Sunday, March 23, 2008

Little Guys, Big Hearts.

I wrote about Cindy Pacillos a couple months ago when i showed an image of her wonderful "Little Guys" i sent my mom as a gift. I was very excited when she said she would answer my interview questions for my blog. She's a very sweet lady and extreamly talented!


1. I started teaching a kids hanbuilding class at an art center in 1972. I couldn't keep my hands out of the clay after the kids had gone home. Soon I had my own kiln and my business was born. In 1973 I left the art center (I had been the director) and have worked full time in clay ever since.


2. I have always made animals rather than pots. At first they were flat wall pieces mounted on barnboard. By 1974-5 they were 3D and came in all sizes from the 1 1/2" Little Guys to 2' tall giraffes. I made hundreds of wide mouth frogs of all sizes and sold my work at many art fairs in Cincinnati. I became known as "The Frog Lady of Cincinnati".

I moved to the NC mountains in 1976. By 1981, I was making far more Little Guys than large sculptures. I added little angels in 1992, Garden Frogs came and went from 1994 to 2001, and Women of Peace were added in 2001.


3. My Women of Peace were born on Sept 11, 2001. They were my response to the obvious need for women to be full partners in the peace process at all levels. I create animals because I love them. I have made many castles and wizards over the years and wish there was time in my life to make more. I love the Merlin stories. My dragons are more wistful than fierce.


4. I must meld my interests and the images that arise from them with the images my customers respond to and want to own. Wizards and dragons are an example. I love to make them but the market for $400 wizards and dragons is small, so I don't make many. It's been a challenge to create a year round business in a market that is so dominated by Christmas. My Women of Peace sell very well at Mothers Day, so that helps. I sell to many galleries in tourist areas. This gives me a good summer season. I have 3 employees who do my glazing and shipping. I do all the clay work. It's hard to have enough skilled workers to make sure I fill all the orders on time without having too many people during slower times. The craft marketplace has been unstable since 2001, so this balance has been especially hard to achieve. I love working at home(my studio is next door) and melding my family's needs into my flexible work day. I love creating more than anything else. I am so happy that I have been able to be in this highly creative business for over 30 years.


Enjoy her adorable Little Guys, and be inspired by her Women of Peace. She has some other wonderful images on her website!!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Lookie What I've Done. :)

I am way over due for some good quality blogging. There is so much, yet not enough to blog about it. There has been one topic i have been meaning to write for days now. On March 19th of last year, i came back from Eleuthera, Bahamas. I was doing mission work there, building houses, and trying a large abyss of new things. This trip opened me up to try so many new things when returning home. It helped me concur soooo many fears. Just deciding to go on the trip alone, with the circumstances i was suffering at the time, was a HUGH accomplishment in itself...but below is a wonderful list of other accomplishments that have taken place this past year since my arrival back to the states just one year ago.


While in the Bahamas I....
* I SLEPT!- i know this doesn't seem huge, but BELIEVE me, this was HUGH!
* Used a nail gun
* Talked to the community of Eleuthera
* Roofing
* Took walks and climbed on dagger sharp rock mountains
* Went up and down scary big ladder
* Read ALL of Steven, and part of Acts, the Old Testament and Matthew
* Cleaned trash in bug filled bushes
* Played softball with community and hit the ball!
* Learned how to perfect the "Navy Shower"
* Appreciated every moment
* Laid in the hammock, in the dark, by myself.
* Went for walks in the woods at night
* Prayed out loud, over the food for dinner
* Started to want to try anything i was scared of to see if i could do it
* Ate tuna noodle casserole
* Trusted my team
* Did mention sleeping yet?? ;)
* Tried conch and grouper
* Ate "meaty rice"
* Went for a walk on algae covered rocks, while trying not to slide off.
* Propeller plane to and from Eleuthera
* Had the chance to be vulnerable.

Other Accomplishments from March 2007 - March 2008

Food I've Tried - Yes folks, I've only recently tried all of these glorious foods

* Peanuts of many kinds
* Peanut M&M's
* Tomatoes
* Cold cheese - until now I've only had grilled cheese
* Spinach
* Black Beans
* Scallops
* Plantains
* Sword Fish
* ALCOHOL - ha, never thought that would happen
* Milk in tea
* More white foods....
* Yogurt
* Soy sausage - blehh
* Squash
* Zucchini
* Olives
* Feta Cheese
* Cranberries
* Apples
* Blueberries
* Peanut Butter - okay so i tried this more then a year ago, but not very much longer.
* Strawberries - icky
* Cranberries
* Raspberries
* An abyss of dried fruit -mmm
* Tuna Fish
* Oranges - nope
* Mandarin Oranges
* Lima Beans

