Saturday, August 20, 2011

Craftaluma Vendor: Bird vs. Bird

e are happy to welcome back yet another Veteran Craftaluma vendor, Bess Petty of Bird vs. Bird Design. Be it luck, good karma, or good ol' fashioned elbow grease, we seem to get the cream of the crop with not only talent but genuinely nice gals you'd wanna hang with. Bess Petty is one of those gals. She is a fellow graphic designer, and nature lover. The first time I saw her work a few years back at our first juried Craftaluma show, I knew immediately she was a graphic designer. The giveaway, her clean, vivid use of color and graphics relating to furry friends and wooded wonderland was after my own heart. Bess finds comfort and beauty that can only be found in nature and translates that into a bold, modern design that is sophisticated and a bit urban. I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to snap up one of her totes with the faux bois pattern and a nice squirrel, barn owl or chipmunk. And if you travel light, be sure to check out her matching wallets. Oh, and being a nature lover, dig this, Bess uses recycled scraps of vinyl from banners, magnetic sheeting and the like from job at the sign shop to make her beaver and kestrel coin purses so it doesn't get in the landfill or waste water. Yep, she's talented and green. That's BA NA NAS as Rachel Zoe might say. Or as Bess might say it's just plain Coo Coo common sense! Yes. Thrift, waste not, want not and pushing the envelope beyond what seems possible is what makes Bess a true crafter's crafter. We like her bunches.

So why bird vs. bird you may ask? We're so glad you did... please read on. Then, come on down to the Petaluma Art Center and meet Bess and and her crafty critters.

Petaluma Craft Mafia interviews:
Bess Petty of Bird vs. Bird

Name of business and how you got your name:
Bird vs. Bird Designs The name (and logo) come from a photo in an old Time-Life book about birds that shows a sparrow fighting itself in a mirror.

Where are you from?
Raised in Davis, CA, currently in Oakland, CA.

How long have you lived there?
I've lived in Oakland since 2000something, and in my current neighborhood since 2004.

How did you get started in your particular craft?
My day job is as a graphic designer at a sign shop. The sign industry generates lots of scrap and waste materials like banner, vinyl, and magnet. I started making Bird vs. Bird products as a way to divert some of that stuff from the waste stream.

Where do you get your ideas?
Looking through my many bird books, checking out the wildlife at nearby Lake Merritt, and fiddling around with bits of materials to come up with new products.

Do you have a favorite bird?
I can't say that I have a favorite bird, but if I WAS a bird, I'd want to be a barn swallow--cool colors, amazing flying skillz, awesome mud nests.

Your favorite handbag or project you've created and why?
I made purse featuring a custom portrait of my friend's hen, Ximena. She's a really cool-looking chicken, and I've known her since she was a little baby chick.

Where would you like to be with your business in 5 years?
Umm...I'd like to have a wider range of products and be set up to do more custom work.

Favorite spice in your cupboard:

Now that is a great spice! Chosen music to craft to:
The sweet sounds of weekend public radio. I can recite the KQED Sunday lineup from memory.

How do you start your day?
I arise fairly early since I start my job at 8am. Fortunately I only have 10 minute bike commute. Depending on the day I go to the gym before work or have some coffee and read the newspaper.

How does your crafty self reconcile with the bottom line business side:
I'm thrifty and organized by nature, so the business side of things has come fairly easily. Excel is my friend.

How do you unwind at the end of a stressful week?
Lying on the couch with a book, cooking an extra tasty meal, going for an evening stroll around my neighborhood.

Best thing about living in Oakland :
The best thing about my neighborhood of Oakland (Grand Lake) is that everything is within walking distance: coffee, groceries, farmers market, bakery, hardware store, restaurants, post office, lake, and that there really is a neighborhood feel.

Favorite book and why?
Charlie Harper's "Birds and Words". His artwork is so uniquely and charmingly captures the birds he observed.

Other crafts you would like to explore:
So many! I'd like to become more skilled at sewing apparel and learn how to knit.

How has the craft boom influenced your own craft?
I stumbled onto the Etsy train a just the right time (late 2008) when it was getting popular but before it became so extremely crowded. My early success there made me take crafting seriously and develop it into a real side business.

Your favorite comfort meal is:

What's in your handbag?
Nothing very fun--chapstick, wallet, sunglasses and many shopping and to-do lists on little pieces of scrap paper.

Who and what inspires and influences you?
The crafty friends I've made over the past few years. It's great to have people to bounce ideas off of, share tools, discuss strategies, etc.

What is always in your fridge?
Maple syrup. You never know when the pancake mood might strike.

I'm inspired by:
All the awesome things I see people making. Not in the sense of wanting to make the same things, but in the sense of being reminded how many different things can be made by hand with so many different materials.

What still holds wonder for you in this world?

I couldn't go a day without:
Eating at least one piece of fruit.

What really ticks you off?
Laziness really ticks me off

I dream of traveling to:
Cities and back roads all over the US

George, John, Paul or Ringo? Or Elvis...
I've always been fond of Paul circa A Hard Day's Night (which I own on VHS)

What empowers you?
Knowing that I can make things from start to finish--concept, design, prototype, finished product, packaging.

What advice would you give to crafters wanting to get into supporting themselves through their craft?
Well, I don't support myself, but I think I run my business in a relatively sensible manner. Make some kind of spreadsheet to track every expenditure and sale. Don't buy anything (office supplies, tools, materials, displays) impulsively. See what you can repurpose or recycle for free.

What do you love?
I really love finding free stuff on the sidewalk.

Name a movie or poem or song that particularly moves you and why:
For some reason I could watch The Big Chill over and over again. I couldn't tell you why.

What puts that special hop in your giddy-up?
My darlin' husband Matt. No bad day can be that bad with him around.

Any Pets?
One fluffy orange cat--Tucker. He's an excellent ball fetcher and professional late night bed pouncer.

Tucker sounds like a real lover! Thank you Bess, you are the sweetest and I'm so happy to have you join us at Craftaluma again this year.

