I’m of the mind that we never stop learning. Our lives are constantly evolving and we have so much capacity for new information, skills, epiphanies, whatever, even as we get older and have left formal education behind. And I know that for me personally, taking classes helps focus and inspire my creativity. I’ve been taking pottery classes for about the last decade, and though I don’t spend as much time in the pottery studio as I used to, I look forward to to being there, working on new projects, finding inspiration and motivation from my teachers and fellow students and the unique perspective that everyone brings to the table. It’s an important part of my life, but it’s also become a bit of a habit. So, to shake things up a little and continue expanding my horizons and refresh my creative well in a new way, I decided to take a 3D Design class this summer at the School of Visual Arts. The class has only met twice, but I absolutely love it. We’ve turned in one assignment so far (which I need to take pictures of and post, soon) and have been given our second assignment to start making sketches. We’ve also been asked to think about what larger goals and projects we have in mind for the rest of the summer. Being in the class is opening me up and helping me think in new ways about the kinds of things I create and the kinds of things I want to create. And it’s nice to feel like a student again and to be given challenges and make my brain think in a different way. I’ve only just begun but it’s already opening me up to new and wonderful possibilities for making art.
Stay tuned for pictures…
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…
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…
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.
I’ve put up some of my ceramic jewelry on Artfire. Mostly brooches and a pendant necklace.
There will be more to come soon, including some domino brooches and necklaces.
Yes, finally! After years of empty threats and promises, my work is available for sale online and just in time for the holidays. Right now I just have earrings up, but this evening I’ll be adding some ceramic jewelry as well. I also have to add my shipping upgrade options for people who are concerned about arrival before Chanukah (cutting it close!) or Christmas (bit more time to spare…)
So take a look at the items in the sidebar, click on the link to the store above, visit my store at ArtFire.com,become a fan of Girl in Gotham Designs on Facebook, and/or join my mailing list above. If you have any questions or requests, drop me a line.
I love making these wearable art items and hope you’ll enjoy wearing them or giving them as gifts. Until next time…
Yes, at last! The last week or so has been a whirlwind, in which I’ve done a lot of work to finally get the online sales going for Girl in Gotham Designs. Within a few days you should see images of my latest work for sale and links to buy through my store at Artfire.com.
I’ll also be creating a fan page on Facebook which will link in to the store. Stay tuned for details…
If only the ideas in my head and the supplies in my apartment translated into action, creation… Alas, life continues to get in the way.
I have spent a lot of time focusing on my day job, which hasn’t been all bad as said job offers a measure of creativity for me, has been particularly fulfilling in the last couple of months and provides me with the ability to eat, pay rent and indulge my addiction to craft supplies, books and magazines.
If only I could somehow find the ongoing energy to add leisurely craft time back into the mix, someday this dream of an active craft blog and Etsy and Artfire stores might be a reality.
I have managed to get back to the pottery studio and have finally glazed a bunch of tiles and mosaic pieces that are holding promise to actually become completed projects soon. I have a mosaic mirror made from my silkscreened tiles currently in the display case of the West Side YMCA, along with my many talented fellow students and teacher. I keep threatening to post images of stuff I’ve made. And now that I own TWO digital cameras, there’s really no excuses…except I keep making them.
I’m hoping that the relatively slowed down pace of the rest of the summer will provide me with more opportunity to create and take action. I’m also taking some steps to put myself out in the creative community again. Hopefully this will get me where I want to be. We shall see..
Meanwhile, it’s 4:12am 4:22am and the insomnia monster has obviously reared its ugly head again. Oh well, what’s the Web for if not to surf on a sleepless night…
It’s been two months since I put up this site and my Etsy page and I haven’t yet managed to upload any images or any items for sale. What can I say? Life gets in the way. I intend to do it soon, I promise. In the meantime, I was in Toronto at the Creativ Festival and I took some great classes. I’m incorporating some of what I’ve learned in some new jewelry pieces I’m working on. I particularly have a new appreciation for Swarovski Crystals. They are beautiful, but I was never sure how they fit into my design aesthetic before. Now I am finding ways to use them and like how it’s working out.
I also took a Quilting 101 class in Toronto and I’m pretty psyched about finally learning how to do this, since I’ve wanted to for years. There are some great fabrics out there and I’m so inspired by the colors and patterns that I’ve found. I’m even more excited to start silkscreening my own fabrics and using them in quilting and other projects. Yes, a million ideas running through my head, and still nothing on this page to show for it. A little bit of a let down. Still, I’m hoping when I finally open up the store, it will have been worth the wait. I’m guessing that before the holidays is probably the ideal time to do it. Gifts for your friends and family! Handmade, by me!!! Okay, getting a little ahead of myself, since there’s nothing up here for sale yet.
But, really, soon. I promise…
I’ve had this idea to put up a presence online for the better part of two years and I’m finally on my way. Eventually, I’ll have a store up with ceramic and jewelry items that I’ve been working on. When it’s online, you’ll be able to buy at girlingothamdesigns.etsy.com. This will be THE online place to buy Girl in Gotham Designs originals. Sign up for my mailing list if you want to be notified. And stay tuned for new and exciting things…