Etsy Team Game Day is here, and although the Oregon Ducks game is over (of course my Duckies won!)  I still get to type to the dulcet tones of LSU and Florida (with 3 minutes to go in the 4th [post-script: and what a game that ended up being!])

I’ve recovered from the dreadful attack of stomach flu that robbed me of my Saturday last week, and made me fill in with just a stop-gap post on my Queer Etsy Street Team comrades.  And now I greet this week’s remedial (?) Etsy Team Game Day Post day with renewed enthusiasm!

Today I’m extra-excited, because I get to feature the splendiferous Queer Etsian, Michelley Queen of Queens! Why do I love Michelley?  Well, first off, how can you not give respect to someone who calls their Etsy shop an “arts and crafts chop shop [and] surreal smorgasbord of whimsical, fierce, fine art.”

 

Lucifist Lucifer--Surreal Fine Art Giclee Print

 

And then she goes on to describe her art:

My art work marries childlike whimsy and feminist defiance as viewed through an absurdist lens. All of it….conceived, designed and handmade, by me, usually in a frenzied state of creative compulsion.

 

"I'm not a Humanitarian, I'm a Hell-Raiser" Mother Jones Print

 

Those of you now reading who know me at all (and some of you have known me since high school [[I’m talking to you, David and Martha]]) will be laughing at this point.  Whimsy, feminist defiance, absurdist lens, frenzied state of creative compulsion….  who are we talking about here?

 

Hysterical Bitch--Surreal Fine Art Giclee Print

 

Hysterical Bitch?  Hellraiser?  Obviously I’m going to appreciate this woman and her art.

Michelley is an award-winning artist who has been creating since childhood.  As she tells us,

I was born an innately dramatic child, in the great state of NJ, in the late ’60s, to equally dramatic parents. My imagination has always been a juggernaut and I began compulsively creating art at a very early age. I was hugely influenced as a tot by fairy tales, psycho-sexual vampire movies made in Italy, the wonders of nature and Bugs Bunny in drag.

It is the Bugs Bunny influence that I find most inspiring.  How many artists’ ouvres encompass the demented, homicidal bunny motif?

 

Some Bunnys Gonna Pay---Surreal Fine Art Giclee Print

 

But beyond all this, I again pay homage to another Etsy Team Leader.  I am grateful and humbled by those generous Boddhisattva-like individuals who devote their valuable time to making our teams run for the rest of us.  Michelley runs the Queer Etsy Street Team blog, and manages the Queer Etsy Collective Shop, which gives all proceeds to a charity working on preventing suicide among gay youth.

I can’t close this post on Michelley Queen of Queens without mentioning her Day of the Dead Soaps.  Day of the Dead is coming up, folks, and do you want to be caught dead without banana-cream scented skull soap?

 


Banana Cream Scented Skull Soap

 

Find Michelle Queen of Queens at these places:

on Etsy:    http://www.etsy.com/shop/queenofqueens

on her webpage:   http://michelle-cartaya.artistwebsites.com/index.html

on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/QueenofQueensArt

Faithful readers will have noticed the absence of my Saturday Etsy Team Game Day Edition.   The spirit was willing, but the flesh was in bed with a ferocious attack of stomach flu (or food poisoning…hard to say).  It came, consumed my Saturday, and was gone by Sunday morning.

I owe my Queer Etsy Street Team a feature!  But now it’s Monday, and the University of Oregon Ducks aren’t playing in the background, and I didn’t have a whole day to dwell on the fabulousness of my team-mates, and I just don’t feel like the Game Day Cheerleader that I like to spend my Saturdays being!

To tell the truth, I’m still not feeling so hot.  And, did I mention I’m at the laundromat?

So, let’s do this.  I’m going to share some of my most favorite items from a few of my fellow Queer Etsy Street Team Shops.  These are things I’ve been coveting for quite awhile now.  And now you can covet them too.  I’ll put the links to their shops in so you can click through freely and enjoy the bounty of queer creativity at your fingertips..so to speak.

And next Saturday, when all my parts are rejoined, I’ll get back on the Game Day Horse and take another, for-real ride over to Queer Etsyland.

Green Alien Bead, from the Fabulous Crowbirdie Beads

Your Must-Have Christmas Skull jewelry by the ever-eclectic BunnyKissd

Subtle woodworking style by Ramshackle Studios

Haunting brushed glass briolettes from Gilliauna

One-of-a-kind take on LGBT Pride jewelry, by Elles Beads

And last but not least…

A demented, homicidal bunny, courtesy of QueenofQueens

Stay tuned!

