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The Stall & Craft Collective (Exclusive Interview!)

The Stall & Craft Collective is an online craft & gift marketplace, and events directory, which launched in June of this year. This October, they’ve reached over 30,000 unique visitors and 227,000 page views — and climbing. Part of their success lies in the fact that they have undertaken an extensive marketing campaign in UK craft magazines, securing over 25 full page advertisements that have reached a potential readership of over 650,000.

stall and crafts collective

If you’re thinking, “This is just like Etsy,” well, it’s not quite the same. But I’ll let the founder of the collector, Helen Eskins, tell you more about it.

helen eskinsHello & welcome, Helen! Tell us a bit about yourself, please.

My name is Helen Eskins and I’m a mother of two from Birmingham, West Midlands. My background is on the administrative side of Child Protection and criminal law. I have been self-employed for around 11 years now, after having started a company working from home transcribing court hearings and police interviews. My own little craft business is called Harriet-Rose Crafts.

I began to attend local craft fairs and met some wonderful people along the way. I soon began to get a bit disillusioned with all the local craft fairs I was attending due to the obvious lack of advertising and promoting being done by the organisers, resulting in very poor attendance by customers, so I decided to start up my own events organising company to help my fellow crafters, a lot of whom had become very close friends. This resulted in the formation of Moon & Light Markets some five or so years ago now. Moon & Light Markets have been incredibly successful and we organise events all across the West Midlands, Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Staffordshire areas, until recently holding fairs once a month. This in turn then led to the idea of Stall & Craft Collective.

What is the purpose of Stall & Craft Collective:

The idea of Stall & Craft Collective was formed whilst organising craft fairs through Moon & Light Markets. I began to think how much easier it would be for event organisers if there was a website they could go to where everything they needed to organise an event was there all under one roof so to speak. My husband, Mark Eskins, had just taken redundancy from work so it seemed an ideal opportunity for us to take on a new challenge together and turn this idea into a reality.

product offerings stall craft collective ukWe want Stall & Craft Collective to provide event organisers with free advertising of their events, and in turn for potential customers to find their local events to attend. We also want event organisers and stallholders to be able to easily find and contact each other so that stalls can be filled. Stallholders are then able to list the events they are attending so customers can see where their favourite stallholders will be, and will also be able to look through the stallholders at an event they are going to, in case there is anything they can pre-order or have personalised etc.

Another wish I had was for our stallholders to be able to have a forum where they could sell their items at any given time to a nationwide audience, rather than just once a month at a craft fair. Having attended craft fairs myself as a stallholder and as an organiser, I was aware that a lot of stallholders find it difficult to make a living from their craft and I wanted to ensure that they had a selling platform without the high fees and commission taken from other high end shopping sites. We therefore decided on a small yearly fee with no commission or other charges to give an opportunity to every stallholder to join up.

We welcome all crafters, stallholders, and small business owners. There are categories to suit everybody including vintage, antiques, clothing, shabby chic, furniture, jewellery, home décor, cakes, wedding services, etc. and we welcome your suggestions for any different categories if you can’t find something suitable.

Is this just for folks in the UK?

It is at present but there may be plans to change this in the future.

(Fingers crossed!)

If you’re a buyer, just head on over to the Stall & Craft Collective Marketplace, look at upcoming fairs and events, or begin browsing news about products & sellers in the Spotlight.

If you’re an event organizer, register and list your event(s) now — for free.

If you are a maker or seller of things, however…

Here’s what you need to know about becoming a stallholder.

Prices start at just £15 per year; there is no commission on your sales.

Stallholders have three different registration packages to choose from which includes:

  • the creation of your own mini webpage
  • the opportunity to sell your items on our online marketplace
  • use of an individual noticeboard where you can advertise sales, promotions and news
  • ability to link your Social Media pages and website
  • promotion of your attendance at events
  • opportunity to submit news and interviews
  • use of a private message service

You can also keep up with the Stall & Craft Collective on Facebook & Twitter.

David Lynch’s Nightmarish World Comes To Life In Paintings

Naming,” David Lynch’s upcoming exhibition at Kayne Griffin Corcoran Gallery in Los Angeles, explores the tenuous relationship between text and image. While we often think of a thing and its name as opposite sides of the same coin, Lynch’s work directs us to the instances that reveal a more slippery relation.

See on www.huffingtonpost.com

Plucking A Picasso From A Thrift Shop

Another thrift store find; this time a signed Picasso. Purchased for $14, the man sold the Picasso print designed to advertise a 1958 Easter exhibition of his ceramic work in Vallauris, France, for $7,000.

