Thursday, November 15, 2012

Stickers! Now on Etsy!

Stickers have arrived!  Whoohoo!

Fox, Wolf, Owl and Turtle are all available in sticker form on Esty and at markets and craft fairs.  Each measures 2"x2" and are printed on vinyl for longer use!

Each animal is from an original collage, and has a special Totem meaning, too!

Fox represents magic, shapeshifting, invisibility, and family relationships. (From original artwork, When The Time Is Right, 2009)
Wolf represents intuition, learning and spirit, and reminds us not to waste our natural resources. (From original artwork, The Spirit Awakens Us, 2009)
Owl represents wisdom, prophecy, and listening to oneself. (From original artwork, Transformation of Knowledge, 2011)
Turtle represents the earth, grounding, nurturing, protection, boundaries, self-reliance and balance. (From original artwork, The Depth of Joyful Timelessness, 2010)

(I'm not sure why some photos are upside down.)

All designs and artwork © Nicolette Callaway. Artist retains all reproduction rights.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Craft Fairs and The Cheese Traveler

Today seems like a good day to post an update on what I've been doing, and will be doing, as far as artwork-selling events and venues are concerned...

Craft Fairs/Markets:

This summer was a great time selling my artwork at the Delmar Farmer's Market every Saturday!  I've met some great, talented and like-minded people, and am glad to be part of this market.  The Delmar Farmers Market is still going on, with local farm goods, artisan cheeses, baked goods, hand-crafts, artwork, and more!  Every Saturday morning through Christmas, 9am-1pm, in the Bethlehem Central Middle School Cafeteria.  A great place to get holiday items and support local business!

This Sunday I will also be at the Congregation Beth Emeth Winter Shopping Land craft fair, 9am-3pm.  Should be good!

Thanksgiving weekend I will be at Delmar on Saturday (11/24), but on Friday and Sunday (11/23 & 11/25), I will be at the Albany Institute of History and Art Holiday Gift Fair, which should be really fantastic.  This will be my first time participating in this event, and I have heard nothing but good things about it.  I highly recommend checking it out.

In December, I will begin a once-a-month winter craft market at the Albany Jewish Community Center, on Sunday, December 16th.  Again, this will be my first time for this event (it's actually theirs, too!), and I'm excited to discover what it's like.

The Cheese Traveler:

On an even more exciting note, my cards, prints, and other crafts can now be found in The Cheese Traveler shop at 540 Delaware Ave., next to All Good Bakers and Mingle.  The new cheese, meat and specialty food shop is certain to wow you!  The Cheese Traveler will be celebrating its Grand Opening with an event this Sunday, November 18th, from 1-6pm.  The event will feature tastings of culinary delights by guest chefs, readings and music by local artists, and catering by Mingle, All Good Bakers, Fin, Tilldale Farm, The Cheese Traveler, and the Chef's Consortium.  (You can check out The Cheese Traveler and the event on Facebook, too, and "Like" The Cheese Traveler while you're doing so!)

I hope you can make it out for one of these events, or all of them!  Why not?
(Also, I recommend that you "Like" my art page on FB, as well as The Cheeese Traveler!)

Friday, November 9, 2012

This Weekend - Craft Fairs and Markets!

This weekend I will be selling my fine art, card reproductions and fine art prints at the following two venues:

Delmar Farmer's Market
Bethlehem Central Middle School (in the cafeteria!)
Saturday, 9a-1p

Holiday Craft Fair and Bazaar
First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany
Saturday, 9a-4p
Sunday, 11a-3p

Both markets feature hand-crafted items, artwork, pottery, jewelry, etc. by local crafters.  It's getting to be holiday time -- come check them out!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


It is not everyday that I encounter a woodpecker, which is why I've never created a piece with a woodpecker in it.  And yet this morning, as I was leaving my house, I noticed a woodpecker, beating away at a tree.  Beautiful and full of rhythm, I watched it for a minute before having to get in my car and drive away. 

