StrowlerCon post-con report

This is supposed to be a project journal, where I write about what I am making and keep track of process and stuff like that, not a more diary-like blog, but dammit, it’s MINE and I make the rules, so I’m going to write something long and not really project focused.

Hey, wow, I’m also really tired, so it might not make sense, and if it weren’t for the automagic spelling error pointer-outer, this would be filled with typos.

So, the con.

There was a con! And it was small. But it was really, really awesome. If nothing else, I think it wins “best dressed con goers” award for the fantastically high percentage of people who were dressed in interesting/funky/weird/fantastic clothing. Oh my god the eye candy.

Even at Arisia, where hall costumes and funny clothes are kind of normal, I feel a bit odd dressing up or putting on a costume. Not here! Here I felt totally normal! . . . wearing feather ears all weekend.

I stepped out of the elevator at one point and there were two girls, perhaps 10 and 12, waiting to get on. They both did a pretty amazing double-take when I stepped out. I managed to not double over laughing, but I probably smirked a bit. Sorry, kids.

I missed most of the music acts, because I volunteered to do volunteer work, and that ended up being watching the doors of the performance space on Saturday and Sunday. So I did get to hear most things, though filtered through the doors.

Friday night, I caught far too little of the Gypsy Nomads, who totally rocked, but I made a point of being there for Cat Valente and SJ Tucker’s “Monsters Ball.” They alternated readings by Cat from her written work, with songs by SJ inspired by Cat’s writing. Really awesome. Only disappointment is that the music inspired by Palimpsest isn’t out on an album yet.

I set up my jewelry Friday night. Turns out I was only one of 2 people who signed up as  “Maker” – everyone else signed up as vendors. So I gave some thought to it, and ended up writing up prices for the pieces. People kept asking! And it was only Friday! No, the Mechanic’s Collar is not for sale. Unless you want to pay off my student loans and free me from the necessity of a 40 hour-a-week desk job so I can do more art. Then we should talk.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to come up with some designs that are more accessible than the ear cuffs, but not as expensive/time intensive as the necklaces. Sunday night, while sitting at the door, I did MANY PAGES of sketches, trying to come up with some ideas. And now I am really anxious to get some time to try them out, but, hey, desk job.

Saturday was the busiest day – there were a lot of people there just for Saturday, plus all the whole-weekend people.

I went to the contact juggling workshop! It was wonderful! I dropped the ball a lot, but I got better about not dropping it. I even, eventually, found a spot on my arm, near my inner elbow, where the damn thing can balance (everyone else there found a spot in seconds; I had to lift my arm a lot higher than I thought was necessary for the muscles to move right). I think that I could actually become good at it, and the instructor said so as well. (He is not nearly as spooky as his picture might lead you to believe.)

He came by my table later on and said some very kind and encouraging things about my work, and how to do some better marketing (omg, I have to do marketing. For myself.). I really appreciated it a lot – thank you!

Sunday was pretty slow. I developed cabin fever and a fear that I was about to start climbing the walls, I don’t care how tired I was. If I’d been at home, I’d have gone on a mad cleaning binge. Or raked ALL THE LEAVES. And this was after spending a couple hours playing with wire and making some new ear cuffs. Yes, I got bored even with that. I think it was all the sitting.

One of the nice things about it being slow was having time to chat with the other people in the room about what they do, hearing about their techniques, and more about the business end of things. It was like our own little mini-con!

So, I am terrifically tired because it has been many days since I went to bed at a reasonable hour and got enough sleep, but it was a really good weekend. I think it was a really good way to get a gentle introduction to having a vendor table (even if technically I was there as a “maker,” people coming by were treating it pretty much as a dealers’ room), because the crowds were, um, not really heavy enough to be a crowd, and the people were really friendly.

I don’t know if I necessarily want to do a table at a high-traffic event, but I have some idea what to expect, without associated bad memories.

Anyway. I was glad to have the time to get to learn more about what other people are doing, and meet some people who are (mostly) local to me and making/selling awesome things:

Purpleshiny, a local jewelry artist. I really love her beetle-wing earrings. Perhaps because they sort of look like feathers. And they are so shiny!

