Welcome to My Gourden!

Come on in and sit a while. The gourden is always changing so be sure to visit often.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Today I did something that a lot of artist/crafters would not do. I met with a customer and showed her how to make two of the pieces that I sold in my ETSY shop. I know… I can hear you saying “If you show her how to make it herself, you will not be able to sell her anymore of your items. Even worse, she can sell them herself and steal your customers. That is a good way to put yourself out of business.” As a business woman I can see your point, but as an artist and member of the artistic community I see this from a very different angle. Artists march to a different and somewhat eccentric drummer. We feel the need to create, to share our creations, and to share in the creative process. Ask a group of artists/crafters ( yes we tend to travel in packs!) and you will find that most of them are willing to share the details of their creations. They will share everything from the beginning of the creative process and where they find idea -to the details of how they achieve a certain look or where they buy a much need supply. Sharing is a large part of the creative process- as is teaching. You will find that a large number of arts and craft supply businesses also offer classes. Most classes are taught by employees that are artists themselves. So back to where I started telling you about what I did today. One of my customers wanted to know how I made the copper Viking Weave necklace and bracelet that she purchased from my AngelsGourden ETSY shop last week. We e-mailed back and forth a few times and arranged to meet this afternoon at “Wired Coffee” on Lindbergh Boulevard in Sunset Hills. We introduced ourselves, grabbed a iced coffee drink and sat down to talk copper. I got my weave supplies out of my tote bag (that goes everywhere with me) and as I started showing her the basic weave technique she started firing off questions like a four year old on a long car trip. We covered the Viking Weave, beads, clasps, where to get supplies, tools and metal smith techniques. Let me tell you it was great! The feeling I got not only from the creating process but from sharing my craft with someone who was smitten with the process and wanted to learn. We talked for an hour and a half and it seemed like five minutes. We exchanged phone numbers (in case she thought of another question) and I took her order. Yes- she wants me to make her a half dozen more items for Christmas gifts. (Not such a bad business decision after all.) I wonder if I should offer to teach a class. I know where I could book a room. The manager at Wired Coffee showed me around while I was there. They have a small meeting room (they don’t mind if you over flow into the main room), they have art exhibition space, and they have a great selection of coffees! Did you know that they also serve FOOD? They have a well rounded menu and the prices are reasonable. They have a facebook page where they list upcoming events-like speed dating in September! I left the manager with my business card so keep and eye on their facebook page - some day I may be listed as an upcoming artistic event .

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wine Country Calls

I must start by saying that I am not a wine drinker. I just never liked the taste of the stuff. I am one of those evil people that you see at parties- you know the ones- ruining your favorite wine by mixing it with soda. Oh –the friends that I have offended and the time that I have wasted. A visit to my sister in Hermann, Missouri has shown me the error of my ways. I took a tour of the beautiful Stone Hill Winery. I usually go on these trips to look at the gift shops to see what other artists and crafters are making. This trip was different because Stone Hill is the home of the only wine that I have ever liked-Stone Hill Pink Catawba. Their Pink Catawba is light, with a slight fruity taste. YUM! No soda required here. While at the Winery I inquired about entering my Gourd art in their “Kristkindl Markt” in November. I wait to hear from the organizers of the event. So with my fingers crossed and a few bottles of wine tucked in the truck we headed for home. The two weeks later we returned to Hermann with the intention of visiting the Deutschheim State Historic Site and the Old German School Museum. We never got there. We met my brother in nearby Rhineland, Missouri for breakfast at the Trailside Bar & Grill, a great stopping place along the Katy Trail. We were served a delicious farmhand sized meal and the service was great. After breakfast my sister called and said that since I was interested in wine ( I guess she got that idea from my plentiful purchases in the Stone Hill Wine Shop a few weeks before) her husband wanted to take is to a little winery “just down the road” that was owned by a friend of his. We met up by our camper in Hermann City Park and headed off to Bland, Missouri to visit Wenwood Farm Winery outside of Mt Sterling, Missouri. The winery is just a few minutes from HWY 50 on a beautiful country lane. However –to get there from Hermann we had to take every twisty, no shoulder, curvy, two lane road in the county. I am a back roads country girl but you should have seen the look on by husband’s face an hour later when we arrived “just down the road.” Oh man! It was worth the trip! We swooped down into the valley and turned a slight corner and there it was. The green grass (yes even in this summer of drought it was green), the small stream, the white farm buildings with green trim. The perfect picture of rural America! I was already impressed with Wenwood Farm Winery and I wasn’t even out of the truck yet! We parked by the big barn and walked across the lane to the small barn that is converted into a gift shop and tasting room. I am all about checking out the items on display in the gift shop but when in Rome….. So it was time to shuffle to the counter and taste some wine. The owner, Tom, (how is that for service) poured for us samples of three of their sweet wines (still not fond of dry) and a special limited edition sherry. They were all wonderful! What a pleasant surprise! I liked them ALL. As he wrapped our purchases (of course) we sat and visited. He also let us sample some of their on-tap root beer. If it was available in bottles we would have had to leave someone behind to make more room in the truck. We took a short walk around the grounds and enjoyed their lovely streamside pavilion where they sometimes offer live music. Before returning to the truck we stopped in the tasting room to say our goodbyes and I dropped off my AngelsGourden business card and was invited to enter an application for their "Art on the Farm" event in late September. See you at Wenwood in September!