Bike Riding and Garage Saleing

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So I finally got my bike out for the year. I was really patting myself on the back for buying an inner tube patch kit at the store earlier this week, because of course I had some leaks! I was kicking myself for not checking the kit before I started fighting with the tires using spoons to get them off the rims- the kit came with two tire levers!

After a short ride yesterday I decided to go garage saleing this morning, just kind of following the signs around the neighborhood. I live in a tiny town just outside of Ann Arbor, MI, so I only found three sales. The second one was a jackpot though, it was at a horse farm selling used tack and such! They had three boxes of exactly what I had hoped they would have- old reins, straps, girths ext. for $1 each! Needless to say I cleaned them out of their leather!

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A few years ago I helped my mum at a horse show at the Kentucky Horse Park, and after spending some time in the harness shop the shopkeepers let me rummage through their garbage and collect scraps. I’ve been using that leather very sparingly in some of my recent leatherwork, knowing the end of harness leather was close at hand! So this garbage bag full was an awesome find!

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At the same sale they had this deer pelt. The woman’s husband shot the doe during bow season last year. They paid to have the deer processed and the hide cured, and kept the hide thrown over the back of the couch. They decided to sell it because their 12 year old daughter- who helped eat the deer!-thought the hide was gross and sad and all the things little girls who love animals but still love burgers think. I laughed when she told me the story, and told her that I’ve been a vegetarian for more than 10yrs, and was thrilled to be acquiring the hide and that the deer would have the exciting new job of lining armor and being part of awesome costumes.

She was nice and gave me a deal as people at garage sales are apt to do, and I rode safely home with my treasures…. in the 90 degree heat. It was brutal.

Otherwise, since I’ve finally attached a basket to the back of my bike I’m 85% sure the bike shop guys put my basket rack on backwards!

The Surreal Experience of traveling for Art Fairs and Conventions

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Walking into my cheap motel this weekend to see the toilet on a rolly cart in the entryway of the room reminded me of what a bizarre and surreal experience it is to travel on the weekends to sell my work at art fairs and conventions.

I have been selling my work at shows since 2011, and I’ve become accustomed to how things go on these weekends, but it remains a very strange and carnie-esque way to make a living. Most everyone I meet at the show I forget almost immediately when they leave my booth. I am perpetually lost wherever I go. I have on the super on-point artist sales person face for most of the day, then most of the time spend the rest of the night doing things totally alone. On the other hand I do meet awesome artists who I get to connect with at future shows, and crash their couches when I’m in their town. I find badass hole-in-the-wall bars like the one I found in Akron this weekend. The place was a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich bar, and nothing but 80’s new wave played on Pandora both nights. For the most part though almost all people I meet, like the cool bar tender with the Depeche Mode Pandora station or the DJ at the dead club who let me hook my phone up and have a personal dance party, I never see again.

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Another love/hate relationship I have with traveling for shows is the drive. I’ve done shows as close as 15min from home, and as far as 11hrs. Driving to the far ones can be tedious and boring of course, but it is also valuable uninterrupted alone time. It takes me about a half hour to really settle into driving, and by the 2-ish hour mark I’ve kind of thought about everything immediate there is to think about. That’s when I can really start to dig into artistic ideas uninterrupted, and I’ve had some of my best ideas hashed out on the road.

Once I arrive at the venue I usually have little idea of what is going on, and always count on being handled. It’s always worked for me though; show up on time with my stuff and someone will tell me where to go and when. Having the booth set up is pretty rewarding on it’s own. Here you have several tables or a 10×10 space of your work, that up until now you may have only seen in piles or boxes in your studio. I love seeing my cohesive body of work!

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However the show goes it’s always an interesting experience. I stay in dumpy hotels, meet cool people, and get to sell my art. And one other wonderful woman I met this weekend was the bubbly night clerk at the hotel desk. She let me know areas that were safe to walk to alone at night, was a pleasant face getting back from the bar in the evening, and most importantly was very apologetic for the room with the stray toilet and switched me to one with fully functioning accommodations!

 

The difficulty that is detailing in Cosplay

This is a classic example of something I agonize over with my costumes constantly. Tiny details and the lack thereof make or break a costume.

Being the costume guru of our group, this afternoon a friend of mine sent me this picture with the comment “zippers haaaaallp!” This is for a vest that she’s making herself to wear to her birthday outing, tonight of course, at a Detroit goth club. She is having trouble making a decision about the color.

My text back was, “first choice brown, second choice purple.” Costume decisions can never be made as easy as that, next she sends me these-

Mind you, this isn’t at the store, she’s already bought all three zippers because she couldn’t make the decision on the spot! In ensuing texts the purple zipper was discarded for the two with the actual metal colored zipper, which we both agreed was preferable.

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Arguments for the first zipper include-she’s going to wear black leggings with the vest, and she likes the silver color better.

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Arguments for the second zipper include-her birthday present from me is a brown leather belt with brass rivets and hardware (she hasn’t seen it yet), which I think she needs to wear tonight. Also, I like the brass color better.

After a quick phone consult with her mother (a seamstress), my friend ultimately decided on the black zipper, because 1)She likes the black better, 2)She won’t always be wearing the belt with the vest, and 3)She feels comfortable mixing black and brown, and silver and brass.

Ultimately the color of the zipper does not matter, like at all. The club we’re going to is dark, even darker (literally and figuratively, haha!) than most clubs because it’s a goth club. Even if it was broad daylight, the only people who would notice the color of the zipper is me and her.

 

The one thing that we both know though, is that it is this level of attention to detail that makes for great costumes even if no one actually notices every detail the overall picture is affected, and the color of a zipper totally merits 3 purchased color choices, 2 outside consults, and an afternoon of indecision!