It is said that when a woodpecker enters your life, it means that you are safe in the foundation you've created for yourself, and you can follow through with whatever you've begun, or, I suppose, have been contemplating.  In doing so, you will create new rhythms and awaken new sensibilities and skills.  The woodpecker tells us to listen to our own bodily rhythms and sounds, and determine from there where to move to. 

Have I been listening?  I think so.  Can I make my own new rhythms?  I believe I can.

But still the question remains: "Do I dare?  And do I dare?"

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

New Collage - "Let the Spirit Take You"

I began my most recent piece in April.  I finished it last week.  Five months may seem like a long time, but sometimes art requires that an artist let a piece simmer while doing and experiencing other things.  In the last five months, much has happened.  Lessons have been learned.  Time has moved both quickly and slowly, things have been gained and lost, and hearts have been broken and mended.  This piece speaks to all of that.

The animal totems that appear in "Let the Spirit Take You" (2012) are hummingbird, tortoise, and dog (Golden Retriever).  The hummingbird is a symbol for accomplishing the impossible, and finding joy in all things.  The tortoise represents longevity, persistence, patience, slowing down enough to identify what's really important, and finding the abundance in simplicity.  The dog generally represents faithfulness and protection, and the ability to love.  The Golden Retriever in particular holds qualities of confidence, patience, friendliness and domesticity.

In this piece, all of these totems surround a woman.  She is relaxed, yet vulnerable.  And with vulnerability comes fear.  The hummingbirds are flying at her head, sort of kamikaze-style.  Perhaps they are trying to make most apparent that she can accomplish anything, and that she doesn't have to think about the how but rather just feel the joy of wherever the Spirit takes her.  The tortoise provides stability for her to recline, but it is in her face, talking to her, making a point.  Perhaps it is telling her to slow down and, again, not think so much, but rather watch, be patient, make it through.  The retriever is lying on her feet.  It doesn't worry.  It loves.

Recently I had a conversation with someone about the nature of love.  It is immutable, flexible, infinite, expandable, and unoppressive -- and solid.  Love isn't fleeting, contrary to what many may think.  Love allows us to break, and allows us to mend.  It helps us complete the cycles we experience throughout life.  Where would we be without it?  Likewise, Love's friends -- Patience and Persistence, among many -- are also our helpers.  They all work together to help us accomplish what we never thought possible.  And when we let them help us out, things like how and time -- well, how shows up, and time moves without us even realizing.  Perhaps that's part of the key -- don't think so much.  Let the Spirit take you.

"Let the Spirit Take You"
paper and acrylic medium

Market Saturdays

Just a reminder - I'm at the Delmar Farmer's Market every Saturday morning, 9am-1pm, at Bethlehem Central Middle School.  I will be missing the next two weekends, but I will be back on September 22nd.  Please feel free to email me in the meantime about any artwork, prints, cards, sock monsters, or jewelry -- I can always arrange to meet you during the week for an exchange!

This past Saturday, three small butterflies flew in or through my tent -- two white ones, and the third one was brown.  Any hazards at a guess for the meaning on that series of encounters?

Below is an image from market.  Thanks so much to the customer who snapped this photo!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Yesterday's Market

So a few people have asked me how I did at market yesterday... every Saturday/Sunday I get this question. 

My answer for yesterday is:  "I don't even care about the money. I had a butterfly, a bumble bee and two honey bees fly into my tent!"

The bumble bee flew right toward my face, then up into the top of my tent.  I told it it needed to come back down in order to get out, and then I went about selling.  All of a sudden, it dropped itself onto the table with a bang, right in front of a customer, then flew out.  The honey bees came and went and buzzed around me like they always do.  The butterfly was yellow and black, just like the bees.  It flew right on in, and then got stuck between the top of the tent and one of the sidewalls.  It was missing one of its bottom wings, but after I helped it out of my tent, it just kept on going, like it never knew it was wounded.  

Now, that is a good day. 

