If you haven't previously heard of First Friday, then know this: it's about artistry and networking. It's an open-your-eyes-to-culture opportunity, and an opportunity to visit places and studios you don't normally frequent. First Fridays are a monthly event, held--as you guessed it--on the first Friday of each month. Depending on the city, various community events will also be held (Phoenix and Richmond, Virginia, have two of the largest Friday Fridays). Here in Indy, Fountain Square is bustling, as is Mass Ave. And, fortunately, there are additional galleries just across the street from me.
So, as a way to promote artists, small businesses, and the handmade moment, I, too, have decided to participate in First Friday. Here, on the first Friday of each month, I will share with you creators and curators. Well, and some music, too. This time around, it's all about Indiana--save for the music, each artist or small business owner is based in the Hoosier state.
Happy First Friday, friends.
240SWEET240sweet is the wonderful concoction of partners Alexa Lemley and Samantha Aulick. Together, they handcraft artisan marshmallows in Columbus. Their website states that 240sweet developed after people "clamored for more" following catered events. And, truly, from personal experience, 240sweet does make a damningly delicious marshmallow. My favorite flavors are Chocolate Chip and Cookies and Cream, but other popular flavors include Salty Caramel Swirl and Very Vanilla Bean. Of course, you can always test your taste buds on more "exotic" flavors like dill. Or Jalapeno. Or Carrot Cake. Or Margarita. 240sweet has a Marshmallow of the Month Club as well, and this month's theme is "grab bag" (no two bags are exactly the same). So hop on over to 240sweet, and order yourself some S'more-flavored mallows (which you can buy in a standard three-count pack, or in a $10, half-pound bag filled with bite-sized treats).
240 sweet product photos by Stacy Able Photography
I've actually had the honor of meeting Candice Hartsough McDonald, the owner and artist behind Cordial Kitten. I first saw her art at Homespun (a store in Irvington that is devoted to contemporary handmade goods), but first saw her at a First Friday gallery. (I ultimately purchased several of her buttons, which I mailed out as May Day gifts.) Candice's art has a sort of childlike whimsy to it, with fresh colors and soft lines. Interestingly, her bio states that Candice "started her career as a small child making friendship bracelets that she sold from her handmade catalog, and tracing the drawings out of her children's books trying to pass them off as her own." Today, however, Candice has her own published children's books ("Animals With Jobs" is pictured below). She is also a freelance illustrator and Etsy shop owner who sells prints, jewelry, and stuffed animals. And, if you're seeking a personal portrait, you can always order one from Cordial Kitten.
AMY McADAMSAmy's bio states that she "loves pop art, mid-century modern architecture and crinkle-cut French fries. She holds Andy Warhol, Charley Harper and the Monkees in equally high esteem." And, after looking at her art, it's easy to see why. Her graphic design is progressive and approachable, but also playful. She balances color and humor and creates a sort of modern timelessness (if I'm allowed to say so). Some of her designs have been made into T-shirts (the top two photos are, for instance). In addition to her branding projects, Amy also designs posters and brochures. The poster designs based on movies (part of her "1/100 Poster Project") are probably my favorite Amy McAdams designs. "Sixteen Candles" is one of the newer ones, I believe, but there are posters for "The Goonies" and "Princess Bride" (seen below). If you're feeling sassier, however, Amy still has the perfect movie poster for you: "Good day, Sir. I SAID GOOD DAY!"
C.FOXX DESIGNSThe jewelry maker behind c.foxx designs describes the business as a "combination of interesting handmade jewelry, designed with recycled and upcycled pieces." It's easy to see that watches are commonly dissected and re-purposed, and since hardware and light bulbs have also been used, I am left thinking about steam punk. There are gadgets, gears, and antique tarnish in each of her creations. Owls, of course, are a specialty, and I would be curious to see what she could do with my own antique owl necklace (I have one very similar to the one pictured below). In addition to new pieces, c.foxx designs also shares vintage and antique jewelry that is "beautiful and whole, and far too pretty to take apart." At shows, c.foxx sometimes offers these odds and ends in $10 grab bags. Since she also sets up a "$1 table," I would encourage you to stop by the c.foxx designs booth!
GET LATHERED SOAP COMPANYIf I were to tell you I currently have three bars of Get Lathered soap in my drawer, waiting to be used, I wouldn't be exaggerating. Lavender, Sugared Lemons, Patchouli. They're light. They're fresh. Delicate for the skin and soothing. I actually bought several bars for Christmas and gave them away as presents, though my favorite scent had to the the beer-scented one I saved for my Hans. Get Lathered soaps are in a few stores around the city, including Homespun, and I'm looking forward to checking out new scents this weekend, at Handmade Promenade. The soaps aren't Get Lathered's only "affordable luxury," however; they also sell handmade solid shampoo bars (top photo), solid conditioner bars, and lip balms (bottom photo). I was a fan of the silky, mint-flavored lip balm, but I have yet to experiment with Get Lathered's hair care products. (Birthday present, anyone?)
