Times, They are a Changing!

Happy New Year! As we meander through the month of January, it’s been prime time for some annual reflection and recalibration. Balance and progress. That’s what this post is about today. It’s a long one, but hopefully, you can all sort of relate.

I’ve been making decisions about what I’d like to accomplish both creatively and personally this year. Also, how to reach those goals most efficiently. It feels like using my time and energy on too many different projects is the quickest way to lose both passion and motivation. And my time and energy are absolutely limited. Art is still my side gig, after all. So, starting now, and moving into February and the rest of the year here is what I am doing, not doing, researching, learning, etc…

I am currently finishing the quilt commissions I have already promised. After they are completed, I will not be taking any new commissions. Smaller, more manageable sewing projects will still go up on my Etsy site, but any quilting will be solely done for my enjoyment. I will reevaluate that choice in December 2020.

Regarding Etsy, is it really the best platform for me to be using? Recent changes in their policies have not really been in makers’ favor. Also, there are thousands of other artists on there. Are my pieces getting seen enough, and is there a way to give them more positive exposure than how I am doing things now (in an economical way)?

Painting will get a larger portion of my time for at least the next six months. I’ve begun teaching acrylic pouring workshops locally, and I am truly enjoying it! More classes are in the works, and the current goal is to do 2 workshops a month. Also related to the painting, I am seriously considering doing some craft shows and festivals this Spring and Summer. A fellow artist very generously shared a list with me of the most profitable local fairs she vends at. To do this, I would absolutely need the help of my husband, since my limited experience says this is a two-person job. But the first fair we did back in November went smoothly, all things considered, and it was really nice to spend the day with the hubs. So, we need to calculate if it is worth the cost of entry fees, travel, set-up expenses, etc.

Collaborations – 2020 is a year for networking and collaboration. Time to meet and work with other artists in my and similar fields! I feel this is helpful both from a standpoint of continual learning, and getting new inspiration. There are some big things already in the works in this department, to be announced soon. 🙂

Also, is affordable studio space a real thing, or more like a unicorn? Hubby and I just signed our apartment rental agreement for another year, which means I still do not have a dedicated work area. Ugh! I do not want to stop creating, but let’s be honest here, my creative messes are taking over our home. And all of our closets! Is it worth renting studio space until we find a new home? Is an affordable option even available in our town? It would probably be a big strain on our little budget. But it would give me a space to do pottery again, in addition to painting. Having more pieces sold would certainly help make it a viable consideration. Which leads me to…

Marketing. I am slowly getting more comfortable with fairly but accurately pricing my pieces, and have had several sales in the past few months. But I need to learn how to market myself, in the true business sense of the word. Because I would like to see the sales become more regular and build up a client base. How to best learn that? Seminars? Skillshare classes? I’m not sure yet, but it is definitely necessary. Especially since I do not want to go the route of starting a YouTube channel.

And lastly, travel! The husband and I are taking a trip next month overseas. We will be celebrating his birthday and our wedding anniversary. Also, hopefully being inspired by a place neither of us has been to before. Of course, there will be photos. 🙂 But, if we can manage it, that is not the only trip I would like to take in 2020. We will see if time, work, and budget allow. There’s so much in the world to see, and so many different and interesting people to meet!

Whew! If you have hung in long enough to read this whole thing, congratulations and thank you! I will leave you with photos of some of my recent projects below.

Best wishes to all of you, my dear readers, and good luck in fulfilling your dreams. Let’s all rock this year!

 

Slowly Increasing My Exposure

I have had an Etsy store for a while now (BeautifulEverydayArt). However, most of my art, pottery, and quilt sales thus far have been made to family, friends, and coworkers. So I figure if I am going to commit to making art, I definitely need to get that art seen more.

A small step in that direction happened last night when I posted my first business Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/beautifuleverydayart/). I am very excited about it, and it will keep me from clogging up my friends’ personal Facebook feeds with pictures! 🙂 On it will be my pieces listed for sale, as well as posts related to arts and crafts of all kinds. Check it out, if you have a minute. There’s not a lot there yet, but it will be growing soon!

Happy Monday, and have a great week!

Getting Serious About Online Marketing

Lately, I have been trying to figure out how to best increase my online presence, while spending the least amount of money. It’s not that I am being cheap or anything, but I do need to be careful. Since I am not a full-time artist, and this is basically my side-gig right now, the disposable income I have to put towards marketing my arts and crafts is small for the time being.

I have had an Etsy page for quite a while. There are not many items posted, and the photographs for them are mediocre at best. Quilts are not the easiest things to photograph with sharp detail, and of all my many talents, photography is definitely not one of them! I *do* have a friend who is a wonderful photographer – she could be professional if she wanted to! At one point, I offered to make her a quilt in trade for taking some photographs for me. However, she is extremely busy, and travels frequently, so finding a time to get together is nearly impossible.

