Author Archive

Monday Marketing…..

…yep, a day late…..which is how life seems to be going these days. I think I’ll be off by a day this whole week……Anyways, marketing for me has been sloooooooowwwwwww. Ideas are at minimum, and the online outlets seem to be sluggish, to say the least. I got really waylaid the last two weeks in June, so I haven’t amped up the marketing plans again. I have, however, been creating, so that is on the plus side. Hopefully I will have pics up for Work in Progress this week…..

I have been figuring out the new auction site Tophatter. I am selling a few fat quarters each week in the fabric and textiles auctions. It takes a while to learn the ins and outs, especially when it comes to “stand by,” which is where us newbies seem to get scheduled a lot. It has been hard getting regular auction slots in auctions on gifts, artisan, and the like. The one thing that seems tough is there is SO MUCH jewelry. Supplies seems like a natural fit for the marbled fabric, but because it seemed to be nothing but jewelry supplies, we now have craft supplies, and fabric/yarn auctions. The number of auctions each day is growing, and specialty auctions are getting added. Fortunately I have sold enough now – and hopefully will continue to do so – that more slots will open up for the holidays. The “chat” folks are very helpful getting you started. Here’s a snapshot of my seller’s page:

My regular times on Tophatter are 11 AM PDT on Tuesdays, 11 AM PDT on Fridays, and 12 noon PDT on Saturdays.

In other news, some amazing chiffon, silk, and ribbon from the marbling tray. I expect the pieces to go up in the Etsy store in the next few days. And…we have been invited to go back to the La Conner Quilt Museum for their next StashFest next March. We’re running numbers this week, but we’re excited about being asked back and the new possibilities. So stay tuned!

 

 

Treason in the United States

Okay, folks, I’ve studied enough Constitutional law to understand when I hear treason, and  it’s coming loud and clear from citizens in this country who are in violent disagreement with the Supreme Court ruling on health care, which is just the latest in unpopular political decisions. It sounds like the childhood game of “it’s my football, so you have to play my way,” except now we’re talking guns and violence. So….I’m taking my own form of action, and I invite you to do the same. The Federal Bureau of Investigation handles treason investigations, and I’m hereby publicly writing to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, asking them to investigate, and I will continue to do so, regardless of your political affiliation. Civil disobedience is one thing; treason is in a whole ‘nuther sphere.

Here’s the situation:

Tea Party Leader Calls For Violent Overthrow Of Government Over Health Care Ruling (VIDEO)

June 30, 2012

By

Treason. It’s a word that conservatives don’t seem to understand. In their minds, treason is when the duly and legally elected government passes a law that they don’t agree with. In other words, if Democrats do it, it’s treason, but when conservatives do it, it’s patriotic. And, of course, after the Supreme Court ruled that Obamacare is constitutional, conservatives whined about the decision and some took the ultimate step of calling for violently taking over the government.

In what looks to be a repeat of history, some conservatives are calling for open civil war against the United States government for passing laws they don’t agree with. On Thursday, Mississippi Tea Party Leader Roy Nicholson took the Supreme Court’s health care ruling as a sign that it’s time for an armed rebellion against the government that we the people chose for ourselves. On the state Tea Party website , Nicholson referred to the government as a gang of criminals who must be violently subdued in the name of the Constitution.

“When a gang of criminals subvert legitimate government offices and seize all power to themselves without the real consent of the governed their every act and edict is of itself illegal and is outside the bounds of the Rule of Law. In such cases submission is treason. Treason against the Constitution and the valid legitimate government of the nation to which we have pledged our allegiance for years. To resist by all means that are right in the eyes of God is not rebellion or insurrection, it is patriotic resistance to invasion. …May all of us fall on our faces before the Heavenly Judge, repent of our sins, and humbly cry out to Him for mercy on our country. And, may godly courageous leaders rise up in His wisdom and power to lead us in displacing the criminal invaders from their seats and restore our constitutional republic.”

Here’s the video:

 

This is NOT freedom of speech.

Article III, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution:

Section. 3.

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court. (I’m thinking that going public through YouTube constitutes having at least two witnesses.)

From May 22, 2012: (actual link here)

Here is my open letter to the FBI. Please feel free to copy and share this post.

I want to file a complaint on a person inciting acts of terrorism and violence. The following links describe the crime and incitement. This happened the week of June 25. Enough is enough. I have included a video showing Roy Nicholson of the MS Tea Party inciting violence and acts of terrorism, which are clearly against federal laws.

http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/06/30/tea-party-leader-calls-for-violent-overthrow-of-government-over-health-care-ruling-video/

This has to stop. Violence is not acceptable, regardless of your political affiliation. We have survived unpopular presidents, misguided wars, laws, and Supreme Court decisions in the past.

