What was I thinking?

 

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School’s out for the summer, my shop to-do list is a mile long, and I’m a little overwhelmed! I’m endlessly surprised by the discrepancy between how long I think something will take to get accomplished, and how long it actually takes. I mean, I’m off by an astronimically high margin!

Tuesday was my day to finally redo the photography on almost 60 pieces. I know that photography time can get quickly eaten up by perfecting lighting, fiddling with props, and trying out different angles, so I made sure to have everything perfectly ready to go. Weeks ago I had worked out my new photography set-up, experimented with lighting until it was just right, made lists of each type of listing photos I needed to get, and what props I would need. I ordered some of the props I needed, gathered all of the peices to photograph and organised them. I was SO ready. So Tuesday afternoon I popped a movie in for the kids and went for it. Of the 60 items to photograph I managed to get shots of 4. In one and a half hours. I’m sure you are wondering how that’s even possible, and if I didn’t experience it first hand I’d be wondering too… I guess there are endless ways to tweak and adjust during photo shoots that just end up being so time consuming! My point is, though, why did I think I could bang out 60 of these in one afternoon, and be so wrong?

I think it may be a matter of perception- through research, a number of online sellers of similar items have become my standard that I am judging my own shop against. The pictures are Amazon- perfect, the branding is flawless, the media use is thorough, and they do a high volume business. So though I know what I’m working towards, I think I forget that as a one-woman-show I’m on for every aspect of:

product photography

communications

social media upkeep

shop listings

packaging design

advertising

shipping

creative design

And not to mention, of course, actually painting!

I’ve jokingly said to friends that I could spend 24 hours a day working on my handmade business and still complain that there wasn’t enough time, but honestly, it’s actually true! So unless I move into a condo without kids, husband, and animals, and allow for a SERIOUS lapse in personal hygiene, it just ain’t gonna happen.

It is actually kind of a relief to acknowledge that reality; that no matter how much time I was given, I could fill it up and still want more. I have no choice, really, but to be OK with what I can get done in the time I have, and allow myself to enjoy the time off with my kids. That is, after all, why I want to work from home! So please pardon this one-woman-show’s occational intermissions…

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What’s in a word

 

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Sitting in my studio the other day, from the corner of my thoughts, a little word floated up to meet me. Stubborn. That’s strange, I thought. I’m not thinking of any stubborn people, my kids are nowhere to be seen, why does my wandering brain want me to consider this word? There it floated, stubbornly. It was a little moment in my day that changed my perspective. I’m stubborn. What? No, no, no- I’m sweet and mild mannered, I don’t send food back at restaurants, or even return things that break, in fact I spend most of my day doing exactly what other people ask me to do.

Yet here I am, after a year of creating, developing, and researching this handmade business,  inching toward my dream with such sloooow progress, and I don’t give up. No one in my life would describe me as stubborn, but I’m proving to myself everyday that I am. And I’m kind of liking it!  It’s probably the strongest word I’ve ever used to describe myself, and I feel like wearing it like a badge of honor. I can’t let this dream go, and I know that I’ll never back down on this. It might change form a bit as I struggle to make a creative living happen, but I just know that I’m going to work at it, pour more into it, sometimes rage and rail at it, until it works. And that makes me both fiercely proud and kind of scared.

———- Brief intermission———–

So of course I got interrupted while writing this (I’m also making dinner, hanging laundry, and managing siblings), and it gave me a chance to think about what I’d written. As I stirred the macaroni, I realized: There’s another word to describe what I was writing about. Passionate. I like that one, too. I think I’ll wear both.

Using social media without being a big Fakey McFakerton

My 5 year old made me this puppet- don't you love the eyebrows?

My 5 year old made me this puppet- don’t you love the eyebrows?

As an artist who is just starting out with getting her work out there, and hoping to become successful, I’m always looking for the ways in which I can give my business the best start possible. I like the notion that successful handmade market businesses are the ones that allow their own, authentic voice to shine through. Not only in the products they make, but also in all aspects of marketing. Don’t make things you wouldn’t buy, or give to a friend. Don’t use branding that doesn’t represent you. I don’t mean to say that I wouldn’t stretch my boundaries and try new things even if it is uncomfortable, I mean that I should listen to myself when trying to find the right fit, and really examine whether or not it allows me to use my authentic voice. My head is so saturated with social media right now, I was finding myself clenching my teeth every time I thought about it… not healthy! Here’s the thing- online businesses require online marketing, and for many people that’s waaay outside their comfort zone, present company included.

Facebook and I are not friends. (If you are reading this post via my Facebook page, I’m totally not talking about you) Yet, it is so hard for me to pinpoint the reason why. I’m testing out as much of the social media options as I can, and some are a better fit than others. I don’t use my personal Facebook page, only the business, but my husband’s page is always open, so I shamelessly scroll through it. I think what really ruins it for me are those people who find it perfectly within the realm of social normalcy to post the most horrible pictures from the OTHER side of the internet you know what I’m talking about stop looking confused.

So I’m all, scroll scroll

“Oh, Diana’s having a baby”

“Hey, looks like Jenn’s making vegan lasagna for dinner again”

Selfie

Selfie

OPEN HEAD WOUND.    

 

What. Is. Wrong. With. You.

 

Ok, ok… that never comes up on a business page, so it can’t really be the reason why I don’t click with Facebook. Continue reading

Clever post title goes here…

So I’m new at blogging, (hi mom!) but seems to me from reading other blogs that posting regularly is what helps most in building readership other than my mom. But what do bloggers find to write about every day? Let’s see what did I do today… I just came back from having my eyes dilated.  Should I write about that? That doesn’t seem very blog-worthy. From what I understand blog posts are supposed to be beautifully written tutorials about how to make your own shelves from tofu and pottery shards, accompanied by a well lit, perfectly filtered picture of said shelves.

You’ll have to settle for retina dilation today. Maybe I can assign it some deep meaning… Continue reading

Finally!!! New art to share…

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I finally came up for air on Friday from a week of snow days, and commitments that kept me out of the studio.  I think I may have actually “squee-ed” when my husband took the kids to school that morning! I’ve got a list a mile long for studio work, so I had to choose just one or two things to work on, but here they are!!

I’ve have fallen in love with block printing, the process of carving designs into a slab of linoleum or other carving material and printing with them on paper or fabric. Even though it’s a huge departure from my usual oil paintings, I LOVE the graphic quality block printing achieves!

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My grand plan is to do the whole alphabet (um, could take a while, don’t hold your breath) and offer them as children’s room, or classroom decor! I’m not going in order, because I’m enjoying visualizing an illustration first, then pairing it with a letter…

I’m absolutely taking suggestions for other letter-inspired designs, so chime in with your ideas! I’m thinking about “Orca” for O…

I will be listing “M” and “H” on my Etsy shop by the end of the day today, so if you want a closer look, click on the link under my profile on the right!

Happy Birthday Mini Me

Mind= blown by the fact that today my first born turns *8* years old! He is a gentle spirit, an artistic soul who wants nothing more than to commune with his craft in peace… I hear ya, kid.

Of course, Mini Me and I share our home with The Loudest Human Being On Earth (my husband) and our second born son, an exuberant, bouncy, miniature of my husband. Oh, and three dogs. Peace and quiet is rare- but there is something to be said for appreciating the crazy!

My birthday boy knitting, in front of a 100 year old portrait of my Great, Great Grandmother knitting, a portrait BY her daughter, my Great Grandmother- B Moran.

Oh, the weighty significance! I simply CANNOT.

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