Do you too?
We have gathered many cool things to decorate your windows and doors – even your couches, kitchen and yourself! Here are a few examples: Why not come see them for yourself and get your freak on?
This is one of the cool stories that make our jobs at Makers Connect so special and fulfilling so we thought we’d share:
It begins on the day that one Robin Ayres came sweeping through our door in her energetic way, having decided to attend our Thursday Makers Meetup. She was wearing a giant necklace composed of hundreds upon hundreds of pieces of black plastic which upon closer inspection, were a combination of dominoes and retro celluloid charms layered on top of one another. She took it off to show me how much it weighed; That thing was HEAVY.
After we learned about our mutual commonalities through her day job as the sole product namer for the Richards Group, we delved more into her photo books. It was then that minds were blown all over the place. Her body of work as seen on Pinterest is nothing short of Amazing, Prolific, Colorful, and NUTS! https://www.pinterest.com/foundcolors/my-jewelry-creations/
Robin explained that she has synesthesia, and can taste the colors she’s using as she works with them. There are therefore certain colors that you’ll never see in her work.
Fast forward a few months, and a few meetups later, and we were able to talk her into letting us carry Robins’s amazing watch-case necklaces and upcycled globes at Makers.
As far the necklaces she showed us at that first meetup; no, they were still not for sale. To anyone. She explained they just took so much time (both collecting and making) that she swore she’d never sell them, but might consider lending them for a museum or gallery show.
But what she said was heard by the universe, because about 8 months later… a museum shop came calling… and it wasn’t just any shop. It was Kohei Tanaka from Trading Store Comme des Garcons in Tokyo. Whoa.
He had located her online via her Pinterest pages. Both shocked and honored, she wrote to us saying that she had finally found what felt like the right match in a retailer that would truly be able to showcase these incredible art jewelry pieces.
Best of luck, Robin! We hope they fly off the shelves – we know you’re already busy making more.
Below: Photo from Comme des Garcons in Tokyo. Robin’s work is showcased in plexiglass boxes, inside large glass vitrines flanked by black balls. So mod.
For some reason, the rain is making me question my existence…. and why my patient husband, feisty mother, and loyal / hilarious helpmate have joined hands in supporting…. this retail endeavor we call Makers Connect. The other day, I overheard someone say, “Your store has a stupid name.” Well, perhaps. It’s not the funniest or catchiest… most of those had already been taken. Originally I loved the name Local Talent. Three years ago, the dba was already in use and I couldn’t have it… I checked a few weeks ago and it was available again. But now we’re here and we’re not going to buy another lighted sign (do you know how much those cost?? Shocking.)
For the sake of clarity and to clear away any cobwebs in case there are others who also think our name is ‘dumb’, I offer this explanation:
Makers Connect – to their tribe.
Makers Connect – to their market
Makers Connect – to their talent
Makers Connect – to meeting other artists
Makers Connect – to learning new talents
Makers Connect – to one another, to neighborhood… to new possibilities.
If you still think it’ dumb, then write to me and we can have a dialogue. Also, your mother dresses you funny.*
*Just kidding. I know you dressed yourself.
**Really kidding… your mother is absolutely lovely.
Summer can seem like a game of frogger – dodging out to the car, into a shop, back to the car, into another shop, then back to the house…exhausted and hot. But what if the shop had fun things to look at, nice folks, music, food, cool drinks, and wonderful art and accessories to browse? What if there might also be something fun to do with the kids that you can bring home and keep or give as gifts?
Hear us now; we have TWO such events coming up – so mark your calendar now! For the next two Saturdays, we’re having a couple of our wonderful maker/vendors in the shop with a trunk show and charming make-and-take: Here are the details:
Vendor Spotlight: Lynda Sparks, Jewelry
How does one end up doing what one is doing in life? It’s almost never a straight-arrow path. The story is often as interesting as the items of art one creates, but sometimes we lack the time to ask the questions or to spin the more in-depth stories about our artists. I started asking Lynda because I was really curious how she came to her level of craft after retirement. Also, the sheer variety of the jewelry she brings in is really on another level. It appears that jewelry making for her seemed to come from a wellspring of desire to do something creative after a lifetime of other professional endeavors, from accounting to running a day-care facility.
“I retired twice; but just had too much energy to sit at home and twiddle my thumbs. I needed to express myself with something.” She adds to that, “Art is for your soul; math is for your mind.”
She had clearly spent enough of her life working with math. So she started creating greeting cards, which she sold at the Artisan’s Collective, a gallery of local art located in the Bishop Arts area of Oak Cliff, in Dallas.
“But I soon realized that it takes the same amount of time to make a card as it does to make jewelry, and I could sell jewelry for more!” So, she started watching jewelry videos, and learned how to create wrapped wire jewelry. She believes that if you want to know how to do something, the best money is spent on materials and practice rather than expensive courses. “I guess I’m too opinionated for some teachers but in the end I learn more by just doing it myself.” Her favorite metalsmithing DVD courses were by Lexi Erickson, available through Rio Grande.
“Whenever I hit a glitch, I tell myself to not get discouraged – and eventually I would keep at it and got to a point where I felt pretty good about what I was doing.” What did she do after mastering wire wrapping? Why, she just moved on to pouring resin. Then she took the resin pieces and wrapped those!
Now she’s making folded copper cuffs and rings, as well as large funky stone-set rings and necklaces. The fact that was able to teach herself to solder bezels and set stones demarks a major line in the sand that sets her apart from many jewelry makers. Every time she drops by, we’re always pleasantly amazed to see what wonderful new creations she’s whipped up.
We like her attitude a lot. She sums it up, “My advice is to just keep at it. If one thing isn’t working, try something else!” There is clearly no keeping this gal down. Go, Lynda!
