Monthly Archives: June 2010

Lakefront, part 2

Oops, in my previous post I forgot Betsy Youngquist’s spectacular objects! Booth 128. Check out the eyeballs.

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Filed under Objects & art, Obsessions

Favorites from Lakefront Festival of the Arts

Went to the Lakefront Festival of the Arts yesterday with my friends Carrie and Mary Louise. The weather was glorious — finally, an unequivocal summer day — and grand to run into so many old friends there. My appetite is bigger than my wallet at these events, so I am fond of collecting artists’ cards for future possibilities. Here are the ones I collected. You’ll see I have a particular weakness ceramics. If you’re going today, stop by and check them out! Or go to their websites. (Don’t forget that there are booths inside the museum’s Quadracci Pavilion, some of my favorites were there.)

Eshelman Pottery.

We thought this work would be perfect for a post-modern decor. I love the clean, crisp look of it. The casserole pictured here comes in white, too, which was my favorite. And check out the fabulous trays.

Booth 137.

Winthrop Byers Stoneware

Stoneware can be very casual and great for everyday use, which this is (oven= and dishwasher-safe, etc.). But I think this work is also modern-looking. Love the glazes. The bowls, for their size, were very reasonably priced. I bought one as a wedding gift but don’t tell!

His booth is inside the museum (show your wristband to get in)

Patrick Dragon

I liked the vessels in the series shown here. Beautiful, intricate designs on the outside, gorgeous things happening with the glaze on the inside. The most affordable ones were awfully tempting: much less intricate designs, fewer colors, but the simplicity appealed to me very much. Wish I had chatted with him about how he get the surface to look this way.

Booth 104

Rick Hintze

One of his vases was my runner-up for a wedding gift. I went for utility over decoration, with some regret. His pots have interesting shapes and surface patterns, and the colors hit my personal sweet spot. I couldn’t find images of my favorites, which were vases glazed in blood-red. The pot shown here has a lid and would make a nice gift.

Booth 89

George Lowe

I’ve seen this guy around the craft-fair circuit for a long time and when I’ve purchased one of these sweet oval vases as a gift, it’s been a hit (easy to fit on a narrow shelf or mantel). I’d call his work cabin-friendly, with a kind of rustic look. I love his colors and glazes. And it’s pretty affordable, too.

Booth 125

Paintings and drawings by Sarah Giannobile

She was showing some paintings for $175 that wouldn’t need framing, and I wanted one! Not in the budget, though, so I had a $7 glass of wine at Cafe Calatrava, instead.

Booth 36 (also inside the museum)

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Filed under Objects & art, Obsessions

My office supply obsession: A Father’s Day tribute

A basement workbench

Talk to a realtor, a housing inspector, or a basement contractor in this city and they’ll tell you they’ve seen a lot of work benches. They are typically in a basement, they are typically homemade, and they are common in pre-garage housing stock. If you happened to grow up in a house with a basement work bench, chances are your Dad (or maybe your Grandpa) spent a lot of time down there, especially during the long Wisconsin winter. It was the Dad equivalent of the kitchen — where he could order his tools and master his tasks.

There was no homemade work bench the houses where I grew up. My Dad had a homemade desk instead. In place of nails organized by size, there was an orderly array of typewriter ribbon, paper, envelopes, stamps, staples, and writing utensils. There was a manual pencil sharpener. An old Underwood typewriter. A soft pink eraser.

I wish we still had that old typewriter. It was pretty much like this one.

In the two homes my parents have occupied since that one, there have been different iterations of Dad’s work space. In our second home, a door propped on, I think, sawhorses created an enviably spacious work surface. He’d spend hours down there. About 10 years ago mom and dad moved to a condo in an over-50 community and found themselves without a basement. Dad upgraded to an upstairs office. I took this as a major event and kept wondering how it might change the dynamics in the household.

