Posts Tagged ‘Alyson Stanfield’

Getting Organized – Day 3

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Sculpture at the Denver Art Museum, photo by Linda Moran, c. 2013

  I was looking through pictures to see about something appropriate for this third day of the series, and I stumbled upon one of my favorite sculptures from our trip east in July – the Broom and Dustpan at the Denver Art Museum. What a perfect way to look at a clean sweep of the least year and a new start for this coming year! Remember that you can start this series ANY TIME you want to. So…on to day 3!

 Dreaming the New Year

Now it’s time to think about this coming new year, regardless of when you consider your year to begin. When I was teaching, September was always the beginning of the year, not January. With retirement, my new year is the end of May. So you can do this at any time of the year, for however long a time period you want. Start with a month or two, or go for the whole year. If the process works for you, then consider doing a five-year plan. I promise you that this whole process really works!

First, though, you need to DREAM. If you need help in dreaming your goals, check out Dale Anne Potter’s website. She offers a lot of positive ideas for getting goals accomplished, and she has great resources. So does Alyson Stanfield, author of “I’d Rather Be in the Studio!”

I’m asking you to do away with limits on your thinking. No worrying about how much money you need, whether you think it’s actually possible to accomplish, or any other roadblocks you might place in your path. This is dream time. A year from now, what would you like to have accomplished? Just DREAM. Don’t limit yourself! And…don’t make it just about your business.

Here’s what I came up with in my brainstorming for last year:

a second online gallery carrying my artwork; publication of the book with my art quilts in it; a line of stencils for mixed media; two ebooks on marketing; an ebook on quilting marbled fabrics ; finish the ebook for a friend ; licensing some of my digital designs; at least four new patterns developed and available; at least three teaching gigs around the country; visiting Paducah to tour Quilt City; a trip to Kauai in the fall; visiting the Maritimes this summer; entry into at least two fiber/art shows; increase by 25% each the income from Ebay, the website, Etsy, and Cafe Press; another connection to the Martha Stewart folks for another article; additional writing and work done on my website; a visit with my foster son; visiting the old homestead in New Jersey; seeing my college buddy again; staying healthy; blog posts at least four times a week; articles in two art/quilt-related magazines; monthly lunches with my second mom; weekly Friday night dinners with my sister-friend; at least once a month something art/music-related to see; outdoor cactus garden established; and….a trip to Vienna to visit a friend.

Here’s how I did:

a second online gallery carrying my artwork (done); publication of the book with my art quilts in it (coming in June 2014); a line of stencils for mixed media (nope); two ebooks on marketing (got one, second in the works); an ebook on quilting marbled fabrics (just a tutorial); finish the ebook for a friend (done); licensing some of my digital designs (in the works); at least four new patterns developed and available (developed, not completed for sale); at least three teaching gigs around the country (did two, got one already booked for this coming year); visiting Paducah to tour Quilt City (done); a trip to Kauai in the fall (nope); visiting the Maritimes this summer (nope); entry into at least two fiber/art shows (nope, but not a priority any longer); increase by 25% each the income from Ebay (done), the website (nope), Etsy (done), and Cafe Press (nope); another connection to the Martha Stewart folks for another article (first article was a bust, not very cooperative, never got print sheets, not worth the time and effort); additional writing and work done on my website (nope); a visit with my foster son (YAY); visiting the old homestead in New Jersey (done – and in New York); seeing my college buddy again (nope); staying healthy (pretty much); blog posts at least four times a week (nope); articles in two art/quilt-related magazines (nope); monthly lunches with my second mom (done); weekly Friday night dinners with my sister-friend (done); at least once a month something art/music-related to see (done); outdoor cactus garden established (nope); and….a trip to Vienna to visit a friend (nope).

In retrospect, a lot accomplished, and some of the “nope’s” are not priorities any longer. The math person in me looks at 17 out of 30, a percentage of 57%. OVerall I’m pleased, because some other things got accomplished that I wasn’t anticipating, so a good year!

Your list can be as long or as short as you wish. Please do not try and limit yourself, even subconsciously. I have found the key in planning is to shoot for the moon. You’ll get a lot farther into the atmosphere than if you try to keep yourself grounded on earth.

Also, DO NOT FEEL OVERWHELMED with this list! In the next installment, I’ll be sharing the idea of backplanning – something that I have used throughout teaching, especially when I was doing theater. Backplanning makes everything seem absolutely do-able – I promise.

Feel free to share your dreaming with us. Some of us might get inspired by something you mention and decide to include it on our list. Let a comment and tell us what you’re dreaming about. You’ll head in to the New Year feeling very positive about what you’d like to accomplish! When I introduce you to Backplanning, you’ll realize you can accomplish what’s on your list. Now go and DREAM!

