Friday, April 30, 2010

Creating Opportunity

I am enjoying talking with artists and craftspeople, especially those who haven't shown their work in stores or galleries. Yesterday, my sister Kate put me in touch with a woman who makes jewelry. She has been selling her jewelry through house parties. Monkitree will be her one and only retail location. Often new craftspeople will need more guidance than a larger retailer has time for. No catalog, no price sheet? Well a large retailer can't take that on. Having worked for a craft retailer with five stores, I know that no matter how talented someone is there just isn't time to help someone along. Fortunately for me, I have the time. I can work with talented people new to retail and I can't wait to introduce them to my customers!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Countdown Timer, Bad Idea!

I put a countdown timer on my computer a while back...back when it seemed like I had loads of time to get everything done. Now I look at it and the timer is at 19 days, which makes me round down to two weeks for some reason. Of course, 14 and 19 are very different from each other. I just need to take a deep breath, roll up my sleeves and power through what remains to be done.

Today besides painting (which I seem to do every day), I met with a woman who lives here in Gardiner and makes great cards. I loved every card. The colors are beautiful. I love that I can carry the work of people right here in town. I'm also starting to get really excited to introduce everyone to Michael Sprouse, the artist whose work will be the first show. He has sent me some pictures of his newest pieces and I can't wait to see them in person.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Time Speeds Up

It seems, as we get closer to our opening day, that days are way too short. We will get everything done (at least all the essentials) but the days are going to fly by. Soon everything we do will start to make the space look more like a gallery. The pendant lights make a big impact. Oddly enough, I was looking at the website of a photographer, Carol Dronsfield, and among her photos was one of a space with painted tin ceiling and drop pendants much like the ones we just installed.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

It's Not The Coffee, It's The Cup!

I have always been drawn to handmade pottery- the way it feels in your hand, the mark of the makers hands in the design. Today I met a local potter who I had only talked to on the phone. We ran into each other at a store here on Water Street. This being small town Maine, I concluded this must be the person I had talked to on the phone upon hearing a first name and the word pottery. I was right, fortunately. I told her how much I love handmade pottery and mentioned the many mugs I have and she replied, "It's not the coffee, it's the cup." I couldn't agree more. She invited me out to her studio to look at work for Monkitree. I can't wait!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Progress Seems Slow

When you work on something everyday it is hard to see the dramatic change you are hoping for. It has been a process of stripping away....walls, carpet, light fixtures, blue paint. We just had a working weekend with help from my mom, my sister and her husband and my niece. We got rid of the blue trim that was so distracting that it was hard to even imagine other colors. Now that we have eliminated what we don't want, we will begin to put it back together.
I am encouraged when someone who hasn't been in the space for a while walks in and comments on the progress. It reminds me to think about where we started and how with slow progress we have been chipping away at our list of tasks. Sure the list left to do is long but we have 33 days, 23 hours and 57 minutes left to do it in.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Chickens and Jazz

When I walk into someones home, I like to take a good look around and see what people have chosen to keep around them. A few years ago Peter and I were invited to a party in Virginia. We walked into the living room and it was a "chicken room." There were chickens everywhere- lamps, art, knickknacks. I thought to myself, "This person really likes her chickens!" But then we walked into the family room and it was the jazz room- tables made from instruments, jazz knickknacks. Could it be that this person really liked chickens and jazz? When I looked up there was a painting that I recognized. It was obviously the work of Mark Cottman whose work often includes jazz greats. This one was Dizzy Gillespie. Thinking I found a conversation starter I said, "You have a Mark Cottman." Blank stare. Now I point to the painting saying, "Mark Cottman." Another blank stare. "Your painting is by the artist Mark Cottman. I recognized his work." The response, "Oh we got it at a design center." Then it dawned on me. She had no connection to any of the objects in her home- chickens or jazz.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Too Much To Do

The sheer volume of tasks to complete is staggering. One of the largest tasks to complete is painting the space- ceiling, walls, floor, trim. Every inch of the space needs to be painted. Of course first there needs to be cleaning, taping and tarping. I know I should just leap up and begin but instead I am drinking a cup of coffee with my dog sleeping with his head on my lap. I am thinking about painting and that is a start. Today we will do the shopping- ladder, tape, paint, etc... Then I will put on loud music and get to it.