Archive for the ‘Marble-T Design’ Category

Work in Progress Wednesday

Wow, being retired has given me a whole new appreciation for preparing for the holidays. In the past, if I was lucky, I managed to get some things done during the Thanksgiving weekend, but everything else depended on just how tired I was at the end of each school day. Not this year – my cards are designed and ordered – the pic at the left is of a great piece of red silk that I took into Photoshop. Really pleased with them.

Before I go in to the latest project, an update on the deer quilt from last week. We finally got it hung in our bedroom, its designated spot for the last ten-plus years. It looked awful…..there was absolutely nothing redeeming in it at all. Even hubby, who has loved the quilt since I first saw the pic realized it was pretty bad. So Karen S is the winner of the give-away of border trees, and some lucky child is going to get a “huggy” quilt. In the bedroom now hangs our Desert Heat quilt, and it looks perfect.

Now for the new stuff…..Hubby created a really great fat quarter of cotton that reminded me of a New England autumn. We had marbled some silk leaves earlier this fall, and I had in the back of my mind to make an autumn quilt and use the leaves. Well, now I had all the fabric, pulled a couple of browns from the stash, and was ready to go.

The start of the log cabin….this is the fourth restart….for some reason I wasn’t able to follow my own directions…..

First tentative layout…..

Another tentative layout…sorry for the lousy pic….

The three finished blocks – reminds me of walking through woods carpeted in falling leaves.

Playing around with the marbled leaves….have probably decided on this layout. Love the border fabric, which was very serendipitous. That fabric would not have worked had I gone with a different layout.

I love the leaves!

Ready for batting and quilting……more next week. Suggestions on a quilting design?

On the Road Again….

Well, it has been at least 10 years since we did any kind of demonstration of marbling on fabric.  Full-time teaching and the need for two of us really limited our ability to get out and work with guilds. Thanks to a faithful reader (hi, Kay!!), we were booked to do a presentation to the Sunflower quilters guild on the northwest of Tucson. I was especially excited because….it’s a school day and I was doing this DURING THE DAY….love it!

We’ve been planning for this for a couple of weeks. At one point we figured it was going to be at least two trips to the car, but with careful packing, it was only one for the trip across town.

The only thing not on this stack is the crate of quilts and a green grocery bag with fabric. We pack really well.

Kay had samples of fat quarters to build interest for our demo, and the ladies were wonderful. Hubby and I work really well off each other, and his humor comes out. We spent two hours, showing the marbling process, letting people marble fabrics, and showing a progression of quilts. I’ve found, since we started marbling, that too often people say, “what will you use it for?” or “what will you do with it?” To answer those questions, I always pack lots of quilts (both art quilts and more traditional ones) so that folks can see so many uses for the fabrics. Plus, it’s always fun for us to see where we’ve come as artists….and we love hearing all the “oooo’s”!

The crate of quilts, many of which are not available on the website or in the blog, because they are process quilts.

We had a great set-up in the recreation room.

What I discovered with this layout is that as Dean demonstrated some of the patterns , I held up the fat quarter with the particular pattern on it, and that way people got a much better look at a larger example.

Having eye candy is always a great idea….

Works in progress.

Some really high-tech supplies – left-over hospital pans for the rinse process.

What next? Well, we are going to start contacting local guilds in Arizona for demos, as we have all the handouts and  such prepared. At lunch we decided on a plan for a sampler so we can begin offering marbling classes at quilt shops. And…I’m going to start contacting friends around the country to see if we can “book” a couple of demos during the summer travel months. I’ll get information up on the blog and website as I get it finalized. You can always email us for more information.

A great day was had by all!

Right Out of the Marbling Tray

Work in progress Wednesday was marbling, so it makes sense to show pictures of the process….I never seem to get my camera ready to capture the creativity! Hubby sets up the day before, alums all the fabric, and covers the studio (AKA the second room) with sheets to protect all the sewing projects), and then all the fun happens the next day. He also has cut, serged, and pretreated the fabric, in addition to all of the above. So there’s a lot that goes into the process before we can have any “fun.”

Here’s our new metal tray, which allows us to do fat quarters a whole lot easier than having to set up the big plexiglass tray. Who knew we just needed to visit a feed store and could get what we wanted? There for the longest time I was trying restaurant supply stores, looking for the largest cookie tray I could find……. We’ve already marbled two pieces, and hubby is just starting to lay the paint for the next piece. The paint you see is on the bottom of th e tray and won’t affect the new pieces.

More paint – you can see the initial concentration of the drops and then how it spreads.

The green is going on either side of the yellow and copper – hubby is experimenting with some new ideas.

More layers of color. Notice how the new colors are making the initial paint “condense” as it spreads and moves closer together. Hubby has what I call an “innate color sense.” He just picks colors and goes ahead. I’m the “planner,” and my stuff always comes out looking “muddy.”

