Flourish Co. - Highly Recommended!

Approximately 2 and a half years ago I purchased mesh walls for my EZ-up tent to display my work at outdoor shows. Prior to that I had a wall system that I had built with my husband.

(an indoor show showing the homemade walls)

It had worked fine for indoor venues but was unsteady on uneven ground and in windy situations out of doors. It was heavy too, and required help to get it in and out of my car and setup at the shows. These were the reason I invested in the mesh panels for my tent.

(my mesh walls that I have used for outdoor shows)

Last year I continued to use the old walls for indoor shows but they had become warped and crooked from all the handing. So I knew I was going to want to do something different. Something that I could handle myself like the setup I had for my tent.

I contacted the company and explained my needs. I have multiple shows, all with different footprints. I need a system that can go from a 10x8 foot booth to a 7x7 foot booth.. I spoke with Tom, an extremely helpful and friendly employee of Flourish Co. He pulled up my information so he knew all the pieces I already had for inside my tent. He walked me through their website where there is information on how to customize the mesh panels I already owned and then after only 2 hours sent me a detailed estimate on the additional poles and hardware I would need to create a flexible system to meet all my indoor show requirements. I was floored! What service! and to top it all off he helped me to use the pieces I already had so that I would be saving money! The cost was a third of what I thought I would have to spend. The whole experience made my day!

These panels are very well constructed and easy to put together. The poles do weigh a bit but are compact and you can bundle them in groups that are easy to handle. I can't recommend the system enough and I have had nothing but the finest service from this company. I already feel like my initial investment has paid for itself and was so pleasantly surprised that it would take so little to adapt it to my interior needs. They are the best!!!!

Here is my new indoor setup with a 7 foot configuration

Flourish - Canopy's and Display Walls

Battery Operated Lights!

I want to share my most important discovery of 2010.

Two weeks ago, I was able to have electricity at my booth and I plugged in some clip lights to better highlight my encaustics. It was amazing what a difference it made. People could see my work as I had created it in my sunny studio. The colors popped off the wall and the depth and luminosity of the wax was very apparent. The show was a huge success for me and I was hooked.
This past weekend I was at SOWA Holiday at the Cathedral High School Gym in Boston. There are big windows that shed a lot of light during the day, but after the sun goes down my work gets muddied by the overhead lights. I also knew I was facing away from the windows so my work would be back lit from the main daylight source.
After some internet research and running around to different box stores, I asked my husband to help me come up with a battery system. He totally pulled through!

Here are the main components and they are all available at stores like Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot and Amazon.com.

1 . A deep cycle marine battery

It is very important that it is a deep cycle battery. These can take a deep drain and be recharged again and again.

2. A power inverter

The inverter converts the 12volt DC current of the battery to 110 volt AC current, which is what runs out of a household socket. It is important that the wattage on your inverter is more than the total wattage of the lights that you will be running. My first day I ran a 200 watt inverter and had 4 lamps each with a 20watt warm fluorescent bulb in each (these are equivalent to a 75 watt incandescent bulb but draw less power). I like Sylvania's mini style bulbs.
IMPORTANT NOTE: I wasn't paying attention the second morning, coupled with exhaustion, and I connected the inverter to the battery backwards (+ to - instead of + to +, - to -) and I blew the fuse in the inverter. My husband ran in with another one that is a 410 watt and it worked fine and I will probably add lights in the future.

3. A battery charger

This charger was great. It has a digital display that will tell you the percentage of charge left in your battery. It will also trickle charge once you reach 100%, so I plugged it in over night and woke up to a full charge ready to go in the morning.

4. Standard lights and cords
The rest can be your choice. I used clip lamps that I picked up 2 days before the show and connected them using standard extension cords. The inverter has 2 plug sockets so I plugged the lamps together on the cords and them plugged the cords in.

Here is the amazing thing, after 8 hours running the 4 lights my battery was still at a 45% charge. I plan on adding a bit more light and finding arm lights that will aim back at the wall. My clip lights were great but washed the wall from top to bottom and I would like to get the lighting a bit more even in the future.

I plan on trying this system at outdoor shows as well. There is a water tight box for the marine battery as they are meant to be used in boats. I will also plan on having it up off the ground on a wood platform. The battery is heavy so a wood box that can be put on a collapsible dollie would work great. It is very important to respect that this is still an electrical device and can harm you if you are not paying attention or treating it with care.

Wellesley Marketplace 2010

Wellesley Marketplace 2010

by Amy of Bumble Belly Designs

I've been working like a dog. I am so overtired but this is it! My holiday markets start this Saturday at the 34th annual Wellesley Marketplace. It takes place at the Wellesley Middle School from 9-4. It is a fabulous place to begin your Holiday shopping (or finish it!) There will be 130 vendors with unique gifts for even the most challenging on your holiday list.

More new work

A few new pieces inspired by the season.

Squirrel (sold)

New England Gothic

Manitoba Friends

I'll be at SOWA this Sunday 10-4. Come out and enjoy the art, food and fun! Only 3 Sundays left in the season. Don't miss out!

Birds in Trees

I guess I have been going through a "bird phase". These were done last spring. Bird song in the spring is so wonderful after the New England winter.

