Archive for the ‘blogs’ Category

Monday Marketing – First of the Year!

“Partly Sunny, Chance of Storms”

I have a list………….

Don’t we all? I start one every year – but this year seems to be somehow different. I have a small composition book (like we used to use in elementary school, back in the day, and I got myself organized very differently. I have a page for yearly goals, then a page for monthly goals. I have separate pages for each of the weeks of the month. Right now the notebook is set up though March.

I can at a glance see what I’ve accomplished, and I have a way of listing items ahead in the month they’re due, and I can backtrack to begin working on them. This helps me see the bigger picture much better…..and I love crossing things off my lists.

I think the thing that is also different is that I am feeling so much better than probably the last five years. The weight is slowly rearranging itself, clothes are fitting, the knee doesn’t hurt, I’m getting stuff accomplished (more than I thought), and I feel calm, centered, and productive. A great way to start the New Year!

We are concentrating on our Etsy shop,(small listing on the right side of the blog…) in preparation for moving to the market on Artizan Made.

Lots of new pictures, revising items, getting ready to do a “retirement sale” of older items that have been around the country one or two times. We’ve lived in places where we could have better photography set-ups, but we are making do. Lots of great suggestions and tips from Rachel Biel of The Fiber and Textile List – she is amazing when it comes to set-up, marketing, and all-round general encouragement.

I am looking for a royalty-free piece of music for our second marbling video, finishing up pieces that have languished for years, taking apart a major piece from 2003 and modernizing it with my new skills, keeping up with blogging (I WILL hit 1000 blog posts this year…….) and constantly looking for new venues and ideas.

Here’s to 2017! What are you doing to start your year out right?

Top Ten Tuesday – NEW Blogs!

Well, over the last two weeks, as I have been getting more heavily into marketing, I’;ve discovered a BUNCH of great new blogs. So here goes:

More Design Please – great ideas! I’m seeing some great ideas – would love to do some serious purchasing…..Love these lasercut lamps!

 Another blog called Observatory Mansions – an ongoing discovery of all that is visual yet more than just visual (from the site) –

Ball Droppings – hours of fun, and be sure to have the sound on! The picture does not do it justice!

Mood music at your fingertips….StereoMood – just a small piece of moods!

From StumbleUpon I found this interesting article  Amazingly Creative Drawing vs. Photography. My art taecher friends tell me this is similar to a drawing exercise they have students do in finishing a photography. In a class with Lyric Kinard, we needed to extend the color on a postcard – very interesting attention to details!

Loads of tutorials and DIY projects at Craft Gossip:

Another cool DIY blog – 20 Awesome Do It Yourself Projects

25 Spectacular Movies You Probably Haven’t Seen – I think I’ve seen two on this list, but the Netflix queue is going to be filling up. Interesting plots……The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is one I’ve seen – A.MA.ZING. movie…..

Some pretty amazing paper sculpture – here’s Calvin’s Behance site.

While Banned Books Week has ended, I’m getting caught up with Letters of Note, and this is a marvelous letter by Pat Conroy concerning the banning of two of his books. Well stated, quite eloquent. If you don’t like a book, then don’t read it, but stay away from telling me what I can read myself.

Have a great week – let me know cool stuff that you find on line!

Photoshop Friday – It’s 600 TIme!

Wow, I’ve written 60o blog posts! This from someone who could never keep a diary. I guess I just didn’t have the technology waaaayyyy back when. I have new work for this Photoshop Friday, but I thought it would be fun to view some of the first posts.

My first entry:

I finally did it! I set up a blog so I can write about our marbling and related art thoughts. I’ll be posting photos of the new Photoshop class I am starting. Be kind – I am learning how to take criticism!! This has been something I have been meaning to do as a way of recording process and product, and at the same time motivate me to do more fiber work. And…I can tell my students I am finally “almost” as technologically savvy as they are! (January 26, 2007…..)

I probably wasn’t convinced this would go beyond the Photoshop classes I was starting at the time. You can see my very first Photoshop drawing here. I have since changed blogging platforms, and I don’t have my backup close at hand, so the link will have to do.

Today my work is based either on photographic images I have taken or some of the marbled fabrics we have created. The piece I’m working on today is from fabric. Hubby was downloading pictures for ebay this week, and I saw this picture of fabric from a distance, and I said, hmmmm……

So here’s the original fabric.

Then I started working with some shapes from each section of the fabric.

Then I felt I needed to change the background for more ocntrast.

I’m not sure this background color is going to stay…I have also been playing around with gradients, and I think one of those might work.

Yup, definitely like this one the best.

 

Comments? What do you think? What else does it need?

 

Monday Marketing: Getting Organized….Still……..

  I did a lot of thinking about organization and related business aspects during our trip to San Diego (hence the picture). I had my big notebook with me for major planning, and I keep a small notebook in my purse for sudden ideas and strokes of genius (yes, there have been some…).

  But man, there is a lot to this organization, especially if you don’t want it taking over your actual art work. I am slowly making progress in a number of areas, but I have to give myself a break and realize it’s not going to all happen at once. The important things – growth in blog visitors, more art being created – and more sales – are all starting to happen. It just takes time…and organization.