It’s Game Day!  Etsy Team Game Day, that is.  The day each week that I will devote to sharing the fabulous artists on my Etsy Teams:  Queer Etsy Street Team and the Etsy Crafting in Color Team.

I said it before, and I’ll say it again:  I love my teams.  They are unbelievably supportive and enthusiastic and generous and motivational.   I am so grateful for the different angles on creativity they’ve opened my eyes to, whether it’s a love of glorious, vibrant color, or a fierce and fabulous belief in expressing yourself no matter what.  They’ve inspired me, and they’ve made giant, impersonal Etsy feel a little bit more like home.

I’ll be alternating teams: last week it was Crafting in Color. This weeks it’s  Queer Etsy Street Team.  So suit up, Queer Etsy Street Team, and let’s go!

Thomas Saylor, of ThomasSaylorDesigns, has been a friend as well as a teammate to Paper Demon Jewelry since I started my shop on Etsy this past June.  He sent me a kind welcome to the Queer Etsy Street Team, and was the first to suggest that I make a business Fan Page!  [*pause here to click and become a fan if you haven’t yet!*]  I’m forever grateful to him for that!

Thomas makes mouth-wateringly gorgeous  fabric creations—pillows, draperies, bedding, quilts, placemats, baby gifts, wedding accessories, kitchen and bath decor, and cell phone cozies, to name a few. 

What I love most about Thomas’ designs are his spectacular sense of color and pattern.  He’s very selective about the fabrics he uses!  To make the grade they have to be bold, modern, vibrant, and geometrically-inspired.

He has a terrific sense of the most current color combos, like the one above—grey and crimson.  Or the one below:  lime green and turquoise.    Come to think of it, he really ought to be a member of Crafting in Color Team too!

My personal favorite is this pillow cover in one of the hottest current color combinations:  grey and yellow.  I am crazy about grey and yellow, but kind of intimidated by it!  But Thomas does it absolutely beautifully, with his inimitable sense of style!


If I had a house that was stylish and hip instead of random and demoralizing, I would totally have these pillows on my hypothetical white Danish modern sofa.  As it is, this will be the go-to pillow cover for the next housewarming gift I buy for hip friends.

Or, one can skip the sofa entirely and just carry ThomasSaylor style along as a cel phone/ipod cozy!

And how about this:  never be without a cocktail napkin again with these ultra-clever wrap-around coasters!  Form and function in one fabulous item!

The perfect Christmas gift for the wine-lover in your life!

Thomas describes himself like this:

I am a student, a writer, a housewife, and a self-proclaimed crafter extraordinaire. In the past, I spent several years working in the banking industry before ultimately quitting my day job to pursue my dream of starting my own business at home. I’ve recently married my soul mate, Christopher, and we live in Richmond, Virginia with our impossibly annoying yet undeniably adorable “children”, RileyBoots, Salem and Louis. The anarchy in our apartment is matched only by pet fur.

And did I mention he’s as cute as a button?

Thomas is always out and about the internet supporting the Queer Etsy Street Team, promoting his splendid creations, and being his fabulous queer self.   Check out all of his fun sites:

on Etsy:  http://thomassaylordesigns.etsy.com

on his website:  http://thomassaylordesigns.com

on his business blog:  http://thomassaylordesigns.blogspot.com

and on his personal blog:  http://yourdailythomas.com

and on Facebook:  http://facebook.com/thomassaylordesigns

The Paper Demon does not play well with others.

The Paper Demon does not do team sports.

Things she likes:  swimming, skiing, surfing.  Thinking, inventing, making.

Things she will do when hell freezes over and not a minute sooner:  softball.

The Paper Demon doesn’t join teams.  That is,  ’til last month.  In June, she joined a team.  But it’s cool.  It’s OK.  Because, it’s the Queer Etsy Street Team.  

The Queer Etsy Street Team is a collectivity of LGBT artists on Etsy, who joined together to support and promote one another’s work and creative spirits.  Click our big colorful button on the Paper Demon Jewelry blog home page to visit our excellent Etsy Gay It Forward shop!

This is a team I can get behind.  It’s all about making a supportive and inclusive space for queer artists to be artists and be queer, and think about what it means to be both at the same time!  The team was the inspiration for my Love and the Rainbow post awhile back.

