Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Postcards From Home #6 Jude McConkey

Thanks to Jude for today's Postcards! I loaded them backwards so follow her explanations from the bottom to the top.

I live in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, which is famous for the Soo Locks where the huge ships come though on their way to Duluth. The first postcard is of the Algosar - a Canadian ship I first saw while down at the Locks on a beautiful summer day. The next time was when I was on a coast guard icebreaker in February as it was cutting ice to allow the ship through the frozen lake. One of the perks of being a newspaper photographer is being able to go places others aren't allowed. The second photo is another part of my newspaper world - football in pouring rain this past year which I like to call "Mudbowl 2009." I was just grateful that I didn't slip and fall in front of everyone. The last few photos are family ones - my 4 grandchildren (Allie, Seth, and Izzy on top, and Kerensa getting her nails done) - and our latest addition to the family: the sweet and ever-shedding Farley.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Alice Challenge Results So Far

I searched the term "alicechallenge" and I went to the sites of people who said they were going to participate. This is the gorgeous collection that I came up with! If I missed your item, please let me know. Also, if anyone else has something they want to submit in the Alice theme, send me a convo! The more the merrier and I will put up another collection. I will be posting this as a treasury so look for it and leave comments! Also, go look at members' shops to see all their cool latest works!

Well Done Everyone!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Postcards From Home #5 Lulu Bug Jewelry

This week's post is from Sue of Lulu Bug Jewelry (named after her dog in the photo). I don't know about you but the closest I get to excitement on two wheels is going "no-handed" on a bicycle! Thanks Sue for showing us that artists and athletes are not mutually exclusive!

"I work out of my home in Santa Rosa, California, which is about an hour north of San Francisco. My studio is in the living room, which I now share with a couple of very fancy race motorcycles ('97 and '99 Yamaha TZ 250's, in case you were wondering). Before starting my business, I raced motorcycles with the American Federation of Motorcyclists. This was strictly a hobby, but an all encompassing one. Once I started my business I decided that I wanted to put all my time and focus into it, and to continue to race would have been very hard as it's time consuming and very expensive. My boyfriend Kelly raced too, for 13 years, and he recently decided to become self employed too. He needs the space in the garage to work, and these two bikes are far too nice to put in a shed in the backyard, so into my studio (aka the living room) they came! I do miss racing, but it's been a very good trade off for me. I still have a dirt bike and a Ducati 996 street bike to keep me on two wheels."

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Postcards From Home #4 La Pomme!

This week's Postcards are from Apol at Here is what she has to say about them:
I live in Aigues Mortes, a medieval-era village in the south of France. The walls you see in these photos have been around since the 13th century. I guess that, surrounded by all this history, the villagers feel compelled to hang on to their traditions. We have many festivals in this area where among the main preoccupations are dressing up like kings, queens, and knights; and celebrating the people's link with bulls. I myself occasionally like going to watch a "course de toros," a sort of bullfight where no animals are harmed, except maybe occasionally the young men who race with the horned creatures. The last photo would be me, soaking in all that culture and history!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Team Treasury

Thanks to Millie at Cutie Pie Company for making this gorgeous treasury of AC team members! Thanks to Etsy admin for putting it on the front page! I hope it lead to lots of hits and sales for everyone! There was also a beautiful treasury about a week ago by Irena Sophia that I hope everyone got to see. Unfortunately, I didn't get a screenshot of it. If you have a team treasury up, let us know so we can post it or at least go by and comment on it!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Making Art Without Making Ourselves Sick - Part II

A repetitive strain injury (RSI) is an injury of the musculoskeletal and nervous system that may be caused by repetitive tasks, forceful exertions, vibrations, mechanical compression (pressing against hard surfaces) or sustained or awkward positions.

Repetitive strain injuries are common problems for artists and crafters - add in the number of hours we are on our computers every day and there is the potential for serious trouble.

Maybe it's a nagging ache in your thumb every time you trim with your scissors or perhaps there have been long hours at your potter's wheel and now you notice stabbing pains in your forearms. It may be that you are even waking up at night with pain in your arms, or your back, or your neck. Well, it's just a part of being a serious artist, right? Wrong.

I am not an expert on this issue, but I have been dealing with it for a few years. One month, I did an incredibly stupid combination of things including cutting over 2000 mats by hand with a razor knife, trimming 2000 freeform machine embroidery collages with tiny little scissors and removing some very stubborn bathroom wallpaper- sometimes with a metal scraper and sometimes my thumbnail - ugh! I won't put everyone to sleep with my myriad problems over the years, but I do know the most important thing for RSI is prevention.