So herewith, my latest attempts, based on Action 3 of Alyson Stanfield‘s I’d Rather Be in the Studio! I have read ahead in other actions, and I am making slow progress, but for me, I need to also complete each piece. That’s one of the biggest challenges I have found – not trying to accomplish a zillion things and making small progress but having nothing completely finished. Comes from years of multi-tasking in teaching and directing theater.

Action 3 looks at routines. Here’s an interesting thing I’m finding. In the past when I read a book (and I’ve done many), I usually skip the exercise part – figure I’ll get the most out of the reading and then move on. But I never really make any improvement. So part of my promise to myself in buying new books and art materials is that I WILL USE them. Does make a difference.

Routines: Every Day

* Sew (I have been VERY GOOD about this!)

* review goals (yup)

* comment on other blogs (kinda)

* send at least 2 tweets (nope)

* upate fan page (kinda)

* work on newsletter info (nope…..some kind of block going on here….)

Routines: Every Week

* accomplish 1 action (yup)

* Etsy marketing and new items added to the store (yup)

* review organizational notebook for progress (yup)

* add connections to Linked In (yup)

* get caught up on email (yup)

* take care of at least 3 loose ends for actual art making/sewing – like getting bindings finished (pretty much)

* work on licensing collection (not yet…)

Routines: Each Month

* read magazines at Barnes and Noble (yup)

* send newsletter (ABSOLUTELY DEFINITELY THIS MONTH)

* new work photographed (yup)

* visit two galleries (yup) – and a show in a week!

* check on affiliate income, etc. (yup)

Routines: Each Quarter

* complete at least 2 licensing collections

* set new 100 day/Season goals

*look ahead to holidays for Cafe Press

* add a new affiliates

We’ll see how this quarter goes. I’m happier with this organizational than when I tried to delineate my marketing on a day by day basis. Then I felt guilty if I didn’t get everything done each day! Here’s Alyson’s book – I HIGHLY recommend it!


Top Ten Tuesday

To start us off this week comes a post from Dumb Little Man on productivity – stating that multi-tasking is a myth. I tend to agree, now that I’m older and can’t do what I used to….Number 6? Exercising regularly…….

Tips for pricing your goods – a series of articles from Handmadeology.

Another “shoot-out” from JPG magazine – some really gorgeous eye candy.

Fairy Chimneys by Aileen G

A new blog I discovered – Delete Apathy – with photos of Hurricane Irene.

“Delete Apathy is a venue for creative people to change the political climate of environmental and social policy. We hope to form a pattern for activism in your backyard. Delete Apathy is our signature for various events and includes choreographed dances, musical compositions, and other fine arts, planned for major universities and institutions.”

I drove Highway 12 on the Outer Banks for many years. Just one of the places I’ve been or have friends.

Highway 12, The Outer Banks

For zentangle lovers, some of you may have struggled with Paradox. I did, until I started being slower, more deliberate, and turned my tile more often. Well, from CZT Margaret Bremner comes a wonderful tutorial on Paradox.

From Joan Beiriger’s blog comes a post on licensing for calendars…something that has been on my mind as I organize my various collections.

And along with this is Joan’s article with a list of over 50 US art licensing agencies. Some great info here.

A little bit of fun with this video – could you see the pranks you could play??

From the OMG file and Cool Hunting – they always spotlight really cool gadgets and new products. Can you find the one that prompted me to go OMG?

And from Kate Harper Designs comes a cool video on typography – extremely interesting, as is everything on her blog.

Send me your cool stuff – it’s amazing what’s out there, and let’s share what we find.

 

Monday Marketing – Social Media Revisited

After nearly three months of work to get Marble-T Design in shape for some serious expansion, I have been thinking about the role of social media, since that has been a big focus. I’ve also been thinking about the market pieces in place now and how they are working.

Biggest help of all so far has been getting up and operating on Linked In. I completed my profile with two basic pieces: the art and my interest in doing private tutoring, with the emphasis on the art business. Even more so has been the group aspect of Linked In. I’ve joined a couple of discussion groups and met some great folks. Art Business, Art Marketing, Manhattan Arts International, and TAFA have been incredibly productive. Advice, people viewing and commenting on the art, increase in “Likes” on the fan page as a result of round robin visiting – lots more people know about our marbling.

Twitter – can’t seem to develop this one to the extent I probably should. I do tweet interesting articles, retweet others’ information, but I am lucky to get a half hour each day to read recent tweets. I do know that taking advantage of the Tweet aspect of listing items on Etsy has led to a lot more views, as well as some sales. That’s a plus, but I can’t seem to devote the time – at this point – to being a major presence in TwitterWorld. I use Tweetdeck to schedule my tweets, but I got really frustrated when it wasn’t posting tweets for the TAFA fund raiser. That’s on my long-term list of things to do, because frankly, it’s not a priority right now.

Facebook has been great – of recent interest has been the 7th grade picture of my class in elementary school – lots of interesting comments there! But in terms of business, the Fan page has been much more active, with an increase in “Likes,” and I am trying to post something every day. With the integrating features, my blog automatically gets posted, as well as Etsy items, and I try to get an Ebay item up at least once a week. I can tell from the stats on Ebay that the traffic increases each time I post. And…sales have been up.

