Saturday, August 12, 2017

Otter Necessities' MuseCon Report

I was in charge of the vendor’s room at MuseCon this year for the at-con, part of watching the room, Xap did pre-con stuff, and I took along leatherworking tools and kits, hardware, book covers, hand-bound blank journals/books, doll clothes, and the remaining stash of knitting patterns, yarn, kits, and needles. Sales were reasonable, considering the small size of MuseCon this year (200-ish, I believe). Mostly knitting patterns and yarn. Xap mentioned that she misses doing events, and so do I (looking at the PoS software, our last one was November 2015 - eep!).

Our friend Wendy suggested making lab coats for dolls, as well as wizard’s robes, both of which are pretty close to kosode. Also a way to use some fabric I got recently from Spoonflower that has a bigger pattern than I realized (because I wasn’t paying attention). Somebody else suggested actually displaying them on doll(s). Although I have finally upgraded to a pincushion shaped like a dress form, mostly because I couldn’t find the base to the PVC stand.

I also looked at and remembered why I’ve never pulled the trigger on an American Girl (AG) doll. Ouchie. Sticker shock. But I did find and procure a much less expensive ($20 vs $129) doll that can wear AG doll clothes and vice-versa. I think most of the doll kosode will fit her, and thus AG dolls, which is not a market to be despised.  I also found Maplelea dolls, which is a Canadian company, who has an awfully cute Inuit girl, Saila, who according to Google for exchange rate, is under $100 with shipping. No, no no. Do not need.

In graphic design news I did the MuseCon book differently this year. Instead of the pages being mirrored with three columns, one of which (A, below) being an icon and item number, I went to each page being identical, and only two columns.

Previous page layout, pipe symbol is page gutter:
A B C | C B A
This year’s layout:
B C | B C

I didn’t like losing the icons, but in past years I have pondered which is most appropriate for some items. More importantly, we were in a situation where we were making late late additions to programming, and the layout change simplified that - The previous layout requires a lot more shuffling of text/image boxes because of the mirroring, and numbering is problematic when adding items. So I lost the mirroring, page numbers, and icons. The up-side was that the changes, as well as others, reduced page count, which meant we were able to go with a saddle-stitch (fold & staple) binding, which is cheaper. 

The MuseCon theme this year was “Our Muses Make a Deal”, with the implication that the deal is with the Fae. The silly animal room signs that I’ve done the last couple years weren’t a good fit, and I couldn’t find enough affordable images of non-flittery, vanilla Fae to use. So I rolled back to my stash of images from Art Nouveau, WWI and WWII, WPA, and vintage travel posters, with the wrinkle that I didn’t have Ron to help me with graphics. The silly animals were on white backgrounds with information below, and this year’s signs used the poster images as the sign background with the information superimposed. That meant more work adjusting opacity and text colors for readability, but I enjoy it.

I didn’t make the MuseCon feedback session, but the signage got a bunch of compliments. As for the book, a couple people missed the icons, but it doesn’t sound like there were any real complaints overall. And that’s a win. I also did a first attempt at a brochure for next year, and the Chair really likes it. So that was a success, too.  

Prep for MuseCon, both from signage and Otter Necessities points of view, was complicated by having unplanned surgery to evict my gall bladder at the end of July, which pretty much killed two weeks (between feeling sick before and recovery after). Got a couple little not-quite-completely healed incision sites from that (laproscopic surgery for the win!), but otherwise recovered

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