“Getting to know you! Getting to know all about you…”

Alrighty. It’s been almost a week since my last blogposting, and that’s far too long for my taste. I have a lot to update you on, and some observations that I have gleaned via my “travels through the blogosphere”.

Remember how I had to set aside that ebook I had been reading, Creating a Blog Audience by Sister Diane? I had reached a point where I didn’t want to progress further until I felt confident to answer some of the questions she was posing. At a certain point in the book, I realized that I didn’t know enough about the blogging communities that I was posting my blog for– art, craft, and business–and I really needed to do some investigating.

Well, I can say with absolute certainty that’s easier said than done. The blogosphere at this point is rapidly increasing, and the more I felt I was visiting “the community”, the more I realized I was simply scratching the surface… I felt (and still feel) that I had reached the outskirts of a major urban hub, and said to myself, “Aha! My community!” when I actually should have waited and read some more signs to realize I had a long way to go… I think that getting to know the community you are writing for as a blogger is a never ending journey… I could visit blog after blog and post comment after comment, but I’ll never reach the end. 2 or 3 years ago, perhaps, there was a finite nature to the whole experience that implied there were edges to the blogosphere community that one could reach, depending on your interest. Not so much today. It’s like saying, “Get to know your internet!” Hah! See ya in 5-10 years when that’s done…

OBIT  KERR

So at this point, I have endless numbers of bookmarks and doubled my blog subscriptions. And I have 30 open browser windows on my Mac’s dock, waiting for me to get back to read them. I keep finding great stuff!!!  The book did exactly what it was supposed to do: make me think about what it was I was putting out there, for whom, and how it fit in.

And that’s led me to realize there probably isn’t much I can add to the fabric of the blogosphere, really. What can I do but what everyone else is doing–“spins” on information that’s already been explored in depth? How many purse tutorials can a person read? Redoing what others are doing is not what I’d like to do…

So. I’ve decided to continue reading Sister Diane’s book, and hopefully I can progress forward on posting information that’s interesting to a specific overlap of my chosen communities. The book has profoundly opened my eyes to the concept that I need to recognize what my niche is. It’s made me realize that my particular “spice” that I add to the recipe of information that I post needs to be uniquely my own. It’s finding and recognizing that niche that I have to think about. And the more I explore the blogosphere, the more I realize those niches are very very hard to come by.

I find a lot of similarities (in my head) between the blogosphere and reality. In the rush of globalization that’s been made possible by mass and social medias, we’ve moved beyond embracing the whole and turned inward a bit. Our instinct is to pull in and find our diverse uniqueness that separates us and makes us distinct. The Handcrafted/DIY movement is part of that, I think. Our individuality as people was lost in the emphasis on our individuality as a culture, and now we’re trying to get it back through our creative expressions. Yes, we need and strive for social connections, but now we seek them not through our identification as part of the whole (by doing/believing the same things) but through our uniqueness that demonstrates our variation on the identifying culture. We want to belong, and yet we celebrate our distinctiveness.

Being part of any blogging community presents a quandary: belonging on the one hand, being different on the other. Being just enough alike, but not a copy.

So I’m going to move forward. I’m realizing I will never see the larger whole of my communities in the blogosphere, never truly grasp how they all fit together, who are the movers and shakers, who are the followers. And I think that means I will never really know if my blog is distinctive from the larger whole that it’s trying to identify with at the same time.

But I guess that’s ultimately like the business, art, and craft worlds, too, isn’t it? Someday, I may find someone doing what I do and doing it much better, or realize someone’s taken what I thought was my own uniqueness and is using it for their own. “Like business, like blog,” I guess.

But I can’t let that stop me, can I?

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Lunch with Chickenscratch!

ON Tuesday, I had coffee with another Etsyian, Beth Merriman.  Beth has her own Etsy store, http://www.chickscratch.etsy.com, where she sells vegan candles, bath, and body products that she makes from scratch.
I had gone on Etsy a while ago, investigating the different San Diego participants who had storefronts there.  There were a LOT!  And there still are…  There is an East County “team” (i.e. a loose group of sellers banding together through philosophy or geography) that has a huge number of members…  Beth is a member of that one as well as the Vegan team.
So I met her to pick her brain regarding her experiences in Etsy.  I asked her just how she does it!!  The items that she sells look wonderful–the quality of the photos is great, the variety of items is incredible, and she’s actually selling enough to keep her really busy!  Of course, she works as a dresser at the Globe as well, but between the two, she’s making it!
We chatted about her different experiences, and she shared with me some websites that I didn’t know about that helpful resources, and some features of Etsy that I wasn’t aware of.  I have a lot more to explore now–my brain was a tad overwhelmed…
After that, I headed out to Joann’s and bought a women’s vest pattern (oy, I’m being lazy lazy lazy…) and cut out two size 18s from the remaining black velveteen I had left over from the 50’s coat.  I actually have enough to make a couple handbags as well!  I sewed up the fashion fabric side of one and started to paint it–a project that I will continue in earnest on Wednesday.
I’m also gonna do several other things: 1) I experiment with different photography setups…  I’m going to take some kraft paper and mount it to the fence in my back yard, and see if it’s a background that works in the natural sunlight.  2) I finish one of the vests and post it.  3) I investigate more on Etsy and other sites that have information regarding it, 4) I research places to purchase checks, 5) I explore more of what my resale license does, business-wise.
Alrighty, more later!  Live life with Relish!

