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Bazaar Bizarre Maker Faire Applications Now Open! February 6, 2010

Time to apply for the Bazaar Bizarre Maker Faire 2010!  Now accepting applications through March 16th 2010.

Maker Faire is a two-day, family-friendly event that celebrates the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mindset. It’s for creative, resourceful people of all ages and backgrounds who like to tinker and love to make things. From a vendor standpoint, this fair is AMAZING.  I make more sales at the Maker Faire than at any other fair ever.  Period.  Also, on load-in day there’s free dinner and a chance to visit everything and meet everyone without the huge crowds.  This is a huge bonus because the exhibits (and rides!) at the Maker Faire are hands-down the coolest you’ll ever see.  Of course, this also makes getting a booth at the Baz Biz Maker Faire extremely competitive, so bring your A-game to this application, folks!

 

New Show Added to Bazaar Bizarre SF Line Up! January 28, 2010

This one’s got a really quick turnaround, so be sure to act quickly if you want to participate.  I for one am thrilled to have the chance to beef up my mid-winter income, which is typically kind of a slow season for me.

Here’s the info:

Bazaar Bizarre San Francisco and Maker Faire

Artist Village Volume 2: Valentine’s Day


Saturday February 13, 2010 from 12pm-8pm

Vendor Applications Now Being Accepted

Continuing our new collaborative series, NEW PEOPLE and BAZAAR BIZARRE SAN FRANCISCO will create another all-day, all-floor vertical art village to celebrate Valentine’s Day!

What are you doing for Valentine’s Day?
Did you know in Japan, it is only the women who give presents to men on Valentine’s Day?  Traditionally chocolates are given to loved ones, friends and colleagues. Whether you’ll celebrate the Eastern or Western tradition…you should come Explore Japanese Pop Culture, cutting edge art, film and gifts at NEW PEOPLE!  Buy a fresh bouquet of flowers, Sample FREE locally made chocolates, groove along with our Local DJ, pop into the FREE photo sticker booth, pick out Handmade Gifts from Bazaar Bizarre artists and stop at the Complimentary gift wrap station to send it off in style!

About NEW PEOPLE
NEW PEOPLE is a 20,000 square foot, striking, contemporary building located at 1746 Post Street in the heart of San Francisco’s Japantown (one of only three remaining in the country). The project represents a $15 million investment by Shogakukan, one of the largest publishers of Japan. NEW PEOPLE will become a destination in itself and a source of stimulation for both San Francisco locals and tourists, bringing a new cultural energy to an area filled with history. With three stories above and a basement below, NEW PEOPLE will share Japanese cinema, retail and art, all under one roof!  More Information About NEW PEOPLE Here

NEW PEOPLE
1746 Post St,
San Francisco, CA 94115

info@newpeopleworld.com

 

Win! October 29, 2009

I’ve never won a raffle before, so I was STOKED to hear that my name came out of the fishbowl at the Neon Monster second anniversary party.  What did I win?  This incredibly sweet original painting by Reuben Rude!

reubenselephant

Richard Starkings and Justin “Moritat” Norman were there signing issues of their Elephantmen comic, so Reuben painted this elephant outside  during the party.  After it was over, he took it home and added a few collage elements and the drips you see.  I really love that all four sides of the painting (which you unfortunately can’t see in the photo) have gorgeous orange to green to blue gradients on them.  The painting measures about four feet per side and two inches deep.  Amazing!

Speaking of raffles, I have to put forth a little plug: come to the Bazaar Bizarre in Golden Gate Park December 12-13!  I’m organizing the raffle this year and the prizes are amazing.  You can see some of them here at the BazBiz Flickr stream.  At the last Baz Biz there were eleven prize lots each totaling more than $300!  For the price of one ticket you walk away with eleven chances to take care of your entire holiday list!  Craft and Make Magazine will also be there with a raffle.

