Monday, November 15, 2010

Handmade Division's Talk about blog - Nov. Edition - Talk about one/some teachers/mentors/masters you'd like to study with

photo via david huang

It is time for this month's installation of one of my street team's - Handmade Division - Talk about Blog. It is similar to the EtsyMetal Blog Carnival. Each month a topic is given and we all write about that topic. It is great fun to see all the different variations of the same topic.

This month's topic is:
Talk about one/some teachers/mentors/masters you'd like to study with.

Initially - I almost didn't even sign up for this b/c my first answer was "I have no idea!" I tend to like to work things out on my own, 'learn the hard way', which I know is silly. I just don't often look around at people's work and really delve in to what they do - and then think I'd like to learn from them. I guess I am more drawn to work of people who do things that are quite different from my work. So the idea of studying with one of these people hasn't necessarily ever been a desire. However... I did think of someone - so it makes this topic much easier!!

When I was in school - the semester before I started the program - the chasing and repousse class was taught. And it wasn't taught again until after I was done. So sad! I did make a few chasing tools - but not having a great idea of what I would be doing with them, it felt kind of pointless. At one point, I asked one of my teachers if they would show me how for an indepth project we were given. Sadly - he told me to go find a book and learn on my own. I had a friend in class show me the basics and played with it a little on my own. Since I was young and in school and learning so many techniques all in a short period of time, I never truly learned how to do it. When I started my own studio there were other things I was interested in more, so once again, it has been put on the back burner. When I went to the SNAG conference in Savannah a few years ago I saw David Huang's work in person and was utterly amazed. I honestly remember very few other people's work! So he is one person I could think of that has mastered a technique I would like to learn one day. And I'd love to see his fabulous solar powered studio!

Make sure to check out the other participating members:

Andes Cruz
Nancy Dale
Tosca Teran
Lisa Hopkins Design
Rickson Jewellery
Sand Fibers
Emily Watson
Thomasin Durgin
WATTO Distinctive Metal Wear

Monday, November 8, 2010

EtsyMetal Blog Carnival 11.8.10: Business Success Secrets

It's time for the EtsyMetal Blog Carnival!

Business Success Secrets: What does it mean to you to be "successful" in business as an artist? How do you walk the line between creativity and profitability? What is the best thing you've done for your business?

What a fantastic topic!

When I was just starting out, I felt successful when I started earning enough to completely cover all my bills and quit putting myself further in to debt. Of course, the more successful I have become, the more that definition changes. I felt even more successful when I started earning enough that all of my bills were paid and all of my debt was gone. Being able to have extra money beyond covering the bills was/is huge. Being able to buy something fun with money I have, and being able to save! (oh my goodness, is this what it is to be an adult??)

As far as walking the line between creativity and profitability - I think I am the wrong person to ask at this point. Most of what I sell now are custom wedding rings. Most are designs that I have been making over and over. It feels more fun and creative to actually being making them individually. It keeps me from feeling like a total factory. I do get to be creative with truly custom designs - but for the most part, I think I have been focusing on 'becoming successful'. As my business has grown - the demand from the customers has been wonderful, but it has also, for the most part, kept me in the land of production. At some points, I've felt my artistic creativity has dried up a bit. I am creative in ways of becoming more efficient, trying new tools and new ways of doing things. But new "creative" work has taken a bit of a back seat. I think I am fairly business oriented and enjoy 'running a business' (most days!), but finding that balance can be difficult. There is constant readjustment. But I guess that is true with just about everything.

I do think one of the best, most recent things I've done for my business is to become more focused. Opening up a wedding ring only shop has helped that part of my business grow and helps to keep me a bit more focused. I have let the 'regular jewelry' side of my business rest for awhile, mostly because of time and energy constraints! Though the list of customers can sometimes be overwhelming, it is easier for me to work that way than to have many wholesale and/or consignment accounts, making lost of 'random' jewelry that I hope will sell and creating lots of stock that I have to store. For me, that is less enjoyable than working directly with a customer to create something meaningful.

Though I haven't quite made it there yet - I'm hoping that by focusing my business in that one direction, I can start to let me artistic creativity come out in fun ways on random jewelry projects. We'll see! :)

Make sure to check out all the other participating bloggers this month!


victoria takahashi / experimetal
Nina Gibson