Saturday, February 7, 2015

It's starting to take shape....

Last summer myself and a few friends came up with an idea to start an open air market for artists and craftsmen. In the beginning it was something we had no clue would ever be more than just talk around a table between friends. With each day we see that it's taking shape and it will soon come to life. March 21,2015. We wanted to create a once a month event for artists, craftsmen, growers and makers. We promote handcrafted and American made products. So we are looking for the artisans in the community as well as those that grow their own produce, flowers, potted plants, seedlings and during the holiday season we would want someone to sell Christmas trees. Makers would include soap makers, candy makers and bakers and more.
The venue we are using is just perfect, it's located on a two acre park adjacent to the Port of Leonardtown Winery, it has easy access and free parking. The Port of Leonardtown Winery is a popular weekend destination that is open all year. It's perfect for those who love good wine, friendly people and live entertainment on the patio each Saturday evening from 5:00 to 8:00 during the spring, summer and fall months.

 We have decided that we will not allow manufactured items to be sold, so we have asked everyone to send us pictures of their work and work space. This assures that everything sold will be handcrafted. We have gotten some wonderful pictures from some very talented people and several people have signed up for the months they plan to be with us.
For a small fee  we offer to showcase our vendors on our website and Facebook page  and here on this blog. We plan to do this once the market is up and running so we can get good pictures or video's to share with the public so they will have an idea of what the market has to offer and give them a reason to want to out come out and shop with us.
As each month has gone by we have gone through all the necessary things that have been needed to start a business such as this and we have gotten quite the education a long the the way. I hope we continue learning new things from the artists, craftsmen, growers and makers each month as more and more people find their way to the Coastal Arts Market.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A place for everything

At the start of a new year it's always nice to take the time to sort ,clean and organize your home as well as your craft area, after all it's too stinking cold to do much of anything else. I've been working on my studio for a week. No my workroom is not that big and I don't have that much stuff....LOL
What I've done is switch rooms, I moved my studio from a little tiny room to a larger room so I'll have room to move. I see these folks that make their work area in a closet, I don't know how I'd ever get anything made working out of a closet size area. Of course I read the blogs and see pictures like the one below that looks like some showroom  and think to myself if my work space was this perfect I'd never paint or bead again...LOL it's too perfect.

I find that the thing that works best for me is having a place for everything and trying to keep everything in it's place. 
I like lots of plastic containers with lids for most everything and then there's a shelving unit in a closet for all those containers. I work in three different mediums so there's a place for my paints on those revolving racks,which I haven't set up yet,  next I work with glass and all my glass is in plastic containers for the most part, need to make a trip out when it warms up to pick up a few more containers. And then there's the bead work and I have all of that separated in containers by color and other containers for findings and such.  

So are you organizing? And do you have any good ideas for making the most out of the space that you have.
I'll show you mine if you show me yours, all though I don't find mind very interesting...LOL. Please share the method to your madness.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Will you listen......

