Sunday, February 27, 2011

Next Generation Wallets

I am very excited to introduce the next generation of Revel wallets. The fabric is a hemp/cotton blend, thicker and tougher than the cotton that the original wallets were made from. The new fabric is painted with fiber reactive dyes, which provide a more vibrant and wider color range.

I have been using my new wallet for a few months now and I love it. It's more rugged than my last, but still fits comfortably in my back pocket. I know as the designer I am kind of partial, but I love getting to look at an original painting every time I pull my wallet out of my pocket.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

New Product Announcement: Zip Pouches

Revel has a new product! I just finished making the first group of zip pouches. They are 3.5"x5", the size of most change purses. The outside material is 55% Hemp/45% Cotton Muslin and the lining is Cotton Voile. Both fabrics are of course individual hand paintings, making each pouch one of a kind.

The pouches will be available online soon, and I will also be making more for the upcoming Holiday Events.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Big Scarf Sneak Peak

Here's a preview of a future product. Because of the size of my "studio" (corner of my apartment), I will not be making many of these at this time, but I will take special orders. Feel free to contact me with any inquiries

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Store Opening - Anchor No.5 Boutique

Anchor No.5 Boutique, established by the well-known Albany desginer, Petra Jancovicova, opened today at 288 River Street in Troy, NY. Petra has combined her eye for color and form, with her love of the local artist community, to create a beautiful boutique that is full of great finds. With Petra's own handbag line, Petra, the Revel collection, and products by many other talented artists, Anchor No.5 is definitely worth checking out. It is open Monday through Friday, from 10-6, but for now, enjoy the photo tour.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Latest Project: 'Now Hear This' banner

Now Hear This is my go to blog for those times when I'm in need of some new music. There is always a thoughtful review of a band or live show, guiding my myspace search to give a listen.

The blog is written by my good friend Molly, so naturally I offered to create a banner for her blog. She just finished a dual Master's Degree, in musicology and library science, which makes perfect sense. For as long as I have known her, the thing she has been most obsessive about is her Itunes library, full albums with every bit of information.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Enter to win a Magnetic Bottle Opener!

Become a fan of Revel on Facebook and automatically be entered to win this Magnetic Bottle Opener! The winner will be chosen at random on September 29th. Please help spread the word and suggest becoming a fan to your friends!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Summer Reading: The Handmade Marketplace

In trying to learn more about this craft world, which so many people seem to excel in, with their exploding sales and stories of quitting their day jobs, I recently read "The Handmade Marketplace" by Kari Chapin. A quick read, this book is full of useful information and clever tips. Depending on your experience in selling your work, much of the guidance may seem fundamental, but don't skip over any sections you think you have covered, there will probably be a suggestion or two that you have not thought of.

Not only does Kari Chapin share her own innovative ideas, but her "creative collective" does as well. This is a group of her colleagues, other artists who are successful in the field, including the illustrator of the book, Emily Martin. It was refreshing to read about the experiences of other artists every few pages. The many different viewpoints and ideas to consider surrounding each topic, helped to spark my own imagination even more when pondering a given subject.

With topics ranging from coming up with a name for your venture, to hiring help, I enjoyed every page. As I read, I was mentally checking off things I've already done, and making a list of things I should do. I plan to read the book again, with a pen and pad in hand to write down the many ideas I thought were good for my own business.

I would recommend this book to anyone who already sells items they make, or those who wish to do so. The piece of advice that I have been thinking about the most is that you need to bring in revenue from multiple channels, as the market is volatile, and it is risky to rely on one source of income.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Gathering of the Vibes

This past weekend I attended Gathering of the Vibes, not as a vendor, but as a barefoot, sparkly, movin' to the grooves hippie, because sometimes you just need a three day party. Don't get me wrong, I would love to vend at this festival. Making sales and getting the word out about your company while rocking out with a great view of the stage sounds great, but Revel is not ready quite yet.

Altough most of the vendors had the same tye-dye, corduroy, generic hippie wears, there were a few worth mentioning. My partner Amanda and I walked up to one booth where we were each greeted with a hand massage. Aaahhhh, the ultimate sales hook, it felt so good. The owner of the company had my full attention in explaining the product, I would have listened for hours as long as that hand massage was still going on. The products are 100% natural candles, which come in many tantalizing aromas, and melt down to not wax, but to hand lotion! With an innovative, all natural, made in the U.S. product, fresh booth and packaging design, and creative and amusing logo and marketing scheme, DR. SOFSKIN'S was by far my favorite vendor.