NU FANGLEDDesigner Michael Ediza grew up in the Philippines, where his grandfather taught him how to mold left-behind materials into art. His first creation--a semi truck made from an old tree trunk--greatly differs from his present work. The materials Michael uses today are recycled bicycle parts--tires, spokes, inner tubes. "I enjoy creating from the simplest things using recycled materials," he said. Michael's wall designs are contemporary, with a mechanized feel. The lights are certainly my favorite designs (but, then again, I have a fetish for industrial lighting elements). There are plenty of clocks to choose from as well--many hang on the wall, but there are a few table-top ones. And I should probably shift gears and mention that Micheal also designs wall art from leftover tires and inner tubes. Strands of rubber snake up and around the woven "frame." The softer lines give your eyes something to follow, something to mentally unravel.
POLINA OSHEROVPolina is a goddess, I swear. She's a Russian-born, Indianapolis-based photographer who "loves to create imagery that is cinematic, dramatic and with a strong story-telling component." In addition to her talent behind the lens, Polina is the editor of Pattern Indy and editor-in-chief of Pattern Paper. She's also a mom to two daughters. So, basically, she's amazing. She's also collaborated with Historic Indianapolis (an institution I contribute to). Polina is dedicated to using her skills to make Indianapolis more fashion-diverse; she encourages glamor shoots to come to Circle City, where you can achieve elegant backgrounds and costumes for far less than you would in other cities. As for the images themselves? Polina herself said it: I love the storytelling. My favorite series has to be the Rapunzel shoot--a bit fairy tale, a bit dark, a bit fashion-forward.
SADLY HARMLESSThe personal interest category on Facebook says it all: whales, narwhals, polar bears, elephants, buffalo, beards, shadow boxes, cut paper art. Sadly Harmless is a bit nautical, a bit whimsical, a bit fantasy. The artist behind these paper and water color illustrations is Sally Harless, a full-time artist who lives and works in Bloomington. She shows and sells her art nationwide, at several galleries and indie craft shows (I first saw her, I believe, at a YELP event downtown). Sally describes her work as "reminiscent of children's book illustrations with the struggles of adjusting to adulthood. ... There is almost always some kind of ailment that afflicts my characters as well as elements of humor through the use of anthropomorphism as well as cynicism." Sounds like my kind of art (especially if one is into narwhals). Speaking of narwhals, you can always purchase a print titled "Knitting Narwhals."
RETROFIXSelf-described vintage junkers and antique lovers, the folks from Retroflix curate some stunning and intriguing pieces. At the last Indie Arts & Vintage Marketplace that I attended, the fiance and I stopped at RetroFix's booth. He was actually interested in one of the light fixtures below (the bottom-left). I, of course, was egging him on. Though my fiance ultimately did not walk away with said light fixture (another patron did), we favorited their page, wanting to keep track of the other industrial-themed goods Retrofix came across. In addition to picking, however, the Retrofix team members also roll up their sleeves; "with an eclectic eye and design background, [they] are defining vintage by providing perfectly timeworn or re-purposed pieces to bring the 'wow' factor to your home."
SARA DECEMBER ROSESara is so sweet, and her shop reflects her devotion to the handmade, and her love of connecting. You can connect with a friend, and mail him or her a letter using her map stationery. You can connect with yourself, and with your memories, if you purchase and write in one of her journals (made with vintage photographs, I'll add). And you can connect with your emotions; you can buy yourself an embroidered hoop and remind yourself to LOVE. Sara's works are stunningly simplistic, and you'll often see embroidery, paper goods, and tote bags in the shop. (And in Sara's own words, Sara December Rose is about "beautiful goods for everyday life.") Admittedly, I'm also drawn to her works because, like me, Sara graduated from Purdue. However, she rocks two degrees--one in Photography and the other in Art History. That said, if I had to pick only one thing to buy from Sara, it would have to be the Handmade 50 States Journal ... perfect for road trips.
Mab Graves is an artist who lives in Fountain Square, and is well-known for her pink hair and Blythe-like subjects. You can check out Paul D'Andrea's Flickr stream as well (he and two others manage M10 Studio and Gallery). Then's there Bearmojo ("Monsters for Ungrownups") and Starsprinkle Supercollider (I'm kind of fawning over the "Wizard of Oz" illustrations). Get Flasky sells custom-designed flasks, while Spoonelicious Flat"wear" offers buyers a range of items made from utensils. Lastly, there's Watercolor Tales, from which I bought and sent several cards for May Day.
Happy Friday, all. What are your plans for this weekend?
* ALL IMAGES USED WITH PERMISSION