Welcome

My first name is Erika. Not Erica. Not Ericka. My last name is Hammerschmidt, which has thirteen letters, including five consonants in a row. People still find it easier to spell than my first name.

In college I majored in German and Spanish. I also accidentally minored in art, just by taking so many art classes for the fun of it. I grow my own vegetables. I cut my own hair, but even when a professional barber cuts it, it still sticks out on one side and in on the other. I’m an author, artist and speaker living in Minnesota. I work at Target as well as giving speeches on autism and writing books. I am married to a space alien named John Ricker, who, like me, is on the autism spectrum.

Below you will find my latest news. Add me to your bookmarks! I’m always up to something.

Also, check our calendar for upcoming events!

Vulcan priestess cosplay

 

Fun fact about me: Of all the species in Star Trek, I’ve always identified most with the Vulcans. There was definitely a period of time in my teens and young adulthood when I considered myself Vulcan-kin (Vulkin? Anyway I didn’t have a word for it at the time, being an 80′s and 90′s kid). And even though I don’t describe it that way now, I still feel some sort of deep kinship with them.

My fascination with Vulcans led to my fascination with finding ways to make the human ears appear pointed, and eventually to my fascination with making “elf earrings” that bend the ear tips into points when worn.

http://www.erikahammerschmidt.com/jewelry/category/elfear/

But the reason they’re elf earrings, and not Vulcan earrings, is because they wouldn’t work for cosplaying most Vulcans from canon. I certainly can’t imagine Spock wearing them, or any Starfleet Vulcan, for that matter. They just don’t fit with the general air of calm professionalism.

And yet there is an area of Vulcan life where such illogical adornments don’t seem totally out of place. I refer, of course, to ceremonial garb, worn by priestesses and other participants in archaic Vulcan rituals.

We don’t know exactly WHY these logical people have so many ceremonies shrouded in antiquity, let alone why they attend them dressed up in extravagant gold and gemstones. But they certainly do. Though Vulcan priestesses haven’t been shown actually wearing ear jewelry of this sort, it fits surprisingly well with the style of what they do wear.

So here’s my own take on the Vulcan ceremonial outfit. The robe, sleeves and headdress are a thrift store gown, window curtain and shawl. The inscription, taken from canon Vulcan clothing, is made of brass wire and sewn on.

The crown, inspired by T’Lar in “The Search For Spock,” is made of brass wire, copper wire, garnet and glass beads, and clear quartz points, while the IDIC pendant is brass with a garnet bead. The shoes were already perfect when I found them at the thrift store. The elf earrings (now Vulcan earrings) are brass with garnet and glass beads to match the crown.

And no, I will not take off my glasses for this costume. Visual impairment does seem to be uncommon among Vulcans, but I’m sure it still happens sometimes. And, as a desert species, I think they would find it quite logical to treat it using a method that also provides protection against sand, dry air, and the ultraviolet rays of the sun.

Come to think of it, maybe I should invest in some of those Transitions lenses.

 

 

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Garden

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Took some pictures of my window garden today, because it’s looking very pretty and it makes me happy.

(And yes, my bean plant decided to wrap around the garlic growing in the Twilight cup. Beans are sneaky tentacle monsters.)

Project Finished!

Finally finished and photographed the jewelry collection I’m making for a local art show at the Vine Arts Center in Minneapolis, put on by an art discussion group called “The Art Salon for Fertile Minds.”

http://www.vineartscenter.com/

http://www.meetup.com/Art-Salon-for-Fertile-Minds/

I will post more about this show as our plans progress.

The theme of the show is “The Space Between the Words.” That can be interpreted many ways… the phrase was chosen because we are a group of artists who discuss our art at the Art Salon every month, and our art is created on our own time, “between the words” we say at the group.

My own interpretation refers to my short story collection, “If the World Ended, Would I Notice?” In the first story, “Doug Day,” I described a necklace given by one character to another. It was basically my dream necklace, the epitome of exactly what I find beautiful.

http://www.erikahammerschmidt.com/if-the-world-ended-would-i-notice/

Between two paragraphs, I included a pen-and-ink illustration of it. So the inspiration for this jewelry collection came literally from “the space between the words.”