For more goodness from Bird versus Bird lookie here
(Photos courtesty of Bess Petty © Copyright Bird vs. Bird Design.)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Craftaluma Vendor: Rayne Today

We're counting down the hours now until Craftaluma "How the Craft Was Won." I am having so much fun meeting my fellow crafters, that I don't wanna go back to real life after Craftaluma. One of my favorite things to do to prepare besides thinking up wacky themes for Craftaluma, is getting to meet some of our ridiculously talented friends. These folks forever inspire and humble me. I'm always learning from our crafty friends, and I'm grateful to be in a place where this is possible.

Rayne Wolfe of Rayne Today is one of the most wickedly funny gals you will ever meet. This lady has got so much on the ball that she IS the ball, and you'd better pull your boots on early in the morning to keep up with her. She's insightful, compassionate, and one heckuva a vintage vixen with a discerning eye turned to the possibilities of the next find. Potential can be found in everything after all, and nothing is safe, a discarded monopoly game piece is fashioned into a one-of a kind cocktail necklace you'd better believe you will need to have!
She's also a hungry reader, which makes me love her even more. Well, that, and the fact we are both huge Myrna Loy fans.

Rayne recently brought me a stash of her newest baubbles; gorgeous and slightly cheeky vintage liquor decanter tags that had been cleverly designed into the most fab necklaces and bracelets. Vintage tags, medals, and ephemera find their way into Rayne's world and have me coveting anything she makes. Her work is unique with a hint of mischief and mystery.
She also makes saucy stitched Mexican peasant blouses that have me dreaming of a getaway to either sunny Aculpulco or at least to the nearest El Torito. Seriously cool blouses. With a blouse like that, I could churn out handmade tortillas like a mad woman.
I'm wanting her to help me with up-cycling some vintage stitched pillowcases my mother and I bought in Shasta, into a blouse. I've worn the pillow cases until the fabric is as soft as butter, and the amazing stitching with deer, forests and flowers is in danger of falling out of the fragile fabric. In Rayne's world, these kinds of dreams are possible; I see an embroidered Mexican Peasant blouse in my near future, and a necklace that spells out my favorite libation of choice:
C R U S H or possibly... V O D K A .

Petaluma Craft Mafia interview with Rayne Wolfe
of Rayne Today.

Name of business and how you got your name:
Rayne Today
Obviously you assume I’m running a business! Actually, the upcoming Craftaluma Show will be the first time I show my vintage assemblage necklaces in my adopted hometown. I do try to put new necklaces up on at my shop entitled Rayne Today. On day of show I’ll be off-line on to avoid those embarrassing oversells.

I’m a third generation San Franciscan, now at home in Petaluma and the Wine Country.

How long have you lived in Petaluma?
Since Bikram Yoga was Mexican restaurant. Since Cinco de Mayo 1998. That’s where we went to dinner that first night in our first house.

How did you get started in your particular craft?
Remember the opening montage in To Kill a Mockingbird? The dinged-up cigar box with soap figures, marbles, crayons, and a spelling medal? Not only is that my favorite book and movie, but that cigar box is my ideal platform of creativity. That’s where it all starts: junk soup.

I grew up with a deep and wide kitchen drawer full of stuff like that and I was always cobbling stuff together. These bits and pieces that may have meant something to me or once meant something to someone else… No two people would make the same thing from the same items. It’s play for me.

Your favorite project you've created and why?
I fell in love with a vintage silver RCA watch fob. It was heavy and detailed with Nipper listening to the phonograph horn in bas relief. But what do you do with it? It’s beautiful but it’s the kind of thing that ends up in the drawer. I asked Petaluma jeweler Rick Rocklin to solder on a necklace and I added bright red vintage German faceted glass beads. I think I wore that necklace nearly every day for a couple of years. It’s a keeper and it’s inspired all the necklaces that followed.

How to you find your necklace centerpieces?
I haunt thrift stores and, of course. I’ve been to the 600-MILE yard sale in Tennessee and Kentucky, two years with friends and you find loads there. Any thrift store supported by a church or frequented by senior citizens, you find all this junk drawer stuff that’s just fabulous. I believe in re-purposing, cannibalizing broken jewelry to make new wearable art. It took nerve at first because I can always see the beauty in tarnish.

Where would you like to be with your business in 5 years?
It sounds silly, but I ’d really like to see one of my necklaces in a big movie. It could happen.

Favorite spice in your cupboard:

Chosen music to craft to:
I also clean the house listening to To Kill a Mockingbird loop over and over. It’s pretty much my favorite thing to listen to, besides James Brown.

How do you start your day?
As soon as I open my eyes I give thanks for another glorious day – even if it’s raining gumdrops. I check that my toes, my ankles, my knees, hips and arms still work, then I hop out of bed and try to live an honest life.

How does your crafty self reconcile with the bottom line business side?
It doesn’t.

How do you unwind at the end of a stressful week?
Beer helps.

Best thing about living in Petaluma?
Oh gosh, everything. I tell people I cried nearly the entire day we moved here but now you couldn’t get me out of Petaluma with a stick of dynamite. I love the way there’s room for everyone’s passions. I love all the art and music venues and the creativity that is encouraged at every turn.

Favorite book and why?
You already know it’s To Kill a Mockingbird. I love the rythyms in Harper Lee’s storytelling. The courage in addressing race, sex, drug use and mental illness, head on… I just admire her SO MUCH. Some stories are hard to tell and she tackled every hard thing in a small Southern town.

Other crafts you would like to explore:
I’ve been known to assemble Joseph Cornell style boxes when I’m under writing stress. The pressure of people trusting you with their stories is enough to make your head explode sometimes. You need a creative diversion. Sometimes I promise myself art time when I finish writing. I also sew Mexican blouses and embroider them using vintage Vogue Art patterns of roosters and toasters and crazy stuff.

How has the craft boom influenced your own craft?
It made me braver about what I really enjoy doing. I was crafty before “the boom” and I’ll be crafty afterwards – for sure.

Amen to that! Your favorite comfort nosh is?
Lay’s barbeque potato chips and my beloved Diet Coke, which I gave up six weeks ago. “Hi, my name is Rayne and it’s been six weeks since my last soda.”
“Hi, Rayne!”

What's in your handbag?
Tiny versions of everything. A round fold-up hairbrush, a tiny lipgloss, and a dwarf-sized notebook and golf tally pencil. All my doll-sized stuff makes my iPhone look gigantic. I have to keep the volume down because I use vintage wood box purses by Enid Collins. They’re usually pretty small. Or rather, I prefer the smaller styles.

