Artists and thinkers coming together to promote fine crafts, innovation, and honest sustainability.

The best and brightest artists and thinkers coming together to promote fine crafts, original thought, and honest sustainability.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Learn by doing, or do by learning......uhhhhhh?

So I am pondering this fundamental question.... is it better to jump into something new with both feet.... or to prepare you toosh off and wait for the right moment. How do you know how to recognize the difference between having a healthy dose of patience and a prudent sense of planning, and when you are just procrastinating out of fear?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Support WEAVE with ZIP & RUTH!!!!

For the entire month of May, ZIP & RUTH will donate $5.00 from every single transaction to help women escape violent environments.

WEAVE is the primary provider of crisis intervention services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Sacramento County.

It is WEAVE’s mission to bring an end to domestic violence and sexual assault in partnership with our community. WEAVE’s vision is a community free of violence and abuse. At WEAVE we believe that crisis intervention services are only part of the solution.

Prevention and Education are critical in improving how our community responds to violence. WEAVE is committed to breaking the cycle of violence by educating the community to better understand the issues of domestic violence and sexual assault.

So, CLICK HERE and shop like crazy!

The funny thing about feedback.

I have been spending a good bit of time hanging out in the Etsy forums. My first toe in the water was in the critique section. I asked for a general critique of my shop. Ninety percent of the responses I got were super positive, and the suggestions I got were solid and thought-provoking. I left this thread feeling all warm and fuzzy, fresh banner and avatar firmly planted based on suggestions.

But here’s the thing… I stopped by a couple of other similar threads for other shops and most of them were pretty positive as well…even for shops that sold overpriced garbage and only had four listings….all while whining that they didn’t have a sale yet after like three days.

So I am now wondering if I should feel less warm and fuzzy about my kudos. I mean, I am all for supporting each other and encouraging each other, but how do I reconcile my own desire for better design in the world, and my belief in personal responsibility with the fact that some people just aren’t good at this? Isn’t encouraging people who just copy other people to keep doing what they’re doing akin to condoning it?

So, how do I have faith that my work is good?

Total Strangers RULE!!!!

I had my first sale to a total stranger today! I can’t even describe how awesome that feels! I mean, I have sold lots of goodies to people I didn’t know, but only in person at craft shows, etc…. This was the first time that the wonders of the Internet actually materialized before me. How amazing is that…. in a few short days a lovely lady in Connecticut will be wearing a ring that I made?!? I know that my wonderful friends have been amazing and supportive and have bought things from me, but it just feels so much sweeter somehow when it is a totally objective person saying, “I totally dig what you do….enough to give you my money.” It’s like the difference between Brad Pitt telling you you’re pretty and your mom telling you your pretty.

So…. thank you kind stranger lady, enjoy your magic mushroom ring…. and friends, you know I love you even more than I love stranger lady!

Etsy RULES!!!!

Terror, fear, and bracelets.

Lately, I wake up in the morning and on recent days, I am happier than I have ever been. The safety net is gone, the abyss is looming, and I get to wake up every day happy because I am doing something that makes me feel balanced. For the first time in my life I actually know what authenticity feels like. For the first time ever, I don’t feel intellectualized….I feel authentic. I am not here for success, or prestige, or security. I am doing this because none of those things made me happy. I used to think that there was something wrong with me because I was never content…. because contentment felt synonymous with complacency…. and complacency felt like failure. Now, contentment feels like a warm blanket… the kind that comes straight out of the dryer and smells like home.

I am a designer.

For the first time in my life, I feel brave in my bones. My mother is an artist. My whole life I watched her kill herself to keep our lives afloat, and the whole time I watched, loving her, respecting her, wanting so badly for her to learn how to rest…. all the while swearing that i would never want that life. I have fought it for thirty years, and now here I am…. proclaiming four little words that terrify me…. I am a designer. No apologies, no caveats. I am taking a road less taken. I am signing up for less money and more life, less killing myself, more sweet mornings with the people I love. The past year of my life was filled with the deepest pain I have ever known, and then the greatest relief I never thought possible. I have known huge ups and huge downs and have come out knowing that I will never again sell my life. My time is precious and I vow to fill it by bringing as much beauty as I can into the world.

I am a designer.

I am a designer

Why earrings are better than food.

So….I bought this really amazing industrial sewing machine that can apparently sew through lead. However, in searching for information and tutorials on sewing with said animal….I found MANY warnings about not sewing while tired…as my wonderful little machine will chomp off the tips of my fingers like they were twigs in a mulcher. So now, every time I feel the urge to experiment with it…I end up asking myself, “Am I tired? How much sleep did I get last night? Do I feel a hint of allergy-related fuzziness coming on?” And so, I am now afraid of my sewing machine.

I’ll let you know when I slay the dragon….and actually make one of the beautiful handbags I have all cut out and waiting for me to grow a pair.

I'm afraid of my sewing machine.

So….I bought this really amazing industrial sewing machine that can apparently sew through lead. However, in searching for information and tutorials on sewing with said animal….I found MANY warnings about not sewing while tired…as my wonderful little machine will chomp off the tips of my fingers like they were twigs in a mulcher. So now, every time I feel the urge to experiment with it…I end up asking myself, “Am I tired? How much sleep did I get last night? Do I feel a hint of allergy-related fuzziness coming on?” And so, I am now afraid of my sewing machine.

I’ll let you know when I slay the dragon….and actually make one of the beautiful handbags I have all cut out and waiting for me to grow a pair.

I Hate Photos.

I have officially taken about a million photos of my work for my Etsy page. I’m not actually sure at this point if I hate the camera, or if the camera hates me. So, in rebellion…I decided to stop obsessing about the prefect pics and just go make something. However, frustrated, angry crafting is generally not the best idea….but in the moment it felt right. I, of course made the worlds UGLIEST necklace. It will only exist to serve as a reminder that happy crafting is good crafting. Also, it is apparently a lesson in the fact that they can’t always be winners…

….and purple seed beads rarely result in artistic genius.

Living the Dream.... almost;)

I’ll admit it. I’m addicted to the Quit Your Day Job blog on Etsy. I find it incredibly inspiring to hear all about how talented people are out there fighting the good fight and making their dreams come true. But honestly, that’s not why I read it. I read it because I am a total voyeur. I am a craft-y-voyeur… and I find that as much as I love reading about people that make it, I really want to know the hows. Like ALL of the hows. I want to know what kind of sewing machine they use, where they buy their recycled silver, what they hang on the wall in their studio, what kind of coffee fuels them to achieve artistic greatness. You know, basic stuff. Unfortunately, no one ever includes all the nitty-gritty details. Add to that, we all know that there are piles….mountains even, of blogs out there talking about magical, wonderful craftiness. I suppose I could join the fray, but I thought that if I was looking for a new blog to read on a regular basis (which is what I would love to have my lovely readers do), I would want to read about how someone actually gets there. So in future posts, expect to see the good the bad and the ugly of Zip and Ruth’s ascension to crafty-legend, as I attempt to live the artsy-farsty dream.