Behind the Mask, a local mask maker I first met at Arisia earlier this year, who works primarily in paper mache, and makes masks ranging from incredible ornate pieces for theatre and simpler (and affordable) masks for mortals.

Goth Fae, who had clothing and accessories that I looked at a lot, and have a mental note to look up in a few months when the shirt I wanted might be around in my size.

Dark Siren Designs, sorta local (New Hampshire, I think), jewelry and accessories. A lot of really pretty things made from lace that have had shiny bits attached to them. Some of the chokers looked like metal filigree, except more comfortable.

The Uncommon Facade, another local mask maker (leather work) – who makes masks that can be worn with glasses!

The Red Fork Empire, the other Maker, and sorta local (RI). Fortunately not in a room-conquering mood. Though I was well armed with pliers . . .

Lennon Studio, paintings and block prints – I remember the dragonfly and raven prints the best; another local. Okay, you know what? I think everyone was local, except Goth Fae, who are based out of New Orleans. She’s also a dancer, but unfortunately I only caught one of her acts.

Parrish Relics – exquisite jewelry, and a really wonderful table setup.

Auntie Arwen’s Spices, tempting spice mixes and fudge; not local, though they were also running a table for Silver Owl Creations (jewelry, including some really gorgeous hammered copper wire pieces), who is.

Also, Artisan’s Asylum had a table there, which was next to mine (not a coincidence). For most of the weekend, the person actually at that table had a Makerbot there that got a lot of attention. That thing has the deceptive LYING NAME of “Cupcake CNC” – it DOES NOT MAKE CUPCAKES. CNC or otherwise. It might able to frost them, however.

I was sad to miss HONK!, which was also this weekend, but I am glad I went. It was a pretty nice pace, I liked the people, and next year, I might be well enough prepared to actually do a workshop.

And now I could really use a nap.

More fun teaching! (I’ll be at StrowlerCon)

Which is a con with a lot of performance stuff at it – music and circus-type performances of the type that I have seen at Arisia and elsewhere.

Also, they will have a Maker Showcase, which is like an art show. But (or so I am told) also demonstrations going on in the same place at the same time.

I learned about this maybe a month ago, at an Asylum meeting; one of our wardens had been asked by the StrowlerCon people to help with the Maker Showcase, and we all thought we should try to get an Asylum table there. With work by some of us, and propaganda I mean fliers and fun things like that.

And then I looked around at the website and decided to write up a proposal for putting some of my wire things in the Maker Showcase (hey they said they were looking for costuming sorts of things! not just whizzy electronics). And also maybe I could do a workshop on making feather ears (or paper, or fabric, or whatever), or wire fish to hang from trees . . .

Time passed.

I began to wonder when I would hear back, but it had been less than a week.

More time passed!

I began to panic worry, because depending on the specifics, I might have to be all kinds of prepared and I didn’t want to get prepared and then find out No, but also I didn’t want to not be prepared enough and find out OMG TOO MUCH TOO LATE.

To make a boring story short, I learned last my proposals have been accepted, and I think I pretty much get to choose how to display things, and how much time I want to spend doing demonstrations/workshops, right there in the Maker room, which is lovely and much less terrifying than “Hey, here’s a two hour slot! In the program and in a room that holds 20 people and everything!”

So now I have but a short time to sit down at my desk visit the Abyss and work out a lot of details. So that I don’t find myself trying to find the right words to explain to other people how I do what I just know how to do (like the Bazaar Bizarre).

Things I am thinking about demonstrating:

  • feather ears, though possibly with paper instead of feathers (or starched fabric?)
  • simple ear cuffs, because hey! I finally sat down and worked this out myself! and they are relatively simple and quick
  • wire fish and birds and geometric shapes, for sticking in lawns and hanging from trees

I toyed briefly with the idea of paying for a vendor table, but realized that I do not have the time to make enough items to make a table worthwhile. However, there is apparently some way I can sell things, but it sounds like it is  more complicated than if I had a vendor table. So that is an intriguing option that bears more thought. And also requires I make some more things (but not SO MANY).

Simple brass wire ear cuff

Simple to make, simple to teach, can have dangly beaded bits hang off them for more fun.