Monday, November 28, 2011


When we checked into our hotel in Slidell Louisana, we were given a small bag that contained a bottle of water and some snacks. It had this card attached.
I was so tickled with the whole idea that it's something I'd like to incorporate into my own business. Not sure how yet...

Sunday, November 27, 2011


I love organization. There it is, I said it. Nothing pleases me more than to be organized. To have a system in place that works. Websites that have organizing tips and tricks and even better - forms to help, they make my heart beat faster. The organizing stores? Prepare to lose me in plastic organizer heaven. I'll buy anything to make me more organized.

This is my idea of booth heaven. Marc and Wendy Zoschke have a new booth that Marc designed and built. Look at all those labeled bins!!! Absolute heaven! The front side is beautiful and shows there work off wonderfully but give me that kind of organization - please! I want it in all aspects of my life...

So now the life is totally disorganized right now. I don't have lists going, I don't know what I should be doing next or what's a priority. What has happened here? The clean part of the studio looks like some hoarder lives there (not showing pictures of that). My poor office is full of papers that need dealing with. Everything needs help.

This is what happens when you do too many shows and they're too far away to come home quickly. Life becomes disorganized. All that is going to change... I'm putting my organizational skills back to work and taking charge!!!

Now if I could just get Pat to let me organize her little price blocks into a lovely little plastic container...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

This is what happens when you take a break...

Even though I think I always have something to say, I needed a break from blogging. If you look back at the year it looks like I took a break even earlier than I thought I had but...tonight was the night. I was back to blogging! All ready to go and up pops something that says there's something new, push here. Which I did. Big mistake. Now my blog looks funky and is really hard to read. So instead of a quick little something light, written up to get me back to it, I have to redo my design. I'm looking at hours of work...but not tonight. So my apologies for the funny looking site. I've added it to the list of things that need doing...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Quote

In doing some reading on the computer today, I found a great quote by Steve Jobs about work and I wanted to share it. This is for everyone who feels passionate about what they do...

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.” Steve Jobs [Stanford commencement speech, June 2005]

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Art Fair Neighbors

I'm very lucky! Most of my neighbors at art fairs have been wonderful people and some have even turned into long time friends. Some are invisible, they just keep to themselves so you go away not knowing them any better at the end of the show than you did at the beginning. Some are just grumpy and you quickly learn to stay away from them. Others you just click with and end up with a good friend. That's what happened in Des Moines.

I was set up next to Paul Zerjay this past weekend, a wonderful woodturner from the St. Louis area. As I told him, he's now set the bar high for my upcoming neighbors because he was a real peach! The show was much more fun with him next door as well as his neighbors on the other side, John & Christine Strobel. Good times with good neighbors. It's what makes art fairs less like work!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dad and my business...

There's no one more supportive of his daughter and her business than my Dad, Tom. Since the very beginning he has been there whenever I needed something whether it was moral support or to build something I needed.

My first display was a case that I bought from a friend, the second one Dad built. Cases that were interesting and would fit in my MGB! Then I decided I needed a small roof so Dad designed that as well. It broke down small and compactly, perfect for shows in a tiny car.

Since then he's been designing and building all kind of things for my studio as well, including my workbenches. I need a new rack for something, I call Dad. Of course then I end up with something much nicer than expected!

But he could be embarrassing as well. In my early days I showed my work in the Art Sales tent at the Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts every June. The tent was one block from my Dad's office so he delighted in standing in my booth calling all his friends over to "buy some of my daughter's jewelry". Since he knew EVERYONE, this was totally mortifying to his daughter. It took a few years before I embraced what he was doing. Now I just laugh and enjoy it!

One of the many father-daughter traditions has been that he always helps me set up my booth at the Reeds Lake Art Fair here in Grand Rapids. He's now 83 and still meets me there before 6 am to help set up and then we go have breakfast.

But that's just the beginning of his "involvement" at that show. All day long yesterday people asked me if I was related to Tom! Young, old and in between, a whole lot of people know my Dad. So with a big smile, I proudly answer yes, he's my Dad!

Love you Dad!!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Reeds Lake Art Fair

It's like going back to 1976 and my first art fair. Tomorrow is the Reeds Lake Art Festival. Back then it was the Reeds Lake Clothesline Art Fair and you had to haul everything down the steps into John Collins Park on Reeds Lake. This was back long before canopies and fancy displays. This was a table with a jewelry display case sitting on it. That was the good news since at the end you had to haul everything back UP the stairs.

I ran the show for a couple of years back in the early 80's. I was handed a piece of paper with who to call for the donuts and coffee and told to put on a show. Needless to say, I learned a lot that first year! Dick wrote a program for me and I got everything computerized which was very new back then. I learned about working with a city bureaucracy and the importance of being patient. Plus a couple of artists screamed at me when they didn't get in, not knowing that they would be facing me at the next show we did together (that was kind of fun).