16 Towers Print by 3 Fish Studios

Fruit Stripe Vase by Why Girls Go Astray

 

Bazaar Bizarre SF Holiday Show Application is Up! August 20, 2009

Filed under: fairs and shows,opportunities — bizmiss @ 8:53 am
Tags: ,

This is my favorite craft fair.  Period.  The organizers take such good care of you in every way.  It can be tough to get in (the odds are about 1 in 3) but the organizers make a commitment to bringing in a significant number of new vendors every year (at the last fair in May it was 50% new vendors).  You can find the application here.  Last day to apply is September 21st.  Notifications are sent on September 30th.

 

Biz Mister: Francois Vigneault Talks about Zines and Small Publishing July 6, 2009

This August 22nd and 23rd marks the ninth anniversary of one of the Bay Area’s most anticipated gatherings of small publishers and authors, the SF Zine Fest.  I particularly like the Zine Fest because it’s more laid-back and intimate than something like Comic-Con or A.P.E., and it really celebrates the connection between Zines and other crafts.  I wanted to share some info about this event with you, and about the world of small publishing in general, so I went straight to the source and asked Francois Vigneault, the organizer of the Zine Fest for the past four years.

For those of us who are unfamiliar with the event, what is the SF Zine Fest?

The Zine Fest is a free annual festival celebrating zines (i.e. small-press magazines and other publications covering almost every imaginable subject and format) and other creative works coming out of the DIY ethos. The SFZF has been in existence since 2001, when Jenn Starfiend founded it; I have been involved with the Fest for the last four years.

This year the Fest is on August 22 &23, at the San Francisco County Fair Building (the same spot the Holiday Bazaar Bizarre SF happens in), which is this adorable 70s-style building right in the middle of Golden Gate Park, it’s really beautiful!

Every year we have hundreds of creators and small-press publishers selling, trading, and otherwise sharing their work with the public. Additionally, we always run a pretty expansive slate of workshops and panels on everything from screenprinting to nature journaling, hopefully inspiring the attendees to try their hands at making their own zines, mini-comics, or other DIY creations.

Who might be interested in attending SFZF?

Well, the short answer is anybody! We’ve been growing every year, and now we bring together over one hundred zinesters, cartoonists, poets, crafters, printmakers, and other artists with an audience of well over 1000 attendees. Of course, anyone who’s ever been a fan of a zine or indy comic should definitely come; with our mix of zine stalwarts like John Marr (Murder Can Be Fun), new stars like Esther Pearl Watson (Unloveable), and totally unknown (but totally awesome) first-time creators, you’re sure to come across something that will rekindle your love of DIY expression. But it’s also a great show for anyone who’s just interested in checking out what’s going on artistically outside the purview of the mainstream.

What are some highlights we can expect at this year’s Zine Fest?

As the Zine Fest gets a bit bigger, one of the benefits is that more and more out-of-towners are coming to the show… This year we have a major contingent of creators and publishers from Portland, Oregon, coming in for the show: Theo Ellsworth, Sarah Oleksyk, Sparkplug Comics, Tugboat Press and others… I guess it’s a great excuse to visit San Francisco!

Another new thing for us this year is that our posters will be extra-fancy: Aaron Cohick of New Lights Press and Hello! Lucky will be letterpress printing our Special Guest Andy Hartzell’s awesome zine love-in design! We will be selling them at the Fest and online to help raise money for the show; they are going to be really, really nice.

Oh, and it looks like we will finally get our act together and have an official Zine Fest party this year! We’re still working out the details, but as soon as we’ve got it set in stone, we’ll announce it on our blog.

Where do you see the small publishing/zine movement in the Bay Area going today?  What has it been like historically?

It’s funny, I realized the other day that the Zine Fest started well after what’s considered the height of the zine trend of the nineties, and yet we still grow every year! So I definitely think that any rumors of self-publishing’s demise are greatly exaggerated. I find that in the Bay Area there is a robust artistic community at large, and there will always be new folks making little publications to express themselves. If you just walk into a zine-oriented shop like Needles & Pens or Rock Paper Scissors you’ll be faced with dozens of titles, from the autobiographical to the political.

