Thursday, May 28, 2009

Off to See the Wizard

I'm getting ready to take off for Las Vegas tomorrow. I'm not really a Las Vegas kind of gal, I'm going to the American Craft Retailers Expo. It's a beautiful show (If I do say so myself - I'm on the jury) and it's well run by a In it's third year, the show is still growing and it's been really exciting to be part of it from the beginning. I'm looking forward to meeting new buyers, writing lots of orders and seeing my west coast artist friends like Amy Peters, Heather Kraty, Mercedes Brugh, and Kay Young. As I've mentioned before I get to see these friends only a few times a year and I love the camaraderie and community at wholesale shows. 
Anyway, I just popped in to leave a note - it's been too long. And I wanted to be sure and let you all know about a really cool and affordable series of classes. It's The IndieBizChicks Summer Business Sessions. These classes meet online every Tuesday night to discuss business topics of all kinds, Each class is led by an expert in the field and the guest list is impressive. Here are just a few:
 Each class is an hour, and the entire series costs only $14.95. How can you say no? 

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A quick note

As my friend JR says "I love the Internets!" 
You know how you start in one place on the web and it leads you from one great resource to another? Recently I posted a question about blogging to the American Craft Forum. Now, this is a great resource - a fantastic discussion board for working artists. Well known professionals from all over the country share their knowledge on this board, and I highly recommend it. 
Anyway - I saw that a wonderful jewelry designer named Nicolette Tallmadge replied with some terrific advice. Although I don't know Nicolette personally, I know of her and I love her jewelry. So I decided to check out her blog and  lo and behold, discovered that she's teaching a live teleseminar in just a few days on Twitter. What do you know? I've been looking for a Twitter mentor!
We all know that Twitter can be a great way to expand your audience, your customer base and your image. And this class is a great deal, which is why I immediately signed up and decided to send a special edition of the Hot Tips Newsletter about it. But in case you don't subscribe to the newsletter here's the scoop:
How to Use Twitter to Get More Traffic, More Subscribers, and More Customers
DATE: Wednesday, May 20th, 2009
TIME: 8:00 PM Eastern Time
(if you can't make it you'll get a link to the recording)
With the class you get a downloadable guide for twitter newbies, the full written transcripts to the call, a full Twitter tools and services resource list, and instructional videos on how to use some of these tools and services. And if you're one of the first 100 to sign up, you'll get a free CD of the class. 
For just $17.95 this is a steal! 
I love the way the web makes things so easy, so affordable and so immediate. I posted a question, I got answers. I looked a little further and found a class I can take from my own comfortable chair in my own studio which addresses something I've been wanting to learn, taught by someone in my own field. Pretty cool, huh? I'm really looking forward to the class. Maybe I'll see you there! 

Friday, May 8, 2009

Two Heads Are Better Than One

So, as I said, I constantly dream of being able to create things that I simply do not have the skills, knowledge or expertise to make. And gauging from the comments and email from my last post ("Embracing Uncomfortable") 
many of you do this, too. It makes sense that our creative minds are always seeking ways to play. Over the years I've been able to satisfy some of those creative whims by collaborating with friends.
For instance, after thinking about it for years, I fulfilled my fantasy of creating a giant wooden clock with my friend Rob. I drew it, he cut it out, sanded and primed it, and I painted it. Dubbed 'Mister Kitty' by my dear friend Amy, he travels with me to trade shows often and sits in front of my booth. (My friend and mentor Julie Ueland calls this 'booth bait' because it gets people's attention from afar.) Last year Mr. Kitty was joined by Dancing Dog. I love them!
I design jewelry in my head all the time. I dream it, I draw it. But let's face it, it takes years to become a good metalsmith and I've got a more than full time job already. So a few years ago at ACRE I approached a wonderful jewelry designer named Joanna Craft and asked if she'd be interested in collaborating. To my delight she agreed and created a gorgeous line of jewelry using my artwork as the images. I can't tell you how thrilling it was for me to see what someone else's expert hands and creative mind did with my artwork. 
If you've been reading this blog since the beginning, you know about, a fantastic website that allowed me to make another one of my dreams come true. Fabric design has been at the top of my dream list for as long as I can remember. So when I discovered Spoonflower I went wild. But a few weeks ago, my friend Colleen MacDonald helped me take my dream one step further when she agreed to use my fabrics to make some of her wonderful wallets for me. 
I love all of Colleen's BCharmer Creations and it was so much fun to work with her. She helped me choose additional fabrics and colored snaps from her incredible collection and voila! 
Combining two visions and different mediums can be really exciting and rewarding, whether just for your private collection or to provide additional income for both of you. So I suggest that next time you find yourself wishing you make or create something which you don't have the skills for, find someone who does and start playing. And when you do, please send me the stories and pictures so I can share them here!