Monday Marketing (yeah, I know, I’m late……)

Last week I received a post card as a thank you from Alyson Stanfield – who runs the ArtBizBlog – an essential for your marketing information. This was a hand-written thank-you as a result of an article I wrote for Handmadeology that mentioned Alyson as a source for goal-setting information. I felt like I was appreciated.

This is what we have to do for our customers. Make them feel appreciated. I have a postcard that gets included with every order. The front is a piece of artwork, and the back is all the information about Marble-T Design: website, blog, Facebook, and an invitation to sign up for the newsletter, plus, a hand-written “thank you” for their business.

 This particular article by Alyson looks at a greeting card business – which I think many artists do, as a way of getting more mileage out of their art. But Alyson has a really neat idea: offer to send a card for a new subscriber to someone. You use one of your cards, the new subscriber provides the recipient’s name, address, and a brief greeting, and you do the rest. Love the idea. I also want you to read the comments on this post, because they mention a couple of caveats if you are going to do this….time limit, etc.

What ideas do you have for a type of give-away for new subscribers to your newsletter? We offer a drawing each month to receive free marbled fabric, but I’m not sure it’s enough to get new subscribers. I’m thinking of combining all my organizing posts into an ebook and offer that free to new subscribers, but I would REALLY like to hear from others as to what you do.

 

Part 2: Getting Organized – Start Dreaming!

Here comes Part 2 in my Getting Organized Series. You can follow along on the blog and get a head start before the posts appear on the Handmadeology blog. Share comments about your dreaming at the bottom of this post.

 Part 2: Dreaming the New Year

Now it’s time to think about this coming new year, regardless of when you consider your year to begin. When I was teaching, September was always the beginning of the year, not January. With retirement, my new year is the end of May. So you can do this at any time of the year, for however long a time period you want. Start with a month or two, or go for the whole year. If the process works for you, then consider doing a five-year plan. I promise you that this whole process really works!

First, though, you need to DREAM. If you need help in dreaming your goals, check out Dale Anne Potter’s website. She offers a lot of positive ideas for getting goals accomplished, and she has great resources. So does Alyson Stanfield, author of “I’d Rather Be in the Studio!”

I’m asking you to do away with limits on your thinking. No worrying about how much money you need, whether you think it’s actually possible to accomplish, or any other roadblocks you might place in your path. This is dream time. A year from now, what would you like to have accomplished? Just DREAM. Don’t limit yourself! And…don’t make it just about your business.

Here’s what I’ve come up with in my brainstorming, in no particular order.

  • a second online gallery carrying my artwork;
  • publication of the book by Linda Seward with my art quilts in it;
  • a line of stencils for mixed media;
  • two ebooks on marketing;
  • an ebook on quilting marbled fabrics;
  • finish the ebook for a friend;
  • licensing some of my digital designs;
  • at least four new patterns developed and available;
  • at least three teaching gigs around the country;
  • visiting Paducah to tour Quilt City;
  • a trip to Kauai in the fall;
  • visiting the Maritimes this summer;
  • entry into at least two fiber/art shows;
  • increase by 25% each the income from Ebay, the website, Etsy, and Cafe Press;
  • another connection to the Martha Stewart folks for another article;
  • additional writing and work done on my website;
  • a visit with my foster son;
  • visiting the old homestead in New Jersey;
  • seeing my college buddy again;
  • staying healthy;
  • blog posts at least four times a week;
  • articles in two art/quilt-related magazines;
  • monthly lunches with my second mom;
  • weekly Friday night dinners with my sister-friend;
  • at least once a month something art/music-related to see;
  • outdoor cactus garden established;
  • and….a trip to Vienna to visit a friend.

Your list can be as long or as short as you wish. Please do not try and limit yourself, even subconsciously. I have found the key in planning is to shoot for the moon. You’ll get a lot farther into the atmosphere than if you try to keep yourself grounded on earth.

Also, DO NOT FEEL OVERWHELMED with this list! In the next installment, I’ll be sharing the idea of backplanning – something that I have used throughout teaching, especially when I was doing theater. Backplanning makes everything seem absolutely do-able – I promise.

Feel free to share your dreaming with us. Some of us might get inspired by something you mention and decide to include it on our list. You’ll head in to the New Year feeling very positive about what you’d like to accomplish!

Next: The Concept of Backplanning

Monday Marketing…Catalogues? Rules? Truths?