Here is a link to finding your local FBI office. I welcome reasoned and civil discussion. I will delete comments of hate and dissension.

And now….back to art, which does have the power to make change for all of us.

Decompressing…..

I’ve been absent for nearly a week…not really sure what’s wrong. It’s been a busy six weeks, but this week slacked off, somewhat, though I still have work to show. As I’m keeping track of what I’ve accomplished during this, my second full year of retirement, I already have a good half-page of accomplishments. Still in a funk, emails to answer, marketing to do….and I can’t quite get with it. At least the Mercury in retrograde thing will end next week….maybe it really is celestial…..

Crazy? Maybe Yes, Maybe No……

So.

Crossroads.

Had dinner last night with a really good friend to discover she had a rough week, nearly turned upside-down. And her former boss has medical problems (like being the 179th case of an artery problem since 1745). All of a sudden my depression didn’t seem that all important. And I left dinner feeling hugely better and came home to hit the machine for an hour, making good progress on a new small piece.

This was the culmination of about a week of wondering if my art quilt had made it into a fairly prestigious show. Antsy for the whole week, as I knew all the decisions had been made, and I was wondering why we hadn’t heard anything. I was trying to stay positive, as I believe if we send negative thoughts out into the universe, we will be repaid with negativity. Hard to do when I already was 0 for 2 in submitting work this year. I kept thinking “third time’s the charm.”

At 4 PM I had the email. Not good news. Very nice rejection letter – I’ve had loads of those over the years, especially in writing. The very first fiber show I entered I was accepted in, and I think had I been able to keep up creating work without having to worry about a teaching load, I would be in better shape as an artist, with many more shows on the resume. But that was not to be. I looked at the accepted list, and it seemed like it wasn’t the same-ole same-ole list of people who always make it into shows. That was encouraging, at least. Out of 128 entries, 20 were accepted.

Once I heard that, instead of feeling better, I think I got a little angry. Had I known that so few pieces were going to be accepted, I really don’t think I would have entered and saved the 40 bucks. The odds are definitely against you with those numbers.

The thing is, I do think this piece is exceptional. It’s unlike anything I’ve done so far, and it certainly met the theme – I felt it did. Your reaction to the stigma of mental illness. Have suffered from depression and needing drugs to help me through the last years of teaching, I know how the brain can react in stress situations. It’s nothing we can see, but it’s there. So I chose to look at mental illness from a single brain cell that is misfiring. I thought in the overall collection of pieces this would be one very organic “don’t forget the brain’s role in all this” statement.

And let’s face it, no one is working with marbled fabrics like I am. I think I was able to show with this piece that you can a textile that isn’t often used and manipulate it into a statement. It seems like “different” is what art quilt shows are looking for, and this piece was quilted to emphasize the message, not quilted just for the sake of showing off quilting skills (which is what one quilt show seemed like that I attended – and this January show wasn’t an “art quilt” show).

So now it’s a case of really thinking through what I want to focus on for the next couple of years, while I still have the vision (literally) to create pieces. While working toward a specific show and deadline works for me, especially when I have to really think through the creation of a piece from idea to finished product, maybe it isn’t where I need to be. Bottom line, I want our business to make some money. That means more online product and outlets. Smaller quilt pieces are selling in my Etsy store, so I need to create more of those (and three are right now in the works). And I want to continue to learn and take classes, which isn’t possible when I’m trying to meet a lot of deadlines. I want my work in galleries, and I want to be able to travel and do some teaching of marbling. I need to take the time and think through new possibilities.

Which means that karma and the universe may be showing me why the piece was rejected (and maybe not……).

Without further ado, here’s the quilt in its online debut. “Misfiring Synapses,” 17 x 21 inches, unpolished red satin, black satin, Superior Threads, batting, cotton backing.

PS – may just have lined up my first gallery……

Work in Progress Wednesday – Learning Lots!!

Well, this has been a week of learning experiences, including running the machine needle through the tip of my finger. I’m somewhat frazzled deciding on a project, since I don’t have any looming deadlines. I do, however, have a list of projects that need doing, so I picked one from that list and then added another.