Who and what inspires and influences you?
I am genuinely, utterly, fascinated by passionate people. I don’t have to share your passion. That you are passionate is my drug. I’m also eternally inspired by my late father, Al Rembold, a commercial printer. He was so creative in every way and encouraged my brother and I to always joyfully try stuff out without worrying too much about the end result.

What is always in your fridge?
A big pitcher of decaf mango iced tea from Petaluma Coffee & Tea Company.

I'm inspired by:
Voices. Stories.

What still holds wonder for you in this world?
That people are kind and generous.

I couldn't go a day without...
My husband or laughing. Which works out well, since my husband and I laugh every day.

What really ticks you off?
"Dim bar lighting in supermarkets" really ticks me off. If I have to take my sunglasses off to shop, you need to ADD a bar, right next to the donuts case.

I dream of traveling to:
Having travelled a bit, I find myself dreaming of time travel.

George, John, Paul or Ringo?
At the time, Paul. Now? The Reverend Bill Talen of the Church of Stop Shopping. He’s the Thinking Girl’s rock star.

How do you feel American craftypreneurs have shaped craft and the craft industry?
Shortly after originally hung out their online shingle I interviewed the founders and had a nice long chat on the state of craftiness. Was it a technology backlash? Had crafters suddenly given each other permission to go further and further? I came away thinking that modern life just demands craftiness. It’s required for sanity. That people are looking for ways to monetize that effort is exciting and proper. Do we need a magazine for every genre? Button jewelry? Lint trap hats? Amateur taxidermy? Well, why not?

What empowers you?

What advice would you give to crafters wanting to get into supporting themselves through their craft?
My advice is pretty simple. Put price tags on things.
My writing teacher, Adair Lara, used to say, “Editors are not going to break into your apartment to read your stuff, Rayne!” When I finally did start my career as a writer I learned to put stamps on things and mail them out. As a crafter you have to put price tags on things and find a marketplace. With and (free) pages and Facebook, there’s no reason not to create your own virtual shop. If that thought makes you want to lie down until it goes away, try a crafts show or flea market. Try a garage sale! Just try!

I really love:
"Clinique Black Honey lip stain.”

You're throwing a dinner party, who would be your favorite 7 guests?
I like to laugh, so Dean Martin, Truman Capote, Steven Barclay and Garth Bixler, Myrna Loy, night club proprietor, Tex Guinan (“Hello, Suckers!”) and legendary Wine County restauranteur, Juanita Musson. It wouldn’t be dull.

Name a movie, one poem and one song that particularly moves you and why:
There are three movies of which I never tire: It’s a Wonderful Life, The Wizard of Oz and Platoon.

What puts that special hop in your giddy-up?
A creative challenge with a frightening deadline.

Any Pets? (names and occupation please) :)
Our hounds include Bullet The Wonder Dog, 15, Whiskey, (we didn’t drink till we got that dog plus he’s a licker) 14 and Carmen the Newshound, 10 months.

Thanks Rayne!
For more of Rayne Today, check out her website right here.
Photos courtesty of Rayne Wolfe ©Copyright Rayne Wolfe.)

Craftaluma Vendor: Wild Sprout Design

eet Craftaluma vendor, Lisa Ratcliff of Galt, California, a gal who unwinds with drinking wine from the region and a good old fashioned sewing binge! Our kind of gal. Lisa makes the cutest and most practical thing every woman has on her arm, the hand bag or messenger bag, or purse. Whatever you want to call it, to my mind the bigger the better! Her bags are hand-crafted and sewn with such obsessively crafty care that only a true seamstress can relate to. Without further ado, meet the woman behind Wild Sprout Design!

Interview with Lisa Ratcliff of Wild Sprout Design
By Petaluma Craft Mafia

Name of business?
Wild Sprout Design

Where are you from?
Galt, CA

How long have you lived there?
Two and one-half years!

Your favorite handbag or project you've created and why?
The Fossil Messenger Bag, because it is a original pattern of mine that I have endlessly worked on to make perfect!

Where would you like to be with your business in 5 years? I would love to make enough to open my own studio and hire a few crafters such as myself!

Favorite spice in your cupboard:
Smoked Paprika

Chosen music to craft to?
Florence and the Machine

How do you start your day?
I start my day with a strong cup of coffee :)

How does your crafty self reconcile with the bottom line business side:
I believe in selling great quality products, even if that means I make less on individual items that I sell, everything is equally made with the best materials I can buy.

How do you unwind at the end of a stressful week?
A glass of Port by Wooden Valley, a winery in Fairfield, CA

Best thing about living in Galt?
Everyone seems to know each other, and we have a phenomenal farming community and the best strawberries in California.

Favorite book and why?
I don't have time to read. my favorite podcast is Mysterious Universe, there is something soothing about listening to an Australian accent.
Other crafts you would like to explore:
I would love to work with leather.

How has the craft boom influenced your own craft?
I believe people are tired of the purses and bags you can buy at the store that are over priced and lined with some type of plastic fabric that will melt in the dryer if you are not careful.

Your favorite comfort meal is:
White bean chili

What's in your handbag?
Wallet, keys, and 15 track and confirm slips from the USPS.

Who and what inspires and influences you?
I am inspired by any and every artitisan that sat down one day and said, " I want to learn how to make THAT!'

What is always in your fridge?
Milk and chocolate syrup for the kids.

I'm inspired by:
Abstract fabric prints and designers.

What still holds wonder for you in this world?

I couldn't go a day without...
Checking my email.

what really ticks you off?
Having to use my seam ripper!

I LOVE that answer. Where do you dream of traveling to?
South America, starting with Belize

George, John, Paul or Ringo? Or Elvis...
Elvis, not really ever into the Beatles. I am from the wrong generation.

How do you feel American craftypreneurs have shaped craft and the craft industry?
We have shown that buying handmade you are getting a product that is truly worth more than the money that was paid for it.

What empowers you?
Bold and Abstract art

What advice would you give to crafters who wish to support themselves through their craft?
Keep up with the current fashion trend, and if a customer didn't find what they were looking for, ask them for input on what they would like.

