A Florida Respite...


I've spent two weeks in Florida, working and visiting my family. I also participated in the Indie Craft Bazaar at Revolution Live in Ft. Lauderdale and had a great time. In the week leading up to the show, I made lots of earrings (and other stuff that Read more

Artist Market @ 25CPW


A little last minute surprise. I'll be participating in the Artist Market at 25CPW Gallery on Saturday, December 15 with a table of other artists from the West Side YMCA Artworks program. The sale runs 12pm - 8pm (I'll be manning the table 6-8pm.) There's also a Read more

Pottery Sale at West Side YMCA


I'll be selling my wares at the West Side Y Annual Holiday Sale on December 6 through December 8. Lots of wonderful one of a kind handmade items for sale, including my ceramic items for the home and some jewelry as well. If you're in New York Read more

Inspirations

Wisdom…

Posted on by Julie Posted in Always Learning, Inspirations | Leave a comment

What was the wisest decision I made this year?  It’s not even a question.  The wisest decision I made this year was to take the 3D design class at SVA, rather than to take the graphic design class I had intended to take.

Here’s how it happened:  I had been doing more and more graphic design in my day job, partly because I really enjoyed doing it, but also because we didn’t really have the financial resources to hire a graphic designer every time we needed a new piece.  I’m not trained as a designer, although I’d taken a class years and years ago. I do think I have a pretty good instinct for design and certainly my skills have improved (as has my confidence) over the last few years because of the work I’ve been doing.  However, I also felt like I wasn’t getting any credit for the work because I “wasn’t a designer.”

With that in mind, I decided I should take a continuing ed graphic design class, since it would help my work and increase my knowledge.  So, one evening in May I found myself at the Graphic Design Information Session for the SVA Continuing Ed program.  The description of the evening said there would be an opportunity for portfolio review, so I brought samples of flyers I’d done, along with some pictures of my pottery, since I feel like my art work informs the way I design.  I felt it would be a good way to find out where I stood.

At the end of the presentation I spoke to Skip Sorvino about the graphic design program and showed him my work.  He suggested that I take his intermediate class.  I then went and spoke to Kevin O’Callaghan, (whose praises I’ve been singing here for a while now) because Kevin’s presentation was both compelling and entertaining.  When I showed Kevin my portfolio, he commented on my pottery, saying that I clearly had a talent for 3D design and that he thought I’d really like his class.  I chatted with him for a couple more minutes and went home.

I had walked into that evening KNOWING that I was going to sign up for a graphic design class.  I left, unable to decide whether I should stick with the plan or take the 3D class.  I kept waffling back and forth.  The graphic design class would help me at work and would make my design skills stronger.  It was what I’d intended to do and I should do it.  On the other hand, I simply couldn’t stop thinking about the possibilities of the 3D class.  Back and forth, but always arriving at the thought that I really wanted to take the 3D class.  That it seemed like fun.  It seemed like the right class for me.

As I’ve mentioned before, I took the 3D class.  Not only was it the wisest decision of the year, it was a big turning point for me.  It allowed me to create work that I’m proud of and It has helped me change the way I look at what is possible.  It also reinforced for me that it’s much more important to listen to my inner voice, than to make decisions because of what other people think.  My layoff has also reinforced that I did the right thing, made a decision for my personal artistic growth, not what’s best for a job which I no longer have…

Below, images from my pottery “portfolio”

Almost Famous Apothecary Jar

Man-Eating Plant Cup 2

Man-Eating Plant Cup 1

Impossible Cookie Jar

Pleats Vessel 2

Pleats Vessel 1

Swirl Lady Apothecary Jar

Wave Vessel

Fiesta Tile



Coming soon, images of work from my 3D design class..

Community…

Posted on by Julie Posted in Inspirations | Leave a comment

This year I was incredibly fortunate to take a 3D Design Class at SVA with the amazing and inspiring Kevin O’Callaghan.  I learned so much in his class and I had classmates who were also inspiring and supportive of the work I was doing and wish to continue doing.  Kevin, along with “The Pants” (Kevin dubbed us the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) are a new community in my life and I’m so lucky to have them.  When I told Kevin that I’d been laid off, he didn’t skip a beat, merely told me that it meant I’d be able to spend time at the workshop now. Just what I needed to hear.

I also continue to appreciate the community of my pottery class.  The many talented artists with whom I spend each Friday night, are some of the kindest, most generous, and most hilarious people I know.  They’ve helped me through some crappy times and celebrated with me in good times.  My teacher, Matt Nolen, had a similar reaction to Kevin’s when he found out I’d been laid off.  He said, “Well, time to start focusing on your jewelry and pottery!” Yep, it’s true.

Tonight I had dinner with my friends Sarah and Jonathan.  We’ve started a conversation about world domination. Okay, not quite, but a plan for something really exciting for all of our futures.  I’m not ready to discuss the details just yet (that will come soon), but they are a community with whom I am excited to grow over the course of the next year and beyond.