First, from the UFO list. Several years ago (going on three?) I took a class with a friend on a Judy Niemeyer pattern, Stepping Stones. You can see the pattern here. Originally it was going to be a king-sized bed quilt, but I was still teaching, so that got put on hold. When I reorganized the studio (twice), the blocks made it into the UFO pile, and when I made my list in May of projects, I listed these. But….I listed them as a potential table runner, figuring that way they would be done, and I could actually use the table runner, as we have a new dining room set (new to us – we’re babysitting it for a friend). I would also have enough for 6 placemats, too.

Well, there were loads of problems. Could I find the black fabric I was using for connector strips (three searches)? Could I do all the matching, since it had been about 3 years? How would I quilt it? What would I use for backing? I got the four completed blocks into one runner, and then I spent the next three hours taking out all the paper….note to self: you still need to vacuum. The blue I thought to use for backing was a stretchy polyester that wasn’t long enough, so plan B was leftover dark blue from another quilt back. Then I had to buy batting.

Finally everything is together and ready for quilting…..and I had no idea what to do for the quilting. Didn’t seem like feathers would work. Didn’t want to do a stitch-in-the-ditch. Tried some outlining, but I didn’t like it. Then I thought about the overall loopy pattern from the May challenge, but ended up picking all that out. I realized I would need to go with monopoly thread, so the stitching wasn’t obvious. And I was playing around with tension, including two more ripping sessions.

I tried doing some partial circles on each block, so it would look like rippled water. And then I discovered the settings on my machine were set for the decorative stitch I used in the black borders. Seems like I still had the setting on one of the decorative stitches, and I was trying to free motion and there was a lot of drag. I also discovered that I could use a variation of a zigzag stitch and still have the feed dogs up. Turns out I liked the ripple effect, and that’s what I went with for the rest of the runner. Here’s a pic:

Here’s the finished table runner, which is absolutely perfect on the table. It will work with any of the leaves when we put them in.

Then I was feeling somewhat at loose ends. I had been watching The Quilt Show and following the color lessons from Michelle Jackson. I decided to do the first color study, and again I learned a huge amount. The first lesson was really interesting, especially since I have a lot of trouble choosing and working with color. This was to take  a monochromatic color and determine dark, medium, and light. I chose greens, because I have a lot in the stash. I discovered that when I’m choosing, I really need to analyze tones and hues. I also need to be sure there is definite contrast. The first study I did was the one where you had a light, medium, and dark, with not a huge amount of contrast. I did not have enough contrast within those three colors.

I also was working with fusing for like the second time ever, and my pattern pieces were not always meeting up. I spent a lot of time trying to make this piece look like something – going back to linear me and not being able to just work without it having to be “something.”

I finally got all the pieces ironed down, and I felt I was moderately successful. Mostly because I learned a great deal about choosing the colors. I was still trying to figure out what to do with the piece. Yes, it’s just an exercise, but the linear part of me needs it to be “something.” Ideally I want to be able to work with light, medium, and dark marbled fabric, but I can see I have a long way to go.

Again, I couldn’t figure out what to do with quilting it. I tried out one decorative stitch and didn’t like it. I reverted back to the satin stitch I was doing two table runners ago. All of a sudden I began to like the piece more. It began to look more “painterly,” and pretty abstract in a pleasing way. I ended up binding in, and the piece would work as a nice little runner or table mat for a vase. It’s going up in my Etsy store.

Who knows where I’m headed next? There are 6 placemats to finish…..

Top Ten Tuesday

Another interesting week – and the blogs are getting ahead of me – but I keep finding so many interesting ones! What did you find this week?

An interesting look at how we use fonts, especially in the fiber area, from SewCalGal.

A look at urban exploration, with an interview from the 365 Project, called “Capturing Decay.” There’s something really beautiful in decay.

FortyThreePhotography.co.uk

Here’s a really lovely story about passing on our skills and love to a new generation.

From Letters of Note comes an interesting exchange of two lawyers concerning trying to collect a debt. There’s a whole new meaning to “Middle East…..”

From The Creativity Blog comes AWE: Arts from Waste Experience – a very clever idea for sustainability. Really good article, with some great ideas.

This next from The Best Article Every Day is weird in a cool way – just study it for a few…….

Once you’ve finished with that, then get the tissues from this posting from The Best Article – a beautiful story in three pictures.

Timely, from the 365 Project: Tips for photographing sunrises, in preparation for the solstice.

From JPG Magazine comes a selection of “grin” photos. Fun stuff here!

The Man at McDonalds by Phonesvanh Siharat

I finally, Jaws turns 37. I remember seeing the movie and flying back to my teaching job on Maui. I didn’t spend a lot of time in the ocean that year. And then, at Cape Hatteras one year, we are actually swimming with sand sharks. I hate sharks. Love learning about them, but hate them.

