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...feed your soul with art & creativity!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Slay a Dragon

Today I am going to slay a dragon.  You know what a dragon is....it's that fiery beasty that rears its ugly head and demands attention when there are other things you would like to be doing...like frolicking in a field of daisies or floating in a secluded lake....
Where to begin?  I'm exhausted just looking at it.
(c)SZing, 2013
To slay a dragon is a daring and courageous act.  You can sometimes get burned.  It requires enormous amounts of effort and stamina.  You may even have to train and prepare before the battle with the dragon begins.  

To slay a dragon is to remove an impediment from your journey.

Today, my dragon is to make significant progress in moving my studio into the house and at the same time, moving my sweetie's wood turning studio out to the outdoor studio.  I've been making very slow headway--perhaps a scale or two at a time on the dragon--a box here, a box there...and then I become overwhelmed.

Today I am going out to empty cabinets and prepare them to be brought indoors.  Today I am going to clear off a table and bring it indoors.  Thus making space for his tools and materials to go out.  Since this particular dragon has the magical power to basically suck the energy out of me in no time and leave me turning helplessly in circles...my plan is to work quickly.  To make progress in two hours and then leave the dragon so damaged that when I return tomorrow, it will be so disabled as to not be able to harm me.

My goal is to have my studio spaces completely intact and ready to work/teach by not later than the end of May and to have his work materials out there so he can begin at the same time.

Beginning to get order...slaying that dragon of a disaster.
(c)SZing, 2013

This is a big dragon.  I have accumulated much "stuff" and work in multiple medium.  Those mediums are not light nor small (glass).  I sometimes wish I just did one small think like watercolor painting...How easy it would be for me to be moved and productive.  But, alas, I am of the ilk that requires significant mental stimulation and am curious about so many things that I've developed talents for each of my favorite mediums.  Even lightening the load of supplies is a challenge as I continue to think, "I know I will use that."  Inevitably when I give away something, shortly thereafter I wish I had it because I've happened upon the most remarkable manner in which to use it.  So other than removing palmetto bugs, ginormous spiders, frogs and lizards from my materials before they enter the house, there is very little else that is being gotten rid of. This entails a very special type of magical trickery--consolidating materials so that more fits in a smaller space.  I have floor to ceiling shelving in one room. It is amazing how much material is stored there AND that I can actually see what I have to work with.

There really will be an organized art studio space in here soon. (c) SZing, 2013

If you have a dragon you have to slay, here are my top five hints for making it a successful venture:
1.  Be prepared with the right tools for the job.  (for me, this means boxes, gloves, trash can)
2.  Keep your eye on the dragon and move swiftly. (Know what your end result goal for the day is and keep moving toward that--and know what your end end result is so you can eventually reach the end of your adventure.)
3.  Figure out a way to make it fun. Dance around the dragon. I listen to motivating music and I let myself be excited as if it is a holiday as I come across materials I haven't seen  or used in over a year.
4.  Be willing to relinquish some of the treasure to the dragon.  There are times when we may want to keep the entire treasure pit.  But being willing to let go of some of it will lighten the load, make us lighter and therefore more flexible on our feet, and even perhaps appease the dragon.
5.  Use the trash bucket.  Some people might think this means that as they get nauseous from the idea of getting rid of stuff they can up-chuck in the can. No. I mean....put stuff in it.  Yesterday I was able to let go of quite a bit of old papers and bits and bobs that really had gotten damaged, dirty and tangled and really weren't able to be used.  I also got rid of a big bit of stuff that a very industrious frog had pooped all over.  I have a simple rule...nothing with poop on it goes back into the new studio.  It feels like a good rule of thumb for me.  Also, no live critters get to enter the household domain, despite the fact that my felines would be happy to dispatch them.  The idea is to limit the amount of critter related screaming to none.

Okay...those are my tips for dragon slaying.  If you have a dragon....I wish you well on your adventure to slay it.  What I do know is that once this dragon is gone, my time, energy and focus will be available for much better and more creative activity.

I'm off to don my sword and armor.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Embracing the Thriving Artist Within

It's time for artists, myself included, to release the starving artist routine and to embrace a consciousness of embracing the thriving artist within.  It's time.

Making art is one thing.  Selling it successfully is an entirely different beastie.  Many artists have no or very little business experience.  Many artists are uncomfortable selling, some are nervous meeting new people and/or talking about themselves.  But there comes a point where your home has all the art it can hold.  You have all the jewelry one human can possibly wear.  Your family and friends and co-workers all have all the art from you they can fit into their house. And short of stock piling it or rotating it around, the next step is selling.  

I had a studio in a building with other artists.  I no longer have that luxury as there is nothing like that here (although I would love to create one).  I don't want the expense of overhead for a storefront.  I have opted for selling from my website/etsy/zazzle/bonanza...but I don't want to spend all of my time trying to make the sale.  I also have been experimenting with farmer's markets and craft shows, selling my art wholesale and having trunk shows, as well as teaching classes.  I have selected show cases where I place my work on consignment but I am very careful about where I place this work and to make sure I know the seller well.

My experiment with farmer's markets, flea markets and like (also online) is that the people who are attending are 1) not looking to purchase my items at all (looking for produce and that is it) and 2) if they look at my work, they want it at a yard sale/flea market price and want to dicker...which I don't do.  My prices are set based on my labor, my cost of materials, overhead and my profit x 2 for the retail price.  My wholesale prices are based on purchasing multiples of an item.  Let's face it, I have to make a living in order to be able to continue to not only do what I do, but to love to do what I do.  So, after six months of attending farmer's markets, I am out of that market business.  My experiment has taught me that these are not my buyers.  Time to move on.  There is no point in continuing now that I've realized that this is not the place for me.

Having come to that conclusion, I continue to experiment with what works and doesn't work.  I continue to select craft shows to try out (since I'm new to Florida I'm still finding out what works)...for example, a recent example of a show that did not work for me was for a really great non-profit and it featured a car show.  I sold nothing.  I had very few people even stop by my booth. There were only about 8 vendors at the show.  It dawned on me toward the end of the day that...these people were not here to shop.  Most probably didn't bring any cash or perhaps some didn't even have any disposable cash to spend.  They were there to look at cars.  Lesson learned.  I won't return next year.  Though the price of my booth was minimal, I still lost money from it, not to mention the loss of time spent getting to/setting up/and being there--this was time I could have spent in a better way.  

I'm still figuring it out.  And I have to admit, that the commitment of a blog can become a burden.  I don't want it to be.  I want it to be here because I love sharing my thoughts and experiences and my art.  And the social media...I don't want it to become a chore.  I want to enjoy sharing what I am working on.  The flip side is that I now realize that I have to be consistent with my contacts...and I apologize to those of you who check my blog regularly and find I haven't updated in a LONG time.  I'm going to get back to just enjoying at and hope that you will respond by sharing it with others.  

I'm ready to move back into the arena of thriving as an artist.  I embrace and welcome it.  I'm willing to do what needs to be done so I can continue to create my unique artworks.  I encourage other artists to consider embracing thriving.