All in all, very good memories.

Now the show is held in the streets above the park which is so much better. I went back last year after many years of not doing it and had a great time. So easy to do and I saw tons of people I hadn't seen in years, since it's my hometown. Plus it's just a warm fuzzy since it was my very first art fair 35 years ago. Please let it be sunny!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Old Town Art Fair & Compassion

This entry is from my friend Lynn Fisher who does wonderful porcelain and stoneware work. I'm copying this to my blog (with her permission) because I think it's important that we bring to light how some shows deal with a tragedy in an artist's life. Luckily, it's not all shows...

"I'd closed my home and studio up in mid-January and was gone for the next five-and-a-half months, working and doing fairs in Florida, and didn't get home until last Saturday. My brother was going to open the place up, turn on the water, etc., and discovered a fire just starting in the studio when he walked in the door. He turned off the gas, which stopped the fire, called 911, and then called me while I was still a couple hours from home. Apparently a tiny leak had formed in the furnace gas line which was near an outlet; the gas shot right into the outlet, feeding it a tiny but steady stream of gas that wasn't enough to blow the place up but was still enough to create lots of creosote. Some wood nearby had actually started to burn when he opened the door.

It might have started days ago, possibly even two weeks ago when there was an electrical storm here and two huge poplars were completely split open after being struck by lightening. That may have caused a short or spark in that particular outlet that may have hit the flexible metal gas line nearby. It all sounds stupid, especially since the furnace man had installed the gas line so close to the outlet. They were both hidden behind the furnace; if I'd known about it I would have had it changed immediately.

The photos don't do the damage justice, since most of the soot or creosote rose in the heat, covering the ceiling and 2/3s of the upper walls. Surprisingly, it didn't stick to certain surfaces -bisqued molds, for example, or some of the fabrics. The windows are still black in these photos, although moths and flies have left some delicate patterns of light where they brushed against the glass. I've since wiped some of the windows to let in more light but I'm not sure which is worse, the dark studio or or the light one that shows just how awful the place is. It's like a little den of horrors, a nightmare.

Once the studio is cleared out it will be gutted and rebuilt, but it will be several weeks before I can move back in. I won't get my hopes up for anytime earlier than mid-July.

Arg. What a thing to come home to! At least it isn't the total loss that it is for all those people who've been wiped out in floods or tornadoes. I feel really fortunate that it isn't worse!

So here it is, Bonnie, ready for you to share however you like. I think it might be nice to show what Old Town and its cavalier attitude is like to those of us artists who are suddenly faced with a situation completely out of their control. They are truly compassionate, sticking by their rules, and then making it even worse by telling me I don't need to apply again next year."

This is the shows response:

Hi Lynn: Thanks for the email and photos. We're going to have to be tough here, despite your obvious trouble, as it is less than two weeks until the show and we'll have to scramble to find a replacement for you. Further, it is our clearly-stated policy that late cancellations do not receive a refund and the artist may not apply to the next year's show. We must stick to the policy here. I'm sorry for all you're going through. We'll miss having you and wish you all the best.

Joan Goldstein

Exhibitors Committee Co-Chair

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Facebook and me

I came to using Facebook kicking and screaming that I didn't want to know what everyone had for breakfast. That's what I thought it was. Boy was I wrong!

What a great way to share life's moments. You can give support, get support, celebrate when the great things happen and commiserate when things aren't so wonderful. You can spend a lot of time on it or just check in once in a while, it's up to you. But you stay connected.

This can be a very solitary lifestyle if you're not at a show. Just me alone in my studio. Now I love my workspace but I really need to be connected to the outside world as well. Facebook does that for me. I can see what my friends have been up to at any time of the day or night without disturbing anyone. A little piece of the outside world. It's wonderful!

My friend Vic turned off her Facebook during her busy season. I can understand that her focus needs to be on her work and not on Facebook but I miss her already. How will I know that she just had the best show of her entire career? Or that they're winning awards at every show? Or whatever little news she might have???

Facebook can take as little or as much time as you want to give it. I've found it works for me... Back to the studio!

Saturday, May 14, 2011


So this is what real people do on a Saturday! Got up early and hit the Farmer's Market this morning and came home with lots of fun things including tomato plants. Which means that later today I'll be doing some planting.

When you spend most of your weekends doing art fairs, you forget what weekends are like for other people. And you forget how much fun they are! Today would be the perfect day to hit the Farmer's Market then go to an art fair! First seeing all the great growing things and then see some great art. Stop for a great cup of coffee and it adds up to a perfect day.

