Friday night at Crafted, we had our Etsy Craft Party. Spearheaded by KC Sears, fellow shop owner -Make, Shop, Live - and carried forth by Crafted staff and BUNCH of vendor-volunteers who decorated . . . we had a fun-filled evening of make and takes, demonstrations, good food, great music, and awesome visitors. Check out Crafted’s site for pictures.
I’m not what I would consider a ‘crafty’ person. When I think of crafts, I think of the talented people that do awesome things with yarn and thread and paper and glue and tacks and things. I tried knitting, crocheting and did needle point when I was a child. I don’t paint, I cannot draw worth a darn – just ask metal clay artists that have taken my classes – and frankly glitter and glue confound me. I suppose if you consider my fine silver jewelry creations a craft, I fit in there somewhere. And I don’t mean that with any sense of arrogance. I really admire the people I know who can craft in that way. My good friend Rain Hannah of Honey and Ollie spins her own yarn and is a genius at knitting and crocheting AND she can create a gemstone necklace like no one’s business. She is truly a well rounded artist, where as I consider myself a one trick pony.
A million years ago, I was the chairperson of an event at my children’s school. It was called the World Market and it was a “crafty” event. Parents and children worked for a couple of months making handmade goods to sell at the market. The highlight of preparations was “Craft Days” on the campus. One of those days was during school hours and each group of students was facilitated through a project. These projects, no matter how well done (or not), were big sellers. The other Craft Days were done on the campus on a Saturday. Encouraging widespread community involvement, we gathered at the campus and folk could sit at various stations and make a project.
Why I was EVER the chairperson of such an event, I will never know. I will tell you that I really panicked about Craft Days. Most parents were savvy enough that for the in-school projects, we were all set. One year, I actually came up with a good idea – decoupaged treasure boxes – it was a sticky mess, and the 5th and 6th graders had a good time. Me? I did have a good time and remained in fairly good spirits although I left there with paper and Modge Podge stuck to a good percentage of my body.
I chaired this event for three years. After extraneous effort at knitting scarves and learning to decorate tiles for coasters, from the internet, I finally found a book. This book of crafts was really my kinda book and I knew it the minute I saw the title: “The Big-Ass Book of Crafts”. This book changed my life in numerous ways.
At the time it was a gift from the ‘verse that was sure to save me from glue. I was able to share this book with fellow parents and spread the good cheer of 150 different kinds of projects, many of which contain NO glue and NO glitter – well there is glue . . . but NO GLITTER.
So I have my book and it was a great confidence builder for me.
I have since abandoned chairing any more events. As my daughter heads into her 10th grade year and my son has graduated, I’ve done 17 years of events at this school, so I am taking an extended hiatus J The book was tucked away until about two years ago.
I volunteered to create something for the previously aforementioned event and needed an idea. I had been working as an artist for a while, however in my medium, I couldn’t figure out a donation that was cost effective for me.
I poured through the book and found something to do – I picked bath salts. I got some help from a friend and we made several bottles.
In the process of sifting through the book, I was transfixed on several sections wherein the artist used Loteria cards/art to decorate things and make some really great works of art.
I cannot tell you the series of thoughts that occurred, however I can confirm that these sections of the book were the spark . . . yes, inspiration for the Loteria card pendants I now make. Framed in fine silver, the tiny cards are resin set and the piece is hung on a sterling chain.
Now I realize this is all a very long back-story to why my phone is wine-soaked . . . and I’m getting to it.
Ok, so . . . who is the ‘Dali Lama’ of crafting great art, that wrote this book? Why, none other than Mark Montano. AND who showed up at Crafted on Friday night for the Etsy party? Why, none other than Mark Montano! And this brings me to wine on my phone . . .
So, I go to get a glass of wine and as I am walking back to my store, I catch a glimpse of Mr. Montano in what apparently is our ‘green room’. He is tucked away, pawing through his goodie bag in what will be the phase two warehouse. I see him, I stop and I’m all freaking’ giddy . . . I peak, I stare, I watch. Good friend Amy Steelman of Dogwood and Poppy, says “Go introduce yourself!” I shake my head . . . she says “Just go in there and say hi!”. The thought of which prompts me to back up quickly, as I fear her shouting has been overheard and in doing so, I spill wine down my arm and on my phone.
I dash to my store to clean off my hand and consider the foolishness of my giddiness.
About ½ later, I had decided that I would in fact do a demonstration and I am headed to Wood Brain and Meriebabie to find out when they will be doing make and takes and as I am marching through the warehouse, I round the corner and near knock him over . . . stop dead and mutter something like . . . “oh it’s you” to which he politely replies, “yes, it is me”. I turned and ran.
Thinking they would be touring our isle any second, I grab my copy of “The Big-Ass Book of Crafts” and my sharpie pen and look at my friend Shirley and say, “He’s coming this way!”. She laughed at me. I peak out of my stall just in time to realize they are NOT in fact coming this way, so I grab what little self-respect I have left and march over there with my book and pen and in the most timid voice I have ever heard come out of my mouth, squeak “Mr. Montano, will you sign my book?”. When he asked me my name, I forgot for a second. He graciously inscribed my book and I was able to mumble the impact his art had on my life and work and to share one of my Loteria pendants with him.
I SQEEEEEEEE back to my store. I then do the best demonstration I’ve ever done. Shirley takes pictures, Kristen stops by, the area was full of people! What a fun night . . . .could it get any better?
Why, yes, it could.
I realize I am starving. I head to the food truck and they are sold out. As I walk back into the building, I see Mr. Montano doing photo ops and trying to shoo away would-be makers at his table. I say, “You just have to run!” and literally grab this man by the arm and drag him off to my booth. As we are skittering away, I say, “so what do you know about metal clay?” he says “I’ve heard of it, but haven’t tried it” So I say, “lemme give you a pack and some tools to play with and loan you a book and let’s get together for a play date . . .” Wait, did I just invite myself into Mark Montano’s life for a play date??????? Why yes, my silly self did exactly that!
I had the chance to share my work and explain (ad nauseum, I’m sure), about what an impact his book had made on my life and he posed for a pic with me and expressed an interest in taking a class and wanted to know if I had written a book yet and also shared the name of an artist I should look up.
I chatted with this extraordinary man as if I had known him for years. He was delightful and inspiring just in his presence.
I turned around and with the help of my friend Shirley, sold 4 custom bracelets. They were the only things I had sold all day, so it was pretty squeeeee. Hello Dash & Dine of San Pedro.
I also saw my friend Ali Zeno, who shared her delightful story of meeting a famous driver and asking him to sign her “ass pad”. This story made me laugh all night every time I thought of it, and made her husband shake his head in much the same way as he did during the original event.
Also among fabulous things happening, meeting a fine art jeweler that called my coffee cup a “masterpiece”! I’m still a little stunned. Gary from McCloud Ringworks in Ports O’ Call, called my fine silver coffee cup a “masterpiece”. I was SUPER touched, proud and excited
My night was complete. I met Mark Montano, got his autograph in “The Big-Ass Book of Crafts”, got a picture with him, sold something, had a little wine, shared great laughs with great friends . . . met a ton of new friends and now know that I am a maker of a “masterpiece”
Crafted . . . it’s kinda my life now
pics to come