I really love...
My Family!

What puts that special hop in your giddy-up?
Getting an email from a customer saying she absolutely loves her purse that I made her!

Any Pets? (names and occupation please) :)
Two dogs, Bailey and Sage. Bailey is the eternal optimist and Sage is the disgruntled escape artist.

Thank you Lisa, see you a Craftaluma!

For more Wild Sprout Design, please check out their website here: Wild Sprout Design
(Photos courtesy of Lisa Ratcliff © Copyright Wild Sprout Design).

Monday, August 15, 2011

Craftaluma Vendors: Mend by Ruby Grace

We love our veteran Craftaluma Vendors, and Natasha Smith of Mend by Ruby Grace is a talented Craftaluma vendor from waaaay back. We heart her. With two young daughters keeping her busy it is amazing this graceful, beautiful woman has time and energy for creative pursuits, and as she says, it's not without guilt. We are pleased that she does make the time. Any creative person needs to be able to carve time to create, or we are just plain miserable! I know this from experience. Natasha makes the most adorable dolls, softy, hand-painted faces (which I adore) with bits and bobs from formerly loved vintage fabrics, frothy and whimsical crocheted pieces and lots of love and imagination. She makes me wanna have little girls or BE a little girl again.
Our gal, Natasha is also a musician, and plays the Ukulele... and I've decided she and I are going to have to jam together with my Piano and her Ukulele's, maybe write a crafty song! LOL. She thinks I'm kidding, but y'all know, I never joke. Never. Welcome her please. We can't wait to have her join us Sunday at Craftaluma for fun.

Interview with Natasha Smith of Mend by Ruby Grace
By Petaluma Craft Mafia

What is the name of your business and how did you come up with that name?
Mend by Ruby Grace
Mend is pretty self explanatory, I "Mend"things to lovely, Ruby and Grace are my daughters middle names!

I have always love those names. Where are you from?
I am from Sonoma County, my family has been here for many years, to give you an approximate idea let me just say, my parents and I graduated from the same high-school.

How long have you lived there?
I have been here for 25 years!

Tell us what kind of craft you do and where you see yourself in 5 years:
I am a distracted crafter. I love to try new things, but the joy I get from creating for children especially my own keeps me headed in that direction. I find myself wanting to braid together the old and the new. Nostalgia is my fuel. This nostalgia also plays into the idea of custom made re-purposed items I often create. The desire to share those sentiments of old with my own children and children of that generation is an idea I am passionate about. The ability create a dreamer doll from fabric and a crochet flower somebody created thirty years ago amazes me to this day. I love the thought that I can make a grandmothers handkerchief a friend for her great granddaughter to hold close at night. It's just plain sweet.

I have come to accept that I may just keep evolving and never stop changing, but I would hope in five years that I will still be contently crafting.

Nostalgia. Me too! I often say it's the "story" in something I'm attracted to. Your favorite thing to do with a chunk of spare time?
When a Mother has two children under five a chunk of spare time is scarce and rarely comes without guilt. Hypothetically if I were to have child free, guilt free time, I would find myself connecting with grown-ups, or scouring the thrift shops for inspiration.

Favorite spice in your cupboard?
Easy! Cinnamon

Chosen music to craft to:
My husbands new indie finds. Music is his craft. Seeking it out, always on the hunt for that next find. Some may call him an addict, I call him a musical mastermind. His latest find...East Harlem by Beirut, album The Rip Tide. I could listen to that song a thousand times and still keep it on repeat.

How do you start your day?
I have a feeling there may be a few questions that include this answer; COFFEE! How does your crafty self reconcile with the bottom line business side: It doesn't, I am terrible at balancing it's always a challenge! How do you unwind at the end of a stressful week? Time with my honey!
Writing music, playing my ukulele, learning the guitar! Stress free fun...

Best thing about living in Sonoma County?
Since I grew-up in this area, the familiarity is comforting.

Favorite book?
"I was a Good Mom before I had kids” the book is an instant stress reliever, and as a mother makes the day to day chaos seem quite typical..

Other crafts you would like to explore:
My husband owns a Dremmel, the tool that has changed my life, the idea of carving wood or metal really interests me.

How has the craft boom influenced your own craft?
The craft boom has helped me to work through feeling misunderstood as an artist. I know so much of my hesitancy had to do with the way I felt about myself, but to find a place where you belong as an artist is so valuable. I believe in discovering the beauty of how diverse the craft market can be, is empowering.

Your favorite comfort meal is?
Easy, bruschetta and pillows of yummy gnocchi, hmmmmmm!!!

What's in your handbag?
Many many things, let's start off with the cute stuff...lip-glosss, compact, nesting doll key ring, ipod with earphones, babyTylenoll (random), baby wipes (like a brick of them, really not necessary).

What is always in your fridge?
Vanilla Caramel Coffee Creamer!

I"m so happy to know another fellow coffee sister. What inspires you?
My brother he is a musician, and takes his “craft” to heart, he is seven years younger than I am. I find that everyday he inspires me to appreciate that I have a gift. Watching him play reminds me that nurturing our natural gifts equate to loving ourselves and recognizing our self worth. That love then bleeds to all those around us, it's an undying act of generosity.

What still holds wonder for you in this world?

I couldn't go a day without...
another coffee answer “Come on!”

What really ticks you off?
“The fact that I can never find a pair of scissors when I need them” really ticks me off:

Where would you love to travel next?
I dream of traveling to: Germany, I was born there, I am also very interested in the history, it's pretty amazing.

George, John, Paul or Ringo?

How do you feel American craftyprenuers have shaped craft and the craft industry?
I feel we have always been pioneers bringing new ideas to the kitchen table just to fine-tune them.

What advice would you give to crafters wanting to support themselves through their craft?
I would encourage them to persevere through the times that may seem to stand still. It is a difficult process to put yourself out there in the form of art.

I really love “to see:
the responses of the children who appreciate my work, I love it when I see they get me.”

