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 Click here   Introduction   to look inside and read the introduction.

There have been various availability problems primarily for people in the US who want to buy my book. I am happy to say that book depository now carries ‘Chocolate Rain, 100 ideas for a creative approach to activities in dementia care’.  They ship all over the world for free! And they are a good, reliable business, we order books there regularly.

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In one of the recent BrushBuzz newslettters was a wonderful post from Stapelton Kearns about some thoughts on art and money. I’m glad to have some company, someone else in the art field who isn’t blindly following all the latest ‘Sell your art and get rich’ seminars. Check it out. Quote below.

…What I mean to say is that the product has to come before the profit.

I bring this up because I think I am seeing a trend now of putting marketing into too exalted a position. The web crawls with books on how to market your art and advice columns and how-to seminars on marketing your art. And yes, I market my art. I also think you should show and sell your art if you can. But it is really about the art and it’s quality, more than it is about sales!’

Whenever I read a story of a successful person who has realized their dreams, it rarely starts out with,

‘Well, I decided what to do, ran a market research, thought up a name and launched a successful business’. 

Instead it almost always starts out modestly:

‘I liked baking cookies and my friends all asked for some, eventually they were asking me to provide party cakes, and my bakery grew from there’.

Or,

‘I always liked to make gifts for people, and it just kept expanding until companies were asking me to make creative
business gifts’.

 While thinking about what I’d like to do with my shop, branding at this stage seems premature and I question the prevailing commercial practice of having to decide on a name, packaging and a style at this early stage.

The best most enduring things take time- time to emerge, to ripen, to take form.  This project will find its identity through a combination of: my intents; the people who visit it, the people I collaborate with, its growth through time, the surroundings, and other outside influences. So why would I want to pin it’s soul down before it is even born?

Heck, ANYONE can think up a name and present a product with a professional looking package. Even the most el cheapo products can be presented convincingly because the technology is open to everybody.  Read the rest of this entry »

Craft chronicles

March 19, 2011

etalage before

For years our etalage has been a storage room for art and everything else

My new project is starting a shop/mini-gallery at home featuring beautiful handmade functional objects made by myself, my husband and guest artists.

Though I am not exactly thrilled at the idea of having opening hours (and probably won’t have any regular ones), the project answers a lot of my needs- short and long term. It gives me a structural, continuing base on which to build. This balances the nature of my free-lance work which usually involves large, one-of-a kind projects which sometimes demand a steep learning curve to learn to apply my skills to a set of new materials which I then don’t use again, often for several years (lettering a 100 year old huge document, burning letters in a wooden grave marker, decorating a period instrument, making a giant gold leaf sign for the local church/hermitage).

Having a craft shop in this period of rising interest in knitting, felting, crocheting, beading etc. supports good quality work and the artists making it, and also provides inspiration to aspiring handwork hobbyists.  I love to teach, so workshops will be a part of the concept.

new space

New space with hardboard wall removed

Important to me is the relationship with the local community. My focus will be in this neighborhood (rural northern Holland) and surrounding area rather than internet for now. I have a nice working relationship with the people who own the only other store (gallery and gift shop) in the village (besides the motorboat shop), they have a large space and we are planning an autumn creative course program linked with both our shops.

My space, on the other hand,  is tiny- three people max including me can fit in there and stilll breathe. But there is room for a table and 2 chairs and I can still offer one on one tutoring. Also, I am excited about the idea of organizing some local craft-ins, where people can just come and bring their currrent project and work and drink tea together.

Felt & beaded brooche- button from V&A museum gift shop(UK)

I have been having a great time working with felt, silk and beads to create some brooches for sale. My friend Betty just bought the first one, so that starts things off well. I’m making some great cotton roses for interior decoration, smaller ones for brooches as well.

brooches and buttons

Some brooches and a bowl of porselein buttons

I think I will post here from time to time (see Category Craft Chronincles) to share how this project unfolds. It is a leap, the last time we had a shop here, very few people came, and the village were not at all interested. But things have changed in 15 years and it feels like the time is right.