If you’re looking for Christmas gifts that show your Alabama state pride, look no further than at artist Sony Clemmons’s folk art. Her whimsical Alabama folk art ornaments, prints and textiles can be found in stores throughout North Alabama. [Read more…] about Sonya Clemmons tells inspiring southern stories through her artwork
This week we’re rewinding episode 27 of the Birmingham Shines podcast featuring Birmingham mixed media artist Susan Shoemaker, who works under the name pencilpress.
As it happens, Susan / @pencilpress / is the featured artist for this month’s Birmingham Artwalk downtown.
Susan markets her work under the pencilpress brand, which connects to her college art studies in printmaking and her love of drawing. And she also presses hard with her pencil. Hence, pencilpress.
Susan is known for her animal-focused art and she explains how she conceives and creates animal drawings, paintings and other works.
Art as Calling, Art as Career
We get into art-as-calling (a little bit) the creative process, art in schools and what it’s like to pursue art while working a full-time day job.
Susan also explains how she gave up art for some years after college, while she worked full time, and then returned when she found that art was something that she could not let go.
Susan also talks about some of the challenges that artists are facing—and they might surprise you. One is the challenge of dealing with bad weather during an outdoor art show. Another stems from the frequent requests that artists receive to donate their work for fundraising campaigns. This is something that the artist community, overall, is facing and working to address.
We also talk about the challenge of pricing and value and perceptions of price, time, value and quality in the context of art AND food.
PencilPress.org (not .com)
Thanks to Chris and Ana Newsome for letting me commandeer a corner table at [the original location of Ollie Irene] at 4 p.m. one November Friday afternoon to record the interview and thanks to the house staff for being so accommodating with the request to turn down the background music a bit. Excited that Ollie Irene will soon be reopening in their new location in Crestline Village.
This week’s rewind takes us back to East Lake Market, a small-but-vibrant farmers and crafters market operated by Peer, Inc., a nonprofit, in the parking lot behind East Lake United Methodist Church.
One mission focus of Peer, Inc. is to provide healthy food for the East Lake Community and market opportunities for Alabama farmers.
The interviews and commentary featured in this episode were recorded in June 2016 and the episode was released June 25, 2016.
I usually pay a visit to East Lake Market every Saturday morning during season when I’m in town. East Lake Market is my first stop to pick the locally-grown produce that I don’t have on hand from my own Shine Springs Farm.
In this episode we hear from:
Witt Farms in Hayden
Benny Dixon of Dixon Family Farms in Clanton
Eugenia Wynfrey of Wynfrey Farms in Boaz
Jimmy Carmack of Pure Alabama Honey (several hundred hives) he touches on the challenges in beekeeping
Sister Sniffle: Facebook, Soundcloud, Bandcamp
Kevin Snelson representing Whited Farms at East
Sally Aloca – Executive Director of Peer, Inc., the nonprofit that operates the East Lake Farmers Market at East Lake United Methodist Church
Max Bellmore, a student in the Samford University Accelerated Nursing Program. Max is from Chicago.
Jennifer Freeman, also a student in the Samford University Accelerated Nursing Program. Jennifer is a California native
The East Lake Farmers Market is open on Saturdays from April through October and is located at East Lake United Methodist Church in east Birmingham, Alabama.
Last year some of us women who regularly attend SEC (Southeastern Conference) football games were a little perplexed because of the newly implemented clear bag policy at all of stadiums. The SEC implemented the new policy as an extra security measure because of the size of the venues and crowds according to a statement released by the SEC “Football stadiums are the largest venues in the world, therefore fan safety is of the upmost priority” the statement read.
The new policy meant I could no longer carry my cute team –logoed purse into the games. The policy not only stated the bag had to be clear, but it also required that all bags had to be a certain size. I also looked for the regulated bag in team shops around Birmingham and could not find one I liked. I finally settled for and bought a bag I saw at one of the bookstores in Auburn before the first home game. While entering the stadium last year, I saw many women having to check their bags at a tractor- trailer storage unit outside of Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium because they didn’t have the regulated purse or bag to enter.