On Tuesday, I had coffee with another Etsyian, Beth Merriman.  Beth has her own Etsy store, www.chickscratch.etsy.com, where she sells vegan candles, bath, and body products that she makes from scratch.

I had gone on Etsy a while ago, investigating the different San Diego participants who had storefronts there.  There were a LOT!  And there still are…  There is an East County “team” (i.e. a loose group of sellers banding together through philosophy or geography) that has a huge number of members…  Beth is a member of that one as well as the Vegan team.

So I met her to pick her brain regarding her experiences in Etsy.  I asked her just how she does it!!  The items that she sells look wonderful–the quality of the photos is great, the variety of items is incredible, and she’s actually selling enough to keep her really busy!  Of course, she works as a dresser at the Globe as well, but between the two, she’s making it!

We chatted about her different experiences, and she shared with me some websites that I didn’t know about that helpful resources, and some features of Etsy that I wasn’t aware of.  I have a lot more to explore now–my brain was a tad overwhelmed…

After that, I headed out to Joann’s and bought a women’s vest pattern (oy, I’m being lazy lazy lazy…) and cut out two size 18s from the remaining black velveteen I had left over from the 50’s coat.  I actually have enough to make a couple handbags as well!  I sewed up the fashion fabric side of one and started to paint it–a project that I will continue in earnest on Wednesday.

I’m also gonna do several other things: 1) I experiment with different photography setups…  I’m going to take some kraft paper and mount it to the fence in my back yard, and see if it’s a background that works in the natural sunlight.  2) I finish one of the vests and post it.  3) I investigate more on Etsy and other sites that have information regarding it, 4) I research places to purchase checks, 5) I explore more of what my resale license does, business-wise.

Alrighty, more later!  Live life with Relish!

A Day of Etsy-fying

Today was a full day.  All about Etsy.
I dove into setting up my Etsy shop today, and was reminded how little I know about working retail…
First, I have to say that Etsy is a lot bigger than I thought.  It seems like an intimate little place, but there are thousands and thousands of vendors on there.  A little bit of searching using their engine, and you realize that Etsy ain’t so small…  There are people on there that use it for their main source of income, just like Ebay.  (I suppose I’ll need to investigate that as well, but one storefront at a time…ugh…)
It’s one thing to go on quickly and establish an account, and post something to sell.  It’s quite another to think it all through and try to do it right…  I realized right away that my photos aren’t going to work.  That’s okay–I figured they wouldn’t.  I have some plans for that.  Getting live models and a photographer is high on my priority list, but in lieu of doing that today I decided to take care of the rest of my profile.
Good grief there’s a lot to say!  Not only did I need a profile, but I also had to think about shipping, returns, payment… I had to establish a Paypal account right off the bat so I could even begin to list anything.  That was part of the process.  In the process, I learned that Paypal allows users to use their credit cards and such even if they don’t have an account with them, which was fantastically convenient!  I don’t have to track down a shopping cart mechanism until I start on my own sight.  Right now, that’s not a wise idea unless I have the money to promote it, and that’s not going to happen right away.  Best to ride “piggy back” on venues that are set up to do it for me just yet.
After getting the monetary issues squared away, I had to figure out shipping.  This was a real conundrum–I had to research box sizes, figure out how much my garments weigh, and then research shipping services.  The bulk of the shops that I saw on Etsy used the US Postal Service, and their flat rate boxes.  Well, I couldn’t–the majority of my coats are not going to fit into those boxes, so it’s not going to work…  So I had to come up with different options.  Rather than figure out what the shipping was going to be for every zone, for every garment, I decided to simply include shipping in the price of the garment.  That simplifies things a great deal.  Of course, it’ll probably be a headache later on, but for right now it’ll work.
So I spent part of my day on the road purchasing a mailing scale and visiting a box supplier, and then wrapped it up with a quick trip to Michael’s Crafts…  I have heard that part of the charm of buying handmade is the anti-corporation feeling, so packing the garments in a manner that is unique, fun, and ultimately charming can make a big difference with customer loyalty.  So I bought some hemp and twine at Michael’s and experimented part of the day with wrapping the pieces with old fashioned craft paper and string, then inserting that into the final shipping box.  It looks authentically endearing and simple, I think, but it needs some more antiquing and personalization.  So I’m gonna consider some stamps, some personal hand-written notes, and some heartfelt creativity to wrap it all together.  I’m as excited about the potential fun in shipping stuff off as I am about actually making the garments!
So that’s what I did today.  That, and more research on the community that is Etsy.  We’ll see if I fit in…
Live life with Relish!

