Archive for the ‘shows we do’ Category

After I made my doll head gun, another of the random doll parts caught my eye and imagination. I have a strong urge for puns so just had to go ahead and make an arm gun as well. Just in case anyone missed the joke, I made a display frame for it with “The Right to Bear Arms” scrawled over the background. It was part of the same show at Meet Your Maker.armgun1

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I’m only doing a few shows each year now, but figuring out displays is always something I’m working on. The jewellery I make is really difficult to show because it has such a range of sizes and styles and every piece is unique. I’ve also got lots of other types of things to sell so space is limited.display1

After trying a few different options, I’m mostly happy with this frame design. The base is a 24”x36” vintage frame painted a bright white. A sheet of foamcore has been cut to fit and wrapped in vintage linen then pointed into the frame. I’ve cut a bunch of small rectangles from white matboard and they were made to fit each necklace. The rectangles are notched int he top corners and a pair of holes are drilled into the top center. The corner notches hold the chains in position so each necklace shows it’s design and the holes fit 2-prong pins so I can just pin each one to the frame board.

I can lay out the frame so at least one of most style groups are showing. Every necklace can be prepped on a board and then stored in bags so it’s easy to see what I have as well as show things that are similar, even if they can’t fit on the frame. It’s easy to take them down for trying on, putting them back and replacing any that sell. It can sit on an easel or hang and it’s also generally secure enough that in a rush, I can just move it as is to really speed up the packing-up process!

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Sometimes I just have to make things that have been called nightmare fuel. This was one. A random group of doll parts came into my hands. They were bases for more advanced doll makers and came without wigs or eyes. The empty shell of a head spoke to me and I made it into a gun.


Not just a steampunk style weird gun, but I had to push up a notch and give it glowing red eyes as well as a glowing gem in the barrel position, out of the top of the head. Yeah, I know. *shrug* I can’t explain these things, they just happen.


It ended up with several more of my pieces as part of a show in the Meet Your Maker Gallery, Stratford. I also made a display frame for it so it could be hung for viewing.


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I just wanted to post a little note I wrote about my thoughts after the Start the Holidays show in late 2017. I’d shared to a group I’m in but realized I’d never put it up here.

As a not-wildly-successful artist/crafts-person, it’s often hard to feel like the things we create matter to others, but sometimes they do, and they matter more than you can ever predict. I do most of my selling in person, at shows and in the shop, so I do get to see the positive reactions by people coming back, bringing their friends over to see my booth or sharing what the stuffie they took home has been doing since it left. That is great, and always brightens my day, but this past weekend I had a couple of interactions that really made an impact and stuck with me so I wanted to share them.

It’s was at my last craft show of the year. It’s a little local one that’s pretty much the only “straight” (non-geeky) one I do. It’s 10 mins from home, in a lovely venue and has a great crowd and reasonable hours so it’s always very relaxed and pleasant to do.

The first was a woman I saw on Saturday. She came over to thank me for helping her son. Now, you have to understand that the stuff I make is strange, which I why I generally don’t do the “straight” shows. I’ve had people be freaked out and quite offended by my altered stuffed toys. (not that they are gory, gross or icky, just the fact that they are on the creepy-cute spectrum is too much for some to handle) My jewellery is all salvage, usually with some usual materials and I’ve always got a few more oddities floating around at my table. Anyway, a couple of years ago, when he was 11, they came by at this show. He is a kid who loves to make things and while his parents are supportive, he was running into trouble with his peers and some other adults since his stuff was also “different”. His mother had pointed my table out and he and I talked a bit about doing stuff that isn’t standardly pretty and how some people are going to react to it and how not to let that limit you. (I honestly don’t remember the details since not dwelling on these sorts of interactions is part of how I deal with my own show anxiety. I work on being open and honest in the moment but then let it go so I don’t end up rehashing things over and over again) She wanted me to know how much I had helped him accept his own work, that he was doing much better and how much she appreciated what my example had shown him. I’m….still working through my feeling about all this, but it was deeply moving to hear.

