Gearing Up For Show Season

Posted on

Good morning, Wednesday readers! This is Kim, from Fantastical Menagerie. I know its winter still, but show season for crafters will be here before you know it! Whether you have been participating in shows for years, or are thinking about starting out, there are always things to learn. I do a combination of Sci Fi Conventions, Art Shows and Festivals throughout the year. All have different requirements. Most have applications that need to be in at least six months before the show is scheduled. When trying to decide if a show is right for you, its important to do some research.

  • Does your product fit the show? This should be the first thing to consider. If you sell Star Wars handbags, then the Pickle Festival might not be the best fit for your merchandise.
  • How long has the show been running? Is it a first year event or have they been in business for years? Shows that are established have worked out many of the issues with hosting or holding an event, and are, for the most part, running smoothly with set guidelines, a devoted fan base and regular customers.
  • Where is the event being held? Is it downtown on the main streets of your town or city? Is it at an event center with ample parking? A pop up shop in a well curated store, with a reputation for events like these? Or is it somewhere less reliable? I haven’t personally found shows in parking lots, gyms, country parks or farms (all examples) to bring out huge crowds with spending money. There is always an event that exceeds expectations, but event location can play a huge role in your success.
  • What is the purpose of the event? If it is a charity or church event, they might be more concerned with their side of making money instead of how vendors or crafters will fare. A family friendly festival might cater to a crowd that has a lower price point, and not necessarily care about whether things are handmade. If at a convention, the celebrity guests might be expensive and cut down on what people have to spend. Its always a good idea to attend an event the year before to see if your goods will fit, how things are run, and if there is competition for what you sell.
  • Is the show Juried? A juried event is one where you send in photographs, slides, or digital images of your work, display, and sometimes WIP pictures with your application. It is judged by category, level of art, and whether its a good fit for the show. If your goal is to do art shows, this means that all vendors at the event should be at similar levels, with a good variety of art represented, with no Direct Sale or commercial companies there. Some other events will ask to see your work, but mostly to make sure you are a good fit for the show. If you are looking at Conventions or local Festivals, this may not be something you need to worry about.
  • What is the expected attendance of the event? You can ask for previous year’s ticket sales, estimated counts, or presale for the current year’s events. Check their Facebook page to see how many ‘Likes’ they have, or how much effort they put into online marketing.
  • Cost vs. Profit. How much is the booth or table fee? Do you have to donate an item for an auction or charity? Make sure to estimate or research additional costs such as gas, hotel, all meals and snacks, and if you need to pay someone to help you with your booth. If it seems to high for what you are likely to sell, it may be an event to skip.

If you have done your research, you can make an educated decision on whether on event is right for you to participate in. Next Wednesday, I will be focusing more on Juried events, and the best way to get those photos taken. *Festival picture is Orange Beach Arts Festival*


Art for the tummy

Posted on

Happy Wednesday! This is Kim, with Fantastical Menagerie. When I snack, many times I am drawn to unusual flavors, rich, complex taste and something handmade. If I want something sweet, I head straight for Pamplemousse Sucre on Etsy. Based in New York State, Lisa Wolf of Pamplemousse loves to tempt with her confections. From her handmade rich caramels to rock candy geodes, each piece is made by her to very high standards. I usually get sucked in by the cinnamon pear caramels, and her marshamallows. Sinfully rich, and just as delightful to the eye.

Her food art has been featured in multiple magazines, shows and online  I don’t care where it is featured- I just want to eat it!

her rock candy geodes:

Small batch lollipop sampler:

Cherry cocoa nib caramels:

The Vanilla Caramel Marshmallows:

This a sweet treat best opened up when home alone, or you will be sharing with everyone. Order sizes are generous, and she cheerfully gives you little extras and special touches that come with the best of handmade goodies. You can find her here on Etsy


Kitty Ear Hats

Posted on

Happy Wednesday! This is Kim with Fantastical Menagerie. Apparently winter is still going strong across most of the US. If you need something warm to cover your head, may I recommend something cute yet functional? Ella of Blackie Cat Creations has been knitting proudly since 2003. While she learned the basics as a child, she picked it back up after an ankle injury in 2003. She was on bedrest, bored, and needed something to entertain herself. She also discovered that knitting needles fit really well down a cast to scratch. Based just outside of Chicago, Illinois, Ella sells online and in person at many geek themed events. Ella does Geek themed knitted hats, and kitty ear hats.

You can find her on Facebook and on Etsy here. If you want to catch her in person, her event schedule is on her Facebook Page.

 


Fruit Tart Tutorial, Part 2

Posted on

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday! This is Kim, of Fantastical Menagerie. Today I’m bringing you the second half of my Fruit Tart Tutorial. The first part can be found here.

1. Roll out five small balls of Premo brand polymer clay in Pomagranate. Approx 4 mm in diameter.

2. Shape each one into a teardrop shape.

3. Flatten it slightly on your finger.

4. Using your needle ended tool, make small dots on the teardrop shape. They should be in alternating rows, all the way to the back end.

