Seven days a week for 16 weeks. Give or take a day here and there. Even the days off are full of work and ideas. Days off are also full of problem solving and wondering what is going on with the vendor down the row.
The days are full of everything imaginable. Everything. From happy customers to children having temper tantrums. People who walk by and don’t notice, people who walk by – look with a scowl and then leave saying “Beautiful Work!” (those always confuse me). Return customers who are every-so-happy that we are right where they left us last year! New customers who are amazed and can’t decide what to buy. Pieces that languish for 16 weeks only to be discovered on the LAST day and “Ohmygod that is perfect for her…” “Perfection” just waiting to be discovered. Children with sticky caramel fingers wanting to touch every.piece.they.can.reach. Horses, dogs, lizards, snakes, geese and ducks. Everything.
The show we do from the end of August to mid-December is a huge undertaking. Not only in having pieces for sale, but also having the mental fortitude (“grit”) to keep it all moving in a positive direction.
It is rewarding and satisfying. It is exhausting and frustrating. It is long hours and disappointing days. It is long hours with exciting sales. It is baking in the heat and freezing in the cold. It is sitting in a beautiful location and being grateful for such a gorgeous break room. It is fighting crowds to just get to the long line at the bathroom. It is bonding with other artist/vendors…and then they are gone for their next show.
Gypsies all of us. A lifestyle different and confusing to others.
It is what it is. We accept it and run with it. We love it.
And now we have completed the time…and our tiny apartment is FULL of excitement and potential for our next steps. It is also full of boxes for organizing, stuff, and new things. I’m not really sure WHAT is in some of the mounds. Excavating will occur over the next few days.
Josh reminds me that he has a commission piece to work on. I look over at the studio space. There literally is NO ROOM for him to work. I have to switch cleaning/organizing priorities so that he can get into the space to work!
First – I have to remind myself to STOP and exhale, put my feet up, and relax. I have to be okay with spending some time alone and let the mental dust settle. So many projects, from domestic organization to actual art pieces, and I really need to just stop. Settle. See what comes up. I’m usually surprised at the new ideas that surface – “Where did THAT come from?” and “How can I accomplish that?”…
I’m always surprised.
But I can’t be surprised unless I stop, put my feet up and exhale.
What is next?
Kewish Designs is open on Etsy!!! <—— the link
In 2009 we opened an Etsy shop. We had a few sales, picked up some likes and followers…and then Etsy became not fun. To be seen one had to massage posts, join groups, re-list, pay to be seen on the front page… and so forth. I wanted to be at the bench making things and not sitting massaging Etsy.
We allowed the account to dim … we moved on.
Last year we had a very successful campaign using Square Market for a flash sale….great! And then… Square Market did an “upgrade” to be a more vibrant online ecommerce site. There are glitches and to make a long story short – I am not pleased with the glitch update.
I trolled through Shopify, decided to try the 14 day trial. I found Shopify annoying. So I canceled that account (and am now being inundated with emails and phone calls from Shopify customer support… “What’s wrong???” I’m ignoring them).
I just want an easy clean way to list items for sale. I just want an easy place for people to go to and buy our work.
Etsy. I came back to Etsy. It is user friendly, easy, clean … exactly what I wanted.
Not only that…NOW customers ask us “Are you on Etsy?” with bright eyes and a hopeful look… We hate to say “no” because it really brings down the energy…
NOW…we can answer “YES! Kewish Designs is on Etsy!”
I don’t need to massage listings and spend a lot of time doing things to be seen. We are already being seen and now we have a place to send people.
As of this writing, I have about 30 items listed…and more to come. The store is open. Check it out now…tomorrow…and month from now…anytime. We will always have a representation of our work online now.
The item descriptions are sparse – I’m just shy of writing things like “It’s gorgeous, buy it, you’ll love it”… maybe I will do that now and again… for now things are up (the FIRE!) part…
The link again: Kewish Designs on Etsy
A week ago I was inspired to write a post about inspiration. I jotted down some ideas and saved the post as a draft. Now that it is time to flush out my ideas…I am completely uninspired.
A total and complete “meh” on the subject.
Inspiration does not come to those who wait for it. It is a gift that arrives while you are in the middle of working for it. So, I’m just going to keep writing and perhaps inspiration will find its way to me…
I pause and think back to when I was a kid. My mom ran a daycare and summer was a time of incredibly inspired play. Mom did not allow us to sit and watch television. We were sent outside. My parents did not provide ready-made toys…we had to “build” our own. My dad’s wood scraps became doll houses, ships in the ocean of grass or even a make-shift restaurant…where we would play “kitchen staff”. (“kitchen staff”??? I have no idea where we came up with that idea!!) We would get excited about something said… “OH YEAH… let’s do THAT!” Annnnddddd, we were off and running. The play would go on and on… we lost track of time and space and, THEN inspiration would hit… now we are pirates in the mulberry tree… or fishermen falling out of our boats on the grass-sea…or grossing each other out with our earth-worm pies in our restaurant.
A force, influence…stimulation. While actively playing we would be inspired to change the play a bit and do something new.
Inspiration seeks those who are stirred up. The artist goes into action. “Action” is key for inspiration… Movement and doing something (playing!) is a powerful beckoning. A statement to the muses that “I am ready for you…”
Sit down and write – even if it sucks. Go out and run – even if you are walking most of the time. Cut out the shape even if you are clueless as to what comes next. Put the paint on the canvas. Line up the beads. Fire up the torch!