I canceled my participation in a show this weekend. Someone who must have been slightly off her rocker scheduled shows for 6 weekends in a row from St. Louis to Bethesda Maryland. Not quite sure how I actually thought I could do all those shows so something had to give. Since Bethesda was the furthest, it lost and I canceled it. So I have this glorious, rainy Saturday off! And I'm enjoying it. Doing things I want to do which includes time in the studio since I just want to make rings and more rings. Ah, Saturday. What a wonderful day of the week!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Every three months...

I'm sitting in my oncologist's waiting room feeling lucky. I'm fine, it's just my every 3 month check-up but it's a busy place. All ages of adults in various stages of health are waiting, some to see their doc, some for their chemo appointment. The patients tend to be the ones in the ill fitting pants. This is not a disease where you gain weight! Until after it's over and then if you're a happy eater, it will show on you.

First thing you do for these appointments is the lab work. I have to remember to push the fluids the day before to make their job a little easier. Not sure what all they're checking for but not hearing any details is always the good news here. Then it's the wait for my doc, usually a long one since he has a lot of very sick and dying patients that come first.

I complained once about how the drugs make me feel and he pointed out the realities of life to me. I'm one of the lucky ones and I need to remember that when I have no energy or my face breaks out in blotches from the sun. Very small price to pay for continued good health.

So today my blood pressure is a little higher than normal. Gee, I wonder why? Could it be that here the word of the day is CANCER??? That's okay because once every three months I'm reminded but the rest of the time I'm just a regular person with regular concerns and frustrations. I'm not a cancer patient, just a person who hit a bump in the road and is moving on.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

I'm afraid of tornados

Seeing all the destruction caused by the tornado's down south the last couple of days has brought tornados to the front of my mind. I'm afraid of them. I've seen the destruction up close and personal and they scare me.

We were camping when the tornado hit East Grand Rapids but raced home because my Grandparents house was in the area that was hit. When we drove up, it looked like the house was gone but it turned out to be the neighbors roof was just leaning against the house, covering it. Devastation all around, wherever we looked. It made a big impression on a 16 year old.

Go forward to 2001, coming home from Art & Apples. It had been raining and I had called a friend to make sure they got taken down before the storm hit. All of a sudden the wind picked up and things started flying through the air, including an orange construction barrel and then I couldn't see ahead. Other than the brake lights of the car in front of me. Thankfully they were there, they pulled over and we were under an overpass. I put the van in park, turned it off and hunkered down the best I could. Seemed like forever but of course it all happened very quickly. I was pelleted with things and glass was breaking all around me but my little minivan kept me safe. Once it was over I sat up and looked in the rear view mirror but couldn't see anything. Took a moment to realize that it was smashed. As well as the outside mirrors plus most of the windows were gone. The dashboard was covered with leaves, sticks and stones and my hair was filled with debris but I was fine. My little purple minivan gave her life to save mine...she was totaled.

It turned out that it was an F1 tornado, the smallest kind. Unbelievable force for what they call a small tornado. It's something I'll never forget and never want to relive. I have huge respect for the force of Mother Nature and if there's a tornado can find me in the basement! And just as a final shot - those people who say their booths stayed up through a tornado, they're lying!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

On the road again!

My 2011 art fairs are starting and it's so exciting! This has been the longest break from shows that I've had for years and it was needed. I'm making all kinds of new work and I'm so excited to finally be showing it to people!

I'm making rings!!! For years I was known for my rings which lead to extreme ring burn-out. The rings I'm doing today are primarily sterling, some with 22k gold since I do so love that metal. Some even have stones or pearls. They're all constructed out of sheet metal instead of casting like I used to do. They both have their advantages but I really like doing fabrication. Pictures are coming soon!

My next art fair is the Canton National Art Fair, held at the Canton (OH) Museum of Art, April 29 - May 1. It's a small show of only 80 hand picked artists and I can't wait!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Garage Sale Art Fair 2011 - the video

It's done for another year...

I woke up Sunday morning and felt truly at peace. The 15th Annual Garage Sale Art Fair was on Saturday and all the hard work and preparation paid off. The weather held out and we had record crowds with the line forming at 8:05 for a 9:30 opening. That was really great!

This was a hard year. For the first time ever, we had a bunch of cancellations right at the last minute so we had to scramble to try to fill those spots on top of the normal "right before the show" craziness. But it worked. And now, life will go back to a little more normal. Time to actually start making some jewelry again!

The one on the right is as fried as she looks...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Some times you need a goose...

Not the honking kind but the kick in the rear to get you moving. I'm writing this so it's out there and I have to follow through.

I'm sending some jewelry to a friend to be photographed. Not for jury shots but for all kinds of other uses, including Etsy. Doesn't sound like a big deal but I've turned it into one. He's doing this as a favor and it seems like a lot to ask. But look at this beautiful booth shot he did for me!