San Francisco has a tremendous history of small-press publishing. Robert Crumb, Spain, and other underground cartoonists are almost as symbolic of the City in the 60s as bands like the Grateful Dead, and of course there are the Beats: Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s New Lights Press publishing Allen Ginsberg’s Howl in the 1950s, there were only 1000 copies in that first edition! Of course, there is so much more; the San Francisco Public Library has an amazing Little Maga/Zine Collection with over a thousand titles. Andrea Grimes, who runs the collection, participated in a roundtable discussion at the Zine Fest a few years ago; I’m hoping to have her give a talk on the history of zines at this year’s Fest.

What is the role of craft at the Zine Fest?

A definite trend that I have seen at the Zine Fest is the increasing level of handicraft which folks are putting into their zines, mini-comics, and other projects. It’s become much more common to see zines with screen-printed covers, elaborate bindings, and other embellishments. I think part of the trend can be tied into the rise of the blogosphere; now that there are so many venues to share one’s writing and artwork online, I see a proportional  emphasis in the DIY publishing world on the tangible nature of the zine as object, something which the creator has invested time and love in so that it could exist as a real thing rather than just clicking “publish” and it is instantly on the internet. Of course, some of our creators really take this to the extreme, and their art is in large part about the craft that goes into it; for instance, every year I am just blown away by what Tom Biby and Jonathan Fetter-Vrom of Two Fine Chaps come out with, like hand-cut pop-up diorama books!

We also always have a healthy showing from the broader craft community, from quilts to needle-felted monsters! Although our emphasis will always be on zines and self-publishing, we love to see creative types from other disciplines at the Fest, there is so much overlap between all these different crafty interests.

What advice can you give to people who would like to start small-/self-publishing?

The great thing is that it is a really easy field to try out! There are really no rules in regards to a zine’s content, format, theme, or even quality; everyone can and should make a least one in their lifetime. I personally feel it’s hard to go wrong if you just try and document some aspect of life which you find interesting, even if it seems silly at first. For instance, I’m a bird watcher, and I have a zine I’m bringing out for the Fest that’s called Bird Brain, it’s all the notes and sketches I make while I’m out doing that. It’s not like I’m going to necessarily have anything new to say about the barn swallows and great horned owls I’ve seen, but I think there will be some interest for people in just seeing my point of view on something I care about.

What are your hopes for the Zine Fest and small publishing in the future?

It’s funny, but I think the economic downturn will be good for the world of self-publishing and small press in some ways. During the recent boom, lots of great creators from the small-press world were (deservedly) getting publishing deals for their work in the mainstream press. Now that the economy is in rough shape, a lot of those folks are having their series canceled, unfortunately. But these creators still want to make their art, happily, so I foresee a return to self-publishing for them. It’s a really welcoming place!

As far as the Zine Fest, I basically just want to connect as many creators with the largest public that I can, and hopefully facilitate the development of new artists, too. I’d like to run more workshops; I love to see folks realize that they can express themselves through art and craft, from screen printing and bookbinding to illustration and writing. Everyone’s got a story to tell!

Photos: 1. SFZF 2009 Poster – Art by Andy Hartzell 2. Nicole Bennet from Family Style Jamboree zine.  3. Some of the many titles which have been featured in years past.  4. John Isaacson teaching a Zine Fest 2008
attendee about silk screening.  5.  L-R, Renée French (Micrographica) and Trevor Alixopulos
(Hot Breath of War).

 

Apparently it is Easy Being Green July 2, 2009

Did you know that in addition to running the Bazaar Bizarre and working full-time in science education, Jamie Chan and her husband Blas Herrera also own Urban Fauna Studio, the best little fiber arts shop in San Francisco?  It’s enough to make a girl feel downright lazy.  Ever the overachievers (and responsible business owners), Blas and Jamie recently went through the process to make UFS a certified green business.  Jamie agreed to share their experience with me so we can all become green businesses, too.