Do something. Anything.
Inspiration is a powerful muse that desires action.
Inspiration (n.) from Late Latin inspirationem (nominative inspiratio), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin inspirare “blow into, breathe upon,” figuratively “inspire, excite, inflame,” from in- “in” + spirare “to breathe”
Spaces are organized, taxes are done and ideas are rampant. I was doodling last night and came up with some designs that do not fit in at all with my usual work. I have no idea what to do with these ideas. Slowly develop and implement? I don’t know. We have had some critiques that we do not have a cohesive look…no “branding”…and one particular individual ‘could not help us’ because of this lack of look/branding.
I have been caught up in that person’s idea of how an artist should behave. “Have this look that we all can recognize and do videos and join here and raise money there and post here and don’t forget to do these other things… ”
All of these “to-do’s” takes me further and further away from actually designing and MAKING art.
I lost my passion for making art in the pursuit of finding my “look.”
My metal smithing instructor told me that I had the capacity to shoot off in 500 different directions, and be successful at any of them.
And so why not?
By far the most important thing you need in the toolkit is an intense passionfor your cause that can not be hindered by critics or your own shortcomings.You have to be willing to give it your all, and for a long time with potentially fewrewards. In the short run, few people will notice, but in the long run, everyone will.Or at least, everyone you need to influence in your campaign will notice.(Chris Guillebeau)
I get more excited when I envision “Kewish Designs” with different “departments.” There are pieces for the holidays, pieces that reflect the natural world, pieces that are silly, pieces that reflect a world of enchantment, pieces that trigger a spiritual thought… WHY NOT?
I sat down one night and studied the work of a very successful jewelry artist/company. While, yes, there is an overall cohesiveness of her work – due to materials – the theme of her designs are all over the place.
When all is said and done, my favorite moment in the creation process is the participation of the observer/customer. That moment of “the gasp” or the laughter…
The moment of emotional connection.
THAT is the only thing that is really important to me.
I have this Post-It at my desk;
Only I can answer these questions. This is the beginning of inspiration. This is where the heart of the matter lies. There is no one else involved. Except, later, a customer that connects with my work.
And my work just may be all over the place. That just may be my brand.
At 12:45am, Tuesday January 5, 2016, Josh declared The Holidays over. Inhale. Exhale.
For us “The Holidays” run from Halloween through January 4. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Josh’s Birthday, Christmas, New Years and my birthday. The Holidays.
The Holidays begin in the middle of our season at High Hill Ranch/Apple Hill. By the wee hours of the morning of January 5, we are.done.celebrating.
The refrigerator is cleaned out and filled with all kinds of natural good-for-us foods. We have “no alarm” mornings. We take more walks. We get out more. Catch up on movies and television shows.
Josh goes off to work, usually six day work-weeks. I am home designing and working at the bench. Josh squeezes bench time in when he can…and on Sundays…if we don’t have a list of things to do.
It is a lifestyle different than most. From January through August we are working at everything pertaining to Kewish Designs. September through December we are selling our art and celebrating The Holidays.
It is a lifestyle different than most. It is even different than other artists. Having two individuals working on art with one having a full-time-with-over-time job. One car. The car goes with the full-time job person. This leaves the other (me) at home working with rare chances to get out. We are different. It is difficult to explain to family, even harder to explain to associates. Close friends get it and go along for the ride.
No complaints! It is a curious and unique lifestyle. Even as I write this I am aware that it is “only” 305 days until Halloween 2016…and 227 days until we open again at High Hill Ranch.
tick tick tick
Currently I am spending my time thinking about designs and doodling out ideas. I’m stuck on the idea of “serenity” and am asking myself “what would a serene piece of jewelry look like?” I don’t know… but I seem to be drawing a lot of delicate flowers with tiny butterflies.
Just some sketchy ideas. I never know what is going to happen once I sit down at the bench.
It is time. To sit down again and create. The Holidays are over and I have had my holiday.
Let’s see what happens!
Don’t try to make sense of it…it makes no sense. This is how our workbench looks by mid-December. It is the result of months of a lot of work! We work very hard to make a mess!!
On many social media platforms there are many photos of such messes – many jewelers/metal smiths have a huge holiday rush on orders…and work spaces just become more and more frenetic!
And then, when the shows and work is done… it is time to clean and organize. Gather thoughts, toss out stuff, brainstorm, ponder… and a transformation takes place… the work space is cleaned and ready for a new year!
High Hill Ranch opens August 29, 2015 and runs seven days a week until December 13!
and KEWISH DESIGNS will be there!
High Hill Ranch is located just off Highway 50, between Placerville and Camino and just a short drive away from Lake Tahoe and the Gold Discovery Area of Coloma! The address for those of you who would like to map it : 2901 High Hill Road, Placerville, CA 95667
The Vismans have been working hard to spruce up the ranch, introduce new items to the menu and are offering a series of concerts!
For updated information “Like” High Hill Ranch Fan Page on Facebook (click here)!
To keep track of all the fantastic artisans who will be here this here “Like” High Hill Ranch Crafters (click here)!
And, of course, to keep your eye on us… “Like” Kewish Designs on Facebook (click here)!