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.


Kelly in Wisconsin!

Eek! you guys! I am SO excited! After long wishing to take a workshop from Kelly Kilmer, I worked out all the logistics last fall and went to San Francisco to take workshops from her. They were, in short, everything I was hoping they would be and I had such a wonderful time. There was, however, a tiny part of me throwing a toddler temper tantrum because my dear friend and collage buddy was in Milwaukee and could not be with me. I started scheming then about what it would take to fly her to San Fran, arrange child care, get her time off work, all so that we could take a workshop together. But then Kelly started talking about driving to New York.... and, hey! Madison is on the way. Sort of. Well, we are close to Chicago where she wanted to go so I just begged.... and, lo and behold, she's coming to Madison. I cannot be more thrilled. As soon as I have more details I will share them everywhere.

So far this year, I've been working a lot in one of the books that I started in her workshop in October. I still had some blank pages so I've been trying to fill those in. I find it helps me to have a bit of a theme/story in mind and because I enjoyed being a part of the tarot card exhibit, I decided to make one of my books a tarot book. I had some images picked out already so I went through the various cards and tried to find ones that spoke to me and to the pages I had started. My pages are: the moon, the empress, the star, the three of wands, the chariot, the world, the wheel of fortune, death, the hermit, the high priestess, the magician. I don't know what that whole collection means. I am not really practicing what Kelly preaches as I should have a much smaller pile of collage papers so I've been spending a lot of time just shuffling through those. But that's part of the process for me. Now that I know she's coming to Madison, I will have to start sorting in earnest and set aside my pile for her workshop. I have a little bit more painting to do and then will move onto the final step which is adding text. Much of these early steps are a little more mass production oriented, just playing with color, trying to get something down on the pages. For the text, I need to quiet my mind a bit more and figuring out what to write. Good luck with that.

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I have been feeling this last year that I have been working so hard. It's not bad. But I liken it to being a parent - being so wrapped up in infanthood (diaper-changing) that it is hard to see beyond that and then suddenly, the children are 10 and, yay! you don't have to change their diapers anymore, but it turns out that even though what was all-consuming 9 years ago has gone away, there are new and other aspects that still require parenting and work. So, too, as Anthology has grown. There are some aspects that don't quite seem as hard-scrabble anymore - in general, people know who and what we are; we have part-timers so it isn't just Sachi and me covering all the evening shifts...  but now there are things like supervising part-timers (not one of my strong points), and the ongoing work of who and what we are, not to mention what is ahead for the next 10 years.  "Good things come to those who hustle," runs through my head a lot. So, anyway, it feels like a lot of hustle, but also some of that 10 years of hustle coming to fruition. Hosting a Kelly Kilmer workshop, being accepted to exhibit at the Central Library, these are big things that have happened in the last couple months but there has been a lot of hustle leading up to them. But, yay for being rewarded!

Now I have to go and make some Blurb magazines so we have collage material for our workshop!


that sister of mine

Goodness but Sachi has been on a roll this year! She keeps telling me she's finished, and then she shows up with three new watercolors. Right now she is working on finishing touches for some more new cards. But on Wednesday she told me in the morning that she wanted to make a sample card for our Mother's Day card-making table.... and by Wednesday afternoon she had this:

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Mind you, the card was blank in the morning. Her drawing skills astound me.Of course, I had to send it off to the printers to make into cards. There's no such thing as too many Mother's Day cards. It seems like every year we both buy more cards and have the same last-minute scramble to fill in the spinner with floral thank-yous and other pseudo Mother's Day cards. I feel like we are in better shape this year. But there's still time. This year has been a strange combination of time going slowly and quickly - hard to believe there are just two weekends left, and extra condensed this year because graduation and Mother's Day are the same weekend. It's going to be a challenge to fit everything into the window. Huh, now that I think of it, I should have made that into a big print.