Slumping

Nope, this one isn’t about glass over forms. More about my mood. I’m in a slump! Artist’s block, maybe? I’m not sure, but something needs to be created, and soon! I’ve hit a snag with the metal clay and I’m having to wait until the funding goes through Kickstarter before I can really pick it back up. I’ve worked with a little glass, burned a little wood, made a few book pouches….I think I just need to try harder to get my shop known. Anyone have any good marketing ideas?

Hello, New Backers!

If you’re reading this, hopefully you’re one of my new backers! I’d like to say “Thanks!” for supporting me and my project *:) The learning is going well, now that I have my kiln, I’m able to really get serious with these designs. I’ve had a couple of setbacks, but I’m improvising. When I don’t have clay to work with, I smash a bottle. I’m going my own route and learning to fuse recycled glass! I couldn’t find many tutorials or help with crushed recycle glass. Not for jewelry, anyway. So I’ve made my own glass crusher, I turn bottles into frit, and I just experiment and see what happens. I’ve created a few really cool things, but I’m not sure they’re sale worthy. I’ll probably find some way to use them, though. Once I get the technique down, look for glass pieces in my shop!
Speaking of which, the CraftStar is live! Just through PayPal, right now, but they’re looking to open Direct Checkout here soon. Here is my shop!
I’ve also begun selling book pouches! I recently flooded my house when we had our monsoon season here in El Paso, and a couple of books were ruined. If you know me, you know that’s a tragedy in my house! One was the book “Phantom,” by Susan Kay, which has much sentimental value to me. In an effort to create something special with the fallen pages, I came up with a clear blend of polymer and silicone to coat the pages in. It’s experimental, but I’ve been able to sew small pouch out of them. They appear to be holding up so far, though I’m hoping to get some feedback soon from a customer or two about how everything is going. First lesson – glaze is bad! Other than that, we shall see! They’re also for sale in my shop, along with a magazine-turned-pouch, featuring the Elder Scrolls. They seem to have a faux leather texture. Very cool.
I’m off to begin housework. Ciao!

Keep Calm, Carry Heat

Every day seems to be going faster, and faster, the closer I get to the end of my Kickstarter project. I’ve decided that if I don’t make it this time, I’m going to try again and again. Each time, I’ll try and improve on the areas that need it, and have different techniques lined up. As for my business, it’s moving along! It may be slow, but I’m learning something new every day. I’ve begun collaborating with other metal clay artists, and it feels good to be around other artists working with the same medium. Don’t get me wrong – I love explaining the process to those who have never heard of it, but self-teaching is a long, hard process. I’m finally finding people to talk to, to ask questions, and to give me professional opinions. *:) It’s interesting. I have a lot of experience working with clay, but not so much working with metal. My wonderful husband is helping me with that, though, and I’m learning enough to really make my pieces amazing. I’m slowly building up inventory in my new shop on The CraftStar, but it’s slow going. Sometimes it seems like every time I turn around something else goes wrong. No worries, however, because every mistake is a learning experience! I’ve recently taken video of the (torch) firing process, and I’ll be posting that, soon. For now, here are some pictures of my latest projects!

This beautiful Drusy set in sterling silver had an unsightly chip on the side within the crystals. I sculpted .999 silver clay into flowers and seashells for a sweet sea life theme that covered the chip *:)

No matter what light, or position, I could not get capture the colors in that gorgeous CZ at the top! Ah well, this piece is signed and stamped .999 silver. Inspired by my latest fascination “Ancient Aliens,” the bottom piece resembles a reflection of the eye in water. As my step-dad said, it reminds me of something found on an archeology dig *:)

This sweet little copper ring was actually brought to life when it was cut from a larger ring I was making for a customer. It began as the trimmings, and using a little extra scrap clay, I made a faux-stone bezel and sculpted a little leaf to go on the side. The stone is a lab-created emerald *:)

Something I’ve come to discover – one more reason living in El Paso, TX is hard – the humidity here is pretty much -9% (Ok, more like 7-10%) which tends to dry this metal clay SUPER fast! For now, I’m having to learn speed-sculpting! However, in December, we’ll be PCSing back home to Louisiana, and I have a feeling not only will it not dry quickly, I’ll probably have to dry it on a warmer over night. So instead of speed-sculpting, I’ll be learning a hard lesson in patience! Something that needs to happen, anyway, I suppose *:)

And We’re Live!

Here we go! I’ve launched my Kickstarter project. I have one month to get my funding, and if I do – oh man. My whole business will be up and running. I will be able to get everything I need to create what I’m meant to create. I’ll finally be able to work with a medium that lets me get myself out into the world, and reach the people that need reaching. If you’re reading this, please tell your friends! I need everyone to come together in order for this to work, and I can’t convey in words how much this means to me.
Here’s the project  for The Connectivity Line – thanks in advance to everyone who shows support!

 

Moving Forward

Every item I sell from now until my project is over will be accompanied by a Thank You card, with information about my project. I am so serious about getting this funding, and finally settling down to my business taking off and helping support my little family. My Art Clay kit is a bit behind schedule…looks like it’ll be getting here Thursday, instead of tomorrow *:( I’m going to try and stay positive, but today was starting to feel like Christmas Eve! Once my supplies get here, I can finally show everyone what I want to do. Create the actual pieces I want to sell. They won’t be as strong as I need them to be, since I won’t be able to get a kiln until I receive my funding, but they’ll be some amazing prototypes. Can. Not. Wait.

