Archive for the ‘fabric marbling’ Category

Work in Progress Wednesday

Busy week in the studio! I’ve been slowly adding little goodies to the wall, as I want to feel like this is a real working studio every time I walk in to it. This wall is some samples, my color wheel, and some of the fabric cubbies. This is of the poster for the Tikkun Olam show, and other goodies, like the holiday gift list….

Some of the certificates and exhibits we’ve attended. I really enjoy looking at all of them. In the past we usually just tuck things away and never have a chance to revisit them often enough. That is definitely changing.

New shelf hubby put up to keep all the notions from getting in the way and having to be moved each time we marble – or I lay out a quilt to sandwich. Don’t know why we didn’t think of that sooner….

The three large table runners in progress. There is a HUGE amount of work in finishing these up. First, I have 17 Hawaiian motifs, all of which have had satin stitch done around them. The black and white is the predominant color, with just hints of color in the satin stitching. I am now in the process of echo-quilting each motif around the outside, like is traditional in Hawaiian quilting. This is a lot of start, stop, raise the presser foot, lift and turn, and repeat. I’m having to take a lot of breaks because it’s rough on the shoulders.

Each of the joining pieces has free motion quilting, black on black. I’m trying out some new motifs on each of those two-inch strips.

Now about a year ago I asked for suggestions for changing the quilting on a “fish quilt” I had done MANY years ago. I took all the quilting out, and there it sat, along with other “needing to be finished” projects. Well, I’m at a point where I need a serious break from the table runners, plus I want to have a couple of “basic” quilts ready for the guild presentation the beginning of November. It seems that all this time I have been percolating possible quilting ideas.

The thing about this quilt that is so great is the marbled fabric that makes up each of the “fish.” This is a case of when the fabric came out of the tray, it said “fish” to me. I always knew I would like something that accented the fish. I started with the borders of fish, and I ended up using one of the decorative stitches on my workhorse Bernina. Then I used another decorative stitch for the first of the waves, and I added some “bubbles” in free motion to the center block.

Then it was change the foot, change the thread, and start in on the fish.

It’s perfect. It is exactly as I wanted and what I had envisioned before I even knew I could do it.

Oh yeah,that’s what I’m talkin’ about! And my quilting stitch is getting MUCH better!

Monday Marketing – Update

I’m going to just think as I write for this post. After four full months of almost non-stop marketing – and a whole lot of sewing in there also – the business is very busy. We have some things coming up, some things we’ve dropped, and it’s time to evaluate where we have come and where we need to go.

We have dropped a potential art show for a variety of reasons, none of which are really positive in the long run for both us and the business. That was a hard decision to make, and I learned a couple of things. One, we don’t have to jump at everything and say yes to a possibility if it doesn’t feel right. When we were first starting out, I wanted to go after every possibility, even if it was unrealistic. Two, if we have to “push” to make it work, then chances are it isn’t for us. Three, I really like being able to take things at our speed. Even though we have limited years to build our art business, it is more important for us to enjoy each other, take opportunities to be together, and be able to actually create art when we want to. Those were some good lessons on which to ponder (for my English-language friends, no “ending with a preposition”….).

I have started working again on publicizing Art from the Heart, something I really want to do. I am behind on it, but I am slowly seeing progress. I am working on a major commission and learning lots, and I’m nearly half-way through. We are marbling a lot, which we are enjoying, and it seems like we are back to where we were before water and paint and so on became issues. And….we have a guild workshop to do the beginning of November.

Now, we used to do a lot of workshops, and we – not realizing it at the time – blew lots of opportunities to sell fabric. We would go and demonstrate, but never have fabric for folks to buy. Nothing like violating one of the basic rules of marketing – always have product because you never know when someone will want to buy. When I went to the School of Threadology  at Superior Threads a year this past April, I took some fabric and sold out in 10 minutes – I could have sold a LOT more. Lesson learned.

So for this workshop we are doing things very differently. We will go with fat quarters and a couple of gift baskets. We will have hand-out of all our contact information, supplies connections, order forms, and class sign-ups. We need to get back to dealing with all the guilds (and there are a lot more in the city since we were doing this), especially since we have more to offer than when we were originally doing this. And….since we are talking about going east again next year, I need to put the word out and see if we can book a few gigs.