Some nice marketing help from two of the gurus out there: Alyson Stanfield and Tara Reed. These four articles resonated with me, as their topics have been on my mind. First up, thinking about a catalog? Alyson has two articles on catalogs. “Peek Inside a Catalog of Your Art” has fabulous tips. This past spring I put together a “quickie” book from Shutterfly to showcase our work, but I would definitely do things differently next time. I lacked a good artist statement, credit lines, prices….oh so many mistakes. It did look gorgeous, all nice and big, but it could have been so much more. With the availability of print-on-demand and good software that makes designing books and catalogs easy, this is something we should all look at.

“Where to Distribute Catalogs of Your Art”  by Alyson follows up on your design and printing. Again, thanks to print-on-demand, pricing might now be so bad. Catalogs can be pricey, so think carefully about who gets a catalog. Optimize your audience.

I love this next: “Thirteen Truths About Marketing Your Art.” Oy, I need to review these every couple of weeks! Number 13 is my absolute weakness…..

Be sure to check out Alyson’s blog – loads of great advice!

 The last marketing gem is from Tara Reed of the Art Licensing Blog. Titled “The Rules of My Treehouse,” six great rules to help you continue creating art. I love “Don’t dwell on the negative.” Keep those folks out of your treehouse – and your life!

 If you are at all interested in checking out licensing your artwork, click below. I’ve used Tara’s books as I develop my own licensing plans, and they are really excellent. (Disclosure: I get a commission if you buy any of her materials off this website.) And…if you would rather be in the studio creating art, then check out Alyson’s book, I’d Rather Be in the Studio!



Make something happen this week! My newsletter is set to go out (almost written), so sign up at the top right if you’re not a subscriber – a chance to win free marbled fabric!

Monday Marketing – Online Business

This week I have two projects to finish, only one of which involves any marketing. The first is to finish a UFO from three years ago – my forest quilt. I’m practicing a lot of patterns learned in the free motion quilting challenge. The quilt is looking amazing – only a few boo-boos that I’m willing to worry over, but oh, the feathers on the border….yummy! They are taking a while, but it is so worth it! Maybe pictures by Wednesday…..

The marketing piece is to do final revisions on my table topper pattern – had great samples made, so I’m really excited about releasing the pattern. Mostly I need to make the pattern less wordy and more organized. But that needs to be done this week so it can be included in the next newsletter for next week, as well as my marketing plan for the holidays. Yes, I’m bound and determined not to miss the holiday season for shopping this year. Hubby has been learning the ins and outs of Etsy, so he is busy restocking the shelves. We have some GREAT fabric pieces in the store.

Readers know I have a number of places I do business on line, from Facebook, eBay, Etsy, and our website. Hubby has handled the time effort in eBay for the last 8 years, and now he is picking up Etsy. Alyson Stanfield had yet another good post on analyzing the time you spend – or need to spend –  setting up your online outlets. I will say the work gets easier the longer you are at it and set up systems for posting items. Our first two weeks of posting for eBay took close to four hours for six items. Same for Etsy when we first started. You have to be willing to spend the time, have the inventory, and write good descriptions to go along with good pictures. That’s several hours a week you need to spend – or in our case, hubby needs to spend. I write up the more unusual Etsy offerings, like the small table toppers, ribbons, and the like. You also need to add in the time to post items on Facebook, tweet them, and now use Pinterest.

A lot of us are online because we are convinced it is the way to do business. For us, online didn’t cost anything beyond our time. No stores, just free sites. As long as we were willing to invest the marketing time, we were able to get these venues to work for us. We also knew the art/craft show wasn’t the route for us, being such a niche market. But…and a very big but….you can’t put stuff up and expect it will sell if you don’t do anything more than just listing items. I did drop Tophatter from my venues for three reasons: one, not really selling anything, even in the “fabric and textiles” auction; two, a HUGE time commitment, as you want to be present at the auctions to promote your item; and three, I’m not willing to be burned by uncivil people (blog post here). These are decisions you need to make, and I like how Alyson’s guest blogger spelled things out for accounting. Our business has always been the two of us. Hubby is primary marbler, I’m the designer. I handle most of Photoshop, he does accounting, eBay, and Etsy listings. Retirement has made it easier to spend more time on what we love, as I am not exhausted from the school day.

If you’re not familiar with Handmadeology, I have done (and continue to do)  a series of posts on marketing your niche market. You can find them here, plus there are loads of great articles about running your business that are well worth your time.

Part 1: Niche Markets

Part 2: What is your wackiest marketing idea?

Part 3:  Getting out there

Part 4:  Have you done your newsletter?

Part 5: Your Newsletter Revisited

Have a great marketing week!

 

Top Ten Tuesday

Well, it has been a while, what with projects and a few days in San Diego. I have loads to work through on my blog list, so I am thinking there’s at least three posts here!