5. Place into the shell, with flat ends in the center.

6. Take the fifth berry, and add the green leaves to the top. Place it on top of the other four.

7. Optional- use green Pearl X on the leaves, and a dusting of the macro pearl on the berries for shine.

8. Put the finished piece into the oven. I would recommend 240 F, for approx 30 minutes. Once it cools, you can add findings to turn it into a pendant, earrings or a pin.

Continue reading »


Fruit Tart Tutorial Part One

Posted on

Happy Wednesday! This is Kim, with Fantastical Menagerie. Last week we talked about keeping clay soft in winter, today I’m going to start you on how to make fruit tarts in clay.

For this project, you need the following:

  • pastry shell mold, preferably silicone. You can find them on Etsy here
  • a small dollhouse plate
  • Sculpey Bake n Bond. This can be found in the polymer clay aisle.
  • Premo clay in ecru, pomegranate, and either green pearl or jungle green. You can get it from any craft or hobby store.
  • tweezers, needle tool, and flat blade or razor.
  • Optional: pearl x powders in Macropearl, green and antique bronze.

1. Condition your clay. Leave the red until last because the color transfers.

2. Take a small piece of the ecru clay, roll it into a ball, and press it into your mold.

3. Carefully remove your clay from the mold. If there is any excess, use your razor to trim it to shape.

4. Add a small amount of Sculpey Bake & Bond to the plate. Put your tart shell in the center over the adhesive.

5. Optional- use a brush and add a little Pearl X Antique bronze on the tart shell to simulate color from baking. Add a bit of Bake & Bond to the center of the tart.

6. Make your leaves for the strawberries. Roll two small balls of green clay into a teardrop shape. Flatten them, and use your needle to run a line down the center of each. Then use the needle to draw veins into the leaves.

7. Roll out five small balls of Premo Pomegranate clay. Approx 4 mm in diameter. These will become your strawberries.

This tutorial will pick up next Wednesday, where I will show you how to form the strawberries, and then put everything together to form the piece.


Clay in winter

Posted on

Happy Wednesday! This is Kim with Fantastical Menagerie. As a clay artist, winter is always harder in more ways than one. Colder temperatures mean that clay doesn’t always stay conditioned.

Copyright © 2015 by Ginger Davis Allman The Blue Bottle Tree, all rights reserved.

Copyright © 2015 by Ginger Davis Allman The Blue Bottle Tree, all rights reserved.

That same block I was working with the day before can be hard and crumbly all over again. Blech! Some shortcuts that I have found work for me are:

  • If you are using a marble, granite or glass work surface, remove the clay and wrap it in waxed paper when you finish for the evening. Stone surfaces conduct cold very well.
  • Store the clay in a box in the warmest room of your house. For many people, this would be the kitchen area.
  • When you start working, hold the cooler ball of clay in your hands or if you are in a hurry, near your skin for about five minutes. This warms it without cooking it.

I hope some of these suggestions help! Some brands of polymer clay are naturally softer, such as Sculpey III or Sculpey Soufflé. Next week I have a tutorial on creating fruit tarts I will be posting in two parts. I know it’s out of season for berries, but maybe the tarts will help you think warmer thoughts.


Traveling with children

Posted on

Happy Wednesday! This is Kim with Fantastical Menagerie. This past weekend,  I was a artist at a ComicCon, and had to travel with my sister, and my niece and nephew. We’ve never gone so far together before. I must say I learned a lot, from packing snacks, activity books, pillows and sleep music to inventing activity stations and the importance of naps.

Besides these things, the importance of a travel buddy is underrated. Both my niece and nephew felt more comfortable with a furry someone to hug, sleep on and talk to. Our sleeping and travel buddies come from Justine at the Monster Cafe.

img_8307

She does really cute, unique monsters that have jointed arms on the larger ones, and she provides customization, fun fur and cool prints. She is based in Florida, so you are supporting handmade, made in the USA art as well. Her stuff can be seen on Etsy and Facebook.

img_8308

If you are the kid in your life need a travel buddy, please check these out! We got home Tuesday safe and sound. The link to the Monster Cafe can be found here:

https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=211267878904210&tsid=0.9873578168569335&source=typeahead

 


A new year brings change

Posted on

Hello to all of you! I’m Kim from Fantastical Menagerie. Toni from Quiltoni asked me if I would be interested in contributing to the blog spot here on Crafthackers, and I was delighted.

I have been running my own art business for twelve years, and full time since 2011. I work mostly in polymer clay, and some mixed media. I tend to work with sculpting animals into wearable art. Besides doing a number of ComicCons and Art Shows each year, you can find my things on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fantasticalmenagerie or on Etsy at www.fantasticmenageries.etsy.com.

I am hoping to have some tutorials over the next few months, along with ideas to inspire you to create! If you would like to see one I posted here in September, here is the link. It’s on clay pumpkin earrings.

DIY: Pumpkin Earrings and Pendant

We have a new year in front of us, and so many things to try.

img_7609