We will do a demonstration in our cookie sheet, so we can create a lot of small pieces to demonstrate patterns, and everything will be easy to transport. Then I have a lot of quilts (as opposed to art pieces) to show a group of beginners. The first quilt I show is my small Attic Window, where I felt the only color I could use with the marbled fabric was black. We’ll come forward to the fish quilt, which I am in the process of re-quilting, since those skills have tremendously improved. Hopefully people will feel inspired to buy/order fabric, and we’ll be busy for the bulk of November.

I need to take pictures of those quilts and get them online to document the journey. October and November hopefully will be extremely busy making and selling fabric!!

Introducing….Holiday Gift Baskets!

Well, actually….they’re fabric bowls, but somehow “introducing fabric bowls” doesn’t have the same ring. So this has got all the goodies of a holiday basket, but it comes in a fabric bowl that you can use throughout the year, rather than trying to figure out what to do with another straw basket. Which I must admit I thought was waaayyyy better.

Here she is! This holiday treat starts with a hand-crafted fabric bowl, in a subdued color that makes the bowl perfect for year-round use. Then it’s filled with goodies from the marbling tray: a fat quarter (18 by 22 inches) of 100% hand-marbled cotton; 4 pieces of hand-marbled Offray ribbon, in assorted sizes and width, all 18 inches in length; a 10% off coupon for our Etsy store (fabrics and small art quilts and table runners); coupons from other artists with offers for their websites; a Smapler Package of eight 6 by 9 inch hand-marbled pieces; a selection of hand-marbled silk leaves and flowers, perfect for embellishments; a set of four Digital Marbling (TN) note cards; and…a small mystery gift.

I want the fabric bowls to be in a rather subdued set of colors, as I want them to 1) fit just about any decor, and 2) be useful all year round. A “red” bowl tends to limit use. The actual bowl in this package is a nice mellow green.

The “basket” comes wrapped in plastic and fits in a priority box, surrounded by shipping peanuts. You can have it sent to yourself, o4 let us know the address and we will ship it.


This is a $50 retail value, special available for the holidays for $35.00. Want one? Head to our Etsy store and buy the one there. We’ll add additional ones as they sell, so you can see exactly what you will be getting for colors and fabrics.

These have been really fun to put together, especially choosing fabrics for the bowls. And if you haven’t tried making these fabric bowls, they are incredibly soothing….wrapping fabric while you’re watching television, or in the car, or waiting in the doctor’s office…..There are a couple of good books available if your LQS doesn’t offer a class:

We are affiliates for Amazon, so if you order through our blog, we do receive a commission (keeping the FTC happy….).

Monday Marketing: The Artist Statment

Action 4 in Alyson Stanfield’s I’d Rather Be in the Studio! talks about the artist statement. So I pulled out my really old one and held it up to the checklist for scrutiny. By golly, except for the first person narrative it still works. I am deciding to keep it third person as it applies to the both of us, and I think it sounds silly in first person – it’s like hubby is an afterthought. Kind of amazing that after four or five years it still says what we are about and what direction our work is moving.

So here it is – send me your slings and arrows – I want to know what’cha think….

Dean and Linda Moran

Marble-T Design, LLC.

6770 East Carondelet Drive #223

Tucson, Arizona 85710

520-747-3857

The Art of Marbled Fabric

 Dean and Linda Moran took an interest in a new hobby and turned it into a new passion. Linda wanted to marble fabric for quilts. After doing research, Dean created the tools they needed. With their first piece, they knew they had a vision for a new art form using traditional marbling designs. Over nearly twenty years of practice, they created a personal art form using traditional marbling designs, as well as contemporary variations, to enhance their creative spirits.

Fascinated by the whims and mysteries of nature, their art incorporates dimensional form as they continue to explore the marriage of marbling and fabric. All of their commissioned pieces have celebrated the magic of the Earth. One unique piece represents a wave cresting the shore, drawing the viewer into a vortex of energy.

Starting with basic white cotton, Dean and Linda soon developed a “no fabric is safe from marbling” attitude. Using silk, satin, corduroy, denim, velveteen and whatever else may cross their paths, they have broadened their artistic horizons. The fabric may dictate a theme; other times the magic of the marbling will dictate the focus of the finished piece.

Dean and Linda have expanded their work into a number of series. “Gaia” celebrates the abstract of Earth, using a weaving design. “Nature” takes a specific look at the little wonders around us, like a quiet pond or an unexpected rock garden. “Mandalas” pay tribute to the dynamic energy of the universe.

