Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Studio, continued

The story unfolds:

As the years passed and the winters came and went, our business had its thriving happy moments. There were times when we could barely keep up with the orders rolling in from our Amazon account and our fingers ached from beading as fast as we could possibly bead.    It was good when we had to borrow chairs from the house to have enough seats and squeeze just one more person to our collage journal class.  Things were thriving when the yard was filled with people for our annual wine and cheese fall party or the annual arts and craft sale where we hosted other artists to sell their craft.  For seven years, two friends ran a tidy little business, making jewelry, teaching art classes, and hosting events.  It was good. 

And the studio has had its sad and lonely lows.  We were disappointed when no one showed up for our holiday sale.   And when we found out that a local mom hijacked one of our classes and taught it at her own home, we were mad.  And as the economy made its downward turn, so did our sales.  Who has money for jewelry, when they are trying to pay the bills?  The message became clear, it was time to move on. 

Through many long, sometimes painful, discussions, Kerry and I decided it was time to close the door on Milagro Jewelry.  It was the right thing to do.  We called the accountant and filed the paperwork.  That was the easy part. 

The hard part came next.  Our very full studio, packed to the rafters with treasures, (papers, beads, blank canvases, ribbon, ephemera, stickers, stamps, embellishments of all kinds) had to be divided.  Like a divorce, but on friendly terms, we have spent many long hours sorting and dividing.  Fortunately, never squabbling over who wants this special paper or that treasured ephemera, we often pass it along to the other.

And now it is done, almost.  And I am reinventing myself and my art in the warm studio that Kerry helped me build.

Kerry continues to create art and craft in her new art and sewing room at her home.  She has her own writing project, too.  You can see what she's up to at Type A Mom Type 1 Kid.

I am excited to see what will happen next.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Studio

This is where I create:

Here is the back story:
(written by my friend, and former business partner, Kerry)

The historic little blue building has lived many lives.   What was once Lafayette’s kindergarten, a storage facility and even a wash house, is a building with a history and with history comes a story.    This one involves an artist, a mother and daughter, a friendship, dreams and a pair of red cowboy boots.

Helen, a Birch and Douglas Elementary Schools art teacher and artist, started renovations on the little blue building with the dream of turning it into an art studio for herself.  New cherry wood floors, walls and electricity were added but renovations stopped with her sudden death and the little blue building sat.  In the coming years it was used as a storage facility by her daughter Rachel.  It sat untouched for 7 years until Rachel and Kerry were looking for a place to expand their jewelry design business.  The perfect place was right there in front of them in what everyone called “the schoolhouse.”

 In the spring of 2005, renovations started.  It was messy, dusty and sometimes overwhelming.  But with determination and help from friends, everything was hauled out and cleaned and we began to see what a fabulous place we had.  We found many treasures while we cleaned, including a bag of Milagros that we swore kept mysteriously moving around every time we set them down.   Each time we discovered them again we knew this was the right place for us to be.  A friendly mannequin we nicknamed Paco sat in the corner with a bandaged arm.  We still hope he is out there somewhere riding around Lafayette.  Boxes and boxes of art supplies and treasures we named collageables, were waiting for us to transform them into art.    One item we don’t have a story for but we find intriguing are the red cowboy boots that hang from the ceiling rafter.  It is the one item we never moved and probably never will.  They must be important, because everyone notices them and everyone has something nice to say about them.   We like to think of the red boots as the logo for what we now call “The Helen Parker Art Studio.”

In the fall of 2005, we moved in with our jewelry business and found that we wanted to create more than jewelry in our little studio.  We started experimenting with our own art and world’s of ideas came to us.  We always say we are full of ideas and it seems they never stop, so we had to share.  In December we started classes for local women to come and create fine crafts with us.  The classes filled each month and we have a nice group of regulars as well as new people each time.  We love sharing our ideas and love meeting all of the fascinating, creative, bright women who join us.  We hosted coffee hours each Friday for women to just stop by and talk, get ideas or just connect with other women.  The Studio became a second home for us; and we hope it feels the same way for everyone else who joins us there.

written by my good friend Kerry
who you can now find on her blog Type A Mom Type 1 Kid.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Quote of the Day-

Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.
-Emily Post