Sunday, March 22, 2015

Unexpected Visitors

Enough about the new studio and the move. Back to regular programming.

Finally, I have been working in my studio, trying to get back into the creative groove. I started out pretty good. I spent a few days working with the clay and getting a lot of little things made, so I can restock my Etsy shop. I've even glazed a few of them.  Like these tiny birdhouses. They are part of a little experimental project that I am working on. If that works out, I will post photos of that later.

Unexpected Visitors
After getting several projects started, we had a couple of 'Unexpected Visitors'. The dreaded 'flu bug' came to visit my
hubby. I avoided Mr. Bug like the plague! He brought the cold weather back with him too, so my creative flow came to a halt. My usually active husband was pretty sick for about 4 days. He doesn't get sick often, so I knew he felt really bad. He had fever and chills and all of the typical flu symptoms . I was trying to take care of him while he was feeling really bad, but also trying not to get too close. Luckily, I avoided Mr. Flu Bug. But between the weather and taking care of the hubby, I have been dragging around here with no energy. He is usually the cook around here (his choice), so I had to cook a for a few days. (I know, I'm very lucky!) That is exhausting to me, so I am having a hard time getting back into my creative routine. Hubby is feeling better now, so hopefully we can both get back into our routines. We are more than ready for Spring weather to arrive and stick around! We had a few days of warmer weather last week, and the daffodils started blooming, so it was a great sign of things to come!

Bunny Visit
It is not Easter yet, but Hubby found this little visitor in the garage a couple of days ago (look real hard, it is a baby rabbit). He/she, along with his two little siblings, made a run for it when my hubby found them hiding under the plastic tub full of stuffed animals. Hopefully they made it back to their little rabbit home/hole. (Wherever they live.) I like rabbits, but I do not want them taking up residence in our garage!  I may need to draw some little rabbits to illustrate the visit.

Until next time...
Have a nice productive week!


Friday, March 13, 2015

New Studio Space - Part 3

Welcome to My Studio

In my last post (part 2), I showed the desk/drawing space side of the new studio. Today, I am showing you the clay/painting side of the studio. Since this photo was taken, I have started back to work there and it is back to its usual cluttered, but productive space. See second photo for the busy artist at work look!

Back To Work
Now I can turn my attention back to my little Etsy shop and to get ready for craft shows for this year.

I've made clay houses, trees, mushrooms, hearts, birds, and some Believe Tree ornaments. I have to make up for the time I've spent packing and moving. Now I can have fun in my new space.

I am hoping to add one or two more shows to my schedule this year.  My goal is to raise enough money to buy a larger kiln! It takes a lot of time to fire larger items in my little baby kiln. It is perfect for my little houses and other little things, but if I want to expand my little business, I need a larger kiln! Wish me luck!

My Need for Organization
For now, everything is organized. I'm sure as I work more in the space, I may decide to rearrange things and I'm sure I will paint some of the furniture pieces, so they don't look so random. But because of all of the 'stuff' (art supplies), I must keep everything organized, so things do not get chaotic. I can't work in chaos! Because I want to become more Focused this year, I need to declutter. My cleaning out, may become someone else's treasures!

Back in the corner, I have my printer on top of the cabinet with my paint supplies, plus the thrift shop cabinets with more paints and glazes. Yes, I feel like I have too many supplies. I want to get rid of some supplies that I no longer use. That could take me awhile to weed out the slightly used supplies that I can part with. I may have to put some supplies up for sale, just for my need for organization.

Instagram Sale?
In the near future, I will have an Instagram sale! I've been wanting to have one! So if you aren't following me on Instagram, click on this link  
(Me on Instagram: @bethmacre)
to see behind the scenes photos and maybe catch a sale or two!
But I'll keep you posted on Instagram and Facebook (My Facebook Page) !

Until next time...

Monday, March 2, 2015

New Studio Space - Part 2

We have Progress!

We started moving in over two weeks ago and I can finally go into the new studio and not find a box to unpack! Yes, I do have more organizing to do. I will continue to rearrange things as I get back to work. I have come to realize that I have too many things. Too many supplies and not enough time to use them all. I may have to have a supply sale in the near future. I need to get back to work and start using them up, which I plan to do this week.

Now that all of the boxes are out, I can see the floor space and I am pretty excited about it! I have 2 work spaces. One, at the desk where I can draw, compute, dream, and maybe a little paperwork. The other is for clay work and painting.

My Inspiration Wall

Above my desk, I have hung things that make me feel good or have special memories to me. All of which inspire me. Here is a close up of those things. I have numbered them so I can identify the item, the reason it is special, and the creators/artists of the things that I did not make.

1. "Stars, Stripes, and Stitches"  by Me.
This is one of my favorite colored pencil drawings. It is one of those drawings that I put a high price on it, just so it will NOT sell!

2. The little clay 'Follow Your Heart' piece was created by Karen Fincannon. She was very nice and helpful to me when I started doing art shows in Georgia. The message is very inspiring to me.