Each marbling session is a new experience, exploring the infinite designs and colors possible, both in the art form and in our world. Current work involves embellishment and thread painting/quilting. The work evolves with their experience and excitement.

http://www.marbledfab.com – website

https://www.marbledmusings.com – blog

http://facebook/com/MarbleTDesign

http://etsy.com/shop/marbledfabrics76

http://twitter.com/ArtsyLindaMoran

 

Monday Marketing and Top Ten Tuesday – Together!!

Oh my goodness. Today is the third amazing day in a row! It all started on May 1 when I began the first season of Cocreating Our Reality and practicing the Laws of Abundance and Attraction. I started with changing my thinking to always being positive. The first week was very tough, as I became aware of just how negative many of my thoughts were. Eyeopener, to say the least.

So when I retired the end of May, I knew I was going to become a full-time artist – something I have wanted to do for YEARS. Each time I wrote an abundance check with the New Moon, great things happened. So how does Monday Marketing and Top Ten come together? Well, if you’ve been following the blog, you know that on Mondays I have been looking seriously at marketing the business and our art. It’s been all about organization and learning and getting out there. At times it seemed like I was just doing more things and not having anything to show for them.

The rationale part of me knew that I was laying groundwork, and I would have to be patient. Now here’s the top ten for us since June 1 when I started the heavy work for marketing.

* I started with lynda.com and took some classes on Facebook and Twitter, making changes and setting up pages and addresses and plans.

* After getting them set up, I then started a class in Linked In, as I had an old profile from over a year ago. Again, I worked through a class on lynda.com to do all this. So the profile got set up.

* One of the things suggested in the Linked In course was to join some groups and become part of the conversations to develop our networks.

* I joined Art Business and Art Marketing, as well as a few others, and I heard about a call for work for a show in Tucson called Tikkun Olam. All work was 12 inches square and reflected on crises facing the earth.

* I offered to help and sent out information about the show throughout my various networks, plus I made a piece for the show.

* I attended the opening reception for Tikkun Olam (see the post here) and met and chatted with the organizers of the show, two artists from Tubac and Santa Fe, plus talked to a couple of people interested in the piece I created (you can see it here – it’s the yellow piece). What was so cool was to get the positive feedback from the organizers; they loved the piece and (as I found out today) the hanging system.

* I sent thank you notes with offers of additional work to the organizers the next day.

* I got an invitation as a result of the reception to join a group of artists planning a show in October in Tubac (a major arts mecca in southern Arizona) and attended the organizational meeting today.

* This show will be October 22 in Tubac, called Anza Energy. We’re putting about a dozen pieces in the show. And…..

*One of our marbled pieces, Ocean’s Bounty, may be the piece on the main poster for the show, and…..several of the pieces – if they don’t sell – will probably go into a spa resort as part of a water show in Tubac, and….one of the galleries whose owner is also participating, has a couple of our pieces now in his gallery as part of the publicity about the Anza Energy show.

So……get out there and do the work – your art and your marketing!!

Work in Progress Wednesday

I am making a serious effort to finish any new piece I start – and that includes backing, signature, binding, hanging system, and anything else – oh, pictures. I started three smaller pieces since retiring the end of May, and I am happy to report that as of yesterday each one is complete. Absolutely positively complete. I still have a huge cubby filled with UFOs, but I am certainly making progress. In fact, I spent last night working on the start of thread painting for the newest piece for my Quilt University class. More pics on that later – it’s looking pretty cool….but I need to buy more thread…oh the problems we have….

In the meantime, here’s the finished version of my rhythm piece. This started as a piece of hand-marbled green silk that I attempted to quilt about eight years ago. It wasn’t working. But my skills are improving tremendously, and as a result of one earlier class, I wanted to see if I could accept the movement in the piece with the wave design. Here’s “Rhythm of the Wave,” complete with a few added seed beads.

Here’s a closeup:

Overall I accomplished what I wanted to with this piece. It will go up in the Etsy shop in the next few days.

Also completed is my “Explosion” piece, based on a new marbling pattern we tried. My goal here was to accent the movement from the center of the piece outward, which I did with lots of diagonal stitching. Again, I’m pleased with the results. This wil also go up in my Etsy store.

And finally, a piece I completed for a show coming up in Tucson – there will be more details on the show once it opens. This piece is a look at the devastation of oil spills. What starts as a beautiful garden is stlowly destroyed by the effects of oil – called “Insidious Oil.”

