Thursday, May 29, 2014


I love my Etsy store. It is kind of a non-committal way of trying to sell my wares. It is a hand's off way of putting myself out there. I don't have to talk, I don't have to see the people who are looking at my work. It is nice because I am usually a introvert. I'm sure that this is the reason that so many people have their own Etsy shops. It is easy to just throw stuff up there, and let people look around your shop without having to be that annoying shop owner; making sure that people are enjoying their shopping experience, and that they have found everything they are looking for.

That is great and all, but if I want to get noticed, and actually make sales, then I cannot be just one of these thousands of people who haphazardly put up goods on a website, and then lean back and hope that someone likes their iPhone pic of their crocheted scarf. (I'm not trying to be judgmental, maybe that works for them, but this doesn't work for me.) The thing is that so many people are doing the same things, I need do more than that to get noticed, and find the kind of success I am actually looking for.

This means that I am going to have to go beyond the comfort of my computer chair and art table, and talk to people in real life. This weekend I have my first booth in a craft fair. ( ) It is great that I have this opportunity, but I am starting to freak out. I haven't shown my art in a public space since college. That is almost 5 years of distance from the art community. I have been losing sleep with worry that I am going to take this great chance to get back into the art world and totally crash and burn.

There are many reasons that I feel like I am not going to do well. Most just lead back to the fact that I am introverted and don't socialize well with strangers. I get the feeling that I am going to look like this. Obviously I won't be asking strangers for their hand in marriage, but I will be asking for their attention, their opinions of my work, and in the end their money. It just makes me shake with fear that I am going to fail at one of the most basic skills of being human: communication.

My stomach has felt full of rocks and butterflies all week knowing that I signed myself up for this. I like to live a logical life, and use reason to get through my struggles, and also get out of unpleasant situations. But this time my fear of the entire encounter is getting in the way of my ability to think my way out. I know what I needs to be done, but I am worried that I don't posses the skill to be likable, interesting, and informative in a manner that will sell people on my work. I keep hoping there is a way around this feeling so that I can move on (, but it will not be that easy, everything worth doing never is.

I don't know when I became such a wimp when it come to social situations, but I cannot make any excuses. I know that this is not only good for my sales, to get it out in the public eye, but it is also good for me. I need to get uncomfortable in order to make any kind of progress towards becoming better at this.

We have been learning how to interact with people since the day we were born, I just don't understand where my fear of it has come from over the years. I am old enough that all of my years of practice should make me a pro at talking to others, but at some point I learned to fear it. This will just not do, so this weekend I take the plunge back into the art world, and relearn some of those communication skills I seem to have forgotten. Despite my fear this will get done.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Skies Open Up

I have been having a rather hard time trying to feel good about my work recently. I have had some mild success selling. I have had several different features on different blogs, and I have been working hard to get the word out about my art, but have seen very little return on my efforts. I know that if I don't get the work out there no one will see it, and there will be now sales at the end of the day. I have been investing a ton of effort into networking and such, but even with all of the work and, even attention that I have had I have still been rather unsuccessful at selling.

It is funny like that. I have all of these high expectations for the return for my effort in this, but I have not seen what I had wanted. I dump so much hope into something so little. I know that I could increase my efforts, but when I don't get any reward for my current effort it is hard to want to put more into it.

So the last couple of weeks I have been contemplating just quitting entirely. I had been thinking that the money, and effort that I have put into this art, and store in the last year in a half has seen minimal return. I have not made back the money I have spent let alone made up for my labor. I was really just done with the whole thing.

I have been thinking about a lot of things lately. It's the change of seasons that makes me do this. I am pretty sure every time summer comes around I get this itch to change my life around in one way or another. Most goals, changes, hair cuts, and things of that nature happen around this time of year. I think it is because my mind has been programed by the end of the school year to think that this time of year is a time for transition.

Anyways, I was thinking about shutting down my shop. It was making me sad to give up on this, but I just couldn't justify spending any more money on this venture that wasn't making any return. We are trying to save up for some big things, and my desire to sell art that wasn't selling was just going to have to be put on hold.

Then the clouds rolled back and two things happened. The first is that I got a sale, like my first one since January. Then I won a free booth space in the Seattle Oddmall. It is was an uplifting weekend. It helped my to realize that maybe there was interest in my art. When I get down on myself and feel like a failure it can be just the little things that make me feel better about life again. I really only made a $15 sale of a print. It was minimal but it got my spirits back up.

