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Posts from the ‘Operation Art Market’ Category

Etsy Shop Grand Opening: Wishes & Wool!

Hey everyone!

I’m excited to announce the opening of my Etsy shop today! Since this nasty tendinitis in my wrist has slowed me down on making items for the art market… I’ve instead shifted my plan to focus on getting my Etsy shop – Wishes & Wool – up and running these past few weeks. Woohoo! I spent last week doing a TON of test photography of all the felted critters that I’ve already made – on just about every sort of background imaginable. Here’s a bit about the whole process and what I learned:

Photographing Felties
The first step was a trip to the fabric store! I bought a half yard each of about 8-10 different fabrics. Several came from the remnants bin – great way to save some money! Once I got them all home, I ironed each one carefully, getting ALL the wrinkles out.

Once wrinkle-free, I set up a simple sweep on my bedroom desk using an old canvas propped against the desk to hold the fabric up about 2 feet high so it would have a seamless sweep across the desk. I’ve got a nice bay window in the bedroom that my desk sits in, so it makes a great place to get lots of natural light! Soft, natural light, as I have learned from testing and reading a lot online, is absolutely KEY to good shots.

In the shot above you can see layers of fabric in the background – i basically just laid them all on top of each other and would roll each one up or down as needed for different backgrounds. Made things nice and simple, and kept the fabric winkle-free! Below are a few other test shots both on fabric and with a vintage wood set.

I built the vintage wood set out on my patio using some old wood I’d had lying around – stuff you can find at the salvage yard – and a vintage wooden crate I picked up at an estate sale last summer. Just laid a board over a small table, put the box on top, and propped up a few old boards on top of the box – and viola! the perfect rustic vintage setting for Barnaby Fox!

After a lot of different backgrounds and options, I narrowed it to one feature shot – something different for every critter – one detail shot and a few shots on a plain background to show alternate angles and scale. I’m hoping this will give all the information someone might want in order to decide to take one of these guys home!

Helping Empower Others Thru Creativity
One of my goals with Wishes & Wool is to use my own creativity to donate to creative causes that are helping to fulfill needs and wishes of those less fortunate than I. And so, I’ve decided to donate 10% of all purchases to a wonderful charity that I’ve been a supporter of for about a year now, called 100 Cameras. This charity is dear to my heart because it makes such beautiful use of one of my other passions; photography. They empower children in underdeveloped parts of the world to document their lives through photography. By helping them to gain exposure and sell their photography, they enable these children to create positive change in their own lives and communities through their unique creative visions. Check out their website to see some of the kids’ photos and learn more!

Come by The Shop!
I invite you to come and check out all of my creations at Wishes & Wool, and let me know what you think of the shop! Any feedback or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I’m bursting with excitement about this whole new adventure! Having my own Etsy shop is something that I’ve been dreaming of for several years now – and really putting my stuff out there for sale has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl. And even though I’ve yet to sell anything, I truly believe people will fall in love with these little guys as much as I have! Thanks everyone for stopping by!

Robocop Arm to the Rescue!

Thanks to everyone for the kind words and encouragement from my last post! It really means a lot to me and definitely encourages me that they will one day go off to new homes and be enjoyed each and every day by their owners – just as I enjoy some of the art toys I have from other artists. I’ve also have a few people interested in commissioned felties – and hoping that will pan out! I’ve still yet to have my first commissioned critter!

I confess I have not been very motivated to blog in the past few weeks – hence the lack of posts. My wrist injury has really been limiting what I can do creatively, so I’ve been a bit restless and spending a lot of time just sorta zoning out reading or watching TV. So this wrist thing – which I originally thought was a sprain from working out – turned out to instead be tendinitis in the thumb joint of my wrist… caused by – you guessed it – needle felting! So no, I don’t burn myself welding or pull muscles in pilates… instead I inflame tendons stabbing wool! Sheesh, who knew this was going to be such a dangerous hobby? =P

As per doctor’s orders, at night I get to wear this truly fabulous Robocop brace that immobilizes my thumb and wrist. During the day, thankfully I get to wear a smaller one that looks more like I got in a hardcore fight and punched someone’s lights out. Not gonna lie, I do pretend that’s the real story just to feel extra badass walking down the street or driving with it on. Hey might as well use some creativity to turn it into a positive, right?