Please take a moment to vote HERE... thanks! You can vote again every day through Sunday June 12.
Regardless of what is going on around me in the world or our lives, we try to keep the doors open to new artists with intriguing ideas and creations. These past few months we’ve brought in these terrific new folks; we hope you can come see their work soon.
(Also we have new work by our OTHER 85 local artists! Yesterday we received a neat bunch of adjustable rings and man-worthy pendant necklaces by Lynda Sparks.)
Amy Marks – Funky Finials: Upcycling those one-off vintage salt and pepper shakers and giving them a new lease on life as funky lamp finials! Also soon to come, Treasure Handbags!
Zunlan Designs – Carlos Zunlan and partner create handbags, satchels and totes from scratch. Some with leather accents and others with fashion-mag worthy handpaintings by Carlos. Also colorful patterned coasters.
Shauna Young – Reticulated (heavily textured) silver jewelry paired with her own hand-lapidaried stones….. all coordinated into beautiful pendants and cuffs.
Vera Guillan – Embroidered jackets. The blessed Virgin of Guadalupe comes to life when Vera and her sister come in contact with vintage jeans jackets.
more photos to come!
Mother’s Day is officially behind us – and we had so much fun feteing our vendors and the many customers who have become fans and collectors of their work and of our shop. As someone in politics once said, ‘it takes a village!’ but I wish to add, ‘momentum = time + perserverence + mass of awesome sauce!’ Which is to say- we’re hitting our stride. And we’re always trying to stay one step ahead with new surprises in everything from classes and events as well as artisans – so do please add yourself to our mailing list if you haven’t yet, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram (chris_makers_connect)
Here’s a taste of something we’re getting excited about coming up – hope you can make it out!
We’re so thrilled it’s SPRING! Aren’t you?
Getting more done every day thanks to extra hours of sunshine; plus all the perennials are gently reemerging, along with bees, butterflies, and birds! We’ve noticed an increase in a several species around our far east Dallas neighborhood (that probably is a result of global warming) such as white doves, blue hairstreaks (with freaky orange bodies!), more Robins and seemingly more woodpeckers too.
At the shop, we’re experiencing a vernal bloom as well in terms of brand new product that has just walked in this week! From the soft, easter-egg colors of silk and antique linen scarves by Lisa Payne to the light purple and peach tones in Robin Weiss’ newest glass bowls, to the radiant kaleidescopic tones of Kim Morris’ newest sterling and copper earrings and the sassy little cotton jackets and hats by Reid Barnhart….plus the newly repackaged 100% soy candles by GLO and by Dylan and Co! Whew, and that’s only One Week!
You simply must do yourself the favor of a visit and see what else we forgot to mention, and keep in mind that Mother’s Day is right around the corner and we’re celebrating with tables of handmade goods made locally just with moms in mind. Come to our artists’ party Friday, April 29th in the evening, and meet some of your favorite local creatives!
Are you sick and tired of hearing blowhard politicians ranting about how he or she is going to “bring America back” and “make it great again”? I sure am. For one, my idea of what makes a country great is probably not the same as that guy/gal thinks it is… so we’re not even talking apples to apples. Of course we all love America, but some of us think the best cure is from the roots up and not from the top down. But when do speak of produce, I know exactly where to find it – at the Farmers Markets. And I am super excited that it’s THAT TIME AGAIN!
If you’re a crafter who sells your work at shows, this is probably the second most exciting time of year for you (following Christmas!) Not only is the weather warming up, the flowers and trees are all in bloom and the days are suddenly (magically) longer by an hour… AND there’s the official beginning of a new round of farmers markets!
Here in East Dallas, we have enjoyed the wonderfully curated White Rock Local Market and watched it grow from a twice a month affair to an eight time a month market, changes in venue and even a change in name! (to Good Local Markets)
Now there’s also a new couple of shows on the block that we’ll be checking out – The Marketplace Casa View – and hoping that theybring good things to an area of town that is in need of some uplift and on the brink of some serious revitalization efforts by neighbors and businesses (Ferguson Road Initiative and Greater Casa View Alliance).
The shows are sponsored by an independent organizer for the benefit of the churches and the hoods themselves, and will be occuring twice monthly from 9am – 2pm: first Saturdays at St. Pius X Catholic church at 3030 Gus Thomason Road, and same times every second Saturdays at Ridge Point Fellowship at 11440 Ferguson Road.
So when you wake up on Saturday or are out and about on Sunday – remember to stop by a friendly local market; pick up some fresh basil and tomatoes (and coffee, and eggs, and bread!) and stroll past the craft vendors. We might have a perfect bangle bracelet or planted pot for you and a gift for your mom’s birthday. You will have something one of a kind, and also support your local, American neighbor. Isn’t that what keeps America strong? Well, that and zombies. Of course.
These guys are dear to our hearts here at Makers. They have been great friends to us from the ‘time before the brick and mortar,’ right up till this very day… so it’s fantastic to see them receiving not just success in their endeavors but also the press recognition! Read on!___________________________________________________________________
Photos by Clare Miers
David and Rebecca Day finish a batch of their Soapgirl artisan soap for one of their retail clients. Their soap making began as a hobby and has since grown into a flourishing gig for the couple.
Rebecca and David Day combine their art backgrounds to blend a fresh, new soap product line called Soapgirl.
The Richardson husband-and-wife team is really onto something, with retailers knocking on their door wanting more soap. Their busy Cedars studio is delivering.
The soap making really just began as a hobby in 2010. Rebecca’s graphic design talents motivated her to play around with the packaging and branding. In 2012, she tested them online.
Maker’s Connect in Dallas, which supports local artists, then started carrying the line. Whole Foods picked up Soapgirl in the Dallas area and later began carrying the line in its southwestern stores. Posh Dr. Delphinium soaped up, too.