Find good stuff this week!

Monday Marketing – Keep Your Chickens Flying

Love the headline. This article comes from Fine Art Views blog, and the message for me is very timely, and hopefully it will resonate with many of you. Here’s a quote from the article:

“Keeping the chickens flying means you will find a way to make it. The old farmer took the risk to haul double the amount his truck would carry. He knew he would have to keep half of the chickens in the air. It’s sorta like us juggling our budget to make ends meet. You are facing two choices, give up or find a way to keep your chickens flying.”

I think so many of us are trying to figure out new ways of working and diversifying so we can make it as artists. Lower prices, develop new products, try something completely different, double down our marketing efforts…..we will find ways to make it.

Sometimes you need to look at networking with others. I’ve written about The Textile and Fiber Arts List before. This is an amazing group of textile and fiber folk from around the world. $75 membership, one time only, no renewals. Lots of marketing opportunities. We are not alone in our work, even though it seems that way as we work on our art, stitch by stitch.  We need community, and TAFA is a great way to begin. Consider it your professional organization for your resume.

And while we’re at the motivation stage, here’s an article from Dumb Little Man. Everything just kind of goes together.

Here’s hoping to a productive art-making week – and art-selling week – for all of us.

Ps – any spelling errors are from one-fingered typing – put the needle through my finger……

 

 

 

 

Handmadeology – Niche Markets

Here’s a look at what’s coming on the Handmadeology blog, of which I am a regular correspondent. I’m focusing in on niche markets, since a lot of us have unusual things we sell, items that don’t seem to fall into a general marketing category.

You can see the first two posts on Niche Markets here and here.

And here’s this week’s post:

Marketing 101: Niche Markets 3 – Getting  Out There

Just what does that mean? We’re talking about marketing your products without spending money. In Part 1 you looked at other uses for your unusual product, and a lot of you had really good ideas. In Part 2 last week I asked for unusual marketing ideas you’ve tried.

And poof, just like that, the conversation went dead.  In fact, I found myself short on ideas. It seems if we have a store front, it’s a lot easier to come up with ideas. Rachel from Rayela Art talked about literally stopping traffic with a belly dancer in the window of her shop. Michelle of SHELs Unlimited does yard sales on a regular basis and includes a drawing for a chance at a coupon in her store.

Belly dancers certainly work with a store front, but now they have no storefront and have moved into the realm of social media.  Michelle is looking to do something more unusual. And I pondered for several days, trying to figure out how I could help you all jump-start some ideas.

Did you see this new headline on Handmadeology? “May 2012 Etsy Stats – 1.29 Billion Page Views and $65.9 Million in Goods Sold.” Pretty impressive, and we all need a piece of that pie. So let’s get brainstorming ideas to market ourselves.

This presupposes you all have Etsy shops, but even if you don’t, these ideas can work for you.

1. Get your profile up on LinkedIn. It takes some time, but it doesn’t cost anything. Then you can include that in all your email addresses, business cards, and the like. It makes you look a lot more professional at your art. I know a lot of “gurus” suggest your profile picture be actually of you, but hey, I’m different. I have a piece of my art as my profile picture, and I keep the same one across social media platforms. Once I had my profile up, I began to look for groups to join within LinkedIn. I hooked up with presenting some potential marbling classes, and participating in an unjuried show last fall, just to name two opportunities from LinkedIn. Take the time to do this.

2. See what professional groups have blogs and discussion groups on line. Have you done any searches? Many have restrictions about outright marketing, but you can have a tag line at the end of each of your posts. Start a dialogue, ask questions, follow potential ideas you see, comment thoughtfully on other posts. Yahoo has a marblers group we belong to. We are not only up-to-date with what’s happening in the field, we also learn of new supplies, who’s having issues, new ways of trying marbling techniques, and just in general having a way to stay in touch with other professionals.

3. Get more pictures. Use your own living space and think about how else your product could be used. Can you hang it on the wall? Take a picture. Can you wear it? Take a picture.  Can it be part of some other product? Take Pictures!!!

4. Start some partnerships with whom you can trade supplies Who’s your supplier? Would they like to have a sample of what you do with their product? Could you do a demo or teach a class for them? In fact, where do you buy your supplies? Do you follow them on Facebook? Do they have a website? Do this for all the suppliers you use. We met a batik artist when we did an art show in the Seattle area. We traded fabrics to see if we could marble over batik, and if she could batik over marbling. You could have another by-product you can sell.