I took a walk through the gallery of Jerry Garcia's artwork, which is impressive, but I've seen it so many times, I was itching for something new. Larry Carlson Studio was the booth that gave me the eye candy I needed. The layers of pattern and design reminded me of Shepard Fairey, except with a much more digital look. Most pieces were landscapes in beautiful colors, adjusted to help develop a unique environment.

Another designer worth checking out is Nature Girl Designs. Ruthie Lopp makes custom photo belt buckles. The designs are beautiful, but I don't think she creates them herself. Ruthie did however, come up with the process to create the belt buckle with the image, which creates a good looking, high priced product.

The thing I missed the most at this Vibes was the multiple panel canvas in the middle of the concert field. Last year one was set up and roped off to 4 or5 artists each creating their own masterpiece. It was incredible to walk by throughout the weekend and see the progress they were making.

Of course the rest of the festival was an incredible time, fun people, great music and of course good vibes. I'd have to say Zach Deputy won the spot as my favorite performer, with Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings coming in second. I look forward to next year.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Art on Lark

As a sponsor, Exit 97.7, Albany's local, independent radio station, had been fiercely advertising the event for weeks before. At my day job, where I have this wonderful radio station playing perpetually, the dj's would constantly remind me..."only 2 weeks until Art on Lark...only one week...3 days"...ahhhh, ok ok, I know, I have a ton of work to do!

I worked a lot of late nights in those two weeks before the show, jumping from bottle openers, to wallets, to necklaces, to scarves, back to bottle openers, etc. My soundtrack was mostly the Fugees radio station on, with a little bit of the Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings station thrown in, good vibes to work to. I didn't have much of a social life, coming home straight from work, to then work all night, missing happy hour with the usual crew, not spending much time with my partner. Hopefully it would be worth it, this festival draws a lot of people and I wanted to make some sales and get the Revel name out there.

The morning of Art on Lark I walked up my street, yes, right up the street, to Lark Street. There were two women from the Lark Street Bid, the organization who put the event together, checking people in. The process was easy, I already knew where my spot was because of the information vendors received in the mail. The Bid had fulfilled my request of having a spot on the corner of my street and Lark Street.

I headed back down to my apartment to meet Amanda and start bringing up the gear. We made two trips together, then Amanda made multiple subsequent trips for the things we had left behind, and extra water throughout the day. The proximity was convenient, being able to walk to the event, and not stress about packing every single thing we could possible need.

The day started off well, some sun and a steady flow of people in the morning and early afternoon, although it didn't seem as busy as last year. I was close to the middle of the segment of the street that was closed off with stages on either end, so I didn't get to hear any of the music. Furthermore, since there was a steady crowd in the morning, I didn't get a chance to break away and check out the other artists, so I don't have much to say about the festival as a whole. I can say that the crowd that it drew was very friendly and seemed appreciative of art and the work that goes into it. It's a real ego boost to have people come by and tell you how talented you are and how much they like your stuff, but it would be even better if each of them actually bought something.

The dark clouds started rolling in, and at around one it started to drizzle, then it poured. What miserable conditions after all that work and excitement. I heard there was a young woman just standing behind her table holding an umbrella over her work. It's hard to think that so many people's main source of income relies on these outdoor festivals, when so much depends on the weather. It didn't pour the entire afternoon, but it was wet and gloomy enough to keep people indoors, and Amanda and I under our canopy, which now had tarps as walls blinding us from the other vendors.

Maybe this is just how it goes, the past three events that I've sold at, and the only ones I've blogged about, have had some kind of outside occurrence negatively influencing the turn out. But craft fairs are just one avenue to sell your artwork, and still a good way to meet people and talk to them face to face about your work. In the end I did make a decent amount of sales, learned about some other places to sell my work, and had a great time with friends that visited my booth, so I guess all there is to do now is to keep creating.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

New Product Announcement: Scarves

I am very excited to announce that Revel Scarves are now available! They had a test run at the Brooklyn Indie Market, and many more will be available at Art on Lark in Albany, NY this Saturday, June 26th. They are 100% cotton voile and come in the traditional bandanna size, 18"x18", and a slightly smaller 14"X14". I hand paint them individually with reactive dyes, making them each a unique piece of art work. Wear them on your head, around your wrist, around the brim of your fedora, wherever you need a splash of color. They will be available for sale online soon, after Art on Lark, so if you can't make it for the party on Lark Street, check soon!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Brooklyn Indie Market, June 12th

This past Saturday, June 12, was my first time participating in the Brooklyn Indie Market, in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. Amanda and I left her family’s house in Nassua by a quarter to nine armed with both directions from Google Maps and a Tom Tom. Of course the two wanted us to go in completely different directions once we got further west on the island, so we followed the sultry British voice of the GPS, hoping we made the right choice. We spotted the red and white striped tent by 9:30 and easily slid into a parking spot across the street.