The business was solidifying like a big chunk of raw, room-temp cocoa butter. Urban Outfitters caught a whiff of the vibrant, textural soaps and asked for a few hundred bars for its stores. Not long after, the chain wanted 11,000 more.
A lot of preparation
David focuses on the soap base mixtures and pouring. Rebecca is in charge of blending essential oils, garnishing and packaging.
“A lot of soap making is preparation,” David says. “We make our own lye.”
They were cranking out more than 700 bars for Urban Outfitters this week.
Their son Jasper, 11, chills on a sofa playing a computer game while keeping an eye on all of the soap action. His dad points a remote temperature gun at a bucket of soap base and then starts mixing. Rebecca mixes the essential oils.
With protective gear on and surrounded by mounds of cocoa butter solids melting nearby, David blends and pours large buckets of fragrant, cantaloupe-colored soap. Rebecca sprinkles salt on the exposed ends of the soaps.
The soap medleys range from grapefruit and salt scents to more contemporary patchouli and black-lava salt concoctions.
When two artists collide, the result can be pretty dynamic. Rebecca earned an art degree from the University of Texas at Austin, and David has a ceramics degree from the University of Dallas.
In the late ’90s, Rebecca was introduced to David on a blind date through an art friend.
“David was a potter at Old City Park and I know, he was just so cute. I was a graphic designer at Greensheet. We just hit it off,” she says.
The like-minded artists merged and created some impressive things. Over the years, their building has shifted from a clay studio to the soap workshop it is today.
David had a garden-pots line at Redenta’s in Dallas for years. And La Madeleine tapped into the Days’ talents, too. From 1998, the memorable Quimper-faience-inspired tiles with primitive glazes and hand-painted images were made by the Days. They even made those oversize mugs with French sayings and translations.
“I was the painter and he was the potter, and it was a match made in heaven,” Rebecca says. “We just sort of became their artists-in-residence in 1998.”
Right in the middle
You can feel how artists are drawn to the edgy Cedars vibe. A stone’s throw away, the McKinney Avenue Contemporary is taking root and planning for major expansions. The Days enjoy being in the middle of it all.
“We love this place and hope to renovate and turn our place into a live-in and work studio,” Rebecca says.
A recurring theme with artists today is that they often have a war story about how they survived the economic hardships of 2008 and 2009. Creative industries were hit hard, and ingenuity and resilience got many artists through it.
“We had a kid and a mortgage and we couldn’t be goofing off in the clay studio,” Rebecca says.
In a bit of a detour from their respective art paths, David went into real estate and Rebecca studied architecture at the University of Texas at Arlington. She picked up a graphic design job.
“We’d worked together since 1997, then we had to put our kid in day care. He was just 3 and it was hard,” she says.
They even sublet parts of their studio to fellow artists, to hang on to their building.
When the soap concept arrived and flourished, there was the rush of collaboration again.
“It is wonderful for us to work on something together again,” Rebecca says.
Clare Miers is a Dallas freelance writer
The Dallas Observer has included us in the their Top Ten Places to Shop for Local in Dallas! Wow! We’re so honored. Check it out below. And come see us this soon. East Dallas doth rocketh, tis true!
10 Places to Shop for Locally Made Gifts That Don’t Suck
If you haven’t already started your holiday shopping, you’re going to want to get on that pronto. December 25 will be upon us before you know it, and unless you’ve decided to forgo the exchange of material possessions on the holiday as some kind of protest of capitalism, you’d better get your act together. Otherwise, you’re going to end up at Wal-Mart at midnight on December 24, scrambling to find something, anything, for your picky girlfriend.
Fortunately, you don’t even have to head to the mall or big-box stores to find awesome gifts that won’t result in massive credit card debt. Instead of skipping gift-giving altogether as a middle finger to materialism, support a few local businesses who could definitely use your cash. These 10 spots are a good place to start.
5331 E. Mockingbird Lane
Art is a pricey gift that makes someone feel special, like you actually surveyed their interests and picked a thoughtful gift instead of grabbing the first thing on the shelf at Target. At Atama, though, you can find one-of-a-kind pieces at seriously budget-friendly prices. Plus, who doesn’t love artsy toys that also happen to be adorable and look great on an office bookshelf? A stroll through the shop’s art gallery will also provide some much-needed zen during the holiday madness.
The Dallas Farmers Market
1010 S. Pearl Expressway
Thanks to all the renovations, the Dallas Farmers Market is home to more crafters and purveyors of non-edible things than actual farmers. Consider it more of a bazaar with locally made gifts and the occasional snack. Here, you’ll find all-natural bath and body products, terrariums filled with succulents and air plants, even custom-made superhero capes for a special kid in your life. Or, you know, yourself.
412 N. Bishop Ave.
This quaint shop in the Bishop Arts District is packed with locally made baubles and accessories, and you’re going to want to buy each and every one of them. Pieces from Dallas’ own Sonya Renee, Costilla Creek Jewelers and more are all insanely high quality and reasonably priced. Also look for locally designed T-shirts, candles and other goodies.
1909 Greenville Ave.
If you live in Dallas, you inevitably know two people — one who LOVES the Big D, and another who entirely loathes living in North Texas. Find a snarky T-shirt for both at Lower Greenville’s Bullzerk. You can find tongue-in-cheek takes on neighborhood pride, Dallas sports fandom, and even a T-shirt that says “Dallas Fancy As Fuck,” which is not something any fancy-ass Dallasite needs in her closet.
We Are 1976
We Are 1976
313 N. Bishop Ave.
In addition to a host of well-curated oddities, We Are 1976’s in-house letterpress shop is a great place to find the perfect holiday cards, stationery and unique art prints. If you’re looking for a particularly special gift, you can have the shop custom-make something for the lucky recipient. Also consider gifting your artsy friend an experience at one of We Are 1976’s hands-on workshops. Past workshops include how to make herbal “good vibes” bundles and aquarium-scaping.