Additionally, yesterday I had a meeting with my niece, who is collaborating with me to write the story for my children's book that I mentioned in a blog post a few months ago.  Slow moving, some things are... but they shall still get done.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Signs and Flexibility

As an addendum to my last post on reading signs, I want to say that one must be flexible.  This holds true for everything in life; we will all get further if we keep our thinking about things flexible and expandable.  And if one is practicing any form of art (expressive, visual, literary, etc.), this will necessarily occur (except when one is experiencing artist's block, which generally means that one is being too rigid or literal in their thinking -- aka, being overwhelmed or afraid). 

But in any attempt to follow spirit guides, or signs, outside of an artist perspective, one must not have too strict of an idea of what they're a sign of.  An experience with a spirit guide can hit at the core of a feeling and be dead on, but as for what to DO about it, well... that spirit guide may not be giving you any advice.  That's when the other guides show up and lead you further.  So while we may get hit with one encounter, we've got to keep open and listening.  And, of course, we always must be observant about the actuality of the situations we find ourselves in, and do our best, while feeling the feelings that may come up, to think rationally, and act based on rational thought.  Which is, indeed, flexible.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Things are shifting.  All signs point in that direction. 

When this seems to be the case for me, I watch the animals around me.  These are the animals that eventually show up in my artwork.  What do they have to say to me?  What is their message?  Sometimes I am distracted and can't hear them.  So I research them -- find out their totem meanings.  Then I single out the one or few meanings that fit for me in that moment the animal and I shared.

Recently I experienced four (five) totem animals all in a row.  While I relate this story, I will admit that I am a bit trepidatious to reveal parts of my personal life.  How can a set of experiences so personal to me mean anything to someone else?  By example.  Hopefully, my story will show others how to examine the encounters they have in their own lives.

So I recently started seeing a man.  And while we were on his back porch, a large moth (we're talking near-bat, here) flew at my head kamikaze-style, and into his house.  It landed on his wall.  It was a mottled grey moth, but when it flew, the underside was a brilliant red, making it look almost like a monarch butterfly when in flight.  After studying the moth for a few moments, we did a trap-and-release maneuver for the moth, letting it back outside, to fly at someone else's head.

Now, I have created pieces with moths in them before, but it has been a little while, and if I am not currently working with a particular totem, I will tend to lose track of its entire meaning.  Moth, I was thinking, is transformation.  And while it does symbolize that, as far as totems go, transformation is more the meaning for a butterfly than a moth.  Turns out, moth is a messenger, and a symbol for relationships. Moth will reveal true feelings that are hidden, and trust you to know whether the person you are with is right for you.  Well, this moth nearly hit me in the head.

The next totem animal in this series is the black ant.  They are crawling, one by one, all throughout the man's house.  Black ant also has appeared in my artwork before.  Industriousness, discipline, patience, persistence.  To show us how we can be the architects of our own lives, and can build all of our dreams in time.

The next day, I sat under a tree.  Not to sound too much like Buddah here, I was on my lunch break, having a sort of crisis of fear.  A squirrel ran over, climbed the tree, sat on a limb, and stared me down.  Distracted by the workday and the fear, I could not hear what it was saying to me.  But squirrel (also having appeared in my artwork), while symbolizing gathering and preparedness, also seeks to show us when to unburden ourselves. When is the point where we have collected too much, and are storing burdens of thought that make us inactive?  I believe that squirrel was telling me to drop those fears and move forward.

As I was trying to listen to the squirrel, I had been noticing that my hand kept getting tickled by something.  Without looking, I tried to brush it away.  It came back.  After the squirrel stopped staring me down, I looked at my hand.  A little yellow bee was buzzing around it, as though my hand had a dusting of pollen on it.  Reminding the bee that I was not a flower, I moved from my spot.  The bee probably would not have stung me, though.  As all of these animals were, the bee too was a messenger.  It has been a few years since I created a piece with a bee in it, and that piece hangs on my wall.  Bee is a symbol of fertility and accomplishment, and the bee reminds me to strive for my dreams, to work with others as well as alone, and to work in such a way that I always have time for myself.