People always talk about what a big city New York is and those who don’t live here wonder how those of us who do can stand to be around so many people all the time.  What they don’t understand is that as big as it is, New York is really just a a lot of small overlapping communities and neighborhoods that make up the whole. It’s one of the things I love so much about living here.  And it’s why I know that I’m in the right place.

Refreshed…

Posted on by Julie Posted in Inspirations | 1 Comment

Having a small start-up crafts business mean that I also hold down a day job. While it would be great to make my living with my artistic endeavors alone, that day has yet to arrive and so I am fortunate to have a job that I like that supports me as I build my little online empire (or future empire).  What it means, though is that often Girl in Gotham Designs doesn’t get as much attention as I’d like to give it.  My full time job requires a lot of my time and energy and so I sometimes find my well of inspiration and creativity a bit depleted.  That’s been the case over the last several months.  Fortunately, having a full time job also allows me the luxury of a real vacation every now and then.

I’ve just returned from a week away, and after the sun and sand of Bermuda, reading, roaming, perusing the art and jewelry of the many talented artists on that beautiful island, I’m home and I’m relaxed, renewed, and creatively refreshed.  As much as I didn’t want the vacation to end, I couldn’t wait to get back and start working on my jewelry and ceramics again.  It’s a great feeling.

I’m experimenting with some new things and hope to have them online in the coming weeks.  Stay tuned.  Meanwhile, here’s some visual inspiration I brought back with me…

Craft Geekiness…

Posted on by Julie Posted in Inspirations | 1 Comment

I remember being a kid and being afraid that people thought I was nerdy or uncool and frankly, I was.  I was a theater nerd and on the debate team and marched to the beat of my own drummer.  Fortunately, that self-consciousness about being different fell away as I got older and became more confident and comfortable about who I am and what I care about.  So now I revel in being a geek.  I’m a geek about lots of stuff, comic books and science fiction, theater (that never went away), and crafts.

With the start up of Girl in Gotham Designs, Julie the Craft Geek has been out and proud even more than usual lately.  I was in Florida on vacation last week and on my first trip to Michael’s (yes, there were multiple trips, but more about that in a minute) I helped these two girls find the supplies they needed to make hand-stamped baby shower invitations.  I told them what I thought about different kinds of ink pads (I love ColorBox and Brilliance pigment inks and Ancient Page dye inks, which is what I use for my domino jewelry) and what work best on different kinds of paper.  After which, two other customers mistook me for a store employee.  I guess that’s a good sign?

The thing about my craft geekiness is that it can sometimes verge on obsession.  For instance, I regularly visit the Sharpie website, just to see what’s new (like limited edition colors!) I even own one of these.  I admit that it can also sometimes look like an addiction.  Some people get a high from drugs, I get a high from craft books and craft supplies.  Hence the multiple visits to Michael’s, which resulted in the purchase of some cool magazines, new rubber stamps, yarn, paper punches, and more.  But I figure, as long as I’m not bankrupting myself or turning into a craft supply hoarder (a very delicate balance), there are worse things I can be addicted to than craft supplies.  Besides, they continue to inspire the work that I love to do.  Or maybe that’s just a rationalization.  But if that’s the case, then I’m good with it.

Hello, my name is Julie and I’m a craft supply junkie…

Individuality and buying handmade…

Posted on by Julie Posted in Inspirations, Recommendations | Leave a comment

I Took The Handmade Pledge! BuyHandmade.org

For an artsy craftsy girl like me, it has been incredibly heartening over the last few years to see the emergence of the “indie” craft movement, especially online.  So many of us pride ourselves on our uniqueness and individuality, but every day it becomes harder and harder to express that through our consumer habits.  Even here in New York, the last decade has changed the City from the island of the individual full of tiny little funky stores, to one homogeneous shopping experience, indistinguishable from any mall in the land.

Where once there stood Canal Jean Company, affordable and funky, there now stands a Bloomingdales, overpriced and a lot less interesting.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love a trip to Target or Kmart and do sometimes find myself at Macy’s, but so much of what has been unique about New York has disappeared over the years and been replaced by Starbucks and banks and big box suburban shopping stalwarts, oh and did I mention Starbucks?   So, it’s nice to to see that there’s still room for lots of unique points of view in the marketplace.  Sites like Etsy and ArtFire have made it possible for lots of crafty micro-businesses to thrive and it has given all of us the opportunity to find unique, one of a kind treasures that allow us to express our individuality.

Some of my favorites on Etsy include Metal Sugar, Joan Miller Porcelain, May Luk Ceramics and Red Bridge Brooklyn.  I’m still pretty new to the ArtFire community, but even as I sell from my own store, I’ve started buying from others.  Some new favorites there include The Ivy Leaf, Surly-Ramics, and BCharmer Designs.

All of this is just a long way to say, supporting indie artisans is a great way to support the economy.  Take the Handmade Pledge and buy handmade this holiday season.  You’ll feel good about your gift giving and your friends and family will thank you for giving them something a little different.