Giving Thanks, Small Business Saturday and Trunk Shows!

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So much coming up – but first I’d like to wish everyone a very happy thanksgiving.

Enjoy all the wonderful things about this holiday – the food, friends, family, and most of all…. our continued freedom.

This was my father’s favorite holiday because there were no other things to focus on (other than football, which he enjoyed a vague passing interest in) and he really did love the opportunity to exercise his amazing cooking skills for the enjoyment of all those who assembled (including random ‘straglers’ – friends or acquaintances who may not have had a place to go on Thanskgiving.)

Now, Steve and I also enjoy cooking at our house; feeding friends and family and keeping our new and old recipe traditions alive – including my great aunt Al’s cheese ball that employs some weird salted chipped beef that will soon be impossible to buy but tastes AMAZING – so obviously,we’ll be closed on Thanksgiving.  We hope you’ll come see us on Friday, Saturday, and even Sunday.  (If you want my aunt’s cheeseball recipe, I’ll be glad to share it.)  Have a great holiday, ya’ll.

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Saturday, November 26 – SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY

Come in, have a fizzy beverage, and dig your hand deep into our Fish Bowl of treats and Discounts!  Lots of great deals and give-aways, so please make it a point to stop in.

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December Trunk Shows:

Sat. December 3 – Cindy Bagwell Trunk Show.  Sophisticated *and* funny dwell together in Cindy’s earring and necklaces designs, realized in mixed metals, wire, fiber, and gemstones.

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Sat. December 10 – Audrey Legatowicz Trunk Show – Bright, soft, and oh so lovely dyed silk scarves; beaded “Baby Boomer” necklaces; felted pillows and garments, and the most amazing woven scarves, shawls, and handbags.  You will want to treat yourself; one for you, one for your friend/sister/mom/sibling…..one more for you!

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audrey-scarves   Jordan teacher

 

 

 

 

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Makers Connect… what does it mean?

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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.)

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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.

 

 

 

 

Soapgirl in the Dallas Morning News!

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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.

soapgirl peppermintWith 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.

Good combination

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

Do Squirrels Sometimes Annoy You?

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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! patti squirrels

Crocheted squirrel heads mounted on tiny wooden plaques by Patti Haskins.  Soon to be available at Makers Connect.  Squeeeee!

Lake Highlands Advocate recognized our Class Series!

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 Thank you, Lake Highlands Advocate! 

In the Garden of your Mind….

So the store is really looking swell and I’m sitting at the wonderful heavy wood desk (“Norden” in Ikea-speak) working on a metal mesh handbag and thinking about the nature of creativity.

Anyone older than Pop Rocks will remember that Mr. Rogers was pretty interested in that subject too.  He spent a lot of time talking to artists of all crafts; from fine art to music, and a fair number of crafters (remember the visit to the violin shop?)  I think the message he was always repeating is that

1.  We’re all creative 2.  Creativity is what makes humans special in the animal kingdom  3.  We should really give in to our creative urges, no matter how they pop up in our lives (unless you’re a psychopath…) 4. We should uphold and celebrate creativity in others 5.  and we should really make time in our lives to allow ourselves to be creative, even (especially) if that means making messes, making mistakes, or making it different ways until we find a way we like best!

Then I thought about my own creative urges – how they are almost never anything to do with what is considered ‘Fine Art’, even though both of my parents came from that world and one of them has enjoyed a darn good career based on making art.  I thought about what makes me smile and when I get that inner sensation that can best be described as feeling ‘tickled’ (just like my aunt used to say).  Looking to recent events, I can say that having the frosted plexi lightbox up and working in the shop is one of those moments of feeling like ‘wow, that was a really cool idea and it WORKED!’  Actually I have Steve, my wonderful husband, to thank for most of the labor (and Regal Plastics)… but we definitely created something cool out of nothing – seriously, nothing more than a slender idea of this thing that we talked about for hours during car trips to Houston and Austin.  It was having all the parts fit together; from the c-channel to the light strips; and then having the back panel work out so well; this type of stuff really tickles me!  I guess that’s design instead of art; they are both offshoots of the same creative urge.

That might explain why I love making assemblage jewelry; making something interesting out of ‘pieces/parts’ that bore no immediate relationship to one another until put together.  I have an equal amount of respect for other artists who surprise me with their amazing assemblage sculptures and jewelry.  Recently I found a shop in Houston where the owner, Judy Masliyah, not only encourages but often buys jewelry parts for her lucky employees, who eagerly arrive at work to find their drawers containing some amazing new piece for them to work into their pieces.  Each employee has a slightly different perspective, so after spending some time in the shop, I was able to tell who had made what.  It was quite a cool way to spend the afternoon.  And Judy’s own vintage-inspired clothing was also to die for.

I got off topic; back to creativity.  It’s like Bob Ross said, “It’ll bring a lot of good thoughts to your heart.”   Who can’t use more happiness?  “There are no limits here… start off by believing.  It’s your world.   You’re the creator.”

…go make some happy little clouds!

Certificate of Occupancy has been Granted!

I wasn’t going to make a big deal out of it, but I suppose we do kind of need to take a moment to celebrate.  After all, this has been quite the uphill learning curve for folks who’ve never opened a store before… or created an LLC… or negotiated the world of commercial electricity/brokers/water/carpet/paint/security/insurance…blardy blardy blarg!  The list is seemingly endless.

I’ve already filled up 20 sections of my 20 section expandable file..and it appears I might need a new one already, after two weeks.

Suffice to say, we’re pleased and scared as all get out!   We know it’s all going to come together and be fabulous, but there is still quite a lot to do before we are there.

If you are an artist with wonderful quality handcrafts, do please go and fill out our vendor form.  We’re getting a handle on the goods right now!

Can’t wait to meet and greet and get this thing going in the real word.

Steve and Chris

(in the meantime – as if I have any me-time, lol, I have accepted yet another sale on Etsy… so the making of concrete statuary and pots continues in between the business of opening a store!)

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