Monday, June 1, 2009

June Artist of the Month

The June Artist of the Month is one of my favorite recycler crafters and vendors in general. John Davis of Fisticuffs always has a smile and a laugh, a hug and a joke. I wish he would bottle his good nature and sell that! In addition to being a great person, he has a pretty cool, unique product that is truly one of a kind, from recycled materials. He takes belts and other leather goods and re-makes them into cool cuffs, watch bands and the like. He has even been taking other designer's cast off belts and mixing them into his creations.

Read on for more....

Question: How did you get started?
Answer: It all started when I first saw a really cool old belt thrifting. I thought to myself how cool it would be as a cuff.
Soon afterward I bought a Harley and needed "something" on my wrist. Voila! The conception of Fisticuffs was at hand.

Q: Why do you continue?
A: On top of the gratification of selling something people generally like, I enjoy being out in the public socializing with both the patrons of the show and my fellow crafty folk. It's great to be immersed in the creativity of everyone else.

Q:What is a great success story?
A: I would say this was the first realization that I could actually make a living at the sole proprietor/craft business.

Q: What is one of your greatest failures?
A: Assuming all tattoo expo's were the same. ugh

Q: Where do you get your inspiration?
A: I pull inspiration from all over. Fellow crafters work will inspire me to try new things. New ideas thrown around at shows. Designs I find in bags and belts...

Q: Why do you make/create what you do?
A: I like the style and the look personally. It was how it all started. I've been lucky enough to have built a following that feels the same way.
I just enjoy working with leather and the countless designs I can think of along the way.

Q: Where is your favorite place to sell?
A: I prefer the outdoor craft fairs. It's nice to have retailers sell for me as well but it's not as gratifying as walking away from a great show with loads of new ideas and cash in your pocket.

Q: What is one thing you love about your business?
A: The best thing about my business is the hours and the work itself.
It's nice to be your own person and to travel around. You get to see new places and meet new people.

Q: What is one thing you loathe?
A: I loathe the business end of it. I hate having to keep receipts and log miles. It all pays off in the end if you do it right, but it's a drag to keep up with along the way.

Q: What is your dream about your art?
A: My dream is to be in stores across the nation and eventually over seas. I'm slowly creeping across the states but I'm mainly on the East Coast right now.

Q: What is your mission?
A: My main mission is to create art from discarded materials. I would never consider mass production of my work based on a new piece of leather.
This is one of the main reasons I have not started selling online. Each piece is unique even if it's made from the same basic leather. Each snap, rivet, stitch is hand done therefore imperfect across the lot of several pieces. I think it adds to the charm. I doubt I ever get fully automated machines aside from a sewing machine. I like the hands on part of making each one.

Q: Where are you based?
A: My studio is located in the basement of the house I share, in Silver Spring, MD.
Eventually I'll be in a space of my own but that is far in the future.

Q: Where would you live if you could live anywhere?
A: I would either like to be in DC proper, or potentially Baltimore.
This all started in Chicago, IL. I enjoyed living there but the cost of living was rough and the winters were arctic.

Q: What would you be doing if not this?
The great part of my craft and pretty much anyone who vends on the weekends, is that it really is a weekend business.
You can work a regular 9-5 if you have to and still create.
My day job used to be as an Exhibit Designer. I started at the Science and Industry in Chicago and moved to Bethesda for a private firm doing the same work.
I left that position in Feb. 08' to pursue the cuffs full time.

Q: What is next?
A: I'm going to keep on making cuffs. I see no end in the future. If anything I will continue to expand upon ideas and continually create new things.

Q: What is your favorite question to ask people?
A:I like to ask people how they got started in their craft as well.

Q: What is your answer to that question?
A: I've already answered this one above. :0)

Along with various local shops, John can be found at the following festivals in the next few months~

Honfest/Baltimore/June 13th - 14th (Hopefully - haven't heard yet)
Custer/Chicago/June 20th - 21st

Artscape/Baltimore/July 17th - 18th - 19th

Halsted Market Days/Chicago/August 1st - 2nd
Hot August Blues/Oregon Ridge Park/Baltimore/Aug. 15th

Thank you to all that stopped by the last few weekends.~

DC Counterculture Festival was a long, hot road of fun and laughter. Rus and Joe from Full Sanction had me nicely distracted from the non air conditioned heat all day. Michael from Spaghetti Kiss finally got into the nuttiness and came over the dark side by the end of the day. Either that, or his brain had been fried. Literally. I applauded his excellent drawing skills by buying the skullopus t-shirt. For a less than PG version of the day, check out Rus' blog.

As for the Old Town Art & Crafts Festival, we could not have asked for better weather. Blue skies and sunshine the whole time. While it did rain over night, and my tent leaked, it was a tiny blimp in the whole fun filled weekend.

Thanks again to all that came by!~Jen

Green Tip~ Water your plants right

Watering in the early morning is the best time for outside plants. This will give them the water needed to get through the heat of the day, and also allow any extra moisture to evaporate. Extra water staying on the leaves and ground can lead to fungus problems.

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