Here’s the statement:

As a trained historian, I always see the past and the future in environmental events. As a fiber artist, I feel challenged to take an ancient medium and create a piece that speaks to the environment.

Oil is an insidious liquid. We need it for so much of our daily lives, and yet it can be so destructive. The discovery of oil in our past has enabled us to have the current future. But an oil spill destroys for decades, from wildlife to the water table. This piece of fabric has been marbled, using a centuries-old process of floating paint on water. The beauty of the design reflects the joy we find in a garden, a flower bed, a landscape, or the wildlife that calls a piece of land home. But oil can run away and destroy that which is so beautiful. In a spill the oil creeps through the cracks, crevices, the waterways, looking for a new resting place. It works into the land or water and remains for decades, fouling the life around it, destroying the very fabric or life, much as the black threads do to this marbled garden.

As always, I am interested in your comments. I’ll post more on the art show once it opens and I have pictures from the reception.

Wednesday Work in Progress

This photo is from one of my most favorite spots in the world – a small park somewhere on the Li River in Guilin, China. I’ve done some cropping, but this is the focus of the latest class I am taking from Quilt University: Artists Revisited. Technically I should have chosen a painting by one of the masters, but I have always wanted to translate some of my own photos to fabric, so I chose this. My colors aren’t an exact match, as they should be for this exercise, but I am happy with what I have chosen. I worked on the background first and then came to the foreground, where I realized it was extremely busy. Here’s what I’ve got:

It’s obviously rough, and the trees are missing. I am going to start the thread painting, and then I’ll add the trees toward the end of that step. This is taking a much longer time for me, as I want to really think through each of the thread painting stages. The first step will be the horizon lines, and then I’m going to practice on the “crags” to see what I can do to accent and at the same time soften the mountains. I’d love suggestions for ideas to “paint” the sections.

Also, I’ve been making cloth baskets as a start for our Holiday offerings: we’re doing a “basket, which is really a fabric bowl suitable for all year round, as I’m creating them with some fairly neutral fabrics. The thinking is that a bowl might be more useful around the house than a basket.

Once the bowls are done, they will then get filled with all kinds of goodies:

* A fat quarter of hand-marbled fabric on 100% cotton

* Four pieces of hand-marbled Offray ribbon, assorted sizes and widths

* A selection of coupons and discounts from a variety of Etsy sellers, good for use in their individual stores

* A Sampler Package of 6 by 9 inches swatches of hand-marbled fabrics

* A selection of hand-marbled leaves and flowers

* A set of note cards with Digital Marbling (TN) designs

* and…some type of mystery gift.

We totaled up costs, and the retail value of this offering is $75.00. We’ll be selling the Holiday Bowl Packages for $50.00. Now each order will be different, as every piece of marbled fabric is unique in its creation. No two Bowl Packages will be the same.

Here’s the deal – for the next week, you can order these Holiday Bowl Packages for 20% off. Email us with your order, and we’ll do an invoice and arrange shipping. This offer ends on Wednesday, September 7.

Here’s the start of one of the Holiday Bowls…..

Think of all those family members who like fabric and are really hard to shop for – this will be totally unique!

 

It All Started with the Yucca…..Wednesday Work in Progress

Albuquerque Outdoors - http://outdoors.itsatrip.org/

This new piece has had an interesting origin…..we were in Cornville , AZ visiting friends, and our driver wanted to stop in the high desert and see about getting some yucca stalks for walking sticks. If you look at the picture, the stalks are what’s left after the gorgeous blooms are done. They are evidently extremely strong and hold a lot of weight. So we have two collected stalks in the car, and I’m thinking, hmmmmm – these could make interesting wall hanging “hangers.” Turns out we got as a gift two really strong, perfect-height-for-hiking sticks from another friend we were off to visit, so I decided to keep these two, one as a walking stick for me (I just need it for balance) and one for a potential hanger for a wall piece.

I was looking at it today, as I was kicking around another weaving piece. It would make a good “topper” for a new piece. I had in mind a set of seasons pieces, and then suddenly I got the thought to create the fabric and weave them all together for a year of seasons.

Here are two samples of some of the weavings I have done with marbled fabrics. The first is my very beginning one, Gaia 1: Interdependence. The second is  Gaia 3: Autumn.

