Friday, January 29, 2010

The Creative Caravan has a visit with Craig Henderson of mynaramata!

A big thank you to Craig Henderson who took the time to chat with me about the Creative Caravan's return to the Okanagan and all of the projects currently happening. You can see it here on the mynaramata website:

or in the article below.

Thanks again, Craig!

xx Melanie

29th January 2010
Chasing Geese Captures Naramata MomentNew or Updated

An artist and teacher is staying productive during an extended stay with her parents in Naramata.

In recent years, Melanie Mehrer has lived in the Middle East, Turkey, Shanghai and Taiwan.
But, she has landed in her old hometown and is taking some time to get reacquainted and appreciate Naramata from an artist’s perspective.

Before arriving on her parents’ doorstep in December, Mehrer spent the past year with her sister in Turkey.
Melanie was teaching yoga and painting with a process called gouache, a watercolor-like medium.
Her first Naramata gouache (gwaash) is now complete, and it’s a fun and animated piece called Chasing Geese on Manitou Beach. (see above)

Mehrer hopes to create an entire series of perhaps six, and maybe some cards, before her winter break in Naramata is over.

Melanie attended Naramata Elementary and Penticton Secondary School. She studied art history and linguistics at the University of Victoria. Stays in Taiwan and Shanghai were spent teaching and paying off her student loans, often travelling with her sister Rene. In the United Arab Emirates, Melanie was stuck in an administrative role at a language school, but when Rene called from Istanbul, the two sisters from Naramata reunited.

It was in the Turkish city that Rene and Melanie started to make scarves with a block printing process. “They are a funky fashion accessory with a Middle Eastern touch, and just days after we arrived back in Canada, my mother Heather had a place for us at the Naramata Artisan Craft Faire. We sold 25 scarves that day!”

The scarves continue to be sold through the Penticton Art Gallery, or through a website linked below.
Or, (you didn’t hear it from me, but) next time you are in the Naramata General Store, you might ask Heather at the counter if she can hook you up with one of the uniquely designed scarves.

So, what is next for this prolific artist and artisan?

Melanie is squeezing in an online writing course through UBC during her winter stay in Naramata.

And, she hopes to paint enough local scenes to warrant an art show in the coming months.

Here is a link to her creative news blog, followed by her online store site:

Photos below: in Egypt; and Rene and Melanie hamming it up, preparing and selling kebobs in Istanbul.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Chasing Canada Geese at Manitou Beach!

“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged, to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”
Nelson Mandela

Chasing the Geese at Manitou Beach 13 x 19"

My First Canadian painting since coming back to Canada!

I'm hoping to get a series of Okanagan paintings together and there is talk of having a show in Penticton sometime this year. I'll keep you posted!

This painting is of a much bigger scale than the other paintings I have done so far.I wanted to try painting at a bigger scale because I didn't have to be so finicky with the details. Working on a smaller scale with a tiny brush is often much harder!

The crew at Manitou Beach in early January.

About the Painting:

Manitou Beach in Naramata figured largely into my childhood. It's the place that I learned to swim. It's the place I drank my first beer. Manitou Beach is where all the action happened day after day all summer long.

Zoe enjoying breaking the rules at Manitou. (No dogs allowed!)

Recently I took my parents' dog Zoe for a walk to Manitou. For some reason, in my mind, though it's deserted during the winter months, Manitou is still where the action is. It's the vantage point of the southern Okanagan Valley, It's where the Marina waits quietly for summer sailboats to return, and it's where the flocks of Canadian Geese and a few Mallard Ducks socialize on the frosty sand.

Honk! Honk! Honk!

Zoe would have loved to have chased those birds, four times her size if I had let her off the leash. But Canadian Geese, despite their serene appearance, are not the nicest of birds. I remember once as a child trying to feed some ducks, only to have a big Canadian Goose come squawking over to scare the ducks away from their meal. I picked up a big rock and threw it at the goose, hit it, and than ran for my life as it charged me!