Today was a full day.  All about Etsy.

I dove into setting up my Etsy shop today, and was reminded how little I know about working retail…

First, I have to say that Etsy is a lot bigger than I thought.  It seems like an intimate little place, but there are thousands and thousands of vendors on there.  A little bit of searching using their engine, and you realize that Etsy ain’t so small…  There are people on there that use it for their main source of income, just like Ebay.  (I suppose I’ll need to investigate that as well, but one storefront at a time…ugh…)

It’s one thing to go on quickly and establish an account, and post something to sell.  It’s quite another to think it all through and try to do it right…  I realized right away that my photos aren’t going to work.  That’s okay–I figured they wouldn’t.  I have some plans for that.  Getting live models and a photographer is high on my priority list, but in lieu of doing that today I decided to take care of the rest of my profile.

Good grief there’s a lot to say!  Not only did I need a profile, but I also had to think about shipping, returns, payment… I had to establish a Paypal account right off the bat so I could even begin to list anything.  That was part of the process.  In the process, I learned that Paypal allows users to use their credit cards and such even if they don’t have an account with them, which was fantastically convenient!  I don’t have to track down a shopping cart mechanism until I start on my own sight.  Right now, that’s not a wise idea unless I have the money to promote it, and that’s not going to happen right away.  Best to ride “piggy back” on venues that are set up to do it for me just yet.

After getting the monetary issues squared away, I had to figure out shipping.  This was a real conundrum–I had to research box sizes, figure out how much my garments weigh, and then research shipping services.  The bulk of the shops that I saw on Etsy used the US Postal Service, and their flat rate boxes.  Well, I couldn’t–the majority of my coats are not going to fit into those boxes, so it’s not going to work…  So I had to come up with different options.  Rather than figure out what the shipping was going to be for every zone, for every garment, I decided to simply include shipping in the price of the garment.  That simplifies things a great deal.  Of course, it’ll probably be a headache later on, but for right now it’ll work.

So I spent part of my day on the road purchasing a mailing scale and visiting a box supplier, and then wrapped it up with a quick trip to Michael’s Crafts…  I have heard that part of the charm of buying handmade is the anti-corporation feeling, so packing the garments in a manner that is unique, fun, and ultimately charming can make a big difference with customer loyalty.  So I bought some hemp and twine at Michael’s and experimented part of the day with wrapping the pieces with old fashioned craft paper and string, then inserting that into the final shipping box.  It looks authentically endearing and simple, I think, but it needs some more antiquing and personalization.  So I’m gonna consider some stamps, some personal hand-written notes, and some heartfelt creativity to wrap it all together.  I’m as excited about the potential fun in shipping stuff off as I am about actually making the garments!

So that’s what I did today.  That, and more research on the community that is Etsy.  We’ll see if I fit in…

Live life with Relish!

Big News

Big News
Went to the museum yesterday with my good good friend Robin Roberts.  She’s a scene designer here in San Diego.  We saw two wonderful exhibits–one by the famous photographer Richard Avedon, and the other a jewelry exhibit by the sculptor, Alexander Calder.
I can’t tell you how inspired I was.  Going to the museum for me is like a kind of drug, I suppose…  It’s a high.  And then I get sensory overload and crash.  I can only take so much…  I can’t sort it out and my brain doesn’t know how to not simply go off on tangents.  I’m used to using art as inspiration–that’s primarily how I’ve developed as a costume designer.  I look at pictures and try to translate the same feelings and such to works that I can put on stage.
The Avedon pics were easier to distance myself from, but the jewelry…  Good grief, all I could think of was translating the line of it to velvet… Using metallic paint, even.  It could be so easily represented in brush strokes…  I just about popped.  I walked away thinking I’d have to try two of his ideas–a fish, and a butterfly–and somehow make them my own…  There is so much to say about how it stimulated me, I can’t even verbalize it…  I’ll have to just do it and show you.
And something else has happened, finally…
It’s finished.  Relished Artistry is finally, 100% legitimate.
I got my operating agreement done.  I got a business bank account today.  I got my Seller’s Permit today. I got my Tax information taken care of as well.  It’s all done.
I’m stoked!!  It’s happened!  I’m moving forward!
Now to move on to Etsy and and other sites, as well as establishing an online presence of my own.  I have to get some good photographs done, but I have a lead on that with my partner’s brother-in-law…  He’s volunteered to take them, and he’s gonna do a great job.  I think I’ll also be able to use Jonathan’s family as models…  We’ll see.  Now there is no excuse for me not to simply plow forward and be creative.
Oh, my goodness it’s here!!!  Ready set go!
Time for me to make sure others are living life with relish!!

Went to the museum yesterday with my good good friend Robin Roberts.  She’s a scene designer here in San Diego.  We saw two wonderful exhibits–one by the famous photographer Richard Avedon, and the other a jewelry exhibit by the sculptor, Alexander Calder.