These four totem animals in such rapid succession suggest to me that I am on the right path, and will have what I seek in time, as long as I keep watching and listening, moving with steadfastness and patience, being true to myself.  And these totems will likely show up in a new piece of artwork within the coming few months.

While I am not going to bring this post back full-circle, and discuss how all of these encounters relate to a new relationship, I will say that any reader may feel free to analyze if they so choose.  I will also note that these four totems may show up in the new piece along with rabbit, who jumped out at me a few days later.  Rabbit, the keeper of fertility and new life, also reveals the need for planning, and often suggests that success and movement ahead will come in leaps and bounds.  Leaps and bounds.


Friday, July 20, 2012

Delmar Farmers Market

I'm surprised I haven't posted about this before, but you can find me at the Delmar Farmers Market every Saturday, tomorrow through the end of October (with the exception of August 4th and September 15th).

Tomorrow I'll have three new sock monsters... one is a cat monster!  Come check it out, and buy some veggies, fruit, eggs, meat, and... local and artisan cheeses from Eric at The Cheese Traveler!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Art on Lark

Come check out Art on Lark 2012 this Saturday, June 9th, 10am-5pm (tomorrow!).  There will be music, food, and of course, lots of art!  I'll be hawking my wares closer to Madison Ave, offering fine art prints, card prints, original artwork, handmade jewelry, hand sewn fabric bags, and, of course, sock monsters! 

I'm looking forward to the weather getting rain completely out of its system today so that tomorrow is bright and calm and balmy, with nonexistent wind action.  Let's see the power of positive thinking!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

An Opportunity for Consciousness and Community

My grandmother (my dad's mother and my last surviving grandparent) passed away last Saturday, so my sister and I flew down to Florida for her funeral.  On the flight down (and after being frisked by the TSA for having done nothing at all -- is this breach of constitutional rights something we're going to continue to allow to normalize?), I was worried about missing three days of work, and my sister had to remind me that in a year I will not remember missing work at all, but will remember attending my grandmother's funeral, putting family first, and reconnecting with my dad's side of the family, who I hadn't seen in over twenty years.  She always has a nice way of putting things into perspective. 

Over a day and a half of spending time with and getting to know family I never got to, I learned that my cousins and I actually have a lot in common, and they're really kinda cool and my family is pretty fun (and funny).  Though I may be mourning the loss of family for a period of twenty years plus, I have the opportunity now to create meaningful relationships with my aunts, my cousins, and their children.

After my grandmother's funeral and internment at Bushnell National Cemetery an hour and a half away (the wake was the evening before), my sister and I went back to the hotel to rest and print our boarding passes for the next morning.  Arriving in the hotel lobby, we realized the printer was out of paper.  The desk manager, a mid-aged African-American man, came over to see what we were doing with the computers, and we asked him for more paper to print our boarding passes.  He brought us paper and recognized from our story--which we offered freely--that we were our father's daughters (he apparently had had conversations with our dad about the loss of his mother), and he offered his condolences.  After printing our boarding passes, my sister and I noticed the complimentary happy hour beer keg offering next to us in the lobby.  It seemed a sort of free-for-all; guests were approaching and pouring cups of beer for themselves, and returning two or three times over, in front of the concierge/desk manager.  My sister then approached to pour herself a glass (now, my sister is six and half years older than I am, and I am nearly twenty-nine, and though we may look younger than we are, we both certainly look older than twenty), at which time the desk manager asked my sister for ID.  Who brings their ID with them from their room to the lobby to print boarding passes?  There was no signage near the keg saying the hotel would card anyone who looked under thirty, and my sister doesn't look under thirty in any event.  No one else was being carded.  So while all the other guests can freely pour themselves glass after glass of beer, my sister has to trek back to her room to get ID for a man who is participating in the perpetuation of three oppressions: adultism (agism), sexism and racism.  Not to mention the fact that he left the desk and keg area for upwards of ten minutes while a child's high school graduation party was going on in a conference room twenty feet from the then unattended keg.  Priorities?  My sister was very upset, and I offered her the suggestion that she stand up for herself and let him know just what he did, how it affected her, and how it will affect other people.  We went to the room and got our IDs, then headed back to the lobby.  We waited patiently until the desk manager was free, and my sister approached the desk.  She placed her ID on the desk and said to the manager, "now you know what a 35-year-old woman looks like."  He tried to explain himself away, saying that he had to card anyone who looked around thirty or younger (which he had not, for any of the near-thrirty men in the lobby), and that she should take it as a compliment that she looks young.  She responded that it is not a compliment, and that she would be filing a formal complaint for discrimination.  It is discrimination when an unidentified rule is applied to only certain people because of the way they look.  And I will have every reader know that a woman being told she looks young, particularly when she is being condescended to, is not a compliment.  Nor should I be pleased when whistled at or catcalled "because he thinks [I'm] hot" (and whistling -- really?  I am a human, not a dog).  We women all have the ability to stand up for ourselves, and all men can take the opportunity to be conscious of events like these and end oppression in its tracks.