First up, from the 365 Project, some amazing photography yet again. In honor of beach time in San Diego……

Beach Sand by Michael Elliott

From the ArtBizBlog and Alyson Stanfield comes some organizing ideas. I just happened to see her Evernote mention, and I have just started using that on my iPad, so I want to go into this post more in depth….organizing lately has been off, to say the least!

Studio Art Quilt Association (SAQA) does an auction of artwork every year as a fund raiser. This is the first year I have contributed a piece. One thing members are doing to promote the auction is doing 6-piece “collections” around a theme. I pleased to say my “Hotwired” has made it into two collections.

Here are a few more samples of SAQA collections, put together by Kathy York.

Here’s a quick video from Freida Anderson with some fusing tips, something I am just getting in to:

Jane LaFazio interviews Leslie Riley. I’ve admired both for a long time. Jane is a very successful water color, mixed media, and art quilter, and Leslie Riley is quite the motivator. Enjoy the interview!

Alisa Burke has a fabulous post on tools for sketchbooks and frequently asked questions. Lots of “I wants” in this list…it’s probably a good thing I don’t do a lot of sketching……

Thanks to Rachel of Rayela Art and The Textile and Fiber Art List, here’s a cool look at a new tool called PicMonkey for editing pictures easily. Rachel did some fun playing around with pictures of her own.

Here’s a wonderful sense of humor video from YouTube about European shopping bags. Some very clever designs!

A very “enterprising” story of a 10-year-old who has started her own sewing business. You go, Lizzy!

And finally, a piece of honesty and courage from an Eagle Scout from The Best Article Every Day.

Have a great week! Let me know what you find that’s cool.

Monday Marketing

It’s Monday, and I’m trying to get back in the swing after a few days off…and actually a couple of weeks off from anything more intense than just sewing. I have been finding myself thinking a lot about this year’s holiday season….and it was 110 degrees today, so I’m thinking I’m nuts…..but the holidays are coming, and I don’t want to squander the opportunity this year. This week’s Handmadeology post will be about getting ready for the holidays.

That said, there was some great information from the ArtBizBlog and Alyson Stanfield today.

The first is about writing book reviews for your blog. I really should look at doing that, as I just picked up a couple of great ones on machine quilting, and they are making a difference in my latest quilting. It’s a distinct possibility that I will make one day a week a book review, and not necessarily about art quilts. There’s a lot of science fiction in my future….

The other blog post by Alyson is on organizing. I just downloaded  Evernote to my iPad, as I needed something for word processing during tutoring. I don’t know much about the program, but if I can use it for some other organizing ideas, then I’m game to try it.

Alyson references Tim Ferriss of the Four Hour Workweek, which I read about two years ago and proceeded to get very depressed. I was still teaching at the time, so there really was no way to look at four hours. However, the one piece that really stuck with me was all his information on outsourcing. Very intriguing, especially as I am headed in to some serious research for a potential book. Interesting read if you are ready for a drastic change…..

Top Ten Tuesday – New Art Blogs

It’s been a while since I’ve written about some of my daily go-to blogs. I’ve discovered a lot of new ones over the last year, both art-related and not, so here’s an update of blogs you don’t want to miss.

365 Project – aside from the fact that there are amazing photographs each week, the site has you start your own daily photo journal.

365 Project homepage

 

Waiting, by John

Elizabeth Barton writes a blog with tips, inspirations, art work, and wonderful pondering thoughts on your own art. If I could choose a mentor for a few months, it would be Elizabeth.

The Art Biz Blog is essential. Alyson Stanfield gives you spectacular advice for managing and promoting your art business. Start reading her if you aren’t already.

I love Larkin Van Horn. Not only does she create amazing work, but she likes using our fabrics! I had a chance to reconnect with her this past March at StashFest for the La Conner Quilt and Textile Museum.

I follow the C&T Publishing blog for two reasons: I like to see what’s new….and they do giveaways, and one time I actually won! If you’re in the business, you need to keep up with trends,

Dale Anne Potter got me started last year on positivity and the Law of Attraction. She is a great artist, and she has been helping others achieve their dreams.

Vicki Welsh does some of the most amazing hand-dyes, with color gradations to dye for (pun intended)!

Generation Q Magazine just made it into print, after a year of online articles and features. Lots of potentially great stuff here!

Insights from SewCalGal is my go-to site this year for machine quilting. My skills have improved tremendously, I did a tutorial for Darlene, and there are great giveaways – fantastic site!!

And last, but certainly not least, the Textile and Fiber Art List, a group of over 300 artists from 30 countries. Amazing eye candy! Take a trip through blogs and Etsy stores for artists in everything “textile and fiber” you can imagine! A wealth of awesome information.