Here we are , in last few days of the year. I find that usually the last days of the year are when I reflect back over the year and ask myself some important questions.
Such as, what have I accomplished?
Am I better off now then I was at the beginning of the year?
Did I do my best?
What have I given of myself ?
Was my time well spent?
Am I satisfied with the results of what I have done or attempted to do?
There are no right or wrong answers to my list of questions, the answers only matter to me and no one else. I will tell you I feel as though I have a better incite on what is important in life. I've been in the background observing others and I see how they have handled  terminal illness, heart ache,
fear, worry and sudden life altering changes. I've watched as one of my best friends has stood by her husband through the fight of his life to stay alive for his family in spite of a cancerous tumor in his spine. They have done everything possible to make it from one day to the next and all the rest of us can do for them is pray. Is God listening? I think so, I think he gives them the strength and determination to make it to the next day and we are all grateful for every day they have together.
A few days ago I spoke with another person I've known a long time, longer then either of us care to count back too, must mean we're getting old...LOL. Maybe only old in years, but not in mind or spirit. This friend is someone who I have admired for many years not only for his amazing artistic talent but his way of dealing with people, making everyone feel like they matter at that moment. I wonder if he even knows he has that ability, probably not. After making a life altering decision in early 2014 to change professions he went to another part of the country, leaving his home to take on a job that is in the coldest part of the country. And after some time he transitioned into the regular routine with everything going well, until one day his heart had had enough stress and gave him a serious wake up call. This landed him in the hospital and his sweet wife traveled to be with him, when he was released they traveled back home, only to have a second attack that was worse then the first. Of course the news traveled though the grapevine and what could any of us do? We prayed, and God listened and our friend is still with us and doing well. He said this was a clear eye opener and it made him see what he had been holding onto far longer than he should, he needed to set aside and go on with his life and take care of what is most important to him.
So now I'll tell you my story, it's no where near as dire or complicated as the last two. I spent the last few years trying to make a go at something that just doesn't seem at this point will ever be what I or others want it to be. I've worried and walked the floor at night trying to come up with a solution to make a small business thrive on very little money, and I don't have the answers that will make everyone involved happy.
Over time I had a dry patch of skin on my face that would not go away no mater what I used, then one day it started to bleed and I knew what it was, cancer. No Dr. was needed to diagnose this for me. It took a while but I finally acquired some health insurance and off to the Dr. I went. After a full routine checkup which included a mammogram the nurse said the Dr. wants to see you down the hall she has something on the monitor you need to see. One month later I was at another hospital having a biopsy, and what else could I do but pray. A week later, the longest week of my life I might add, I got the call, they said it's benign, for now.  And God listened.
Now my blood pressure spikes for no physical reason the Dr. can find other than stress. The stress over things that I can't control, and the stress over the fact that I've been holding on to something that is no longer good for me. It hasn't advanced me financially, I've given of my time and energy and I'm no better off now then I was this time last year. To be truthful I'm far worse off now than I was a year ago, so no, I'm not at all satisfied. What should I do? I know, maybe I should do what God does, just listen.
As we enter into a new year I hope you will take the time to listen, God has plans for us and He will show us what is important through the lives of those around us. And maybe we can make it easier on ourselves if we just listen.              

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Tis the time of year for ornaments...

I've been up to my ears in ornaments, I got a late start painting this year but I'm gaining ground. I have one more show this weekend and our shop open house in another week I think I'll have enough.
I finished my my forth batch of the snowball ornaments last night.
 I'm starting on more of the winter wonderland ornaments this morning, I'll be at the Kris Kringle Market this weekend in Charles County Maryland. And this year for the first time I've opened a shop on our Nature's Treasure Cove page ( please like our page ), there are a few snowballs listed for sale and once the show is over I'll be making more jewelry to list for sale, just look for the shopping cart on the left side of the screen or click on shop. I've listed a couple ornaments on eBay this year, I'll be adding more things from my partners in crime as soon as I get the pictures and things settle down.
I hope your getting a good start on decorating and getting some shopping done. So far I have a tree up and lights on it but I've been busy painting ornaments instead of getting them on my tree, I'll get them on there soon. Have a great day and make it a wonderful weekend I'm off to the paint table.  

Monday, June 16, 2014

If you do craft shows surely you can relate to some of this......

Do you do craft shows? If you do then you'll appreciate where this story goes. I haven't had to do many shows over the last 20 years just because I was working a normal job and there was no time to prepare for more then two fall shows in a year. The past two weekends I worked shows, the first one I did just to participate in a town event and represent our shop. This past weekend I set up my jewelry at the annual crab festival. You know thirty years ago I could do this setting up and breaking down my display with one toe tied behind my back, but now this is like work if you know what I mean.

I have to admit it I love doing shows, I equate it to the thrill of the hunt or the catch. Ladies it's just like your husbands who get up at 3:00 am to go deer hunting or fishing. They will start preparing months before the fishing trip and crafters are no different, good grief we find a show and decide that we are going to fill out the contract and do that show. Then we will work on our craft every day getting a little done here and a little done there. Then all of a sudden you look at the calendar and OMG the show is three days away, you panic and rush to take stock of what you have made so far. Well shucks, that's not enough to fill up a table and make a descent looking display. So now this usually means a trip to the nearest craft store, and your off.

