Wednesday, April 22, 2015

WLAST is coming! Save the Date!

What will you be doing this June 20th and 21st?

Artist Meeting held at Franklin Park Arts Center
Mark your calendar, and make a plan to come out and tour the studios of some very talented artists located in Western Loudoun County, Virginia!  I'm pleased to announce that I will once again be part of the Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour!

I recently attended the WLAST kick off, which is the annual Artists' Information Meeting.  There was a pretty good turn-out; lot's of long term participants, as well as a bunch of first-timers.  So many creative people in one place! Everyone was briefed on the details, and "Do's and Don'ts" of the tour.   As part of the planning committee, I was asked to stand up and cover some of the tour information. I'm pretty enthusiastic.  I LOVE being part of the event!  But, I think everyone is excited about this year's tour.

WLAST Facebook BannerThis year is very special as it's the 10th Annual year of the event!  I just realized it will be my seventh year participating on the tour - can you believe it?  I certainly can't.  It's always such a privilege to be included in this super venue.  Since this is a juried event, I always feel very blessed to be accepted to participate each year.

As always, this year we have many talented artists participating.  There will also be a wide range of different mediums to see. I only wish I had to opportunity to visit all the studios myself.  But I'd never want to give up being ON the tour.  It's just way too much fun!

One of my tables from a previous tour.
I will once again be a guest artist at one of the partner organizations; the Round Hill Art Center.  This year there will be six of us there.  My fellow artists will be Mary Kenesson (Fiber), Liz Cresap (Fused Glass), Steve Loya (Illustration/painting), Jeff Miller (Photography) and Penny Hauffe (Painting).

It's always a whirl-wind weekend!  Literally, thousands of people come through the studios.  At my stop, I always do some metalsmithing demonstrations, and make a point to meet and greet all of the great visitors.  Everyone loves the tour, because they get to see the artists at work, and chat with them about their medium and techniques.  And of course, there's also tons of beautiful art work for sale!

I hope you'll plan to come by and visit all of us!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Starting Fresh and Making Commitments

Sometimes life sweeps you away.  Have you ever felt like a leaf just being buffeted up and around in the wind?  That's what the last year or two have been like to me.

But I feel much more in control of my life now.  I feel stronger in many ways, and have a drive I've never experienced before.  So I'm running with it!

The jewelry side of my studio
My "new" studio is starting to feel like a good fit. I enjoy being there and working in it.  Slowly, but surely I'm getting it organized, and creating a work flow.  I'm producing new work, too.  I just need to get on a schedule that I can stay with.

I recently read another blogger's post about setting annual goals and reviewing them quarterly.  Well, I missed setting any goals at the beginning of the year, but I'm primed to set some now.

So, here they are:

  • A blog post Every Week 
  • Continue to build inventory: create a Body of Work
  • Promote more 
  • Get my Etsy sales up
  • Gain representation in 1-3 new galleries
  • Participate in a new show
  • Have some work published in a magazine
Grand goals, I know.  But they should be achievable if I keep on it.  I've just got to keep on schedule and keep my motivation up!

I'm always looking for ways to be more productive.  I'd love to hear feedback with anyone's suggestions, tips, tried-and-true ways they keep on top of their production and promotion game!

    Monday, April 6, 2015

    Back in the Studio Finally!

    Well, it's been awhile since I've blogged ... but I do have a good excuse!

    We'd been busy fostering some children for more than a year.  We were assigned an infant, and his half sibling, sister.  While it was a wonderful experience, it was also one of the most stressful times of my entire life.  Fostering isn't an easy job.  You can get very attached to the children.

    So, for awhile, my creative side was turned off, and my uber-nurturing side was in full swing.  The children have since been moved on to their grandmother, so I am finally back in a normal routine and trying to get back in design mode.

    Would have made a great studio, right?
    (The odd shadows are being cast by a ceiling fan
    with cut-glass lights.)

    We had been renovating our 2 car garage into what was to be a huge, beautiful new studio for me.  But it was turning out so well, we decided it would make an even nicer family room.  So I gave up a super, new studio, but gained not only a new living area, but a new mud room (very handy with horses) AND a lovely new laundry room.  Whew, no more schlepping down to the basement to do a load of clothes!

    I'd started to take over our old living room as my studio, but then we got the call to foster the children.  So, we just dumped all my art stuff into the old living room in piles and boxes, and there it sat for months and MONTHS.

    Way later, after the children left, my first hurdle was to tackle the total disarray that was my studio. Even now, it's still a bit of a mess. But, I am slowly sorting things out, and do have areas in which to work.  

    Needless to say, after not working for so long, I had very little inventory left in the various galleries and shops I sell from.  My recent goal has been to get some production done, and hopefully increase my inventory.  In addition to trying to beef up my gallery inventories, I'm also working on my Etsy shop, and gearing up for another Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour.  Being on the WLAST committee keeps me busy all year, but being an artist on the tour this coming June means I need to create, create, CREATE!

    Lately, I've been trying some new directions with my work.  I'm experimenting with various stones, and playing with tabs, settings, layers, and rivets.  I've even been stringing, and playing with beads instead of just hanging my pendants on chain as I have in the past.

    I'm also researching the potential purchase of a Hydraulic Press.  It's a large expenditure, so I've been a bit hesitant.  But considering how it might help speed my creative process, it's looking more and more like it might be a worthwhile expense.  We'll see.  I'll keep you posted!