Music Monday: Quiet Company

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Through the release of three LPs and endless touring, the Austin, Texas band Quiet Company has been making a name for themselves nationally with their energetic live shows and their anthemic, dynamic, indie rock which critics have called a mix of The Beatles, Death Cab for Cutie, Arcade Fire and Weezer. Quiet Company won Rock Band of the Year during SXSW 2014, adding to their previous 10 Austin Music Awards including Band of the Year, Album of the Year, Rock Band of the Year, Indie Band of the Year and Song of the Year, all won on the strength of their 2011 release We Are All Where We Belong.

After the success of their 2013 album re-release, A Dead Man on My Back: Shine Honesty Revisited, Quiet Company was featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered” and chosen to be a Red Bull Sound Select Artist, all of which rekindled interest in We Are All Where We Belong and shot the album to #7 on the iTunes Rock charts nearly 2 years after its release. Come see their Armadillo stage debut.

Quiet Company will play the Armadillo stage Thursday, December 22nd at 7pm

Music Monday: Carson McHone

Carson McHone is an alt-country/americana songwriter from Austin, Texas. She released her debut self titled EP in 2013 and toured nationally and internationally in its support. Her vocals are featured on Shinyribs’ album (Okra Candy, 2015), on Ray Wylie Hubberd’s song “Chick Singer Badass Rockin”, as well as a duet on Mike and The Moonpies 2015 release, Mockingbird. In 2014 McHone was selected as one of six songwriters to represent the city of Austin in “Project #ATX6”. The group played showcases in Toronto, Canada at NXNE (North By Northeast Festival) and toured Northern Germany, culminating in a sold out out showcase at the Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg. Have a listen to get you excited to see Carson McHone live on the Armadillo stage…

Carson McHone will play the Armadillo stage Thursday, December 15th at 3pm

Music Monday: Charlie Belle

Charlie Belle Armadillo Christmas Bazaar
Charlie Belle is an Austin based sister-brother pop band comprised of songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist, Jendayi Bonds and drummer, vocalist, Gyasi Bonds. They made a splash in early 2015 with the breezy debut EP, Get To Know, which recalled the British “alterna-pop” sounds of the 90’s. A succinct and memorable handful of songs that reflected Jendayi’s mature-beyond-her-years songwriting, Get To Know had major press outlets proclaiming that Charlie Belle was “armed with the most infectious kind of power-pop” (Wired), dubbing the group “the coolest and youngest band you need to know,” (Nylon), and reminding that Charlie Belle would be one of the “musicians you’ll tell your friends about in 2015” (NPR Music). We are pleased to have them be the opening act on the Armadillo stage for their first time this year.

Charlie Belle will play the Armadillo stage Wednesday, December 14th at 11am


Featured Art Throwback Thursday

After announcing our featured art piece for 2016, we thought it would be fun to share with you the featured art of year’s past. Last year we had an armadillo illustrated by nemo.
Armadillo Christmas Bazaar 2015 featured art

In 2014 our featured art was done by Jay Long:
Armadillo Christmas Bazaar featured art 2014

In 2012, our first featured artist was Terrell Powell, he’s been with the show since the 90s.
Guitar Tree

We love seeing how the show inspires the artist’s piece, and look forward to growing this list. Do you have a favorite featured art piece? Let us know which one it is!

Announcing our Featured Art for 2016!

Did you know we choose an Armadillo artist to create our featured art piece for the year for us to use in our advertising? Here’s a little bit behind how that came to be…

We really wanted something besides our logo that we could change every year. We wanted to showcase the creativity of the Armadillo and have a piece of art that represented our culture in a different medium. Chosen artists are not given any parameters, they are free to use any color and just be inspired by the show.

Our first featured art piece was by Terrell Powell, followed by Jay Long, nemo and now Aly.

This year we’re trying something new with our featured art piece titled “Home” from Aly by doing an auction.

Aly’s beautiful piece is 26″ x 47″, and it really captures the show (and Austin!) in mosaic form.

2016 Featured Art by Aly Winningham


Let’s meet Aly, the artist behind our 2016 featured art!

Armadillo artist Aly Winningham
Tell us about yourself, your artistic background/career, where you are from and where you are now.
I was born and raised in Houston. I come from a family of creative types and always knew I was an artist. It took me a while to find the medium I am in now. But I have been making mosaics for almost 20 years now.

What was your creative process for your piece, “Home”?
Well, I thought about what the Armadillo means to me, and I came up with the design. When I think about the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar I think about family, I think about connection to Austin and I think about music, art and self expression. Once I had the design I framed a piece of wood, sealed it with white primer and sketched the image onto the wood. Then, very meticulously, I began to place the glass, stone etc with adhesive often having to manipulate the item before placing it. Then I grouted the entire piece.

What was your favorite part to put together?
The stamping of a penny was a new thing. That was fun. I was surprised how easy it was to find super tiny high tinsel steel number stamps. I can’t even read the numbers on the rods with my readers.