So the past few weeks I’ve stopped felting pretty much entirely, trying to give myself a good chance to heal up. I cannot rock climb, I cannot kayak, and I’m insanely restless to do both! Thankfully, this week the pain has almost entirely subsided – Prednisone dosepack & Robocop arm to the rescue! I think I am only a week or two away from being able to do all of my favorite things again, and am even able to start doing little things this week like open bottles and cans and lift stuff. My god, I never realized how important thumbs are! I certainly have a new appreciation for these digits!

At this point its pretty obvious I won’t be making my June deadline for the art market, but you know what? That’s okay. Even if I don’t get selling at an actual market this year at all, this project has jump started some great stuff for my Etsy shop. I hope to start photographing everything soon so that I can get a bunch of it up in my otherwise barren shop in the next few months! Woo! Even if it’s not the outcome I originally desired, it’s progress! And it’s still making things I love and moving forward with my overall goals of making some money from doing what I love. =)

Weeks 5 & 6: Dapper Foxes and Renewed Energy

I can’t believe it’s been 2 whole weeks since I’ve posted anything up! It’s been busy down here in Texas. The boyfriend has been away on flying adventures across the lone star state – doing helicopter rides at air shows and festivals. We took a road trip down to the hill country to get out of the big city weekend before last. A wrist sprain from pilates class has slowed me down with the felting… I’m now wearing this horribly stiff brace to keep from moving it. About 2 weeks ago, I cut a huge chunk out of my thumb while cutting ribbon with my fabulous pink pocket knife (*sigh* always cut AWAY from you, when will I learn?) which put me out of commission from doing much for a few days. But still I am felting!

The newest additions to my little feltie family are a dapper fox, a happy little dinosaur, an even tinier fox and the whale I posted last week – now complete with sleepy eyes. I also just finished up a little mushroom in a bottle tonight – having a lot of fun experimenting with adding other media like wire and glass.  I’m positively in LOVE with the fox in the hat… so much so that I’m not sure I could bare to put him up for sale!



 

Weeks 3 & 4: I Hate Wool and All Wool Related Things

Yup… here I am, at the end of weeks 3 and 4 and completely off-schedule. The theme for the past two weeks has been “I hate wool and all wool related things and will find anything to distract myself from having to do any more of this!!!” Distractions of week 3 included early birthday celebrations for my boyfriend, since he was out of town for his birthday… as well as movies, facebook and Pocket Frogs – the most gloriously addictive game I have on my phone. It’s very clear that resistance has come to visit. By the end of week 3, I thought it might just move along and go bother someone else. Not so. Week 4 was more of the same. oof…

My goal for weeks 3 and 4 was to make five bodies each week, 10 total – including arms and legs and tails… yeah that may have been a bit too ambitious. I only got 6 torsos done, and a whale on accident. (I got a little carried away on a torso for a fox and decided I had to turn it into something else… and started to make it a weenie dog… which also wasn’t working, and so then it became a whale. Whale to save the day!)


Five of the completed torsos for various critters! Getting closer!


The accidental whale! Still needs some eyes, but he’s looking cute!

I jumped off into random land last week and started a dinosaur just do some different and interesting shapes – since another problem is that I’ve been getting really bored making the same shapes over and over. Also experimented with an ADORABLE tiny snail a while back that I never posted! How cute is he!

So even though I could have done more, I guess I didn’t do too bad considering the level of resistance to felting (It’s been pretty much code orange or red nonstop). I suppose the most important thing about these weeks is that I got SOMETHING done and explored a great deal about self motivation and what gets in the way of it.

A few notes on getting past Resistance and Stuckness and staying Motivated…

Keep a Creative Balance: Focus is good, but not if you go overboard!
I’m learning that striking a balance between your various creative outlets and interests is very important. I figured this out when I went on a little road trip to go photograph wildflowers Sunday afternoon. I came home from that trip totally energized and ready to felt. For a while now I haven’t been allowing myself to enjoy my other creative outlets as often as I’d like… I think after doing that for too long, part of me just lost motivation because I wasn’t giving my soul what it wanted. I learned these past few weeks that all that other stuff is actually very important in keeping me recharged and energized throughout this project. In the next few weeks, I’m going to try to keep a balance of felting and all the other things I enjoy – and hope that keeps the energy flowing a little better.

Do NOT play Pocket Frogs for hours!
I’m positively addicted to this game on my phone. If you are a collector of things, do yourself a favor and NEVER start playing this game! I suppose that goes for any addictive games out there ;) haha

Have all the materials you need
I never realized before how hard it can be to be motivated when you don’t have everything you need. I have a limited variety of colored wool on hand right now, and this has really added some frustration to my process! Some nights I may get to a point where I would rather switch from doing the base shapes in white to adding color to more finished pieces for example. Since I don’t have the colors that I want or need yet, so I just keep going with the plain base stuff… bored out of my MIND. So last week I finally ordered a big multi-pack with 40 different colors in it and it should be arriving any day now. Opening up that box I’m sure will just cause an explosion of inspired energy about which critters will be which colors!

