New Arrivals!

Whee! I had a good day today! Not only did I slam an entire project together that I am tickled pink about, but my black velveteen fabric arrived from UPS. Finally! And on top of that, I got a Folkwear pattern in the mail for a Poiret Opera cloak, which I will be using as inspiration for my own…

I am so excited!! Now I have a whole slew of projects to get done, and that makes me feel really good.

I still haven’t sold anything yet (and that really bums me out, but I can’t wallow in those thoughts for long), but I am confident that these new items will be different and fun. I look forward to doing some velvet painting on those opera cloaks, and seeing if they attract much attention. I’m also going to dive into a new series of coats that aren’t made out of velour, so they’ll be infinitely lighter and more wearable.

But tonight, just as a preview, I’m posting pics of the project I slammed together last night and today. A really nice piece that’s deceptively warm… A vest that my partner named “Gay Apparel”, so I think that’ll be this particular festive holiday-wear series of clothes… Kinda Christmas/Mardi Gras/Circus, I think! I really dig the standing collar. It’ll be up on Etsy and Artfire soon!

Until next time–Live life with Relish!

The Side Front.  Note the standing collar...

The Side Front. Note the standing collar...

The alternating panels seem quite "carnival-esque" to me...

The alternating panels seem quite "carnival-esque" to me...

The Collar can go up, down, or mid-way like this...

The Collar can go up, down, or mid-way like this...

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Growing, Friends, and Inspiration

I got two more garments done today, as I sewed the buttons on two vests that I will be posting in the next couple of days to my two online vending sights.  Here’s a couple pics as a preview:
Vestredfrontpreview Vestredbackpreview
Interestingly, the way to make sure that more people see your stuff is to not post all of it at once.  A wise online entrepreneur using Etsy and Artfire and other handmade-centric merchant sites won’t post all their inventory in the beginning.  One trickles it in, because the merchant sites all have “recently posted” features.  The more you spread out the posting of your items the better it is, because then you show up more often in that mechanism and more people see your post.  If you post everything all at once, you’ve sort of wasted a lot of opportunity to be seen over an extended period of time.  So I’ll be posting these new vests over the next week, but not both together.

I managed to put together a new “Page” to my Facebook profile, which is centered on Relished Artistry, and sent out a mass email to all the people on my friends list (regardless of how I knew them) so they could join as “fans”, and not have to be constantly peppered with business-related posts through my own personal profile.  I’m gonna try really hard to keep the two separate and distinct, as I don’t like the idea of using my friends to promote my business.  My ethic is this:  I do what I do and I have what I have.  I don’t need to push it to within an inch of it’s life on all of my friends who don’t really care.  That’s not cool in my book.  I’ll share new stuff once in a while, but I want to keep my friends not lose them to capitalism.  I’m excited about the Page–we’ll see what happens.

I was told through my partner that my greenery looks like grape leaves.  I think I’m gonna run with that… I am gonna start practicing bunches of grapes and see how they look on velvet.  We’ll see what happens.  I’m also exploring pushing the “medieval” feel of things, and considering using “illustrated manuscripts” as inspiration for artistic expression.  We’ll see.  I’d like to figure out something to actually say with that style, not simply decorate stuff.  I’d like to incorporate some kind of statement that’s fun and interesting, as well as artistically expressive to wear, but we’ll see.  I have some thinking to do about that.

Okay, more later!

Live life with Relish!

Artfire and Etsy and Facebook! OH MY!