My experience was not uncommon, and in fact, a similar experience is what led North Alabama entrepreneurs and friends Brittany Trapp and Laura Beth Agee to open their store Purseption. Brittany and Laura have been friends since kindergarten. Brittany attended Auburn and Laura attended Alabama and when they couldn’t find a cute PVC compliant bag when they went shopping, the two began designing their line of bags. Purseption is a line of genuine leather and PVC clear bag policy compliant bags.
“We went out shopping for a cute PVC compliant bag and couldn’t find one,” said Brittany Trapp, Co-Owner of Pursepetion. “We talked about it and thought that there must be other women who faced the same dilemma, so that’s how our company got started.”
According to their brand promise: “PURSEption” gives every stylish girl a style they want to emulate not just on gameday, but everyday. The two get their inspiration for the designs from the people around them, while at the same time, keeping functionality in mind. “We create our designs based on what people have told us they would like to see, our family and friends are our inspiration. Our goal is to create a line women would use not only on gameday, but everyday.” Brittany added.
The two have had a wild ride in their first year of business. The bags are currently a hot commodity. As soon as a bag is designed and made, it sells out. Dillard’s throughout the U.S. also carries the bags in stores and online. You also can purchase Purseption bags through their online store and in a variety of boutiques across the U.S. as well as at several boutiques in Alabama. The bags also meet the compliance policy for NFL games.
“Every entrepreneur needs to believe in themselves and the product or service they are offering,” said Brittany. “We are thrilled with how our business has been received in this first year, and are excited about where we are going in the future. We love what we do and we hope our customers love our bags as much as we do.”
No matter which football team you cheer for, we all can celebrate the fact that we now have a stylish clear bag option we can now purchase. I, for one, love the Brittany style bag and can’t wait to place my order!
This week’s edition of the Birmingham Shines podcast retrospective series is a rewind of episode 3 featuring Sheree’s conversation with Javacia Harris Bowser. This episode was released on May 13, 2015.
Javacia Harris Bowser talks about founding SeeJaneWrite-Birmingham when she couldn’t find the writing group she was looking for.
Javacia Harris Bowser, my guest for Week 3 of the Birmingham Shines
podcast, is a writer, teacher and entrepreneur. She’s also a successful blogger and founder of See Jane Write Birmingham—networking group for
women writers that has turned into a business.
Javacia moved to Birmingham several years ago from Louisville, Kentucky to teach English at the Alabama School of Fine Arts. Before embarking on her teaching career, Javacia worked professionally as a journalist and she continues to do freelance writing work today.
Do one thing every day that scares you.
That’s the inspirational quote that Javacia shared with me when I asked her for something to inspire others to Discover. Grow. Shine.™
If you want to grow, you must be willing to get out of your comfort zone, even
just a little bit. When you do, you usually find that it wasn’t so bad after all—especially if you’re taking little steps. No need to take up hang-gliding. Just send an email to someone you admire and don’t know and invite them to coffee. Take a different route home from work. Or maybe do your grocery shopping in reverse order from your usual routine.
It’s pretty clear that Javacia is willing to take her own advice.
When Javacia couldn’t find the type of writing group she was looking for, she decided to start one. The first “official” meeting of See Jane Write Birmingham was a simple dinner meet-up on March 24, 2011 at a Mexican restaurant in Birmingham.
That meet-up led to a “next event,” which was all about using Twitter to network, connect with others and build a blogging audience. The successful Twitter event led to a blogging workshop and into one-on-one consulting and even bigger events.
See Jane Write Birmingham has grown immensely in the four [now 6] years since that first informal meet-up and today Javacia offers consulting and online courses for women who aspiring writers and entrepreneurs. Find out more about the See Jane Write Birmingham story by listening to episode 3 of Birmingham Shines—if you haven’t already!
What to Read
Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso
Where to eat in Birmingham….
Where to caffeinate in Birmingham….
Church Street Coffee & Books
Goddess by Banks
Anything by Beyoncé
Where to get fit….
Jennifer Dome King: Stellar Fashion and Fitness
I love Jennifer Dome King’s blog Stellar Fashion and Fitness. It has such a great message about body positivity.
Get up early.
I’ll echo this one—I got up before 5 a.m. to start writing this blog post [in 2015]. I’m a big believer in “early to bed, early to rise.” If you know me at all, you probably know how I go on all the time about Ben Franklin!
What makes Birmingham Shine……
The Creative Class
I hope you are inspired by Javacia as I am!