Monday, November 23, 2009

Biz, blessings & a martini

AvantGarb has been a growing, productive business for a really long time.

I started AvantGarb in my Berkeley, California garage when my youngest daughter was about 3 months old.

Month after month AvantGarb has made a profit and those dollars have increased through the years.

AvantGarb is a real, ongoing operation.

Even though we get grow each and every year, get more marvelous clients, are able to hire extraordinary people, and have moved to jazzy new digs. Even though I've been paying my mortgage, clothing my children, going on vacations, buying shoes, getting my hair done and my eyebrows tamed, I still think, it could be over tomorrow.

This is crazy thinking.

When I am sitting with a curved needle, stitching yellow muppet fleece to green fur, I have taken to counting my blessing.

Here are some of them:
  • I have a really grand family. They keep me involved and interested in their lives. My husband is funny, handsome and sexy. My daughters are gorgeous and glorious
  • I  love my biz - making fuzzy critters that add a great dollop of fun to the landscape.
  • I've traveled everywhere--okay, not everywhere, but a lot of places - Kenya, India, China, Mexico, Mexico, Mexico, Taiwan, Egypt, and oh yeah, Europe. I feel fluent in the world. I like to be places where I can't speak the language.
  • ... however, I can speak Spanish, stutter through French and be polite in Swahili
  • Every Monday I look forward to the week ahead.
  • I interact with a wide and varied creative community of mascot people, art people, writers and imagineers.
  • Every Friday I come home to a really good martini.
  • I love going to church on Sundays, singing hymns w/ the congregation, listening to the sermon and being blessed for the coming week with the benediction.
  • I love reading the New York Times and napping on couch on Sunday afternoons.
  • I have gotten bit of fame for doing what I do.
  • ...and I have magnificent friends. Some I've had for most of my life, some I've only just met
I am truly blessed. I have imagined my life, and it became real.

I suspect the story of other small biz people is similar.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Big, Big, Cigarette

See the cigarette, check out the Great American Smoke out video. This Cigarette is one of ours.

When we got the job to make the really, really big, wearable cigarette, I had to go out and buy a pack of cigarettes. We needed to custom-dye the filter fabric, and needed a color sample.

Then, we had to light cigarettes so that we could understand how the ash bent when it burned. 

This was a wonderful project. Making ash on a giant cigarette from fabric, sequins and open cell, charcoal, filter foam is a pretty swell project.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Girl Tools

In my tool rack, we have bunches of hammers---ok, 2 or 3 and a mallet, but in the swirl of mascot-making hammers, screwdrivers, scissors, rulers get lost, hide under fur, get involved w/ the velcro, sidle up to the sequins.

Several years ago we made some Glamor Hammers for special, hard-working clients. They were hammers, with spray painted gold heads, bunches of sequins and feather boas. One of the hammers found its way to the tool rack. For a few months, the Glamor Hammer was the only poundy thing we had. Its pretty, but not tough---but it still pounds, I think.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The World Serious

Phanatic in NYC

I'm torn. Who to root for in this Wold Series (or as my father calls it, the World Serious), the Yanks or the Phillies?

I grew up in NYC, got married in NYC, my first daughter was born in NYC and I went to my first game, a Yankees game, in the Bronx!

Before going to my first Yankees game, I had been to bunches of plays on Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway. I had spent hours hanging out with friends at the Museum of Modern Art and I had gone to see art & performance pieces in galleries in SoHo (way back in the day, when there were galleries in SoHo).

In NYC, there is a sense that keeping track of the Art Scene is like watching a contact sport. There is an ever-changing roster of players, there are minor leagues and major leagues.

When I started watching the Yankees, I saw them as characters in a play, or an art performance. I have maintained that Sport-as-Art-Performance sensibility.

Oh gosh, I can sense you sports guys cringing!

...and I make mascots.
Who do I root for?
The Phillies have a mascot. The Yankees don't.
Both teams have great characters and great costumes. Both teams have a sense of drama.
Hmmm...hard to say.

It's a great World Serious.