Monday, December 7, 2009

one of a kind chicago

i'm sitting here in chicago waiting to board my train to new york, and thought i'd get a few thoughts down. the show i just finished was decent; i learned a lot of stuff and will try this show again next year. first, because i was in the etsy pavilion i had half the footage as other artist, so that made my sales not as high, i didn't have the room to have the inventory to really bring in the money. i also learned that i need a LOT more inventory to make more money at this show. my new natural line seemed very popular too. all this will help me for next years show.
i also have to note that at this show i was accosted by a sheep farmer. she came into my booth and asked about where i got my wools from, so i told her. some i get from local and independent farmers, but most i buy through ashland bay, which is a wholesaler out of portland. they use wool from all over the world. the farmer got pretty confrontational with me, lecturing me on the need to use local, domestic farmers, which i don't disagree with. but i told her until local farmers can be competitive with price and consistent with quality, it doesn't make business sense to buy it. she then argued back that if more people bought domestically, then the prices would be competitive. ok. we then moved on to the silk fabric i use, which to my knowledge isn't available by domestic mills. she gave me a breif history lesson about the US being the largest manufacture of silk... during the civil war! fantastic, does that help me now?
here's the point: i'm producing a product that is from natural and renewable fibers, recycled goods, using eco-friendly dyes, made by domestic artisan hands, my own; how much more do i need to pile onto my product? how much more cost can i really pass on to the consumer? she tells me they make less money by using domestic wool in there products, ok but i'm still waiting tables to pay bills- how much less can i make? i wished i had asked her if the wool blazer she wore was from domestic wool or if her blue jeans had been constructed within the US, i bet not. does she go into macy's and lecture the sales clerks about domestic fiber in their products? why does the responsibility fall on my shoulders as a fiber artist?
that's all i have to say to that
more to come from NYC......

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

some new work

here of some photos of some new work! i've been developing a new line of work which uses naturally colored wools and alpacas. with these colors, i have started partial felting in designs. that's how i've made some of my newer work which has stars, honeycomb, circles, etc. designs in the felt.
people seem to really like the colors and the natural aspect, but the price is much higher than my dyed work. there's more work involved and also the fiber alone cost substantially more!

so here are some photos of the natural stuff. all the following work in un-dyed, naturally color wools and alpacas!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

working hard

the past few weeks have been spent getting ready for my winter show circuit. they are
winterfair-cincinnati nov 27-29
one of a kind-chicago dec 3-6
one of a knid- new york dec 10-13

if you'll be in the area, stop by and say hi!

here some new pieces i've been working on. the bottom brown one is one of my favorites. i made it for myself, but decided i need to be selling all i can right now, so it is listed at my etsy shop and will be for sale at the shows, until it sells!

Monday, July 20, 2009

1 year down

this past weekend was the jackson hole art fair, which was my first juried show. so this marks my 1 year anniversary. instead of looking back, i choose to look forward. here are some things to work towards:
1. making a profit! separate from my other forms of income; my craft supporting my craft!
2. work towards outsourcing some of the work: photos, garment tags, people to help with bookkeeping, money, all that!
3. develop new products; set time aside every week to do some product development.
4. keep working to get organized!! some days i'm really good, then my portfolio blows up! (which is its current condition)
5. get into some better shows. after working with the howard allen group this summer i can honestly say i will never work with them again! i'm going to try and do better research to which shows to try for.
lastly 6. keep trying! which is all any of us can say right now!

so i need a break from the fiber, going into wedding world instead. i'll be posting photos as soon as i can find the camera cord to upload the pictures!
more later

Friday, July 3, 2009

green show

its early morning here out west and i'm preparing to leave for the second show this summer, a green show in frisco co. here are some green pieces i'm taking. these hats are made from all natural, un-dyed wool and alpaca. this is something i've been wanting to do for sometime and am thinking about offering a new line of natural colored goods.
this second group is again naturally colored wool, but i then did a dye bath with walnuts husks. walnut is one of the few natural dyes that does not require a mordant (primer). some of the mordants are very toxic, but most think natural dyes are greener
more from the show later

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

first show down

i've just returned from my first show of the summer season; in vail co. here's my new booth layout that corey and i built!!! don't be fooled, as i did most of the carpentry work on these wood boxes. corey build brackets and got hardware on them. i really like the flower pots/cement weights needed to keep the tent on the ground.
the show was not so hot, i did sell some (not enough to recover my cost), but some of my neighbors had no sales! so it could have been worse. i was not expecting much from this summer, but i was hoping for a little more than this first show provided!
i have been in a real bad mood since my return and i'm not sure way. this week i have a lot of commitments and work to do and little time, so my stress level is high. but another thing is i'm not sure if doing these shows is really my thing. it takes so much time away from your studio and work. and not just the time at the show, but travel and then getting resettled once back in the studio, it takes days! so i think that is frustrating me. also the summer tourist season is in full swing, so traffic is high and people are everywhere.
i don't know why people forget to pack their brains when they go on vacation!!
as a new month is on the horizon, i'm planning to make myself write every weekday this month, just cause i feel like i need one more thing!
more tomorrow!