Responding. This is the key. You just can’t read this stuff without letting people know you’re out there, enjoying/responding to what they’ve posted. And that takes time. But it has to be done, and done in a meaningful manner. When I first started blogging (some 528 posts ago), I was thrilled the few times a comment came in, but I never acknowledged it.You must do that, and you must have something sincere to say. I love doing this now – it is so gratifying that someone visits, and I want to respond to that.

Ebay – business is increasing, and we can see that because we are marbling more often.

Etsy – slowly starting to build. The key has been finding the niche market for Etsy, which is some of our more expensive marbled fabrics, not the big art pieces. I do think with the right marketing I can sell some of the small marbled art pieces, if I keep things under fifty dollars.

Blog – back to almost every day, and traffic is increasing significantly. I’m finally taking the advice of some other bloggers and having at least one day a week for what’s on sale from Marble-T Design. I do enjoy writing, and I enjoy visiting other blogs. I’ve expanded additional pages on the blog, from art blogs to visit to resources available. I still have more that I want to add.

These have been the Big Three that are in place and are working. Each week I am nurturing them along.

Website – we need to add more items (we used to have close to 14 items available for sale), and we need to increase the traffic/sales to the site. I need to update some of the art work, and I have done some rewriting of copy within the site.

Cafe Press – well, not so much, but I am advertising something each week. It’s been interesting to see the Cafe Press ads online – every time I see one, one of the items is usually our gecko tote bag.

Marketing materials – new business cards with all the social media information on them, thanks to Vista Print freebies. Plus, new postcards as thank-you’s for customers, encouraging them to sign up for our newsletter and win free fabric.

BUT – absolutely the BEST thing in all of this is that hubby and I are finally able to work together each day with our art, creating and having fun together all the while.

 

Working on Goals – Revisited

  Retirement is amazing – all the time to create art and work on the art business.I’m very busy, one one of the things I let go was the notion of substitute teaching during retirement. Nope, don’t want to lose a day to the classroom and grief when I can be making art.

Spending the money to redo the studio was an excellent investment. It means we’re serious, plus the studio is so inviting – we WANT to be in there all the time. And once I started adding fresh flowers to the studio – well, the feng shui has been very conducive to creating.

I am certainly getting things done, but what I am finding is that I need to move to getting larger chunks of a goal done within a few days, rather than dragging it out over a couple of weeks, with just doing a piece here and there. I need to get it off my list, and I think this will work.

That said, one of my goals for this 100 days is three of the action plans in Alyson Stanfield‘s I’d Rather Be in the Studio! So as I was looking over Action Plan 1, I realized I have done pieces of this before, but not with these particular questions. I’ve looked at my target audience, my ideal customer, I’ve looked at overall goals, but never really defined success itself.

So that’s my task today. Alyson lists 20 areas to ruminate on concerning how you visualize success.

* Production of art: I want to make at least three major pieces (Gaia weavings) a year; spend time each week in the studio revising, finishing, working on at least a dozen smaller pieces. So far for this second half of the year, I think I am on track – I already have three smaller pieces just about completed, and one new major weaving sketched out.

* Quality of artwork: It’s very important to me, now that I have the time, to take some art classes, primarily studio art as opposed to art history (which I still would like to do). I want my work to be excellent and gallery-ready. I may still pursue a couple of show venues, but that’s not as important to me as it was. I want to continue to learn new techniques to include in new artwork. Both hubby and I are really looking to improve our marbling skills.

* Exhibition venues: As I said, not as important to me to enter juried shows. I want to find a couple of galleries to carry my work, beyond the website. I am entering a local show (not juried) for the possible connections, as well as seeing if I can make what is in my mind actually happen in the piece.

* Teaching venues and opportunities: hmmm, possibly, but not at this moment. I’ve done a number of local gigs over the years, but never really went prepared with stuff to sell. Maybe something to consider after I have all the other business pieces in place.

* Travel: oh, yeah, and not necessarily for business (but we always visit galleries). I want to get at least one big trip in each year. We always visit museums and galleries, so outlets for our work, as well as new ideas, are always part of our travel. We even have promo literature to take with us.

* Home, Studio, Environment: The studio makeover was critical, and it will more than pay for itself in productivity. We’re happy with our apartment and locale, although eventually we will move East again.

* Spirituality: I am practicing the principles of the Laws of Attraction and Abundance and I have been extremely pleased with my whole attitude change. I am reading Native Wisdom for White Minds by Anne Wilson Shaef, as I love the saying of our indigenous people around the world. And nothing beats standing and wondering at some amazing site in nature.

 * Health: major goal here, as I want to be around for a long time. I am taking steps to do what I need to, and hopefully with this 100 days I will see some good success.

* Leadership Roles: kinda done with this. That’s why I retired. I’m leading myself to success.

* Published Work: hmmmm. Something to think about, just not sure how I can turn the marbling into a successful book. Seems like the books that have been written about marbling and projects haven’t lasted long. And I’m not sure I want the pressure and deadlines of a book contract. Been there, done that.

* Visits to the website and blog: Numbers for the blog have been steadily increasing since I got back to blogging. The website has stayed pretty static, but I am not doing significant marketing on that yet. I’ve done some small revisions on the website, I still need to add new work, and I need to think through the purpose of the website. I want to see the blog traffic translate into sales.

