Art Break Wednesday: the Makers Summit


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On Saturday, I tooled up the road a couple of hours to Greenville, SC, for the first-ever Makers Summit sponsored by Indie Craft Parade, held at a great elegant/industrial meeting space called Zen.   It was a day full of sessions and networking for artist-business owners.

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Greenville is a special town to me, as my husband and I met at Furman University there and married a couple of weeks after graduation.  Our daughter is a student there now!  But back in the day, downtown was not exactly the destination spot it is today, with so many vibrant shops, restaurants, and a glorious park at the falls.  It’s the perfect location for a workshop such as the Makers Summit.

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As you can imagine, it was a talented group of attendees enjoying some very savvy, talented speakers.  In fact, a little Googling online will take you to some professionally shot photos of the day by several who were there.  But maybe these pictures from my phone will whet your appetite to sign up when they do it again!

Speakers included Stephen Fraser from  Spoonflower, Grace Kang of Retail Recipes, designer  Justin Gammon, author  Amy Flurry, artist-entrepreneur and author Barb Blair of Knack Studios, Mail Chimp’s Amy Ellis, and Etsy’s own Kimm Alfonso, with a few other experts on hand to offer additional business advice.  Topics in the general sessions included branding and product lines, online selling, and expanding markets.

Kimm Alfonso from Etsy speaks about "Doing Business Intentionally."

Kimm Alfonso from Etsy speaks about “Doing Business Intentionally.”

One of the perks of the day was meeting fellow artists and craftspeople making a business out of their creative passions.  I had connected, through an Etsy blog, with Karen Sims Deady before the big day.

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Robyn with Karen Sims Deady of KSDLuxe

It was fun to meet her in person and chat between sessions.  She has a gorgeous Etsy shop,  KSDLuxe, with contemporary artisan jewelry.  She’s also from Georgia, not terribly far from my neck of the woods.

I also had a 10-minute review of my Etsy shop with Etsy Support representative Nicole Bogatitus.  It was helpful to have professional feedback, since running an indie art business is at times like navigating without a map.  (And I found her comments encouraging for my first few months out in the big online world!)

Gatherings like this definitely help artist-entrepreneurs along the way, however.  Navigating by the stars is more adventuresome anyway, don’t you think?

Oh – and there were goodie bags to swoon for.  Just look at all this fun stuff:

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When I finish playing with it all, I have to get back to business – the business of selling my art!  I’m thankful to have some new strategies to ponder and new peers to keep up with.


I’ll definitely sign up for the Makers Summit when it comes around again.  My guess is, we should all sign up early.

The Maker’s Summit!


I’m so excited! I just signed up to attend “The Maker’s Summit,” an all-day business conference on Feb. 2, 2013 for creatives, sponsored by Indie Craft Parade in Greenville, SC.  (The Indie Craft Parade takes place in September.) Speakers include Stephen Fraser (founder, Spoonflower), Grace Kang (founder, Pink Olive and and Kimm Alfonso (Etsy, community outreach).

It’s only a couple hours away from my home in Georgia, so within striking distance, even during a busy weekend on my end.  My husband and I met at/graduated from Furman University in Greenville a few moons ago, and our daughter is there now. Back in the day, downtown was not really any kind of destination spot!  I loved the art museum, but the rest in my memory was just kind of industrial terrain to stay away from.

Now the city is a vibrant tourist destination, with a gorgeous park at the waterfall, many fine restaurants and unique boutiques, horse-drawn carriages, art galleries, and character galore.  We love going up there!

I look forward to connecting with other artists and creative indie business owners.  In fact, I stumbled upon a comment on an Etsy blog about this conference from an Etsy shop owner who lives in the Atlanta area.  So we’ve already exchanged cell phone numbers and plan to meet up. :0)

It this conference is calling you, too, click on the logo above to learn more.  Happy Creating!


Art Break Wednesday: Registration is Open for SCBWI Southern Breeze Illustrators Day!


Interested in Children’s Book Illustration?  Whether you are just starting out or you are a seasoned pro, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Southern Breeze Region is hopping with talent, resources, and folks to get to know.  Led by Illustrator Coordinator Elizabeth Dulemba, with assistance from Kathleen Bradshaw, the region offers ways to develop your craft and network with industry professionals throughout the year.  (Click here for the Southern Breeze Illustrators Corner.)

One of the most ambitious events is always Illustrators’ Day, jam-packed with talks from leaders in the field as well as feedback on artwork.

Robyn Hood Black, Jo Kittinger, special guest Greg Christie, Elizabeth Dulemba, special guest Peter Brown, and Kristen Applebee enjoy the SCBWI Southern Breeze 2012 Illustrators’ Day in Atlanta.

Held previously in September, the event is moving to the Friday just before the Southern Breeze Springmingle conference in Atlanta, the last weekend in February.

(Note:  I will actually be in the building but involved in the other Friday option that day – a verse novels intensive with Nikki Grimes!  But I look forward to meeting some of our Illustrators’ Day guests and taking a look at portfolios, etc.)

Here’s the scoop on the 2013 Illustrators’ Day:

Friday, February 22nd, from 10:00am to 4:00pm at the Century Center Marriott (the same location as Springmingle).

Cost: $65 per person for SCBWI members, $70 for SCAD or AIA students, and $85 for non-members. Audit options will be available to regristrants after the first 30 slots are filled.

Organizers are looking forward to the new date and digs.

“We hope that with this new change, our illustrators will want to stick around to enjoy the advantages of the entire conference weekend, although it’s not required,” says Elizabeth Dulemba. “We will also be overlapping some of our speakers.”

Binders Art Supply will host a Portfolio Viewing Cocktail Party from 4:00pm to 6:00pm for local Art Directors, gallery owners, instructors, etc. to drop by and view attendees’ work. (In other words, you’ll want to stay later, says Elizabeth! Please include take-aways with your portfolio – business cards, postcards, bookmarks, tear sheets, etc.)

“We will also have a display table just for book dummies along with the portfolios,” adds Elizabeth.  “We’re offering amazing new opportunities for our illustrators to learn more about the business of children’s books and perhaps get some good leads for freelance work.”

The  incredible line-up of speakers and mentors includes  Chad Beckerman, Creative Director for Abrams (Abrams Appleseed, Abrams Books for Young Readers, and Amulet Books) Dianne Hess, Executive Editor at Scholastic and Blue Sky Press,and Will Terry, illustrator and innovator.

Illustrator Mark Braught will mentor the first 12 registrees (first-come, first-served) with an assigned project before the workshop. The goal:  to create a finished piece ready to show on Illustrators’ Day during the Portfolio Reviews.

Portfolio Reviews: The first 30 registrees will display their work and receive feedback from this illustrious faculty in a public overview manner (timed – no more than 2 minutes).   (Attendees should follow the Portfolio Guidelines on the Southern Breeze site.)

NEW! Dummy Display: This year a designated table in the portfolio viewing area will be dedicated to the display of picture book dummies.

Registration is now open!
For more information, for links to all these great speakers, and to sign up, click here.
For questions, contact  Elizabeth O. Dulemba: elizabeth at dulemba dot com.