Monday, May 2, 2016

Studio Time: Getting that giddy feeling

Have you ever been doing studio time and you start getting giddy about the work you're creating? Yeah. I'm there today. Even when it's simple, I'm learning ways to improve the quality, be consistent, and continuing to experiment with carved beads.

This is the latest piece I created. It was originally going to be a single two-stranded necklace. But, one of the things I love about creating jewelry is making it flexible. So instead of creating a single two-strand necklace, I created two different necklaces that can be stacked on top of each other to create a lush bouquet of buds in the center.





Here they are separately. The colors are all mixed up so you can wear them with multiple outfits.



Now that I'm creating, my mind is brimming with ideas and I can't wait to execute them all. I have some textured beads that are turning out EXACTLY as I wanted them to. I'll share those in a future post.

Do you get on a roll with creating work you absolutely love? 

Friday, April 29, 2016

Creative Finds: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up - Home Tour


So, I've finally Kon-Mari-ed my entire house. I organized, painted, upholstered, hung art and now my home is a pleasant, cozy space. It's also organized enough that I can find things easily on a regular basis. Yep. I believe in Marie Kondo's method of organizing. Most of the art I have in the house is art from other artists. If I know the artist, I'll link them. I'll start this post with guest spaces. 

Guest Space #1

I painted the dresser, tables, and head board in Annie Sloan chalk paint. The pillows are from my Zazzle shop. The driftwood whale was from a local art show in St. Augustine. The painting on the wall is one of my own textured canvas color washed in blues. I'd like to learn how to reupholster the chair in some of my fabrics at some point.  



Guest Space #2

The quilts in this guest room are by Rose Ann Points of Delightful Little Things. The bed frames, tables, and lamp are Craig's List finds. The wall hangings are random things I've found here and there. I've decorated this room specifically for my nieces to stay over with me. If I have two sets of couples, one of them gets the "Dick Van Dyke" show guest room. :-) It works nicely for families though.


The chest below is my mom's child hood chest. It got passed around the family and I finally repainted it. The chairs are some beautiful finds from Eco Relics up in Jacksonville. And the beautiful butterfly is by Mandy Saile. I have several of her original art works. Her bright, happy birds and butterflies make my home so happy.



Guest Bathroom

The poppies painting are by my friends Brenda Liz.The cute little birds are by my friend in Michigan. The sea turtles are made in Haiti of upcycled steel drums and can be purchased in one of the local art stores called Amistad.


The wall hooks for the towels are another driftwood creation. The hummingbird is another Mandy Saile creation.


More hour tour in a future post.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Studio Time: Color Crazy Custom Order in Navy, Coral, Green & Turquoise



Just finished and delivered this custom order of a color crazy necklace in navy, coral, turquoise and green. The colors were elegant so I used copper as the wire to complement this set. The matt beads are slighter smaller than the original color crazy necklace


I experimented with carving some of the beads and really like this texture to give simple beads a bit more interest. I added the lilies to copper chain and create two ways to wear this. A cascading asymmetrical above or a gathered corsage style below. 



And I refinished another custom order of a beautiful cobalt handmade glass arrow and wiring it up to be worn as a necklace. 


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Monday, April 25, 2016

Design Exploration: Starting Patina & Texture

When I started playing with creating the Texture & Patina collection I admit I struggled. I stared at the photos, color palettes, and ideas for about 3 days with...nothing. Bupkus. Nada.

I knew I really wanted to explore Texture & Patina because that really resonates with the core of my personal design aesthetic - organic, rustic, textural and primitive.

One of the ways I broke my creative impasse was by getting ink, brushes, and paper and just playing. I particularly loved this photo with the blue paint and rust. I wanted to figure out how to translate this into a two-dimensional design.



Here were some of the marks I made through playing. I scanned these into Illustrator and played with the automated Image Trace.


 

The marks on the left translated into the scratchy pattern below. I have two versions... one more scratchy and saturated, one a little simpler. They make great blender fabrics for quilts.



What ways have you explored to a creative block? 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Hobby to Business Report: Shifting Mindsets - Production Mindset

I was just reflecting on the process of turning my hobby business into a real business, that it is as much about shifting mindsets as it is about implementing systems. Christine Kane addresses some major mindset shifts that need to happen in order to become an effective business owner. Here is her short list - but the whole post is worth the read. 



