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...feed your soul with art & creativity!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Is Etsy an Amazon Wanna Be?

I try very hard to keep my thoughts and blog upbeat and positive.  But something happened today/yesterday that really has be irked.

As an artist, I chose to have an account on Etsy.com to post and attempt to sell my artworks.  Over the past few years, there have been many changes to Etsy.  Some of those changes have been for the better and improved the look and feel of the site.  Others have really veered off course from a site that promotes art and crafts to what is beginning to feel like an Amazon Wanna Be.

The categories by which items are often found by searchers were drastically altered by Etsy staff and so many of my items from each of my four stores, Bohemian Art Cafe, Espresso Bar Designs, Ephemera Bistro and Flower Child Trends were completely obliterated.  Most of the categories I had previously used don't even exist on Etsy today as an option any more and just about every type of glass anything that I sell does not have a way to be categorized other than a very general "Arts" or "Supplies."

I'm so frustrated because I have spent so many hours working on setting up my stores, making sure that each of the four shops are offering specific types of items that I make without overlap, and just listing the items which takes hours when you take into consideration taking good photos and correcting photos to look as good as they can, describing and going through the insertion questions for each and every item.

I have to admit that for the past couple of years I have felt that Etsy was moving more to a mass produced market and away from the grass roots market of small artisans and crafters--so many more suppliers who make it impossible for small suppliers to compete, you can't leave negative feedback for them if you have a bad experience because they immediately give you negative feedback and fight to get your honest feedback removed so they look like they give good service even when they don't.

At 20 cents per listing (which comes to 5 cents per month) the question for me is whether the aggravation I feel is worth the admittedly small amount of money spent when I am having to constantly market my store so it even shows up anywhere near the front of search algorithms and not buried in the middle...I don't have time to join a bunch of teams and go around giving feedback and doing all the craziness that apparently some people do to make sales.

So, that being said, while I decide whether or not Etsy is for me, I've decided that I will be expanding my Square Market shop to include items that I have been posting on Etsy, as well as on Art Fire and Bonanza.  It's just such silliness and I don't have time for the silliness.  It takes enough time just to list an item or two a day.  I will be opening my shop on these three other sites beginning at the beginning of March.

I'd welcome thoughts from any readers who are also on Etsy and what you think about the new category changes, how you think they are going to affect you, etc.  Yes, I DID give Etsy feedback about what I found to be very problematic and am not just sitting here whining without trying to contact them first...but chances are they are not going to change it back to the old categories.  It is not, to my knowledge, even on the table as an option from them.  So irked I am and considering my options as to whether the Etsy as Amazon Wanna Be is the place for me to sell my artworks. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Art likes to be seen...

Bottle cap magnet "share", (c)SZing, 2015
Art, like pearls, likes to be seen.  It does not prefer being shoved into a dark, zippered portfolio.  It does not like to be ignored.  Art likes the light of day.  It likes to have eyes upon it, admiring, questioning, examining it.
Do you have artwork that you've hidden away?  Today is the day to take it out and share it with someone else. Consider putting it in a frame and on a wall in your home or office.  Let it breathe.

One word of caution:  Choose carefully who you share it with, especially if you are not used to sharing your artwork.  Beware of sharing it with people who will tear you down, belittle it, or in any way make less of the art or you.  Choose to share it with someone who can appreciate your talents, who can appreciate your efforts, and who can nod and say, "I see your self-expression."

Monday, February 9, 2015

Use it...

Bottle cap magnet art. (c)SZing, 2015.

We all were born with an imagination.  Many of us had ours squashed early on by teachers, religious personnel, siblings, parents, friends, society at large...For some the imagination fell away rapidly--maybe living in a situation of squalor requiring so much effort to survive left no time for daydreaming.  For some, the imagination was so big that it scared others and they belittled or scolded it into submission.  A fortunate few retained their ability to imagine an use it regularly.

If you haven't imagined in a while, today is the day to bring your imagination out into the light of day.  Allow just five minutes, FIVE MINUTES, to let your mind play "let's pretend."  Pick something in your life you want to change, some area of your art you want to improve, maybe even a book you have locked inside that is ready to be brought out and put on the best seller list.  