I can’t tell you how inspired I was.  Going to the museum for me is like a kind of drug, I suppose…  It’s a high.  And then I get sensory overload and crash.  I can only take so much…  I can’t sort it out and my brain doesn’t know how to not simply go off on tangents.  I’m used to using art as inspiration–that’s primarily how I’ve developed as a costume designer.  I look at pictures and try to translate the same feelings and such to works that I can put on stage.

01_calder-jewelry_birthday-gift-pin_1958

The Avedon pics were easier to distance myself from, but the jewelry…  Good grief, all I could think of was translating the line of it to velvet… Using metallic paint, even.  It could be so easily represented in brush strokes…  I just about popped.  I walked away thinking I’d have to try two of his ideas–a fish, and a butterfly–and somehow make them my own…  There is so much to say about how it stimulated me, I can’t even verbalize it…  I’ll have to just do it and show you.  Google has some wonderful images–here’s a link.

And something else has happened, finally…

It’s finished.  Relished Artistry is finally, 100% legitimate.

I got my operating agreement done.  I got a business bank account today.  I got my Seller’s Permit today. I got my Tax information taken care of as well.  It’s all done.

I’m stoked!!  It’s happened!  I’m moving forward!

Now to move on to Etsy and and other sites, as well as establishing an online presence of my own.  I have to get some good photographs done, but I have a lead on that with my partner’s brother-in-law…  He’s volunteered to take them, and he’s gonna do a great job.  I think I’ll also be able to use Jonathan’s family as models…  We’ll see.  Now there is no excuse for me not to simply plow forward and be creative.

Oh, my goodness it’s here!!!  Ready set go!

Time for me to make sure others are living life with relish!!

A Spoonful of Sugar…

A Spoonful of Sugar…
So Jonathan and I had to find a car by the end of the weekend.  We were surprised by how much the insurance company is giving us, and our bank pre-approved him for a loan.  So we went shopping…
We had owned a cute little 2000 Toyota Echo for 10 years.  We loved it.  It was a cheese wedge on wheels–really spacious interior and a good solid workhorse for us.  We were sad that the damage was proportionately too much for the insurance company to warrant repairs.  We’d paid it off, we were very happy.
And now, to have to find another car when the Echo simply isn’t on the market anymore…  Well.  We started with Toyota.  The Yaris was the next evolution of the Echo, rebranded.  It had been extensively remodeled as well, so that didn’t work.  Jonathan couldn’t get into it without contorting his body like a gymnast…  So we looked for something that he didn’t have to hire a chiropractor to be able to use.
This led us to the Toyota Scion, the Kia Soul, and the Nissan Cube.
And we chose the Cube.  The Scion was too expensive for what it was–a 2004.  The Soul was comparable, but it didn’t have any umph behind it when it accelerates.  And the Cube was our cheapest choice.  And that’s what we did.
And now we have a car payment, our insurance is gonna go up, and the pressure is REALLY on for Relished Artistry to be a success.
Today, I go to the Museum of Art with my dear friend Robin Roberts.  She has passes, and we’ve enjoyed our experiences there together in the past, so I’m gonna have a good, inspiring, art-filled day!  Sack lunch in Balboa Park–what more can a person ask for?  It’s gonna be sunny, breezy, and my heart will be stimulated and motivated!  I’m taking Baked Beans and Hotdogs, cuz that’s comfort food I haven’t had in years.  : )
Tonight, I dive into my next project–another coat made out of velveteen this time–a smaller size because I don’t have much fabric left.  Then back to the stretch-knit tops!  I’m considering pushing the medieval, illuminated manuscript look just to see what that does.  But I know that the Museum of Art has some wonderful examples of Hindu art that I’ve seen before, and that intrigues me as well.  We’ll see.
Live life with Relish!

So Jonathan and I had to find a car by the end of the weekend.  We were surprised by how much the insurance company is giving us, and our bank pre-approved him for a loan.  So we went shopping…

We had owned a cute little 2000 Toyota Echo for 10 years.  We loved it.  It was a cheese wedge on wheels–really spacious interior and a good solid workhorse for us.  We were sad that the damage was proportionately too much for the insurance company to warrant repairs.  We’d paid it off, we were very happy.

800px-Toyota-Echo-sedan

And now, to have to find another car when the Echo simply isn’t on the market anymore…  Well.  We started with Toyota.  The Yaris was the next evolution of the Echo, rebranded.  It had been extensively remodeled as well, so that didn’t work.  Jonathan couldn’t get into it without contorting his body like a gymnast…  So we looked for something that he didn’t have to hire a chiropractor to be able to use.

This led us to the Toyota Scion, the Kia Soul, and the Nissan Cube.

And we chose the Cube.  The Scion was too expensive for what it was–a 2004.  The Soul was comparable, but it didn’t have any umph behind it when it accelerates.  And the Cube was our cheapest choice.  And that’s what we did.

nissan.cube.3.2009

And now we have a car payment, our insurance is gonna go up, and the pressure is REALLY on for Relished Artistry to be a success.