Set-up was not until 10:00, so we stopped at the Fall Café across the street from the venue for some breakfast. We continued to give this establishment business throughout the day as a trade off for using their bathroom. It was a vicious cycle of buying a drink to use the restroom, drinking it, and then needing to go back and buy another drink.

We walked across the street and into the tent to be greeted by Kathy Malone, the organizer of the Brooklyn Indie Market, who led me to the middle of the tent and let me choose which side to file in on. It was a small space, but not crowded, with enough room for around 15 artists.

Pedestrians started wandering in before 11:00, the official start time. The morning rush seemed to be overflow from a nearby farmer’s market, as most had fresh vegetables. Most were young families, with infants and toddlers, and even a young girl rocking a Snow White costume riding a scooter. From what I saw this is the majority of the Carroll Garden’s community, the market’s central customer base. Most of the day was slow, although traffic did pick up in the late afternoon. Other vendor’s said it was slower than past weekends.

In the afternoon I went for a walk down Union Street and was reminded that the World Cup was being aired, and saw that the bars were packed with people in there American flag swimming trunks and Uncle Sam hats. Perhaps that was a factor in this Saturday being slower than others, and maybe a game ending gave us that afternoon rush. There was that one guy who ran through the tent wa-hoo-ing with a hand drum, and that other guy who was admiring my work with ‘I’ve been drinking all day,’ glazed over eyes.

I’ve only shown at one-day art/craft fairs in the past, never a weekly market. The Brooklyn Indie Market does not seem to be a destination for anyone, other than my mom and my friends who came. The customers were mainly people who were walking by anyway and decided to stroll through. The rotation of vendors and groovy tunes does help the market stay fresh and interesting, and there is ample foot traffic in the neighborhood. I think the key at this market is to know the audience and offer what they want, and to have a display that will grab the passer-byers, and force them to stop and shop.

Towards the end of the day Kathy came around with champagne for the vendors as we were anxiously waiting the end, but still hoping for one more sale. Amanda and I were very excited to buy a print by Rebecca Sherman, a very talented artist, and in the end I made a decent amount of sales, and hope all of the artists did as well.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Mayday! Underground Crafts and Art was this past Saturday in Rochester, NY. I had been preparing for weeks, making wallets, necklaces and bottle openers. I'm lucky enough to have an incredible girlfriend, who not only helped me with some finishing touches in the nights before the show, and put up with my stressed-out, control freakishness that emanates before deadlines, but then woke up well before sunrise on Saturday morning.

A little over three hours, and far too many radio-scan stops on western New York country music radio stations, we arrived in downtown Rochester, and found the venue with ease thanks to the craft fair signs guiding our way. As we carried the gear and goods down the stairs to the lower floor of the building, I was met by one of the Mayday! organizers, Amanda. I shook her hand to introduce myself by first name only, and she recited my full name, business name, and quickly found my booth number. Impressive.

From the perspective of an artist who is accustomed to working in a warehouse, the space was seductive. Bare beamed ceilings and raw wood floors, with brick walls exposed by the flaking off of years of paint jobs. The construction style string lights added to the industrial ambiance, but the lack of natural light was unbearable by the end of the day. Maybe the cobwebs, creeks and cracks would have held their charm through the hours, if it hadn't been the most gorgeous day so far this spring.

Beautiful weather can be a difficult adversary, but our organizers had their gloves on. Amanda and Casey kept the vendors involved and informed with emails leading up to Mayday, designed a killer logo, and printed flyers and bags for the event. They stitched up 30 swag bags, which many of the artists contributed towards, drawing an eager crowd to kick off the day. Being from Albany, I did not personally experience it, but I heard that there was good advertising and attention from the local press. Unfortunately, however, Mother Nature prevailed and kept most people out to soak up the rays.

She left a diverse and talented group of artists to meet and admire each others work. I was impressed by many of the vendors, but a few of my favorites were excessary, dock2letterpress and pidge pidge.

I look forward to the next Mayday! Underground. With two diligent organizers and an ensemble representing a broad range of art and creativity, there is promise for this event in years to come.