Monday, March 29, 2010

blog give away?

so despite my very meager following on my blog, I've been thinking about having a little give away... perhaps one of my new pendants in the color of the winner's choice?
stay tuned for the details. :D

Sunday, March 28, 2010

shop update tomorrow!

There will be a shop update tomorrow.

New handspun

...and, a new batt set, which I am very proud of because they are made almost entirely of fiber that I dyed myself! :D These batts were made of fibers dyed with Greener Shades dyes. The following is taken directly from their website. "Greener ShadesTM is a non-hazardous, non-chrome, low impact, heavy metal-free acid dye for use on silk, wool, nylon, or any animal fiber. Formulated without the use of hazardous metals, these dyes provides superior light and wash fastness without relying on metal compounds to achieve bright and beautiful colors."  They consist of alpaca (picked, cleaned, and dyed my yours truly,) firestar, and BFL with some banana fiber from blondechicken and a bit of angelina.

I also found my Bead and Button magazines, so begins the destash very soon. Silly me, I thought maybe they were still at  my parents house (don't know why since I distinctly remember them being here) when in fact,  I had put them in a bin of their own so that when I got ready to get rid of em' they would still be in fab. shape and all in one convenient location. DUH!

Anyhow, I just wanted to actually get a little sneaky peek up here since I usually don't manage to until after I've already posted new items.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

some subtle changes...

I've really been thinking about how I market myself and what I need to do to get better exposure lately. This stems from a lot of things, not the least of which is that I would really like to make my art and craft my full time job. I've read and own a few books on the whole "cottage industry" and making a living, etc., etc. but recently picked up The Handmade Marketplace by Kari Chapin. I must admit, I may have judged the book by its cover on this one because it was a work of Emily Martin's of theblackapple, who I am a very big fan of, BUT, then I actually perused the book in the store and knew that I needed to have it. It was perfect. Chapin's skills as a writer made someone like me, who is not exactly into the business aspect of things, get really excited about reading about what I needed to do. Chapin also recruited lots of great people to participate in her book in interviews, Q&A's, and lots of pointers. I won't go on to name them, but chances are if you are involved in selling your work on etsy you have heard of a good portion of them. At any rate, I didn't mean for this post to be a book review, but seriously, I recommend this book 100%. My only complaint about it might be that the number crunching financial aspect is only touched on, but, she does recommend some great books that do a better job than she probably thought she could have done. That wasn't the point of her book, so no need to complain about it not being included.

Anyway, this book really inspired me to try to get my ass moving. I purchased a domain name quite some time ago, have a website designed with the help of my mac here, and just really haven't felt like I could go live with it. I'm not completely happy with the site that I designed and I want to get a logo design for Bricolage Studios before I go much further with it so it sits unused. In an effort to fill in for this much needed aspect of my business, I'm using my blog. I have created some "pages" for my blog which you can find at the top below my banner. I have moved my festival and show schedule up there and have also added some information about teaching in its own tab. I put and sort of artist statement under the heading of "About Bricolage Studios" some time ago but never really acknowledged it.

So there you have it. Some subtle changes on the blog to fill in until I can finally get my crap together and have a real website. Part of me wants to just keep the blog and the shop and that is it though... we'll set how things pan out.

Time just seems to be slipping away so I'm really busy trying to get fiber picked and washed so I can dye it while fretting over my solo exhibition at a local coffee shop in June. You may have guessed that I don't actually have anything finished for that yet... More on that later though, I plan on documenting the process here on the blog because I am really excited about this brand new body of work that I will be starting.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

bye bye paycheck...

Hello new EZ UP!

(image is from the site I ordered from )

I had decided when I found out my current class was running that I would be putting that paycheck towards the purchase of a better tent for shows. I've said things like this before but never quite followed through. I'd splurge on this or that in the smaller ticket item arena but never went for the big stuff. Well, after my last outdoor show last year, through rain and wind and sitting overnight on the grounds, it became very clear that I needed to invest in a serious EZ Up. I deposited my check on Monday and after impatiently waiting until my regular job paycheck could be deposited, I was able to purchase one today. Now I just pray that it was all that it said it was and arrives beautifully intact, AND here's the really important kicker, IS IT GOING TO FIT IN MY CAR? This is very important. While I have mastered the art of car tetris, no amount of flipping this line this way and that is going to fit it in if it is just too darn long. Game Over. Poor little Saturn.

If that is the case, I'm really gonna have to be sweet to the hubs and constantly be borrowing his jeep. This wouldn't be so bad except, A. no cruise control, not so bad unless the show is far away, and, B. i know my car, I know how everything has to go in, what goes where, and how my car just operates. I guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

OH! and who knows why, maybe it was just the beautiful weather today, maybe it was the fact that show season is looming and I wanna make sure I have LOTS of stock of EVERYTHING, but my crazy little self decided it would be a good idea to go get some more raw alpaca fiber. Nevermind that I still have well over a pound of the lovely Isis to wash, I decided I'd go for the beautiful blanket of Canute. I'm told he is now an obstacle course champion alpaca. I didn't even know those critters did things like that. I just thought they were adorable creatures who provided beautiful spinning fiber and you know, wandered around being cute... did I mention I think they are adorable. :D

Going out to 4 Musketeers Alpaca Farm in Bellevue, MI was a bit of an adventure in itself today. It is only about a 5 minute drive from work but it just seemed like I was driving forever, you know, when you get to a point where you begin to wonder if maybe you turned on the wrong road because you, "swear it was just after I turned onto this road." Well, I got there okay, but then heard a barking dog, a barking dog right by the door. outside. not tied up. Yea, it scared the hell out of me to have a German Shepherd about 5 feet from me about to attack (or so I thought.) It was at about the time where I was about to wet myself that one of the owners met me outside from the barn with a less intimidating dog and assured me that both of them were all bark and no bite. I was then greeted with several bags of first and second cuts and was faced with a decision. I was going to buy Sunflower too, until the total poundage came to over 8. I had decided I wasn't going to spend more than 50 bucks and that was way over budget.