Name a movie or poem or song that particularly moves you:
I would have to say the first song I learned to play on the ukulele holds a very special meaning for me, the bridge of the song reads, when you let me fall grew my own wings, now I'm as high as the sky, and when you let me drown grew gills and fins now I'm as deep as the sea, and when you let me die my spirits free there's nothing challenging me, got to keep awake to what's happening I can't see a thing through my ambition I no longer feel gods watching over me... Ring the Bells by James covered by Judson Clayborn.
What puts that special hop in your giddy-up?
A fantastic find! Anytime I discover something incredible from a store that doesn't appreciate it's value.

Any Pets?
Miss Emmy Pie, joined the Smith clan one year ago when we rescued her...

Thank you Natasha, a pleasure as always and see you at Craftaluma!
xo, CA

For more of Mend by Ruby Grace you can find her at her links above.
(Photos courtest of Natasha Smith ©Copyright Mend by Ruby Grace)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Craftaluma Vendors: Why Girls Go Astray Paper Crafts

CRAFTALUMA shows are heavy and ripe with talent. This summer's Craftaluma "How The Craft Was Won!" will be no different. I'm already in trouble. While talking to our vendors, going through photos of their entries I am constantly awed and humbled by the beauty, and unique stamp our crafty friends put on everything they touch. Inspiration can be found everywhere, and nothing makes this crafty mafia organizer happier then seeing creative folks passionately working on their own craft. Bliss.
One booth I'm gonna be going astray at and hanging with is Why Girls Go Astray Paper Crafts and handing the proprietress, Andy Lowry a lot of my own hard earned paper. (friends and fam if you are reading this, you are seeing a preview of your birthday and christmas presents).
Petaluma be forewarned, you're gonna have to be wrist wrasslin' me over the fruit, butterfly and skull platters... just be forewarned, this crafty girl always gets her prize!
Below is just a weensy sample of the treats that Andy has made for Craftaluma. If this is why girls go astray... I'd say it's worth it!

Interview with Andy Lowry of Why Girls Go Astray Paper Crafts
By Petaluma Craft Mafia

What is your business and how you got your name?
Why Girls Go Astray paper crafts:
The name, "Why Girls Go Astray," was influenced by an article I read as a Women's Studies doctoral student. The essay's thesis was essentially a 19th-century patriarchal argument against the education of women. One of the hypotheses put forth as to why upper-education was a detriment to women's health was that, with this new-found knowledge, many young women were bound to be easily "led astray."

We've come a long way baby. I am intrigued by your thesis. Where are you from?
I was born and bred in Chicago. I moved to Sacramento three years ago (with a six-year pit-stop in Atlanta for graduate school) to marry the love of my life.

I love that as a romantic. How did you get started in your particular craft?
I've always made projects with paper and fiber. My last few years in Chicago, I found that I could make money selling religious-themed and fun-fur pillows. At the same time, I began experimenting in decopage and eventually created several large pieces of furniture for my own use and gifts. I couldn't see how I could make enough money selling that scale and price of item, so I switched mediums and began decoupaging smaller items. I first began with paperweights and magnets, and eventually branched out into vases. I'm now doing an entirely new line of valet plates and serving platters. Utilizing decoupage, naturally.

Your favorite project you've created and why?
I think some of the new intricate serving platters are my new fave items, specifically because of the skill and time it took to complete, and also the aesthetic, which represented a new direction in my body of work.

Where would you like to be with your business in 5 years?
Being able to solely pursue my business without also working a part-time job would be rad. In lieu of that, I'd take the gradual yearly growth of my business as a victory as well.

Favorite spice in your cupboard?
Red pepper flakes; can't live without them

A craft you'd love to try?

What American city or state would you love to travel to?
Hawaii -- anywhere in that state.

Chosen music to craft to?
Currently: Alkaline Trio, Bondie, Adele, Twilight Singers, Go-Gos, Noisettes, Bloc Party, and Def Leppard

How do you start your day?
NPR and caffeine

How do you unwind at the end of a stressful week?
Drinks with my sweetie!

Best thing about living in Sacramento?
Coming from a city without much greenery, right now the multitude of trees and flowers is inspiring my awe and gratitude

Favorite book and why?
The Age of Innocence. Wharton is consistently my favorite writer. Her witty, critical analysis of the 19th-century New York upper-class and customs, plus her sheer gift for writing has always appealed to me

Other crafts you would like to explore?
Casting resin.

How has the craft boom influenced your own craft?
Opened up many more doors and opportunities.

Your favorite comfort meal is:
Sushi, lots of it.

What's in your handbag?
Sunglasses, lipstick, business cards, notebook, phone, breath-mints

Who and what inspires and influences you?
Andy Warhol, Edie Sedgwick, John Waters, Alexander McQueen, Christian LaCrioux, Betsy Johnson, Karen O., Annie Sprinkle, Chrissie Hynde, Poly Styrene from X-Ray Spes (R.I.P., 2011), Cesar Chavez, black feminist theory, pulp fiction novels, U.S. noir and French heist films from 1940-1965.

What is always in your fridge?
Homemade pickles, beer, vodka

I'm inspired by:
My husband, Eric, who is a sculptor and my partner in our many mail-art projects

I couldn't go a day without:...
Buddhist practice

"____" really ticks me off:
An inability to show up on time

I dream of traveling to:

George, John, Paul or Ringo?

What empowers you?
Feeling that I am able to pursue my own artistic vision, not compromise too much, and have it (bonus!) widely appeal to the greater public as well

What advice would you give to crafters who seek to support themselves through their craft?
Talk and network with others. I had to literally figure it out on my own.

I really love "____"...
My hometown of Chicago

Name a movie that particularly moves you and why:
Breakfast at Tiffanys. I've always identified with Holly Golighty's outlook on life and love. Plus, her fashion was impeccable.

I can hear "Moon Riverrrr..." now..What puts that special hop in your giddy-up?
Kindness in others, my husband of almost three years

Amen sister! Thank you doll!

For more of Andy Lowry's sublimely gorgeous work check out her shop here

(Photos courtesy of Andy Lowry ©Copyright Why Girls Go Astray Paper Crafts).

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Craftaluma Vendors: Holy Nichos!