Top Ten Tuesday

Another interesting week on the web…..

Do you know about Tophatter? This is a new auction site on line – live auctions, a few times each day (actually, a lot each day). It’s just getting started, but seems to be a fun community. You can check it out and get emails about the various auctions – watched a hour’s worth on Saturday, and it was quite fun.

From the 365 Project, another set of amazing photographs.

Curious Cat by Sassik

Cool eye candy in a quilt show from Perth, West Australia, from Joan at Leschenault:

sorry - no credit given on the post, but AMAZING free motion!

 

Ever wonder about how they get all those clowns into a car? Here’s an article that actually explains the physics behind it…with a good dose of mirth!

From The Best Article Every Day comes “How to Fail a Test.” As a math teacher, I absolutely loved some of these.

For a “feel good” piece of fun, this wedding proposal:

From Alyson Stanfield comes another good post on working on our art: 6 Things Nick Cave Said That Made Me Pay Attention:

The best piece of advice for me? Evolve. Continue to grow. With that, I just emailed an artist whose work I really like and asked her about some private study to help me grow.

If you’re looking for the big ideas surrounding us, then go to Big Think for a load of provocative ideas. Here’s a screen shot of the last few articles:

From Cool Hunting comes a look at furniture designed from reclaimed parts of old buildings. Some very clever ideas for repurposing!

In case you need motivation to accomplish something you think is hardly possible, amidst all the naysayers, comes this final video…..perfect for my state of mind right now. I have to believe in myself, and when it comes to my own issue, I just don’t. That’s changing now.

Top Ten Tuesday

I am still so far behind of getting caught up on blogs, even my most favorite ones. But slowly, slowly…I want to enjoy what’s out there!

Really cool shots from this week’s 365 Project. Love the rainbow water drops!!

Cromer High Tide by Paul

As usual, Alyson Stanfield has great advice in her ArtBiz Blog, “Quadruple Your Email Subscribers, and this week is no exception, especially in light of what I wrote yesterday in finally getting to a newsletter.

Now I am certainly behind the time, and this has already gone viral, but what a great story, Caine’s Arcade!

I still haven’t really figured out Pinterest, but I do know that since the TAFA list started using it, the amount of spam I am getting has really increased. So here’s an article I am going to pursue as I learn more about Pinterest.

If you’ve ever wanted to try ATC’s (Artist Trading Cards), here is a blog by Quilt Rat that takes you through the process. Her doodles are excellent.

I have a new guilty pleasure……(that’s how I felt about the ORIGINAL Survivor….), and that’s Fashion Star. I’m finding it absolutely fascinating, both the design and marketing process, and trying to guess which clothes will get a bid. Joan Beiriger’s blog looks at the show from the point of licensing tips.

I love Mamacita and her occasional rants on society and education. Here’s a good one…..

“Back in the day, as George Washington might have said if he’d had to, except he DIDN’T have to because in his day, violent people were dealt with promptly and in a way that mightily discouraged repeat performances, a teacher’s problems consisted of gum, untucked shirts, spitballs, and the occasional talking-back, all of which were dealt with swiftly and firmly.  The teacher was in charge; the parents respected the teacher; the principal usually backed up the teacher, and since decent people were respected back then, the student knew that to be a decent person, he/she needed to shape up or look forward to five to ten in the pen.  At the very least, to be deprived of any further free public educational opportunities, because frankly, those belong to learners, not destroyers.

“Said shaping-up to be done by the student, mind you.  Who else can do it?  Nobody, that’s who.”

Readers of my blog know I love most things zentangle, and now there are zendalas……nice and round. Here’s a couple from the zentangle blog:

Letters of Note always have something of interest from the great and the unusual. This is a letter about writing, from the venerable C. S. Lewis, with advice that definitely stands the test of time.

And on another note, from James Thurber, comes this delightful letter, quite the counterpoint to C. S. Lewis.

Let me know of cool stuff you find on the web this week!

Top Ten Tuesday

We’re planning to go to our first film festival in a few weeks – the Sedona Film Festival. A friend has a rough cut of his film in the festival, and we’re just downright curious to see lots of indie films, as we are slowly discovering the joys of these gems. Cool Hunting spotlights Sundance and some new films.

From JPG Mag, the best of their Tritych challenge….

One - A Few - More by Cheryl Andrews

On thinking back to the “way things were,” a reflection on “type.” Kind of interesting to look at “the way we were.”

Upside Down, Left To Right: A Letterpress Film from Danny Cooke on Vimeo.