What was the most challenging part of creating “Home”?
It actually flowed pretty well because I felt passion for it. Sometimes I struggle with commissions because I’m really having to dig deep but this was easy and graceful because I feel connected to it.

Is there a 709 hidden in the piece?
Why, yes. Yes there is. The last question may have given a little hint. Actually that was Bruce’s idea and it was a brilliant one.
Armadillo Christmas Bazaar 709

Tell us about your history with the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar.
2010 was my first year. But I spent several years before that trying to get in! I would go to the show and talk to the other artists. I had many friends who were in the show. I was buying all my Christmas presents at the show. I felt connected long before I was invited in.

Tell us about the first dollar you made selling your art.
Well, when I was 18 yrs old I took off to California in my VW camper van. I spent about 7 months living on the beach (somehow?) driving up and down PCH without a care in the world. When money was lean I was able to sell my hand painted clothing on the beach. I would use acrylics to paint on jeans or the back of used jean jackets. People paid for it. I was shocked at how much people would pay. My first sale was to this guy on a motorcycle. He gave me 100 dollars for this jacket I had painted a dragon on the back of. I was wearing it and he pulled over and said, “I will give you 100 for your jacket” and I was blown away.

What are your favorite art supplies or tools?
Glass, glass glass! It so beautiful and comes in so many colors and textures. And second to that would be stones. Semi precious stones.
Aly Winningham glass

If you could work in any other medium, what would it be?
I would like to make tiles out of clay. I already fuse tiles out of glass. But glass is very expensive and limited in other ways as well. I feel like clay tiles is my next venture.

Tell us about your public art and large installations.
My first one was a private commission for Whole Foods Market in 2005. They hired me to install a “Candy Island” mosaic in and around the chocolate counter of what at the time was their new flagship corporate offices and store. The mosaic is still there and has survived many in store remodels. It’s primarily made of large chunks of ruby red tumbled glass chunks and scrolls of solid copper rods. I learned a lot on that job. You can see pictures of it on my website. From there my large installations have ranged from private residences to public settings both indoors and out. Some of my other clients include, Simon Properties, City of Austin and a handful of private architect firms.

What are your five favorite songs, albums or musicians?
Wow, well, lets see, I guess I’m a stuck in the 70s era kinda girl. Not that I don’t hear new music especially on KUTX all the time that I quite enjoy. But the stuff that’s closest to my heart is all the great 70s stuff, Supertramp, Fleedwood Mac, David Bowie, Joni Mitchell, etc etc it’s really endless I’m afraid. Top songs, Toni Price – ‘Thank you for the Love’, Elton John – ‘Philadelphia Freedom’, The Beatles – ‘Dear Prudence’, 4 Non Blondes – ‘What’s Up?’, and oh I don’t know about 100 more.

Is there any wisdom you would like to pass on to emerging artists?
I would say that if I could go back and talk to my 20 something year old self I would tell her to take a deep breath and believe in herself. And just know that if you follow your true desires, in this case to live a life full of creative expression, that the world will provide for you. I love the quote “Fortune favors she who dares” because my years have proved to me this is very true. And sometimes having the courage to be ourselves in the truest sense takes more courage than anything.


Head on over to our auction page to learn how to bid on “Home” by Aly!


Studio Visit and Science Lesson with Steve Kriechbaum

I had a wonderful morning visiting the North Austin studio of Armadillo Goldsmith, Steve Kriechbaum.

Steve has been in this studio since 1989 creating custom, original jewelry.  This morning Steve is adding a rodium plating to my wedding bands.

Steve in his studio.
Steve in his studio.

Steve has created over 1500 original molds like these…

Custom molds
Custom molds

…and has them all neatly stacked and labeled in his studio.

Stacks of original custom molds
Stacks of original custom molds

Now to the fun part! Science! Using an electro-plater at 4 volts, with beakers and anodes and other cool science things…Steve cleans up my rings with chemistry.


My custom, original wedding bands by Steve Kriechbaum are as beautiful as the day I got them <3

Anne’s wedding bands
Anne’s wedding bands

To see Steve and view more of his beautiful work, visit him at the ArtWalk in Fayetteville, Kerrville Festival of the Arts, or find him online at

Music Monday: The Rocketboys

The Rocketboys
The Rocketboys’ sound reflects the Texas landscape from which they hail: vast, yet sparse, desolate, yet rich and abundant. Familiar lyrical themes of romance and love are often eschewed in favor of songs of brotherhood, family, life, and death in the band’s dynamic musical array, from guitar and keyboard rich anthems to gentle, ethereal whispers.

The Rocketboys’ forte is its keen ability to create and capture unique, emotional musical experiences. Hit TV shows “Glee,” “One Tree Hill,” “Private Practice,” “Elementary,” and many others have channeled the band’s powerful thematic energy. Reviews often highlight the band’s parity to textural acts such as Band of Horses and Death Cab for Cutie while retaining the mass appeal of Coldplay, The Verve and Keane.

The Rocketboys will play the Armadillo stage Tuesday, December 22nd at 3pm

New Artist Spotlight: Shawn Ray Harris

Shawn Ray Harris
Shawn Harris’ work is whimsical, playful, and humorous in a sophisticated way. His pieces will surely have you smiling in wonderment.

