Sunday, December 23, 2012

Packing up my crafts, thinking of mom and dad

My mom loved painting flowers. This is one of her paintings.
My mom was incredibly talented. She was an artist, a potter and a talented curator of all things. She knew how to hang just the right painting in just the right spot and arrange beautiful combinations of artifacts on every shelf or table. She was so good at it, that friends and family asked her to come over when they moved into a new home to help arrange their art and beautiful things. She was always happy to oblige as it gave her great pleasure to see every piece of art perfectly situated.

Unfortunately for her, she was not born in a time of handmade marketplaces like etsy, where all of her talents could have been transformed into multiple careers. Or in a time of great opportunities to sell art and crafts in inspired surroundings at holiday craft shows.

Instead, she packed up her paintings and sat in very drab and boring shopping mall art shows, which she hated. But still, due to her amazing marketing skills (and my dad’s amazing calligraphy skills) she sold her paintings and brought joy to everyone that bought them.

Did I mention that my mother was very organized? And that my dad was very handy? Getting packed up for each mall art show was organized to the last detail. My dad built and painted the stands and rigged up a dolly to keep them tightly fastened to each other during transport. He added velcro tabs to his hand lettered signs: “Artwork by Florence Fruman”, so that they could be easily attached and detached at each show. Mom had a “satchel” that had all of the hardware she needed to hang the artwork on the stands: her business cards, receipt book (so she could keep track of where her painting would be living), signage, masking tape etc. which was always packed and ready to go for each show.

Before packing up the car, the paintings, which mom and dad framed themselves, were first wrapped in plastic and then carefully swaddled in an assortment of fluffy towels, and stacked in a big cardboard box on another dolly for that purpose. The stands, the paintings, the satchel, the box and the dollies all fit perfectly into the car.

They had a system.

At the end of each show, as if the film was being rewound, the paintings that had not sold were taken down, wrapped in plastic and then towels, stacked in the box, carted in the dolly, into the car, out of the car, unwrapped, and into storage until the next time.

Fast forward to Winter 2012. Florence Fruman’s daughters, Naomi (in Brooklyn) and Leslie (in Toronto) are busy stressing about how to pack up their crafts and set up a booth at their first craft shows!

I know that each of us, separately, thought of mom and dad every minute of the process. I thought about all the advice and encouragement they both would have given their girls if they were still alive. Dad would have hand painted signs for both of us and mom would have come to all of our shows and talked to all of the potential customers, encouraging them to buy our wares. Although we both did well at our first craft shows, I know we both would have sold more if mom were there. She was a “closer” when it came to sales. No one would have walked away empty handed!

It is hard to believe (and our dad would have been very proud), but Leslie managed to get all of her wares, her “satchel”, numerous folding tables, dollies and other booth infrastructure and decor into her tiny Volkswagen Beatle. The eggshell blue bug was packed and unpacked through November and December attending holiday craft shows in the Toronto area.

As for me, I packed up my “satchel”, ketubah prints, pillows and framed prints into a car service (Brooklyn style) and headed for Williamsburg for the finale weekend of the Brooklyn Night Bazaar.

And wouldn’t mom and dad be doubly pleased to know it was their grandson who dreamed up and produced the incredible Brooklyn Night Bazaar, so that his mom could have a table at her first ever craft show?

Thanks mom and dad for a life full of creativity and support, in this life and the next (and to our aunties, who have taken over supporting our creative endeavors where mom and dad left off).

Pottery by Leslie Fruman

My sister Leslie is a self taught potter, crafting nature-inspired functional art for your table and home. She is based in Toronto, but sells worldwide through her online etsy shop.

My booth at the Brooklyn Night Bazaar

I am a ketubah artist, digital painter and wanna be textile/surface designer. You can find my wedding related and judaica products at my etsy shop and my website, my pillows at envelop, my textiles at spoonflower, and my stock images at imagezoo.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A handfull of pillows, a whole lot of possibilities

I received a very small package today. I have been waiting for it for three weeks and the anticipation has been killing me. I wouldn't say I have been losing sleep, but I have been counting days and worrying about what I would find inside this very small package — that held five pillow covers I designed almost two years ago. They come without the pillow forms, so they all fit in one bubble envelope. Today was the day they finally arrived. And today was the day I actually got to see my foray into fabric design in real live products.

Kind of exciting.

It took me about 15 minutes to stuff the pillow liners I bought at IKEA last week carefully into each of my pillows. I wanted them to look really puffy and full. Once I had them all zipped up with the "as advertised" wonderful invisible zippers, I started playing with them. As I had envisioned when I was designing them, the backs and the fronts of these pillows can be interchanged and rearranged, giving you many many options of how to use them.

I am very pleased and I hope you will agree. They are quite cute and all go together in an interesting way. Five pillows go along way to create endless different looks. So if you decide to buy one of my pillows at my etsy shop, or directly through envelop, I really hope you will buy two or three, so that you can mix them up and change the look of your room just by flipping the pillows around.

Now that I have seen them in the flesh so to speak, you can be sure I will be finding some time to develop another series of my designs for your pillows. For now, here are my pillows, fronts and backs. For now they are available at envelop, soon they will be available at my etsy shop as well. They come in three sizes, so that is another way to mix and match. Have fun!

Fresh Coffee




Tea Time

These pillows will make their debut at the Brooklyn Night Bazaar on Dec 21st and 22nd, along with a bunch of other fresh creations I am cooking up as we speak.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Free Chanukkah download love

December 8th is the first night of Chanukkah (Hanukah, Chanuka, however you want to spell it!), otherwise known as the celebration of lights on our Jewish Calendar. As the story goes, after the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, one small cruse of olive oil that had escaped contamination (still kosher), which certainly should only have been enough for one day, miraculously, burned brightly for eight days.

To celebrate this miracle of miracles, we light candles for eight nights and eat every kind of unhealthy delight soaked in, fried in or otherwise full of oil. Sounds awful, but it is actually amazingly delicious.

We also have a tradition of giving gifts — and that is what I have in store for you.

In the spirit of the holiday I have prepared a pdf file of some Chanukkah printables just for you — that you can download here! Please print them as often as you like and share the file with your friends, just respect my copyright and keep it to personal use :)

The pdf includes an 8.5 x 11 poster, printable Chanukkah cards, and gift tags. Have fun!

And if you want to read a nice Chanukkah memory of mine about latkas you can find it here.

Or if you are confused about which candle to light when, and from which side of the Menora, you can check out another of my posts here.

And if you are interested in purchasing some more printable Chanukkah decorations at my etsy shop you can get there with this link.

Happy holidays one and all — and may your candles burn brightly and your house smell of fried onions and potatoes for eight glorious nights!