* Subscribers to the newsletter: I am so lacking in this. I thought I had it under control last summer, but school hit and my time was no longer my own. I have signed up with Mail Chimp and am busy importing the addresses of subscribers so far. I want a schedule of every three weeks, but I need to spend time seriously looking at the content for the newsletter, plus be VERY prepared for this year’s holiday season.

* Social Media  connections: you can read about this progress on tomorrow’s blog. The only thing I haven’t seemed to master dealing with is Twitter.

* Sales of my book: Nope, but I’m going to change “book” to “patterns.” This is an area for long-term development. Two quilt patterns art in progress, and I need to refine my Polynomial Quilt pattern.

* Sales of my art: Definitely a big goal. I want our art business to help provide for travel in retirement. My immediate two-year goal is $1000 a month from the business.

* Grants received: another hmmm. Something to think about on down the future. I do have experience writing grants, so on down the road I will look at this.

* Articles by me: I did get paid abut 4 years ago for a series of articles on a quilting site. This will go on the long-term list of things to explore, as I do enjoy writing.

* Commissions: just finished my first big one, and I certainly want more. To this end I need to develop and promote my contacts and collectors lists. I need to put on the long-term list to check with the local and state  arts council for both grants and commissions.

* Public or private collections: not quite sure about this – something to think about.

* Licensing: this is a major one, and I have already identified some collections. I need to begin fleshing these out till I have at least 10 developed, and then I’m going looking for an agent.

* Volunteer work: I added this one, as I want to donate time and art to a local organization called Ben’s Bells. Very worthy, and I want to help. Also, I want to continue the work for Art from the Heart (see top right of this page) to help promote peace.

If all of this intrigues you, you can pick up Alyson‘s book. WELL WORTH the investment in yourself and your art.

 

 

 

 

 

Monday Marketing – Creating a Schedule

It’s Monday again….and it seems like all I did was read, look at emails, and set up buttons and the like. This is the “time-sucker.” So my goal for this blog post is to try and identify what needs to be done each week for marketing and set up a kind of calendar to work with.

This is what I’m dealing with: Ebay, Etsy, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Cafe Press, Zazzle, newsletters, a website, lynda.com, flickr, and a blog. I am trying to avoid doing all of this every day, because nothing else seems to get done. I’m brainstorming as I write, with the hope that by the time this post is done, I will have a plan.

Ebay: hubby handles almost all of this, including postal trips. But…if we are going to increase sales, we need more product, and I would like to help with the actual marbling. So…..marbling weekly. I do need to update the About Me page…..

Etsy: the bulk of the organization is done. But…I need to be adding product on a regular basis, which means I need to keep making things. It would be nice to have one new product up each week, if not more often. One of the goals this week is to add some of the major artwork (even though I don’t expect to sell it on Etsy, it is more exposure) on the site, as the pictures are redone. I want to continue with the circles marketing, which, if I have enough products, could be done every day – 15 minutes for this. Plus, I need to keep working…….

LinkedIn: profile is done, and I have registered for several groups for business. I have found already difficulty in keeping up with reading emails each day from the groups and have already deleted one group. This week I will determine which groups look to be the most advantageous. I also need to complete the setting up of a profile of artwork.

Facebook: I read this several times a day. I have a fan page which needs serious work, as well as Art From The Heart, which is to support healing art after the Tucson shootings in January. I have added FB buttons to my blog and this week to my website. I have read the Terms and looked at all the privacy settings. I also went through the photo stream stuff for FB and fixed photos for both the personal and fan page. I need to really think through what is going to happen with the Fan Page.

Twitter: I am finishing a class from lynda.com on using Facebook and Twitter for business, and I highly recommend the site. For #25 you can choose different trainings all available for a month at your schedule. I picked up all kinds of little tips, most of which have already been implemented. But….and this is a BIG but….the time for tweets and what to tweet. By syncing a lot of the programs, my blog appears on Twitter, FB, LinkedIn, my tweets appear in a couple of places. I don’t think I can go further with this – the tweet button is on the blog and soon to be on the website. This is one area that needs some serious scheduling. Since I use TweetDeck (which is free…), I can schedule and keep track of who’s following and what is getting retweeted. So…I’m going to use Sundays for scheduling business tweets for the week, and I will look through the twitter feed once a day to see if there’s some good stuff to retweet.

Cafe Press: I have a site, a free one, so I am limited as to the number of products I can put up. I haven’t looked at this in several months and it needs serious work. To have a store isn’t much money each month, and I could have a lot more products available, but the issue is marketing and driving people to the site. I have some great digital stuff already to go, and I need to start planning around the holidays, reading about marketing through Cafe Press, and so on.

Zazzle: Ditto for Cafe Press……both are not a high priority right now.

Newsletters: oy, it’s been months since a newsletter went out, and I have all these contacts where nothing is happening. I used Constant Contact last year for a few months, until I couldn’t keep up with the demands and school at the same time. I was happy with it, but disappointed that not many people actually read it. I need to go back to a newsletter and offerings at least once every three weeks, and more during the holiday seasons. I need to check out Mail Chimp, which is free, and I have heard people have good luck with it. I’ll try and make this a priority this week.

