Silver Lining?

23 12 2008

Interesting NYT business article on the “crafting” industry – “Feeling the pinch of the economic downturn, some holiday gift-givers are saving money this year by making their own presents or — for those who lack the time or talent — buying handmade gifts from others.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/23/business/23craft.html

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Find us online

13 12 2008

Thanks so much for a great show.  We had about 7,800 attendees!  The biggest show yet.  We had tons of great response from customers, vendors, media, etc.  So Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!  We look forward to next year.  Besides finding us here, you can also find us on flickr!  Please feel to join and upload your pictures.  Or on facebook





We have been working hard!

6 12 2008

Here is a picture of our swag making party last night.  Man there are tons of goodies to be had!3084320644_3584e3b1be





Meet Maura Madden

4 12 2008

Author of Crafternoon.

UCU– Can you tell our readers more about you book in case they don’t already know?

MM- Crafternoon is a month-by-month guide to throwing your very own arts and crafts parties. At its core, it’s a craft book – there are instructions for all kinds of simple, cool craft projects, as well as crafting tips and recipes. But it’s also a manifesto for a new type of socializing. Crafternoons are a way to gather friends and family together for a creative experience, which is very different from your average social gathering. The simple pleasure of crafting with a group is hard to beat, and the goal of the book is to get people out and crafting with their loved ones.

Additionally, I’ve kept the projects basic so that the beginning crafter can have as much fun as the experienced crafter. And I’ve tried to write with a dash of humor, ‘cause it’s more fun for me to write on the lighter side of things, and I hope that makes the book more fun to read. I want to inspire people everywhere to start throwing their own Crafternoons!

UCU- What advice do you have for crafters that are trying to survive these economic times?

MM- I’m not a full time crafter, so I have a different perspective on surviving these hard times. I keep my crafting frugal by throwing Crafternoons! The great thing about these parties is that they are crafty potlucks, with people bringing everything from crudités to craft supplies to share with their fellow crafters. When I first started hosting these parties I was super broke, so I decided I wouldn’t spend more than $25 per Crafternoon. I would purchase what I could with that money, and ask folks to bring something to share. And it always works out well, because you’ll find that most folks are pretty generous when it comes to sharing.

More often that not, I come out ahead after a Crafternoon! I usually end up with lots of leftover hummus and cool fabric scraps and whatever else people brought along but didn’t want to bring home with them. When I was broke, I ate many a Hummus-Left-Over-From-a-Crafternoon Sandwich. And I held on to all the donated supplies, so I’ve got a get stash of cool stuff that I can bring to each Crafternoon to share with the next group of crafters, so it all keeps going back into my little crafting community.

UCU- What are you looking forward to the most at Urban Craft Uprising?

MM- I cannot wait to walk around and meet all the crafters! I love craft fairs. There is always such a fun vibe, and you get to meet tons of interesting people. And I love seeing the cool new crafts. It’s totally inspiring to be in the midst of tons of creative folks. Of course, I’m also excited to finish most of my holiday shopping in two days flat. I’m going to pack an extra bag to transport all my crafty purchases back to Brooklyn!

UCU- Do you have any advice for someone that wants to publish a book?

MM- For starters, do some research! Go to your local libraries or bookstores (and the internet, of course) to figure out what publishers might be interested in your book and whether or not they accept unsolicited manuscripts. If there is already a book out there that covers a lot of your ideas, think about how your book is different and why the world needs your book. With those answers in mind, write a proposal that includes an introduction, a sample chapter, and a chapter breakdown. Work on it until it is as perfect as you can make it. And then send it out! Of course, if you are concerned about copyright issues, your research should include finding out how to protect your writing before you send it out into the world. And above all, enjoy the process and believe in yourself. Just the process of writing the proposal will be rewarding, even if that is as far as it goes.

UCU- Got any new years resolutions you would want to share with us?

MM- I want to craft something for every new baby that has come into my life since 2008. It’s been such a busy year for me, and I’ve got a long list of adorable babies that are owed a handmade treat. I intend to make that a priority for the bleak midwinter.

And I also plan to start posting on my blog every day. I’m going to blog it up big time in 2009, so be sure to keep up with me online!





Meet Wonder Thunder

29 11 2008

UCU– When did you start your business?

WT- In the fall of 2006, Wonder Thunder was imagined on an arctic voyage, just a loose collection of inanimate blood and guts, fabric, and thread. It wasn’t until March of 2008 when Sasha joined Meagan in her experiments of intergalactic animal fusion that electricity was added and the amalgamation of creature bits was imbued with life.

UCU- What is your favorite craft supply?

WT-Inanimate objects making faces.  and glitter.

UCU- Where do you sell your work?

WT- We sell our works on our website, www.wonder-thunder.com and at these fine establishments!

Sugaree’s in Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Fontanelle in Portland, Oregon
Fact and Fancy in Brooklyn, New York
Wholly Craft in Columbus, Ohio
Still Life in San Francisco, California

UCU- What is your favorite part of doing big shows such as UCU?

WT- Meeting people like angry toast and smug carrots. Peddling our goods to suckers.

UCU- Most anticipated “hot item” at your booth this year?

