Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cow Art and More at the Holstein convention

Share |
In case you missed at the Holstein convention last week, we want to catch you up on just how the booth finally came together!

This was our "blank slate". The booth came with a covered table, two chairs, 3 foot sidewalls and an 8 foot backwall.

I had the convention center staff add 8 foot tall polls with connecting horizontal bars around all sides. This allowed me to add lights to the top of the booth.

You can also see I hung ivory drapes in the back (I wanted the art to hang on a neutral color) and wood floor design foam tiles on the floor. (Yes, that is one of my peeps putting them together.)

I put the table along one of the sides and covered with the chocolate colored table cover. I then set up pedestals along the back and in the front corner of the booth. The Cow Art and More booth was also on the end of the row, so I had the show staff take off the outer side rail to allow traffic to flow easier.

The finished booth with cow artwork in place! The great majority of our art was of Holstein cattle, but a few Jerseys managed to sneak in too.

The two wooden framed drawings were the original ideal Holstein and ideal Red and White Holstein done by Gary Sauder. The stained glass piece in the center right was done by the McIntyres and had one of Gary Sauder's ideal Holstein cow prints in the center.

We had several Holstein prints by Jo Lynch. This same design is also available as a cross stitch pattern.

"Bessie the Cow" made her debut! She was just added to the Cow Art and More gallery this week. She was also a big hit with the kids since she was hanging out on ground level. Bessie can be displayed indoors, but is meant to live outside and enjoy the weather.

In addition to having the new Holstein cow bookmarks, we also had flower and bird designs from the same artist at Palmetto Cat Designs.

We also debuted our new farm themed nightlights (and sold out)! These will be listed soon on Cow Art and More. Be sure to keep an eye on our new products section.

In addition to having the Out to Pasture and Over the Moon tote bags by Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson, we also showcased bags with the Grazing Beneath a Garnet Sky image by Robin Maria Pedrero.

Of course we couldn't come without bringing our Southern Living star, "Lazy Afternoon" by Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson. She looked the regal part watching over the Cow Art and More booth and was sold to a farm in Virginia before the show was over.

By far, one of the favorite things of the convention was visiting with dairy farmers from across the country. America salutes what you do and I am honored to represent your passions in artistic forms. We will also be posting our success in helping the National Holstein Women's Scholarship Organization raise money for their scholarship through the sale of the milk bottle charm.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday's agricultural website - Progressive Dairyman

Share |
Today's agricultural website to share with readers is for Progressive Dairyman, an online news source with offline magazines. Progressive Dairy Publishing began more than 20 years ago with the company’s first publication, Progressive Dairyman. The goal was to provide timely, professional information to dairy farmers in Idaho.

Over the years, Progressive Dairyman has grown in influence, becoming the source of dairy information in the Northwest and securing many loyal readers throughout the U.S. The company now publishes three additional magazines: El Lechero, Progressive Forage Grower and Progressive Cattleman.

In the spirit of June is Dairy month, the magazine is sponsoring their own version of "bracketology" with an ice cream face off. Voting for the second round runs through this Thursday!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cow Art and More June e-news

Share |
While we're busy setting up the Cow Art and More art booth at the National Holstein convention, we invite you to take a moment to read our monthly e-news. We always try to share useful tips and information with readers, including how to make the most of your art purchase. Click here to read the Cow Art and More new art, decorating tips, and DIY art project.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Getting the cow art booth ready

Share |
I'm minutes away from pulling out the door, but had a few more "hodge podge" pictures to share:

My woodworking friend Bill also cut some scrap lumber for me to use as shelving. Here, I'm drilling holes for screws to attach the brackets.

He also marked holes for me to drill to attach screws to secure the jewelry displays.

Some good fit and now I can secure it. (Bill is always good about "safety".)

A "ballot box" to collect names for the Cow Art and More contact list. I like doing it this way as to protect people's privacy. Do you really like adding your name to a list so everyone can see?

Okay, the truck is PACKED FULL and we are heading north! See you on Friday!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New sterling silver jewelry charm

Share |
I am proud to announce the new jewelry charm has arrived! Enjoy the solid sterling silver milk bottle as a way to show your dairy pride (and help a worthy charity in the process).

Click here to order the sterling silver milk bottle charm

P.S. Order this silver milk bottle charm through Thursday, June 23, and receive FREE shipping!