Give Yourself a Break… And Schedules are Made to be Broken!
I’ve definitely been too hard on myself for not meeting my goals the past few weeks. And I’m learning that being unhappy with myself about this is only making things worse. It’s only making me less motivated to keep going. I need to stop being a perfectionist about staying on schedule. A schedule is great to have when it helps you get somewhere, but not when you attach yourself to it so tightly that it starts to make you struggle even more! Nope, that’s not what schedules are for!

Instead of beating myself up over the fact that I didn’t get everything done I wanted to, in weeks 5 and 6 I’m going to practice relaxing a little and giving myself a break. I’m going to remind myself that a schedule is just a loose framework to start from, and nothing more. And that this is not a rigid process, but an organic and flowing one in which I may not get to my end goal, but I WILL get somewhere I wasn’t before! I’m going to replace moments of berating myself and being attached to one specific outcome with moments of trust and openness about where this will go. I hope this will help flip things around… because I need to rid myself of this intense disdain for wool and get excited about this project again!

I hope you enjoyed this lesson-packed post! lol. I look forward to updating you guys in the next few weeks – hopefully with a lot more learning to share and a whole little hoard of felties that are complete or close to it! I would love to hear from you all about your experiences running into resistance or lack or motivation on creative projects. What always seems to get in your way? How have you approached it differently or mixed things up that has helped your process?

Thanks for stopping by!

Two Weeks & Ten Little Heads

Two weeks into the project and I am on schedule with 10 felted heads completed! It’s been a lot of work and a lot of fun to see all these little critters coming together! I’ve felted all over the place – from a lunch table at work to my friend’s house… even on the road traveling down to San Antonio and back this past weekend. My wool and needles now go pretty much everywhere with me!

So for my first 10 large felties in the picture here, I will have a mix of foxes, cats, dogs, lions, and possibly some other random critters like moles, bears, or rabbits. Each head measures approx. 2 1/4″ in diameter. Foxes are my personal favorite, so I’m really excited to see how they come out!

I’ve started to figure out about how long it takes me to make each head now… The basic round heads are taking about an hour – maybe a little less if I really hustle. The ones with snouts and ears take around an hour and a half. The trick is actually being mindful of working fast. Since felting is actually pretty relaxing to do… it’s find myself slowing down a lot without realizing it!

This week I will be starting in on the bodies and adding color to the heads! *excitement!*

Operation Art Market: The BIG Plan


Completed five large felted heads last week.. here are 4 of them, Approx 2 in diameter (Dog, Fox, Cat, Lion)

So now that I know what I’m making and how much time I have, I’ve broken out a detailed plan for how to actually get all this done! This is where my 12 Month project from last year has become really helpful… I think I got pretty good at making detailed lists last year in order to make SURE that a project got done and got done on time. So below I’ve broken out a full schedule of all things to be done before the Market date:

Market Date: June 16th, 2012  /  Total Work Time: 12 weeks
Items to Sell:
Felties & Wire Critters

Critter Breakdown:
Large Felties – 10  /  Small Felties – 20
Large Wire Critters – 8  /  Small Wire Critters – 15

Types of Critters: (this took some brainstorming with friends to nail down, and still may change some)
Felties – Cat, Dog, Fox, Lion, Owl, Snail
Wire Critters – Frogs, Lizards, Snails, Turtles, Bugs

Schedule:
To keep things doable and interesting, I’m focusing on large felted critters and small wire critters first… and then switching to small felted critters and large wire critters. I don’t really have much rhyme or reason other than wanting to get the large felted ones done first, since they are the most time-consuming of all.

week 1: 5 large felted heads
week 2: 5 large felted heads, Make 3 small wire critters
week 3: 5 large bodies, Make 3 small wire critters
week 4: 5 large bodies, Make 3 small wire critters
week 5: Finishing touches on 5 large felties, Make 3 small wire critters
week 6: Finishing touches on 5 large felties, Make 3 small wire critters
week 7: Make 5 small felties, Make 2 large wire critters
week 8: Make 5 small felties, Make 2 large wire critters
week 9: Make 5 small felties, Make 2 large wire critters
week 10: Make 5 small felties, Make 2 large wire critters

weeks 11 & 12: Make business cards, get booth design nailed down and buy all supplies, Make price tags for all critters, and other misc items to be ready for the market!

