Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Tuesday Tablescape!

I'm starting a new feature on the blog called Tuesday Tablescape (or, what's on my desk right now), where I'll show what projects I'm currently working on/ what mess of things is currently taking over my desk - or my kitchen table, because that is a common work surface too, for when the desk is too cluttered.

Yes, today is actually Wednesday, but heck, here it goes:
Every year, when Spring approaches, I start fantasizing about what colorful spring and summer-inspired crafts I can make to sell at my local street art fair, Art on Lark. I've been participating every summer, I think, for the past eight years or more. It's an opportunity to meet people face-to-face and sell the things I make when I'm not working on books - and it's only a block and a half from my apartment! So I can easily run home to pick up tape, scissors, or take a quick bathroom break :)

This week, my desk is covered with some new items I made for this year's Art on Lark.
First, the earrings. I mentioned my love of tassels on earrings in an earlier post, and I've made a bunch of new pairs with bright, colorful silky tassels, various beads, and African bronze "gold weight" beads. (incidentally, I bought the gold weight beads at the African Market in Harlem this Spring. They are a typical feature in the jewelry worn in the Ivory Coast and Ghana. Many necklaces my mom wore when I was a child back in the Ivory Coast had these beautiful, bright, gold-colored beads. Their designs come from weights made of bronze by the Akan people, used to measure gold dust and other goods.)


I love these bright colors! They are so happy. Oh, and every year I buy something new to display my items at the fair with, so this winter, I bought a few cake stands I thought I could hang the earrings off of. Hopefully the cake stands inspire me to bake more cakes too!

Next, the bags. See the tassels? When I began working on my next book, The Legendary Miss Lena Horne last year, I spotted a pale pink and gold brocade (I think it's a brocade) fabric at the craft store that screamed Lena Horne to me. It's a little bit retro and very glamorous and elegant so I bought a yard of it, thinking that I would use it in my illustrations for the book. I ended up not using it in the book after all, but I wanted to make something inspired by the glamour of Lena Horne. So I made two little purses with it, one for myself (a round-ish prototype with pleats I will perfect in the future) and one (flat and rectangular shaped) to sell. 

 I also experimented with turning some tan and turquoise woven bamboo place-mats into purses... They turned out well, are pretty rigid, but floppy when they're empty. 

One of the Lena Horne inspired purses, with pink tassel and gold weight bead.

Tassels for everyone!

 The other purses are made form African print fabrics I already had, and have used in the past to make my Wrap Wallets. I love combining fabrics with jewelry items to make these these purses!

Also on my desk is a can of white screen-printing ink for fabric. I'm working on some silk-screens you'll probably see in next week's post!

In case you're wondering about Art on Lark this summer, it was originally due to take place on June 5. Mother Nature decided to make it rain (and not in the good way) that day, so it has been postponed until Saturday, July 16th. I won't be able to make it then, so I've added (and am currently adding more) items I made for it to my online shop, Something IvoryCoasty. If you're in the Albany, NY area on July 16, come down to Lark Street and support some of our local artists and artisans!


  1. So glad to hear you'll be sharing your table scapes. Your bags are gorgeous and elegant. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks, for reading, Joy! I look forward to keeping you updated on my projects! :)

  2. The pink brocade is my favorite -- very elegant!