Friday, February 26, 2016

Everything - even the kitchen sink

I make paper. I make colorful paper. To make that colorful paper, I make paper pulp that sloshes and splashes around, and stains my clothes, my skin, and sometimes even the ceiling. It also stains the grout around my sink. After Valentine's Day season, when I have used a lot of red and pink paper scraps, my grout tells the story! Luckily, someone told me that a bleach pen works wonders to clean it and she was right - it bleached it out and it looks like new. Let the papermaking continue!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

What's in a name?

I am wrapping up my work for my gallery show, everything is framed and I am doing the finishing touches this week. The last thing I have to do is title all my work. But when I sat down to write the titles for all the pieces, I was tripped up. It came so easily for my show last year but this body of work is a bit different and the same process for naming didn't stick.

A title is a tricky thing. I want to invoke a story, and hopefully include a common thread throughout the series of my works. I want to include my personality, provide insight into the inspiration but also allow enough wiggle room for the viewer to inject their own meaning and interpretation so I don't narrow my buyer. I have never liked artwork that has "Untitled" as the title. It feels undirected, uncertain, lost. (Though, it would be oh so easy to keep my show untitled ...)

At first, I was inspired by garden and flower quotes and found some beautiful and wonderful quotes and started assigning them to the framed pieces. I was especially tickled by this quote:

"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need."
-Marcus Tullius Cicero

I thought it perfectly matched my Petal Person that looks like a graduate from high school or college. Other quotes matched certain pieces and worked well together, like the Oliver Wendell Holmes, "The Amen of nature is always a flower," which matched a person who looked like she was in a prayer; or the Victor Hugo quote, "The Life is the flower for which love is the honey," to match a pair of Petal People who are a bride and groom, matted together in one frame.

I glided through the process until I had about half of the 25 pieces matched with the perfect quote then hit a wall. Nothing else matched no matter how many quotes I googled. I scrapped the quote-as-a-title idea and changed direction. I latched onto the next idea of assigning a descriptive word to each one involving emotion or feeling: happiness, ecstasy, exuberance, etc. but then I ran out of words and many of the figures didn't match any particular word.

So I scrapped that idea and started googling how other artists go about naming their artwork. I found some interesting advice that included:

* Use a thesaurus
* Start by writing a very short description of what inspired the artwork. Out of this will, most of the time, come a short phrase that captures in words a title.
* Is there an underlying story behind the work? Try to clue the buyer into the story with your title.
* Look to poetry or mythology for inspiration.
* Listen to the lyrics of favorite songs and make a list of phrases.
* And if all else fails, post your art on FaceBook and have your friends help you name it!

All of these suggestions helped a lot and got my juices flowing. Then, just for fun, I took a look at this website for more ideas:

Can't wait to see everything titled, priced and hung!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Upcoming show!

For more info, directions and updates, please check out the Micropolis website and FaceBook page:

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Northshire Bookstore

I am so excited that I am now selling my cards at Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga Springs. Part of my excitement is because this relationship was almost two years in the making. The buyer for the card section contacted me about a year and a half ago, asking if I wholesaled my cards. At the time I didn't, so I wrote a pleasant note thanking for her inquiry, yadda, yadda, and then went on my merry way. But last fall, I decided to branch into wholesale and contacted the buyer after a year. It took us almost four months to finally sit down and connect. I actually asked her for an informational meeting to learn about wholesale from her point of view and get feedback about my cards. But by the end of the sit-down, I had a wholesale order from her. How do you like that?

Northshire Bookstore is a family-owned, independent bookstore, with two locations - one in Manchester Center, Vermont, and the other in Saratoga Springs, New York. Before the Saratoga branch opened in 2013, we used to take day trips to Manchester to go to the bookstore. It's one of those interesting, winding stores, a series of one property and then the next purchased over decades that has created various floors and tucked-away rooms and nooks of not just books but gifts, interesting knick-knacks, jewelry and even clothing. When I heard they were opening in Saratoga, I think I might have done a cartwheel.

Their philosophy is in line with mine, so it is a wonderful match to be selling my work there:
"We believe strongly in the triple bottom line - people, planet & profits - because we recognize that business occurs in the context of community. We work hard to enrich our communities as we strive to thrive in the dynamic world of book selling."

If you are local, please stop in. They are now carrying 11 lines of my Petal People cards!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

In memory

One of my customers sent me this photo to show me how she paired one of my plantable paper hearts with a a hand-painted pot to commemorate a pet's life. I love the paw print accent on the heart and the pottery! Thanks for sharing, Joanne!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Go big

Excited. Scared. A lot lighter in the wallet. I took the plunge and decided to print a bulk quantity of my greeting cards so I could take advantage of the huge price breaks for large print runs. It's been an exciting couple of weeks working with my printer to have my new images scanned, going back and forth with tweaks to make sure my images have been reproduced well, getting proofs, submitting corrections, and picking up the order. I am diving into the wholesale market, and going straight for the deep end. * Insert squeal noise here. *

Here's what the trunk of my car looked like with 12,000 cards and envelopes. Let's hope they sell!!!

My three new card lines are now available in my Etsy store:

For birthdays:

For the artist in your life:

For the graduate:

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Market appeal

I have been making my pressed flower art at a fast clip even since the calendar flipped to 2016. I have an upcoming gallery show at the end of this month. In the past when I have made a large body of work in a short amount of time, I have become so carried away and lost in the creative process that when I come up for air, I look around and have a disorganized mess of partially-completed projects all over my studio. But this time I have been focused. Whenever I started losing myself to hours on end of chaotic creation, I have stopped and reeled myself in, then focused on one thing through to completion. It has worked well and I have managed to produce about 25 new pieces of art, including three that I am making into cards for my ever-growing line of Petal People greeting cards. I got the proofs back and love the way they came out:

I usually create whatever I want with no thought of mass market appeal but this time I created two cards with a specific market: one for a birthday and one for a graduation. I love how they turned out, especially the graduation card, with one large tulip flower petal for the gown. A yellow flower petal serves as the tassel on the mortar board. Sometimes I take a long time and lots of fussing to rework a figure until I like it but it may end up looking overworked or too busy, which causes visual distraction. Or I will make a part of it and then it sits unfinished for a few weeks until I get inspired again. The Graduate was one of those designs that came together really easily in just a few minutes. I am excited to get it printed and into stores in time for the spring graduation season. Now back to the studio to clean up the latest mess!