Take What You Need

HI know, I know, I've been gone so long. I haven't quite been reduced to 140 characters yet, but I guess we've been spending more time over on Instagram. I had a vague idea that the second half of the year would be slightly less work than the first half of the year. My new vague idea is that next year is going to be about working smarter rather than working harder. We'll see how that goes. I did get to take a couple art workshops this year so that has been a nice treat. Of all people, I feel like I shouldn't have to sign up for an art class in order to block off the time to create. But there's a big difference between two hours at night and two full days in a row over a weekend.

I have lost count of the number of new cards that Sachi came out with this year. She has been VERY busy. Sibling rivalry propels me to try and keep up. Then I look at the photos and it looks suspiciously like Sachi is making products for the store while I am dilly dallying around with collage. Sachi has five new holiday cards that are available singly and boxed, not to mention an assortment of every day and other occasion cards.

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I have this vague idea that someday there will be Madison-related collages that turn into... something... cards? prints? But for now, not so much. After one card in a group tarot show, I ended up making a collage book of tarot - not the whole deck... yet....

 

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I did make some new postcards inspired by our trip to Portland. Portland! What a wonderful trip that was. We were inspired by brick & mortar retail and have both been creating Madison/Midwest images that spun off from the PDX/Pacific Northwest items that we saw while away.

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Oh, and Sachi made this amazing diorama of the store. So incredible! This is our holiday postcard and if you'd like a copy for yourself, please feel free to email us at Anthology@tds.net with your mailing address.


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Last but definitely not least, because who doesn't need a project in the busiest time of the year: our take what you need flyer. I made this hand-lettered flyer for our library residency a few years ago. I had it posted in the library and enjoyed conversations with people about what they took. I was particularly interested to see what was left. Love was usually one of the first to go, the high road one of the last. Occasionally we post these outside our door on State Street and I was thinking - in the midst of Thanksgiving and stress about what the President and Congress could possibly do next to undermine the ideals of this nation - that it would be a fine thing to post them for the rest of the year.... which led to a customer calling me to ask if she could purchase them.... which eventually led to me thinking that sharing this widely, and freely, is probably the best thing for this time of year.... which then made me wonder if we could post these in all 50 states. Perhaps by the end of the year is ambitious, but I am willing to set high goals and adjust them later if needed.

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So, we'd love it if you'd play along. Here's the link for the file. We'd love it if you would download, print and post... and then snap a picture and tag us on Facebook or Instagram @Anthology218. #takewhatyouneed.

Hope you get everything you need this holiday season!

 


so much Portland love

Sachi and I just got back from a long weekend in Portland. So much fun! Well, we were "working" (as my niece says, with air quotes): in addition to attending the Portland Renegade Craft Fair, we went to lots of paper/indie craft/gift stores. There were so many in Portland! I am feeling much more optimistic about the future of brick and mortar retail. Obviously we are biased, but we think that there is a lot of value in small and independent stores, in local business, and in being able to put one's hands on the merchandise you are interested in buying. We enjoyed seeing the many Portland artists at work, and finding their work at many local and indie shops. There is something going on with illustration out there which we haven't seen as much of here in the Midwest. Can't quite put our finger on it, but there were several people doing goache and watercolor to pleasing effect. Sachi was constantly sketching out new designs so she should be busy for the rest of the year. We are always a little jealous traveling to larger cities which have a much wider pool of artists making custom souvenir goods... but that just means more for Sachi and I to make. You can review our travels on Instagram. 

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Some of our favorite shops were:

Collage

Noun

Flutter

Crafty Wonderland

Little Otsu

Tender Loving Empire (between them and the MSP airport, we are feeling optimistic about the future of airport retail in particular).

 

We were also totally charmed by an art exhibit at The Tiny Llama with work by Becky Margraf. That was a surprise find and all the more charming for it.

And, yes, we ate at Voodoo Donuts.


summer in full swing, and Sachi still creating like mad

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It has been a busy few months here at Anthology. As the weather warms up, summer tourist season starts in earnest. There's a different feeling to downtown now that most of the students are gone for the summer, but they are replaced by vacationers from all over the world. I hope we are being good representatives of liberal sentiment in the U.S. - certainly the buttons have remained popular tourist purchases, as well as symbols for people to wear when they travel abroad. At least a half-dozen customers have come in to buy buttons so their politics are clear when they travel. I've given up on trying to keep up with reacting to the current administration, but Sachi just put together a new set of buttons which will debut this week.