Things i've accomplished while doing Visual Sales at Anthropologie

* Worked my A off and not only stayed on after Holidays but was asked to do VS
* Used a staple gun
* Used a drill
* Leaned to carry an 8 foot ladder
* Leaned to plant and take care of flowers

I'm sure there are plenty more i could add to this list. Since my trip, i've been less fearful in general, and more willing to try new things. It's amazing. I was the most fearful person i knew. I'm not saying I'm not fearful now, but even just the small changes i have seen in myself are miraculous.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


I just added a bunch of new goodies in my Etsy shop! Head over to it and let me know what you think! :) Graci.

Tea Time Tensha

Tea Time Tencha3

Sweet Simplicity!

These romantic earrings show your sweet side. Simple, yet elegant, these collage Tensha flower beads will show off your girlie side.

Spring Green Swarovski crystals dangle off of Sterling Silver lever back ear wires.

PS: Look for the matching necklace!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Miniatures To Make Even Your Barbie Jealous

I LOVE miniatures of all kinds. You must be used to this by now, and i LOVE food of all kind. {Again, used to it!} So, of course, i had to talk about these ardorable livelike jewelry items. Monica from Mini Mania finds fun miniatures and makes them into jewelry. Cute as a button, aren't they?


How long have you been crafting?

- Other than the typical arts and crafts in school, I've been crafting for a couple of years now. I never thought of myself as crafty or particularly creative, but the more I get into it, the more the ideas flow and it's so much fun! It helps that I am a jewelry person and I love all different kinds of jewelry.


Did you always craft in this genre?

- I started off working with polymer clay, but I eventually decided that I didn't want to work with it as a full-time business. I still work with clay as a hobby though, and I sometimes incorporate it into the kind of jewelry I make today.


Who or what inspires you?

- Besides my love for jewelry, which I've had since I was a kid, I am also attracted to miniatures, sweets, and all things that are cute, bright, cheerful, and happy! These are some of the things that inspire me and that I try to incorporate into the jewelry I make.


What challenges have you found while taking your craft into the business world?

- The challenges I've found while trying to turn my craft into a business is pricing my items and dealing with the accounting side. I'd rather make my jewelry, than worry about the numbers part!! I've also never been very good at math so I find this part difficult. Thankfully with the help of spreadsheets and trying to stay organized, things are a bit easier now! :)


PS. I'm originally from the Philippines but have lived in quite a few different countries for most of my life. I'm a TCK (third culture kid!) :)


Head over to her Etsy shop to see more of her adorable work! Just make sure you eat before you do. :)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Stop Judging!

Grandma: Haven't you met anyone at work you can out with?

Jen: No, i'm not really like anyone at work.

Grandma: Well maybe you can meet someone at a grocery store.

Jen: Grandma, i'm really fine, i have loads of friends that are just as cool as me.

Grandma: But, those people are church people.

My goodness! I'm so sick of my family judging me.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

On The Bright Side...

In the last three days i've been incredibly motivated. I wanted to bring at least 10 new items to the gallery so i had a fuller looking collection during the 49th Winter Park Art Show. We are going to have a TON of foot traffic this coming weekend and im hoping to make some sales.



On Monday, not only did i make 7 pairs of earrings, but i cooked two meals, and made enough as lunch for the rest of the week. I finished two necklaces that were ordered, got the parcel ready, wrote three thank you notes, and drove to the post office. I also loaded the dishwasher and took images of all the earrings. All of this before 12:45! Go Me!

This week is a long work week. Here is the run down.

March 7th; 10:45 - 7:15
March 8th; 8 - 5pm
March 9th; 11:45 - 5:15 (asked if i could make jewelry) (worked on jewelry until Midnight)
March 10th; 1 - 10pm
March 11th; 8 - 5pm (i'm seriously not used to these 5:30am wake ups anymore)
March 12th; 10 - 7pm (had to bring jewelry to Tim's at 9)
March 13th; 11 - 7pm
March 14th; 10:45 - 7:15
March 15th; YAY!!! DAY OFF!!! Off to the Art Show for me! :)

My best accomplishment by far though; I have only had junk food ONCE since March 5th. AMAZING! 11 days!!! Woo hoo! :) If you know me, then you'd know this is an amazing accompliment for me.