Relished Artistry is well on it’s way!  Not only have I finally opened an Etsy storefront, but I also have an Artfire studio as well!  I’ve listed items on both, and I’m really excited to see what happens next.
Unofficially, it’s been calculated (by volunteer Etsyians) that the most common length of time between opening a storefront and making your first sale is actually 23 day, or approximately a month.  Since my Etsy store went live with items about 8 days ago, I’ve had over 230 visits to the store…  There are over 170,000 Etsy stores, so I guess I have a lot of promoting to do.  Considering that in July, according to web2list.com, Etsy had just under 5 Million visitors, it’s bound to pick up.  I hope.  But some work, obviously, is in my future.  (More on that below…)
My Artfire store, in contrast to Etsy, isn’t going to reach nearly the number of people but will probably touch a more handmade-centric audience base…  Artfire got just under 350,000 visits for July (according to web2list.com), but they’ve grown exponentially since being launched just this last November ’08.  They have approximately 25,000 sellers, but at the exponential growth rate they’ve demonstrated thus far, 2010 will be a force for Etsy to reckon with.  Already populated with disgruntled Etsyians, it’s growing by leaps and bounds, so we’ll see what happens.
Having a store in both places can’t be bad.
But what’s really interesting is that people can access my stores through my Facebook profile page.  Can you believe it??  I’m not talking about a link, I’m talking about full fledged “apps” that allow you to click directly to my Etsy storefront from pictures of my items on my Facebook page, or click on one of the tabs in my profile boxes to actually see my entire Artfire studio!  I’ve got both on there!  I’m really hoping they’re going to take off.
But there is a downside to all of this…  Putting my storefront on my Facebook profile seems…  somewhat “cheap” to me…  I’m not sure what I feel about that.  I have a Relished Artistry Facebook profile, but all of my friends are on my own personal one.  I feel very odd hitting them all up to make sales.  That seems somewhat callous to me.  I wouldn’t want them to use their personal Facebook stuff to blatantly blast-promote their business… It’s one thing to share what you’ve worked diligently on with your friends, quite another to use the system to advertise to them.  One is a bit more… I dunno, “personal” I guess.  The other reeks of cold self-aggrandizing.
I have historically had a problem with advertising, business, and unbridled capitalism in general…  Not good to feel if you’re trying to be a merchant artist, huh?  I just don’t want to fall into the predatorial trap I see so many others succumb to.  What I have is what I have–if you don’t want it, you certainly shouldn’t have to have the burden of toning out my incessantly droning advertising.  I’ll let them know I’m there, but once that’s done, I won’t be one to push myself.  Informative news is one thing, but parasitic publicizing makes me sick–how could I inflict that on someone else?
So I have to figure out where the line is, somehow.  And constantly releasing Tweets, email blasts, and Facebook wall announcements is not what’s in my future.  Tasteful is my mantra–what that actually means is something I’m gonna have to explore…
Live life with Relish!

Relished Artistry is well on it’s way!  Not only have I finally opened an Etsy storefront, but I also have an Artfire studio as well!  I’ve listed items on both, and I’m really excited to see what happens next.

Unofficially, it’s been calculated (by volunteer Etsyians) that the most common length of time between opening a storefront and making your first sale is actually 23 days, or approximately a month.  Since my Etsy store went live with items about 8 days ago, I’ve had over 230 visits to the store…  There are over 170,000 Etsy stores, so I guess I have a lot of promoting to do.  Considering that in July, according to web2list.com, Etsy had just under 5 Million visitors, it’s bound to pick up.  I hope.  But some work, obviously, is in my future.  (More on that below…)

My Artfire store, in contrast to Etsy, isn’t going to reach nearly the number of people but will probably touch a more handmade-centric audience base…  Artfire got just under 350,000 visits for July (according to web2list.com), but they’ve grown exponentially since being launched just this last November ’08.  They have approximately 25,000 sellers, but at the exponential growth rate they’ve demonstrated thus far, in 2010 they will be a force for Etsy to reckon with.  Already populated with disgruntled Etsyians, it’s growing by leaps and bounds, so we’ll see what happens.

Having a store in both places can’t be bad.

But what’s really interesting is that people can access my stores through my Facebook profile page.  Can you believe it??  I’m not talking about a link, I’m talking about full fledged “apps” that allow you to click directly to my Etsy storefront from pictures of my items on my Facebook page, or click on one of the tabs in my profile boxes to actually see my entire Artfire studio!  I’ve got both on there!  I’m really hoping they’re going to take off.

But there is a downside to all of this…  Putting my storefront on my Facebook profile seems…  somewhat “cheap” to me…  I’m not sure what I feel about that.  I have a Relished Artistry Facebook profile, but all of my friends are on my own personal one.  I feel very odd hitting them all up to make sales.  That seems somewhat callous to me somehow.  I wouldn’t want them to use their personal Facebook stuff to blatantly blast-promote their business… It’s one thing to share with your friends what you’ve worked on diligently, and quite another to use the system to advertise to them.  One is a bit more… I dunno, “personal and honest” I guess.  The other reeks of cold self-aggrandizing.

