Friday, June 24, 2011

Weekend Eye Candy - Small Gems Edition

Weekend Eye Candy - Small Gems Edition by lorahart
1. Citrine Twig Ring , 2. Seraphinite earrings, 3. Hommage à Georges Rodenbach (WIP) 14, 4. Rifle Ring V 2.0, 5. Setting 3, 6. i put some love inside, 7. Bezel Setting, 8. Ring a Day 93/365, 9., 10. 100_1934, 11. Fun Artisan Made, Bezel Set, Semi Precious Stone Ring - $499, 12. Titanium-Wedding-Band-2a, 13. Citrine and Sterling silver ring, 14. Incredibly Stylish with Movement, Diamond Bezel Set, Iolite and Diamond Fashion Ring, 18k w.g. - $500, 15. Precious Ethnicity, 16. chicken foot * flush set black Diamonds  Created with fd's Flickr Toys

I'm going to a beautiful town called Idyllwild near Palm Springs, California on Saturday for a week long class with Pauline Warg on Setting Small Gems. I'll be learning how to bezel, flush (gypsy) and jump ring set both faceted and cabochon, round and square under 5 mm stones! Note to self: pack visor!

Getting very excited. Vickie Hallmark and Dawn Miller are coming too. We're all roomies! Oh, the midnight gab sessions we'll have. Get ready desert. We're gonna heat you up!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Put Me In, Coach

With the announcement of both my and Tonya Davidson's new global teaching ventures, I thought it might be interesting to look into the origins of artist to artist learning opportunities.

Of course teaching, in and of itself, has been around for millennia. With every step we take, we are learning - with every move we make, we are teaching (sounds like a good song lyric). Parents teach their children new skills every minute of the day. New behaviors are learned through a lifetime of trial and error. But how did artisan teaching start?

Who knows really, but the origins may be in the ancient Greek story of Mentor, a friend of Odysseus of Trojan War fame. It's said that Odysseus asked Mentor to foster his son while he was away fending off Sirens and building big horsey siege engines.

In the 13th century, artisanal guilds were formal organizations that supported a number of workers under a protective umbrella. To become a member - young, typically teenage men/boys were required to thoroughly learn a specialized craft, moving from indentured apprentice to wage earning journeyman until finally acquiring the knowledge needed to complete a "masterpiece" which may or may not (depending on the economy) have earned  them the right and privilege to be accepted into the Guild as a master craftsman.

The word "coach" was first coined sometime in the late 19th century as sports teams coalesced into the professional organizations they are today. Then in the last two decades of the 20th century a new model was developed which saw professional people helping others through difficult, life changing or business related situations. Since then the coaching field has exploded and you can find one on one supporters for business, leadership, retirement, management, real estate and a plethora of other special interests. The short lived television show "Starting Over" with Rhonda Britten and Iyanla Vanzant brought the concept further into the public consciousness with a spiritual, personal point of view.

Although Tonya and I are offering the same type of artist/creative coaching, we each have our own focus and specialty. Tonya is one of the best business women I know. Before I joined PMC Connection as a Senior Instructor, I bought all my supplies from Whole Lotta Whimsy. As a matter of fact I was one of their biggest clients for a while there. There is no one who is better equipped to support and inform artists on the business of doing business than Tonya. Her holistic, multi module, large scale program is a total immersion on the nuts and bolts, left brain aspects of pursuing your art and building a profit.

My gentler, more personal Mentorial (mentor + tutorial = Mentorial) method is tailored to each individual artisan's specific concerns and dreams for their unique brand and lifestyle. I've started calling it "coaching à la carte". With this model, a craftsperson can explore a single aspect of their business at a time. Thinking about teaching? Or maybe you want to wholesale and are curious about the casting process. Perhaps you're stuck creatively and want some suggestions and encouragement to boost your right brain into high gear. Whatever your goal, I can help you brainstorm your way to success.

Two different approaches to the same end point. We each want you to excel in the way that's best for you!

As I grow my menu (remember the à la carte reference) I'll be adding e-books, helpful products and maybe even (someday) videos to my offerings. I'm working on my first book title and hope to have it on it's way to Etsy by the end of the summer.

In the meantime - Both Tonya and I, and the teachers and mentors in your own home towns and online, are here for you. All you have to do is whistle. You know how to whistle don't you (couldn't resist)?

Monday, June 20, 2011

What a Way to Start a Day!

I was thrilled to see my new "coaching à la carte" Mentorials featured in the PMC Connection newsletter this morning. I'm really excited about this new aspect of my business.

I've been teaching for about 9 years and can't imagine myself doing anything else. I love the pride and excitement I see in my students eyes when they create a beautiful work of art out of a little "lump of clay". I love to foster that excitement by encouraging them to move further and take their passion to the next level. I love it so much that I want to work with more students, in more locations and in more personal ways than I can by just staying in my home base comfort zone.

I know I've told you about my Mentorials on Etsy before. I'm happy to say they're off to a great start! My clients appreciate the one topic format. Together we're able to focus in on a single aspect of their business which helps to inspire targeted problem solving and creative solutions. It's a very inspiring format for me and a comfortable and easy to access location for my "ascending artists".