Studies show that those who imagine themselves succeeding with their goals are more likely to do so.  Imagine what would happen if you called that magazine and got the writer's guidelines, or you contacted that art gallery about doing a show, or you submitted your application for an art residency.  Imagine how that  looks, feels, smells, what you feel like as that.  Imagine the most impossible seeming thing you can think of happening (choose a good thing since you are the one in control of the imaginings).  Your mind loves to be stretched and stimulated.  Imagine what could happen if....

Friday, February 6, 2015

Your Story...

Bottle cap magnet, (c)SZing, 2015.
We all have a story.  What is the story you are telling about and to yourself today?  Does it uplift you?  Does it make you feel like you can climb tall mountains or slay giant dragons?  If it doesn't, here is a secret.

You can change your story.  You can actually consciously choose what your story is.  Do you want to be an artist?  Begin to tell the story that you are an artist.  Immerse yourself in the story. What do artists do?  They make art.  So go make some art.  Every day, tell your story that you are an artist and go make some art.  It doesn't matter if it is "good", whether it "sells", whether anyone else ever sees it.  The process of telling the story over and over and doing the things that fit with the story will, in time, be proven to be the Truth.

This works for everything, not just being an artist.  It works for being a writer, being the best mommy or daddy ever, being an excellent teacher, being an excellent chef, losing weight, learning a new language, being in love with the love of your life...it works with anything so choose what story you want to experience.  Then be that. It is, after all, your story. (and I'm sticking to that.)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Goals and Whimsy...

LSacha's Whimsical Boy and Bunny from Whimsical Playshop Class
photo copyright SZing 2014-2015
We humans love to learn new things and expand our repertoire of skills and talents.  We also love to achieve the goals we set.  In February, you can do both.

Wednesday nights, Feb. 4 through April 22, 2015 from 6:30 -8:30 Eastern Time

Creating the Life You Want Mastermind Group
$120 for the entire series of sessions.

Bring your dreams, your goals, those things you have on your bucket list to complete but just have not gotten to...

This is a facilitated mastermind group.  You don't have to be physically present.  We can do a Video Skype or use Facebook Chat group for those who are not anywhere near Deltona FL and want to participate.

Whimsical Sally (c)SZing, 2014-2015
Student Kim Possible creates "His and Her" Whimsical Superhero portraits
in Whimsical Art Playshop class (c)2014 SZing

On Saturday, February 7, 2015 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.  A Whimsical Art Playshop to explore the style of Whimsy--learn how to draw and paint whimsical people, animals, houses and backgrounds for art journals, as a focal point of mixed media artworks, for greeting cards, or just for yourself to completely let loose and try something new without any pressure.  $150 for new Whimsical students (with me) or $125 if you are one of my returning students ready to learn more Whimsical methods and techniques. All materials and supplies provided.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

We are not limited...

Some people, particularly academic artists, subscribe to the idea that artists should limit themselves to a singular medium and a single style.  I do not subscribe to this belief system because what I Know to be True is that we are unlimited beings with unlimited creativity.  It does not require such singularity to express creatively and effectively.  

What is required is to express regularly (#doartdaily) and allow inspiration to come from the act of creating--to be in the moment in the process.  

The following artworks are just a smidgen of the different styles of art and mediums that I work with. Each one is a unique statement but would not be as effective if I had limited myself to a specific style or medium.  The moral of this story?  Go play.  Experiment.  Try new things you never thought of trying and play with mediums you are afraid of using.  Magic will happen.  Trust yourself. We are not limited....#InspiredArtProject2015

Love is a Choice, 24" x 36" tempera and acrylic on canvas.
Primitive/naive style
 (c) SZing 2015

Dream Mesa, 16" x 24" Tempera on Bristol paper.
Whimsical style
(c)SZing 2015.

Off the Grid, 5" x 7" Lacquer, tempera, and acrylic on Bristol paper.
Abstract style.
(C)SZing 2015

Across the Bridge, 10" x 16" watercolor on watercolor paper.
Impressionist style
(c)SZing 2015