3. The first Go Hogs Ornament that I made. Go Hogs! (I'm working on more using a slightly different design this year.)

4. A Dream Catcher that a long time, good friend of mine, Cindy, gave me. Catching some dreams!

5. The gum wrapper chain is a part of a very, very long chain that my good friend and I made back in junior high school.  A few years ago, after reconnecting again, she gave me part of the chain. This chain brings back many good memories! Cindy and I spent many hours hanging out and talking and laughing back then!

6. 'Mrs. Macre' sign from my classroom door at Blytheville High School. So many memories!

7. ACEO size drawing of Me, by my Artist friend, Tim Hunter.  He titled it "Blonde in a Turtleneck". It was/is not unusual to see me in a turtleneck and with my reading glasses on my head. He did a good job of representing me!

8. Owl wall hanging by Karen Fincannon from Georgia. We traded a few things at the Georgia shows that I went to. I love this owl!

9. Another little owl. But this one is done by another artist friend, Joy Elizabeth. I also met her in Georgia, at an art festival.  But now she lives nearby and I can visit with her in person!

10.  The little ACEO size quilted painting on fabric was given to me by my sweet artist friend, Fannie, from Hawaii.  She is a very sweet, talented, and special woman. An inspiration.

11,  The little shot glass, with colored pencils in it, is from Paris. I bought it on the trip to France in 2008.  It definitely brings back special memories of the trip I took with Becky, the French teacher, and 12 wonderful students!

Part I of the New Studio can be found here: The New Studio - Part 1 if you want to see the space before.
In my next post, I will post pictures of the other work space and storage in the room. And eventually I will post a cleaned up and decluttered space. Stay tuned.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

New Art Studio Space - Part I

Moving In

We recently moved to a new (new to us) house. In our previous temporary place, we only had 2 bedrooms, so my art space was very cramped! But we found a house that was just what we were looking for! I was so excited to get moved and have that extra bedroom space for my art studio again.

I don't have a huge space, but it is a room dedicated just to my studio.  We only started moving in two weeks ago, so I am still emptying boxes and looking for things that I need and deciding how I am going to organize my work space.

Now if I can just find the clamp for my lighted magnifier!

It still has a ways to go, but here is my new space. I just need to get all of my supplies out and organized so I can get back to work! I will post updates as I do a little decorating...paint, fabric, maybe a rug.

In my next post I will have pictures of the new space, hopefully more organized and ready to use. Check back in a few days for progress.


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Heart Homes ... A Look Back Six Years

HeartHomes for February 

Original Set of My Hearthomes
Six years ago, I started creating little clay houses, that I called Hearthomes. They have gone through some changes over those years, but they have always had the little hearts, both on the front and back, and on the bottom of each house.

Today, I thought I would share some pictures
of the houses through the years.

The first set was painted with acrylic paint.
This first set, was featured in the Arkansas Magazine, At Home in Arkansas. If I could find the link to it, I would post it!

After that first set, I decided to try glazing them.  
I never used acrylics again, after that first set. I like the effect that the glaze creates.

Here is a Montage of a few of my houses over the years.

2009 - 2015

Not only have they become a little more polished, but my photography skills have improved a tad.

Last year, a friend of mine, dropped and broke one of her little houses. She had a set of 3. She likes her houses because they are a little rough around the edges...original style houses. So she asked if I could make her another one similar to the broken one.  It took me awhile to get to it, but I finally made it last month and sent it to her and she was happy to have the set back together.  When I put the old one next to the newer one, I realized the big difference. There is still a more polished look to the newer one.

I think I may revisit some of my old style houses, with the newer polished look. We'll see what happens this year. My style is always evolving.  Whatever I come up with, I sell them from my Etsy shop and a few local Arts and Craft  Shows during the year.


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Heart Art in February

I love Hearts.
I don't know if you can tell by my art, but I love hearts.  99% of my art has some type of heart somewhere on the piece. Not in a mushy sort of way though. I'm not all hearts and butterflies and rainbows, although I do like them. I just like the shape of the heart and love to add it to my art, kind of as a signature mark to my work. It can mean so much to many people. And making art that is meaningful is what it's all about, right?

I love to create.
So I love to add the heart to show that love!

I've been working on making some small hearts for magnets and pins and ornaments for Valentine's Day. I am always making heart magnets and ornaments, but I'm not great at planning way ahead to have all of this ready to really make a big marketing push. So I only have a limited amount of heart pins and magnets available. I don't really want to use Valentine's Day to mass produce hearts, as I am usually working on some other projects. If I have any available, I will have them listed in my Etsy Shop.  I will list them as I have them available.

So, between now and Valentine's Day, I thought I would share a few pictures of what I've been working on over the next couple of weeks, and maybe even some Heart Art created by other artists, that I admire.

Hope you enjoy!


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Keeping the Wind In My Sails

Confidence is...
the wind 
in my sails. 

is silent...
are Loud.