EVALUATE YOUR TECHNIQUE- In general artists and crafters often need to reduce force, find postures that keep joints in the middle of their range of motion, use larger muscle groups when possible, and reduce body usage that involves fixed, tensed positions.

ALWAYS WARM UP - Athletes do not abruptly start vigorous physical activity without warming up because they know it is an invitation to injury. Artists and crafters often put athletic demands on fine motor musculature and should similarly be religious about warming up before working.

TAKE LOTS OF BREAKS - If you are going to treat your body like a machine it is going to break just like a machine. This means both momentary breaks every few minutes and longer breaks every hour or so. This may be the single most important thing to remember. Constant tension and repetitive motion does not allow the body to flush away metabolic waste products and this is traumatic to tissues over time.

GOOD POSTURE IS VITAL - Check out your technique and posture in a mirror.

EVALUATE OTHER ACTIVITIES - Your problems may be caused or aggravated by other things you do frequently. Computer use is a notorious example, but sports, carrying children, hobbies, and excess effort/tension in other daily things may have enormous impact too.

CHECK OUT YOUR TOOLS - Are you using the right tool for the job? Are you using an instrument that is too large or awkward for you? Is your work space set up optimally for you? Tiny changes can make a HUGE difference.

BE CAREFUL WITH STRENGTHENING METHODS - Building up muscle strength with special devices (those grip thingies, putty) is very controversial (I did some additional damage to myself with this). If you are already injured and in pain, such things may make it worse. On the other hand, if you are not yet injured, properly conditioning muscles may help prevent injury or re-injury. Be patient in building strength, and talk to a qualified doctor or physical therapist.

PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR BODY. Pain is your body telling you that it's in big trouble, but learning what is comfortable or awkward for your body before you're in pain may prevent injury.

GET MEDICAL HELP if you need it. No pain, no gain does not apply.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Postcards From Home #3 - By Corrieberry Pie

Hi there! It's Corrie, of Corrieberry Pie. I live in Durham, NC with my husband, son...and weirdo dog (see Photo No.2). We love Durham, but being from New Orleans, the winters feel waaaaaay too long to us. I'm a sundress girl and have been counting the days 'til spring since January 1st!

Photo No.1 - my son Judah and his mouse beckoning me to come play instead of work.
Photo No. 2 - previously mentioned weirdo dog, wild little Judah, my work desk and favorite window that looks out at...
Photo No. 3 - my dogwood tree! I think I'll bake a cake and do a little dance when it blooms this year. :)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Postcards From Home #2 Amber Alexander

Here are some pictures from Amber Alexander! I think I will normally have this be a weekly feature, but since we are just getting started I may post them more frequently. Starting in April, I will post them every Thursday. So, please keep sending them to me. Thanks Amber and Sharon!

The first one, is the extremes of living in Vermont... Either you are inundated with snow and cold temps or you are in paradise... The winters are long and hard and thinking about summer keeps me going... The poodles ALSO keep me going. They are buckets of fun and always good for a laugh. I would say they inspire my art with their antics. They are like little people in fur suits. The last photo is my studio/office.. The Desk is birch plywood made by my husband. I love it!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Hi, I'm Sharon Clancy, from sharonclancydesigns. I live in the beautiful red rocks of Sedona Arizona. These are photos taken on a hike near my home. This is the view I see from my window. It is so majestic and inspiring. I feel very fortunate to live in such a place. The photo of me sitting is inside an Indian cliff dwelling in Sedona. The two guys are my dog Skye and my hubby. The photo of me on the trail is with my sister Sheila from Shecological.
I can't wait to see other members postcards.

Monday, March 1, 2010

KIVA - Loans That Change Lives

At our first team meeting last week, it was suggested that the team might want to participate in some type of outreach program. is an organization whose mission statement is to connect people, through lending, for the purpose of alleviating poverty. They help third world artists (and others) become self sufficient.

Through Kiva, our team could lend money to these artists and craft persons who are looking to start and grow their businesses.

The loans start at just $25.00 and the great thing about Kiva is that as the loans get repaid, we can relend the same funds back out again to help someone else. I have my own Kiva account which I started with $100.00 and have made $250.00 (10 @ $25.00) in loans as funds were repaid and I was able to loan the same funds out again and again.

And because the money is a loan and not a donation, a partnership relationship develops and not a benefactor relationship. This allows mutual dignity and respect and creates a true sense of community something that is very much what our Artisan Collective is all about.

There will not be a forced participation in the fundraising, but for anyone who wants to participate there are many ways we can do this.

We could have a Kiva week where anyone wanting to participate could donate a certain percentage of sales for that week or have specific items tagged for Kiva, donate our team challenge items, different people could do different things, etc. At our next team meeting we will be discussing different fundraising ideas and you can also leave a comment below with your thoughts.