10242 E. Northwest Highway
This art market on Northwest Highway is a one-stop shop for locally made goods. You can find everything you’ll need for everyone on your list here, including homemade pens, steampunk jewelry, hand-printed tea towels and locally poured candles. Plus, you get the bonus of directly supporting local artisans, who sell their wares on consignment at Makers Connect.
Dallas Pin Up
2928 Main St., No. 102
If you or someone you know is into the 1940s, Bettie Page aesthetic, the only gifts you’ll need are at Dallas Pin Up. This entirely woman-owned co-op features 13 local vendors making and selling everything from slinky lingerie to jewelry made with repurposed antiques. If you’ve got a nerdy friend into burlesque, vendor Rara Avis specializes in hard-to-find books and cards related to vintage burlesque and memorabilia from the golden age of Hollywood.
Make + Made
2144 Irving Blvd.
In addition to art classes and workshops, Make + Made features an impressive collection of locally made goods. Handbags handmade by local crafters are a particular favorite with regulars, as are the inexpensive classes and workshops on everything DIY that are perfect for your friend who just can’t stay off Pinterest.
The Gypsy Wagon
2928 N. Henderson Ave.
You may have to poke around a bit, but The Gypsy Wagon generally has a good selection of locally made jewelry and accessories that is definitely worth perusing for your picky Mom. Even if you don’t end up purchasing something (like the perfect holiday dress … for yourself) that was made right here in Dallas, you’re still supporting a local business and that’s what counts.
3699 McKinney Ave., Suite C-305
Okay, so she’s totally gone global, but Kendra Scott is a Dallas girl. Her insanely popular earrings can be found on the earlobes of just about every young woman in Dallas, particularly those who live in Uptown or attend SMU. If you know a particularly fashion-conscious woman who could use a pair of sparkly dangle earrings, Kendra Scott’s West Village boutique is the perfect stop.
Happy Festivus, ya’ll!
This Saturday December 5, we’re welcoming Jane Corley and Marcy Stollon here at Makers Connect for an in-house trunk show. Meanwhile across east Dallas, there are going to be more artists showing under our banner at the GOOD LOCAL MARKETS! Holy Craft Choices! Wherever you go, there is beauty!
Who is at Good Local this week? Bob Hamilton (upcycled retro lamps): Peggy Schmidt (sophisticated and biker-inspired jewelry), Madison Dolph (pretty, chic youthful jewelry) and Denise Daniels Royal (Crocheted scarves, necklaces, and more)
Don’t miss this all-day event at Makers Connect. Beads, findings, and more will be on offer at half of wholesale by national jewelry designer Diane Yang. She’s bringing it all over to our store and we’re offering it to you. She will be on hand taking checks, cash, and charges of $20.00 or over. Please bring a crafty friend!
A small sampling of the beads:
Diane’s beautiful jewelry:
So many fun things are packed into the short months of pure awesome we get in Dallas: so from October through December, we’re all on overdrive, blowing and going to beat the band!
For instance, this past weekend was fabulous. Our neighbors at One90 Meats next door, the trio we’ve come to know as the Three Musketeers of Meat; Kyle, Herman, and Adam – plus their amazing families, friends and employees, hosted a parking lot party to end all others. In addition to 800 slider sandwiches they gave away gratis, plus free beer from Oak Highland Brewery, they brought in a face painter, photo booth, gaming station, a fab DJ who at one point brought over her sweet piglet, Hamlet, on a leash for us all to pet and enjoy… and then inexplicably, a clown showed up at some point during the proceedings. (he later informed us, using expletives not in common use by old school clowns, that a chair he was using “was broke $@4&*@!”
Meanwhile, we set up a tent in the lot and blew out t-shirts by Local Notions, plus koozies and a number of 190 tank tops… leaving the door of the store open to the hoards of young and old who wandered in. It was insane. In a good way.
And then the previous day, we sent the first two artists into the breach at our MC tent at Good Local Market! Mike Malone (silver, copper and brass jewelry for men and women) and Kate Roberts of RetroArt (tile coasters) did a super job of representing both themselves and us. Thank you, guys!
Clearly I need to get better at taking photos – but in our defense, we hadn’t had to get up that early in the morning in a LONG time!
And now, we’re experimenting with a new form of communication – video! We want you to get to know us, our employees, and mostly, our vendors. So check back often to see who is next in our video series, Tales from the Velvet Chair!
Motto of the story? Sometime “sometimes bologna just happens!” Thanks mom. I always said she was one wise duck.
I think it’s high time we shine the spotlight on those for whom the store would simply not exist; the vendors! Every so often we’ll be featuring a new vendor, old vendor, or maybe even some wonderful customers and employees! Check out Jane’s wonderful bio piece, below: Then come see the neat stuff she makes!_________________________________________________________________
How do you feel about this word?
Do you love them, hate them, or just accept them… like inevitable wads of chewing gum on the sidewalk?
Are there any going on right now that excite you? Are there a few that really annoy you?
Trend #1 Crystals / Crystalline Forms / Facetted things
Love this trend – in fact, it’s been a ‘trend’ for me for like, ever….. so when this started entering the zeitgeist in all the possible forms… from illustration to glass worked boxes, and ceramics to the use of naturally occurring crystals in jewelry… I was thrilled. What’s not to like about facets? They serve to reflect light in beautiful and random ways. Crystals are described by their natural molecular roadmaps…. ergo, their beauty is quite literally manifest from the inside out.
Etsy is still one of our favorite sources for current trends in the design world, despite the many negatives surrounding it’s cross-over into a corporate entity. They have several weekly eblasts that illuminate trends that the powers that be at Etsy Central have seen a lot of.
