Sunday, November 2, 2008


This past weekend, I sold a bunch of my ornaments at the Art in the Box show. The show was organized by Faune "the awesome" who works for the ArtsPlace, and was held at the Dogwood Center in Fremont. Having a successful show reminds me of how fun art fairs can be.

I even remembered to hand out ART LOCAL buttons!

Chester (the potter and husband to Cara) and I came up with the idea of making these buttons and handing them out to our customers as a thank you. Also we like to think of ART LOCAL as a movement, similar to Local First, or Eat Local. In this movement, community members and local artists recognize the specialness of the transaction that takes place when buying something from the person who made it. So instead of getting tons of mass manufactured junk, you get something that is quality and full of handmadeness, and dare I say, made with "love".

Ahhh love, yes. That is what it is all about. People making things because they are drawn to creating, not because they are a cog in the wheel of industry. People buying thing because they see the value of unique ideas and original designs. And then reacting to those ideas and designs in an emotional way. What a match!

And while as an artist, I fall in and out and back in love with the projects I work on, I never under appreciate those people who lay down their cold hard cash in support of my endeavors. The cash is nice (and necessary) but it really makes me feel good when others like my work enough to want to take it home.

Sometimes these same customers even listen to the tale of the "Never Ending Ground Squirrel". They are real gems (the people, not the squirrels)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My Newest Friend & the Wonders of Plaster

I was going to write about ART LOCAL !!! But I have been distracted. "Distracted", you say,"What on earth could distract such a focused and directed person?!"

Two words "Ground Squirrel". Yes, a little furry creature that makes its home by burrowing under our newly fixed and very expensive drive way. Well, under does not quite describe it. It is more like through and then who knows what. (If only I had x-ray vision, I could describe the lair it has made for itself, but alas, I only have myopic vision.)

Let me pause here to discuss the wonders of plaster. As you may know, plaster comes in a dry powder form and when mixed in correct proportions with water, turns into a creamy liquid and almost magically cures into a hard mass. It is one of my most favorite artistic materials. I use it to make molds and then use the molds to make castings in my ornament business. It is flexible to use, long lasting, and it even smells good. If you are still wondering what is so great about plaster, take a look at your walls. It is what drywall is made with (some what). I really enjoy a good batch of plaster.

Back to my new friend, the ground squirrel. (Okay, friend is a little too nice, how about "nemesis") So I decided to use my creativity and do-it-yourselfness and do something about the ground squirrel. Having a hole in the middle of the drive, I thought, "I bet if that does not get filled in, it will erode and then, back to a crappy driveway. I need to fill this hole with something rigid." Which brings me back to plaster. About 4 gallons to be exact. That was one big hole.

Not taking the hint, Mr. ground squirrel, or as I like to call him "that little bastard", dug another hole. The next hole I skipped the plaster, hoping to catch him with a live trap. Instead of catching, little bastard, we caught a bunch of dirt from the third (or fourth, who is counting...) hole.

Hole number 5: Up to this point, every time I came near the holes, little bastard, ran away. So I mixed up another batch of plaster and poured it down hole number 5. I am not sure who was more surprised, him or me, but a very plaster covered ground squirrel popped out of this latest void. As my Dad said, "He really got plastered." And I have changed his name to "White Lightening."

Two live traps are now in place in the middle of our very expensive, not so perfect, drive. As I turn into Elmer Fudd, the waiting continues. And this is why I am distracted.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Saga of the Sign Continues

Yes, I am still (STILL!) working on the driveway sign. You may ask, "what has this to do with being an artist?" And I would answer, "well, I have to be able to be found in order to make a living, so therefore a sign!"

Today, I got most of the sign in place, but the top still needs something. Installation took place during a hail storm, so that was fun. I am waiting for daylight and lack of perspiration to take a better photo, so that might not happen until May.
But in other art related news, I had a booth at the West Michigan Crafters show at Forest Hills, near Grand Rapids, MI. It "la sucked". Call it motivation to find wholesale accounts, if you will.
Next post: Art Local=the Handmade Revolution

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


So after being harassed, asked, and bothered (all good naturedly of course) by friends, family, clients and the like, to have something websitish, I finally decided to put this thing together.

Preso chango rearrango - TA DA! O'Brien Objects now has a presence on the world wide web.

Today's challenge: make an address sign for the lawn.

Anyone who has ever driven to our house, has probably had the opportunity to find a nice turn around spot after missing our drive. So today, I decided to make a sign with our address on it. "What?" you say, "Why aren't you working on your fabulous ornaments for the holiday season that is fast approaching?" To that I reply, "umm, like, well, you see, I got this idea to make a sign...."

So here are step by step instructions, so you can make one too!

Step 1: come up with the Plan - spend no money and get it done asap
Step 2: find the materials - metal tube, stake, scrap wood (thanks Dad!), paint, blah, blah, blah
Step 3: put together-ha! easier typed than done.
Step 4: get out of the rain
Step 5: start a blog
Step 6: pay for the fuel oil (I am getting a bit off target, aren't I?!)
Step 7: wait for paint to dry
Step 8: wait some more
Step 9: make eggplant patties and Shepard's pie! yum
Step 10: I'll get back to you later with the results...