After my sister took her stand, we walked out of the hotel lobby and proceeded to the bar/restaurant across the street.  My sister and I had been having a relatively blithe conversation at the bar, and after my father awoke from his nap at the hotel, he joined us.  After a little while, one of the hostesses, a lovely Dominican woman, approached me at the bar.  She told me that a customer had offered her coworker two dollars to go up to me and slap me on the back.  To preface this, I was still recovering from a bright red sunburn I had received from working hard in my garden four days before, and it was visible above the backline of my funereal sundress.  Who offers someone two dollars to do something cruel to someone else, something that would clearly hurt, and because it would hurt?  Not to mention the sexism that plays in -- the assumption that because I'm blonde, young and pretty, and wearing a sundress, that I would be stupid and lay out in the sun or play in the sun without sunblock, allowing myself to get badly burned, ha ha ha... (insert seething sarcasm).  My first instinct was to ask the hostess where that customer was so I could go up to him (I not incorrectly assumed it was a he) and slap him on the back for free.  The hostess tried to explain away the comment of the customer who had at that point left the restaurant, saying he was just trying to be funny and didn't really mean it.  I told the hostess that I wish I'd gotten my sunburn from laying out on the beach having a nice vacation in Florida, but that my grandmother had passed away and there was no vacation here at all, that I received my sunburn working in my garden in New York.  She immediately felt sorry and perhaps partially responsible for the customer's behavior, because she stopped trying to explain his behavior away and became rather apologetic.  Rather than letting it go and instead opening myself up with the story of my grandmother, the hostess changed demeanor and in turn opened herself up for sharing of her story.  She remembered losing her grandfather two years before, and spoke of her feelings for her grandfather and what that memory was like, as well as other memories.  Her perspective on the situation had changed, and and the three of us (my sister, the hostess and I) made a connection in that moment, so much so that my father (who is severely hard of hearing) thought that we had known each other from some time before.  Taking something really wrong and turning it around, allowing oneself to be vulnerable for a time while standing firm with what is right and true and human, gives us the opportunity to create real connection and closeness with another person -- to foster consciousness and create community.  I believe that something changed for that hostess because of our interaction.  It certainly made a difference for my sister and me.

So I guess my grandmother continues to help to take care of us and bring us together, and be a good person, even in her death.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

"What else is art but the expression of love of yourself and of humanity?"

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Prints are up on Etsy

The images you may have seen before, but the items are new.  All prints are on 8.5"x11" archival museum paper, with the image centered at a size slightly smaller than 5"x7".  They're ready to go in a frame, or if you want to get fancy, you could stick them behind an acid-free matte.  Most are limited edition runs, but my signature piece, "When The Time Is Right" (fox and owl), is an open run.  They're really quite a nice addition to any wall, mantle or buffet.  Check 'em out.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Martin the Raccoon - Study

I finished my first raccoon study for the children's story I am illustrating this year with my friend Tom.  Martin may not end up being named Martin, but considering that raccoon is the protagonist of the story, I figured I may as well give him a working name. 

