April 17, 2008

Good Chemistry

(That's John Tusher (left) & Matte Stephens (right). They rock! And Mary does too...'cause that's who was smart enough to take the picture. Thanks, Mary!)

So last night was the first in a likely long string of gatherings entitled "The Lab" at Velocity Art & Design with guest speaker Matte Stephens. First off let me just give my props and shout outs... Firstly, I have to express my gratitude to Grace at design*sponge. The Lab was born out of her original Biz Ladies meetings and, while I wasn't able to attend those since I'm an "uncle" not an "aunt", she took time from her busy schedule to keep me updated about the impending birth of The Lab. So, Grace...HOLLA! Thanks muchly to John Tusher, owner of Velocity and all around helluva nice guy, for hosting and sponsoring the event. And, to his delightful staff for hanging around while we gabbed and guzzled! Paola Thomas of MirrorMirror for being the organizational force behind all this (Well done, Paola...indeed!). Dry Soda for keeping me well liquified with their incredible Rhubarb Soda (there are other flavs, that's just m'fav flav)! And, of course, to the incomparable Matte Stephens and wife "The Real Vivienne" for making the trek up from Portland (after having just moved from Alabama a week ago!!!) to inspire us all. Matte & Vivienne are what I call "pocket people"...you know, the kind you'd like to put in your pocket and take home with you. All of these fine folks deserve serious applause so, "THANK YOU!" (Yes, I know all caps means I'm shouting. I mean to shout...from a rooftop!)

Now, down to business... Last night was really good for me. Kristine couldn't come with me so I was flying solo which really forced me to talk to strangers (didn't Mom tell us not to?). I hadn't been to the "new" Velocity space so I had to do a bit of perusing and I practically have blisters on my bum from my credit card gettin' hot to shop! But as tempting as John's goodies were I was there for another reason - to connect and meet other designers, artists, crafters, etc. Get going, Beefy! (See Kids, I'm reduced to third person referencing already! Help me.) I saw Paola's name tag and decided to introduce myself. Whew! After moving past our discussion of her expectation that I'd look like Tim Gunn (not even close) I began to relax...a bit. Perhaps I should've started off with a bit of champagne to, say, loosen me up. Perhaps Paola would disagree? ;) Perhaps others would as well? No matter.

I learned a lot last night. One, as a blogger it is very important not to bring one's camera with you as cameras are generally best utilized as counter-top sculpture (darnit all!). Two, make absolutely certain to have no form of business card on you. Connections can never happen when you actually give people your contact information and essentially a business card just says, "Hi, I'd like to rob you of the opportunity to develop your psychic reading skills." And Kids, that's just rude ;) So next time...camera and cards! Ugh!

More seriously, I re-learned that things don't happen overnight or merely because someone is lucky and you're not. Matte's been at his art for a long time and all his hard work is paying off. We can all talk about timing and luck and this and that but at the end of the day it's a lot about hard work and putting yourself (and your neck) out there that helps create "luck". Sure timing and luck do come into play but it's the work that's also going to make the moment/s. Matte talked about how he just makes painting an absolute priority and how he often doesn't feel like painting but does it anyway. I had a professor who once said, "Work doesn't come from inspiration, inspiration comes from work." I think Matte is the absolute manifestation of that statement. And an unbelievably inspiring person.

Another lesson learned was understanding that you shouldn't be overly self-effacing. I love to talk...that's no mystery. But about myself and what I'm doing or want to do can be really difficult in person. You don't want to come across as a braggart for sure but don't be a wall flower either or you know where you'll get planted. I think it's so easy for people to get caught up in wanting to say the right things, or thinking that everyone else knows what they're doing and you're the only idiot in the room, or that someone has all the answers and you have only stupid questions. If any of that is true for you when you walk into a room banish the thought and move on...honestly, even if it requires a little liquid courage. Note: a little.

Anywho, I managed to talk with some incredibly nice and interesting people last night. Fellow blogger, Mary from Shelteriffic who did a great post about last night's event and had the good sense to bring her camera. Jerylin and Berit who are in the Sciences but love knitting, drawing , and crafting. Seth and Jonathan of gray pants studio who are designing some amazing pieces from scrap materials (see their scrap lights below). And, Amanda Kindregan who is also livin' the dream as an artist/illustrator at large (see some of her pieces below too). The thing is, it was inspiring to be reminded that you're really not the only one. Along with our doubts, fears, and indecision, there are also camaraderie, support, and inspiration. And that, Kids, made for some seriously good chemistry at The Lab.

Scrap Lights made from, what else, scrap cardboard! From Seth & Jonathan at gray pants studio.

Sweet, sweet works from the equally sweet Amanda Kindregan.

NOTE: Mark your calendars! Next "Lab" is Wednesday, May 28th!


  1. It was so nice meeting you last night. We had such a great time and everyone was so nice

  2. it was great talking to you, too! see you in may :) --jerylin

  3. This sounds so interesting and rewarding! I'm glad you took the time to give us a little write up of the event :-)And I'm thrilled you're back blogging again ;-)! Missed your posts!

  4. Thanks for doing such a great write-up!

    It was fab to meet you and actually you are just as charming as Tim Gunn, though admittedly in a slightly different way.

    Speaking of whom, I am now going to suck up what's left of your free time by directing you to www.projectrungay.blogspot.com.

    Much looking forward to seeing you in May...

  5. Matte...needless to say it was a distinct pleasure to have met you and Vivienne as well! :)

    Jerylin...absolutely likewise. You and Berit were a delight!

    mandco...you're too sweet, kind, and supportive :) But by all means keep it up ;)

    Paola...it was really wonderful to have met you as well and thanks - any Tim Gunn connection in a compliment indeed! And projectrungay? Well, I'll talk about why I hate you for that in May ;) (Fantastic!)

  6. Hiya! I managed to somehow link to a very old post of yours from the site, so I've updated the link so now people can read what you're up to *this* year. Great meeting you!

  7. You lucky thing. That sounds like a very special occasion. And what is it that makes design bloggers so darn nice?


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