These pieces have sold but I will be offering limited edition prints and small waxed reproductions for sale at my shows and soon online in my etsy store.

SOWA this Sunday

I will be at SOWA on Harrison Ave in Boston this Sunday from 10-4 with my friends from Boston Handmade. Come celebrate handmade and find some one of a kind goodies! The holidays are fast approaching. Only 80 days until Christmas and Hanukkah begins in 57 days!

Here are a few more new pieces I will have on hand.

Birds on a Wire

Hyde Park Bunny


New work!

I have been horrible at blogging and I am going to try to start up again. Summer was busy with the kids and I gave myself a pass on most everything. How many summers is my daughter going to be 4? and my son 8? So we had some slow summer days at the beach collecting things and building things and just enjoying time together. It really cements what is important when you turn your attention away from the grind that constantly pulls at you to focus intently on those you treasure the most. Listening closely to their ideas about things and their questions can give new perspective and a few giggles.
Anyway, I am here and still working at my encaustics. I have started to incorporate my own drawings and paintings, embedding them in the layers of wax. Here are a few.


"Cutting Line"

"Mid-west Dream"

"Third Chapter"

Needle Felting Skill Share Workshop

One of my favorite things about Boston Handmade, and there are many, are the skill share workshops offered by the talented members. Last Friday I got to try something I have always wanted to learn, needle felting! Lynne, from Cozy Cottage Creations, graciously opened her home to us and gave instructions on how to get started.

Here are Kerry from Kerry Hawkins Photography and Christa from Pink Sequin Designs working the wool.
Lynne had a collection of childrens toys and animals to use as models for the shapes of our animals. I chose to do a bird in my favorite color blue.

Here it is taking shape.

The biggest impression I was left with was just how tricky it could be. It takes a real feel for the wool to get the shape the way you want it. It also takes a lot of time and concentration. No chatting in a "needle felting circle" unless you bring a first aid kit! We had a few finger pokes but I lost count after 6. I think we all left with a little left to finish on our projects. I still had to fine tune the shape and finish the eyes.

Kerry was really close to finishing her fish.

Christa was still working on her flamingo.

And Lynne was making the cutest elephant!

It was a great morning! Thank you, Lynne. I can't wait to start another creature!
... and yes the first thing my daughter said was "oh, mommy, can I have it in my room?"

Am I Having Fun Yet? YES!

I am always pretty miserable in the late months of winter. The holiday season drains me and there is a void in the quiet afterward. I always feel I should push myself - "Keep making things, Amy. Don't stop." There is a kind of guilt there too, that I should beef up my Etsy shop, organize, do taxes... Really, being in business there is always something to do. I did organize a bit and my tax stuff is much more together than last year, so taking a deep breathe, I tried to let it go.

I did my "Mommy duties" - the house looked pretty good! The laundry was done and in the drawers! We actually had people over for dinner and I could use my dining room! While doing the "chores", I found my mind wandering to new ideas, things I had always wanted to try. Eventually I was dropping the laundry, half folded, and running to google something to find out techniques and where to find supplies.

Printing is where I landed. I have always loved woodcuts and block printing and I wanted to see if I could incorporate it into my work.

Here are some blocks that I cut.

And here are some bags in process,

and some finished ones.

I also intend to incorporate these prints into my encaustic mixed media. Here is one piece that is in process.

It has been so rewarding and I look forward to what may develop in the future. One thing is for sure, dinner parties may need to be out on the porch. Good thing the weather is getting better!

My dining room:

Long House

Last fall, on a trip to see friends, we took an afternoon to go walk the gardens at Long House in East Hampton, NY. It was a typical cloudy fall day but it took nothing away from the beauty of these gardens.

Long House is the residence of Jack Lenor Larsen, an internationally famous textile designer and founder of Larsen the Company, part of Cowtan & Tout since 1998. It sits on 16 acres of gardens that serve as a backdrop to stunning contemporary art and sculpture.

"The mission of LongHouse Reserve is to exemplify living with art in all forms."

I highly recommend a trip if you are ever in the area and I hope to return to see how it changes through the seasons. Oh, and next time I'll be sure to have more than just my iphone for pictures!

Away to NYC!

I am headed to NYC to visit great friends and spend some time at the NYIGF. I can't wait for the inspiration and fun!
I hope to have a blog post when I get back. Chow

Winter Nesting

I am back. It happens every year at this time. I feel like a bulb under the deep snow. I'm not really producing anything but inside I am turning over new ideas. Yet somehow they seem stuck, not fully formed, and so I sit on them... waiting...

I've just been puttering in my studio, trying out a few things. I've been sculpting clay birds and wire branches with flowers made from recycled fabric and adding them to salvaged bottles.

I rearranged and have started to organize things after the crazy holiday blitz. I have made a high island in the center of my studio. Last year, I had folding tables along the windows that I used as work surface. Unfortunately, they were also my show tables so I had to clean them off every time I packed up. I would like to say that this kept things picked up but it only resulted in a shuffling of piles and my center table became a dumping ground. My goal this year is to stay better organized. I also was fortunate to gain a flat file (for free!) so now all my papers can have a nice place to land.

One last improvement is a new encaustic pallet. I have wanted one for 2 years and could finally afford to spoil myself. I can't wait to get started!