Susan Annette Wosk of Holy Nichos is a veteran Craftaluma Vendor , a talented tinsmither who crafts amongst the saints and spirits - literally, speaking. Patron saints such as Saint Francis, Saint Augustine, The Baby Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Frida (Kahlo) (she is a saint in her own right), and any other assortment of saintly flora and fauna make it's way into Susan's colorful and handcrafted art. Nichos are dated back to Spanish colonial times and are typically meant to honor a special ocassion, the dead, a saint, loved one, etc. It is set within a shadowbox casing or recessed dioramas. Susan'sattention to detail and gorgeous use of color is clearly heaven-sent - and the fact that Nichos can be personalized to any person, icon, loved one, event or color scheme really appeals to me, and works to enhance almost any decor- looks great outside as well. Take a basic sheet of tin, then Susan artfully, designs, cuts, shapes, stamps, patterns and then paints it in a meaningful and vibrant way. This ancient and traditional craft is tendered with cultural and spiritual meaning decades deep. Holy Nichos are often offered as a beautiful expression of honoring a loved one at Dia De Los Muertos, rendering it useful and beautiful, which is symbolic of craftsmanship at it's finest. We are blessed to have Susan's beautiful Holy Nichos and her gorgeous self with us at Craftaluma this year.

Interview with Susan Annette Wosk of Holy Nichos
By Petaluma Craft Mafia

Name of business and how you got your name: Holy Nichos!

Where are you from?
Sebastopol, CA

How long have you lived there?
43 years, since 1968!

Tell us the meaning of Holy Nichos and what it represents for you personally?
Nichos are a Mexican Folk Art, where you honor a spiritual being. 'Holy' is used in the universal sense of the word, meaning joyful, creative, and special. Nichos are frames in which you can place photos or scenes.

Your favorite Nicho?
Just recently, one made for Jessica and Bret's wedding, July 28, 2011!

Favorite spice in your cupboard?

Chosen music to craft to?
Gospel or The Mamas & The Papas

How do you start your day?
Lately, with a book called Life Magic

How does your crafty self reconcile with the bottom line business side?
My accountant side comes out and tells my creative side to "stand back!"

Ha! I love that! How do you unwind at the end of a stressful week?
Line dancing! (and it's not country, sorry)

Best thing about living in your town?
SebTown is the mecca of organic produce, loving people and happy family

Favorite book and why?
Life Magic....this gives me keys to who I am...and helps me to run with intuitiveness

Other crafts you would like to explore?
glass art, decoupage, welding & making silver jewelry, water color, acrylic painting

How has the craft boom influenced your own craft?
Online retail such as Etsy and virtual crafters has opened me up to a worldwide network

Your favorite comfort meal is?
BYP (brewer's yeast popcorn)

I confess, I don't know what brewer's yeast is doing messing around with popcornwhen it should be in a cinnamon roll, but I sure am willing to give it a go! What's in your handbag?
What isn't?

What is always in your fridge?
heirloom tomatoes for 6 months a year!

I'm inspired by:
My children! Music and harmonies, gardens and worms!

What still holds wonder for you in this world?
Love and the power of the heart

I couldn't go a day without?
... pulling a weed

"____" really ticks me off:

I dream of traveling to:
Europe and Africa

George, John, Paul or Ringo?

How do you feel American craftypreneurs have shaped craft and the craft industry?
They are making the wave of the future alive now. Since the economy is crashing for the middle class, homemade & homegrown and going to take over!

What empowers you?
Color, making people happy with my artwork, the feeling of tangible creativity

What advice would you give to crafters wanting to get into supporting themselves through their craft?
Work hard, work often, visit shops you like and show them your wares, be a good person, get out there and be brave enough to present your style!

I really love "____"
My family

I have already decided I want you to adopt me, Susan! :) Name a movie or poem or song that particularly moves you?
Oh Happy Day!

What puts that special hop in your giddy-up?
Hummingbirds, Sweet Peas blooming all over my yard, Dancing

Any Pets?
Johnny the cranky cat! Occupation: Complaining

Question of your choice: If you could have one super power....what would it be?
To make all people be kind!

Amen lady! (Thank you Susan and see you at this summer's CRAFTALUMA!

**For more amazing Susan Annette's stunning work see here:
(Photos credits in this post 2011©Susan Annette, courtesty of Susan Annette)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Craftaluma Vendors: Of Cookies and Canines

Meeting Meredith is like taking a bath in an errant ray of sunshine. She beams you with sunny smiles and if you're lucky, you leave with a belly full of her decadent bites of comfort.
I knew this lovely baker and apron lover and I had lots in common, but after interviewing her, I decided we must be long lost twins - who else says "Holy Smokes", wears boots all summer long, (well, maybe Stevie Nicks), is a cookie connoisser, believes in the magic of aprons, loves the smell of rain and is a chapstick addict? Did I mention the red Stetsons? I plan to steal them when Meredith isn't looking and is busy cooking. The fact that she makes buttery citrus sunshine melts, aka, cookies baked withf resh zested Meyer lemons, is the icing on the cookie and this story. They are addicting and I should know. Of course, after sampling all five fabulous and seriously addictive flavors, I was quite hard-pressed to name a favorite. The Triple "C" cookie is loaded with creamy milk and dark chocolate chips, sweet cream butter, brown sugar, aged vanilla and a dusting of cinnamon; the overall effect made me want to propose to this cookie - and chocolate isn't even my favorite flavor. lending an overall smoky, toffee chocolate flavor I can't get enough of. Yep, it is one honey of a cookie, darlin'!

We are happy have this delightful baker, friend and apron maker at Craftaluma's "How The Craft Was Won!" this summer and we are confident you'll love her crafty treats as well.

Meredith, tell us the name of your business and how you got your name:
The name of my business is A Girl And Dog Boutique Bakery. Came up with the name a while back- the first part of it anyway! Always liked the simple idea of a girl and dog doing their thing. The 'Boutique Bakery' part came just before starting the business. I wanted to include the word 'boutique' to stay true to my mission- sharing small batch, gourmet cookies & quality handmade aprons with people- nothing mass produced- nothing done half heartedly. My dream is that it will be big enough to be self sustaining but small enough to always keep quality top notch & (hopefully!) unforgettable.

Where are you from?
I'm from western Washington! A beautiful, beautiful place! I'm thrilled my parents moved us all there when I was 3 ½!

