I've been breaking a lot of glass in the studio lately. Sure, you have to break glass to make my products, but it should be controlled, directed breakage - not random shattering. Sigh. I'm feeling creatively inhibited. Clearly, I need to go do some production work and not worry about coming up with new ideas right now. I'm just afraid that production work is going to make me go bonkers with boredom.
Instead, I've been focussing on other things. My house looks marginally better, and I've been spending more time with the kids. We've been socializing a little bit too. It's nice to spend time with friends but I can't help feeling guilty that I'm not doing other "things that need doing".
I guess being overwhelmed would hinder creativity, now wouldn't it? Got to get a foothold and forge one.
Selling your art can be a headrush and heartbreaking all at the same time. The other day, I made four lanyards and put them up in the shop thinking they would be a good draw because I didn’t have much at that price point. Imagine my elation when three of them sold within 24 hours!
First of all, it’s good to know that it’s a marketable item. Clearly, I need to channel my energy in that direction for a while until I have a decent inventory of them. On the other hand, something I thought would be a good draw (and it was!) wasn’t in the shop for very long. And, I really liked them. I mean, I like everything I sell, or I wouldn’t bother; but these pieces made me super happy every time I saw them. Selling them within 24 hours of listing meant that I had to give them up.
When I send a package to a buyer, I make a production of wrapping, and writing the thank you card and address labels. Sure, I could print something out, but if you’re buying from the artist you deserve a personalized experience and I’m happy to give it to you. There’s also a certain amount of mourning because I’m sending you something I love. Fortunately, I have the pictures to remember it by.
Today I got feedback from a buyer that really made me happy. I always worry that when I send things to someone that they will end up as clutter – neglected and eventually unwanted. My buyer wrote back to tell me about her project and how perfectly her purchases from me were going to work for it. I can imagine those pieces now in everyday use, loved and cherished.
You know, one of the greatest challenges in setting up my online shop has been getting good photos of my work. Remember, your customers are trying to figure out what you're selling in a glance. You have only a few seconds to grab their attention. They can't pick your product up and fondle it so you have to make an instant positive impression. If anyone pays attention to the scrolling pictures in the sidebar, you can often see that I've taken 20 shots of the same item just to get five
There are a couple of things to remember when taking good pictures.
1. Find a good background. Now, I haven't settled on the look that I want for my shop yet and I continually try out new things; but consistency just plain makes your shop more appealing. I like to use posterboard and scrapbook paper because they have a nice smooth finish and a variety of designs. Try to avoid taking pictures on your carpet (ewww!) or unpressed fabric. You don't want customers to think you've put your products on an unmade bed.
2. Take pictures in natural light if possible. Either by a bright window or outdoors works great. Morning light casts the fewest shadows, though I've been known to take pictures of my glass in the afternoon to showcase the colored shadows. If you are like me and your daylight hours are swamped with work and childcare, then a lightbox is a good idea. You can buy them ready made, but I just cut the top and sides out of a cardboard box and taped white tissue paper to the sides. A couple of clip lamps on the outside and a sheet of posterboard on the inside gives a bright, seamless background that really showcases your product.
3. For close-up shots, use the macro setting on the camera. On most models, that's the one with the little tulip flower. It allows you to get good closeup shots without blurring.
4. Of course, to keep from shaking the camera and blurring your shots anyway, you need a camera rest or a camera stand. I've been using a plastic cup to balance the camera on, but I really want a tripod like Leah pictures in her blog here: http://leahglass.blogspot.com/2008/09/tool-o-day-tripod.html I covet! You should check out her blog because she's giving one away free of charge. How awesome is that?!
5. Photoshopping. Taking the perfect picture almost never happens. It's really handy to have some kind of photoshopping software available to crop, brighten and color balance your pictures. I use Picnick through my Flickr account, but Photoshop and Irfanview are considered really good too.
Sorry to bore you with photography again. It's been on my mind a lot lately.
It was so hot this weekend that I was reduced to working in my studio overnight on Saturday and it was still over 90 degrees in there. My eyes are still burning from all the sweat!
Apparently, I'm not incredibly creative in the middle of the night. The load that came out of the kiln was uninspiring, to say the least. I'm going to refire a couple of pieces, repurpose some of them and sell the rest as oops cabs. My husband reminded me that I do have a concept book and I really need to take it out with me when I plan on cutting a load for the kiln. As it was, I would have been better off cutting a dish and filling in around the edges.
Do you ever have a plan that just doesn't work out? I went to the glass shop to get some specific glass for a commission and discovered the new System 96 brown. It's not muddy like the old one and fires up to a nice, warm milk chocolate color. I paired it with some vanilla and tourqoise and thought that would be gorgeous but it doesn't thrill me. I like the brown, but I don't know what to do with it now.
I'm going to deliver Addie's beads to her tonight and I'm going to ask her all about the project she made them for. My friend does reproduction Viking necklaces based on archeological digs. I think it's pretty cool. Not really my deal, but still fun.
I haven't been to an Arts meeting in over a month and I'm really dragging my feet about going. It's grim and rainy and I'd far rather be catching up on just about anything-glass, housework, my day job-than go be social; but I know that's just because I'm out of the habit. Hopefully people will let me just hang out and not teach.
Well, I guess I'd better start focusing on this project at work. I'm going to get reamed for not finishing it on time! I think I'm dragging my feet because the work load is too overwhelming. Counterproductive, I know. I didn't say it made any sense!
I'm feeling pretty good about this online selling thing. So far I have had two sales and one custom order. Now I need to go get some glass and some findings, because I'm out of what I need. I'm thrilled! My husband will grump. Oh well.
Ten minutes in the studio is as refreshing as a two hour nap. Last night was rough. All the men in my house were in foul moods and I was just D.O.N.E. so I went and hid out back in my studio.
I didn't do much. I put some friend's beads in to anneal. I can't believe how big Addie can get a bead on a hot head! She needs to concentrate on form, but her design elements are improving a great deal. She makes me so proud!
I also played with the new bottle cutter a bit. It's much easier to cut a beer bottle than a wine bottle. It is still tricky, but I'm getting better and better results. Given what I'm doing with them, it's not as essential to be perfect as I would eventually like to get, but having to practice with an eye towards it is good for teaching me patience. With two boys and a grumpy husband I'll never have enough of that!
After that, it was a little easier to go back into the house to face the testosterone blockade. LOL!
The Etsy community has been so friendly and welcoming! Folks have been more than willing to give thoughtful critiques and ideas for improving my shop. In fact, so many people have asked for more sushi plates that I just had to start one this weekend.
Saturday was the remnants of tropical storm Hanna so I was sort of trapped in the house not wanting to treck out to the studio or risk running the kiln with the distinct possibility of power outages so I ran out this afternoon and cut a sushi plate out of a couple of shades of purple glass. It's simple, but right now simple is really appealing to me. It's firing as I type this. Tomorrow, if my mold doesn't need re-priming, I'll slump it.
I wish I had a bigger kiln so I could fire more things at one time, but that's part of the point of all this selling business anyway. Gotta pay for the cool tools somehow. LOL!
I'm a woman with a husband, two kids and a full time job who just happens to be addicted to glass. I first got hooked at the age of 12 when my Science teacher gave me a torch and some glass tubing to make a barometer. Little did he know what he would start. So thanks, Mr. Smith. This is all your fault. LOL!