There are also many many other sources. A few of our favorite blogs and shops:Jonathan Adler, Houzz.com, NannyInez.com, Bezar.com, Takeheart.com
Stay tuned for more trends….
Our shop will be open today from 11:00 till 2:00 and then we’re closing down to
go hang with buddies and enjoy some R & R.
Yesterday was a great day in the store, with so many friends, vendors, and
would-be new vendors stopping by to shop and say hi! We were feeling the love.
Stayed tuned for a lot of new classes that kick off this week, and some exciting re-developments in that area. Also, we cannot wait to share photos of the new designers we have in the shop!
Have a wonderful weekend with your friends and families.
See you soon at Makers….
Steve, Chris and Lela
“Connecting makers with appreciators along with a healthy dose of air conditioning and a fun atmosphere since April 2014!”
That is great – and THANK YOU!
We’re proud to be a small business in East Dallas.
We also live here and really love this part of town, and we know it to be a special place within our larger city. Wonderful folks like you often say they you’re pleased we’re here and show interest and desire to support us, but summer is just a slow time for all small businesses. So we decided to reach out to our fellow mom and pop shops, and do something that will help us all.
We are calling it the *Independents Trail*. We are literally creating a *trail* of East Dallas businesses on one solid card that will be available for a small fee ($5-$10), with that money going directly to one or more local charities and nonprofits.
All participating businesses will be listed on the card with a space to punch. The card holder will get a deal of some kind at each of the businesses marked (for example, a certain discount, a freebie, or even a ‘wheel of fortune’ to determine the prize!) Customers will be able to use the discount only *once* at each business, and are therefore encouraged to go around to all the other locations and sample their wares while enjoying discounts. The idea is that folks will be motivated to try new places outside the ‘usual stomping grounds!’
We plan to announce this initiative through local all local media.
What we are trying to do is band together, not swim in separate silos… we’re going to prove that East Dallas does things differently because we’re individuals with initiative, drive, and love for each other. Competition is good for everyone and for the economy at large, but banding together to help each other is even better.
We will be announcing as soon as we know for sure which businesses will be onboard with the ‘Trail. Stay tuned for info and where to get your cards!
We are HERE: East Dallas!
Hey there! Just a reminder we’re still here – hidden slightly behind all the big trucks full of tools and guys at 190 Meats that are busy working on the space next door (formerly Quesa-d-ya’s). They are bringing their specialty smoked meat products to our hood, and are telling me they are aiming to be open within three weeks! So you are now the first to know.
As if that’s not enough to make your daddy happy, we have some cool stuff too! Some of these literally just came to us in the past week, so timing is great. Come take a look soon.
Silver and Copper cuffs – large enough for dad. Mike Malone
One of kind writing implements. Because dad is definitely nothing if not one of a kind.
Tiles and coasters – Save when you buy four or you can mix and match
them individually. Find his favorite pop icon!
Flying Fish (old school fish!) by Traci Hutton. For the man cave.
How manly are steel salt and pepper shakers, or heavy copper bracelets
by TC Hensel?
And for the herpetologist/ anthropologist / geologist dad – we offer
the exclusive Jurassic Park 1 Series of terraria with easy-care air
plants. By Allan Zartman.
We are super lucky to be able to share an alarmingly diverse array of creations from our amazing local artists:
And so much more!
Come to our outdoor trunk show/ sidewalk sale this weekend to discover more goodies!
Don’t miss it! Come on out to check out an extended array of work from four local artisans, set out fair-style on tables in front of our large window. Watch for the colorful signs and balloons and make that life-threatening left turn! You’ll be glad you did.
Actually, we’ll be offering all new artists every other Saturday for the next four weeks. But they will all have an extended body of work (more & different from what they currently are showing in Makers Connect) so make a point to stop by every weekend to see what’s new and cookin’.
On a couple of amazing jewelry designers.
Anyone that’s ever done anything amazing on this earth has been inspired by someone else. Nothing comes from a vacuum in the design world. In fact we are such visual people that we know without a doubt that Pinterest and Instagram were invented just for us. And we’re pretty stoked about that.
Lately something about this cold weather has frozen the part of my brain that wants to get up and do stuff. I just want to look, think, and look some more… and allow that delicious feeling of creative lust to grow inside. I know that just by being exposed to these folks I am gathering fuel for my own future work. These are my design crushes. Who are yours?
1. Julie Cohn – who actually lives right here in Dallas. Her work is influenced by the forms and textures of plants and by a certain Japanese aesthetic. I love that she uses the often under-sung material of bronze. This nice, heavy metal glows more the more one wears it and has an artisanal appeal, being one of the top choice of casting medium for sculptors lo these many centuries.
2. Alexis Bittar – Slightly different approach, and yet there are cross overs. Alexis started his jewelry career as a young man, selling his cast resin jewelry on the streets of SoHo back in the 90’s. The signature frosted cuff with added-on elements (or drilled and set in stones, painting in the back, added hinges, etc.) are still methods used in his iconic and gigantic bangle bracelets.
Tell us about your inspiration here: https://www.facebook.com/MakersConnectDallas
Wow, does that make me feel old or what… Now, see, this is some very easy math, because next week (plus a few days) I will turn 50. That means I was 10 years old when the genius of Jane Curtain, the oiliness of Chevy Chase, and the sprightly coke-induced mania of Steve Martin first began to tickle my youthful cortex with their blend of ironic, slapstick, and expertly rendered “human observation humor” (mostly of immigrant New Yorkers, which I was more able to appreciate later in life when going to school at FIT).
