All material Copyright ©2009 - 2010 by Julia Meek Chambers, all rights reserved.

I Met Some Really Great Ladies Tonight…

I went to the Heart Link meeting in Leander tonight and met some really wonderful ladies.  I was a little worried about going at first.  I’ve been going non-stop and am feeling a bit drained from pushing myself with shows and volunteering for the school lately.  So when I walked into Keri’s house, I was feeling rather wilted, not very animated or out going.

I’ve known the hostess, Keri Byer, also founder of Austin Fairy Godmother Foundation, for a few years now.  And I met her friend Janis Jones who is helping her with Project Bling.  Keri’s always a gracious and awesome person.  And I met new people tonight as well.  Luckily, there was some awesome turkey chili from My Fit Foods for dinner.  That gave me some stamina and perked me up a bit.

I talked with Trish Beach for awhile about marketing and specifically marketing for artist types.  ‘Cuz it is different.  I’ve seen her site before, I know she’s helped Keri a lot and the two times I’ve seen her, she’s impressed me.  I’ve been looking for another bridge type, and I think she might be a good choice.  What I mean is someone who can be of both the creative mentality, as well as business mentality.  I prefer to walk the tight rope.  I was also really drawn to Sally Whitehouse’s microderma mitt body scrubs made from floss silk. I’m thinking I need one.

I also got to show off my hooks and talk about crochet, which was great as always.  And Keri bought my hat.  Like literally, it was my hat.  The one I made at the Crochet Liberation Front Conference at Cama Beach.  “I’ve been wearing it the last month,” I said.  “So, do you have cooties?” she replies.  I’m glad she will enjoy it.  I’ll have to make another.

I’m still processing all the information people presented and I need to get to bed since I’m chaperoning a middle school field trip at 7am.  So I’ll have to share more later.  But it was a nice night.

Categories: Business, Random Thoughts

Photos from Austin Craft Riot

Freebies I donated to the goody boxes.image


Great Crowd!


Some items that have sold.


Austin Craft Riot!

I can be found today and tomorrow at Austin Craft Riot.  The place to be this weekend! Photo booth, cocktails available in the lounge, free goody BOXES for the 1st 25 people through the door each day and 42 handmade artisans and vintage dealers. What’s not to love!

Categories: Uncategorized

When Artists Hear “I Can Make That!”

Dan Rockwell wrote a post today over at Leadership Freak about the “Illusion of Perceived Knowledge.”  Though his post was for application in a more corporate environment, I thought it was an appropriate description of something that artisans often face at shows.  We’re in the middle of holiday show season, so it’s pretty fresh in my mind and there have been recent discussions amongst the artists I know. The “illusion of perceived knowledge” is a concept we are definitely familiar with.

So I thought I’d write about it a bit today for everyone’s benefit.  If you’re an artist too, check out what some of us have done to help deal with this.

In our experience, there always seems to be someone who comes through a handmade market, and says, “Ugh, I can do that, and that, and that,” summing up an artist’s or artisan’s work as being without value because this person believes they can do it too. Not everyone is that bold to say such things out loud, but it is often thought. I’ve been guilty in the past of similar thoughts as well when I was young and less educated, and believe me, it was an illusion!

One of my fellow artisans had a great answer for people when they came through our market.  They might pick up one of her necklaces and say “I can do that.” “Yes,” she’d say politely, “but will you?”

Whether they can or they can’t doesn’t matter. In our modern age we tend to disrespect the time and skill that goes into handcrafting something, in part because we no longer see the processes or people behind what lines the store shelves. And this is true of many other skills in life, not just art.

Instead of feeling bad or complaining about it, one of the measures our juried group took to help shift this attitude, was to create shows where the artists did demos of the kind of work they did. It’s the same concept in a way that Maker Faire has since promoted.

For instance, some people might think of chain-mail as simply a bunch of linked rings, right? Simple process; nothing to it. That is, until they had a chance to try it themselves. Suddenly they came away with a greater appreciation for the skill as well as design process.

Another artisan friend of mine specializes in jewelry made from local seeds. People might not think much of that until they learned about her process to harvest and hand process these seeds until they were suitable to be used in jewelry.  They would also learn that the process was so time consuming and difficult, that some of those seeds could never be processed on a large scale and therefore would never be seen in jewelry except to be processed by hand by someone like her.  Someone with the passion, patience and knowledge.

The same thing for the other artists, from silversmithing, to pottery, to sewing, to carving, to even crochet. Letting people watch us work and listen to us talk about our fields and design processes and even let them give it a try or be a part of the creative process with us. It became a teaching opportunity.

Reasons for doing these demos were multi-fold.

1) It helped preserve a sense of respect for handwork and helped dispel assumptions. Even those who might be familiar with a type of art would find themselves learning something new.

2) It was educational, family oriented and added to the positive memories and experiences of the folks coming through our market. (Important for marketing too.)

3) It helped to inspire others to try something themselves and further the love of art and handwork. It became more than just a commodity.

4) Not to mention it definitely helped sales.

This concept can be applied in other professional areas as well.  Consider that like our juried market, when you give folks a chance to learn and have a hands on experience, there are three things you can accomplish.

1) Demystify something so it’s approachable.
2) Yet instill respect for it in that maybe it’s not as simple as it seems.
3) Inspire them to get in there and learn more.

The Theme is Gratitude…

I am so grateful for synchronicity and friends.  Doors that lead to doors that lead to doors.   We have learned so much about our son’s eyes and his dysgraphia.  It’s exciting, relieving and empowering to finally find hard answers after years of seeking and looking for something more than just the box and label.  To find more than acceptance, but transformation.  And I realize his journey through this is as much mine as it is his.  It is a strange thing at times, this parenthood.  Our children take us down paths we often would not choose to experience for ourselves.  I still can’t see around the corner.  I don’t know what the next steps through this will be like.  But as a mother, I sit here simply grateful in this space, at this infinite moment of unity.

Eastside Knit Night – Nov. 16 for E.A.S.T.

You will find me here teaching crochet and talking about crochet hook design. Might even demo making crochet hooks out of chop sticks.

Categories: Crochet

And So I Died…

And so I died
a thousand deaths
A million tears
screamed within

My pain was so great
Because it was not mine

I was wronged
and yet I knew
that this would be

And still I came
to be here now

What circle magic is this?
For what purpose had I chosen?

For what should I mourn?

Copyright ©2002 – 2010 by Julia Meek Chambers, all rights reserved.

Categories: Poetry
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