Let’s learn more about Shawn and his work…

Describe your work:
Typically my work begins while experiencing new landscape/interiors, wondering what creatures may lurk in such places, then photographing each scene as if it were a backdrop for a movie or play. Later, in the studio, I dress up in outfits and animal masks, photographing myself on a green screen, then digitally placing the character in it’s scene. In the beginning I was creating characters as if to give animals a voice to their plight. The more I photograph, continuing down this path, the more diverse and playful the work becomes.

How long have you been creating, and how has your work changed?
I studied art at university and have been practicing it almost daily for twenty years. My work has evolved over the years in both style and mixing mediums. The work may change in aesthetics but core elements remain the same. I’m interested in figurative imagery and creating narratives with use of props and environment. Using a camera in one way or another is pretty consistent for me as well. And, humor, the art needs to keep me entertained and make people chuckle for sure.

If you could work in any other medium, what would it be?
If I could work in any other medium it would be a mix of painting and sculpture. I never grow tired of looking at a good painting and I like sculpture for it’s third dimension and ongoing spatial/materials problem solving. *But* the camera is amazing and I will certainly be using it for a long time to come.

Shawn Ray Harris

What makes you excited about doing Armadillo Christmas Bazaar?
Armadillo Christmas Bazaar has a sort of legendary status on the arts festival circuit. It’s the kind of thing artists sing songs about around the campfire between shows. I’m looking forward to being surrounded by other like minded creative types in a holiday atmosphere. As a ‘first time artist’, I’m certainly looking forward to sharing my work with a new audience. Listening to great music and spending Christmas in Austin…it can’t get much better.

Is there a band you are looking forward to seeing (or hearing from your booth – ha!)?
Uncle Lucius and Alpha Rev are two bands I’m looking forward to hearing. I’m pretty excited about that.

Is there an artist at Armadillo you are looking forward to shopping from?
Always happy to shop Dave Borba’s booth…the man is a genius.

Shawn Ray Harris

Find Shawn’s work in booth S-2!

New Artist Spotlight: Fat Cat Studio

Fat Cat Studio pieces are hand made by Kari Stringer and CeRee Hellums. Kari is originally from Sarasota, FL, but has been in Texas for 17 years – currently living in Taylor, TX. CeRee is originally from Austin and lives in Taylor, too. They make one-of-a-kind jewelry from vintage tin cans (cans that use to hold coffee, tea, candy, etc) from the 1970s and earlier. Did you know tin is the 10 year anniversary gift? If you have a 10 year anniversary coming out, this might be the booth for you!

Let’s learn more about them…

Describe your work:
We scour antique stores for special tins, select & isolate images to capture which are then all cut out by hand, then filed by hand to make sure they have a nice smooth edge. We assemble our pieces with sterling silver chain, clasp & earners which we oxidized to give an aged look to better match the vintage tins. New this year are designs which are hand stitched together with stainless steel wire & some pieces we are using vintage chain.

How long have you been creating, and how has your work changed?
We’ve been creating since 2006. We have always had a wide range of geometric shapes of various sizes but we are always adding new shapes. New this year are designs which are hand stitched together with stainless steel wire & some pieces we are using vintage chain.


If you could work in any other medium, what would it be?
Mixed media assemblage work. We both have a passion for all things vintage so using bits & pieces of found items of the past & creating something new with it has always been an intriguing idea.

What is your favorite thing to do on the weekend?
Hmmm…we find week days & weekends sort of blend together working from home & for ourselves but I’d say hunting for treasures at estate sales, antique stores, flea markets is the thing we do most with our “down” time.

What makes you excited about doing Armadillo Christmas Bazaar?
The people we will meet, new relationships forged and also seeing artist friends & the wonderful Armadillo staff.

Is there an artist at Armadillo you are looking forward to shopping from?
Steve Meadows, Art by Nemo, Latika…so many!

Find Fat Cat Studio in booth G-1!

New Artist Spotlight: Jason Brueck

Jason Brueck
Jason Brueck is the man behind Alter Images from Nashville, TN. His specialty is photo surrealistic images incorporating a balance of good and evil, light and dark, life and death.

Let’s learn more about him…

How long have you been creating, and how has your work changed?
I’ve been creating art for the past seven years and have put more emphasis in creating representational art that tells a story through a counterbalance of themes (I.e good vs evil, life and death, etc).

If you could work in any other medium, what would it be?
Illustration (graphite).

Tell us about the first dollar you made selling your art:
I brought a blanket, a bottle of wine and about 20 posters that had cost me $5/piece (I sold them for $10). The first sale I ever made was to a girl named Carly and we’re still Facebook friends to this day.

Jason Brueck
What is your favorite thing to do on the weekend?
Watching college football, creating new work, exploring my new hometown of Nashville, TN.

What makes you excited about doing Armadillo Christmas Bazaar?
Getting a chance to spend more time in Austin, in addition to selling my work in a new setting/environment.

Find Jason’s work in booth M-2!