Website: Most of the changes to the website have been made by my wonderful web lady Suzan. I need to get a couple of buttons set up, and then do something about newsletters and contacts. I also have some pages to add on Digital Marbling (TN), and I need to evaluate “print on demand” for artwork. This is a “need to think about” topic…..

lynda.com: I have until Friday to finish my month of training. I still need to finish Twitter, and I want to get the html newsletter course done. I am not going to continue with Dreamweaver because it isn’t a priority.

Flickr: I have photos up, not all of them with copyrights, and there is a class on lynda.com if I have time. I’m not really sure what I want to do here….

And finally, my blog, Marbled Musings. I went a bunch of months with no new writing, and I’m at maybe three times a week. I need to get back to at least four times a week, and eventually every day. I have plenty to write about…and I need to stay up with my Google reader – as well as comment more on some of the posts. This is probably the biggest area for marketing that I have to schedule.

Weekly:

* Marbling fabric

* Work on Etsy products

* Sewing and other design

Mondays:

* Add Etsy product

* Add Etsy circle information

* Read newsletters from LinkedIn groups

* Read Twitter feed

* Blog post Monday Marketing

* Google reader and at least three comments

Tuesdays:

* Add Etsy circle information

* Read Twitter feed

* Blog post Top Ten Tuesday

* Google reader and at least three comments

Wednesdays:

* Add Etsy circle information

* Read newsletters from LinkedIn groups

* Read Twitter feed

* Blog Work in progress Wednesday

* Google reader and at least three comments

Thursday:

* Add Etsy circle information

* Read Twitter feed

* Blog – Thursday Thoughts

* Google reader and at least three comments

Fridays:

* Add Etsy circle information

* Read newsletters from LinkedIn groups

* Read Twitter feed

* Blog Photoshop Friday

* Google reader and at least three comments

Saturdays:

* Read Twitter feed

* Blog posting on Specials

* Google reader and at least three comments

Sundays:

* Read Twitter feed

* Schedule Tweets for the week (i.e. Etsy, Ebay…)

* Blog Sunday Stories

* Google reader and at least three comments

Goals for next week:

* FINISH LYNDA.COM

*Update “About Me” page on Ebay

* Update Etsy products, especially note cards

* Evaluate how calendar is working

* See if buttons are added to the website

* Decisions on what will happen with the Facebook Fan page

* Long-term thoughts – what to do with CafePress and Zazzle

* Read and decide about Mail Chimp for a newsletter

* Spend some time thinking about what the website still needs….

Okay, I think I have a handle on this…we’ll see next week as I evaluate how the week goes. And…I’m taking some online classes!

Thoughts??

Monday Marketing – Making Progress with the Goals

Marbled fabric Another good week for making progress with marketing. Again, though, the thought about what’s enough, what’s too much, and what is just a time-sucker. Last week’s goals are here.

* I finished the LinkedIn course from lynda.com, and I got my LinkedIn profile set up, as well as joining a couple of groups to network. It was interesting developing the profile to work for both tutoring clients and building an art business. I still need to set up the visual portfolio for the site, but I joined a round robin of new people looking at each other’s Facebook fan pages, and as a result received some more “Likes.” Took time, but it’s done, and now I think just some weekly maintenance.

* I am part-way through the course on Twitter and Facebook, again through lynda.com, and I learned some interesting things. I read the Terms of Agreement (interesting…), checked all my privacy settings, changed the Twitter background, made some lists to make it easier to let people know about happenings. I still need to figure out my strategies for both the Fan Page and Twitter, so that’s on the list for this week.

One thing that is interesting in the way I work is that I can’t seem to finish one complete thing at a time. Maybe it’s the nature of the marketing process that you flit around, fixing/doing what you can at the time. I’ve gotten lots done on a bunch of things, but nothing really “completed.” Maybe it’s also because of the not-so-static nature of internet marketing.

* Defining my marketing goals: well, I have made progress on this, actually. I am carrying around a small notebook with the idea of jotting down some of the marketing ideas as they occur to me. I have about eight different headings at this point, and a bunch of ideas under them. But in keeping with trying to define what will be productive for me, a couple have “Goals?” as the only thing under the heading. I find I really do need to think through what I want to do, if I truly want to do it, and the best way to do it – something I’ve not done before.

* Figured out how to add Google Adsense to the WP blog…managed that okay – and I still have some money coming to me from Google……Now I gotta figure out why an ad is appearing in the middle of this blog post……

* Marketing the Etsy store through circles and additional contacts. And…sold some things on Etsy this week!

* I got new pictures taken for some of the items on the website. I need to work some Photoshop magic on them and then get them in place (which I think I can do on my own).

So it’s time for my goals for this week:

*Finish Twitter class and implement any changes and decide on a schedule.

* Start the HTML newsletter class.

*Check out Mail Chimp for newsletters. I’m very happy with my experience with Constant Contact – the company doesn’t have the money at this point to continue with their newsletters – but I LOVED the design they did.

* Set a plan and an update for the FB fan page, and start a schedule for it.

* Goals for the marketing plan in the following categories: newsletters, classes, and writing.