And now, thanks to the efforts of our indefatigable leader QueenofQueens (awesome Etsy shop, btw!), Queer Etsy Street Team scored a feature in Curve Magazine!   Best part: QueenofQueen’s pullout quote:  “It would be impossible for me to create without sprinkling shards of my big gay story on everything I do.”   Two solid pages about just HOW cool we are.  Because, there were apparently still a few people who didn’t know.  But they know now.  And so do you.  Yay Team!

The TV’s on in the next room and the kids are watching America’s Got Talent (?!)   Suddenly, I overhear them say “Our next stop is Portland, Oregon!”

“Portland is known for the great outdoors,” says the show, “but we found out, it’s also known for its love of all things weird.”   As the _Oregonian_ (Portland’s newspaper) remarked, the episode was drenched in “a thick layer of ‘Keep Portland Weird’ schtick.”  “ALL RIGHT ALREADY WITH THE WEIRD,”  they wrote.  But, really, what followed was a succession of acts each one weirder than the last:  The Magic Bizarre, a creepy magic show in fantasy garb and masks where the guy took an accidental header off the stage, an air guitar band, a heavy metal cellist (she was actually from san francisco, to be fair), a zombie dance troupe.  Last came 75 year old Sally Cohn, with a gray helmet of hair and a walker,  who hand whistled, and then hawked her autobiography from the stage. 

She was just a fair to middling hand whistler (the judges objected to the licking involved), but everyone loved Sally and her book.   The show’s host forked over the $12 to buy a copy right on stage.  “Be careful what pages you read,” she barked, “let’s just say it’s not ALL about hand whistling, heh heh heh.”  Pause.  “It’s my coming out story! And I’m proud of who I am!”    The crowd roars its approval.  “I love you!” shouts Howie Mandel.   She gets a pass to stage 2 in Las Vegas.

By this point Iwas in the room watching.  I said to the kids, “are you beginning to see how Oregon is kind of strange, maybe, compared to the rest of the country?”  “Uh, yeah,”  they said, still somewhat mystified, i think, by the idea of a 75 year old lesbian.

Schtick or not, Oregon is odd.  It is undoubtedly odd.  People wear their difference proudly here.

And that is why we love it.  It’s why we all fit in.

I live a blended life.  It’s assembled from many parts.  We have a blended family–the kids, their bonus mom, and me, plus the rabbit who thinks she’s a dog.  There’s our  bonus extended family in Oregon and then my extended family in Florida and Pittsburgh, and the kids’ family in Japan.  My kids have two homes, one in Illinois, one in Oregon, one all Japanese, one mostly American but with a big dash of Japanese thrown in.  They have an lgbt family and a straight family, go to a Japanese immersion school in Oregon, and a Japanese school in Japan over the summer.  But we love the 4th of July and go all out for parades and fireworks (realized I’m a bit of a pyro when i found myself crossing the Indiana state line to get illegal fireworks last summer)

COTTON CANDYCOUNTY FAIR IN WASHI

LGBT Love in Washi

the Oregon Coast in Washi and Wire

All of these parts come together in my jewelry—the Japan part, the American part, the lgbt part, the 4th of July fireworks, the Oregon Coast…. The rabbit will be in there one of these days; just haven’t figured out how yet.

This week I made these:  CottonCandy SpunSugar Washi and Copper Spirals.  Using fine handmade Japanese washi in honor of county fairs and the joys of an American summer.   Why not?  The beauty is in the blending!

Love is a dangerous and powerful thing.  Love made the world visible to me.    Suddenly I saw colors and shapes and textures that had been hidden inside of the “things” around me.  How to explain it?   The world was no longer full of concrete objects, but of things that were all in a process of becoming.  Process, not outcome.   Walking down the street I see the leaves, against the sky, in the wind, a moment in time.

Rainbows are all about process. They appear in the evanescent space between light and rain.  Their colors blend one into the other without boundaries.    They connect.  They are seen from one angle and not others. A rainbow is mysterious and beautiful.  It comes when you’re not looking for it.  Like love.

Some love doesn’t come easily.  But when it does, it changes the world.

[In honor of love and the rainbow: COLORSOFLOVE Rainbow Bubble Pride Necklace.  Check it out at the Queer Etsy Street Team store:  http://queeretsystreetteam.etsy.com%5D