The newer items I have been creating are lightweight and easily shippable. So those will be prepped, photographed, and posted on Etsy as well. I am seriously wondering if it is worthwhile to pay a professional to photograph these items for me (including the quilts). The person I have been looking at does have reasonable rates and an excellent online portfolio. I guess I need to figure out how much doing so would ultimately raise the prices of my pieces, if at all.

My business Facebook page is in the works and will be published within the next week or two. Bugging my friends with sale-related posts on my personal page is generally not cool, I know! I try to do it infrequently, so as not to annoy those I hold dear, but I really should have created a separate page a long time ago! 🙂 Upon launching, I plan to do a giveaway for new followers.

I have Instagram and Twitter accounts, but up until now, they have been rarely used. I am not terribly savvy when it comes to them, so if anyone has tips on how to effectively use those platforms, please share!

Also, I will soon have a new laptop, which will make doing all this much easier. Newer technology may also make podcasting and YouTube videos a possibility in the future.

There’s a world of exciting possibilities opening up for me! Hope your world is full of exciting possibilities as well. As usual, make today a great one! 🙂

A Few More of My Projects

So it is summer again, and with more sunshine and longer days, I get the itch to make things. Since I have not posted in quite a while, I figured I would share some of my fairly recent creations with you.

I am still quilting, but have now begun also fluid painting. The partially random aspect of it is pretty addicting. It’s like each painting is an exciting mini-adventure! Now that these paintings are dry, the process of resin-coating and framing them begins. I am so very thankful my husband is so tolerant of my creative messes all over the house! And, once again, I apologize for the poor quality of my photos! The colors really are much more vibrant in person 🙂

Have a fantastic day, and a great week, everyone!

We The People?

I keep seeing these things going around Facebook. You know what they are, because you’ve seen them too. Stuff like:

– “If you’re an American and a Christian, you’ll do/believe/say X.”
– “The Democrats are fools because of such-and-such.”
– “Republicans are idiots because fill-in-the-blank.”
– “Liberals are the devil’s spawn because…”
– “Conservatives are bigoted blah-de-blahs…”

So, I am here to say this:

Stop it. All of you. Those of you that are creating these Memes, GIFs, and Posts, AND those of you who are re-posting them. I include in this request our Elected Officials who are posting rude, obnoxious, and vitriolic Tweets.

KNOCK. IT. OFF. Seriously.

Creating and perpetuating stereotypes like these is unhelpful, inaccurate, and only worsens the division that is tearing apart our country on every level.

Throwing around insults is not something done in the spirit of cooperation. So, to those of you on Facebook and Twitter I know and love, I’m telling you this behavior is beneath you. And from our elected officials who are acting this way, it’s not only appalling and hugely unprofessional, but should not be tolerated by those of us they supposedly serve.

Whether I am Christian or Jewish, Muslim or Sikh, Buddhist or Atheist is NOT the sole indicator that I am or am not a compassionate and loving person.

Whether I am a Republican, Democrat, Independent, Libertarian, or Socialist is not the sole indicator that I do or do not care deeply about the well-being of our society, healthcare, children, abortion, poverty, social security, LGBQT rights, global warming, or any other important current issues.

What I AM is a Human Being, living on this planet, in this country, with other real, live, Human Beings. People who breathe, and live, and work, and struggle, and love, and raise families, just like I do.

– Having compassion for others is how I was raised. It is what a large majority of us are taught from infancy.
– Being proud of my country is what I was taught.
– Living in harmony with my community is what I was taught.
– Having RATIONAL discourse with others who may or may not agree with me is what I was taught.

When we stereotype and sling insults generalizing a portion of the population, what we are doing (intentionally or unintentionally) is dehumanizing OTHER REAL PEOPLE. This makes it easier for us, because “they” become a faceless mass to spew our anger and frustration on. We cease to look at those we target as other people, who may also be angry or hurting. The Internet has been fantastic for helping us do this. We never have to face anyone we bully and dump on anymore and can remain oblivious. Safe in our anonymity behind computer screens.

What we seem to have forgotten is that the way we carry and present ourselves sets the example for our children. THEY see us all the time – there’s no hiding who we really are. How will future generations act, and what methods will they use to problem-solve in the future, based on the poor examples we are giving them now?

We are not solving anything using current methods, and potentially causing vast amounts of hurt and damage to our people, our government, and to our country as a whole. Your actions MATTER, on a daily basis, whether you realize it or not. So please, think long and hard about what you are putting out into the world.

Because what goes on the Internet lasts forever.