Aside from being a reminder that real art can indeed be found in thrift shops, there’s this tip on the value of numbered linocuts from Lisa Florman, an associate history professor at Ohio State University who has authored a book on Picasso:

There’s certainly some collectors who really place a premium on a single-digit number because it indicates the artist’s greater involvement with the actual printing, so those particular prints can fetch a higher price.

Inspiring Art Link Round-Up

Stop Lounging & Be Inspired By Art

At Asylum 13 Riots!, an interview with artist Brent Dewell on how art helps him cope with Bipolar Disorder. (I agree in art as therapy.)

Biologically-inspired designs by Neri Oxman.

A look at the antique Alphabet-album.

Need portable creative organization for on-the-go inspirations? From the creators of Make Magazine comes the Maker’s Notebook.

Image: The Lovers, 1936, by Man Ray.

Beware This Teddy Bear!

Siamese Twin Bear made of Belly Button Lint

Rachel Betty Case made another appearance on Oddities; instead of the Human Ivory works, she presented a teddy bear made of belly button lint.

(The example shown here is of her Siamese version.)

Incredibly creative? Yup.

Nice way to recycle or reuse things that exist? I suppose…

But still rather creepy? More than you probably know…

Check out just how gross belly button lint is in this article at New Scientist: Belly Button Biome Is More Than A Piece Of Fluff.

I’m guessing that’s why Rachel keeps the little teddy bears in glass vials. (I hope the vials are free of the, umm, “artist’s residues” on her hands.)

The Elemental Art Of Photography

In a world, a country, with dwindling art and music programs, I’m thrilled to read at History Is Elementary that students in upper elementary grades (grades 4, 5, and 6) will be taught darkroom photography and printmaking.

I’m so jealous — but mostly happy. *wink*

And I hope it starts a trend.

In the article, along with a discussion of use of photography in teaching history, there’s this:

What a terrific opportunity to teach what may be a dying art. Bob Smith, a local photographer in my neck of the woods states, “This is interesting …I guess it’s great to expose them to the way [photography] used to be done, but in ten years, they may have to buy the chemicals themselves to do the developing. I wonder what types of film will still be sold in ten years. You have to go to professional photography shops……just to buy old 120 film that went in every camera since World War II…and they have to wait on the manufacturer to produce the next allotment.”

I don’t have any statistics to back up sales of film and photography equipment, but it seems to me that film photography is on the incline. But maybe that’s just my own anecdotal experiences — which includes my 10 year old son’s intent fascination with an antique camera at our last visit at an antique shop.

Whatcha Doin’ Saturday?

A reminder about The BUST Magazine Craftacular and Food Fair 2011:

This year, we’re bringing together 100+ unique vendors and food artisans for one day in the heart of SoHo. Stop by for the best in handmade jewelry, specialty foods, cards, clothes, posters, housewares, and more. Plus: raffles, DJs, book signings, and a free goodie bag for the first 300 people!

Saturday, May 21st, 2011
Between Broome and Spring
New York, NY
11am-8pm
1 day only!

Introduction To Korean Contemporary Art Exhibit

On January 22nd, Ahn-Nyung / Hello: An Introduction To Korean Contemporary Art opens at LeBasse Projects in Culver City. Curated by Jae Yang (of Art-Merge), the exhibition includes the works of Seok Kim, Yeonju Sung, Hyung Kwan Kim, and Jin Young Yu. These are a few of the works which most capture my fancy:

There’s scant info available at LeBasse; but you can read more in the press release (PDF).

The Dollypop Guild

Paul Richmond (whose upcoming exhibit, Cheesecake, will be opening in June at the Center on Halsted in Chicago) explores the path of his own identity and sexuality in his paintings.

Prints and original paintings available at Etsy — and there’s a book of his works, with text, titled Ins & Outs: A Collection. (Via A Slip of a Girl.)

The Most Awesome Thing I’ve Discovered In A Long Time

I’ll admit, I get excited — I’m probably the definition of “easily amused” — but when I was told about Project ETHOS, I was giddy with excitement.

Project ETHOS merges fashion, music, and art in one event, at once creating a unique avenue for both participants (artists) and attendees. It’s not your usual “incubator,” shielding and nursing talent, but instead it launches and nourishes artisans.

Project ETHOS closes the gap between the Indie and Mainstream worlds with an experienced and focused eye for talent. Creating a link to decision makers is what drives us to be a niche portal of exposing all emerging artistry to the media, public and industry.