Speaking of Sachi, today's picture, I think, best captures this first half of the year. Sachi has been on fire! She made this little diorama of the store, including miniature wrapping paper display and mini Laura and Sachi (and mailman John, not pictured). How amazing is that?! I have lost count of the cards she made: 2 Madison summer postcards, a Prince card, a cheese curd card, a bike Madison t-shirt, a trike Madison t-shirt. I'm sure I'm forgetting some things. Oh, lots of Christmas cards. Things usually get busier in late fall and we had at least two years of thinking we should make cards but not getting to it. Sachi is being proactive and has a bunch lined up for the printer.

As for me, I have a few designs rolling around in my head and I have made a few cards. I am working on two big photo snippet prints which are taking forever but are getting close. I have mostly been collaging (playing) with the books started in Kelly Kilmer workshops. There are several piles of collage materials on the living room floor at home. We are heading to Portland at the end of the month to Renegade Craft Fair, and to the many indie and local shops in the city. We aren't only going to see the wall of washi tape at Collage, but that's obviously a big draw.

As for the store, Wisco goods continue to be strong. Tourist season is always a good time for selling tea towels as those are easy and portable gifts. Just this week we received three big boxes from across the Pacific, filled with bookmarks, postcards, washi tape and stickers. Sigh... stickers. I love them so. We have started receiving goods from our May trip to New York so there are new cards, stationery sets, journals, and more. I still see a few spaces where I can do some crunching and rearranging, but it's all pretty full. I sometimes think back on the early days of the store - we used to fit all our card backstock in three little boxes in our white metal medicine cabinet. That would hardly do the trick nowadays. But there is so much temptation to be found!


getting ready for Kelly Kilmer

Oooh... I am so excited! Kelly Kilmer is coming to Madison to teach a workshop at Anthology! I wished for this so badly when I was in California last year and now it is happening! She's going to be teaching a Book of Intentions so I've been thinking about what my intentions are. For years, "store by 40" was my mantra and then it happened, before the deadline even, and now I've been kind of at a loss. Nothing quite so clean has come along. A part of me wishes for more space but the last time I wished for that, we ended up with an artist residency at the downtown public library and that was a bit too much space. "Be careful what you wish for" is always on my mind.  So, anyway, the last few weeks, I have been preoccupied thinking about intentions, but also sorting through all my collage ephemera. I quickly made up Blurb book v. 4 so there is no lack of collage imagery to choose from. That's never really been the problem. I have created a pile of images to bring to the workshop but think I need to go through them one more time to narrow the pile. It would be ideal not to spend too much time during the workshop sifting through pages. Though I have been thinking of my intentions going forward, I was also going over some childhood photos for another project so I started to think about the way my past forms my future. Which led me to the decision to use old pictures of the women of my family tree for my focal points. Kelly has an interesting approach, different from my own, which really divides things into focal points and background (whereas I just divide things into color). Her approach has really helped add a little more depth to my collages so that's been nice. The assignment for workshop prep was to find 10-15 focal images. Ha. Yeah, some winnowing is definitely in order. I ended up digging up some old pictures of the women in our family- this one is my mom and her adopted mom. How fancy is Grandma?! 

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NYC

Ok, that was terrible - we have had all the anticipation leading up to the National Stationery Show, all the hard work/fun of the trip to NYC, and a couple weeks of trying to clean up after our trip and I am only just now getting to a blog post. I apologize. Good intentions are not helping me that much. Perhaps you were following us on Instagram? That's really the best place for keeping up to date on new arrivals, especially since I finally got a smart(ish) phone. Up until this point, all the Komais have been using flip phones which makes texting and posting pictures a challenge. But we fixed that.

ANYWAY, what to say about New York?

 

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It's always a whirlwind of walking up and down the aisles and trying to make decisions and plans (what to do for the holiday window? what should Sachi make next?), combined with the usual whirlwind that is New York with all there is to see and do, and eat. I came home feeling like I needed a vacation to recuperate. But jumped right back in because shipments started arriving right away! There are staggered ship dates between now and October but some of the arrivals are already brightening up the place. The trend of neon bright colors is still going strong so we couldn't resist. Of course we found washi tape. Wrapping paper, including fun patterns of ice cream, hot dots, strawberries and watermelons. More patches and pins. Some new sheets of wrapping paper. And generally just more paper goodness that we are incapable of saying no to.  We've already been busy unpacking new arrivals and trying to find space for everything. I really need to spend some time cleaning the office. I've been saying that since January.