You'll be seeing this postcard image in print soon too! I've taken a big step by advertising in Metal Clay Artist Magazine and in the Easy Metal Clay issue of Jewelry Artist magazine, which will be out in August. Woo Hoo! 

And to celebrate I'd like to offer 10% off your first Mentorial. Convo me first and I'll adjust the listing for you. Include Ascending Artist in the subject line. Let's journey up your path to success together!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Just Goes to Show ya...

I'm so happy to be able to report that I had a great show! Now, just what does that mean?

My booth is conveniently located between the Men's and Women's rooms. Which you might think is a good thing. But I think that the horrible Feng Shui flushes my potential profits down the facility along with other matter.

I teach almost every weekend and don't put a lot of energy into selling my work. I only do this one show, which is put on twice a year. I call it my hobby show. So, I have different criteria for judging what makes a good show than others might.

This booth space is the smallest in the entire show. Only 5' x 6'. Good on the wallet and excellent for someone who doesn't have that many pieces to display. My new set up was perfect and allowed viewers to look at my wares without the usual crowding that happens at table booths.

• I made more than twice my booth and expenses. Maybe even three times (haven't done my finances yet). Because I bought new display items, I'm counting that expenditure in my break even figure. Most information I've seen suggests that five times your booth fee is the minimum "take" to aspire to.

I used earthquake putty to attach the laminated photographs to the cardboard pedestals.

• Friday (always a slow day) I made two big sales. Yay! Saturday was a fabulous day with 7 great sales. Sunday was a fun (but tiring) socializing day with only one little pair of earrings leaving the nest all day long. Three days is too much for my old body I think, and with my lower energy on the last day - the energy of my booth also flagged and visitors to the craft market felt it and weren't inclined to look my way.

I got the little battery powered LED lights at the same lightbulb store where I found 6500 K daylight bulbs for the Ikea floor lamps.  

• Lots of friends and fans dropped by to visit which is always energizing and inspirational. Thanks. You know who you are. ;D

Using black lentils or rice seemed like a great idea, but it's messy and the jewelry tends to sink down into the grain. Especially when customers like to poke it down intentionally. I guess even adults like to poke and prod unusual material to see how it reacts. Sigh.
• I've done this show enough times that I feel a part of the community of vendors. As I walked around the show before it started, I was greeted by artists I used to admire as an attendee.

Love the little plastic stands for my rings, but amused that customers tried on said rings without bothering to detach aforementioned stands.
• I got lots of admiring comments, good long looks and interest in my eclectic work from attendees and vendors alike. And that always adds up to a successful enterprise.

Too many folks thought the Look Book was a freebie and I replaced it with postcards on the second day. The wrought iron screen is there to act as some kind of a barrier or separation from the men's room door.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Weekend Eye Candy - Booth Shot Edition

Today is the first day of the Contemporary Crafts Market. I can't wait to take a picture of my new booth set up. I think it turned out really well. Wish me luck!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Prep Please

I'm getting ready for a show this weekend at the Contemporary Craft Market. This is the only show I do, usually twice a year, and I'm really looking forward to it. The CCM is a wonderful, high end, craft show filled with textiles, ceramics, glass, jewelry (of course), art furniture, and more. No imported objects allowed.

I had photos printed and laminated at Staples, then used earthquake putty to attach them to the pedestals.  The spot where my booth is has lovely wood paneled walls that I'm not allowed to touch! So this was my make-do way of displaying pictures of my work.

I ordered two new pedestals for my tiny 5' x 6' booth and will supplement those with lightweight furniture from home. My previous set up involved Ikea screw on legs and a piece of 2' x 6' pine from the hardware store. I loved the rustic look, but putting the legs on and off and moving a 6' board by myself finally got to be too much. The Easy Pedestals are made of corrugated cardboard and fold for easy transportation. Wood plaques from the craft store (Michael's) will feature the jewelry.

I'm a do it yourself kind of gal. I also make my own price tags. I hate the way commercial ones look on handmade jewelry. I punch a 1/2" hole out of black construction paper and use a piece of whatever heavy thread is in the sewing box. Last time it was pretty gold cord I used for an embroidered pillow years ago. This time it's just plain black string. I was thinking that the tags look a bit like a cartoon bomb with the fuse about to be lit! But that will change (hopefully) when I add the price with a silver or white pen.

This is all very last minute. 'Cos that's the way I evidently roll. Unfortunately. And I still have errands to run. Get some black lentil beans, find another daylight bulb... Luckily my friend Dawn is helping me set up my booth, so maybe it'll get done faster so I can get those errands out of the way and finish making chains for a couple of necklaces. Tonight. For the show tomorrow. Sigh.

I certainly hope to see some of my local readers at the show. It's three days and you can download a free pass for two, so there's really no good excuse not to come. ;D

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The 29 Steps

How do you find inspiration when your creativity seems to flag? What tricks do you have to jump start your artistic tendencies? Sometimes I wonder if I spend too much of the work day practicing my favorite avoidance techniques - playing with the kitties, checking in on Oprah (don't have that distraction anymore), or surfing Face Book. I don't respect the time I spend doing "nothing". I think I should be productive at least 8 hours a day. But according to this list, doing nothing *is* doing something. Yay me!

How many of these tips have you tried?