I have historically had a problem with advertising, business, and unbridled capitalism in general…  Not good to feel if you’re trying to be a merchant artist, huh?  I just don’t want to fall into the predatorial trap I see so many others succumb to.  What I have is what I have–if you don’t want it, you certainly shouldn’t have to have the burden of toning out my incessantly droning advertising.  I’ll let everyone know I’m there, but once that’s done, I won’t be one to push myself on them over and over.  Informative news is one thing, but parasitic publicizing makes me sick–how could I inflict that on someone else?

So I have to figure out where the line is, somehow.  Constantly releasing Tweets, email blasts, and Facebook wall announcements is not  in my future, I know that.  Tasteful is my mantra–what that actually means is something I’m gonna have to explore…

Live life with Relish!

Validating Community

Sunday night I got together with two good friends of mine, Robin Roberts and Ben Seibert.  A little sangria with vegan pizza (and too much tobacco) later, it was 2:15 in the morning!
Ben worked with me at my university job I held for the last 10 years. This is his third year, and he’s one of the best production managers I have ever met.  He’s fighting an uphill battle given the production parameters at that school, but he’s a real trooper.  He’s gonna win, come heck or highwater.
Robin was the set designer there.  She and Ben worked very closely.  I didn’t have a costume shop manager for my experience there, but my former position as designer became a costume shop management position, so I guess they have one now…
Anyway, we talked about all manner of things (mostly about our experiences at the university), but we also talked about art in general and our hopes for our individual creative futures.  And that’s what has been the most heartening…  While we can be pretty negative when the three of us get together (hey, we’re theatre people–we bitch) we also were very positive and interested in each other’s artistic endeavors.
I just want to say that’s incredibly important.  I can’t say how vital it is for a creative artist to have a group of friends.  Not only is it important career-wise for an artist to have a larger circle of interested parties for their livelihood, and a community that they participate in as an important contributor, but it’s really necessary for an artist to have a family.  Friends that not only show interest, but genuine concern for each other.  The sense of validation this provides is unmeasurable.  The self-worth that it engenders is irreplaceable.
I recently got some tickets for some friends of mine (in a different segment of my life) to attend a show I had worked on.  Rarely do my circles of friends overlap–when they do, it’s surreal for me–so it’s very uncommon for my friends to see any of my professional theatrical design work.  Well, this time, it happened.  And they were incredibly appreciative.  They loved it!  And it was an incredible ego boost for me to hear it!  It was inspiring not because I needed to hear I did a good job, but that they could be there for me in the future.
Community is important.  Friends are important.  Make sure you’re supporting their work.
So I finally have my Etsy store up, and today I started my Artfire store.  You can find links to both of them at the bottom of my main blog page.  Check’em out and let me know what you think.
Live life with Relish!

Sunday night I got together with two good friends of mine, Robin Roberts and Ben Seibert.  A little sangria with vegan pizza (and too much tobacco) later, it was 2:15 in the morning!

Ben worked with me at my university job I held for the last 10 years. This is his third year, and he’s one of the best production managers I have ever met.  He’s fighting an uphill battle given the production parameters at that school, but he’s a real trooper.  He’s gonna win, come heck or highwater.

Robin was the set designer there.  She and Ben worked very closely.  I didn’t have a costume shop manager for my experience there, but my former position as designer became a costume shop management position, so I guess they have one now…

Anyway, we talked about all manner of things (mostly about our experiences at the university), but we also talked about art in general and our hopes for our individual creative futures.  And that’s what has been the most heartening…  While we can be pretty negative when the three of us get together (hey, we’re theatre people–we bitch) we also were very positive and interested in each other’s artistic endeavors.

I just want to say that’s incredibly important.  I can’t say how vital it is for a creative artist to have a group of friends.  Not only is it important career-wise for an artist to have a larger circle of interested parties for their livelihood, and a community that they participate in as an important contributor, but it’s really necessary for an artist to have a family.  Friends that not only show interest, but genuine concern for each other.  The sense of validation this provides is unmeasurable.  The self-worth that it engenders is irreplaceable.