Did You Disguise Yourself To Hide From Yourself?, 2012

This piece developed from raccoon's totem significance, being the master of dexterity and disguise, and what that may mean for a young one struggling to develop its own identity in the midst of developing into a transformation master.  How can you know who you are if you are constantly changing yourself to look and act like something else?  It's a common question with human adolescents, too, and one thing that makes the story timely.

In this illustration, raccoon has just discovered that he has disguised himself as fox, though because he doesn't yet quite understand his transformative powers, he is shocked when he sees fox staring back at him from the water.  He then sees us staring at him, and he looks back, either to ask us what we know, or to tell us to go away out of embarrassment.  Maybe both. 

(Unfortunately, my scanner is on the small side, and has cut off the right and left edges of the piece.)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Artist Liberation from Artist Oppression

My downstairs neighbors started blasting club music in their living room at 1pm on a Sunday, and I decided to leave my apartment and head for a coffee shop when I realized that the floor wasn't going to stop vibrating any time soon.  Obviously, I cannot cart all my art materials to a coffee shop, and in thinking about my neighbors hindering my ability to work on my art in the small amount of time I have outside of my day job, I decided to talk a little bit about Artist Oppression.

While this may be a foreign concept to many readers, it is a commonality that artists everywhere experience.  It keeps us in low-paying full-time jobs so we can pay our bills and have health insurance, or keeps us in unsatisfactory living situations in order to lower rent, eating poorly for lack of proper funds, and not having health insurance so we cannot go to the doctor when we get sick, etc.  We work and work and work to produce, but have few opportunities that pay us for that work.  We work for free.  We doubt ourselves.  We are not "normal."  Our profession is not "lucrative."  Yet we are encouraged to "keep [our] dreams alive."

Why is this?  Why are we encouraged to "keep at it" when everything we face in capitalism makes us feel undervalued, devalued and, ultimately, worthless?  It is because any society without art is a dead society.  People view art--visual and expressive (performing)--to view society, to get their attention out, to laugh, cry, and reevaluate what occurs within that society, how we live in our world.  In this sense, artists are the world's counselors.  We see things and think about the world differently.  We, through our creative work, epitomize humanness.  Our creativity allows us to move humanity toward full intelligence faster and more directly.  We can increase the speed at which the universe advances toward meaning and freedom, and we create new important complexities within the environment.  We facilitate new ways of being.  In this sense, the presence of the artist in the world is vital. 

My experience is that of every person I speak with about my art exhibiting some sort of distress pattern.  Sometimes I am lucky enough to have a person take a real interest in my artwork and what I am conveying with it.  Even then they cannot bring themselves to purchase an original piece of art.  When I say a piece of work costs $500, most people balk.  My question is this:  how much do you pay your mechanic to work on your car?  $65-95/hr?  How much do you pay your masseuse?  Similarly?  How about your plumber, your electrician, your therapist, your doctor?  An artist is no less specialized in their profession, so why should they be paid less?  At $500, a piece of art that I spend 10 hours on ends up paying me $50/hr.  That does not account for the cost of framing or materials.  What if that piece of art cost me 50 hours of time?  I'm then making less than $10/hr, all added up.  Heinous is not too strong a word to use here.  Most people do not think in this way.  They require that someone else endorse the work -- an agent, a gallery, a publisher, etc.  These things do not increase the value of the work.  The work is inherently valuable. 

Of course, then we get into the discussion of bad art/good art.  What is good art?  What is bad art?  Certainly there are techniques and studying that goes into creating work.  But I suppose my answer is this:  an artist who is aware of the world and how she functions in it, how she connects with it and other humans, and fights toward full intelligence and sustainability through her art, is an artist who will produce "good" art.  Does this play into artist oppression?  Maybe so.  But this discussion is at least a gesture toward movement out of it.