The project is almost done. It’s crafted in sterling silver and stainless steel, with lemon quartz, blue mystic quartz, pearls, amethysts and other assorted gemstones.

It includes a necklace, earrings, ring, bracelet and crown.

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Comicon is just a couple weeks away!

Remember my earlier post about MSP Comicon?

http://www.erikahammerschmidt.com/2015/03/23/comicon/

It’s coming up soon, May 16th and 17th, 10 am to 5 pm each day!

Again, it’s on the State Fairgrounds in the Grandstand. Entry fee is $12 in cash, paid at the door (save $1 by donating a canned good at their food shelf).

I will have a table for my webcomic “Abby and Norma,” and also some jewelry and crafts. Come see me there!



Sirius mumbling and cuddling

Sirius the starling is really cute when he snuggles against my neck and mumbles sweet baby talk in my ear.

Paper Boxes

Recently, while preparing for my upcoming craft fair, I’ve figured out a way to make a wide variety of useful rectangular boxes out of regular 8.5″ x 11″ sheets of cardstock or paper.

Knowing how to do this can come in handy for any seller of small arts and crafts, providing a cheaper and more personalized way to package your goods than store-bought boxes.

Start with an ordinary sheet of paper or cardstock, any color. (For smaller boxes, you can split a sheet of paper in half and use the resulting 8.5″ x 5.5″ sheets. Any square or rectangular piece of paper works.)

Decide how wide you want the box to be. Fold up the sides accordingly.

Fold each corner in, lined up with the folded edges.

Fold the ends of the paper in, as shown; then unfold.

Then fold the sides in, as shown, followed by the ends.

Now unfold the whole thing. You’ve created the creases that will allow you to complete the project.

Refold the square on each corner so that it points inward.


Now comes the slightly tricky part. Fold the corners in, inverting them so that the top edges of the paper walls touch the inner bottom. The box’s walls are half as tall as they originally were, but they are now held in place.


To make the box lid, take a second sheet of paper and fold the edges as before, allowing slightly more space in the middle than the first one.

Follow all the previous instructions for the second box that will form the lid.




The lid now fits on top of the box, and the box can now be lined with tissue and filled with your handmade jewelry or other trinkets.



You can make several different box sizes using this basic formula; just adjust how far you fold the sides in the first step.

Only two more weeks to the craft fair!

Really looking forward to that craft fair at the Minnehaha Free Space! It’s coming up soon!



Minnehaha Free Space Craft Fair & Bake Sale

(Facebook page)

Sat Apr 25, 2015

1:00 pm – 6:00 pm

See my earlier post for more details and directions!

New Book Needs Readers

As some of you may know, my first published book was Born on the Wrong Planet, a memoir about my weird childhood, printed by Autism Asperger Publishing Company.

Since its publication, I’ve jumped from one genre to another, self-publishing several books including a science fiction novel, a short story collection, a children’s book, and various comic collections.

But now I am back to the memoir genre. This time, it’s titled “Erika to Earth.” Instead of focusing on my own weirdness, it’s about the weirdness of the rest of the world. In addition to telling my own story, it explores many aspects of human society in general, from my somewhat alien perspective.

It’s the “next book” I was talking about in this post. That essay dissecting the dubious concept of “lie-detecting” and “signs of lying” will be part of it.

There are also chapters about things like:

-cooking
-indoor gardening
-how counting sheep can turn into a surrealist fantasy
-the dangerous concept of expecting fictional characters to behave consistently when real people don’t
-pet starlings
-married life
-my obsessive fear of societal collapse and the extinction of humanity
-subconscious meanings in paintings
-haircuts
-the fine line between standing up for yourself and being a jerk
-the fine line between being healthily satisfied with what you have and settling for an unacceptable situation
-the fact that words are symbols
-the parallels between Christmas traditions and autistic routines
-whether my indifference to music makes me a bad person
-exercise
-willpower
-the definition of emotion
-how common one-in-a-million coincidences actually are

Interspersed with those chapters are some more recent stories from my life since the publication of BOTWP, and the various homes, careers, pets and friendships that have come and gone.

