Ringing in the season at the Cumming, Ga., “Christmas in Central Park” last weekend.
It’s about that time – time to slow down and name what we’re grateful for. I’m most thankful for the priceless intangibles: family, friends, health, freedom, opportunity. My thoughts and prayers are for those whose hearts (or bodies) ache this time of year.
And while my art business is less important than those intangibles, I’m still thankful to be able to say – Whew! Made it through the first year, and I’m excited about the future. I might not be paying the mortgage or the college tuition (yet, anyway!), but I’m pleased to be moving forward. I learn more with each show or festival, and I know a lot more about selling on Etsy now than I did last fall. I’ve had a lovely little rush of orders this month, too, which I hope continues through the holidays!
My art business has tangibles and intangibles, too. The tangibles I’m thankful for include a “yes” from the Trademark office this past year re. my artsyletters name, and a new, old studio space waiting for me in Beaufort, South Carolina, where we’re moving. (I’ll do a post on that in the future – it’s right on Bay Street, in an 1890 building!) I’ve found suppliers I love ordering from and I’m getting better and better at shipping, with all its myriad dynamics. My booth set-up has gotten more appealing with each show, and I’ll continue to tweak that I’m sure.
The intangibles? First, discovering that I was indeed appealing to my target market. I’ve sold items to fellow writers & poets, teachers, librarians, college professors, artists, and book lovers of all ages – sending packages all across the country (including Hawaii) and to England, France, and Canada. Nothing could make me happier. Even more special, some customers have shared comments I will treasure always, particularly about my altered page collages (I’m making more, I promise!): “Your work calls to me.” “This piece speaks to my soul.” “So excited to give this.” “Love your creativity.”
Those kind words are the fuel that keeps me in a creative frenzy!
This Emily Dickinson collage features “There is No Frigate like a Book” and gorgeous 1800s illustrations, plus vintage bling, and the fairy door book collage below says, “I think your wings are strong enough to carry you” from a 100-year-old text. I think the glue was still drying at last weekend’s show, and they both sold!
Second art business intangible: the amazing support I’ve received from creative friends. There’s my art critique group, who heard me verbalize this nugget of an idea for the first time just over a year and a half ago. (My Thanksgiving post last year was about them! – Also thankful that we added Leighanne Schneider to the mix this year).
Also, where would I be without Kim Siegelson,
my award-winning writer friend with a wonderful vintage shop on Etsy, Perfect Patina. Okay, I’d be floundering. I’ve called Kim – um, I don’t know exactly how many times, but several – with Etsy questions. I’ve got some good books on Etsy and online selling of art, and I consult the Etsy blogs, but there is no substitute for talking to someone who has been in the trenches and marched triumphantly ahead. Thank you, Kim!
Whether it’s pestering graphic design whiz Kathleen with emergency photo editing questions, or snagging Paula and Beth for antique market outings, or doing some serious vintage hunting with Kim, I’ve been so very fortunate to have partners in my artsy crimes. Friends have shown up at shows, too – aforementioned Beth and Paula, Peggy, Barbara, Janice, Michael & Candy, the Kennedy clan, Trish and others- not only to buy a gift here or there but to offer a booth-sitting break and words of encouragement.
Finally, I’m thankful for my family (hubby Jeff and kids Morgan and Seth) - they’ve put up with art show explosions from time to time in the house. (Oh – you’re supposed to EAT on the dining room table?!) And, they’ve put up with my way-too-old-for-this all nighters and my being out of pocket for weekends here and there. Daughter Morgan put my entire inventory on Square so I can make sales with just a couple of clicks at shows. She can tweet, post to Facebook, and conduct transactions all at the same time!
Huge thanks to my online friends who have “liked” my Facebook page and shared posts, followed me on Twitter, commented on my blogs and mentioned me on theirs, ”favorited” items on Etsy (& purchased them, too!), and generally helped spread the love in this vast virtual community. Julie, Renee, Cathy, Jone, Liz, Jama, Irene, Susan, Laura S., Laura Sh., Tabatha, Stephanie, Tricia, Linda, Kirby, Betsy, Joy, Elizabeth, Gail, Michelle, Beth, Janet and more – I am very, very thankful! :0)
Wishing you and yours a creative and love-filled Thanksgiving holiday.