I also plan to finish the commission I wrote about on Saturday and do two table runners for my second mom – part of a larger commission I need to finish. I’ve got a list of projects to keep me busy through the summer!

Top Ten Tuesday – Finally!

This is now on my desktop! I found it here at  on the Kate Harper blog. After all these years of teaching, life is definitely too short to mot make art!

Now I spent the last two weeks going through all the blogs I haven’t read in two months – and mined a WEALTH of great stuff!

Zen Habits had a great and timely article on Decluttering, as I was working through all the little bits of odds and ends that I was sorting. Two key points – we don’t want to let go of the past, and we’re afraid of the future. Definitely worth a read.

From ArtsyShark – Is there a future for trade shows and sales reps – adapting to changing commerce. Lots of great points, especially if you are thinking of doing the art licensing route.

Elizabeth Barton  has a fabulous blog  with lots of food for thought. As I contemplate becoming more active with my work, this post of entering shows was extremely valuable.  Don’t you just love the colors in this quilt?

Alyson Stanfield had a guest post on Photoshop (How to Make the Best of Your Art Photos with Photoshop) by Chris Mills. If you’re not reading the ArtBizCoach blog, you should be. – http://artlicensingblog.com/2011/05/16/how-to-make-the-best-of-your-art-photos-with-photoshop-by-chris-mills/

A friend of mine turned me on to online pattern sales. I haven’t sewn for myself in years, and I never thought about the pattern lines being on line. Marcy Tilton has some really nice wearable patterns – I could get hooked! Patterns on line

The Textile Blog has an interesting article on the future of hand production, starting with a video about hand-made lace production. Here’s a quote: The video deals with the seemingly age-old problem of machine versus hand production. The video itself deals with the situation in Cyprus where traditional lace embroidery is inevitably being led towards extinction by the importation of cheap machine produced lace, mainly from China. Cyprus is by no means the only area of conflict between machine and hand production and China is not the only culprit in flooding the market with cheap products.

Sites on greeting cards – I had no idea there was so much available on line. This article is also from Kate Harper and gives 6 articles on card design tips.

Also from Kate Harper’s blog (a HUGE wealth of information), much more about art licensing…..walking the floor at the Surtex licensing show.

This week’s eye candy from The Best Article Every Day – great ads  for AT&T – forget the company, just look at the art work! This is a long graphic – go to the article and take a closer look – and then spend some time with all the rest – these articles are just the best!

Top Ten Tuesday – Cool Stuff on the Web

It’s Top Ten Tuesday again….seems like it was just a day or so when it was Tuesday…that’s what happens during the school week – time usually goes so fast! Some interesting stuff this week gleaned from the blogs I read each week. Enjoy!

The Top 75 Art Blogs – some interesting stats here  -I am hoping to discover a couple of new ones to read.

Alyson Stanfield of ArtBiz always has great ideas and hints on her blog – this one in particular – photographing your art on  a wall so potential buyers can see what it would actually look like.

Tara Reed at Art Licensing asks the question Do You Need a Password Protected Portfolio? Something I had never thought about, and it’s certainly worth pondering.

BBC has done some spectacular work on the planet and the environment. We were enthralled with Planet Earth and then fell in love with Galapagos. This site has some amazing photography.

I am rapidly falling in love with Daily Grommet. This time it’s heated or cooled stadium seats…..

Dumb Little Man – once again so much stuff I never knew existed…it would have bee wonderful to have had this note-taking ability when I was doing my thesis (as it was, thank goodness for word processing…).  Eight Awesome Tools for taking notes.

I love Vicki Welsh’s dyed fabrics. She posts some incredible designs and combinations of colors. Hop on over to her blog ad then her Etsy shop.

The Best Article Every Day has at least one bonus each week that I love. This one is about the poster at the bottom of the article….which I particularly loved this week, as it seemed like my algebra students didn’t really want to do any math this past week.

I am slowly becoming a fan of science fiction movies, and I must confess a Trek fan for a long while (although not as obsessed as I probably could be…).  Also from Best Article Every Day, 5 big budget films that understand actual science.

And again from The Best Article every Day – 25 websites to download free photos. We all need this for our blogs. Send me some good stuff to surf!!!

Top Ten Tuesday – Cool Blog Visits

It’s been interesting keeping up with the web, now that I am back at school full time. This weekend I had a chance to get caught up with my regular followers, and once again some really cool stuff. Enjoy!!

The Textile Blog had three really cool things this week….I am fond of William Morris prints, especially some of his flowers. This one just seems to have some really exceptional symmetry. I love the colors, the repetition, the geometry – everything!

Next is Owen Jones and Horse Chestnut leaves, from The Grammar of Ornament. These are so different, simple yet complex in design. These are just visually pleasing to me.

And still from The Textile Blog, some tapestry work from the 19th century that is very “quilty.”

If you haven’t been reading the Textile Blog, its concentration is “Among the subjects covered are printed, woven and knitted textiles, as well as rug, tapestry, quilting, embroidery, lace, and basketry design. It also includes a culturally diverse approach to the history of textile design across the globe.” And there are contemporary designers also features.