Pure goose panic!
This painting is Zoe's fantasy. To be a big dog big enough to scare the geese away and have a little fun doing it.

Bark! Bark! Bark!


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Creative Caravan is at the Penticton Art Gallery!

Just to let you know the Penticton Art Gallery is now carrying Creative Caravan Scarves! Stop by, check out the exhibitions (There are three on the go at the moment!) and check out the scarves in person in the gift shop and let us know what you think!

As for me, I'm easing off the computer and am madly working on a painting which hopefully will be done in a day or so, which I will be thrilled to post here- the first Canadian painting! I only have an hour or so of daylight left so I'm off!
xx Melanie

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Adventures of January 21st.

Today I have been on two adventures.

The first one is that I have been invited to mess around in a glass fusing studio because word gets around that I am creative.

Today I went to a studio owned by a family friend, and got a tour of the projects, the kilns, and the myriad of glass. Larry and I talked about the science of glass that expands and contracts at different temperatures. (A big no-no to fuse them together- they get fractured easily when the glass hits the dishwasher, for instance.)

Tomorrow I will lend my hand to some creative ideas, creative cutting (Thank goodness I have practice in this! The first time I cut glass I was really quite scared!) and hopefully our projects will go into the kiln! Could be a disaster, could be fun who knows? It could be a day trip that turns into a journey! I've always wanted a kiln for clay work. So tomorrow I will play with pretty broken glass and fire, two things I was always told to avoid as a child.

I may have to take up a band aid donation. I'll keep you posted!

The next thing, which for me was quite exciting, was making new Creative Caravan tags. Our scarves have been invited to sell in the Penticton Art Gallery Gift shop so they needed tags, and nothing I've come up with so far in the past few weeks seemed very fitting or interesting.

So today I took a page from Nick Bantock and made these tags. I dug around my mother's old junk and found these tags and the little "posted" stamp. I might add airmail stickers too, if they are free from the post office. (They were free in China! I still find them in the odd place!)

Tell me what you think! There is always room for improvement.

Three hats and a boar.

Three men from exotic places holding stuff.

The man tags standing at attention.

Mish Mash!

Please leave your comments!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The tricks of ETSY

So I've got my shop up. I've got forty scarves photographed and about another twenty to go. Every morning I check to see which scarves have got the most hits the night before. Only one sale so far, to a friend of mine in Los Angeles, so what do I have to do to get my shop out there?

I've linked my ETSY shop to this blog. I've figured out how to add the showcase too. I've tried to poke around the ETSY forum to introduce myself to other ETSY people who might have ideas of how to promote the shop. I've donated scarves to charity because I think good karma is always a great thing. I'm in the process of making a logo for the scarves that will sell in the Penticton Art Gallery which will have the address to the ETSY shop on them as well.

And now, with the bulk of the shop up and at least running, I will try to mellow out about it all and get back into some painting. This week or next I will try to get my paintings up on ETSY. I've also got some new ideas and some old ones still kicking around my head that ought to come out.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Fall of My MacBook.

Yup. Stupid me. R.I.P beautiful Aluminum MacBook with Arabic on the keys. In a rush to clear the kitchen table to print more scarves I put my laptop on top of an unsecure pile of things and it tumbled to its death. I'm usually uber-careful with it, so I am labelling this a freak accident. The laptop itself still works, but the glass LCD screen is smashed to bits. Like a windshield of a car after a hitting a big fat moose.

I took it to the closest Mac dealer a two hour drive away. When he opened it, he winced and exclaimed,
The other employees chimed in with,
"Ouch!" "I bet that hurt!" "Oh dear!"