 Anyhow, this bad boy was over six pounds so I've got my work cut out for me. I am going to my friend Kathy's this weekend for moral support and we are both going to be cleaning the heck out of some fiber with each others company, some tasty food, and some old movies. I'm looking forward to it. :D

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

venting frustrations...

I'm really beginning to wonder how anyone sells jewelry on etsy. I mean really... The market on there is just soooo saturated that I don't know if anyone even ever sees what I post. I give you fare warning reader that I am not saying this because I think that my work is wonderful and should be constantly sold out, but a rant this will be. While that would be welcome, I don't look for that kind of exposure or limelight or whatever you'd like to call it. At this point in my life, I just miss the feedback. I am so ready for show season to start, simply because I want REAL people to come into my booth and talk to me about my work face to face and maybe, if so enthralled with my charm and captivated by the little things I make, they might just buy some of it too.

I just miss that human connection with my work. I know I'm not creating thought provoking, moving paintings or intricate sculptures but, it still matters to me to hear what people think, good or bad. I get more stimulating conversations about my fiber work because I have a spinning group... but my jewelry side cries out for companionship. It needs someone to say, "HEY! what if you did this?" or, "That is really great, don't change a thing!" without the bias of it being a family member or my dear husband who just says, "neat." Is it neat? or was he just more interested what he was doing on his iphone or current battle on WOW? argh!

So anyway, back to etsy. I love etsy. I REALLY love etsy. But why does my yarn and wool sell while my jewelry constantly must be renewed? Have I just not found the right demographic? Should I pull it and start a separate shop for jewelry? (I really don't even want to think about this  option, I'd prefer one shop...) Do I just need a LOT more jewelry on there? and finally... is it all just not good enough? I know deep down that is not true, but we all have our insecurities and when you are thinking about these important questions, that one ends up rearing its ugly head.

That all being said, look for more jewelry toward the end of the week in the shop. What can I say, I like the rejection apparently. More likely, it makes me feel better to have it out  in the world with possibility rather than tucked away till the next show or fair.

Thoughts anyone?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Benefit Auctions

The Art Center of Battle Creek is holding two fundraisers in the form of silent auctions and sales in the coming months. I am very excited to participate in both of them! The first one will be a postcard exhibit and sale with each postcard priced at $20 with all money to benefit the art center. I am thinking that I will create some felted postcards and possibly some dyed or encaustic... I haven't quite decided. I am also participating in a postcard fundraiser to benefit my alma mater's art department. I will certainly be posting pictures of what I come up with as I complete it.

The exhibit and sale I am most excited about is the Artist Doll exhibit and auction. The art center is asking that participants choose an artist (local or world known,) and create a likeness in any medium. It was very easy for me to make up my mind on this one.

After writing a paper on Chagall's I and the Village, I was deeply touched by his whimsical and symbolic works.
But really, who couldn't be taken with him? Just look at him.  I only just realized that he passed away the year that I was born... maybe there is some sort of connection there? I also just recently was privileged to see a few of his works in person in the new wing of the Art Institute of Chicago. It is so much easier to be swept away and appreciate an artist's work when you have looked in depth at what has went into just one of their pieces.

At any rate, I am very excited to start on my doll soon. I haven't decided what to make him from but it will most likely be polymer clay for the head, hands, and feet and a soft body over wire armature. I definitely think I need to try to knit a tiny sweater for it. We'll see though. I definitely know I need to find a way to make sure that people know who it is... 

Any thoughts?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

the sweetest thing...

it was Carley's first birthday party today. there were presents...

and of course some cake...

it is unfortunate that the last photo is a bit blurry because it is just so classic.

I sure do love being an aunt. Lots of birthdays coming up this week with the family, less messy I imagine, but no less joyful.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

goodness I'm terrible!

Well... I got a lot of work done last night. More than I had hoped actually by the time I found my way back upstairs. I completed two more shawl pins in my Cosmic Poppy line, a brand new pendant design in the same line, worked on another pendant design (it failed but I still have hope,) AND finished a bracelet in my candy line. It was really quite gratifying. Unfortunately, I think I may have worked too long last night and I didn't even get photographs yet!

The kiddo is sick again, and while she's been pretty much hanging out watching tv the whole time it still threw a wrench in the works for me getting things done. Funny how something so small can knock your whole schedule out of whack. Also had to shop for my niece's first birthday. Any excuse to go to the toy store is A OK with me. We have this delightful locally owned store that sells the greatest stuff. They really care about what products they sell so I really feel safe shopping there.  I got her the most adorable little things that I really want to play with and knocked out a bit of Easter basket shopping for Adele. An Ugly Doll surprise action figure MAY have managed to make its way up to the counter for my own amusement too... but just look at him!!!

At any rate, photographing will happen tonight with an update in the ol' shop by Friday afternoon being realistic but I'm really hoping by tomorrow afternoon between work and other work (it feels strange to call teaching work because I am really loving it!) 

In the meantime, here is what a scatterbrained artist's workbench looks like.

I sure hope I'm not the only one.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

a small update minus the sneak peek

Put a few new items in the shop today. I think the true update will happen wednesday 3/10 and I will DEFINITELY be putting some sneaky peeks before that one. :D