So thats it… my big dream for 2012 and my big plan for achieving it! I’m actually a week in already, and on schedule so far with 5 large heads done. I’m sure this is going to be a pretty tall order and I may not make my total goal… but at LEAST there’s a plan to stick to! Off we go to make this thing happen!

Turning 30 and Chasing Dreams

I’m turning 30 this fall.. and since last fall I’ve been wanting to do something BIG with this year. I’ve struggled with just what that thing would be for a many months now. I started with a year-long photo project shooting barns, which was fun, but not something I could work on daily. I guess i started to realize that I was really missing that daily creative project like I had going on last year. It became such a part of my life. So, while I still plan to continue shooting the barn series, I’ve moved it to the back burner for something new. And in the last week of February I found that something… the big thing! Thanks to a chat with a few fellow creative friends who inspired me to be brave, and the Nike-licious advice of my boyfriend to “just go do it!”- I now have a plan!

Operation Art Market!

Since I was a little girl, I have always had a dream of selling my art at a festival or market. For years and years I’ve replayed the same tired pattern. Going to art festivals each summer, flitting from one inspiring booth to the next in total glee… knowing in my heart of hearts that “I should be doing this.” And every year like clockwork, I talk myself out of it. “I don’t really have a cohesive body of work” or “I don’t even have a style” or “No one would probably even buy my stuff” and of course the ever popular “How would I ever have the time to make all this stuff?” Oh the powers of self-persuasion. Within a day of a festival I’d have already managed to cloud my vision and totally squelch the burning fire for this dream. Ah! No more! I will fulfill these dream before I am thirty years old!

Just Do It Anyway!

That’s it. My whole mantra and answer to each of the above self-defeating questions is “Just do it anyway! (dammit!)”. No more of this talking about it and overthinking it. I don’t have a cohesive body of work… that’s still true. But I’m going to do it anyway. How the heck else will I ever GET a cohesive body of work if I never get my stuff out there? (and do i even need one anyway? lol) I don’t have a style (at least not that I’m aware of!) and I really like to dabble in anything and everything from photography to crafts to sculpture to design. Too bad, we’re doing it anyway woman! Not getting out of it this time!

Picking A Date & Deciding with Simplicity

Ok, so now I’m doing this… no way out. Fortunately I’ve already known of (and daydreamed much about) a local art market here in Dallas for over a year now that is small, inexpensive to rent at and a great place for budding artists to start out. AND they have a market day once every month until December! In order to get all the work done, I’ve picked the market on June 16th, 2012 to start. This will be before the Texas summer gets too insanely hot – so I imagine a strong turnout if the weather is nice. This gives me 12 weeks of production time. Now to decide WHAT to make.

Going by the old Keep It Simple Stupid philosophy, I picked the first two things that my gut said to do. And the gut said to go with making needle felted art toys and small wire/metal sculptures. I started needle felting last January for one of my projects and have been in love with it ever since… making small art toys here and there in my spare time. I’ve been doing wire sculpture on and off since early college..in particular small frogs and lizards with found objects like spoons and old screws and bolts incorporated into them. They’re both things I love doing and I think the two could go well together.. I’m even looking to try mixing the two into some wire and felt combinations.


Barry the Cat (needle felted from hand-dyed wool roving, March 2011)


Wire lizard (Dark anodized steel wire, bolts, spoon)

My mind kept whispering on for about another week “are you SURE you don’t want to include some photography? And maybe some other things…” I am standing firm with the gut’s decision. “Nope, two things only. And the two we picked are doable in the time we have and we think very marketable. There will be time for the rest later.” Phew, what a relief it can be to just tell your mind that there will be time for it’s concerns later! Quieted right down. =)

So that’s the big plan! I cannot express how exciting it has been just this past week to be working on something that I have dreamed of doing for so so long… to be truly giving myself permission to chase this dream without worry of how successful I will be or if I make money off of it. It’s made my soul so happy to finally be allowing myself to be deserving of doing this, no matter the outcome.

I’d love to hear from anyone else out there about your dreams. What sort of big things have you accomplished and how did you get up the courage to commit to them? What dreams are you still waiting to give yourself permission to chase? And what is it that always seems to stop you from starting?

Resources:
Time Lapse Tutorial on Needle Felting – by Laurie Sharp
Needle Felting: Basic Shapes Tutorial – by FeltAlive
22 Secrets to Discovering Your Dream and Living It – by Leo Babauta on DumbLittleMan.com

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