It’s the combination of concert, fashion show, and art gallery exhibition all at one event! Isn’t that just beyond mere cool?!

(If you think you’re ready, you can apply to become an Ethos participant.)

I was so excited, that even when I discovered their its first-ever red carpet event in San Diego (on Thursday, April 22, 2010 at the On Broadway Event Center, from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.) isn’t something I can attend, I was still excited.

You can read the event promo piece for more info, but this first red carpet event will feature local bands and Space Cowboy (personal DJ for (Lady Gaga); hot new fashion designers, including former Project Runway contestants; and eight visual artists: Joshua Krause (abstract), Sam Luna (abstract), Kelli Murray (Illustration), Sherilyn Tanala Encabo (comic/anime illustration), Meghan Horsburgh (photography), Christy Pepper Dawson (macabre illustrations and paintings), Matt Haward (mixed media), Jeremy Asher Lynch and Yeara.

The event’s charitable partner is Love Cures Cancer, an organization dedicated to benefiting children with cancer while raising awareness and working to find a cure.

Tickets are $15 pre-sale, $20 at the door, $40 VIP and can be purchased online. All event attendees must be 18+.

If you can, you must get thee to this Project Ethos event — and if you do, please tell me all about it!

I Know It When I See It

There are two broad semantic categories in our society that are defined largely by intuition. One is ‘What is Art?’ and the other is ‘What is Obscenity?’. And the two are related in that anything deemed to be art, is generally excused from being suppressed as obscenity. Indeed this very relationship is enshrined in American Law.

Thus a recent legal judgement (pdf) may have very broad implications, not just be expanding that which is considered obscene, but contracting what is considered art.

Essentially what has happened is that an American man has been given a six month custodial sentence for the possession of drawn material depicting underage sex. These Japanese comic books (a.k.a. manga) were deemed to be “obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children.”

More importantly, in my opinion, they were not seen to be exempt from the obscenity charge due to having serious literary or artistic value. After seizing 1,200 items seven manga were used as the basis of the prosecution. And these manga, or perhaps manga in general, were not considered a legitimate art form for the purposes of this prosecution. There is no evidence that the accused has ever behaved improperly with children or purchased material that depicted real abuse.

Do we find ourselves facing that old argument, that degenerate art may not be considered art at all, and so not offered the protection ewnjoyed by “real” art?

Celebrating & Collecting The Art Of Bookmarks

Bookmarks are a great way to try on art. And I’m not just saying that because I’m one of the presenters at the first Bookmark Collectors Virtual Convention, either.

Bookmarks come in so many styles and are made of so many materials, you can enjoy and experiment with form & function ideas and concepts in your own mind without feeling the pain you would at some gallery reception. But even if such interior dialogs aren’t of any interest to you, bookmarks are a great way to inexpensively try types of art.

Simple bookmarks with reproductions of the masters and/or famous artists are cheaper (and take up less space) than posters — so it’s a grand way to make inexpensive mistakes. Maybe you find yourself drawn to the vivid oranges in a mod artwork, but after a week of seeing it, you find yourself feeling it reminds you more of a fast food restaurant. If so, you can just stick it in a drawer, doodle on it, or give the darn thing away. Or, you could start collecting them. *wink*

For those with modest or even tiny art budgets, collecting bookmarks may not only be the way to get your hands on copies of works by famous artists, but original artwork as well. And they aren’t only the little paper-slip or folded varieties either.

Made of metal, fabric, plastic, cord, wood, scrimshaw, and more, there are many craftsmen, indie and unknown artists making bookmarks.

Maybe you’ll even be inspired to make some.

If so, Jen Funk Weber, owner of needlework design company Funk & Weber Designs and founder of Needle and ThREAD: Stitching for Literacy program, is hosting the The Making of an Embroidered Bookmark and the Stitching for Literacy Program session at the conference.

The first annual Bookmark Collectors Virtual Convention, an online event celebrating all things “bookmark,” will be held on February 20th and 21st, 2010. Registration is just$10 for all the sessions, forums, and trade show & gallery goodies.

To entice you to consider attending the event, and collecting bookmarks, I’ve enlisted the help of our very own Laura Brown, founder of Doodle Week. We’re offering five Bookmark Collectors Virtual Conference Commemorative Collector Bookmarks for the first five folks (from the US or Canada) who mention “The Ungulate” in their registration for the event.