Finishing up the cow art display

Share |
It's crunch time for the debut of Cow Art and More at the National Holstein Convention! One of the final things to do over the last week was making the fabric covers for the pedestals.

Some of the pedestals will have a nice pale green cover. This is a fire retardant fabric I bought directly from the manufacturer.

I used my handy-dandy sewing machine (which had not seen the light of day in awhile) to finish the edges.

I also did the same with some burlap fabric, but had to use a "edging glue" to keep the sides from fraying.

To hang these to the pedestals, I have a applied velcro to the cardboard pedestal and the fabric cover.

Look for pictures of the finished product later this week!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday's agriculture website - National Holstein Convention

Share |
Whether you're coming to the National Holstein Convention this week or not, you can read about the Holstein breed and some of the Holstein dairy cow farmers in Virginia. Holstein breeders hold a convention every year in a different state. The official convention website also has a copy of the souvenir catalog. There are plenty of activities for youth and adults, not to mention a sale Friday evening of some of the best Holstein cattle in the country! (and don't forget, Cow Art and More will be there for our first live event!)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday's art article - SELECTING ART MATS

Share |
Today's article of interest to art enthusiasts is on different considerations for selecting mats for an art purchase. While a frame is important to a piece of art, mats are just as important for helping to complement the piece. This article goes over some basic considerations in selecting the right mat for a piece.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Art show display fabrics

Share |
I'm not done getting the pedestals ready for the National Holstein Convention, but thought I would take a break from that to show you about some of the other fabrics I will be using. Even though our booth will be coming with drapes and a table cover, I am bringing my own. Why? The show management picked the colors and they're not the kind that I would say "go with art gallery decor". I want the art to display at its best!

These 8 foot tall drapes will hang along the back of the booth. They are an ivory color and will be the background for a couple of hanging canvas art prints by Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson.

I have an "earthy, chocolate brown" for the table cover. This will give the table a sophisticated, yet country feel. It will also go nicely with the "wood" floor tiles.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Jewelry display cases

Share |
Now that the pedestals are on their way to being done, I wanted something a little extra "secure" for the jewelry. Don't get me wrong, farm people are some of the nicest, most honest people in the world, but how does the saying go...."Trust in God, but lock your car." I've done art shows before and had jewelry stolen, so I know the potential exists. I also needed wood planks cut for a shelf, so to get both projects done, I gave my local art show, woodworking buddy a call.

This is Bill. He makes wooden boxes and other assorted pieces from exotic woods. He is also a man after my own heart as he has completely converted his garage into his studio (same here). I needed him to cut some wood boards and dowel rod, along with drilling some holes into the medium density fiberboard pedestal tops. Bill is pretty good about figuring out the simplest way of doing things. I just need to go to him with an idea.

I think I caught him off guard a couple of times. He's used to working without a flash....or an audience.

Without a doubt, I know he got this job done better and faster than I ever could have. He's got the best in tools, including a laser sighted wood saw. Pretty slick!

I don't know what the technical description is of the technique here, but he's doing a partial drill out of circles for the dowel rod pieces that are going to support the glass for the jewelry display.

No art studio is complete without a mascot. This is "Steve", of the rare breed, "Florida brown dog". Steve was a stray dumped in Bill's neighborhood a few years ago, and he's been hanging here ever since.

The construction is done! The wooden dowel rods are holding up a piece of glass. The jewelry will be displayed underneath. Not high tech or high security, but enough to make someone give pause.

More on the pedestal construction this week!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Constructing art display pedestals

Share |
In a post last week, I showed you a trip to Lowe's to get tops for art display pedestals. The next step was to put them together.

I had the medium density fiberboard (MDF) cut into squares of 14 by 14 inches and 12 by 12 inches. I managed to get a total of 21 squares out of a 4 foot by 9 foot sheet.

I centered a 12 inch by 12 inch square on a 14 inch by 14 inch square. I glued it down with wood glue and let it sit for 24 hours.

While those were drying, I started working on the pedestal base.

I ordered a stack of 10 cardboard boxes, double walled thickness, 12 inches by 12 inches by 48 inches. It almost cost as much to ship them as it cost for the boxes.

I had selected a few different heights that I wanted to give the display some visual interest. This particular box, I marked 40 inches from the bottom all the way around.

I then used my handy-dandy "as seen on TV ginsu knife" to cut the box. (Yes, that's me in the do-rag at left. I'm either wearing one of those of a baseball cap.)

