Sunday, September 21, 2008

Helping Each Other

As I've stumbled along learning about internet commerce, self promotion, and social networking, I have noticed the ways people help each other along the way. Now that I have this blog, I hope to have a 'blog roll' or list of blogs I frequent, along with links to web pages. There are probably more ways I can help you along with whatever it is that you do.

I would like to do posts about 'featured artists' now and again. This would include your write up and/or mine, links to your website, blog, flickr photo album -- whatever it is you'd like to promote. Perhaps I'll even interview you.

I do have high hopes to start doing some sort of pod cast or radio type thingy... very inspired by what I've seen some folks doing lately in these areas.

So if you are interested in being listed or featured, please let me know. I am open to anything even loosely art related. Writing, music, dance, theatre, performance...anything to do with arts and the environment, craftism, upcycling, health...challenge me. I can probably connect the art theme to just about anything.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

New Gourd Friends

Pictured is Cool Joe Penguin Giant Gourd by Barefoot Gourds. I just got back from a brief and wonderful visit with these folks at their farmer's market booth.

A few months back at the market, I noticed a husband and wife team had some adorable and highly creative painted gourd toys, decorations, birdhouses, and even jewelry made of tiny gourds. I was pretty impressed with their funkiness and creativity. Most importantly, they made me smile. So I started a conversation about, because I am so enthusiastic about it!

When I saw them again today, they had so many new and wonderful pieces! Many are Halloween themed, all are playful and unique.

Turns out they now have a shop on etsy! They are Barefoot Gourds. Keep in mind when viewing their items: in my opinion, the photos on etsy don't capture the wonder of wheeling around a little creature such as a smiling gourd whale. If you are a local person, stop by the market to see their work in person (some are characters as tall as a large child!)

Looking at those gourds made my day. Will and I were both under the weather and had to cancel our weekend plans out of town. I figured since I was here and we need to eat, I'd go to the market. It's amazing how just a little smiling about art can help you feel better both physically and mentally.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Hey there readers, cohorts, co-conspirators, peers, family and friends,

It's so nice.... finally starting a blog related to my business as an artist. This seems as good a time as any. I suppose I'll jump right in with an update of what I've been doing artistically.

Earlier this year, I set up a virtual shop. It's now easier to share my recent art with friends and family afar, and finding customers who appreciate it. It also serves as a good way to organize, document and categorize the things I am making.

Primarily a painter and 2-d artist in the past, I started making polymer clay jewelry and small scale sculpture to sell in the shop. I figured it would prove less expensive to create and ship. I hadn't made jewelry since I moved to San Francisco in 1991. Beginning again was an interesting process. I learned some things about how memories are stored in our muscles. Or at least it seems like it.

I have so much to say about etsy in general, the friends who helped me get started there, the indie crafts movement.... ahh, plenty of fodder for future blogs.

So far, the shop is not profitable financially. However, it is extraordinarily profitable as a learning tool, and an endless source of inspiration and ideas involving creativity, marketing, and the business of art. It just happened to be the right impetus to get me selling again. Several years ago I had sworn off the commerce part of my art. Again, that's another story, I think I'd better save it for another post, or maybe I'll just move on and be happy that I'm finally enjoying this aspect of being an artist!

Though I find the virtual world of the internet engrossing beyond belief, It has been important for me to simultaneously put a foot out into the real world of the arts. Off and on for the last 8 years, I have been on somewhat of a hiatus from the workforce and the more vibrant life I had before a series of injuries and a chronic pain condition put me on the bench for too long. I don't get out enough to see art, and I hadn't shown my art for some time.

Life takes its many odd twists and detours, and I found myself in this charming little college town on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Not exactly San Francisco, but certainly a place with an interesting culture and community. It happens to have a vibrant arts scene that is growing and changing to meet the needs of a historic downtown district which strives to remain historic AND functional as a town center.

Part of Chestertown's vibrancy is the First Friday festivities every month. This year I have volunteered with the Chestertown Arts League. It sure has a different speed and feel than the SF Bay Area galleries... but as with any gallery and arts organization, there is so much to discover and learn by attending its shows and classes, and meeting its artists.

As a member of the Exhibition Committee, I help coordinate and mount monthly exhibits in the gallery and nearby places of business. Currently we are planning the exhibition schedule for next year. This is all very foreign to me. One thing I've learned through the various volunteer jobs I've done is this... you pick up where other people left off, and suddenly find yourself with more responsibility and opportunity than you have time and energy to take advantage of.

Finally, I guess I should mention something about what I'm doing in 'the studio' (code for anywhere I can find a clear surface in my apartment - my studio tends to permeate the place and take over everything in site.)

-Vaguely Halloween themed jewelry - like these
-Tormenting myself over whether to enter a very personal (and messily executed) piece in the League's next show: 'Art that Speaks out' - figuring out how to frame it
-Painting on found wood 'craft forms' like these (Sold to a VERY dear friend, thank you very much!)

Ok. Thank goodness I'm only reporting on my art and not the other aspects of my life. Sheesh!

Till next time,