Only 12 of these commemorative bookmarks will be made (five to be given away here, five my antiques and vintage collectibles site, one for the artist, and, ever the collector, one for myself), so it’s truly a limited edition. A great addition to — or way to start — your bookmark collection.

I hope you’ll consider participating in the conference; if so, I’ll “see” you there! If not, at least consider the possibilities of art bookmarks.

Image Credits:

One of six The Wedding Of The Mouse bookmarks by Japanese illustrator Gustav Klim, via Mirage’s Bookmark Exhibition.

Metal bookmark by CL Designs.

Wooden bookmarks by TRwoodworks.

I’m Going To Need More Books doodle commemorating the bookmark convention by Laura Brown.

2009 Art Sales May Not Have Been Bad For Auction Houses, But Was It Good For Art?

Antique Week, Vol. 41, Issue No. 2112 (January 11, 2010) has a report in the national section on art sales in 2009.

In the article, two things stood out for me.

First:

Auction houses started slashing pre-sale estimates by as much as 50 percent to stimulate sales. When Sloans & Kenyon of Chevy Chase, Md., gave a $6,000-8,000 estimate to an unsigned 18th century oil of the Grand Canal in Venice, bidders from around the world smelled a deal. Instead, the painting went for $687,125 at the Sept. 27 auction.

The math’s off (the pre-sale estimate was what, 10-15% of the final sale?), but one thing’s for sure: People buy classic art the same way they buy bags of socks at Wal*Mart.

Second:

Old Masters are getting a new look from investors wary of fluctuations in more modern art, Warhol excluded. In its art review of 2009, Bloomberg said, “Collectors responded to the financial crisis by selecting the best 20th century classics, Old Masters, wine and jewelry at international auctions. They shunned investment in some contemporary art as prices dropped by half.”

And, it was noted earlier in the piece that Bloomberg had reported “that the sale of high-value contemporary art took a big hit last year when major auction houses ceased providing consignors with price guarantees.”

What this says to me is something about fundamentalism at times of crisis and art pretension as a form of commerce; art as financial investment based on fear of depreciation, not art purchased for appreciation.

2009, The Year In Quilting

I’m not a quilter — despite the ridiculous number of quilting books (old and new) and boxes of fabric (vintage and modern) I own. I made one honest attempt at making my daughter a crazy quilt… But, well, I’m saving it all for that magical One Day when I’ll have the time and patience to really learn what I’m doing. Still, I love to look at quilts, especially the less traditional textile art pieces.

In 2009 there were, in my mind, two notable quilting stories — and both center on Mark Lipinski.

march-april-2009-issue-of-quilters-home-magazineFirst, as I reported in April over at Kitsch Slapped, the March/April issue of Lipinski’s Quilter’s Home magazine was “too hot” for Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts to carry — despite Lipinski having paid $2,500 to wrap each copy of the issue in plastic like a porno mag.

Why so much fuss about a quilting magazine? Because the publication dared to include Shocking Quilts, an article by Jake Finc which featured quilts on such controversial (yet culturally aware/abundant) themes as lynching and erectile dysfunction. Part of my response (where you can see some of the quilts in question & under condemnation) was:

These quilts are the very definition of art — not just something made by hand, but unique works exploring issues of our society. You remember art, don’t you? It’s one of the ways people communicate & exchange ideas, start dialogs. Well, Jo-Ann will have none of that.

Please confine your creativity to the kits provided.

The second bit of news in 2009 quilting news is also another low point.

In September, Lipinksi announced that he was stepping down as editor of Quilter’s Home magazine and breaking all ties with the publication. This was a result of New Track Media‘s July ’09 purchase of CK Media. The ol’ “creative differences.”

However, since New Track Media had also purchased Quilters News Network TV in 2007, Lipinksi also announced this meant we was discontinuing any involvement with QNNtv.com, including co-hosting Quilt Out Loud!, the internet television program.

mark-lipinski-tupli-violet-petunia-holiday-2009-last-issueWhile these two low points or lowlights in quilting 2009 seem to indicate negativity, exposing the continued blanding of art by the very commercial outfits which should be encouraging creativity, I choose to be optimistic: Thank gawd quilters, artists, and art lovers everywhere have Mark Lipinski, a man dedicated to his craft, to creativity, who won’t knuckle-under to the knuckleheads of mediocrity.

To show support of Lipinski and his values, pony up some pennies and purchase from his shop. There you can even buy back issues — including copies with the Shocking Quilts feature as well as the last issue Lipinski had a hand in. And keep an eye on his blog for more news — rumor has it, there are fabulous projects in the works!