To be honest one purchase is not going to save my shop, and I don't really know just how much I will actually be able to sell at this craft fair, but we will see. I have decided that the future of my shop will depend on how this next month goes.

What I need to do now is make goals. I need to measure the success of my sales for the next month, and if I make the goals that I have then I will keep the shop open. If I don't then I will start to shut things down. I need to have a duel mind when it comes to these things. I need to hope for the best sales, but be prepared for the fact that I may not make my goals and will need to end this venture for now.

I'm not saying that I will shut down my shop forever. I think that it was a good thing for me to open this shop. I have learned a lot about networking. I have learned about how to run the finances of a small business. I have learned how to sell. I have also been more interest in making and following through with goals. It has been great, I will just have to put it on hold till we get this whole housing, and financial thing figured out. This art venture is important to me and important to making me feel productive and independent of the title of mom. (Which to be honest is great for my self-esteem to be more than just a care giver.)  It gives me a sense of identity that I don't think I could ever abandon.

We will just have to see how things turn out. But this isn't the end just yet.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Creative Inspriations

I have made a list lately of all of the art that I want to achieve this year. The are particular pieces that I want to make for one reason or another. I am going to list them for you and me so that I don't forget that this is what I want to do later:

1. I want to do an anime inspired self portrait. I have recently gotten back into anime, and the beauty and simplify of the style of drawing really appeals to me. When I was in art classes my teachers would always get on to me because I didn't like to fill in all of my shading and detail when I was drawing faces. In the end the lack of detail actually resembled the anime style of drawing to some degree.

2. The next piece that I want to work on is another anime based item. In my head anime and the styling of Mucha's art works rather well together. When I was taking art history I fell in love with the art nouveau. The line work and shading are similar to that of the anime. Mucha style also seems to be informed a bit by the Celtic knotting which I have a love for too. It all kinds of adds up to something awesome.

3. I have my brother's name for Christmas this year. I was thinking some kind of epic dragon piece for him would be fun. Though I don't really know all of the details on that one yet. I don't know what style that I will be making it in but it should be fun to try to come up with something that will work best for him.

4. The last piece that that I have been having on my mind is a portrait of my great-grandma. I was looking through one of my old sketch books and found and unfinished version of the same picture I want do. I have this great head shot of her with her cute little bob haircut when she was young. It is beautiful. I think that I want to do this one as a watercolor and try to add color the picture that is really only in black and white.

There are still many ideas bouncing around in my head right now but none of them are as developed as these ones I have listed. I don't want to forget all of the things I want to do. So often I tell myself I am going to do something and then never get around to it because I forgot. At least if it is here, I won't forget that I want to do these things.

Bogged Down

I don't take heat very well. Summer is my least favorite season.  I loath doing anything. I don't want to go out, because that means I have to put on pants and and make-up which just adds to the discomfort of the whole situation. Summer makes me want to lay on the cold tile floor in pajamas with a cool wet towel on my head, and not let anyone touch me. My body doesn't really deal with the heat very well. I get over heated, and it takes me forever to cool down. I just don't function at all in the heat.

When most people talk about all of the fun of summer, I just sit there dreading it. People talk about water parks, bbq, and sports. And I'm just over here trying to figure out all of the indoor, air conditioned places where I can hibernate for the summer. It is just not a season that gets me excited in any way at all.

Not only does the summer coming make me want to become a hermit, it also is detrimental to my work ethic. Being over heated makes me want to just lay there all day, and try to refrain from any kind of effort that would add to my body heat. I can spend hours trying to avoid any kinds of movement, or work. To be honest I cope with the heat best by taking naps, and because of that I have a record of spending most of my summers napping to avoid the heat.

It is difficult to want to do anything at all when I feel like this. I lose all kinds of motivation. Things start to fall apart during this time of year. I don't want to do art, I don't want to be creative, I would really rather just be in some kind of stasis pod on ice for the three months of summer and then revived when it is all over.

This is just not an option with the current technology of the world. So I have to muddle through like anyone else. This also means that I cannot just leave all of my art on standby till I feel like moving again. As much as I feel at the time that it is totally worth it to become a sloth for three months and not do anything, I regret it later. I feel bad that I haven't really done anything for so long. I have to make myself get back into the swing of things and I curse myself for all of the time that i have wasted. But it is just so tempting to want to curl up in the fridge and take a nap.

Summer is truly the most trying time of the year for me. I am uncomfortable, and drawn to laziness. I just need to bear down and deal with it. If it takes packing myself in ice in order to get art done then so be it. I am just going to have to be creative so that I can be just as productive during the summer as I am the rest of the year.