Who could forget Gilda Radner, (never mind!), Lorraine Newman (is it the pizza man? no, it’s LAND SHARK!) or Dan Ackroid’s disgusting Bass o Matic! Through the years our dearly demented Lorne Michaels has brought us Adam Sandler, Amy Poehler, Tina freaking Fey,and some amazing hosts, like Justin Timberlake, Paul Simon (yes!), and Alec Baldwin. Again and again… till we thought we’d be sick of them…but nope!
So have fun all you crazy kids! And just remember, “you’re good enough; you’re smart enough; and gosh darn it, people LIKE YOU!”
What kind of towel would you buy if you knew you had less than 3 square feet to store ALL your bathroom toiletries? Would you give it more thought than if you knew you had tons of space? I was thinking about this because of this wonderful piece about a tiny house that’s very attractive and functional. The owner really had to make a myriad of decisions about every single thing she brought into the house. So I was thinking, if she has only two bath towels, I bet that she chose the best quality she could afford. Because there are less of them, they will get more wear and will need to be extra durable, while also being soft!
And then I suddenly thought about a conversation I had earlier today with Bruce, a leather worker who was showing me photos of his recent work. He was telling me how touched he was to hear from one client who had placed a custom order for a carved leather flask. She was so amazed at the quality of workmanship when she saw it, she ‘tipped’ him about 25% above the agreed to price of $200. That, he said, was someone who appreciated the truly fine art he was doing. How often this is the exception to the rule!
At this point, the conversation turned to the general topic of rampant consumerism and its effect on the appreciation (or lack) of handmade art. We bemoaned the fact that folks so often expect to find similarly handmade items at a ridiculous fraction of value given materials, workmanship and time spent…. available at the local Sams/Wally Mart/outlets stores ad nauseum. The sad truth is that so often, even if something is in fact handmade and not just molded to look like it, there is often great abuse involved which amounts to nothing less than sanctioned human slave labor. So what are the options?
One can make the conscious decision to really observe the quality of items purchased. It’s my belief that the true cost goes down dramatically when we consider that quality often not only outlasts a poorly made product, but it’s a lot more enjoyable to use during that time…and it keeps us from having to venture out and waste precious time searching for replacements. The wonderful local folks who spend their off hours crafting beautiful items for use in your home…be they pillows, quilts, scarves, hats, sculptures, jewelry, or pie warmers – all really appreciate that they are fulfilling some basic human needs for warmth, adornment, and more….and also that they are creating items with integrity, durability, and the stamina to stand the test of time. Just like those two towels.
And handmade quality, made in America, is the best bet for my money.
Psychology of Mass (For Vendors and/or fans of Retail Psychology!)
First thing off the bat it occurs to me I should clear the air – I am not referring to anything vaguely or even surreptitiously religious here.
Also, I am not sharing these views because anyone said to me, “oh Chris, you’re such a genius of retail. You are the best window dresser/layout/space designer and overall beautifier we’ve ever seen! Share with us your tips!” Nope, definitely not that either.
But having done the “store thing” now for nine months (closer to a year than not!) I am starting to feel like I might be learning a thing or two. And there are days when I have felt like it might help to share this info with my vendors, and would-be vendors, so that we’re all on the same page when we talk about what we’re doing, which is trying to sell their handmade work. If you’re not a vendor, don’t take that as a clue to stop reading – there might be something of interest here. I will get to the point quickly, I swear!
So here is what I have noticed; when we put items out, there is a definite excitement that starts almost immediately. Even if we are distracted and not paying too much attention, we find that customers are drawn like moths to the lure of the ‘new product’. Even (and especially) if it’s still on the table in the back, waiting to be entered into inventory and priced, there are those who will want to grab one and buy it. Maybe it is just Christmas or maybe it’s just that there’s something indescribably cool about being the first to have the ‘new thing’ on the block. Now, this really annoys my mother, who likes to have everything flow properly and get entered before selling – but as for me, I’ll say THANK YOU and how would you like that wrapped? There’s nothing wrong, as long as we know the pricing that the vendor has decided upon.
But let us say that no one comes in and we get the new stuff on the floor without incident. What works the best, almost without fail, is to mass the items together in a grouping without any other distracting products from another line. While this is nothing new maybe, I’ve noticed that some stores like to ‘cutesy’ things up by mixing one of this and that and one of the other on a shelf hoping that by ‘throwing it all on a wall, something will stick.’ Well, my feeling is that if you believe in something, Act like it! Putting it all together with nothing to back it up is like going out without makeup. You’re there, that’s you, take it and love it. Or don’t.
So then; that works out great when you have a number of similar but not the SAME items. With our biz, that’s usually what we get – a really interesting mix of a category (like upcycled lamps) that relate to one another but are in no way the same. SIMILAR is the word we’re using.
What is the magic number though? Too many and you risk losing the customer in a haze of confusion. They get soooooo excited and they’ll probably even say so, but then they leave and don’t come back. They just got overwhelmed. They need a good number to choose from, but NOT TOO MANY!. It‘s this magical number that we’re still trying to ascertain. For now, we’ve decided to test the number 10. It seems feasible that folks can find what they like but not get crazy. But when we drop below three…something else happens. A certain non-spoken judgment seems to come into play. As if they are thinking, ‘how creative is this artist really, if all they have on offer is three?’ Maybe they are musing, ‘well, what if I want that in a larger size or in blue?’ Who knows?! It’s just impossible to know. But there is a real truth to it. Once a category drops below three or four, there is a resistance to purchase, even in customers who have been attracted to the brand in the past.
So, those are my observations. I hope that they enlighten any would-be vendors and maybe even some who are currently vendors…. And for those readers who are customers, I simply say ‘thanks for being a customer! We’ll try to keep the stock levels at a nice, even keel though that might be somewhat akin to sailing a ship of cats to Hawaii and running out of kibble half way.” It might be a struggle, but we’ll definitely give it a good try.
Happy Holidays, all!