I loved The Good Earth by Pearl Buck. Born in China of missionary parents, she spent a lot of later years in Vermont. When I was surfing concerning another book, I came across this one:

This is the story of Buck’s early years in China, and her parents seem typical of missionaries at the time. I want to read this, and then revisit The Good Earth yet again. I read a lot about China, modern and ancient. A year ago I read a woman’s story of her, her mother under Mao, and her grandmother as a concubine before the revolution. Really a great story by Jung Chang called Wild Swans.

I don’t read a lot of education blogs much any more, but The Fugleblog caught my eye. Here’s a teacher incorporating all kinds of technology into her art classes, and I would love to learn some of this! Check out how she gets the kids involved in building on an art lesson.

I am exploring Spoonflower‘s print-on-demand fabrics. I had designed some possible fabrics here, and then two weeks ago I took advantage of their free swatch day. I wanted to check out the quality of cotton, plus see how my design would look. Well, I liked the quality, but I learned that my design was way too intense to translate well into fabric. I need to do some more work on that. But in Fiber Focus, there’s a tutorial on creating your designs to print at Spoonflower. Here’s one as an example:

This is a complex design, and yet it’s much simpler than what I had, as you can see if you check the previous blog post.

Alyson Stanfield at ArtBizBlog has yet another helpful tip: promoting your art in Slideshare. This looks to be another way to have a portfolio on line.

Well, only seven – I lied. I’m pooping out, and it’s only Tuesday…gotta go mark papers……

Monday Marketing – Using Social Media

It has been an interesting activity, pulling together your social media efforts. Between Facebook and Twitter, a lot of time is involved in getting your brand and business out to the public. and I haven’t even started with LinkedIn and any other social outlets.

Then factor in an Etsy store, Cafe Press, and Zazzle…and then there’s Artwire and several other outlets. In fact, the Sunday NY Times had an article about artists using social media and online outlets to get their work before the public. Lots more places out there to explore.

Also you have your newsletter development and subscription list. You need to develop a customer base. Readers of this blog know we had some difficulties for two years with our marbling. During that time we let go of all the things we had been doing on line to market our fabric. It took us a while to realize that everything the marketing experts are saying you should be doing – well, we were doing that, and now we’ve gone back to it.

All of this takes time, and it takes a concentrated strategy. If you are planning to go in this direction, you will have a lot of work to do initially…and then you have to plan for all your follow-up.

Case in point: I have my personal Facebook page, as well as a Fan page for Marble-T Design. I carefully read and respond on my Facebook page each day as I see interesting things. That’s not a problem. To keep a concentrated message on the Fan page takes more time. I’m listing what I want to have for each day, so I’ve already thought through the week.

Twitter takes a lot of time. I’m still trying to read a portion of messages every day, but with being in school, that’s going to be very difficult. Thanks to TweetDeck I can schedule business messages for the week, but that takes away from the “conversation” that is Twitter. However, that’s what I will need to do while I’m still teaching. And it is driving traffic: last week I scheduled tweets about various items for sale in Ebay and Etsy. I certainly had more traffic to both of those sites, and I can see the difference in visitors to the items I tweeted…but nothing is converting to sales yet, so i need to process that.

Then there are blog posts…you want to stay timely. While I can schedule my blog posts ahead of time, I enjoy writing, and since I have a schedule of topics, I want to be able to write each day when I geet home from school. And I love reading and responding to comments. My problem with the blogs is going to be staying up with Google Reader and the blogs I follow. I always find great articles and amazing eye candy…but you have to find the time. Staying up with your blog reading I think is critical; I enjoy the people I follow, they are helpful, and I learn a lot – well worth the time for your business.

I had started a business class last January, and there was some gret information there. But to do everything that was suggested made me realize within a couple of weeks that I couldn’t do it all and still maintain my teaching responsibilities. That is what has been so wonderful about the concentrated time this summer: time to do all the set up and learning. Some of these things are not easy to do…like my first newsletter with Constant Contact. There was a steeper learning curve than I would have liked, but I mastered it, and now my newsletters won’t take nearly as long to do.

And don’t forget – we still need to create our art.

Speaking of newsletters, you should subscribe to ours (upper right corner). We do a drawing for a free sampler pack of marbled fabrics, but you can’t win if you don’t subscribe!

Monday Marketing – Guest Post via Tara Reed and David Darrow at Art Licensing

I have been very interested in licensing my art images for quite a while. I’m doing a LOT of reading, as it is a complex issue. The first source I found that got me started in the right direction was Tara Reed’s Art Licensing Blog.* I confess at this point I am still in the reading stage, but slowly moving in the direction of working on patterns, repeats, and mock-ups. Funny how full-time teaching gets in the way….

However, I am a firm believer in doing my homework. One of the things the “big boys” in internet marketing talk about is the actual format of your blog, and that the recommended format is Word Press. I was wondering about why the need to move from Blogger, and I was disconcerted when I learned I would have more difficulty protecting my images on Blogger. So when I had this opportunity for a guest post from Tara – and David – I thought this would be appropriate. Plus, as Tara mentions below, I wanted something classy for my blog.

Tara writes: David Darrow has been in my online life from the very beginning of this (Art Licensing) blog… he was one of the first subscribers to my Art Licensing Info eNewsletter and I remember him sending one back to me with a note: “Do you realize this is what this looks like?” That was when I was “following directions” and keeping it all text, never more than 70 characters per line, like I was told to do.