Back Again

Yes, it’s true, I’m back to write more. I know it’s been a while, but I’ve really got to crack down on keeping up with my writing. I’m not sure where I stood the last time I blogged, but I’ve reached a new point in my career as an artist. I’ve discovered metal clay. I knew about it before, but I thought you needed to have a kiln in order to fire it. You do for some of the metals, but fine silver can be torch fired. Yes sir! I get to continue to sculpt, make into wearable art, incorporate my spirituality into a piece, and when I’m done, I’m left with a solid metal piece that is durable, and gorgeous! No more cheap-feeling polymer clay. I can make real, long-lasting jewelry. And it’s metal! Made from the earth itself, which is very important to me. Thanks to my wonderful semi-husband, I have a kit on the way, and I’ll be getting started on this new medium by the 23rd. I want this to be it. I want it to be the final medium that I kicks my business off. I’ll always be open to learning new skills, new crafts….but I’m tired of being a jack-of-all-trades, and master of none. I want to be a jack-of-all-trades and master of at least one. And I think metal clay could be it. So I’m starting a new Kickstarter project. I have it approved, but I haven’t launched it, yet. I’m going to make it amazing, first. I want to really get myself out there. Let people know what I’m trying to do. I believe in the idea so wholly that I really feel it will reach people, and inspire them. I just think that this is the way for me to do it. If I can build up a clientele, I can keep blogging, and keep creating art that has a story. I can, hopefully, get my message out there through wearable art. So keep an eye out for a link to the project. I’m also open to ideas on how to advertise it. My current plans are to send cards with information about the project to every person who buys something from me. I’m also going to send the same cards to family and friends to hand out to people they know. I’m going to keep blogging, keep throwing the link out there on any site I’m active on. I’ll be sending mass emails to everyone who’s ever bought anything from me (just one, I won’t spam.) I’m thinking about handing out fliers, or just posting them around the city (maybe more around Downtown and the busier sections of the city?) Any ideas are appreciated on how to get this done. I’m serious about what I want to do, and I’m willing to do just about anything to get the funding I need. Even if Kickstarter doesn’t work, I’m going to continue to resell, and work auctions until I build it up. It could take me even a year to get it all, but I’m determined. 

People Are Strange

When you’re a stranger..
      …
and also when you’re not at all.

So, I’ve been doing some auctioning on a site called TopHatter.com. It’s a live auction. You sit and watch people bid on the item you have on the block. I enjoy it. I rarely have items that don’t sell. You never really know what people are in the mood for, however, and so sometimes they don’t sell for as much as I’d like. Sometimes it’s more than I ever could have hoped for. It’s a gamble where I get to use my art as the ante. Since I always start the bidding with at least the cost of materials, the only thing I have to lose is my time, if it sells. And I’m willing to put in a lot of time.

It’s interesting to note, however, the rise and fall of the general population. It’s always a question when watching the auctions, “What are they in the mood for today?” Since you have to schedule your auction at least 4 days in advance, you can’t know. But sometimes, you get lucky. It makes me consider people in general, and the auctioning starts to become people watching. “How much are they willing to pay?” “Why would they pay so much, or so little?” I had a sweet lady send me a picture of where one of my pieces was going to hang. It was not what I expected, but pleasantly so. She also described where a second piece she bought is going to sit, and I had the good fortune to make the piece with that in mind. However, this is rarely the case, and I wonder – “What will happen to this piece once it’s shipped?” More out of interest than anything. Auctioning has been amazing for my business, but I do feel a little put-out that I don’t get to meet my buyers. Again, I need to start attending craft shows. Until then, though, I’m making a game and a learning experience out of auctioning. Asking my questions, speculating, and then selling the thing I think most people would want to buy. Keep making the items that seem popular, and try to read into growing trends.

One thing I’ve noticed that isn’t as popular as jewelry, but fetches a much higher price, is original art. Even prints sell fairly well. Those are the people I wish I could meet the most. I’ve never been one to buy art myself, but watching and talking to the bidders who do buy it is making become more interested in purchasing some for myself. An original piece can sell in the 100’s, and I would imagine something that consistently sells that high must be worth a looking into. What can someone else’s fine art do for me? Perhaps I’ll buy some and see what happens.
As for selling it, however, I know what that does for me. I’ve never before thought of selling the art that I wanted to make. Something that wasn’t created with anyone but myself in mind. Something where I can actually express myself as freely as I want to….and people will pay for it. I’ll take it!
I sold my first mixed media altered canvas for $30. Definitely on the lower end, but then why am I so thrilled? Probably because I was basically paid to enjoy myself. Something else that has a market – fine photography prints. Well, looky there! Something else I absolutely love to do. Never before has living off of my art been an actual consideration. Artists always die poor, and usually drunk, in alleys, right? Maybe not anymore…maybe I could be an artist. With the internet came a whole new avenue of publicity, exposure, and profit. Am I being materialistic about it? Of course, because I’m trying to make a living just like anyone else, and the question on if I can do that or not has to be answered with another – will it sell? So I’m pouring into research about these people who live on doing what they love.

Wish me luck on this endeavor.