Big hugs, Chris
Perhaps you have some folks on your holiday list who have it all…..or just folks who might enjoy a relaxing new hobby? Of course, sometimes these things overlap.
Here at Makers Connect we’ve been hard at work creating super fun KITS to help solve this quandary. We currently have a fabulous Globe Terrarium Kit, complete with quite literally everything anyone will need to create his or her own hanging or seated terrarium – from subgravel, activated charcoal, and soil to mosses, glittery top gravel, and even decorative surprises like crystals and plastic dinosaurs. Just add a store-bought plant, some creativity, and water….and sit back and enjoy your little miracle!
But wait, that’s not all! Are your friends not into plants so much? What if they are the spa types, who enjoy a good soak in a hot tub (and maybe some kitchen witchery too)? We’ve set up another groovy kit that includes everything necessary to make Fizzy Balls, from the dry and wet ingredients to the mold and instructions. All you need is a mixing bowl and spoon. Oh, and some water. Pretty simple stuff really. We are offering amazing fragrances like Balsam Fir, Jasmine, and Texas Cedarwood & Neroli…just for a start. All kits are $25.00 and come in an attractive cardboard carton with instructions and tools.
Next Saturday we’re inviting the dynamic duo (who have been friends through the years and across far flung parts of the US) of Patti Haskins and Maria Donaldson, aka Syd Justice jewelry.
We’ll be serving the champagne drinks and the tasty nibbles all day from 11:00 – 5:00. Make a point to stop by and see what is new – from adorable plush toys for kids and adults (including hilarious stuffed squirrel heads!) and jewelry that’s at once organic and feminine as it is edgy; crafted from bronze, leather, brass, silver, pearls and gemstone beads.
Witness the Wonder of Color! Trunk show November 8
Linda Nickerson and Susan Morgan bring their mutual sensibilities to their wonderfully colorful works; Susan in quilting and Linda in glass painted ornaments.
We’ll host them both in house on Saturday, November 8 from 11:00 am till 5:00 pm.
Susan Morgan (SEM Custom Designs) states that her work is aimed at promoting literacy, starting at the earliest age and in the most comfortable place… in the home. “When one can associate warmth and love with reading, children will develop a fondness for this very basic life skill that will bring them great joy and success in the years to come.” Snuggly readers are happy readers!
Linda Nickerson is a painter with a modern bent. She has found a great way to apply her style to create fun and functional holiday art. You have to see her ornaments to fully appreciate the play of bright colors that blend *inside* the blown glass balls.
Whimsical and delightful and utterly collectible!
Do they run in front of your car, hector your dogs and cats, and knock all the nuts and fruit out of your trees way before they were ripe (and then take one bite…) NO MORE! Get revenge on these fuzzy fiends (at least in your imagination) by putting them on your walls. Let’s face it – sometimes even the most sensitive animal lover will want this on their walls. For one thing, they are just so darned cute!
Crocheted squirrel heads mounted on tiny wooden plaques by Patti Haskins. Soon to be available at Makers Connect. Squeeeee!
Yesterday Jordan led us through making paper succulents and roses. We were all pretty impressed with our results, and are all busy figuring out our ‘shortcuts’ for the next time we have to cut 40 plus pieces of paper out!
The neat thing too is that you’re not restricted to the standard greens, browns, etc. of the ‘real dea.’ If you like purple and blue, or green and orange succulents, we all felt pretty much encouraged to go for it!
We all loved this aeonium in blues done by Audrey. Jordan on the left.
We hope to offer this class again so keep an eye on the schedule for news.
Trunk Shows and Events:
Sept 18 is North Texas Giving Day. However, we already decided last month to dedicate 5% of our profits to a different charity each month. August sales resulted in a gift to Doctors without Borders, who are working tirelessly to stem the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
This months’ donation will go to the Reverse Food Truck, a new concept run out of the Northpark Presbyterian Church, which collects food for the needy, instead of serving it to those of us who might, um, have had enough already.
Saturday, Sept. 20: Freda Ross – Showcasing her bright and joyous beaded creations here at MC on Saturday from 11- 3ish. Check out her work and get some ideas before you arrive to get excited! This girls’ got the beads.
Sunday, Sept. 21: International Day of Peace. Makers is celebrating by “Imagining Whirled Peace!”, a collaborative art exhibit consisting of many many handmade pinwheels placed along Northwest Highway near the store.
Saturday, November 22: Patti Haskins and Syd Justice (Maria Donaldson). Crochet and sewn critters meets mixed metals in a glorious day.
One of the unexpectedly cool things that has happened in the last four months (almost five!) of being open has been the relationships we’ve made with so many of our wonderful customers, students, and new vendors. Sure, we knew a good number of the vendors going into this Great Experiment, and we’re happy to say that most of them still talk to us! But through a moment of reflection yesterday, I realized just how many new ones we’ve welcomed, and how important these folks who have walked through the doors have become to us.
So I just wanted to send a shout out to these lovely warm folks who’ve supported us. They are, in no particular order and with apologies to any misspellings or missed individuals:
Pamela, Reid, the four Kimberlys, Dyanne, Mary, Tanya, three Jaimes, Susie, Shelley, Tami, Kevin, Quinn and Matthew, Lisle, Stephanie, Sarah, the Judys, Cynthia, Sam, Raul, Bruce, Caleb, Lillian, Patti, Mike, Lisa, Tina, Tricia, Thomas, Gina, Andrea and Troy, Robin, two Kelleys, Alicia, Maria, Susan, Traci, Linda, Dianna, Lottie, Jordan, Audrey, Sherri, and so many more….the list will continue to grow – and that’s what’s awesome.