5. Get noticed on line. Dharma Trading likes to spotlight folks who use their products. ArtsyShark has a call a couple of time a year to spotlight artists on their weekly blog. If you have an Etsy shop, is one of your available pictures what your product would look like in something else or in the home?

6. Start reading business blogs. Now, there are a LOT of business blogs out there. Are you reading Handmadeology, primarily focused on Etsy? (Hint: your answer should be “yes.”) Check out Alyson Stanfield (ArtBizBlog) and Tara Reed (ArtLicensingBlog) – always insightful and full of good ideas.

7. Schedule time for marketing each week. You need to find a balance between marketing and make product. Set aside one day a week, even just a couple of hours, and read blogs, respond, look for opportunities, follow through on new ideas. It takes a while, but it does pay off.

If you remember your high school algebra, one of the basic functions of life is exponential; something starts very small and over time begins to accelerate faster and faster. That’s what you want with your marketing, so start thinking and doing!

Leave me comments – I want to know what you’re currently doing, what you’ve already tried and with what success, and what you’re thinking about. Let’s share the wealth of ideas each week.

 

Work in Progress Wednesday

I gotta say, I love being able to do some kind of sewing every single day. I am keeping track of what I am accomplishing during this second year of retirement, and I am on track to get A LOT done! I finished the table runner for my second mom, and I still hate 1970s polyester (I had the wrong year in last week’s post.) Each of these blocks is not going anywhere – I have to make sure there is no unraveling in the corners and curves because of this fabric. That said, it will go well with the other three completed for last year’s Thanksgiving. I think I have one more table runner in me, in August. It is just too hard on the one eye I have left; I quilt for 25 minutes and then have to take a long break to bring back my distance vision. We’ll see after the August runner is completed. So here it is:

My other project for the week has been working on the free motion quilting challenge for June. I love Cindy Needham’s quilting, and she’s got a great tutorial for this month. Lots of tiny, close stitching, some new curves. As I’ve been reading what others have done on our Facebook page, I am amazed. I tend to be pretty linear with some of this – got to do it as the examples show. But then I see some of these great photos, and I realize how people take these patterns and make them their own.

Things I’ve learned: I can get smaller in my patterns. I started on a piece of blue gabardine, with some left-over batting. I did a grid of squares with chalk, used Bottom Line in the bobbin, and played around with the Art Colors from Superior.  Now normally I don’t do any marking. I guess I always thought free motion was without any assistance. Well, on hubby’s quilt I redid, I marked some curves and liked the effect. This time I marked the grid, and I was very pleased.

You can see the bigger squares. Then I tried some curves in a few of the other squares, and then some stippling. I had no idea I could get my stippling to be that small. Love the effect. I started out being worried about the lines being straight, but as Cindy said, ultimately they all look straight, so I stopped worrying.

Here I have divided each of the 1-inch squares into half-inch squares. I wasn’t sure I would actually be able to quilt these, but I was wrong. I did the same pattern, and I even did some stippling in the smaller squares. I love the way the large circles really popped.

For this I practiced some echo quilting and swirls. Cindy’s right – you get much better with practice. And this is one of those pieces I just experimented with and practiced on, not worrying about what it would be when I was done. I was looking for where I get “puffies,” and where the fabric recedes completely. In the bottom right corner you can see part of my attempt to do more of a bird feather – not happy with it. I definitely need to have a grid to follow to do more curves.

Somewhat better curves in the upper left, but again, something to practice. I do feel like I have a lot more choices in quilting designs. Now to go buy Cindy’s books….

And if this isn’t enough stimulation, I’m getting caught up on a couple of The Quilt Show episodes. After watching Stupendous Stitches, I spent an afternoon seeing what else my Bernina 1008 would do – I can get 16 stitches, not counting differing lengths and width. Then there was Marvelous Miters and Prairie Points – great ideas there, and last night I watched RaNae Merrill, and now I want to try some spirals.

Best part? Now I have the time!

Top Ten Tuesday – 700!

I think I’m really glad that blog posts slow down over the weekend, because it gives me a chance to get caught up on my reading! I go through the list about once a month to delete those I don’t find as fascinating any more, but the problem is I keep adding at a rate faster than I can keep up with! Reminds me about all those lessons on exponential growth……

And….this is post 700! Who knew?

From the Best Article Every Day comes this little gem, and please click on it, because to show you a preview would ruin its sweetness.

This next is part of a TED talk, and the video is superb. Subtitled what goes on in your garden when you aren’t looking……

From Letters of Note comes a wonderful letter by ray Bradbury (who will be sorely missed) about the initial writing of Fahrenheit 451. What a great example of creativity!