I recently got some tickets for some friends of mine (in a different segment of my life) to attend a show I had worked on.  Rarely do my circles of friends overlap–when they do, it’s surreal for me–so it’s very uncommon for my friends to see any of my professional theatrical design work.  Well, this time, it happened.  And they were incredibly appreciative.  They loved it!  And it was an incredible ego boost for me to hear it!  It was inspiring not because I needed to hear I did a good job, but that they could be there for me in the future.

Community is important.  Friends are important.  Make sure you’re supporting their work.

So I finally have my Etsy store up, and today I started my Artfire store.  Check’em out and let me know what you think.

Live life with Relish!

A Body of Work

So I’m sitting in my Garage/Studio sewing some satin lining into the velour wrap I’m working on.  I’m listening to a podcast that’s talking about how many pieces is appropriate for an exhibition/show.  The host of the podcast is very smart, and says it depends.  But she mentions that regardless, when we feel we have accumulated enough pieces around a theme or technique, we will know when that body of work is ready to show.

And that got me thinking about bodies of work.  And samples.  And just exactly what it is that I need to have prepared.

I was wasting time late last night wandering through Etsy and Artfire, and looking for other sites that were similar (which I found: Winkelf and Shophandmade) and started to discover just how many pieces each vendor had for sale on these sights…  They range from single pieces to sometimes hundreds.  There were some that I thought didn’t qualify for “hand made” items (like this one company in China with over 100 employees that posted it’s stuff on Etsy) and thus had more than a hundred completely different garments for sale.  None of the items came across to me as particularly reflective of individual creativity, and certainly none of them looked like they had been “manufactured” with an artistic sensibility.  It was yet another clothing line, and the company was just using Etsy as a storefront.

But that got me to thinking–my “body of work” will have certain pieces that will be individual, unable to completely reproduce ever again.  I like that.  That’s what makes them unique.  I can not mass produce these items in any large scale any more than an oil painter can reproduce hundreds of the same still life.  Yes, it’s possible, but none of them will be exactly alike.  And I’m thinking they shouldn’t be, frankly…

So today I finished my first piece–a heavy velour winter cape with black satin lining, embellished with hand-painted garlands of roses along the hem.  A black satin band running around the neck and center front provides an oriental feel, but the overall feel is rather Spanish.  I’m quite proud of it.  It’s the first in my “body of work.”  I’m calling it “Rosey Warmth No.1”, I think.  : )  Here’s pics!

RoseyWarmthFront

RoseyWarmthBack

Until later, live life with relish!

An Etsy Step

So I went on Etsy and Artfire tonight, trying to find others that are making the kind of stuff that I’m thinking about… And I can’t find anything.  I can indeed find a lot of stuff that’s “costumey”, and “period inspired”, and a lot of “retro/goth” looks, but not what I have in mind.  If I see one more little girl’s tulle skirt I’m gonna heave, but at the same time I’m very encouraged!   I had to fill out my public profile and write a description of what I thought this was all about.  I’ve included it below so you can see.  I’d appreciate any comments you all might have…  : )

Relished Artistry is a wearable art venture poised to infuse joy back into the wearing of clothing. It’s my goal to help the people who wear my pieces  feel expressive, stylish, excited, and cultured. Relishing the artistic opportunities inherent in clothing, the aim is to bring out that inner flair in all of us, so we can feel good about how we adorn ourselves. 

Based in San Diego, I have 20 years of professional and educational theatrical design and construction experience making clothes that are built to last, not just cheap theatrical knock-offs. My apparel is built from the ground up, using quality methods with attention to detail so you can be beautiful. Every piece is not only handmade, but it’s a one-of-a-kind work of art. No two pieces are exactly alike. Each is either part of a limited edition or comes with it’s own title. 

The artistic opportunities inherent in clothing are limitless! Materials abound all around us. My influences are culled from my exposure to theatrical literature and my study of a variety of stylistic eras throughout the world. Sometimes overtly retro or culturally specific, each piece may use a variety of materials. From hand painted velvet capes and coats to handbags, shawls, or whatever else may be inspiring, my pieces are authentic and heartfelt regardless of the materials. 

Showing how we are unique through what we wear on the outside is part of the how we share with others who we are on the inside. Life is too short. Live it with relish!

Whatcha think?