All of a sudden the design was in my head, and I sketched it out, something I don’t normally do. Here it is:

Creating the fabric will take some time, and I know with other projects in the pipeline, I won’t get to this until mid-September. Hubby is the main marbler, so he will have his work cut out for him. I will need to also watch the proportions in this piece – ever mindful of Michael Kors and Nina Garcia from Project Runway…..

Stay tuned for progress. In the meantime, here’s a few stories for past weavings in the Gaia series.

Sunday Stories: Autumn

Sunday Stories: Gaia 2

Sunday Stories: Gaia 1

Work in Progress – Creating Rhythm

I’ve been practicing a lot of techniques with free motion quilting. With marbled fabrics, it’s almost like your pattern is decided for you – and I love being able to work with that. I discovered a few new things with this piece of green silk. I knew I wanted to see if I could accent the movement that already existed with the marbled pattern, and I wanted to accent the water effect in the piece.

Here’s the piece without anything done to it. I decided to flip the design, so the wave effect would be more prominent. Then it was a case of deciding threads. There are some very light areas in the pattern that I wanted to emphasize, so I figured a lighter thread. I pulled four threads (Superior, of course) and started with the lightest one – and I thought it was jarring – too bright.

I ended up going with a Rainbow multi-colored green thread that I think worked very well. I used that in the very light areas, and then I turned to a dark green silk for the background. The thought here was to heavily quilt the darker background to make the lighter areas come forward even more. So here’s the piece…

I do think the wave motion is more prominent. This was also a departure for me, in that normally I have quilted this pattern a great deal, but this time I didn’t do every single swirl. I think you get more drawn into the pattern that way.

I am contemplating some beads, but that’s just in the thinking stage at this point. I am open to suggestions, so please leave me a comment with what else I could do with the piece. The biggest success in this piece is a definite improvement in the machine quilting – the stitches are far more consistent, so that’s a great goal for me.

Leave me some comments – what would you do with this piece if it were yours……

Holiday Opportunity – Coupons

I need to think this through, and writing seems the best way for me to work out all the details and kinks. We are doing holiday gift baskets , and we are in the process of putting together the samples for photography. We did this a number of years ago and had a lot of success. The idea is to offer a basket of goodies, mostly marbled items. But…we would also like to include some coupons, and not just for us. We will have a coupon for 10 percent off anything in our Etsy store.

We are looking for others who would like to stick a coupon in our basket. Why? 1) You could make some sales. 2) Not a lot of work involved in this promotion – create the coupon and send us 10-15 copies. 3) This is a chance to move some goodies that could be strictly holiday promotions. 4) It gets your name out to potentially a different audience.

Seems like it’s a win-win situation for all of us. Postage, printing, and some design time. That’s all it takes. You get unexpected advertising as we promote our gift baskets, and this is something we will continue all year long. If you think you have something that you create that our customers would be interested in, be specific in your coupon – expiration date, amount of discount, what items, contact information, and anything else you think is important. Once the basket leaves us for its new home, it’s up the the recipient to deal directly with you, so be specific.

You’re getting a first shot at this coupon idea – I plan to advertise for coupons through the TAFA List, Art Marketing group on Linked In, and the Art Business group on Linked In. Plus…you get to advertise the gift basket if you would like – we’ll send you one of our coupons.

If you are interested, let me know in the Comments and I’ll send you more information. We’d like to have all coupons by October 31 so we can begin advance sales. Anything we’ve forgotten? Any questions? Just let me know.

Monday Marketing – Getting Organized

Wow, it has been an amazing week! So much of what I worked on in June and July is coming to fruition. Etsy is beginning to sell, and I have a marketing plan developed for just Etsy that seems like it is going to be easy to implement. The marbling is going very well; we purchased a metal tray just for doing fat quarters, and all we needed to do was waterproof it – which worked well. We’ll use the new tray the end of the week. Along with this good vibe has been the studio remodeling – what a difference with everything in its place, and room for both of us to work at the same time and share ideas.

We’ve begun to brainstorm other products for the company, as ten years ago we had a lot more than we do now. We have started preparing the guidelines for our gift baskets. WE NEED COUPONS: if you have a business related to fiber and textiles and would like to put together a coupon that could lead to some added publicity, all we are asking is for you to make some coupons that we can include in our gift baskets. You can email us for more information. We did this about 10 years ago, and we had great participation from other businesses, so folks got a goodie basket with lots of other opportunities in it.