Friday, May 22, 2009

surface work

this week i've been doing a little 2D surface work for my wedding accessories and my dress. here are some photos.
i was trying to match the swatch; i think it came out pretty close. i'm not sure how to get the 'dusty' gray to fully match, but it should work.

i'm dying this for my dress, but am second guessing it; it needs more worki like how much darker the first photo looks; i just need to keep working it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

where did may go?!

it seems like just last week i was in ohio for a family thing in late april, next thing i know its memorial day weekend! haaaaaaaaa!!!!!
so much to do! so little time. i have 6 shows lined up for this summer:
vail, co june 26-28
frisco, co july 4 &5
jackson hole july 17 -19
boulder, co july 25 &26
frisco, co aug 8 &9
jackson hole, wy aug 14-16
in addition to getting inventory together, i'm also redoing my booth!! exciting and over whelming

Sunday, April 12, 2009

back to the studio

spring break is over! everyone will be returning to school or their house. so its time to hit the studio hard this week. i'm hoping to get beck on-line this week and continue to have new work coming.
my summer schedule is getting finalized too. the past week i heard from 5 of the 6 shows i applied to: 3 acceptance 2 rejections- which i'm taking hard as they where the first shows i've been rejected from so far. but its going to happen at some point. so i have applied to a few more for the summer and am also looking into shows for later in the year.
first on the to-do list is get professional photos! which i think may be one reason i was rejected. also work on my booth design and layout. time to apply some of the info i learned in philadelphia!
brand new week, no guest, no step kids- studio here i come!

Friday, March 27, 2009

working away

this past week i've got some work done, not as much as i'd like... but is it not also that way.
i have a few more scarves in the works and some new ideas that have come to me recently. i feel 'early april' breathing down my neck. as that is when my new works premier!
on another note things have happen (which i will not detail here) in my life to get me thinking about what comes along with the talent of being an artist.
people and society view us as an anomaly on display. like animals in the zoo.... 'look how interesting, so beautiful, how exotic....' but only with the security of glass to separate themselves; elevated to a higher platform. people are envious, interested, but distant at the same time.
i have friends both fellow artist/ craftsman and those are not artistically inclined, and with the later group there's this difference... like the disclosure at the bottom of a document, 'she an artist'. like it some separate classification of people (and maybe we are.) but yet these same people go the art fairs and other arts events; interested only from the safety glass.
its like society and those in it hate to have us around but can't live without us; without someone to put a twist on ways to view our world. almost as if we're a threat to how a 'normal' society should be, how people should live their lives; while we feel the freedom to live as we so want and believe.... how scary!

Friday, March 13, 2009

a little taste

apparently my foul mood carried over into today and is preventing me from getting stuff done. i'm feeling very artistically frustrated today. i'm hoping to work it out here soon today. i'm feeling overwhelmed with all that needs to be done, so i end up not doing anything. i need to get a list together and prioritize!!!
here are some photos of one of the new designs i've been working on. this piece will be donated to a local art auction. i like this design and will continue to development more.
the hat also got donated; as a set, 'my thoughts in blue'

Thursday, March 12, 2009

one of those days

today was another day where i was so busy... not working in my studio. i have found that i have a real struggle trying to find a balance between studio time and being a 'homemaker'. (right now i'm hating that term). having two teenage stepsons, one that lives with us full time is a full time job within its self... at least that's how it feels some days. there's such a fine balance of time in days and it frustrates me when all i want to do is get some work done and other responsibilities pull me away.
but for right now i am listening to my song-du-jour obsession 'the cocktail slippers' st valentine's day massacre!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

hard at...not work

i'd like to say i've been so busy in my studio that i haven't even had time to write, but alas, untrue. the past few days have been filled with getting a new used car, which is a good thing, both for business and personal. but my days have been filled with business junk. sometimes i feel the art of running a business takes so much from the business of my art. i am looking into recruiting help, i.e. an accountant who can help with my bookkeeping. also i'm looking into ordering new and nicer label tags, as i've been making my own. and am looking into other ways to save my precious studio time by outsourcing the stuff that i can.
i have been working on some new pieces though!!! look for them here in a few weeks!!
tomorrow should be fun as a local garment making company is closing it doors and selling its inventory... so thread, zippers, yards and yards o'fabric here i come!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

bold decisions

as of this morning i've decided to make the bold decision to temporarily close up my etsy shop and website as i'm planning entire over haul of my current line and working on new pieces. i am choosing to keep it closed until early april, which is when i was planning on releasing my new work.
i really feel this is needed as am trying to raise my level of craftsmanship and artistic quality in my goods. this morning i was looking at my current inventory and realised how unhappy i am of the work i've been trying to sell is. so i decided to pull it all!
i'm looking forward to reworking things and working on new goods.
i'm hoping this will help me with what direction to take my company and artwork. i'm still interested in wholesale and might used my current work as my wholesale line and work on more one-of-a-kind pieces to retail my self, under my name, not SlimPik'enDesign; i'll save that for wholesale.....maybe?!
i'm guessing this is coming from the classes in phili..... damn education!
anyway i will of course keep my blog going.... as i'm sure i will need it now more then ever to get my artist woes off my chest!
check back for the newest developments