Totally appropriate for me right now, as I am listing some deadlines  for shows I would like to enter. From Alyson Stanfield’s Art Big Blog comes “Calls for Entries.” I have become very selective with the show deadlines I add to my calendar. Where possible, I try to enter anything that is not juried, especially if I have work already completed. I also look closely to see if I can use existing work for a show. Trust Alyson to be extremely timely!

Wish you had a manual for your new toy? Manuals too hard to read and understand? From The Best Article Every Day comes the best phone manual – I LOVE the creative marketing and design!! Be sure to check out the Bonus on The Best Article – very clever!

Out of the box from Vitamins on Vimeo.

Also from The Best Article – a few good laughs…….How to Properly Place Employees: (I could probably do this for teaching…..)

1. Put 400 bricks in a closed room.

2. Put your new hires in the room and close the door.

3. Leave them alone and come back after 6 hours.

4. Then analyze the situation:

a. If they are counting the bricks, put them in the Accounting Department.

b. If they are recounting them, put them in Auditing.

I spotlighted OrigamiJoel a while ago, and here he is talking about the papers he uses for folding….and adding paint. Love this guy’s work!

I don’t normally read the NY Times, but I discovered Nicholas Kristof’s column on Change.org and thought it was great. Here is a column of questions to Melinda Gates after she returned from Bangladesh, about what individuals like you and me can do to change the world.

Since women’s health has become a political hot button, read Margaret and Helen’s take on the Komen fiasco. I LOVE these ladies!!!.

I discovered this wonderful blog, “Letters of Note.” Wonderful letters from all assortments of folk, but my favorite so far has been this letter from a former slave to his previous master. Absolutely exceptional and beautiful, and “in your face” in an craftily literate way.

Have a great week – let me know what interesting things you find on line.

Monday Marketing

Here’s a great article that I’m going to file for after April. From Joanne Mattera’s Art Blog comes “Do It Yourself.”

What a great list of ideas to jump-start our work. I particularly like “Give yourself a residency.” I could use concentrated time to work on some new projects, but the reality is that I can’t do anything until returning from StashFest in April, and then potentially moving. BUT…if the move happens, then I have a studio space ALL FOR ME……

Alyson Stanfield, as usual, as a great post on what to do after an art piece is finished. Sheesh, you would think by now I would automatically do those things!! 15 Steps to Take After Completing Your Artwork. I have been really neglectful under documentation, and this past week at the Road 2 California quilt show, I picked up software that will enable me to document all my work (and do some passive income as a result….). I will keep you posted on the results.

 I did get a lot of loose ends accomplished over this last week and weekend. My TAFA site profile  (The Textile and Fiber Art List) is finally complete. My Etsy store is restocked with fabrics. We continue to marble for StashFest in Seattle (actually in La Conner, WA) in April. If you read my “Brain Dump” posting yesterday, you know I had a HUGE list, but little by little, I am whittling it down.

My Visions entry is due two weeks from today. I am ALMOST done the quilting. The blocking, facing, and final embellishments shouldn’t take long, once I finish shading all the GD rocks….If there is a major move in our future, one entry will have to wait – probably Fish Follies, since I really want to enter a piece ion the SAQA show “I’m Not Crazy.” We should have some information this week about a possible move. I also updated to the Facebook Timeline for my personal page – still need to wait and see what happens to the business/fan pages.

Now from Alyson comes 19 Art Documentaries You Shouldn’t Miss. Oh my goodness, there are gems here, and many I know nothing about……I’m going to be busy, between these and past episodes of The Quilt Show. I highly recommend Rivers and Tides about Andy Goldsworthy if you’ve never seen it. Refreshingly wonderful. Consider this a different kind of marketing!

And…a last-minute video on selling art on YouTube….

What have you done to market yourself this past week?

Day One, Season 3

  I chose my “Explosion” piece for today because that’s the kind of excitement I feel starting this new season three. Seasons one and two of Cocreating Our Reality were eye-opening and exciting, and for the last few days I have been building up to starting a new journey today. First, I am so blessed to be retired and able to work on art when and where I want to, for as long as I want to. I get to spend every day with my hubby, and life is pretty much wonderful. Health problems – of course, who doesn’t have them at our age. But – that’s not stopping me from living a great life.

I discovered over the last two seasons when it was time to evaluate my goals, that I hadn’t really stretched myself – or thought big enough. So I have been pondering that for the last week or so. What is it I actually want to do?