First a little background on their business: Urban Fauna Studio sells independently made and eco-friendly craft supplies and tools. They focus on ecologically and socially considerate manufacturing practices, products made in the US and handmade items. They host a growing community of consignment artists and crafters, all of whom are committed to bringing quality handmade goods to their customers.  At UFS you can also explore the fiber arts through a revolving series of workshops (see their calendar for details).  Blas has a background in environmental science and Jamie is a science educator. Both of them come from families that have long enjoyed the fiber arts, crafting and DIY.

Why did you decide to pursue green business certification?

Just because many shops are independently owned and selling green products does not make their business practice green. We decided that a more genuine commitment to sustainability was to get certified by the San Francisco Green Business program. SF Green Business helps San Francisco businesses adopt environmental practices that are sustainable as well as profitable. They set stringent criteria, provide technical assistance, and publicly recognize and promote Green Businesses with a seal that enables customers to shop in keeping with their values. The Program is made of up of three City agencies: the SF Department of the Environment, the SF Department of Public Health, and the SF Public Utilities Commission.  We are the first fiber art and craft shop in the SF Bay Area with a green certification. We feel this sends a message to our customers and our fellow business owners that our commitment to sustainable retail goes beyond selling green, we live green too. It’s not hard to do considering many of us engage in green practices in our personal lives.

What are the benefits of being a certified green business?

San Francisco Green Businesses can save money by implementing practices that lead to cost savings in energy, water, and garbage bills. We have sought out a greener web provider who uses 100% green renewable energy, Carbon Neutral, who was actually less expensive than our previous, non-green, web hosting provider. We also participate in Carbon Offsetting with our electrical company and reduced our garbage bills.

We use all non-toxic, plant based cleaning chemicals which make us feel safer in our workspace and for our customers entering the store. We buy 80% post consumer, chlorine-free, recycled toiletry papers, 100% post consumer, chlorine-free printer papers, and 80% post consumer, chlorine-free business cards and promotional materials.

We enjoy a marketing edge over the competition. Coupon books, web site listings and other promotional strategies are fine. But a certification system with this level of transparency about standards and regulations makes us feel secure that people will know we are not trying to “green wash” them with hype.  (**Blogger’s note: I was shocked by how few businesses are listed on the SF Green Business site.  I thought SF was so eco-forward….)

Blas spent his college career studying environmental policy and social justice and I have studied marine sciences. We have seen the data firsthand and know this planet is not heading in a good direction with our current rates of consumption and use.  He and I both care very much about the future of our environment and we want our business to reflect that. The biggest benefit is the peace of mind that this certification brings, that we are helping to make our local and global community better.

How long did it take over all?

We started the certification process right before we opened our shop.  So about 10 months.

What did it take to earn the certification?  Were there requirements you found particularly easy or difficult to fulfill?

We had to submit a written application and then a detailed table or checklist of actions we would take to make our business meet their retail business standards. Then we had a phone consultation with some follow up e-mails. There was an initial site visit from a consultant. Between that time we had more e-mails and to provide more evidence that we were engaging in green practices. This included taking pictures of certain parts of the store, providing bills and proof of certain services.  Then there was an on-site assessment to verify that San Francisco Green Business standards are being met. We had a few more things to change and follow up on after our assessment. After submitting our changes, our San Francisco Green Business status was awarded! We were listed on the site within two weeks and warmly welcomed into their community. Nothing was particularly difficult. It was at worst, annoying and eye-opening to realize how every detail of our business could be greener. We thought we were “green” already and it was good to know that someone else was there to ensure we got all the aspects of our business to be more sustainable.

Would you recommend the process to other crafters/designers or only to people with stores?

