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Counting down to summer

Photo of sign for Deluxe Town Diner

The wonderful art deco Town Diner in the heart of Watertown

With my first gig at SoWa Open Market just over a week away, and the Coolidge Corner Arts Festival a few weeks later, it’s time to start checking items off the to-do list. I’ve been spending a lot of time (not to mention money) at Target, Staples, Home Depot, and various online sources to get ready. Here’s what’s going on.

Photos of neon signs
As those of you who read this blog or my Facebook page know, I’ve been pursuing a new direction with my photos for the past year or so. I have developed a portfolio of photos of neon signs. Many are local landmarks — the Shell sign on Memorial Drive, Modern Pastry in the North End,  the late lamented South Pacific restaurant in Newton, and (of course) the CITGO sign in Kenmore Square.  I’ve been making prints in two sizes — 6×6 and 12×12 — and selling them in open editions.

Metal prints
Besides the unmatted prints, I’ll be offering the new images as prints on metal. The prints use a dye-sublimation process to embed the images in an aluminum panel, and they come ready to hang.  They make great gifts for people with a special connection to some of these spots in the Boston area.

Photo of Coolidge Corner Theater

The Coolidge Corner Theater is one of the last surviving art deco theaters in the Boston area

Photo and alphabet magnets
There’s always a flurry of magnet-making the week before a show.  I make the magnets myself, from start to finish, and always manage to leave everything to the last minute. I select just the right details from my photographs — whether a neon letter or a vintage clock face — and translate them into magnet-size images. I print them out, cut them into 2.25-inch circles, and use a button press to create the magnets, one at a time. A little labor-intensive, but worth the time.

I invested in some new hooks made especially for my grid display — took me years to figure this one out — so I’m hoping for less broken glass and fewer broken nails this year.  And, in another stunning example of what-took-me-so-long, I have developed a new system for organizing my inventory of fridge magnets.  Which means it will be quicker and easier for me to find the extra letter you need to spell out that special name.

With the photos and magnets (sort of) under control, later this week I’ll set up my tent. Once I’m sure it survived the winter intact, I’ll check the waterproofing (not that I’m expecting any rain this season…), tighten up any loose bolts, untangle the bungee cords, and generally make sure there are no surprises on May 12th and beyond.

So if you’re looking for a fun way to spend Mother’s Day, check out the SoWa Open Market. It’s at 460 Harrison Avenue in Boston’s South End, at the end of Thayer Street, from 10 AM till 4 PM.

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