  1. When you were an employee, you had a boss.
  1. When you were an employee, you had deadlines.
  1. When you were an employee, you had to, you know, not wear pajamas to work.
  1. When you were an employee, you didn't have to market.
  1. When you were an employee, people cared about the letters after your name.
  1. When you were an employee, you just walked in and did your thing. Big picture, schmig picture.
  1. When you were an employee, you didn't have to invest in you. The company invested in you.
Silver and Copper Twig Earrings (multiple pairs of a design)
What about you? Have you found a need to shift your mindset as you develop your creative business?

Frankly, I'm not even that far along in my shift from hobby to business. I’m still back in areas like moving from just creating randomly as because I want to and shifting into production mode (i.e. setting up systems to make enough pieces to sell, and being efficient about making larger quantities).

For me, my hobby has been a de-stressor and a way to relax. And this is something that is worth looking at carefully. Often we start a hobby and start creating so much we have to sell it to offload the amount of stuff we have made because we're running out of friends to give things to and to support the stash we've bought into. [Cough, cough - that's been my hobby business so far.] If you want to stay in a small, a hobby business, it is perfectly acceptable. BUT. If you want to turn your hobby into a real business you have to start thinking differently. About pricing. About marketing. About production. About income. About strategy. About production and production efficiencies. About contracts. About taxes. About setting up legally and correctly to run within the parameters of the law. Those are a lot of mindsets to shift and rewire in your brain!

For this post, I'm going to dive into...


Production Mindset


Production Mindset could also be described as "how to make enough product to support myself." In 2012, I started exploring seriously moving my hobby into a real business. I took some advice and started working backwards: I figured out how much income I needed to live and started working backwards to figure out how many pieces of jewelry I would have to make and how much I would have to charge in order to support my life. Even simplifying as much as possible, it was a little... um, shocking... to see how much I would have to make and sell The making part had it's own mental hurdles, but the selling part was even more of a mental block. I realized in a saturated jewelry market, I could only sell so much. I needed to look at expanding my options of what I could sell. (Exploring multiple income streams is a subject for another post.) But, I still like making jewelry and do want this to continue to be an income stream for me.

Fast forward to 2016, tiny little movements forward in the business (like setting things up in the background to run as a real business), but little to no studio time in between. Now, I'm starting up studio time again and I’m finding some odd words creeping up in my vocabulary as I shift into business mode and re-wiring my brain to be a responsible business owner. Things like “dread,” “tied down to my workspace,” “trapped.”

I mentioned these things in my last Master Class coaching call with Lisa Call, and she said I needed to journal about it. Which I have done, but I thought it was worth sharing in a public forum. Perhaps you are a hobby artist who is trying to making a go of your business.

Exploring my mindset and reframing my fears

Regarding being "trapped" at my studio desk - I realized I have total freedom over my work space and can redesign my space to be enjoyable. I may not be able to sit on my couch and make whatever I want whenever I want, but I can still design the space to be efficient and motivating as well as beautiful and inspiring. That's actually something quite wonderful about working for yourself - you have control over your environment that you don't always have in a regular job.

Exploring another aspect of those depressing words, I realized the feelings behind those were fear. Fear of not being good enough, fear of being a disappointment to my customers, fear of not being able to keep up with the schedule and amount of art I needed to make. And the good news is that as I break those fears apart, I realize I can do something about all of that. Starting small lets me make mistakes, and work out the kinks in my business and systems, before I grow. It lets me organize and create systems to make sure I can handle each of those things that may crop up. 

Regarding not being good enough, I can experiment wildly and develop my style and find a style that resonates both with me and with others. Regarding disappointing customers, I can work slower and smaller to make sure I can make my customers happy. I can experiment with custom work to get a feel for working closely with customers. I can develop customer service systems that help maintain a relationship even after a disappointment. 

Regarding the fear of keeping up, well, this is a valid fear, but this is part of the reason I want to keep my business small and grow carefully. I want to figure out what works, what is sustainable for me personally. I want to keep my business simple, sustainable, and manageable as a one-person operation. 

What about you? Are you transforming your hobby into a business? What mindset shifts have you encountered?