First and foremost, kind of came to me last night in the moments before sleep, is probably the one most on my mind. I need to take this season and concentrate on me. It sounds selfish, but it isn’t. I have health issues that really need to be addressed, and for so many years they went to the side as other things – students, work, hubby – took their place. If I expect to be as creative for as long as I want, and get out and be politically active, and write – do all the things I want to – than I need to focus on my health. So that is goal number one for this season: take the cholesterol medicine, take my vitamins, watch what I eat, get out regularly and exercise, track my food intake, get some yoga teachings, get my blood readings where they need to be. I actually started thinking this way a few days ago, and I’m pleased to say the exercise has already increased, as well as having a bit more control over appetite.

A second goal is tied in to all this. I am getting a second opinion on my vision issues and will work to find strategies to help with the depth perception and balance issues. A new doctor’s appointment is scheduled for next week Thursday, and I have a teacher friend to talk to about some basic yoga stretches. I always knew this day was coming, and now that it’s here, I need to learn to work with the new limitations.

Overall, for the first time, these two goals seem very positive. One hundred days from now, March 10, I expect that I will have been enormously successful at these first two. That statement alone is a major change for me. It’s very positive, rather than using the word “try.”

Business-wise I have some very specific goals.

Number three in my list is to solve the newsletter/collectors’ information issue. I am, as was said to a friend of mine, “leaving money on the table.” This has to be a regular business goal. I am considering taking Alyson Stanfield’s “Cultivating Your Collectors” class in February. That will depend on a number of things, primarily finances. I am good at reading and implementing, and since I accomplished four of Alyson’s goals in I’d Rather Be in the Studio!, I should be able to accomplish at least three this new season. So: newsletter, portfolio (which we will need for a major event the end of March), and I will look through the list for at least one other. Newsletter once a month should be definitely do-able. A collectors’ newsletter once a quarter should be reasonable. I’m sure there will be others to add here.

Number four is searching out wholesale suppliers for cutting back basic costs of making marbled fabric. As of yesterday I have a new wholesale account with Kona Bay fabrics, as we use their colored cotton quite successfully. We are looking for wholesale sources for premium white cotton, silk/satin ribbon (like Offray), and probably some other materials.

Number five is ramping up our Etsy shop, our Fine Art America galleries, Cafe Press, and looking in to Red Bubble, Three Sisters, and at least one other online selling site. My overall goal in all this is to be able to update these sites once a week, as well as include items from these sites in our soon-to-happen newsletters. I’ve tried setting monetary goals for Etsy and Ebay, and they are very fickle, depending on the economy. I do tweet my Etsy and Ebay offerings once a week, which certainly drives traffic to the site, but I don’t see it converting. However, I know that it is only a matter of time, as is the case with this blog. I am about to hit 1500 viewers per month, so I know it is consistency. (Concerning the blog…when Facebook changed its latest set of operating, my blog numbers dropped. Turns out, on exploration, Networked Blogs was a casualty and needed to be reactivated. Once that happened, I saw numbers increase again…..I am amazed at how net-savvy we need to be these days!)

Art-wise I also have some very specific goals.

Number six is to enter a major show with new work. The deadline for this is mid-February, and I am already hard at work on the first of two pieces. The fabric has been created, and the ideas are flowing. Here’s just some of the fabric…..

Unpolished red satin

If I get accepted, great. If not, I will have two new lovely large art pieces for our body of work. But I am putting out to the Universe that this will be show-worthy art.

Number seven is to create the kit for Marbled Seasons. Yesterday’s blog post showed the first of the four small quilts/table runners. I used to have several patterns, all of which I sold the rights to. So I just need to make more. For this goal I want this set of kits completed, and two new ideas for pattern kits, plus a rewrite of my Polynomial Quilt pattern – which I used the quilts for that very successfully in an adult algebra class to teach multiplying, and it was highly successful.

Number eight is to be completely prepared – except for minor loose ends – by March 10, for StashFest at the La Conner Quilt Museum in La Conner, Washington. We have been invited to participate, and it means marbling about 400 fat quarters in the next three months…..another reason for looking carefully at wholesale outlets! This is an interesting goal, because after our last guild presentation, I put out to the universe that it would be fun to travel and do demos in the Southern Arizona, southern New Mexico area. Well, two days later I had this email…..as Dale Anne Potter, my muse with Law of Attraction said, I was open to the possibilities.

Number nine will build on the previous. Develop a letter/sample to go to local guilds for demos and classes. I think just the development at this stage, because we will be focused on making fabric for Washington.

Number ten, under the category of Miscellaneous, comes continuing to work on Art From the Heart, a site devoted to spreading peace and nonviolence in the aftermath of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting. We had two new entries this last month, and I am hopeful for more.

Now that I have these written, I have to chuckle in that I was concerned about trying to get my goals coherent for this season. These are more detailed than the past two seasons, and they will certainly stretch me.