A few more drops of new colors.

Starting the combing. This is the first “comb through” with the popsicle rake we use. You can see how the pattern is beginning to take shape over the next few process pictures.

Notice the pattern moving from “chevron” to a “nonpareil,” one of the most traditional patterns in marbling.

Sorry for the fuzzies….movement got in the way.

And now….some of the new creations drying in the wind before heat-setting and packaging….expect to see some of these babies up on eBay this week! This time’s session was just Kaufman cotton – silk and chiffon and broadcloth coming in the next session early next week.

I SO LOVE this art form! It’s a lot of “what you see isn’t necessarily what you get,” but the results are always gorgeous! Who among you has tried this, and what have you noticed?

What’s Available This Week

Busy week – lots of marbling going on today as we start to gear up for the holiday season. The last two years we just weren’t organized enough to deal with the holidays, and we let them get completely by us. Not. This. Year. We will have fabric!! And…you can always email us for orders or go to the website and see what’s available.

Speaking of the website, the question we get a lot is why no pictures of the Sampler Packages. Good question, and we have a good answer. Marbling creates unique pieces, and for us to put a picture up of each package, each piece, would be time consuming, very expensive, and probably lead to unhappy customers because you wouldn’t be getting “exactly” what’s in the picture. So we’ve given you a basic description. You can be pleasantly surprised! Or, if you want to know exactly what you’re getting, you can browse the Eaby auctions. We have a liberal return policy if you’re not happy, but we’ve gotten two packages back in the last 10 years…..and we’ve been on line since 1998…….almost the beginning of e-commerce!

Sampler Package 1: assorted colors and patterns. Eight 6 x 9 inch hand-marbled swatches on 100% white pima cotton. Perfect for piecing, appliqué, patchwork, scrapbooking, wearable art. You get a variety of marbled colors and patterns so you get a “taste” of this wonderful art form. $10.00

Sampler Package 2: assorted colors and patterns. Four 18 x 22 inch hand-marbled fat quarters on 100% white pima cotton for a great stash builder. Available in the following color ways: volcano reds/oranges; underwater blues and greens; deep woods browns and greens, and pinks/purples. Perfect for some serious quilting. $25.00

Sampler Package 3: assorted colors and patterns. Eight 10 x 10 inch hand-marbled squares on 100% pima cotton, for those larger block patterns you want to create. Perfect for piecing, appliqué, patchwork, scrapbooking, wearable art. $15.00

Now for Ebay this week:

A REALLY gorgeous piece of silk art cloth, in greens and blues, 17 by 23 inches. All preshrunk and heat-set and ready to go. Some nice movement to the piece!

The Etsy shop is a little bare this week – we’ve been selling lots of fabric, but we do have a few small art quilts that would make good presents – and they are reasonably priced. Here’s “On the Rocks” – a small 8.5 by 12 inch fiber art piece, perfect for a small table or a small wall area that needs just the right bit of color.

More coming next week! We’re surrounded by fabric around here!

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!!

Monday Marketing – The “Duh” Moment

Oy, sometimes ya just need to be hit with the proverbial two-by-four….For YEARS we have worked on product with our marbled fabrics, and we have also tried lots of different venues for arts and craft shows. Some product has worked, which has been good. The art and craft show circuit – not at all. We invariably lose money. We take framed work, digital work, fabrics, digital cards…..nothing sells because most people don’t have a clue what to do with the fabric.

Now we’re working on putting together our gift baskets for the holiday season. We know that we can keep these going year round by keeping the hand-crafted bowls a fairly neutral color, as well as adding in some seasonal items. It dawned on us, as we threw away the latest offer for a holiday craft show, that all we could really bring was the baskets.

Well, duh. The baskets all along could have been the seller. All in one place, items for that family member that can be hard to buy for. Shrink-wrapped. Lots of goodies. No worry or muss. No explaining how to use the fabrics.

And then….as we’re talking about maybe choosing a couple of shows for next year, it occurs to us we could offer the gift baskets in two sizes, small and large.

Duh.

All these years, staring us in the face, and we never saw it.

Sometimes we work so hard and miss the obvious. Right now I’m pretty irritated with us for this having taken so long. But on the other hand, now we have a great new product that should work long-term and give us a lot to build on for more stuff in the baskets. Who knows what else we might have missed along the way?

Suggestions?

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!

 

Monday Marketing – Social Media Revisited

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Monday Marketing – Preparing Collections

So one of my goals over these ninety days is to look at the pictures I have developed over the last couple of years, analyze the licensing materials, and determine ten collections that I can develop. According to the research I have been doing, I am going to need twelve to fifteen different collections. I have some ideas, but I need to get them organized, set up folders, look at what needs to be enlarged, adapted, and so on. I also want to see what can cross over to Cafe Press and potentially Zazzle, so I get as much mileage from some of the pieces.