Ebay business is picking up, and we’ve had to raise our prices, due to the serious increase in the cost of cotton. Ebay will continue to be an outlet for smaller, cheaper pieces of marbled fabric, mostly remnants. We have a good, steady business here. Etsy looks to be the place to sell larger, more expensive pieces of fabric, which is good.

Facebook is also bringing in lots of comments, but the best thing I’ve done has been the Linked In profile and joining a few fiber and art groups: Art Business, Art Marketing, Manhattan Arts (check this one out), and a few other groups – lots of comments and interest, and all this should add to business down the road.

The biggest concern with all the work over the last two months was would I be able to actually continue making new artwork. I pleased to say the answer is a definite yes. I finished two small studies this past week, both of which will end up on Etsy in the next two weeks, and I started a large piece with my Quilt University class. I have two small pieces to do for two art shows coming up, and I should be able to take care of those within the next two weeks.

One of the classes I took from Laura Bray was on Multiple Sources of Income. She spent a lesson on getting organized and goal setting. A great part of this class was seeing how I could distinguish the actual marketing of the business with making art. As a result, yesterday I spent the day getting everything into a notebook, organized by sections, long-term goals and lists, places for business cards as I develop my contacts list – it feels SO good to have it 1) all in one place; 2) a section for everything I need; and 3) a way to see my progress in all aspects of the business.

I think one thing that will help me (and I don’t know it it will work for others) is that I am going to include within my binder other projects I am working on outside of Marble-T Design, so I can easily keep track of deadlines and goals all around.

So it’s taken me a couple of months to figure out a system that will work, and now I just have to “work it.” I start each day with the notebook and make my list for the day, being sure I handle both marketing tasks and art tasks. What have you found that works for you?

What’s Available This Week…..

  Before I get to the goodies available this week, I am almost at the end of my first season of 100 days in the Cocreating Our Reality challenge, where we look at practicing the Laws of Attraction. I have had an amazing nearly-100 days, both personally and business-wise. I love the feeling of always being positive and aware of the possibilities in our universe. I haven’t done the daily journaling, but I have been very mindful of the Attraction practices. I’ve met most of my goals for these 100 days, and that’s something new for me I usually think about goals, maybe write them down, and then kind of forget them. Not this time. Once I realized just how negative I normally was, I began to focus in on being positive all the time….and it does work!

Now on to what we have available this week, from Ebay, Etsy, and Cafe Press. First from Ebay, we have some very interesting art cloth, three pieces in different patterns and colors. These are all Kaufman cotton, lots of movement to the pieces. There are some minor flaws, but hey, for $4.50 you can do a lot of applique or piecing! The left is a traditional bouquet pattern, the center is a traditional nonpareil, and the one of the right is more of a contemporary freeform pattern (and the greens in this piece are brighter).

On Etsy this week is an unusual piece of hand-marbled unpolished satin, a perfect length for a table runner. The traditional chevron pattern is a joy to machine quilt to accent the lines of the piece. It’s 12 by 59 inches, and I can’t wait till we set the very large tray up again to do more large pieces like this.

On Cafe Press this week is an example of some of our Digital Marbling (TN) of our “Fossil” piece. I love this piece, based on a traditional stone pattern in the marbled fabric, and it looks great on a mug.

For so many years hubby and I would talk about how we wanted the time to do our artwork together, all the time, and now with retirement we can. The ideas are flowing rapidly, we’re getting larger trays for bigger pieces of fabric, we’re experimenting more and generally having a great time together. If you have some ideas you would like to see us try, please leave us a comment. We are always willing to try new things!

What’s Available This Week

We are getting quite active around the web and I thought it’s time to spotlight some of the things available on line this week – you can only find them this week.

First up is Ebay this week – lots of great fabric pieces available – assorted colors and marbling patterns, perfect for piecing, applique – and don’t forget – sometimes you can just make a small quiltlet with quilting the marbled pattern line. Two pieces of denim – really intriguing designs and effects.

On Etsy this week is a piece of art cloth again with lots of possibilities. We were trying for a starburst effect, and I think we achieved it. I have a smaller piece that I’m going to quilt for a small hanging.

On Cafe Press, one of our most favorite digital prints from our Botanicals Series:

And also from Cafe Press, a cool totebag with a digital manipulation of a Southwest gecko:

So enjoy exploring this week – we’ll have some new goodies next week!

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!

Archives
Recent Posts