Basically, I’m looking for people to proofread the draft for me. You don’t have to be an expert on grammar, spelling, or any of the topics I address in the book (although if you have enough knowledge to catch any errors I made, I’ll appreciate it). What I’m mainly seeking is a wide range of readers who can give me their input on whether the stuff I write is unclear, ambiguous, confusing, or otherwise hard to read.

I can send digital copies in PDF, RTF and TXT form.

You don’t even have to read the whole book. I’d be happy even just to receive comments on one chapter at a time, whichever one you have something to say about.

What’s in it for you? Well, unfortunately, I can’t offer material goods, but you’ll get to read the book, both free of charge and before it officially comes out. And if you give me any useful constructive advice, I’ll put your name on the dedication page (unless you’d rather I leave you out, or credit you by a pseudonym).

This book may not be for everyone. Please note these things before asking me to send you a copy:

This book contains some mentions of violence, both by and toward autistic people, including some discussion of an abusive relationship. It also has some mentions of suicide and sexual assault (in the abstract, not referring to a specific case).

It contains some mentions of animal death, some mentions of human death, lots of discussion of severe anxiety, some ableist language, and various emotionally traumatizing conflicts.

It has a lot of discussion of social justice and civil rights in their various forms, mostly in support of them, but reasoned in what I hope is a critical and rational manner. I’m not asking people to evaluate my opinions, but I’d welcome constructive criticism of the way in which I present my thoughts.

If you still think this is a book you’d like to read and critique, please send me a message at humanalien at gmail dot com with an email address where I can send you a digital copy.

If you can’t read it yourself, I’d still very much appreciate you passing on the link to this post to others who may be interested, through email, blog posts or whatever.

Thank you all,

Erika Hammerschmidt

COMICON!

Guess what! The Minnehaha Free Space Craft Fair is not the only event where I’ll have a table this spring!

I will be at COMICON, too!

No, not Emerald City Comicon, or San Diego Comicon, nor yet even the Wizard World Minneapolis Comic Con. The Comicon to which I refer is this one on the State Fairgrounds:

MSP Comicon 2015

Times:

May 16 & 17, 2015
Saturday & Sunday
Doors open at 10am
Show ends at 5pm, both days.

Prices:

Admission is only $12
Admission is pay at the door only.
note: Save $1 on your admission by bringing a nonperishable food item to donate to the food shelf.
Children 9 and under admissions are FREE.

Place:

Location of MSP Comicon:
MN State Fairgrounds GRANDSTAND
1265 Snelling Ave N.
Saint Paul, MN 55108

Getting there from downtown Minneapolis involves the Blue Line train and the 84 bus, like so:

If you want to get there from somewhere else, or using a different transportation method, feel free to type your own stuff into Google Maps.

I will have comics, books, and a few merchandise items for sale– come and see me there!

Another Craft Fair and Bake Sale coming up!

So, there’s another craft fair at the Minnehaha Free Space!

Initially their calendar said April 18th, but it has apparently been changed to the 25th.



Minnehaha Free Space Craft Fair & Bake Sale

(Facebook page)

Sat Apr 25, 2015

1:00 pm – 6:00 pm

I’ll have a table, selling my handmade jewelry and other crafts.

My jewelry is fancy Renaissance-fair-type stuff that you can see on my website.

There will be lots of other cool artists too! Watch for details at Minnehaha Free Space’s Facebook page.

Since it’s a bake sale, there will also be baked goods! Probably including some vegan and gluten-free options, because Minnehaha Free Space is into that.

The craft fair will be at:

Minnehaha Free Space

3747 Minnehaha Ave

Minneapolis, MN 55406

email: radspacetc@riseup.net

call: 612-729-3733

If you can get to downtown Minneapolis, it’s easy to get to Minnehaha Free Space from there by train. Here are directions from the downtown library. (I’ll give very detailed step-by-step directions, because there was a time when I was so scared of going new places that I would skip out on fun events just because I would have to get to them on my own… in those days, knowing the route in this much detail would have been a big help for me.)

Without further ado:

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First, head from the library along Hennepin toward 5th Street:


At 5th Street, turn and wait at the Warehouse Station and Platform.

Get on a Blue Line train toward Mall of America:

Get off at the 38th Street Station:



Turn left and go down 38th Street:




Turn on Minnehaha and you’ll be there!