As a retired skater, I am grateful that the league lets us participate in this amazing “girl power” Mardi Gras tradition. And every year I get a bit more extreme – building on the previous year’s parade.
The first year we skated in Muses, we had special BERG beads to hand out – ceramic ones and regular plastic ones. When the time came to hand the beads out it was a twisted nightmare! I spent most of the parade looking down trying to untangle beads. Never again. The next year I individually bagged all of my beads – that way I could reach in my bag and hand them out without any fuss – and leave myself more free to shoot.
Photographing the event, like my throws, gets a little more extreme every year. At first I would just shoot us getting ready and at the end, but now I shoot the entire route. Knock on wood – no injuries yet.
A couple of years later, I decided I wanted to make my own throws. Using the old ceramic bead from the first year, I made molds to pour resin into to make colorful acrylic medallions that come in shades of red, green, blue, yellow, and purple. Each one is different and it’s a process: mix and pour the materials, let them dry, drill and sand, attach them to beads. Surprisingly, the attaching is what has been my hiccup and what I dread every year. It’s amazingly hard to find the split rings to attach. For years I searched everywhere! The only ones I could find were jewelry quality – this meant HOURS spent attaching with tiny pliers.
Anyway, last Jazz Fest, as I always do, I stopped by my friend Mitchell Gaudet’s art tent to say hello, view his glass, and get my annual jazz fest souvenir – a cast glass necklace. I have various chili peppers, a voodoo doll, alligator, a half moon. It isn’t Jazz Fest unless I eat some crawfish monica, drink a strawberry lemonade, and get a necklace from Mitchell.
Mitchell is the owner of Studio Inferno and is an internationally known artist whose art has a regional pulse. He is my main inspiration for salvaged and found art. In fact the first time I met him (fifteen years ago?) he was in a five-foot hole digging up someone’s backyard looking for old glass bottles, ceramics, dolls, etc. (which I have done in my own backyard and have amassed quite a collection).
Back to Muses. I noticed the “give away” rings on his glass necklaces and asked him where he got them. He showed me the box, I took a picture, and this year when Twelfth Night rolled around I ordered them. Unfortunately, I think they are bit too big for the resin medallions – but maybe I am the only one who notices that. However, instead of doing 10 an hour, I can get 50 finished. Next year I will try and find a smaller size but… Yea, always a work in progress.
This year I have BERG medallions, Celtic hearts, roller skates, and fleur de lis.
Each bead is individually packaged with a card from me and a BERG schedule card.
Now, on to the swag bags. Every year many of the skaters decorate their old skate wheels. They are our “shoes” and “coconuts” just like the coveted throws from Muses or Zulu.
This year I made 24 swag bags. Each of them includes a skate wheel, a resin medallion, a button, and many include magnets, ornaments and coasters of New Orleans scenes.
Happy Muses! Happy Mardi Gras! And hope to see y’all on the parade route!
Related: Muses Photo Video I made from 2010.