Once you've stocked your supplies and bought half of the craft store, yes just like the guys that go to the nearest tackle store to buy more fishing line, reels, gear and whatever else they need to go fishing. Now you settle in to work on making enough product to sell at least one item to every man , woman and child in the county. The hours are slipping away so fast, before you know it it's 2:00 am and you haven't even thought about going to bed yet. But you have to take a break, so you go lay down and pass out, this crafting stuff is hard work. The next few days go by in a blur and finally you have made all that you could possibly make in such a short time span. Now it's midnight the night before the show and you have to load your vehicle to be ready to go no later than 7:00 am to get to the show venue. You're already so tired you can't see straight but the caffeine and adrenalin kick in I guess, you manage to unload a dozen or so large heavy boxes of your crafts and set up all of it on as many tables as you can cram in your space, all of this is done by 10:00 am and now here's where the fishing analogy comes into play.

You set there and wait for them, you pace the floor looking at the clock thinking this show is over at 3:00 where are the people. Finally here come a few ladies and they stop at your booth and look at what you have to sell and compliment your work but no nibbles, they move on. Well look up here come more people and the next thing you know you have cast your lines and your reeling them in and bagging your product and taking their money and taking orders and before you know it it's 1:30 in the afternoon and there are no more people, where did they go?
Don't give up there might be a few more folks stopping by, at least you hope so because now your so stinking tired and sleepy all you want to do is go home and fall into your comfy bed and sleep for days. But you still have to pack all of this stuff that's left over load it back into your vehicle and make the trek back home and unload it back into the house. Are we having fun yet?
If you've ever done craft shows you know this is true and for those that have never done a show now you have a whole new respect for what goes on behind the scenes and you might wonder how could anyone like doing that, it's hard work. From someone who has done it for many years I'm a lot more organised then I used to be, the check list is my friend and I don't pack a dozen large heavy boxes anymore. I think it takes a special kind of crazy to do this several times a year, I think that's why crafters always seem to get along so well because we've all been there, but we get smarter after years of doing this and it's not so bad.
Pictured below is my setup at the Leonardtown Crab Festival last Saturday.

If your out in your neighborhood and see a sign for a craft show take some time to check out the show and hopefully you'll find something you just have to have and make all that work worth while for the artist or crafter.    


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Take time to create something

It took forever to get through the winter months and now here we just a few days before the long Memorial Day weekend. I've been busy leaning new things not paint related, but just as colorful.
I've been learning how to bead weave and I've incorporated some stained glass in my designs.
I've been asked which I like better painting or beading / making jewelry. My answer is I like which ever one is selling so I can pay my bills, no seriously I love working with color so as long as I have the challenge of taking anything and making something pretty and colorful I'm happy.

I like working with the glass I'm not that great at cutting glass but with a grinder I can make a presentable piece. I watch my friend Ginger work with glass and she picks up her glass cutter pushes it across a piece of glass and picks it up and breaks it with her hands just like nothing, I do that and use breaking pliers because doing it with my hands just doesn't work, it breaks just not where I intended it to...LOL. But I can say I'm getting better at it, Ginger has been doing it for probably 40 years, that's called experience.

I've been staying busy with the Craft Guild Shop you know there's always something to do, we had our first craft show of the year at the first of the month and it went well. We set up next door at the winery,
people came out they shopped and had some wine and enjoyed the free entertainment and we had beautiful weather, it was a good day. The next thing on the list is the Crab Festival next month. I'm working on getting as much made as possible and having some different things that I haven't had before.

I hope you have a chance to create something maybe take some time over the long holiday weekend and pull out some of your crafting supplies and get reacquainted them, you never know what might inspire you and what you might come up with besides it's good for the soul.
Make it a good weekend.