Tea Time Tensha

Sunflower Lily

The only other thing on my mind is that my birthday is coming up really soon, and I'm not really happy about it. No, not because i don't want to get older. That's inevitable. I hate birthdays. They bring such expectations of a nice day. I always take off work, and end up thinking that i would have had a better day at work, earning a salary instead. This year it looks like i'll be spending the day alone, which I suppose that's kind of sad. (Unless, your coming home Dan!!!) (Okay, i know your not) :( At least i have community group to look forward to later that evening. :)

Realization; The Self Analyzing Blog.

It's been a really rough month for me. I've felt completely disconnected, hallow and genuinely confused. Standing as a greeter at work can be kind of a bummer, but gives you time to think during the slow hours. So, I've had a lot of time to think through, [or should i say, over analyze] many characteristics i never even realized i processed. Today was a turning point though, I'm in a much better mood today, and am ready to write about all of the things i have recently learned about myself.


* Living alone for this long, is really unhealthy. [For Me]

* It's hard to convince someone not to be a pessimist, when you are partially one yourself.

* That i must be a broken record to Lindsey, Dan, Yolli, and my mom.

* That my first instinct when anyone wants to get to close to me is to run away.

* How predictable I am. I had no idea.
* At work, everyone had to show me this new cupcake apron because they thought of me.
* Two different co-workers brought two different tops to show me, both are tops that i already wanted.

* That i give myself constant guilt trips.

* Everyone wants to think of themselves as different special, unique.
[I know I'm guilty. But, while we're all trying hard to distinguish ourselves, we're really just proving we're just like everyone else]

* That i break into different dialects often.

* That I'd rather hurt, then hurt someone.

* That i work so hard, and still feel like I'm not deserving of spending any money on myself.

* How much i really love tea.

* That i despise when people walk into a store I'm working in and have the nerve to tell me that "this is easy to make" or "ohh honey look at this, you can make this". Keep your comments to yourself your horrid people!

* How uncomfortable I still am with almost all situations involving alcohol.

* That Birthdays are generally a time to reflect on all of the things you didn't accomplish, false hope and disappointment.
[cynical i know, but truthful for me]

Eleuthera, how i miss thee.


Almost one year ago, i was in Eleurtha Bahamas doing mission work. I seriously can't understand how a year goes by so quickly, but apparently it does. It's been a long interesting year, which i will talk more at length about later.

I hope everyone relishes every day they have, because life is just to short not to enjoy life. I know that is something i am trying to learn.

Paper-tabulos!!! i have a weakness for paper goodies. But, when they are handmade paper products? Well, now there's my kryptonite. Asa has a BRILLIANT shoppe called Inky Livie. She has a wonderful drawing style and can create cards in so many different genres.


How long have you been crafting?

I have been drawing all my life, and have always loved putting my hands to work on paper. The very first invites I made though, were for my best friend's 18th birthday-- if I remember right, I handmade about 50-60 invites, all individually (and painstakingly)handcut, handdrawn and handwritten! Needless to say, I loved it :)



Did you always craft in this genre?

Yes. I love paper. Although many, many times I find myself wishing I knew how to sew or knit or crochet.


Who or what inspires you?

You will see a lot of artist's bios say that everything that surrounds them inspires them, and cliche as it may sound, it's true. Once you are in this world of art and craft, you cannot help but look around you with an artist's or designer's eye. I am inspired by the various forms of art-- from architecture to music to fashion design , and at the same time, by the everyday things that surround me.



What challenges have you found while taking your craft into the business world?

I think that the biggest challenge, as with any parent, has been trying to keep a balance between my homelife and my work. I am a full-time mom first, a businesswoman second. It was critical for me to create a work schedule for myself that will not take away from my taking care of my children (Inow do all my work at night starting at 8pm-- my kids' bedtime). It is especially difficult when you are running a business from home, because it is so easy to switch into "work" mode by stepping into my studio, or sitting in fornt of my computer. I am getting better, though, at NOT working during the weekends that I am just home :) And I am lucky because I have had the support of my husband ever since I started my shop-- i.e., he puts the kids to bed as I start my "workday", or rather, "worknight".


Although, i do think Asa has gorgeous images of her work, these small sizes don't do her justice. Head over to her Etsy account to really see her beautiful work! :)

Sunday, March 9, 2008

You Captured My Fruit.

For as long as i can remember, food art, in any genre, has always captivated me. Well, obviously, looking at the name i chose for my own business. Produce (fruit and vegetable) artwork really tickles my fancy though. So, it's very understood why i adore them so much. Tim Chumley has a keen eye and works in many genre's.


How long have you been crafting?

I've been a photographer most of my life, receiving my first camera when I was six. But my interest in photography took off in high school and stayed pretty even until about five years ago, when the quality/cost ratio of digital imaging became reasonable. I quit my day job (teaching in grad school) 18 months ago to practice photography full time. I've been producing my own prints for sale for about a year.



