but no one I've heard has daily features that include visual artists as well. As a listener, I've gone to a number of plays I might not have, once I've heard the director or actors talking about the production, and I hear about lots of things I want to get out and do.
As an artist, it is gold. Especially since I've gone solo and don't have a gallery doing publicity for me, it is a beautiful thing to have a station willing to put me on the air and let me talk to the city.
And they do an amazing job. I got in this time, and Darel Snodgrass had a printout about my new show sitting on his desk already. He always does research ahead of time, asks great questions, keeps things moving along, covers everything that needs to be announced (challenging this time, because I have a lot on this year), and he does it all with warmth and enthusiasm. Here is this week's interview about Dixon, MTS, my holiday sale, and more....
It was a lovely weekend's sale this past weekend. I enjoyed having so many friends in my house, and I also loved having Melissa Bridgman's pottery in my front room. I was sad to see it all packed up to go home, but I'm glad I got to keep a tea canister with a tiny bird's nest on top. It matches my teapot and cups.
After two days of socializing and doing the selling part of art, it felt great to draw out a new print last night. I've been looking at this page in my sketchbook for my next print, and I drew it out to size last night so it will be waiting for me to dive right in when I get back from Cape May.
I leave tomorrow for a week's worth of illustration job at Cape Resorts. I'm looking forward to painting all their Christmas decorations. Click on this link to watch a bunch of my previous paintings for them flash back. It's such fun to see my art used like that!
I'm setting up today for tomorrow's Open Studio Sale from 12-5. It's only one day this year because of the marathon tying things up on Saturday, though it turns out that the race was cancelled after all due to ice and cold.
I'll be here no matter what the weather. I've got hot cider, and later this afternoon I'll be baking the cookies I mixed up yesterday. So come on over if you're out and about, or if you've got a little cabin fever built up. Hopefully we're through the ice, but I'll be open regardless.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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