So Day One – I’m going to sew, work on some lists, and get ready for a small craft event on Saturday. Plus, it’s the holidays, and I want to “do more good” this year on a daily basis. May you have a really awesome day!

An Attitude of Gratitude

Today is a day for giving thanks, and I have much to appreciate in my life this year.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” John Fitzgerald Kennedy

A Thank You to Dale Anne Potter from Canada, who got me involved with the Laws of Attraction and Abundance. I have had an amazing seven months, almost to the send of my second season, and life has been very good. I am excited to move to another level of personal and professional goals.

Another online Thank You to Alyson Stanfield and Art Biz Blog, whose newsletter today is about thanking the people who have helped you along the way – Alyson’s books have been extremely helpful in getting myself organized and moving to the next level of business.

A Thank You to state retirement and social security. It’s not a lot, but it’s more than many people have, and I can spend my days as I wish, without the stress and pressure of the public, day-to-day classroom.

A Thank You to my students, who continue to write me and tell me that I made an impact on their lives. Your words are more precious than you can know. I ran into Juanita at the mall, and we just hugged. It’s nice to know I’m missed.

A Thank You to the marbling and sewing muses, who are helping take our art to the next level. It is such joy to be able to create art whenever we want to. My sewing skills are improving, thanks to online classes, books, and a great tutor in Suzan.

A Thank You to our friends in Cornville, who give us a place to get away and great friendship and new experiences. Ahead for us this year: Road to California, Thread School, and Photoshop World!

A Thank You to my foster son, who sends me Mother’s Day cards and is  such a fine young man – and a responsible loving uncle!

A Thank You to the apartment muses, who have landed us in a quiet, barking-dog-free environment, complete with pool and hot tub. It’s cramped at times, but we have been able to organize a very functional studio in not much space.

A Thank You to my close friends from high school, college, Hawaii, Phoenix, and Vermont. We have been through some interesting experiences together! From nude beaches on Maui (way before the hotels) to giving mumps to a group of sailors to a pretty wild 25th birthday party for a friend – complete with hula – to visiting a KFC one Halloween dressed as Big Bird…..it’s been a great ride!

A Thank You to the internet, for wonderful cyber buddies, for the ability to run a web-based business, for learning and online classes, and for the continued wonderment of everything there is out there to learn, and do, and see. My curiosity is finding wonder all over the place – from the tear-jerker YouTube video to a sewing technique to hilarious math videos.

A Thank You to always wanting to learn and rediscovering my passion for history. It is an amazing time in American history, and I look forward to the growth of the younger generation as the new movers and shakers, bringing this country back on an even level.

A Thank You to the vision muses for enabling me to still be able to do what I love, even as the vision begins to decrease with age.

A Thank You to my wonderful husband, as we celebrate our 36th Thanksgiving together, starting the year my dad died. We can make art together, travel together, and just enjoy life together.

Life is Awesome!

Monday Marketing

Some interesting thoughts going through the mind over the last few days, primarily thinking about future directions for the business. We really enjoyed our guild demo and would like to do more, so moving up the to-do list is a plan for making that happen. We also spent a good chunk of time yesterday planning out two now major art pieces, something we haven’t done in a long time. Hubby has some great designs from a number of years ago that we want to bring to fruition. So it’s been really fun to look at the artistic side of planning.

Thanks again to Laura Bray and her e-course on Multiple Streams of Income (also available in an ebook – Click here to visit katydid designs.). For the first time I understand marketing and art-planning. I was too focused on marketing and not enough on actually creating art to increase income. My second season on 100 days ends on November 18, and I am already thinking about new sets of goals and increasing the range of goals. It’s turning out to be another good month for us, and I so want it to continue. My linking you to Laura Bray’s work is an example of a passive income strand, another area I am focused on building; you visit sites I recommend, purchase something, and I receive a commission. If you visit the Resources tab for the blog (at the top), you will see people and businesses I recommend – some of which pay me a commission, and some who don’t. Either way, I am only sending people to you that I use/have used and have confidence in.

That said, I keep reading and processing more information about building success as artists. Here’s a couple of articles I’ve found in the last few days that may be timely for you.

Thinking about giving up the art business? From Fine Art Views blog comes “Boiling Point.” A good read if you are discouraged by success as an artist.

From Joanne Materra comes a great post on potential scams we all have to be on the watch for. Called “Don’t Fall For It,” it’s a look at potential scams.

Image from The Great American Disconnect Blog

And along the same line, from Artsy Shark comes an article about applying to exhibitions, “Five Tips on Getting into More Juried Art Exhibitions.” A word about Artsy Shark – we will be a featured artist sometime in the next few weeks….stay tuned!

Have a great week marketing and building your joy!

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