Did you always craft in this genre?

I've never "crafted" before.


Who or what inspires you?

In fine art photography I appreciate photos that tell a story or evoke an emotion, or that offer a unique perspective on something traditional. My fruit series is an example of a different perspective. It's not expected, and because of that it draws a lot of attention.


What challenges have you found while taking your craft into the business world?

The promotion process never stops. I have to constantly look for new opportunities and outlets for my prints. For example, I recently started selling large framed prints on The other lesson I've learned is: compliments don't pay the bills. Everyone who sees my work "loves my work," and it's rewarding to hear. I never get tired of compliments. Some days that's what keeps me moving forward. But those remarks don't put kids through college.


Head over to Tim's etsy for more images, and make sure to head over to his website to see all the other amazing images he's taken.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Peace Out.

Green Peace

I just need to chill out, have peace, and get back into the groove of things. It's been a long week indeed, and I'm still not recharged from my trip. It's quite ridiculous.

On the bright side, Jessie from Cake Spy, just mentioned my blog. She blogged about the publicity she's had recently, and mentioned my interview with her. Thanks for the mention!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Acts. Needed. To. Do.

I'm sitting here, at a new coffee shop, and very much enjoying myself. [More about that later] but i seriously can't pay attention. Since my trip, there has been a stream of processing about so many different things, and it's been draining me. I haven't been able to do my work in almost two weeks now, and it's just ridiculous!!

Here's my on-going "to do" list;
* Write a marketing plan. (I need help) :(
* Make new jewels. (this one is sooo hard right now!)
* Add new jewels to website and Etsy.
* Send out my catalog to galleries. (Man, i procrastinated so long i screwed myself)
* Get sanity back. (ha)
* Call my relatives.
* Do ANYTHING other then sit on the internet.

I really need to get my act together. How do you folks stay motivated?

The Crafting Avenue.

I first met Avery about a year ago, Avery has a shoppe called Avenue Handmade. She makes cool recycled jewelry out of spoons and hand stitches greeting cards to give them a textured effect.


How long have you been crafting?

My whole life, it seems! Being homeschooled from kindergarten on, I can't remember a time when I wasn't finding creative ways to occupy myself, coming up with projects or games to do with my brother and sister, or making toys or gifts out of miscellaneous household items. I once made an entire dollhouse out of cardboard boxes and furnished it with furniture (and dolls!) I made out of popsicle sticks, glue, and fabric scraps. Oh, and there was that switchboard system I created out of a cardboard box and a set of airplane earphones…I guess one of my favorite materials was cardboard. *grin* I also loved origami as a kid. And friendship bracelets—I think making those was pretty much a rite of passage for almost every girl growing up in the nineties. Friendship bracelets were the first craft I ever sold, I think. I was a Girl Scout in middle school, which is when I learned how to use a sewing machine and read a pattern—I think the first thing I made was a culotte set! Haha. In high school and beyond I learned to crochet, and continued to make things (clothes, jewelry, cards) for my own use, partly out of thriftiness, but also because most mass-produced items just didn't appeal to me in one way or another. I always handmade most of my Christmas gifts because I never had much money to buy things. The year I learned to crochet, everyone I knew got a crocheted scarf or hat or purse! In the past year or so I've kind of found my niche as far as jewelry goes. As my personal tastes and interests have evolved, I've developed a more distinct style in what I create—which ends up incorporating mostly vintage or recycled household items, so I guess you could say I've simply returned to my childhood roots. Recycled silverware jewelry isn't such a far cry from dollhouse furniture made of popsicle sticks, when you think about it.


Did you always craft in this genre?

Which genre? See above. :)



Who or what inspires you?

Well, there's the obvious: color, texture, pattern, shape--when I'm working on jewelry or making a scarf, my most immediate sources of inspiration are probably visual ones. But on a whole, I am inspired by stories--the stories inherent in old things (whose hand held the spoon handle I turned into a pendant? whose clothing was held on by one of my vintage buttons? who found their way with an old map that I made into a collage?), the stories that we create around objects that are important to us, the stories we tell about ourselves with what we create, or how we style ourselves. My husband and family inspire me to work hard, and to have confidence in myself.


What challenges have you found while taking your craft into the business world?