From 365 Project comes more fabulous photos. Love the colors and reflections in this one!

Huge Bike by John

From Cool Hunting comes a really great idea for a family getaway!

I discovered Ranae Merrill in one of the episodes of The Quilt Show, and oh my, is her work wonderful! She makes doing a spiral quilt absolutely simple. Who knew?

Speaking of The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims, I have been enjoying the currect episodes, on all kinds of new techniques, plus a class on color. Really outstanding material. Here’s just a selection of classes:

A great tutorial from Quilt Play on making some cool-looking “tree” blocks with paper piecing – called red herring blocks. I need to try this, as I can really see them fitting into a project I’m doing.

From the Bill Moyers blog comes the Peace Map, a way of looking at how peaceful countries are around the globe. Very interesting graphic, with some surprises – and some not-so surprises.

More eye candy, especially if you are in to hand dyes. Vicki Welsh does some amazing work, and she has a new gradient – rolling fog. I want me some of these!

Have a great week – let me know what you find on line! Newsletter is coming in a week, so sign up in the block on the upper left if you want to receive “Out of the Marbling Tray.”

Monday Marketing – What Exactly Have YOU Done This Week?

Over at the Handmadeology blog, I’m doing a series on niche markets – those of us who have a really unique product, and potentially a limited audience. This week’s article is about unusual marketing ideas – things we’ve done – or attempted – because we can’t afford to do anything else. I’m hoping that this week I will get a lot of comments and some new ideas to try, and then I’ll be able to share them in the next blog post.

This series that I am doing has a secondary purpose – am I really doing all I should to market my business? It seems to me, when I wrote the post, that all the really cool ideas came when I had no money for advertising, and way before social media kicked in big time. So I’m thinking about what I can do that’s new and different…..

Writing for Handmadeology is one thing. I answered a blog post with an idea, something I don’t normally do, and voila – three weeks later I have a regular column that hopefully will send visitors – and sales – my way.

Tophatter, the new auction site, is interesting – I have sold a few pieces of fabric, but it is frustrating trying to get items scheduled. It’s fun to be in an auction, it doesn’t cost you anything except some time to list and be available for the auction. Stand-by is frustrating…in order to get out of stand-by, someone has to put a bid on your item. Which means, on the one hand, it’s definitely sold, but on the other, you wait around for the actual auction. Kudos to Tophatter for having a text alert when an item you are watching is about to come up for auction. I’m afraid I’m going to find out that to get some good scheduling times, you will need to pay. I don’t know that this is the case; I need to check it out this week.

Other than those two things, I don’t feel like I have done anything new for marketing. I have items on my list, but it will be a while till I get to them, and….they just don’t seem exciting enough to draw in people.

But then I remind myself of one of the key areas in algebra: exponential growth.

You start out very slowly, and you slowly build, until you reach the point where things take off with a life of their own. The month of May seemed like I had reached that point, but things have slowed down again. I feel like I need to jump-start the momentum again, and I’m not sure what new tricks to pull out of the hat. So…..

….this brings me to the title of this post – what have YOU done for marketing, especially if it’s unusual? Leave me a comment, let me know what you’re doing.  I’ll share all ideas, and hopefully jump-start myself again.

Thursday Thoughts – “Truth”

I’ve been bookmarking lots of articles lately, except not the ones having anything to do with the science of tutoring, which is what I should be looking for….but these have been articles that are causing me to think. A lot of these fall into the category of WTF….but I will say I am trying to be more circumspect in evaluating my information. My liberal bent won’t go away, but I do want to be more cognizant of “truth” and how it’s presented to us these days.

This first is from the Huff Post, and it is about obscenity – in a most unusual place. It seems there was a hearing in Washington on the House Committee on Natural Resources. The woman presenting is a coal field activist and concerned about the availability of clean water to families in the area. She had a photo to share of a naked child playing in filthy water, full of pollutants and poisons.

“…well water is the only source of water most coalfield residents have, people who live far from any municipal water supply. In most of these communities, city water just isn’t an option, and buying containers of drinking water is expensive. As a result, for so many people, this is the water they drink, the water they bathe in, the water they use to live. Human beings require a lot of water, and while you can distill and filter it, this is still the water you’re stuck with, the water that comes out of the ground. When that water gets poisoned, that’s the water you put in your body.” (From the Huff Post).

The picture shown was of a child (with the parents’ permission to show the photo) bathing in this polluted water. At which point the Capitol police took the woman aside to question her about child pornography.