Yes, if your business is certifiable we would suggest it. They currently certify hotels, restaurants, offices, retailers and dentists. This INCLUDES home businesses….and we do mean you, indie crafters! Your studios, offices and work spaces within your home can be certified. It does not take a long time. Our case was an exception, most applications should be approved within 4-6 months.  There is really no reason not go through the process if you can devote the time. We estimate that we spent no more than 20 hours total on this certification process. The certification program in SF is free of charge.  Many towns have a green certification program…we encourage you to look at your options and get involved.

Did you get any help during this process?

Nope. We didn’t know of any certified green indie retailers at the time, but now YOU do! Feel free to contact us. We are willing to answer questions and in general help to promote other green indie craft businesses. The nice thing about being indie is that we all really DO need each other to make an impact in the world of corporate run, big box stores. Being green together, being transparent about our goals, is a good thing. Lean on people in your local business community, you’ll be surprised about how much you can gain from it.

Well, folks, there you have it.  I’m definitely going to look into this for my own home office.  Thanks, Jamie!  If anyone else has experience with this process or is thinking about becoming certified, please share below.

 

Whoa, Those Are Shrinky Dinks? June 30, 2009

That’s what I said at the last Bazaar Bizarre when I saw these earrings by Heidi of Passionflower. She uses a mix of found printed materials and original artwork to make these.  One of the things that makes her work so unique (and not resemble shrink plastic in the slightest) is her sparing use of color and the way she mixes various materials into one piece.

Then I started noticing shrink plastic everywhere.  Apparently lots of crafters are making really useful, grown-up things out of one of our favorite childhood toys.  For example, I think these stitch markers from Karrie at Girl On the Rocks are ingenious.  I especially love the ones that remind you how to do the kitchener stitch as you go.

I also really like the way Erin of Broken Fingers uses shrink film to turn her graphic designs into wearable art.  She draws these by hand.  Yeesh.

Some crafters make really compelling jewelry just by creatively cutting and punching solid-colored sheets like these pieces by Crafic.

Other ingenious projects? You can make custom buttons with shrink film, perfect for when you can’t find the right button you need to finish a project.  Susan Beal at Craft Stylish has a nice tutorial on this. She also has another useful tutorial for making pet ID tags.

“Okay,” you say, “I’m convinced.”  How do I get started with shrink film myself?  Well, first you have to know that your options have greatly increased since we were kids.  Regular shrink film now comes in clear, white, brown and black, which you can draw on with colored pencils or Sharpie-type markers.  If you go the Sharpie route, I recommend protecting your pieces with a spray or brush-on sealant because it tends to scratch off.

BUT, there’s also inkjet-printable shrink film now, which means you can create complex pieces really fast and in multiples.  This is what I use to make the little meat charms and jewelry I sell at fairs and on Etsy, but you can scan, print and shrink virtually any image.  I use the sheets made by Grafix, which you can get online (Blick is the most consistently inexpensive) or at Pearl art stores, among others.  It comes in white and clear.  You can even call up Grafix for a free sample to try it out.  Occasionally I get a wonky pack that doesn’t shrink correctly but they always replace it right away.  Shrinky Dinks brand also sells all the varieties.

No matter which film you use, remember to use colors at about half strength, as they tend to saturate and darken when your piece shrinks.  Expect your finished piece to measure about 40-50% of the original in each dimension.  I set my oven to between 275-300°F so everything shrinks evenly.  For about ten seconds after they come out you can flatten (or bend) your pieces, but use gloves because they will be extemely hot.

I also read recently that you can use plastic from your recycling bin marked #6 as shrink film.  Apparently the clear plastic kind (think clamshell take-out containers) and the opaque styrofoam kind (think supemarket meat trays) both work.  I have also heard that the fumes are not the healthiest stuff to be breathing so I can’t really recommend this.  I assume given the recent CPSIA brouhaha that store-bought shrink sheets are non-toxic because they are designed for kids, but PLEASE correct me if you have info to the contrary.