Today, I go to the Museum of Art with my dear friend Robin Roberts.  She has passes, and we’ve enjoyed our experiences there together in the past, so I’m gonna have a good, inspiring, art-filled day!  Sack lunch in Balboa Park, time with friends–what more can a person ask for?  It’s gonna be sunny, breezy, and my heart will be stimulated and motivated!  I’m taking Baked Beans and Hotdogs, cuz that’s comfort food I haven’t had in years.  : )

Tonight, I dive into my next project–another coat made out of velveteen this time–a smaller size because I don’t have much fabric left.  Then back to the stretch-knit tops!  I’m considering pushing the medieval, illuminated manuscript look just to see what that does.  But I know that the Museum of Art has some wonderful examples of Hindu art that I’ve seen before, and that intrigues me as well.  We’ll see.

p3

Live life with Relish!

Weekend Shmeekend

So today is Saturday, and I’m spending time at the computer starting to develop a community for my blog, and eventually my Etsy sight when I finally get it started. I’m going back and looking at all the blogs I’ve subscribed to, and following as many links as I can from those websites to others that may be interesting to me…
I am actually subscribing to more blogs… … I can’t keep up with what I’ve already got! There are so many! And they’re all so good! Many of them have craft projects, or record new and upcoming events and craft shows that each blogger is getting ready to attempt. I am discovering that there are actually different “types” of blogs that I am recognizing…
One is the “Professional Crafter” blog. These are the ones that sell items, books, and outline projects. Many of them are either just starting out, or they are very well established in the biz, like The Crafty Chica.
Another category is the “Journaling Crafter” blog. These are bloggers that record their normal everyday ins-and-outs of their families and adventures and their crafting. Many of them share stories of their personal lives, like Angry Chicken.
Still others are “Cataloging Crafters”, where the bulk of their blogs are about sharing things they have discovered that are really eye-catching for them, and could serve to inspire others. So they are full of links to juicy and thought-provoking stuff! Like one of my favorite blogs ever, Dude Craft.
It’s important to realize that none of the blogs that I’ve found out there easily and clearly fit into any of these categories. And incidentally, these also have the three ingredients that Alyson Stanfield of Artbizblog.com says are necessary for a good blog in the first place: being Informative, Inspiring, and Entertaining.
So that’s what I’m doing today, and let me tell you there are way too many really cool things out there to explore. I am going to try to center my efforts on the “business” side of art/crafts, so hopefully I’ll have a lot to share in my next post.
Until then, an update on my current projects: I trashed the grey, 1950s-inspired jacket, and remade it out of black velveteen, which was the right choice. I found some really cool black “fur” for the cuffs, and I’m incorporating a silk scarf into the coat that will create a beautiful soft bow over the center front closure. I think it’s going to be quite striking with the 1950’s-inspired brushwork all over the surface. I’m excited! Almost done! Here’s a preview!
Until then–live life with relish!

So today is Saturday, and I’m spending time at the computer starting to develop a community for my blog, and eventually my Etsy sight when I finally get it started. I’m going back and looking at all the blogs I’ve subscribed to, and following as many links as I can from those websites to others that may be interesting to me…

I am actually subscribing to more blogs… … I can’t keep up with what I’ve already got! There are so many! And they’re all so good! Many of them have craft projects, or record new and upcoming events and craft shows that each blogger is getting ready to attempt. I am discovering that there are actually different “types” of blogs that I am recognizing…

One is the “Professional Crafter” blog. These are the ones that sell items, books, and outline projects. Many of them are either just starting out, or they are very well established in the biz, like The Crafty Chica.

Another category is the “Journaling Crafter” blog. These are bloggers that record their normal everyday ins-and-outs of their families and adventures and their crafting. Many of them share stories of their personal lives, like Angry Chicken.

Still others are “Cataloging Crafters”, where the bulk of their blogs are about sharing things they have discovered that are really eye-catching for them, and could serve to inspire others. So they are full of links to juicy and thought-provoking stuff! Like one of my favorite blogs ever, Dude Craft.

It’s important to realize that none of the blogs that I’ve found out there easily and clearly fit into any of these categories. And incidentally, these also have the three ingredients that Alyson Stanfield of Artbizblog.com says are necessary for a good blog in the first place: being Informative, Inspiring, and Entertaining.

So that’s what I’m doing today, and let me tell you there are way too many really cool things out there to explore. I am going to try to center my efforts on the “business” side of art/crafts, so hopefully I’ll have a lot to share in my next post.

Until then, an update on my current projects: I trashed the grey, 1950s-inspired jacket, and remade it out of black velveteen, which was the right choice. I found some really cool black “fur” for the cuffs, and I’m incorporating a silk scarf into the coat that will create a beautiful soft bow over the center front closure. I think it’s going to be quite striking with the 1950’s-inspired brushwork all over the surface. I’m excited! Almost done! Here’s a preview!

50scoatfront 50scoatback

Until next time–live life with relish!