Friday, January 24, 2014

An Artist Work Is Never Done

The life of an artist is anything but boring. There are a lot of misconceptions about artists. People think we have all the free time in the world to do whatever we want. People have no idea what is involved in doing what we do. First and foremost you have to stay on top of your craft, things change constantly, what was popular a few months ago is blassie today. There are new products coming onto the market every week, this is true in just about any medium you work with whether it's painting, sewing, woodworking, floral design or glass work. This means you spend a lot of time researching new products that you'll use in the making of your craft or art and finding them at the best prices. You must stay on top of new trends be it the trending colors for this year or fonts if you paint signs and other designs that might be used in glass or wood or for sewing projects. There's no point in making the same thing that was popular a year ago because now that's outdated.

Once you have made the best product that you can then you must find a way to market and sell your work. Today with the internet the world is a lot smaller and your computer will bring customers to you but only if you have marketed your work the right way. So where to start. You have to have good quality pictures. Lets face it most of us are not photographers and we are not lucky enough to have a family member or friend that can take quality pictures for us. So that means you get out the camera and learn to do it yourself. Once you have those picture you have options of different sites online such as EBay and the most popular Etsy and others where you can post those pic's and that takes time. Time is spent setting up the page and getting the right look and designing a banner that represents the perfect look for your items. Once you have this page set up you need to monitor it everyday and keep it updated.  

Let's say you decide to go store front with your product, maybe in a shop that sells on commission or maybe you join a co-op like I have done. This will involve an investment in the co-op of money for space fees each month and days where you will work the shop. 
Time will be spent planning and setting up your display, waiting on customers, keeping the shop clean and in order, maybe designing business cards  or working on advertising and the list goes on.
There will be events that you will participate in to raise extra money for the shop and you will pay a commission to the shop from each item you sell. 

You might decide to bypass all that thinking that you'll set up an online shop. Unless you have lots of money to hire someone else to build and maintain your website you will need to figure this out on your own to. There are sites that are reasonably priced where you can build your site. You'll need really good pictures to have a nice website so again you either hire someone or you learn how to do your own. And it's not just the website that will need your attention, lets not forget Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest and you might as well try your hand at a blog while you're at it, heck what's one more thing to add to your list of things to do. 

Now we have all this going on and another crafter tells you about a great craft show coming up in just a few months. So you make the contact with the show promoter and you pay the fee for the show. Well darn now you've done it, you've got to work like a crazy person to get more product made to be ready for this show you just paid for. So you'll work day and night, yes, that's right, nights too, heck who needs sleep....LOL.  You work right up till the last minute till you have to pack and load your vehicle to leave for the show. You'll do your own setup, work your space running mostly on adrenaline and caffeine , make some sales if you're lucky then at the end of the day pack up whatever is left over and drag back home so tired you can't stand up. Are you tired yet? 

Now you want to hear something crazy? Most of the artists, craftsmen and women that I know don't do just one of these things I've listed above. Nope some of them do all of it, and many of us do it on our own. Yes some have enlisted help from their spouse or kids. But that's not always the case. So you see being an artist is a full time job above and beyond working on your art. So much for having all the time in the world to do whatever we want.

I can say from experience that I've worked other jobs in my lifetime but never have I learned more or worked harder for anyone then for myself. Most likely you won't get rich doing this but you will be doing what you love and you will meet some of the nicest people ever. They are some of the hardest working people you'll ever meet and they're always willing to lend a helping hand or pass on a good tip whenever they can. I'm blessed to count many of the local crafters and artists in my community among my friends. 

So the next time you find yourself at a craft show I hope you'll think about all that is involved in what we do and that you'll see us in a different light. Supporting your local artists is so important in keeping local and American made products available for generations to come. 

FEEDJIT Live Traffic Feed

FEEDJIT Live Traffic Feed


My Blog List

Blog Archive

Joyce's Tole Painting

Show My Weather

Loaded Web

Yellow Pages for Chaptico, Maryland