The result after pricing of different options is to go with a new laptop, which is currently in the shop, having all my info from the last laptop moved over. I loved my laptop. I stayed an extra two months in the Emirates to wait for it; so I got it the first week the new model came out. We'd been through so much together. It had accompanied me to every coffeeshop I'd ever spent time in in Istanbul. When I needed to upload something, it was there. It's been my social life, my educator, my entertainment, my connection to the world for the past year and three months. I will miss it. Strangely enough, I feel like I'm cheating on it by getting a new one. Is that weird?

I think it's mostly the pain for having to part with an unneccessary 1200 bucks because of a very stupid silly mistake. Live and learn!

But as my Dad said in the truck on the way up, "A problem you can fix with money is not really a problem." It's not like a member of my family or a friend is in trouble or sick or anything. It's just a machine at the end of the day. Though I have been in a grouchy mood for the past few days over it.

So instead of uploading new pictures, I will be spending time printing and coming up with new designs. Working with my hands instead of my fingers. Maybe it's not so bad to be computer-less for a few days afterall.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The ETSY shop is now open!

My little impromptu photographic studio- only during daylight hours!

Ta Daaaaaa! The Creative Caravan ETSY shop is finally open!

It's been a lot more work than I anticipated, but it's officially up today with my one upload complete. Break out the champagne! It's time this boat left the shore!

I've had to set up pay pal. I've had to figure out all the rules. I've written the shop profile, the shop policies, the write ups of each scarf, (They all have names now by the way, how chic!) I've ripped my parent's house apart using impromptu tools for my photographic studio. I though this would freak my mother out (picture an antique stool balancing on a rickety table for the perfect shot without any shake) but instead my parents have been on board and excited about my new venture. Five acceptable shots of each scarf, forty odd scarves- You get the idea!

I've been to the post office and learned Canada post is a bloody freaking nightmare for all Etsians. (That's what I am now! an Etsian!) I've solved the problem by including the shipping in the cost of the scarf. I've failed at uploading several times because I didn't have a certain piece of information needed and so I had to start all over again. Each time I scoured other people's shops, the ETSY forums, the community at large. And now it's up! And I am officially excited.

If you go to the shop and see I only have one scarf, please check back as I will be uploading the other scarves as I get them ready. I would like to put more body shots in but I need to find the right location and the right partner to take the photos. All of this takes time when you are living in a cedar house with natural wood walls (no light spaces) and stuck in Rural Canada in the dead of winter!

But on the bright side, The shop is open! The shop is finally open!!! Once the scarves are up, I may also upload the paintings. Why not? I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Here is a quick tour of some of the scarves that will be uploaded in the next few days and their smashing new names. (Check ETSY for the witty descriptions!)

"Ride Like the Wind"

"The Scarf of Living Dangerously"

"Leaf Me to My Dreams"
Each scarf comes with a Turkish Nazar bead for good luck and protection!

"High Five"
The hand of Fatima, or Miriam, or Khamsa, whatever you wish to call it.

"Eiffel in love with you"

Questions and feedback welcomed as always!


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Creative Caravan Goes to Canada!

Happy New Year!
Wishing you all the best in 2010!

The new and actual Creative Caravan, where I will be residing, writing and creating new things till Spring!

So this past month has been very busy for the Creative Caravan as we made our way swiftly to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, to rest our wheels in Canada for a while. It's good to be home, but it's been hard with all the festivities of Christmas and New year to get the Creative projects on the go.

Blessings to my neat freak mother who has turned a blind eye as Rene and I set up shop on the kitchen table. It's cold and snowy outside and the garage was just too cold to take over. I will be posting photos of the new scarf creations soon, along with a big announcement! Stay tuned!

Someone recently asked me if I will continue painting, and the answer to that is a resounding yes! I'm excited about exploring the Okanagan (where my parents live) through paint. Once I am finished painting my mother's Christmas present (Yes, I know, the Creative Caravan's wheels have been stuck in the mud on this one!) I will start the new series of Okanagan paintings. Though I think I won't forget about Turkey just yet- Still a few paintings to squeeze out there!

Stay tuned for the big announcement!