A Trip to Liberty Station

I’m not at all sure if many of you know what’s been happening with Liberty Station over in Point Loma… This si what happened to me on Sunday.
My friend Robin Sanford Roberts (a professional theatrical set designer whom I worked with for 6 years as a colleague at the university I used to be at) is now teaching with a brand new arts endeavor–the Bravo School of Art. She’s going to be four different classes for them in a variety of different subject all the way from Scene Design to nature creatures made from shells and rocks. Some of them are oriented toward kids and others toward adults. The entire project is really quite fascinating–the school is just getting started and will be offering a variety of different classes in techniques and styles.
Their open house was this Sunday, and Robin invited me to attend. I had never been to Liberty Station before. It’s an area that’s just getting redeveloped from being a former Naval Training Center to being a real hub of community in the Point Loma area. One of the former barracks has been renovated to be a series of really beautiful art studios and retail spaces, and that’s where the Bravo School of Art is.
So my partner, Jonathan, and I drove there, and I must say I am very very impressed. Wow. What an instant community with still more growth and expansion left to do!! First off, there’s a lot of retail stores and chains already moving in–the building opposite of “Barracks 19” (where the art studios are now) had an Ace Hardware in it already, with an Art Quilt Gallery diagonal from that… Quite an eclectic area, it’s being promoted as the new arts hub of San Diego, being a new sort of “Balboa Park” experience. It’s well manicured lawns and open spaces are certainly sunny, and it has a wonderful campus/collegiate feel to it that makes all the businesses there seem like wonderful amenities.
We got into the barracks, walked upstairs, and went into the studio. It’s charming. You really can’t tell this used to be a barracks at all–each studio has light pouring in from multiple windows, and even the hallways between the studios that line the outer walls have windows and big glass doors. It feels like quite an airy space, and you can look into the studios and watch the artists at work. The lower floor is for studio/retail space, and they have to be open to the public during the day as well as have a retail component. It’s an incredibly intriguing location!!
I got to meet Alan Ziter, the Executive Director of the NTC Foundation, who gave me and Robin and her husband and my partner a quick rundown of the facilities and showed us the last available studio on the second floor. 324 square feet, with wonderful windows on the east side, and a big glass door on the west. Flooring had been put in so the it wasn’t concrete, and all the walls were painted a clean white. Electricity wasn’t included (which he said would run about $250 a month), and it didn’t appear to have water which could be a real problem when you’re dealing with fabrics and dye and such… But we’ll see.
It was intriguing as a studio space, and I will be talking to my friends about it as we have lunch on Tuesday. Yeah, my “long story that I wasn’t gonna go into” that I mentioned in a previous blog post involves two of my friends and I going in on a studio space together. So we’re looking.
But regardless, the Bravo School of Art is on it’s way, and their course offering are quite eclectic. Robin had hoped I might figure out a class that I could teach, but my first instinct was to teach sewing, and the classroom/studio isn’t equipped to accommodate that… So there are other things I could teach that are outside of the box (for example, one of Robin’s classes is called “Poetry Box”, which has nothing to do with scene design but uses the skills she incorporates in her scenic design process and applies them to other ends), but I think I need to ponder that a bit more. I think I’ve got my hands full making a stock of clothing just yet, but sometime in the future, Watch Out!!! : )
Okay, this is a book!
Live life with relish!

Barracks19Ext

I’m not at all sure if many of you know what’s been happening with Liberty Station over in Point Loma… This is what happened to me on Sunday.

My friend Robin Sanford Roberts (a professional theatrical set designer whom I worked with for 6 years as a colleague at the university I used to be at) is now teaching with a brand new arts endeavor–the Bravo School of Art. She’s going to be teaching four different classes for them in a variety of different subject all the way from Scene Design to nature creatures made from shells and rocks. Some of them are oriented toward kids and others toward adults. The entire project is really quite fascinating–the school is just getting started and will be offering a variety of different classes in techniques and styles.

Their open house was this Sunday, and Robin invited me to attend. I had never been to Liberty Station before. It’s an area that’s just getting redeveloped from being a former Naval Training Center to being a real hub of community in the Point Loma area. One of the former barracks has been renovated to be a series of really beautiful art studios and retail spaces, and that’s where the Bravo School of Art is.

So my partner, Jonathan, and I drove there, and I must say I am very very impressed. Wow. What an instant community with still more growth and expansion left to do!! First off, there’s a lot of retail stores and chains already moving in–the building opposite of “Barracks 19” (where the art studios are now) had an Ace Hardware in it already, with an Art Quilt Gallery diagonal from that… Quite an eclectic area, it’s being promoted as the new arts hub of San Diego, being a new sort of “Balboa Park” experience. It’s well manicured lawns and open spaces are certainly sunny, and it has a wonderful campus/collegiate feel to it that makes all the businesses there seem like wonderful amenities.