WT- Strawberry Guts Stuffed Banana…though bananas are usually a cowardly bunch, some smuggle strawberries over the border.





Meet Noah Scalin author of Skulls

29 11 2008

UCU– Can you tell our readers more about your book(s) in case they don’t already know about it?


NS- SKULLS is a document of my yearlong art project: Skull-A-Day. On June 4th, 2007 I decided to make a skull image every day for a year and began posting them online (at www.SkullADay.com). In just a month the site went from being viewed by a handful of my friends to garnering thousands of international visitors a day. In June 2008 I finished my year of skull making, though the site continues on as Skull-A-Day 2.0, now featuring daily posts of submissions of skull themed art by the fans. In October 2008, Lark Books published SKULLS, which features 150 images from the project as well as 4 DIY patterns and a selection of fan inspired work. The site has gone on to win the Webby Awards People’s Voice Award for Best Personal Website of 2008 and the book even garnered a segment for me on the Martha Stewart Show.


UCU
What advice do you have for crafters that are trying to survive these economic times?

NS- Stay true to what you care about, focus on doing work that you enjoy, and support others who are doing the same. If we look out for each other we’ll survive this storm together.


UCUWhat are you looking forward to the most at Urban Craft Uprising?

NS- Meeting my Seattle based blog friends/fan in person at last!


UCUDo you have any advice for someone that wants to publish a book?


NS- If you want to get the wide distribution major publishers offer and hopefully make some money in the process, look into getting an agent. They will help you create a proposal and navigate the publishing world and are well worth their fees. If you want to have control over the end product and don’t mind being your own sales force, you may want to consider doing it yourself. The online tools for self-publishing have gotten really good in recent years.


UCUGot any new years resolutions you would want to share with us?

NS- Finally get back to work on my next project: League of Space Pirates!





Meet Michelle Goodman

29 11 2008

Meet Michelle, author of The Anti 9-to-5Guide: Practical Career Advice for Women Who Think Outside The Cube and My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire

UCU- Can you tell our readers more about your book(s) in case they don’t already know about it?

MG– People have been asking me how I set my prices, deal with health insurance, and make sure I have enough money to pay my bills since I started working for myself as a freelancer 16 years ago. My first book, The Anti 9-to-5Guide: Practical Career Advice for Women Who Think Outside The Cube, offers a variety of alternatives to the traditional 40 to 60 hour a week office gig, including temp, freelance, contract, telecommuting, flex time, part time, travel, and outdoor jobs, as well as starting your own nonprofit or small business.

My new book, My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire, answers as many questions about freelancing and self-employment as I could cram into 240 pages. Stuff like, How do you handle hell clients with grace? Negotiate copyrights without sounding like a greedy pig? Work at home without going insane? Besides my advice, I wove in the tips, tricks, and war stories of other seasoned writers, illustrators, designers, photographers, publicists, editors, web developers, financial gurus, and virtual assistants. Simply put, we made the mistakes so you don’t have to.

UCU- What advice do you have for crafters that are trying to survive these economic times?

MG- Hobnob your brains out on communities like Craftster, GetCrafty, and Biznik. Your fellow crafters are your best source of tips, resources, and moral support. Don’t just network online though; look for ways to meet crafters face to face. (If you can’t find a group in your neck of the woods, start one of your own.) There’s strength in numbers. So rather than organize a solo open house or web promotion, team up with a handful of like-minded crafters.


Finally, look for ways to parlay your craft skills and knowledge into supplemental income. Maybe you can offer classes to newbie crafters, pick up some bookkeeping work for other small businesses, or design blogs or web portfolios for writers (trust me, we desperately need help with this). Anything you find yourself repeatedly explaining to others or doing for your own business is a skill you can sell.

UCU- What are you looking forward to the most at Urban Craft Uprising?

MG- Shopping! I bought such a fabulous purse and skirt at the last UCU. I’d intended to buy holiday presents for everyone on my list, but, well, you know how that goes. It’s impossible to not splurge on yourself at a craftastic event like UCU. I’m especially looking forward to buying myself a new necklace and pair of earrings. So many pretty pieces to choose from.


UCU- Do you have any advice for someone that wants to publish a book?

MG– Tons. I’ve taught entire classes on that topic. For nonfiction books, it’s essential to build a platform so that agents and editors know you already have a built-in following. Blogging, tweeting, writing articles, posting YouTube videos, teaching classes, and sitting on panels are some ways you can cultivate a fan base and hone your expertise in a particular subject area.

Publishers want proof that you can garner an audience for your book — before they sign you. And since authors have to do a majority of their book’s promotion themselves, it’s in your best interest to build up some buzz long before your book hits shelves. Besides, writing an article or teaching a class is a great way to test out material you’re thinking of turning into a book and see how well it’s received.


UCU- Got any new year’s resolutions you would want to share with us?

MG– I wish I could say something significant, like save the polar bears, fix the economy, or develop a car that runs on compost. But my resolutions are more mundane: Take the dog to the beach more. Make a new soup or stew once a week. Sleep at least eight hours a night. Watch less TV and rent more movies. Go on a two- to four-week writing retreat. Write some really funny stuff.