Whew. There’s a lot there. One of the things I learned in the lynda.com classes was about Bridge – a program in Adobe Creative Suite that let’s me easily look at all my images and organize them easily – something I really need to do.

Now to get started….and DON’T EVEN THINK OF COPYING THESE IMAGES – ask if you have something in mind.

Botanicals: I have a LOT of photos that could go for calendars, prints, cards. Interesting – as I’m writing this, I realize I really haven’t given much thought to WHAT these could adorn. I have been through numerous stores, looking at design, but I’m not sure I have really thought about extending these pictures into more than two items. Hmmm. Food for thought.

(don’t even think about copying….)

Black and White: prints, cards, kitchen items, gifts, fabric designs.


Indigenous images: I love taking regional designs and seeing how I can interpret them through marbled fabrics that have been digitized. This would make good regional products. Cards, calendars, prints, fabric (if the repeat works), gifts.

Art Deco Revisited: taking images in the public domain and embellishing them with marbled fabrics that have been digitized. Cards, calendars, prints, fabrics, gifts. The designs are from a public source, in this case the Dover book on Art Deco Designs.

                                              Original                                                                                                                With the digitized marbled fabrics

Abstracts: digital manipulation of marbled fabrics to create a new design, in this case “Moons.” Prints, cards, calendars, potentially fabric, gifts.

Inspirational: Taking either marbled patterns or images from nature and creating inspirational/motivational prints and cards, t-shirts, calendars.

Seasons: digital marbling, as well as nature images that could be used in fabric, cards, calendars, prints. Pictures here could overlap other sections.

Nature: Places around the country and the world, cards, calendars, gifts, prints.

Southwest Designs: since I’m in the southwest, and I know how popular many of these images are. This one is already set in repeats. Lots of fabric possibilities here, as well as simple gifts.

Holidays: (valentines, etc) Got nothin’ here, and I know companies will want to see holidays, so I have a great place to start.

Interesting. That’s potentially ten collections. In my mind there were more, until I actually started listing them. Next steps: take this list of collections and go back into the stores to see how else these prints could be used. Stay tuned for the progress here.

And if you’re looking for resources, I regularly read Tara Reed, who writes an art licensing blog. Also, I have purchased materials from her about licensing (disclosure: if you purchase anything through this site, I do receive a small commission as part of her affiliate program). Also, her “Just Ask” calls are filled with great information from a wide variety of experts in the field. It’s another resource for you.  July 2011 Ask Call Replay

100 Day Challenge – Season 1

Monday was the 100th day of Season 1 in the Cocreating Our Reality Challenge to practice the Law of Attraction and Abundance and bring more into your life. It has been a pretty amazing 100 days. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I have been more than converted to positive thinking and goal-setting for what we would like to attract into our lives.

I started by setting some goals. I really gave some thought to these, as I tend to blow off this part of an exercise. What I have realized as these 100 days went by is that I dreamed too small. I am now thinking about a new set of goals for these next 100 days and Season 2, and I want to think bigger – I WILL think bigger.

The goals for the first season:

Order storage and redesign the apartment for better creativity and “flowing” work space; well, I redesigned the studio and spent money to buy better storage. The difference is amazing – more productivity, better sense of energy flow through the space, everything has its place, and I am more productive. In fact, I have an organized marketing notebook that seems to be working to guide me through what I want to accomplish.

Break 200 pounds by August 8; hasn’t happened. I have spent more time working on being positive about my body image and what I really want to accomplish with this goal. I am trying to be positive. I have spent over half my life overweight, and I am not expecting miracles, but I know healthwise this has to happen. So I need to get rid of the negativity in that last sentence and expect miracles. I KNOW I can do this.

Dream/think regularly about money coming to me; this took a while for me to work on. I am not used to thinking about money coming to me all the time. Usually it’s about how I need to have enough money to pay the bills. This is a major mental change. And there is money in the bank, the bills are paid, and two trips are planned. That Law of Abundance check only took one month for me to see how it works. I am hooked on those checks. I also am learning to recognize when my thinking is somewhat pessimistic about money, and I am trying to change that vibration.

Set up tutoring goals; I updated my Linked In profile to reflect the tutoring, and I have had business cards made, as well as asked for some recommendations for my skills from Linked In. I have been putting off a brochure, primarily because school is just now starting. I have realized that I am not at all enthused about either substitute teaching or even tutoring because it would take away from my time on my other pursuits. Definitely no subbing in the future for me, but I need to rethink the tutoring.

Plan my life after teaching (retirement); this is working very well. I have had to change my sleep schedule since I don’t need so much sleep, which has been challenging. I am marketing, sewing, designed, taking art classes, reading – all the things I said I wanted to do.