We got into the barracks, walked upstairs, and went into the studio. It’s charming. You really can’t tell this used to be a barracks at all–each studio has light pouring in from multiple windows, and even the hallways between the studios that line the outer walls have windows and big glass doors. It feels like quite an airy space, and you can look into the studios and watch the artists at work. The lower floor is for studio/retail space, and they have to be open to the public during the day as well as have a retail component. It’s an incredibly intriguing location!!

I got to meet Alan Ziter, the Executive Director of the NTC Foundation, who gave me and Robin and her husband and my partner a quick rundown of the facilities and showed us the last available studio on the second floor. 324 square feet, with wonderful windows on the east side, and a big glass door on the west. Flooring had been put in so the it wasn’t concrete, and all the walls were painted a clean white. Electricity wasn’t included (which he said would run about $250 a month), and it didn’t appear to have water which could be a real problem when you’re dealing with fabrics and dye and such… But we’ll see.  [Edit: Alan Ziter emailed me and mentioned that the utilities and common area fees are actually 25¢ per square foot… Quite a difference from $250 a month! Much much more affordable…)

It was intriguing as a studio space, and I will be talking to my friends about it as we have lunch on Tuesday. Yeah, my “long story that I wasn’t gonna go into” that I mentioned in a previous blog post involves two of my friends and I going in on a studio space together. So we’re looking.

But regardless, the Bravo School of Art is on it’s way, and their course offering are quite eclectic. Robin had hoped I might figure out a class that I could teach, but my first instinct was to teach sewing, and the classroom/studio isn’t equipped to accommodate that… So there are other things I could teach that are outside of the box (for example, one of Robin’s classes is called “Poetry Box”, which has nothing to do with scene design but uses the skills she incorporates in her scenic design process and applies them to other ends), but I think I need to ponder that a bit more. I think I’ve got my hands full making a stock of clothing just yet, but sometime in the future, Watch Out!!! : )

Okay, this is a book!

Live life with relish!

A Tad Bit of Frustration

I’ve been working in my garage/studio, and the heat is starting to get to me.  I’ve found that my sleeping habits have totally changed–I’m up much much later than I used to be, so by the time I wake up, it’s sweltering out.  The heat has been a bit of a problem lately, and the halogen lights aren’t helping the matter.  However, I find that working in the studio is easier than working in the house–at least there’s a breeze with the garage door open!

I still haven’t received anything in the mail back from the state about the registering of my business.  I think it will take a while, that’s for sure.  Who knows how the budget crisis in California is affecting the normal course of business…

I’m feeling wary about posting things on Etsy before I get all the paperwork finished.  I don’t know for sure  if I can go back in and change things around regarding payment options, contact info, how accounts get credited, etc.  I need to investigate that a bit more.

Overall, it’s been a tad bit frustrating… I am in that stage where I have just started to climb the mountain after all the excitement of “Whee! I’m gonna climb a mountain!”  And it’s a daunting slope indeed.  Staying motivated is not the problem.  Staying focused is, since there is so very very much to do.  I have so much research to explore, so much networking to do, and under all of that the basic essential need for a “collection” of some sort (if that’s what it’s called).  It simply has to get done.

I’ll finally be finishing up my current project tomorrow–a black velour coat with blue roses on it.  I got the lining today, so it should be a simple matter to finish it all up.

The dress forms are on their way as well, so I’ll be waiting for them to take pictures of the garments.  I want to start them off on as good a note as I can for Etsy. I’m pretty sure I can’t afford models yet (unless I pay them in pizza or something–haha), let alone know any photographers with the kind of “fashion shoot” quality that I feel is necessary.  But I still have to get more of a stock worked up, so there’s no use worrying about that yet.  It’s rather the “cart before the horse”, as it were.  We’ll see how it goes.

My sister, Nicole, who lives in Columbia, Missouri, has asked me to help her make some blanks for some of her own design work.  She’s also interested in doing stuff with the patterns that I’ve made over the years…  Of course, developing patterns for non-theatrical sewers is not something I have much experience with.  Anyone who knows theatrical patterns knows that they’re simply not like the kind you can get commercially like Vogue, Butterick, McCall’s etc. I think it may take a bit of “translating” and technical writing for an average sewer to follow…  I once taught a theatrical pattern making class at our local fashion design school, and believe me it’s a totally different approach to pattern making.  Line-to-line stitching, seam allowance, mockups… they were alien to the young students at this school, so I know how confusing a theatrical patterns can be.  There is a sort of short-hand for theatrical patterns that assumes knowledge on the part of the person assembling the garment… There are no newsprint instructions.  You either know enough about construction and sewing to put it together or you don’t.  Usually, the person drafting the pattern is also in charge of the team that’s constructing the garment, so there’s no need for written instructions.  So I’d have to make them up.  And good instructions for anything can be hard to find… Haha!

But we’ll see.  It’s intriguing to see what may happen!

Nicole is also prompting me to make handbags.  So I went out to purchase some handbag “equipment” to make matching accessories for the coats.  That could be intriguing, too!  I think they’re gonna be my next project.