Okay. This whole issue is not about pictures of naked children. It’s about a picture of the living conditions in an area severely polluted. At no point was this even debated. Now the liberal part of me is outraged. I immediately want to blame coal money  having a hold on what gets brought up for discussion in the House. And the liberal part of me should stay outraged that we have these kinds of living conditions for families in the 21st century in this country. That’s the outrage that should be heard, not changing the tenor of the committee hearing to idenitfying whether something is pornographic.

So what is the “truth” here? That’s where I am trying to wrap my head around some of the articles that we are seeing. Yes, the Capitol police released the woman, saying there were no grounds for pornography. So what happened to the debate in the committee? Who were the Senators? How much money have they (regardless of party) received from coal mining interests? What was the overarching purpose for this committee hearing? These are questions that should all be answered. We can’t determine “truth” without far more information.

This next article is from Trouthout, “Don’t Thank Me for My Service.” Wow, very different. A veteran talks about his guilt at serving in the military, and being thanked for the killing skills he learned. Here’s an excerpt:

“So, when you thank me for my service, it disturbs me … a lot. First off, it brings to mind my wasted youth and lost innocence, and the horrible and unnecessary deaths of good friends and comrades. Second, it reminds me of my responsibility and culpability for the pain and suffering I caused innocent people, again something I would rather forget, but cannot. Third, it reinforces my belief that you have absolutely no idea about the nature and reality of the wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, because if you did, you would understand that thanks are inappropriate. Fourth, it reminds me that many of those who feel the need to offer thanks were apathetic about – or even supportive of – the war, while they refuse to participate themselves or did little or nothing to end it. And lastly, I have to admit that I doubt the sincerity of these expressions of supposed gratitude, as “Thank you for your service” is just something to say not because you care about what I did or sacrificed, but only to demonstrate your supposed good character, or patriotism and/or “support” for members of the military and veterans.”

Powerful stuff. Those of you who follow me know I fervently believe in peace, and I feel all avenues need to be explored – honestly, rightly, with whatever it takes to listen, before war  or “military action” is declared. Being one who didn’t want us in Iraq or Afghanistan, I worry about all the injured vets coming home, men and women alike, who face a lifetime of flashbacks and rehabilitation. Cutbacks in veteran services make me mad, because these people gave the full measure of their lives and will never be the same because of it. War is fought by young people, sent to war by older folks. Nothing has ever changed.

I find this an interesting “truth.” We are here today because of those who fought in past wars, especially our “Greatest Generation.” But they brought their demons home with them, just like today’s vets. Hitler and Tojo – not much choice for us there. But what about now? There’s nothing on the news to remind us of what’s happening to our men and women. No pictures. I don’t particularly want the living room war of Vietnam, but in the midst of all the crap out of Hollywood and the wealthy, we forget there is an ongoing war. I listened to a military mom in the doctor’s office saying she would vote Republican because Obama didn’t support the troops. How much truth is there in what she believes? One 10-second sound bite doesn’t give us the facts we need to determine why our troops are where they are, how they are being supported, and how they are being led.

What we are sorely lacking in this country now is ANY form of civil discourse, where we can have facts, partisan as they may be, and the chance to investigate and discuss all the issues. This whole issue of “whose truth” is keeping me awake at night. What has happened to the voices of reason and the journalists who do whatever it takes to get the news to us, as unbiased as possible? And what is happening to the teaching of the discipline of history, so that we have the tools to analyze the information we do get? Where are the voices of reason?

Work in Progress Wednesday – Out of the Marbling Tray

One of the fun things for me in marbling is trying to see what else we can come up with as we marble fabric. This has led over the years to marlbing silk flowers and ribbon, as we didn’t want to waste the accumulated paint on the sides of the tray. But what to do with the paint and size left in the tray after the actual marbling is over?

We have taken pieces of cotton and laid them directly on the left-over bath as we are getting ready to empty it. The results have been really interesting – very organic, lots of striations. Here’s what happened today.

This first is the shot of the marbling tray after we finished our last piece of cotton. You can see the paint left, some on the surface, but most on the bottom of the tray.

Nothing really interesting at this point. So I started to scrap the bottom paint down towards the end that we will bail from.

Now it’s starting to get a little more interesting.

More scraping.

Definite possibilities here!

Now we’re ready to lay a few pieces of treated fabric, just to see what comes up……and this is what we ended up with –

I see lots of possibilities.

