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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!

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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