Get back to blogging on a regular basis;  I’m doing this pretty successfully on this blog, not so much with the art blog and the weight loss blog. But the focus for all of this is to build the art business to help support retirement (which seems to be happening), so I am focusing on this blog. The numbers have grown from just over 500 in June to over 800 for the last 30 days. Definite progress.

Make conscious plans and activities to work for peace. This has to become a priority for the next 100 days. I haven’t done anything this season, but I have been thinking about what I want to do. Now I have to implement the plans.

NEXT SEASON’S CHALLENGE GOALS, starting Monday, August 15 and ending November 19:

Break 200 pounds.

Enjoy life through a couple of trips and dinners/other social engagements with friends: San Diego, Austin, Houston, New Orleans.

Finish “Artists Revisited” class, complete with the new quilt.

Help with Tikkun Olam show at the Jewish Community Center.

Plan for additional income each month through the business; the goal is to beat the previous month (August should beat July, and so on).

Take three tutoring clients in mathematics.

Update Art from the Heart website and make plans for entries for the first anniversary of the Tucson shootings.

Sewing projects: Tikkun Olam, Wayne Art Center, Betty’s commission, small rhythm piece, fish quilt redone, deer quilt finished, three additional quilt projects to be determined.

Complete the first three action plans in I’d Rather Be In the Studio by Alyson Stanfield.

Maintain goals through the Multiple Streams of Income class and set new 90-day goals.

Market the gift basket through Marble-T Design and sell at least four.

And so it goes……

 

 

 

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?

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??

The Studio Reveal……

As of yesterday I was finally able to finish the studio remake by actually cleaning off my sewing table, which had become the repository for all the loose ends. I can finally start working again. Hubby marbled on Thursday and enjoyed having a more organized and larger space. Here’s the “before” pictures….

We have (well, had – it’s gone the way of Craig’s List) lots of storage shelves that could be configured in a variety of ways. This is most of the marbling stuff, just kind of packed into various boxes, and not really easy to find anything. The shelves continue next to it, with more cloths, plastic, and trays. We had more of this shelving in the closet.

So much storage in the closet – lots of different containers and boxes collected over the years – fabric is kind of organized by color, but it’s a pain to get to. To the left is an old baker’s rack (like about 36 years old – from before I got married, and it has a new home).

The small chest of drawers belonged to my dad – it is now in the closet, with all the cloths and plastic and towels. Much easier to get to things and it’s now keeping everything more organized.

This was the worst part of the studio – my actual sewing area. I felt enclosed and couldn’t really move around. It was not a comfortable area, and this was the main reason for re-doing the studio.

And now……

This is where all the marbling supplies were – in storage that is more efficient and actually takes up less floor space. I have fabric out by color, files from school, art supplies in one of the canvas storage bags, and patterns all sorted.

My sewing table is now under the window with much better light and room to move around. I am now right next to the cutting board and ironing board. Art books and lots more storage.

You can see more of the sewing area here.

Hubby in his new space, organizing the latest marbled fabrics. Lots of stuff is stored under that cutting table! You’ll see some of the fabric up on eBay this week……

Monday Marketing

Copyright Notice

How did it get to be August? We returned from vacation on June 21st, and I started working on the business on June 23. A lot happened, I can tell that from my sheets of lists, but part of me is thinking, Oh my, so much left to do before schools tarts again.

One of the marketing things I did over the weekend is to make a list of what has to happen with social media for each day, once school starts. I have gotten so many things in place that I was swimming with all the details. Once I took the time to think about how I could work with these pieces each day, in a 30-minute time block, I could feel the stress start to diminish. This looks to be very do-able, and I have this week to make refinements.

As you can see from the graphic on the left, I was busy getting this symbol ready to attach to artwork on line, which means going back and protecting a lot of my earlier images. I did some reading about the legalese that should be on our blogs and websites, and I know now what I need to take care of – pronto. The logo is transparent, done in Photoshop, so I can just add the layer to my images. The problem will be actually getting to the images from earlier posts.

Another thing I did was to start a master list of the “long-range” projects for the next five-six months. Anything on the list this week is a priority – like a new newsletter – before I go back next week. This list will go above the sewing table with reminders of what is coming next. I find it is very helpful to do this type of exercise, primarily because now I won’t have to spend the mental energy trying to remember everything. Items on the list:

* Affiliate information and applications

* Licensing information, pattern repeats and developing a collection

* Spoonflower.com for printing fabrics

* Zazzle.com artwork and potential items

* Cafe Press items in preparation for the holiday season

* An Etsy store

* A tutorial on quilting marbled fabrics

* Feedback pages

* Updating links (and collecting new ones, so send yours along) on the website

* Linked In

* Update the Polyquilt pattern

* Confer with an attorney to vet all the legalese (copyright notice, disclaimers, FTC guidelines for affiliates, privacy policies, just to name a few)

* And…foremost with all of this – to continue making art.

What’s on your long-range list?

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