Friday, February 27, 2009

final thoughts

this is the last post on the buyers market classes. overall, i'm very glad i attended the classes and would recommend the classes to any artist looking to become more professional in their art. the classes and the info learned has been running through my head since we returned. there was definitely a discouraging note among the vendors at this show, "worst show ever, no sales",etc...
but again i'm glad i went.
i have also decided to make some drastic changes to my company. for example i raised my prices. i've decided to take my pride in my craft and price my goods in accordance. my goods are all individual and take time, knowledge and talent to make. it will be interesting to see what the response to the price change is. i think the reason i feel like i'm not making any money is because my goods are way under priced. i'm not wal-mart, so my goods should not look or be priced so!
i'm also working on some new designs and new products to add to company....which will be reveled on april 3.
be sure to check back to see whats new

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

buyers market pt. 2

on the second day of classes we learned about gallery relationships and pricing. both were very informative. i learned ways to get galleries to order from you, good ways to follow up, marketing tools. the pricing class was also great. i learned my prices will most likely change, upward. i learned many other things in this class, but that is definitely the main point that has implanted in my head.
in other news today, check out the visitors that have been chillin' in my backyard all day
(those are moose)
also today i've been working on getting photos taken and hopefully add more to my etsy store in the next few days. my goals are to post items daily- to get more traffic and make some sales!!i'm trying so new photos, just from the eyes up, not the whole face. what do you think?
tomorrow- my final thoughts on the buyers market

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

home sweet wyoming

last week corey and i visited phili, for the buyers market training classes.
(well, i was taking classes, corey just wondered the city)
ABI works with buyers market and the rosen group to help prepare artist for the jump into wholesale. my classes consisted of gallery relationships, wholesale 101, booth design, pricing, and many group panel discussions.
wholesale 101 and booth layout were both presented by bruce baker. he was a very dynamic and engaging speaker. i definitely got info from his classes which applied to both wholesale and retail.
his class also helped me to determine i'm not ready to move into wholesale yet. i feel i need more time refining my line and also expanding it. one point stressed by more than one speaker was to have a wholesale only line and a retail line, to prevent competition with the galleries. this is something i want to do before i attend a trade show.
the booth design class also had great info for my summer lineup of retail shows, which i just finished applying for. the line up (if excepted) is:
jackson hole art fair, july and august
sun valley
park city
now i just need to find a way to get a little cash flow so to pay for the booth fees!!!
more on the buyers market tomorrow!!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

thank you thank you

i'd like to announce that i've received a lovely grant from the state of wyoming! this grant will pay in full for me to attend the buyers market wholesale training class in feb. in phili!
this is great as money is tight (for everyone i'm sure) and because this puts me one step closer to my goal of becoming a vendor for this show by feb. 2010!!!!!
so a big thanks to the state of wyoming for this very helpful grant!!!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

office work

today is a day filled with paperwork, bill paying, web stuff.
so exciting!
but, one highlight, today is also the day for wedding stuff, which is fun.... sometimes. today we get to decide on a guess list and reception stuff.... so kind of tedious.
but... please check out our wedding blog. i figure about twice a week i'll try to up date and post stuff.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

scary, very scary

over this past weekend, i had a scary but very fortunate experience. i was up early Saturday morning, around 5:45am ( i am a breakfast waitress too) and went into our garage looking for something and was meet by a garage full of smoke.
the garage is used mostly for storage and my dye studio, not for storing our cars. in my dying of fabric i use portable hot plate burners, which one had shorted out, heated it self up and started to burn the hat set on top of it. luckily, wool is naturally self-extinguishing and had been used for fireman's blankets, so the fiber had just smoldered. which is very lucky as we have many chemicals stored in the garage and our closes smoke detector is not working, so the situation could have turned for the worst.
so just a quick reminder of those of us that work with heat, flame, chemical, etc. to be cautious with our equipment. i would have never had thought of my burners shorting out and almost burning down our house, but you can bet they'll never be left plugged in when not in use from now on.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

hello new year

i realize its been the new year for a few weeks now (where does the time go?) but i still feel the need to acknowledge it. so here we are. my current activities consist of deciding what shows to apply to for the summer season. also planning my trip to phili for the buyer's market visiting artist program. afterward, i will be one step closer to my goal of being a vendor at this show by next year!!
the timing is good, as i feel i still need a little time getting my work more refined to move into wholesaling and this training course should help!
corey and i are in total wedding planning madness right now, but it should slow down here once we get contracts signed and everything lined up! i'm going to start a wedding blog, if anyone is interested in seeing whats going on with the wedding. also a way for people to rsvp without all the paper and postage trash!
on a more serious note, i'm sure most artist and crafters have by now seen something on the new laws going into effect in feb. the consumer product safety improvement act- this is very serious changes that will put most crafters out of business. i'm asking everyone, artist or not, to take action and sign petitions, talk to others, just spread the word and get others involved! here are some important links
etsy's site
CNN money site
a blog
and if you just enter CPSIA petition in google a whole list comes up.
even if you think this don't effect you or your craft, don't forget those of us who's it does!