How long have you lived in Petaluma?
I've lived in Petaluma for 5 years now.

Do you have a favorite spice in your cupboard?

Chosen music to craft to?
Holy smokes! So many! Depends on my mood but I have been known to listen to the likes of Lyle Lovett, Tracy Chapman, Radiohead, Nick Drake, Bob Marley, Crooked Still & even a little Irish music from time to time.

How do you start your day?
Always with a little tea & toast- sometimes I save myself & walk downtown with Abe for an iced coffee- that's mostly a summertime activity though!

How does your crafty self reconcile with the bottom line business side?
Not well. But I'm getting better at it. I have a good friend who's my accountant & she helps me through the paperwork side of things. Getting all the permits & related business has been the biggest challenge for me. But once I check off all the things on my list that AREN'T my favorite & I get to go back to the creative side of the business I am able to quickly refuel & focus on the dream of A Girl And Dog... so it's all worth it.

How do you unwind at the end of a hectic work week?
Couple of ways. I either take a drive to the coast with Abe or grab a beer & sit on the back porch. Or I have a milk & cookie break. Obviously. : )

Best thing about living in Petaluma?
Do I have to pick just one? I suppose the best thing to me right now is knowing I can head down to the local cafe, grab an iced americano & work on the computer while some local artist's playin' his guitar & singin' his songs a few feet away.

Why are your cookies so danged good? :)
Ha! I think my cookies are the way they are because I've been mixing, baking & perfecting the recipes for years & years. I've always baked cookies- it's just kind of my thing- and once I got the hang of using the giant convection ovens at the commercial kitchen- things just kept getting better & better. Plus- I'm really focused on detail. It's about the taste of the cookie (with as many locally sourced ingredients as I can find) but also about presentation. A beautiful cookie's just gonna taste better! I've done some serious work taste testing over the years so I feel fairly confident about that : )

Favorite book and why?
Lonesome Dove! I love the character development. Larry McMurtry writes in a way that allows me to immerse myself in the saga of a bunch of cowboys driving a herd of cattle from Texas to Montana. It's got elements of love, loss, humor, sadness & joy all wrapped up in one incredibly great novel... in my opinion!

Your favorite comfort meal is:
Currently it's grilled chicken over a bed of sauteed onion, garlic, carrots, kale & spinach... with goat cheese on top. A glass of red wine always makes it a bit better too!

What's in your handbag?
Chapstick... among other things... but if I don't have my chapstick I get a bit cranky. And it's the peppermint kind if anyone's wondering!

What is always in your fridge?
Milk, eggs & butter... real butter.

I'm inspired by:
My mom. Also by anyone who quits something that's not right & pursues something that is. With reckless abandon & passion.

What still holds wonder for you in this world?
To be totally honest... everything. Some people have said that's a fault of mine- that I live in some kind of dream world- but I don't think that's it at all. I call it hope. And I'd rather be a hopeful being then one who can't find joy anymore.

I couldn't go a day without:
Abe... or my chapstick : )

"____" really ticks me off:
People who check their phones all the time even if they're with you. How is someone on the phone more important than the person right in front of you? I always wonder...

(Amen to THAT sister!) Annoying and rude. Destination dream of traveling to?
Connemara again. I love the west coast of Ireland with my whole entire heart & can't wait to go back again.

George, John, Paul or Ringo? (feel free to expand on why if you wish)
I love and appreciate the Beatles for their musical genius & ability to produce great music for so many years but I don't have a favorite. Am I being judged right now?! : )

How do you feel American craftypreneurs have shaped craft and the craft
First off I love the name craftypreneurs. I am fairly new to the whole scene (as far as starting my first official business) but what I'm coming to understand is that there's A LOT of creative genius out there & we are lucky, lucky, lucky to be able to appreciate & learn from each other. It's an incredibly talented, colorful world & I'm thrilled to a part of it.

What empowers you?
Staying true to myself always and being unafraid to try... just try.

What advice would you give to crafters wanting to get into supporting
themselves through their craft?
Be realistic but don't let fear stop you. If you think it can happen- if you believe it will- then that energy will spread- through your work & to those who get to experience it. Good things come from doing what you love.

I really love "____".
The smell of rain in the morning.

What gives you a special swagger?
My red Stetson boots.

Any Pets? (names and occupation please) :)
Abe! My 6 year old black lab. He's my business partner & best friend.

I wear boots all summer long, I notice you favor them too. Do shoes
really make the girl?
I don't know if they 'make' the girl but they compliment her style & her energy. And I'm into that!

Question of your choice:
I think it's all been pretty much covered! Fun!

Thank you Meredith!
** For more goodness from Meredith Harman and her cookies and aprons, check out her website and facebook page!

xoxo, Your PCM

(photocredits in this post courtesy of © and ©erinwrightsman)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Extra Extra! Craftaluma Buzz on the Petaluma Patch!

For a way sweet and nifty exclusive on the Petaluma Craft Mafia's latest Craftaluma show, lookie here.

See you all there!
Your Petaluma Craft Mafia

Thursday, July 21, 2011

For the Love Of Craft and Book

Sipping cocktails, crafting up a storm is not all we Petaluma Craft Mafia do around here ya know.
Many of us are avid bibliophiles. When I first moved to what I now affectionately refer to as my "hometown" of Petaluma, I immediately ran smack-dab into Copperfield's Books because books and I are inseparable and have a date with destiny. Connecting with one's local bookstore, for me at least, was a way to ground myself and settle in. For those who have never visited Copperfield's Books, it is an independently owned bookstore with stores in Healdsburg, Santa Rosa, Sebastapol, Napa, Calistoga and of course Petaluma. As if being a bookstore wasn't enough, they also host a gallery dedicated to local artists and businesses, a comfortable meeting spot and act as an all-around community supportive bookstore. I have an ongoing love-affair with Copperfield's. The Petaluma store also boasts a rare and used book collection downstairs that is sure to get your tender bibliophiliac heart thumping.