I'll be posting the results...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My 2011 Goals

My goals for this year are very practical. Nothing warm and fuzzy, just things I can actually accomplish and that need to be done. Considering that I'm not particularly practical and I think everything in life should be warm and fuzzy, this could make for an interesting year!

1) Update my logo. Although it doesn't sound like much, this will be a big one. I stopped using my old, very dated logo a few years ago and have been trying to figure out a new one that captures what I'm currently doing. This is NOT something I have any skill doing myself but there's no money in the budget to hire someone so I'll have to figure it out (with the help of friends of course). Once this is done I need new boxes, cards and a new banner for my booth. All with the new logo tying them together.

2) Figure out how to use silver and get the same feeling in my work. Even silver is expensive these days but it seems cheap in comparison to using 22k gold so I'm going to try to use more of it. A lot more of it in fact. Very little 22k... This is the ugg goal. I'm not happy about having to do this but it's necessary and I will adapt, although I'll probably grumble while I do!

3) Stay closer to home for shows this year to help stay on top of things. I LOVED traveling the country last year doing shows but I couldn't keep up with anything at home! Personal, business, whatever. I didn't stay on top of anything. That can't continue. So I'll still be traveling but just not quite as much.

4) Keep on top of phone calls, e-mails, orders, repairs etc. This really ties into #3...

5) Clear out the clean side of the studio. Oh boy, this is a big one. My studio is 1/3 the dirty side where I make the jewelry and 2/3 the clean side. That's where anything clean happens. Major storage plus working areas. When Julia was working with me, she kept me on top of it but without her, I tend to dump things there to go through them later. Yeah, sure. That time hasn't come in a very long time. But it's now time to just do it! I need to get rid of things that I'll never use again like those exceptionally beautiful oak jewelry cases from way too long ago. How many years should I actually store them??? I may need to call Julia...

There's nothing earth-shattering here. No lofty goals for me this year, just very practical ones. We'll see how I do!

Monday, January 17, 2011


Every year in January, the women in my artist group all share their goals for the year. First we have to admit to what we did and didn't achieve on our goal list for the previous year. Lots of laughter and excuses during that part. Then comes the actually speaking out loud what we want to accomplish this year. That's the hard part. There will be some silly, some heartfelt and some slightly wishful. All of us looking forward with anticipation...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Tiny boxes

The following is by Don Ament who is a photographer and used with his permission. I loved this story and wanted to share it.

Friday night the Lexington Art League had the opening preview party for the 25th anniversary Nude Show. It's a major show that attracts international work. Seemingly, the entire town (and beyond) comes out for the pricey opening. My studio is located in the same building as the LAL's galleries, it's an 1852 building that looks like a castle.

I have a set of eight tiny handmade paper boxes I acquired several years ago, made by a former president of the LAL. They are 1.25 inches square by 3/4 inch tall, have lids, and she decorated them to look like little presents you might get at a birthday party. For the preview party, I put a few of my little "Buzzguy" caricature signs around the studio like I wrote about on this forum awhile back, and then tried something new with the little boxes.

I put the boxes in a conspicuous place, and put a Buzzguy sign next to them that said, "Hey, put a Cool Treasure in one of these boxes for me." I wasn't in my studio the whole evening, so had no idea if anything would be in any of them or not. Well, at the end of the night, six out of eight boxes had cool treasures in them.

I got an earring that looks like a volleyball, a stretchy hair thing that women use, a compliment about my work, a business card, an offer from someone who informed me that she is a treasure and wants to model for me (I was showing some of my figurative work in my studio), and this quote from Yogi Bhajan: "Grace is the most effective tool. It will bring you love, appreciation and prosperity."

I'm going to save every one of these cool treasures and do this again.

Friday, January 7, 2011

a new decisions

This month is deliberately free of shows to help me decide where I want my work to go next. Using 22k gold in the amounts I do is no longer an option so, what's next for me? After almost 35 years at this, can I still make a living this way? What do I need to change?

There have been discussions on Facebook among the jewelers/metalsmiths who use primarily silver about how they're dealing with the rising price of metal. Are they making changes in their work, making things lighter, changing their designs, we're all trying to find the answers. I don't have any answers yet but I'm looking.

For me some of the changes are really hard. I'm dropping my line of 14k gold wire earrings that I've done forever. Love these earrings since they give me a chance to pound steel against gold and come up with something fun! Some of my designs have been around a long time, some are brand new but I've loved making them. Maybe I'll still make a few for fun...

Going back to my beginnings and working in silver again will allow me to play more. I'm going to start making some silver rings which I'm really excited about. Years ago I was known for my gold rings but it's been a long time since I've made rings of any kind so this will be a fun change.

Change doesn't come easily for me right now but I will! And I'm excited about the possibilities. Stay tuned for a new chapter!!!