Dad took typing classes in high school (apparently he had enlightened teachers), and once remarked he was sorry he owned up to this when, as a G.I. in the Army Air Force, they stuck him with office tasks now and then. He learned the insurance business on the G.I. bill, and I still have memories of him walking out of the house with a hat and a briefcase; office work seemed to require a nice wardrobe — another plus. Sometimes, I’d be caught short on a homework project or a gift-wrap task, and Dad could always produce two-sided tape or a ruler sharp enough to rip paper with a clean edge or some clever problem-solving device. At Christmas, my siblings and I would find rolls of Scotch tape in our stockings along with, say, socks and candy bars.

Why do I bring all this up?

It seems right to acknowledge on Father’s Day the role Dad’s basement office played for me. At an early age, I romanticized the trappings of office life. This seems to go hand in hand with the way I idolized Marlo Thomas as a zesty single career girl in “That Girl”. The times were right for this, I suppose — it being the early days of feminism . The kitchen held less appeal for me than a shiny desk top (analog). Success, to me, was having my own typewriter like Dad’s, and my own apartment like Marlo’s. I believed the two were inextricably connected.

Many — many — years later, I haven’t shaken it. The trappings have changed (no more manual Underwoods) but I still feel most at home at a desk. It’s where thoughts take form, boxes get checked, a certain amount of progress can be achieved in a way not so true anywhere else. I can feel capable at my desk. Or at least capable of getting there.

My Dad retired just two years ago.  He’s spending even more time in his cushy upstairs office now. He uses a PC. The most dramatic difference I’ve noticed is that it is more cluttered (in an orderly way) with mementoes. Mugs, photos, cards. About when he acquired his 25th mug Mom negotiated a deal: He’d do all the dusting.

Thanks, Dad. You and Mom were a great team. She didn’t force me into the kitchen, you didn’t force me into the office. I came to it naturally — I think a love of freshly sharpened pencils is in my DNA, inherited from you. Happy Father’s Day. Next time we visit, let’s go to Office Depot. My treat.


Filed under Musings, Obsessions, Office Supplies

Video: People-watching at Pridefest

I’ve taken to putting my Flip Video camera down here and there and seeing what it collects. This was simply too tempting yesterday when I was staffing a booth at Pridefest. It’s the first big festival of the summer here in Milwaukee, which is crazy with festivals in the summer.

Because I haven’t yet learned the editing program on my Mac, it’s not edited. But I am liking the meditative effects of watching it unedited. I find myself more able to be in the moment. I didn’t really notice, for instance, that the guy in the red shorts selling “I’m Proud” buttons was barefooted until I watched on video.

However, my reaction to it might be a  function of having been in the original moment and re-visiting it at a later time and place. So be warned: You could be bored.

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Filed under Images

5,500 plants. Ouch!

I spent my weekend in Door County helping put 5,500 plants into the ground. My dear friends Dennis and Deborah asked me to help, and of course I could not turn them down. I have enjoyed the blessing of their beautiful farm (I like to call it “Happy Acres”) as a guest many times, so an opportunity to donate a little sweat equity was appreciated.

I also agreed (happily) to document the event. Here’s a little sneak peek. Not the most polished video I’ve done (wait, have I ever done one of those?), but I wanted to get something up quickly to share with my fellow planters. More later!

(P.S. Yes, my butt and legs are really sore today.)

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Filed under nature

Embarrassing myself for a good cause

As part of the marketing and development team at Public Allies, one of my charges is to support fund-raising efforts. Beside the fact that this organization employs me, I love the mission of Public Allies and therefore this is a labor of love.


Creative ideas do have their drawbacks. When we came up with the concept of a series of super-hero videos built around Public Allies’ five core values, I had no issue with the chance to camp it up. I figured everyone else would look fabulous in capes and masks, and I’d just shoot and edit video. This, I was informed, did not represent the proper team spirit.

I became obliged to appear in one of the videos. I’ve linked to it here.

Does my hair look OK?

Oh and by the way please give! Just $18 will help ease the pain of my embarrassing over-acting. Click here! Or, simply become a Public Allies Cause member, we are also trying to build our Cause membership.

Also appearing in this video are my game colleagues Eric Maynard, RoseMary Oliveira, and David McKinney. Thanks guys!

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