Copperfield's has long been supportive of the local literati, as well as the arts and crafts arena. They always graciously lend us a spot in their much coveted window to dress it up as craftily as we please. This year we decided to go for a paper mache theme based around taxidermy paper mache mounted heads. It was hecka fun, and interesting to see our crafty compatriots all came up with.
We decided to go for a clean kraft wall-papered background (Greta's staple gun is my new best friend) and contrast the kraft with a clean and graphic white for total pop! My love of painting came in handy as I painted my antique fireplace mantel, and too many picture frames to count a vivid clean white. I think I've still got paint under my fingernails. Greta made a sparklelicious unicorn, Jenna made a sweet doe with the longest, sparkly lashes, and I made a ram-bull skull... kinda of Georgia O'Keefish style. Jenna's Petaluma Craft Mafia banner and Greta's delightful origami tweets are the final touch.

The Copperfield's Book Fairies (aka amazing staff) then came out and dusted our window with all kinds of glorious books related to Craft. By the way, Copperfields has a helpful and knowledgeable staff - Many thanks to Patty and Alan for their kindness and gracious hosting of the Petaluma Craft Mafia.
We're really pleased with how it came out. My photos do not do it justice. We got oodles of great feed-back from the community about the window and hope we helped inspire you to get in touch with your inner crafty self!

Copperfield's Books Petaluma
140 Kentucky St.
Petaluma, California 94952

Craftaluma's "How The Craft Was Won!"

Howdy-do Craftistas and DIY'er Sharpshooters!

Summer is here at long last. The Petaluma Craft Mafia is in the mood for a show! We've branded a smokin' hot show for you this summer on August 21st at the Petaluma Art Center for Craftaluma's "How The Craft Was Won!"

The Petaluma Craft Mafia has teamed up with the Petaluma Art Center and we are pleased to announce our first outdoor craft shindig! Craftaluma's "How The Craft Was Won" outdoor Indie Bazzare.
Per usual we are anticipating a whole passel of crafty talented vendors! Sublime, irreverent, kitschy and just well made crafts of local and independent artists who will inspire you to get your craft on.
Not your granny's craft show, but we know she'd be pleased as punch with the amazing craft found here. So join us, and if so inspired by our pioneering, glue gun waving cowgirl, please dress in your favorite cowgirl threads or throw on a pair of boots.
Along with awe inspiring crafts, we will have live music and treats!!

*** Vendors will need to apply to Craftaluma's "How The Craft Was Won" show at the links here or below. Keep in mind that this is an outdoor venue. Tents, tables and chairs are not provided.

Crafty FYI ** In addition, we are hosting our annual holiday show this year. Craftaluma's "Holiday Hoe-down" will be December 3, 2011 at the Petaluma Veteran's Hall. When registering for August's "How The Craft Was Won" you will save 40 dollars by registering for both show in advance.

* Applications are due by August 7, 2011. Thanks in advance!

Hold your glue guns folks, this show is smokin' hot!

With love and glitter,

Your Petaluma Craft Mafia

** Register for CRAFTALUMA'S "How The Craft Was Won" here:

Friday, July 1, 2011

Meet The Famiglia: Jenna Hales

Meet swell gal and crafty entrepreneur Jenna Hales. I met Jenna through a Craftaluma Show a few years back, she was a vendor and a hoot. She's one of those women you are happy to have in your circle of awesome gal pals as well as professionally. Jenna is a PCM sister and a new mama to her son, baby Kai. We welcome her, her positive spirit and great energy to the Petaluma Craft Mafia.

Business Name: sparklejenna

What kind crafty goods do you make? " I make jewelry, plushies, paintings, other crafty objects."

How did you get into this line of work? "I've always been crafty. My mom was always making creative projects when I was growing up and it just seeped into my bones. I can't imagine not working on something crafty, I would go nuts!"

What is the typical work day for you like? "Everyday is different, especially since becoming a mom. I also have a freelance graphic design business ( so depending on which balls are in the air on any given day, I adjust my schedule accordingly. I could spend time on the computer or at my crafting table or a combo, although I can say making things with my hands brings me more fulfillment, even if graphic design is creative it's just not the same as busting out the scissors and glue or sewing machine."

What/who inspires you? "I find creative inspiration everywhere. It could be a magazine, a combination of colors on a sign or a favorite blog. I am inspired by people who follow their dreams. Kelly Rae Roberts is pretty awesome, she built a thriving creative business in just 5 years and shares the steps she took on her journey openly which I really admire. Many artists or crafts people can be so secretive about how they gained success, it's refreshing to have someone out there who is willing to be a mentor for those of us who are up and coming."

Favorite thing about your work? "My favorite thing about my work is the satisfaction I get from doing it and seeing other people connect to it."

What is the single best piece of business advice you know now,that you wish you knew when you were just getting started?
"Even if you feel like you don't have the time, do something small everyday to build your business, small steps grow in to something much bigger with time."

What’s in your fridge?
"Sweet hot mustard, chicken strips, pie, baby food."

Who’s your favorite poet? "Mary Oliver."

Favorite guilty pleasure? "Cotton Candy."

What’s playing on the I-pod? "Greyboy Allstars West Coast Boogaloo."

What is your favorite way to unwind? "Cuddles with my family, which includes my two dogs."

How do you feel contemporary American women entrepreneurs have influenced American culture and craft? "Craft has blown up over the past few years, thanks to the pioneering spirit of some amazing crafty ladies. I think craft is much more prevalent than it was even just a few years ago."

What about the world still holds wonder for you? "My son, seeing him grow and change is the most amazing experience of my life. I feel very blessed to be his mama."

You’re having a dinner party, as the head of the table, who would you love to invite and have seated on your left, and another choice on your right?
"Hmmm, my grandpa and my brother both no longer living."

If you had the chance to sing a live duet onstage, who would you choose to sing with? What would you sing? "That's a tough one. I'd probably throw up and pass out before I ever made it on to the stage, maybe Ebony and Ivory with Michael Jackson - he was weird, but he was rad."

When you die, what would you like inscribed on your headstone and what music would you choose? "I don't know about the inscription, I kind of feel like the whole point is for other people to put what is meaningful to them - after all it won't matter to me :) If I had to choose music, maybe the soundtrack from the movie Amelie."

Where do you see you and your business heading in the coming year? Any goals or particular wishes? "I would love to continue to develop my glitter paintings and maybe even get something licensed!"

What absolutely just makes your day?
"A fun surprise in my mailbox!"