I love being an artist...
but, being an artist requires having confidence and having thick skin. Over the years, I have learned to 'convince' myself that, when it comes to my art, I have confidence. But I have to be honest, it is a struggle sometimes. Especially when someone knocks the wind out of my sails a bit.

I think most artists, whether they want to admit it or not, can be a little insecure about their creations. Putting your art OUT THERE for others to see, can be a boost to your confidence, OR it can be a blow to your confidence. It can be as simple as getting accepted into an art show, getting a huge thank you from a happy customer, or the insecurity can come from news that you did NOT get into a show that you wanted to be in. Or it can be a off-handed remark from a family member, friend, or stranger, that says, 'I can do that' or 'why do you do that' or 'why didn't you do it the other way?

I received both a huge thank you from a customer this week, and from another customer, a negative response to a custom piece. And this blow to my confidence just happened to come on my birthday this week. I was having a good day, up until that email.  Being a people pleaser, it crushed me to know that my vision, was not my customers vision.  

Custom orders can be tricky. You never know if you have the same vision as what your customer wants. That is why so many artists do not do custom work. It is difficult work. More difficult than just creating your own vision of what you love and then selling it.  It may be too small, too big, the wrong color, or not the style they wanted.

So, as I pull myself back up and dust my confidence off, I reminded myself that I cannot please 100% of the people 100% of the time.
I will continue to create what I love and hope that people who love my work will find me and help to keep the wind in my sails.


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Looking Back at 2014 and Forward to 2015

2014 ~ Simplify
Last year I chose the word 'Simplify' as my word of the year. That was before we put our house up for sale and sold it within 5 weeks and moved within 2 months. By the middle of March, we had moved across the state.  I thought my word 'Simplify' was going out the door with many of the things that we let go to downsize. However, because of that downsize, we did start fresh with fewer 'things'. But it was definitely not Simple! There were days I wasn't sure we could do it.

Nine months later, I can say for sure, it was the right thing to do. Things have settled down and we, my husband and I, are still working to simplify our life. He has found a job that he loves and a new hobby that he enjoys.  I continue to work in my studio, at home, on my own schedule...
...Keeping It Simple.

2015 ~ Focus
I have been trying to decide what my word for 2015 would be.  I want to grow my business.  That means I need to focus on what will help me do that. In my post from last week, I wrote about focusing on Texture in my Artwork. That is my focus for my artwork. But for myself, I need to remind myself to Focus on my goals.

5 Things I Need to Focus on in 2015:

1.  Create Art that is fulfilling to my creative spirit.

2.  Find 2-3 More Venues to Sell My Art

3.  Improve Social Media Promotion

4.  Develop Relationships and Roots in our new Community

5.  Improve Business and Organizational Skills

Happy New Year! 
To 2015!


Saturday, December 27, 2014

New Focus on Texture

All about the Texture in 2015

I've been working with texture in my art for several years now. But next year in 2015, I plan to focus even more on texture in all of my art.

Texture in Clay
For example, I have been creating bowls and dishes with impressed textures. I've done this before, but in the past, I've been more focused on glazing designs onto smooth bowls and dishes. Here are some textured bowls that I created before Thanksgiving. All of these have already sold, so I think they were well received.  My goal is to get a larger kiln this year, so I can expand and create more of the larger pieces.

Texture in Mixed Media Painting
I love working with textures in paint. Using modeling paste helps with this when working with acrylic paint.

Here is a pair of paintings, that I created textures with modeling paste, a couple of years ago. I also used lots of layers of color to add to the depth. These paintings are hanging in our bedroom.

And a close up of the painting on the left.

Re-use and Re-purpose with Paint and collage.

This is an old book that was being given away at a school library. I used paint, texture, and collage all throughout the book to create a journal. It was a fun experiment.

I used torn paper, crinkled tissue paper, and acrylic paints.  I will be posting more about this book/journal, in a post in 2015.

 We'll see where this new focus takes me!


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Holiday Orders and Holiday Markets

I can't believe it's almost December already. Since War Eagle Fair was over, I have been busy filling orders and preparing for TWO holiday markets that I am going to be participating in this year. These are all new opportunities for me, since moving to Northwest Arkansas.

The first event is next weekend!
Community Creative Center
Holiday Bazaar

December 6th at the Community Creative Center in downtown Fayetteville.  It is the same day as The Little Craft Fair at the Fayetteville Town Center, I think both will be great events. I hope that both Holiday markets will be on your shopping schedule!  Hope to see you there!

In my next post, I will share where I will be selling December 17th - 21st! Watch this blog!  I'll give you a hint...Bentonville! 
**Edit: The Bentonville Market was held from December 10th - December 19th. Blog post to come! 

I just thought I would share a few photos of the things that I have been working on.

I have made a lot of Believe Trees! Here are a few.

And I've been making some textured bowls. 

And a few plates: 

Hope you had a good Thanksgiving! 

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