I think I was a bit naive when I began trying to sell my jewelry. I had no idea that the marketplace for handmade goods was so large--and so competitive. I struggled for a while, and it took me some time to find my own unique niche and style among the thousands and thousands of other artists who are already out there, being successful. It was a challenge to keep making what I love (rather than what I thought would sell) when I suddenly realized that my creations were just a tiny speck in an ocean, not the rare, unique things I had thought they were. Fortunately, I have some incredible friends who are not afraid to tell it like it is and who really helped me get some perspective on the issue, and although I may not be as successful as I'd hoped by this point, I feel like I am beginning to really come into my own as a designer and artist--and that's so much more important.

Marketing is a challenge for me. It's not in my nature to self-promote. But I'm learning. Also, I'm not a very business-minded person, so I have always been pretty intimidated at the thought of getting incorporated and paying taxes and treating my craft like the legitimate business that it is. I'd much rather just go back to the barter system or something...keep it simple, right? But that's not the world we live in, so I'm trying to adapt. I just officially incorporated my business! Now I have to start collecting and reporting sales tax...but that's a challenge I don't want to think about right now.


I'm sure she'd love to hear from you! Let her know what you think of her perdy jewels! :)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Lollipop Florals

Lollipop Floral

I love the brilliant color of these earrings. They remind me of a happy lollipop just waiting for attention. These cute glass flower beads and raining down Turquoise colored Czech glass beads, and hang on Sterling Silver ear wires.

I feel like a grown up...

I feel like a grown up, talking landline to landline.

- Lindsey H our generation lives on our cell phones.

Paintings You Wish You Could Eat!

I 1st saw Abbey's painting's on Etsy. Abbey's shop is called Ryan Studio. She has these brilliant paintings on there that make me hungry just looking at them. I love her painting style, and love all of the random subjects she paints. She also has a neat blog where she posts her daily paintings.


My name is Abbey Ryan, and I currently live in Philadelphia.

How long have you been crafting?

I have been painting for as long as I can remember. I only really started to study painting in college, but I have pictures of me at age 3 and 4 standing at my easel, painting away! So, I guess I have been seriously doing oil painting for about 8 years. I graduated with my MFA in painting in 2007, and since September I have been selling my small daily oil paintings online -


Did you always craft in this genre?

I have consistently painted with oils since college, but I also do scientific illustration and design work. In addition, my personal studio practice (aside from my daily oil paintings) consists of works on paper using ink and graphite. These are shown on my web site,


Who or what inspires you?

I find that I am most inspired in my life by positive energy, freedom, and nature. Color is an important inspiration for me - as it relates to light. I'm drawn to moments where colors are subtly manipulated through the presence or absence of light. The music of Bob Dylan and Patty Griffin have also been huge sources of inspiration for me as well. I spend so much time in the studio, and am usually listening to either Bob or Patty. :) And of course, I am also inspired by my amazingly supportive family (especially my mom, Liz Ryan, who's also a painter -- ).



What challenges have you found while taking your craft into the business world?

I am relatively new to the business aspect of making art. I've found it to be incredibly inspiring and exciting to sell my work directly to art-lovers via the internet. Thus far, I've also relied just on word of mouth to get my work out there. I think getting publicity is the biggest challenge, but it's also a really fun part of the process, too.


So head over to Abbey's shop and tell her hello, she's really nice and I'm sure she'd love to hear from you! :)

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Calorie Free Cupcakes

Jessie has a shoppe called Cake Spy. I've been happily reading her blog for some time now, and am quite pleased to write about her on my blog. Her drawing style is RIGHT up my ally! She has her own adorable drawing style, and humorous adventures her little "cake spy" takes.

I have been making stuff since before I can even remember! My mom has a picture of me in my high chair with pigtails, concentrating intensely and coloring happy faces.


That having been said, I am rather new to the crafting culture, and so far have only been doing framed pieces. I am looking to add cupcake plushies and figurines to my offerings soon.



I try to get inspiration from everyday life, in a flaneur-like fashion: bakery cases, cool buildings and architecture, and magazines and books. I also love a lot of "blogs" out there, from design-y ones like Oh Joy or Decor8 to foodie ones like Cupcakes Take the Cake, Whipped, Bake and Destroy and the Urban Housewife. In terms of art, I love great line drawings--some of my favorite artists are Saul Steinberg, James Thurber and William Steig; for painters, I adore Wayne Thiebaud (the cake guy!) and Jean Miro.



Some challenges I've found have been cost of goods--since I sell framed pieces, the costs can really add up so I have to be smart about that. Also, it might be a little bit outside of what you asked, but taxes!! It's a whole lot more to keep track of than if you had a day job and had your employer do it all for you. I have to mentally take 20% off of each sale for the taxman!


She's a very talented gal, so go check out her etsy, and then head over to Jessie's blog to read about the cake she spies. :)