In my blog search I found some interesting little ditties!  Here are some links to some blogs and websites that I found interesting, and that I plan on exploring a bit more.  Perhaps, in your copious spare time, you can let me know what you think?  : )

Prosperous Artists Academy

Fast Company

Style.com

The Sartorialist

Until next time, live life with relish!

“It’s Etsy as Pie!”

Last night I was up way too late for any rational human being, and I decided to start checking out what Etsy was all about.

I discovered the “teams” section, and found two teams that were specific to San Diego. Teams are groups of sellers that band together to promote their work–these teams were local ones in that their commonality as sellers was the fact they all lived in this area. So I was up until 3:00 in the morning clicking through all the different team members, scoping out their stores, looking at their profiles and searching for blogs… I found a LOT! Over 25 blogs and personal websites of just local Etsy sellers…

I found a trend. Most of the sellers were stay-at-home-moms (SAHMs for short–apparently that’s the “lingo”) or jewelry makers. And not that it’s bad at all–good grief I love making jewelry! But it was all so overwhelming at one point… The jewelry itself was all so very distinct and different, and very little of it actually looked simple to make. I am just stupefied that people can stand out from the crowd with so many actually in the crowd!

And this morning I did a search on Etsy by geographical location… and got over 100… I’m a little floored. That’s even more than were on the “teams”. So I think I will have my hands full exploring and looking…

One awesome thing that happened: I found a young lady who is also in theatre, like myself, who is selling her own wares. She puts together her own massage candles, body butter, and bath bombs in her spare time when she is not being a dresser for the Old Globe Theatre. And her stuff looks awesome! The quality of her photographs is so appealing, and her stuff is totally Vegan–I can’t tell you how cool it is! And she just started a little short of a year ago. So she’s new to this, too. I emailed her through Etsy, and she introduced herself, and we’re gonna do lunch sometime, hopefully! Here’s her Etsy store: Chicken Scratch.

So off I go to work on a my women’s coat project. My mother had suggested that I create something that was short, and I’m tired of seeing stuff made only for women that seem to be very tall and thin. I wanted to make something beautiful for someone with a figure like the average woman: a Sz 14 and larger. So I’m gonna. More pics later!

Still

Podcast Mania

So for my next blog entry, I want to discuss some of the things that I had been researching up to this point.  I had been doing a lot of reading, and a lot of exploring regarding setting up a business of my own–I didn’t want to enter into this blindly.  However, I felt a lot of the stuff that I was reading didn’t really apply to my particular situation… It was almost as if there was a specific definition of what was appropriately “business” and what wasn’t… On the other hand, most of the “art” books that I read regarding the art industry didn’t really have a grounding in the kind of business that I wanted.  I wasn’t looking for an apparel company model, nor was I looking for a studio artist model.  I was looking for something that was in between–an example of a business story that would allow me to straddle three different worlds–those of Craft, Art, and Apparel.

I started out by exploring podcasts.  For those that don’t know what a podcast is, it sort of like “educational talk radio”.  I had discovered the concept as I was exploring iTunes and hit upon a World of Warcraft podcast.  I was hooked.  I discovered that there were not only gaming podcasts, but others about art, business, technology–you name it, there was a podcast about it.

Except wearable art.  At least from what I could find.

And that’s what I was looking to get into.

So I started to “subscribe” to a lot of different podcasts that were similar to what I felt I was getting into–crafting podcasts, business, design, freelancing, marketing, etc.  While many of them weren’t actually about my field, the information I could use was easily extrapolated and applied to my particular situation.  So even though I was listening to graphic designers, I was able to philosophically consider their advice from my own perspective.  And while some of them were about wool felting as a craft, I could listen to their beginning business endeavors and gain inspiration and confidence.

Here’s a list of the podcasts that I am currently listening to right now or had in the past… There are a LOT more on my iPod and in my iTunes that I haven’t even started listening to yet, but I look forward to diving into them!  I know that many of them will have a great deal of knowledge that is useful.  I encourage you to go exploring.  All of these have corresponding websites that are extraordinarily helpful as well.

43 Folders
The Accidental Creative
Answers for Freelancers!
Art Marketing Action Podcasts
Craftcast
CraftSanity
CraftyPod
Design Guy
Etsy
Freelance America
Inside Digital Design Radio
SketcheeBook: The Creativity Podcast
Threadbanger!
Tweak! The Podcast for the Creative Entrepreneur
The Digital Marketer’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Growing Your Business

I find that it’s really wonderful to put these into my iPod player and listen to them as I work.  It feels like one’s double-dipping in a way and getting twice as much work done at one time.  Listening to them in the car, piece by piece, as one drives around on that 15 minute errand can be really helpful as some of them are merely a few minutes–intentionally short for the busy worker bee!

Next time, I’ll talk about some of the print resources that I was reading as I’ve prepared to launch Relished Artistry.  Believe it or not, the internet isn’t the only source of helpful hints!

Until next time, live life with relish!