Voila! Cardboard pedestals with hard tops! The top piece is the 14 by 14 and 12 by 12 combo. A 12 inch by 12 inch piece of MDF is in the inside bottom of the box to help keep it steady. I figured I made 7 for the cost of buying 2 already made.

They're still not done though. I need to make covers and have attachments for glass for the jewelry display pieces.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Monday's agriculture website - Agchat Foundation calendar contest

Share |
In case you don't know, I'm a founding board member of the Agchat Foundation. Currently, we are running a picture contest for our 2012 calendar, to be sold at a later date. First prize is a scholarship to our conference in August or an agnerd technology gift certificate! The top five places get a prize and the top 12 are included in the calendar. Below is a link to the contest, or you can go to the Agchat Foundation Facebook page contests tab to enter the contest as well. You have until this Sunday, June 19 to submit your entry. Voting starts June 20, so encourage your friends to come and help you win! Winners are announced July 19. Good luck!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday's art video - How to add charms to a charm bracelet

Share |
Want to know how to add charms to a bracelet yourself? I've created this short video to show you how to do it in just a couple of minutes with a few tools.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Art gallery display pedestals

Share |
One of the things I'm going to need in a couple of weeks is counter height display pedestals. I'm making my own floor standing pedestal displays made from cardboard and medium density fiberboard (MDF). I'm not necessarily a do-it-yourselfer, but I weigh the cost versus the time. In this case, I figured I could get 4 to 6 pedestals for the price of buying one if I did it myself.

My research led to the websites of several large home improvement stores. I found the MDF I wanted and it came in a 4 foot by 9 foot size. "Great!" I thought to myself. That will definitely be enough. Got my wood working buddy to agree to cut it to size for me, so off I went to Lowe's.

When I got there, I asked for help finding the said 4 foot by 9 foot MDF. As the very nice men at Lowe's took me there, I had this, "Oh my God, what was I thinking moment". How the heck did I think I was going to get this home in my vehicle???? (Notice said piece of MDF in the picture. It's huge!)

I looked at the two Lowe's guys and asked, "Can you guys cut this?" In a rather confident, respectful tone, one of them answered, "Ma'am, we're Lowes."

Yeah, I should have know they could do it.

So the very nice sales associates at Lowe's cut up my MDF (and thought I was a whack job for taking pictures too).

In the end, I have enough pieces to do 6 pedestals. Next on the to do list for this project is to cut the cardboard.

Stay tuned for the next part of the pedestal making.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Portable art gallery lighting

Share |
Part of having a good art show booth display is to make sure customers can actually see what you're trying to sell. This sounds like a "duh", I know, but extra lighting can make or break the success of a booth. Even though the Cow Art and More art show booth at the Holstein convention is indoors in the convention center, the lights won't be enough. I'm going to need to take lights with me.

There are several lighting options, but what works best for me is a portable (which really isn't meant to be portable) track lighting system. I will be taking three two foot track sections with gooseneck lights purchased from one of those major home improvement retailers. Why two foot sections you might ask? Portability! I can take these apart versus trying to bring a 6 foot track in the back of a SUV.

To get the tracks back together, I use connectors and put covers over them. I also have it wired to an electrical cord at the end.

This is what the finished track looks like when it's hung and lit. I've attached it to a cross bar above the top front of the booth (this picture is from a different show) with cable ties. The gooseneck pendant lamps are adjustable, so I can pose them to shine light exactly where I want them too.

You can't have too much lighting!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Portable art gallery flooring

Share |
One of the first things I did in designing the booth was deciding that I wanted a distinct gallery feel to the space. When it comes to setting up in convention centers, there can be anything from carpet to a bare concrete floor. I considered an area rug, but then found these great spongy tiles (that have the same sponginess as the tiles used in milking parlors).

I settled on two foot by two foot interlocking tiles with a wood grain pattern. I also bought a zippered carrying case for them. The portability also made them more appealing than an area rug.

As you can see they are pretty easy to put together. My youngest was having a great time helping me make sure the tiles were going to work. The great thing about these mats too is that they should help people (and me too) feel comfortable while standing.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Monday's agriculture website - Midwest Dairy

Share |
Did you know June is Dairy month? June Dairy Month, an annual celebration that began in 1937, is traditionally a time to reflect on dairy foods and the industry that makes it possible. It was created as a promotion to help distribute extra milk when cows started on pasture in the summer months. Today, its rich history continues, with communities, companies and people from all over the country observing June Dairy Month in a variety of ways.