David wasn’t the only artist to think this was a BAD IDEA so I realized artists want something a little more visually pleasing. David helped me figure out how to do it. A talented artist and techie – he’s passed on more good information that I can “Share with the group”. When he was listening to the replay of last week’s Ask About WordPress for Artists call (do you have your copy yet?) he sent me the following information that I thought would be helpful.

He knows of what he speaks since he has a blog – on blogspot – called “Where art meets technology”


I believe there is a misconception about Blogger vs. Blogspot.

Even that phrase is misleading, because they are the same thing.

The best way I understand it is that

1. Blogger is the on-line tool which allows one to create new
2. posts, which are individual, chronologically ordered in reverse “entries” or “posts” in your
3. “blog,” which is your journal, diary, log or web-log, from which we get the word [we]blog.

Blogspot is actually blogspot.com, a domain where all the Blogger-created blogs are stored or hosted.

You cannot use Blogger to create a blog and store that data ANYWHERE else but on blogspot.com — Both are owned by Google. Additionally (corollary) you cannot create/edit a blog with any other tool but Blogger and have it stored or hosted by Blogspot.com .

***Every Blogger-created blog is stored as a unique “subdomain” of blogspot.com , which is why every Blogger blog address has in common “blogspot.com.” A subdomain is the unique “areacode” that comes before the phone number, and the phone number is always 2 items: domain name and venue, “terareeddesigns” and “com” — you could have a separate site at store.terareeddesigns.com ; it would be a “subdomain”

Like Kim said, one issue to consider is that all Blogger.com blogs cease to exist the moment Google decides to stop supporting them. WordPress blogs will only disappear if you delete them or stop paying your domain-hosting bill. You control that. If WordPress.org disappears, you will still have all your data and your most recent installation of the version of the code that runs it.

Wordress.org is a group of programmers worldwide that work together on standards for an Open Source blogging service. WordPress.com is a Blogger-style tool that allows a simpler blogging method and can raise money (through more premium blogs) for WordPress.org costs.

One other thing; people with Blogger.com blogs VERY often misaddress their blogs, adding a “www” ahead of their blog address. Both will work, but one is wrong.

http://www.EverydayPaintings.blogspot.com is wrong
http://EverydayPaintings.com is right


Thanks David!

Learn more about David Darrow at www.DaveThePaintingGuy.com

Be sure to check out his painting classes too – I’m told they are amazing!

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

P.S. To learn more about how to earn an income licensing your art, visit www.ArtLicensingInfo.com* for a wide array of free and for-fee information from experts in the industry.

* FTC disclosure: any links with an * is an affiliate link and if you make a purchase, I will earn a commission for the referral. This helps me keep buying art supplies – thank you for your clicks!

Thursday Thoughts – Giving Back Through Blogging

I discovered – probably way later than most people who use Google     Reader – that I could much easier keep track of the blogs I follow and the new entries. There are some times when I can be really slow…like realizing just what they mean by scrolling through the RSS entries and updating immediately. That said, there was a really interesting post today from Problogger, whom I have been reading for over a year, and I am finally putting a lot of his suggestions to work.  You can find the full post here, but the title was very thought-provoking: How Do You Give Something Back With Your Blogging?

Now if you’ve been following lately, you know that I am spending a lot of my summer vacation working on building my art business and all that entails. Blogging is a way of driving people to your business. But for me blogging has turned into a way for me to reflect, in that I never really cared for journaling. But I don’t want my blog to be soley a business tool. I like to think I give something back….

I’ve met some wonderful people in over 400 posts on this blog. As I started to correspond by comments, I was able to answer some questions about marbling, commiserate with school issues, help out with math problems, send sympathies,  and send out goodies. My high school sweater from Sterling High School in New Jersey is nearly 50 years old, and it went to a new home at El Milagro Studio last year to become part of a felting project…and something about the colors of the Toronto Maple Leafs……It has a new home and new life – a repurposing, as they say on HGTV.

For someone who has always been quite the introvert, blogging has given me a wider window into the world, and I love being able to chat around the world. I have gotten so much more – amazing writing, wonderful art in its stages,  other intriguing art fields, food for my love of history. Do I give back enough? Probably not, but I do appreciate each and every interaction with readers, and I promise to be much better responding to you.

So – how do you give back through your blogging? Leave me a comment.

Check out this post for our give-away – you have till July 13 to become a subscriber and get a chance to win a lot of marbled goodies.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
A Chance to Win Free Fabric!

Subscribe to our Newsletter - a chance to win free fabric!

* indicates required
Email Format
Marble-T Design Etsy Store
The Textile and Fiber Art List
Art From the Heart
Cafe Press Gift Items
Follow ArtsyLindaMoran on Twitter
Pattern Spot – 1000s of Patterns in one Spot!
Pattern Spot dot com
Tackle the Web with up to 5 new .COMs, $5.99 for the 1st year!


FTC Regulations – Affiliates
Disclaimer: Please be aware according to FTC regulations I need to let you know I am an affiliate of some of the companies listed here and will receive compensation if you order from them.
Interesting in Licensing?

Archives
Post Categories
ANALYTICS
Content Protected Using Blog Protector By: PcDrome.