Since the pandemic began, I finally got time to think about the crazy career I have had. I have been in the "show" business since I was 16 years old. Even in college, as some you recall, I was a fairly regular sight at the College Center selling my jewels I made out of beads and found electrical wire etc. I had a nifty shoebox. A mirror. A white bedsheet. And a purple money pouch. That was it. I bought folding tables, a velvet curtain (moving on up!) A folding chair, a bag, and luggage cart. Looking somewhat like a bag lady, I wheeled myself all over lower Manhattan, and set up shop at church bazaars, flea markets, flea/craft markets, and even as a sneaky street vendor on Prince and West Broadway. I set up next to some fashion darlings, who shall remain nameless. I too, was discovered, and plucked from total obscurity and plunked into the fashion world of NYC. It was a wild ride. And lucrative as heck. Then, I found my niche doing high end (mostly) craft and art shows, in the NY NJ PA CT areas. This lasted for about 20 years. In 1992, I commenced wholesaling my work to galleries. It was a great time, and I was lucky too. I met great people, and have treasured my galleries and show family. I don't miss how physically demanding they were, how it killed my arthritic hands and hips to brave the pain and work through it all, the bad food, the street nuts who loved to pester me, and especially the political insanity that was created between the show promoters and us artists. The game players, the cheaters, the favoritism shown to a certain group of jewelry artists, and the horrible truth that no matter how good you were, how talented and brilliant and accomplished you were, it only took 1 person to deny your right to earn a good living. The show promoter. I know they say they are juried, but honestly are they? I think some are, but mostly not. Now, I decided to take this pause and reinvent my work, and find a new voice in a new medium. It has been challenging as well. Re building my 2 websites, starting a side gig of selling vintage finds, learning how to embrace self discipline of working in my studio every other day to take care of my gang, and write some new funny stories, has been a breath of fresh air. I still wish we could go back to the formula of shows on weekends, loving our customers, packing up orders and sending them to happy homes, but alas, we must pioneer a new way. It is late. I am tired. But, I am honestly relieved that my future no longer rests solely in the hands of a promoter. I can walk away and not pay exorbitant "jury fees", and booth rental fees. I can pause. I can wait. And sometimes, we just have to make our own luck.

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Since my stores are mostly closed due to the unrelenting march of Covid 19, I have taken the opportunity to redesign, improve, and reinvent our website.  You will notice that we are making things more user-friendly and paring down our pieces relevant to the season at hand.

 I have been also expanding my materials used. Currently,  am studying under a superstar's tutelage in Polymer Clay, and having a great time learning the usefulness of this great medium.  I felt that there were so many things I wanted to make, but was limited in what I could produce with the skills I have.  All artists need to develop and become an expert in a field, and then apply that knowledge to build up a voice in that material.

I want to give you the most handmade items I can. I still make the chains and the nuggets to my specs, and of course paint and seal some interesting focal points, but now I hope to make some other items like home accessories, decor, boxes, bowls, and fun, whimsical jewelry for teens to wear too!  I will be coming out with a Judaica line, which will be sold exclusively online of course.

Many of my items will be one of a kind or limited edition as well.

So... stay tuned for lots of exciting stuff happening on our blog posts, Facebook and Insta posts and even a video or two!

Stay healthy, and stay safe!

Yours,

ABRA

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Farm life surrounds us everywhere. The soil is black. It is incredibly rich. Every mile or so, there are farm stands with freshly picked lovelies and a tin box on the honor system, maybe a suggested donation. There are enormous Amish hay wagons, complete with draught horses, laden with corn and an old Amish lady who collects like ten cents an ear. Other times, they sell the hugest cabbages I had ever seen, for a mere fifty cents. Plus, you get to yap with the nice Amish folks, who, in a round about way, find out the "news" of the world and the weather.


We would eventually move further North, away from the Amish, and into loamy (sandy) soil. Since we had Amish connections, we would go on our bi annual pilgrimages to "Mrs. Fisher's", an Amish greenhouse, and buy seedlings, dried peas, beans, and onion sets. From there, we would replant everything in our own greenhouse, then when the time was right, we would replant outside in our fenced off garden in their final home. We have had mixed successes and of course, horrendous failures due to heat, storms, deer, molds, critters, you name it. We still have enough to feed an army, we share with lots of family and friends. We provide fresh food for a pantry nearby, servicing the needy

I realize how lucky I am to have this garden. When we built it, we did not know it at the time, but we would have to rely on it somewhat during the Pandemic. We had food shortages, non deliveries of food, meat shortages, and hoarding to deal with in the grocery stores. It hit home that if needed, we could live off our freezer for meats, make our own vegetable dishes, and bake our own bread. We were quarantined for 2 weeks, and pretty much lived off our pantry.

It is frightening knowing dear friends and family were fighting to stay alive. We lost one dear friend, and now we are dealing with sending our kids back to school in the middle of this whole plague. Our daughter is boarding, and is quarantined on campus for several months. Our son will go mostly online in a "hybrid" version. Every day they have to record their temperatures, and be super aware of sanitation and distancing. On top of this, we cannot resume any sense of normalcy in our personal lives. We cannot worship, we cannot gather, we cannot go to craft shows or concerts. My business, Abra Couture, has completely gone online. No more craft shows for the foreseeable future.

I miss my show "family" so much. My closest friends are those I made while doing the NYC metro area show circuit. I have been doing shows for 30 plus years, some great, some awful, and lived the carny life i suppose. We are public people, basically, in the entertainment business aka show business. We perform the high wire acts mere mortals cannot. They ooh and ahh, as they try on jewelry, clothes, or buy a gorgeous raku pot to add to their home. They can't make it so they buy it. But, they buy "us", too. We are the spirit inside their homes and the essence of bling on their bodies. Our art makes them happy.

When life is volatile, and difficult due to unforeseen circumstances, I have the privilege of going into my little garden, and picking a fresh tomato, slicing it up and eating it. Then, I can forget about life for a little while, in the sun.

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