The second emotional hit of the weekend was a person who had bought a couple of my monsters at a show in the spring and SO excited to see me again. They told me how much they loved their monsters and that I was one of their favourite artists. It was clear that what they meant was how much they appreciated, and needed, having found soft, cuddly comfort objects that felt like them. The mutants may look different, and a bit scary, but they are just right the way they are and lovable. The very first mutant stuffie (a pair of conjoined bears) I ever sold to was to an older gentleman. (and by that I mean well over 65) I had asked if it was going to be a gift and he told me “No, it was for him”. I was surprised, but learned very quickly that I could never predict who would respond to the altered stuffies and how many wanted their own strange monster friends because so many of us feel like we are monsters on the inside. A few years ago, I’d had another customer tell me that I was doing a public service by making things that allow adults to buy themselves comfort objects and it was SO clearly true in this case that it hit me right in the feels.


small demon bear, 2016

It’s been a difficult year and I’m (still) trying to decide if I want to keep trying to make stuff to sell stuff or just taper it off and this made a whole chunk of the struggle feel like it does have some value, even if it’s hard to see in the moment.

Tldr: I had a couple of people show me this weekend that my weird little creations are doing good out in the world, thus restoring some of my sense of artistic purpose.

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The store will be closed the weekend of June 23-24 since I will be a vendor at the Oxford Ren fest, just outside of London. This is the first year for us at this newer location but we’d been pretty regular when they were in Woodstock.

I’m moving away from the masks so will have a big selection along at great prices. The mutant stuffies, jackets and jewellery as well as some other oddities will also be under the tent.

As a result, the shop will be closed but we may be able to arrange it if you want to stop in. Just email or phone but I won’t be there for framing..


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IMG_6878So we got full confirmation that I’ll be part of the Artists Alley at Fan Expo in Toronto this Labour Day weekend! I haven’t been back since 2012 but had a great time at Comic Con this March. (Fan Expo is much bigger and busier, so I have to expect that it will be quite a bit more tiring) I will be sticking to pretty much only the stuffies since space is so limited. While most will be my usual range of plush curiosities, I’m also indulging myself with making some fanart bears. I’ve been loving the Marvel movie Avengers and couldn’t resist making a few Winter Soldier versions of Bucky Barnes. (there is a whole thing in the fandom about Bucky Bear) The few I brought with me all got snatched up at Comic Con, so I’ve been working on a some more for Fan Expo. (and putting a few of them up in the Etsy shop as well) This is one that I just finished and I especially love his face. The base bear was a limited edition one, so it isn’t surprising that he’s so nice, but the outfit and arm prosthetic turned out really well too. I’ve got a few more one-off pieces that are underway too (I want to have at least one in honour of Agent Carter star Haley Atwell, who is one of the guests) and have been hunting some bits and pieces for them. When you find yourself saying things like, ”Look! I just found the cutest mini sub-machine gun!” you start to wonder if you’re heading down the right path in life…

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IMG_6706I’ll be away from the store this Saturday and Sunday and vending at the Oxford Ren Fest. It’s great to have a full scale Renaissance festival so close! (it’s at the Woodstock Fair grounds) There will be a great range of acts and even real jousting! The store will still be open, but if you want to talk to me, you’ll have to come out to the faire.

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I’m going to be back in Toronto this Sunday for Bazaar of the Bizarre: Frostbite. It’s free to attend so stop in, 11-8, and check out the amazing range of strange goods! Just remember to drop me an email or phone if you are interested in masks or any of the Steampunk supplies since I’ll only be bringing those by request.

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On November 22 and 23rd, I’m going to be in Kitchener City Hall as part of the Altekrea show. I’m bringing the stuffies, the steampunk jewellery and a few other things I’ve been working on. There is going to be quite a mix of artists and I’m looking forward to it since I missed the festivities last year.
They’ve given us, the participating artist, an opportunity to talk about our works in advance on their blog and I’ve put together a short post discussing my favourite, recent creation, the Batterfly. (I know I shouldn’t have favourites, and I do love then all, but some just have that extra spark) Check it out and I hope to see you there!

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I don’t often get into shows in Toronto, mainly since the length TBOTB_toronto2014halloween-web of the drive makes it difficult to go back and forth but I will in town for Bazaar of the Bizarre on October 12th. I love that it is one where we can come in, set-up, do the show and break down all in one day! We’ll be right downtown at 6 Noble street. The Pia Bouman Ballet school. It’ll be open to the public from 11am to 8pm. While the bulk of what I’ll have with me will be the mutant stuffies and Steampunk pretties, there will also be some masks along, since it’s so close to Halloween. The gallery will be open as usual but of course, I won’t be available to talk about framing. If you are in Toronto and want to stop by, feel free to let me know if there is anything specific you want me to bring along. Especially important to talk to me in advance about masks since I’ll only have a few samples with me. I also won’t be bringing any of the Steampunk supplies to put out, but can certainly make sure to have special requests available for pick-up.

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