Monday, August 30, 2010

On Selling Out ( Or Not ...)

Actually, I don't think it would be possible for me to "sell out" - I have found that if I make a piece that doesn't have some meaning to it (at least for me) I am very unhappy with it. However, I do want to be successful!

I recently completed 2 new original mixed media collages (pictured above) called "Birds As Souls" and "Woodland Creatures." Prior to making them, I tried to follow some of the trends for fall I had read about in Etsy's September Merchandising Report. Some topics I tried to keep in mind were: woodland creatures, natural colors/earth tones, muted greens, mustard, and cranberry. I am pretty happy with the finished results. The bird silhouette featured is a Hermit Thrush.

Also, as Etsy is always encouraging their sellers to take interesting photos, I captured my new collages sitting on top of a pile of rocks! Although I was skeptical, I think the photos look pretty good! Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Only Don't Know...

Last summer, I bought a new guided meditation recording. At the end of the meditation, the listener was instructed to "go straight, and only don't know." As I understood it, going straight referred to the Buddhist idea of dharma and following the Right Path. But "Only don't know?" This phrase perplexed me. What in the world did it mean?! Was it even grammatically correct? Well, that's what Google is for, I suppose.

I learned that "Only Don't Know" is the title of a book of correspondences between Zen Master Seung Sahn and his devotees. In this book of letters, all sorts of people write to him with questions ranging from work and relationships, to the meaning of Zen. I most letters, he counsels "Only don't know."

Hmmm. I am far from a Zen Master (nor do I desire to be one,) but this notion has really struck a chord with me. What if we let go of all that we profess to "know." The future, the past, our limitations. All that defines "us" as "us." Because, really, what do we know? My life has been one continual surprise after another, and the times I have been the least happy are when I have clung to ideas about how I think things "should be."

So, I've adopted this phrase as a kind of mantra. As my life unfolds, I try to stay on the path that has been clearly laid out for me, and "only don't know." Because I've found, when I let go of what I think I know, the sky's the limit!

Monday, August 16, 2010 new website!

For a while now, I have felt having my own website, aside from my etsy shop, would be a good idea. Not only for promotional reasons, but also to have all my links in one place. Between etsy, facebook, twitter, flickr, etc (and who knows what's next!) it's overwhelming for me, let alone someone trying to view all my work.

Originally I had hired a web designer, but, after 6 weeks in, he quit. Of course I was disappointed, but, after reviewing all the options, I decided to design it myself! Well, actually my husband set the whole thing up for me...but I did all the layouts!

So, I am proud to announce! Hope you enjoy it!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Junk Mail Challenge

I often see wonderful craft challenges on blogs and think I'd really like to participate. But somehow, I never do. I miss the deadline or am not inspired by the subject matter. So, I decided to create my own challenge, with just me participating! You've got to start somewhere, right?!

Last month I wrote a blog post about how I like to incorporate recycled materials into my collages. You can see it here!

Well, I thought, what if I make a collage where the only source of paper is junk mail!I made the junk mail rules pretty tight for myself: No magazines, or paper I had picked up elsewhere. Each paper source I used had to come into my home through the mail and while I included catalogs, I decided magazines were not allowed (too easy!) I already had some great wooden blocks I had found at store going out of business sale (used for merchandising displays) so I felt this challenge would be a perfect use for them!

As this has been one long hot summer, I settled on the subject matter of leaves (think Fall!) to be the focus of my junk mail challenge. I decided to make a series of 3 leaf mixed media collages using the upcycled wooden blocks, 100% junk mail, acrylic paint, and ink.

I am pretty happy with the way they turned out and find it hard to believe they were once "Junk Mail" that would have wound up in our recycle bin (a noble place, yes, but it's always nice to bring a little beauty into the world!)

If anyone is inspired to try this challenge for themselves, I would be happy to run another series. Just comment below if you would like to participate and I will post some details.