Head over the the Midwest Dairy site to learn more about June Dairy month and dairy farming. You will have the opportunity to meet some dairy farmers, learn more about how they take care of their cows, and learn how to cook with dairy products. Moms can also get nutrition advice and recipes.

The Midwest Dairy Association is a non-profit organization financed and directed by the dairy producers in nine states in the midwest. The association implements programs that help increase sales and demand for dairy products and dairy ingredients and help improve the economic well-being of Midwest dairy producers. The association's education division promotes a healthy diet through nutrition education and the use of dairy products to consumers, health professionals and teachers.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Friday's art article - How to ask for an art donation

Share |

Both myself and Cow Art and More get requests from many worthy charities and non profits for art donations. The requests are usually for pieces for a silent auction, raffle, or door prize. Since I have created a new sterling silver charm with a portion of the sale price to go to a charity, I wanted to share 10 points for others to learn how to successfully approach a person or entity for an art donation for their cause.

1. Approach an artist or gallery you have a good relationship with. This could be that you are a regular customer or regularly interact via social media or live events.

2. Approach someone that has strong feelings about the charity or non profit group you are raising funds for. For example, when the president of the National Holstein Women's Scholarship Organization approached me about a fundraising joint venture, as a past scholarship winner, I wanted to make sure the program could continue and was happy to step up and do my part.

3. Know that artists and galleries get MANY requests for donations. This may even be a good way to lead into your request: "You must get lots of requests to donate your beautiful paintings. Our organization would be grateful if you would at least consider making a donation for our annual fundraiser."

4. Write your request to an actual person! Research the gallery and/or artist to find an actual contact person versus sending your request to "To Whom It May Concern".

5. Share what the artist and/or gallery can expect to receive in return for their donation. Are you going to feature the art and/or the artist in a brochure or catalog about the event? Will the artist's work be shown with their name and photograph? Are you asking the artist or a gallery representative to make a personal appearance?

6. A little flattery goes a long way (but be sincere!) Get to know the gallery or artist and their art first before you ask for a donation. It will be much easier for you to talk about their art and why you find it a good fit for your charity event.

7. Consider asking if the artwork is available for purchase at the wholesale price (since you are asking on behalf of a charity). While artists and galleries may balk at giving up art outright, they may consider selling it to the charity at a discount. Cow Art and More has done that for several non profit organizations with good success. Our artists got to make a sale, the charity got the retail profit, and I was happy knowing that Cow Art and More was able to help a worthy organization.

8. Don't forget to follow up with a handwritten thank you on a nice card or stationery. Not a postcard. Not an email. Not a "thank you" buried somewhere on your website. A thoughtful, handwritten thank you goes a long way in getting the artist or gallery to make a donation again.

9. Know that some of the artists and galleries are going to say no (and remind yourself this is okay). It might be the artists doesn't have any inventory to spare or can't afford the donation. Regardless, thank him or her for their time and ask if it's okay for you to contact them in the future.

10. Lastly, do not tell the artists what they can or can't do in terms of how this donation relates to their tax situation. Donating art is a tricky situation; recommend the artist or gallery consult their financial adviser for advice on this matter.

*This article was written by Cow Art and More gallery owner and jewelry artist Kathy McComb Swift.*

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A preview of the Cow Art and More art show booth

Share |
Designing a "portable" art gallery space is no easy task. I need something that can travel in a vehicle, set up easily, and not cost a fortune. I found a very helpful program, Google SketchUp, which allowed me to create three dimensional images of what I'm trying to design. Very cool! It actually has been a big help in trying to help me visualize what I can and can't do.

So before I show you what I've designed, let me share with you what I'm trying to accomplish:

  • The booth needs to flow well and have ample room to display different types of two and three dimensional art.
  • I want to give the booth a "gallery feel", which means good lighting and somewhere between a tidy and sophisticated atmosphere.
  • This is for an indoor booth display 10 feet wide by 10 feet deep.

This is a screen shot of the booth. There is a table with a shelf riser, pedestal displays, and a couple of wire racks (the black and silver poles at opposite corners).

The floor is wood grain patterned mats and there will be lights hanging overhead.

Over the next couple of weeks, I will be walking you through all the components and how they're made.
Related Posts with Thumbnails