Fauning Over Maclise

Several people must have been fauning fawning over R.A. Daniel Maclise’s Pan And The Dancing Fairies (The Faun And The Fairies) because the pretty painted piece sold for 301,250 GBP (roughly $498,509 in US dollars) at Sotheby’s Victorian & Edwardian Art auction held December 17th, 2009.

ra-daniel-maclises-pan-and-the-dancing-fairies

I show it to you merely because it would have been the piece I would have been wistfully admiring had I been at the auction.

Hugh Grant: Lessons In Buying Art

In the January 2010 issue of Elle magazine, there’s an interview of Hugh Grant by Holly Millea. Whatever you think of Grant, there’s an interesting bit on the actor as an art collector.

Elle: Tell me, is it true that you bought an Andy Warhol painting of Elizabeth Taylor for $4 million in 2002 and sold in it 2007 for $23 million?

HG: Those numbers are not quite correct. It all began with a drink… And I was thinking about some stuff in the Sotheby’s auction and I saw this Warhol, so I drunkenly rang up the girl who helped me with art, and said, “You’re going to bid for that.” And to my horror, she did, and even worse, got it. I slightly regret selling it now, even though it made me rich. My contemporary art collection began with just needing to put things on the wall. I was looking around my Victorian house thinking, “What would be the coolest is contemporary art — it will make me look young and interesting.” I’m more than 80 percent skeptical of the whole thing. Having said that, the stuff I own, I have come to love now.”

See, it doesn’t matter what the size of your wallet celebrity status is, lots of people seem to think owning art will make you seem “young and interesting.” And Grant seems to at least have been intimidated or “skeptical” about art.

elizabeth-taylor-by-andy-warhol-1963 I can’t (ethically) suggest you get drunk and buy art (let alone bid on anything at Sotheby’s or other big auction house); nor do I even hint at a promise of millions in return on your art investment. But if you relax and sort of view buying art as a means to cover your walls, you can do quite well. At least you’re likely to end up with stuff you’ve come to love.

Scans of the interview in its entirety here.

Future Generation Contemporary Art Prize

victor-pinchukUkrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk, via the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, has created a new international contemporary art prize to discover, recognize and give long-term support to a future generation of artists.

The Future Generation Art Prize will be held every two years and the winner will receive $100,000.

All artists up to 35 may apply with their work without any restrictions concerning gender, nationality, race or artistic medium.

The artists apply through an open call via the Internet. Application form shall be available to all on the Prize website.

Additionally, 100 correspondent art experts from all over the world will nominate a minimum of two and a maximum of five candidates. The experts are curators, artists, critics and tutors at art colleges and academies. All artists apart from former Prize winners are be eligible to apply multiple times, as long as they continue to fulfil the entry conditions.

Online applications for the prize will be taken between January 18, 2010 and April 18, 2010. In October of 2010, twenty shortlisted artists will be selected to show their work in an exhibition at Kiev’s PinchukArtCentre, one of the largest centers for contemporary art in the Eastern Europe, founded by Pinchuk in September 2006.

Michael Jackson: King Of Commissioned Kitsch

We keep hearing how poor MJ was, but the dude spent a fortune commissioning art — of himself. And while he was one helluva a musical artist & entertainer, he didn’t have a clue about art.

Just unveiled, Kehinde Wiley’s monumental commissioned portrait of Michael Jackson:

kehinde-wileys-monumental-commissioned-portrait-of-michael-jackson

And here’s a 1990 painting of Jackson by David Nordahl:

MJ_Art Lover_REPRO.indd

Now maybe you’re not surprised to see the size of MJ’s ego displayed in such works. I’m not; but I thought he had more of an artistic sense. All that money to promote yourself as a kitsch icon? Such high prices for such low kitsch? I mean he could have commissioned such portraits from any high school art class student. All he’d have to do is give the kid a copy of an art history book along with the deposit check. But what screams to me the most from all of this is that Jackson would have put these on display, likely in his home.

Where his kids could see them.

So I no longer can buy Prince, Paris and Blanket dressed in masks, scarves and blankets as some sort of shield protecting the kids so that they’d grow up normal. Not when he was willing to subject them to such portraits of daddy. These painting not only distort images of dad as a real person but distort images of real art too.

Well, at least I don’t think Jackson commissioned such artworks to include his kids’ faces as cherubs or whatnot. Or maybe I just don’t recognize his kids.

Or maybe there are frightening family portraits we have yet to see.

See also the edible MJ.