What’s so nice is that in addition to checking on their own inventory, most of our vendors are truly friends in the sense that they support us emotionally. Even though they are all busy with their lives, (most of them have fulltime jobs plus the incredible crafts work that they do) they are kind enough to stop in and brighten our days. Sometimes we complain about being stuck in a fish bowl as it were, without the ability to leave or do the errands we’d like to do… so it’s a treat to have the world brought in to us! We miss seeing the vendors at shows (although we’re fond of repeating that we do NOT miss the set ups, the heat, nor the standing around on concrete blacktops for hours on end) so we get the update on all the show news when they pay these kind visits. Sometiems it’s like living in a tiny village. We’re all connected and know one another it seems. So I guess that’s why I still feel that our name has meaning…Makers Connect.
That’s what makers do. With each other and with the world…through our handmade goods and with our love. Rock on, all you wonderful people! We love you.
Outside Window Inside, Class area
**Important note: We will be closed Friday the 15th** Back on Saturday the 16th!
Have you seen our new window display…for summer? Only a tiny bit late, but it’s a welcome sight nonetheless. Soon enough we’ll be trimming the tree and hanging the mistletoe. But for now, we’re enjoying the bright pinwheels made from artisanal papers.
The last few weeks have been a whirl – between having a very succuessful ‘thank you’ sale for our neighbors (and everyone else who wandered in!) and meeting a bunch of new artists. We’ve also accepted a number of them into our shop, and will be sharing their work in coming posts. Here is one: Lacquer boxes by Susan de la Cerda:
We also welcomed Frida of Frida’s Fancy’s colorful wrap rings, Peggy Schmitz’s elegant statement bracelets, Linda Rolen’s yard art and upcycled table top pieces; Traci Hutton’s adorable soft dolls and zipper pins, plus aprons, oven mitts and towels by the team of Susan and Nancy of Out of our Mind. Also Samantha Abedin’s beautiful throw pillows, dog beds and Big Boy Bones, and Dammit Dolls; Rosemarie Zartman’s wildly colorful necklaces, Carmen Aberasturi’s clay and glass bird dishes, and will soon be adding Maria of Syd Justice Jewelry to our mix as well. Did we forget to mention hand beaded bracelets by Kimberley Moore and Kimberley Brown?!
Meanwhile, classes!! This little votive beauty was gold leafed by a student in Saturday’s glass class. We also did some terrific Mercury silvered votives. Amazing how well that process worked, but I recommend doing it outside as the fumes are quite bedazzling to the brain cells.
Hi there! I just wanted to say that I really believe in the Local movement. *But!*
I also know the Local Movement is not brand spanky new anymore. It’s been growing and expanding; and that’s good. But there’s also a tendency sometimes to get a bit toooooo much of a good thing. To feel like one is being… manipulated somehow….by a trend in the world. What I see is that yes, the word Local is being used. A lot. And I actually had this conversation with several intelligent people last week. They too are getting a tad bit tired of the admonishment to shop local. They get it, but maybe they are tired of feeling like it’s a trendy thing to do. They just want to do it because they believe it’s the right thing to do for our economy, our kids, and ultimately our planet.
But I’ve been a little discouraged by larger companies kind of glomming onto the word and use it for their marketing, even when said products are not exactly being made in the States. (or even in the NAFTA countries!) This is where I become cynical about the word, and ever more vigilant to protect both its meaning for me and for the customers.
Because the *last* thing I would want is for folks to just give up shopping locally, either out of ennui or cynicism, and go back to finding their gifts on the shelves of…. well, pick your store. Pretty much anywhere.
Funky, crunchy, richly colored,… anthropomorphic, deeply organic, one of a kind… Do these qualities move you in a work of art?
If so they you too might be a convert to the works of Austin potter Rick Van Dyke.
We are so lucky to be the only shop in Dallas showcasing his work! And as such, we offer a healthy sized collection – ranging from his pinch pot and coiled edges and extravagant rolled-in textures to the skeletons, bugs, and other critters that move quietly beneath the fabric of our lives. Colors range from dark evergreens to light celadons, and rich matte aquamarine blue to cornflower. His newest colors are beautiful garnet reds with blue peeking through at the edges. Really have to see to appreciate.
Rick’s background interests in paleontology, reptiles, entymology, and the rearing of succulents and cacti really came together well in his ceramic work. You can see how he’s used the textures and colors of the oceans; from ancient corals to the crests of waves and the colors of the clearest shores. Please come in and take a look.
We’re open 11 am until 7:00, Tuesday through Saturday. Check our classes page for info about our upcoming workshops!
More local Dallas artists….
More of the fascinating faces that have come to grace our space at Makers Connect.
Please join us in welcoming the work of Jeff Barrett, Andrea Smith, Elaine Glasscock, Rachel Cabal, Kelley Vaughan, Susan Morgan, Lottie Minick, Audrey Legatowicz, Kimberley Moore, and Martha Mabry!! More to come this week too…
Jeff Barrett – “Happy Time”
Local. East Dallas. Artisans. Crafters. That is the core of how we started, so why aren’t we celebrating the artists more? Looking back at some posts on this site we realized we needed to do a better job! So here goes.
It has been too long we’ve been concentrating on classes but in the interim, some very interesting artists have been knocking on our doors and quietly sneaking into our sphere – the result is that MakCon is slowing morphing from a sweet fuzzy duckling into a full blown, gorgeous Goose!
Check out a few of our new faces and help us to welcome the work of Jeff Barrett, Andrea Smith, Elaine Glasscock, Rachel Cabal, Kelley Vaughan, Susan Morgan, Lottie Minick, Audrey Legatowicz, Kimberley Moore, and Martha Mabry!! A few now, a few in the next post.
Susan Morgan’s Crib Quilts
Lottie Minick’s Steel Hearts
Welcome them all by coming by and seeing them for yourself!
Open Tuesday through Saturday, 11: 00 – 7:00.