And now it’s time to complete another table runner for my second mom. You can read about the first 3 here. I’m renewing my hate affair with 1990s white polyester…..here’s some of the new blocks. I don’t have the coverage for the satin stitch with this particular thread….I think it might be a little too thin. And each keeps buckling, regardless of how many times I stop, lift the presser foot, and turn to keep from bumps.

This is the last of these five for this next table runner. This will probably take about two hours.

Love how the green glows in these next two.

This time around I’m quilting each square separately and then piecing them together – will (should) be much easier to manipulate all of it under the machine. I’m hoping to have this completely finished by Sunday so I can move on to the June challenge for the Free Motion Challenge. Got lots of ideas for that one!!

Top Ten Tuesday

I LOVE LOVE LOVE surfing the web – so many resources, and just down-right interesting things to see!

Some more amazing eye candy from Joan Leschenault and the Perth quilt show in West Australia. I really like look at FMQ designs in quilts.

Want some things and don’t know how to make them happen? Maria Brophy shares this inspiring look at positivity. Hawaii, here we come!

Look at the studies in triangles from this week’s JPG Magazine.

Light Traingle Swimmers by Claire Smith

From The Best Article Every Day comes a really creative use of stock images to tell a story. Every single frame is different, and yet there is a cohesive story. Very clever!

For you origami afficianados, here’s a post from origamijoel with the work of another origami artist, Eric Joisel. Isn’t it amazing what can be done with a single sheet of paper?

There is a really fascinating documentary called “Between the Folds” that is well worth the watch.

40 Famous Photographs – some you’ll recognize, some will be new, but they all tell a  story.

 Another entry from 365 Magazine – love the lines on this one!

Under the Westside Highway by Michael Elliot

I tried to find credit for this next, “The Beauty of the Night,” but can’t find anything through Google. This is a gorgeous set of photographs in a powerpoint. When you click the black and white, it slowly turns to color. Gorgeous!

This is really cool – the Sydney Opera House as an art installation. Lighting the Sails by Urban Screen. Incredible idea! Take the time to view the video.

If you’re doing some form of artist trading cards – or would like to – here’s a free online publications that just might help you: ArtTrader Magazine. They look really interesting, and you can download past issues.

What did you find on the web this week?

 

Monday Marketing – Oh My!

Wow, what a crazy couple of weeks it’s been – and that’s a good kind of crazy! A bunch of marketing items came together over this last month, and the marbling tray has been busy creating customized fabrics.

First, the tutorial and giveaway for SewCalGal’s Fun Friday Giveaway broke on May 18, and we are still seeing comments, newsletter sign-ups, and orders from the tutorial. In case you missed the post, you can see it here. If you want it direct to your box with all the pictures and links, please leave a comment on the post and I’ll get it emailed to you. One of the participants in the Free Motion Challenge, Jenny Lyon, sent her finished piece of marbled fabric. It is absolutely amazing! Jenny has given this such a lovely rich feel. You can read her blog post about the quilting here.

I am now a weekly correspondent for the blog Handmadeology, and last week’s post was the beginning of a series of marketing for niche markets. You can read it here. This looks like it will be a lot of fun and be of some use to those folks who have very specialized markets. Already a lot of good comments on the post.

I’ve started selling on Tophatter. I know, there are a bunch of places I’m trying to be on line, and it is obvious to me I have to determine which ones work best for me and concentrate efforts on those. So Zazzle is going to be out, and potentially Cafe Press. But I’m selling on Tophatter – just trying to get listed in decent auctions and not having to be on Standby all the time. But if I stay with it, I should be in good position for the holiday buying season. There is SO MUCH jewelry in the auctions. It would seem to make sense to list the fabric in “supplies,” but what is already there is pretty much supplies for jewelry. Well, the site is still relatively new, so we’ll see how it works.

I’ve made my second month of getting a newsletter out. It was a major loose end for all of the first quarter, but now I seem to be on a roll. There was a bit of a learning curve using Mail Chimp, but I think I’ve got the hang of it now. You can sign up to get the newsletter “Out of the Marbling Tray” in the upper right hand corner of the blog.

The Facebook page is having more activity, thanks to the tutorial, and I am making regular comments on it. It is so much fun to connect people with the joy and beauty of marbled fabrics.

And…a couple of deadlines have passed, and now I am looking at my list of projects for the year, determining which one to do next. After 100 dollars in entry fees, and two rejections since March, I’m not sure the entry circuit is going to be for me. I had decided to try again, since my work has really improved, but still no luck. One more show to hear from by mid month. We’ll see……Going to be a busy month, and the lists are working out well. Plus, time for some fun!

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