The Painful Truth

So here's the truth.  I feel like here in my blog I can tell you the truth, not sugar coat it.  I mean really....what's the point in lying? Nothing drives me nuttier than artists that only paint a rosie picture in their blog.  Because sometimes being an artist sucks.   So here goes.  The raw ugly truth about the art show experience this weekend.  And when the application for Marist Holiday Traditions rolls back around I have this gentle reminder that I do not need to apply. 
Here's a photo of my set-up.  Now in retrospect, I wish I'd put my tables at the front of my booth so as people walked by the new jewelry was in their faces.  The way I have it set up is almost too soft, and empty looking.  So not many ventured to the table to actually SEE what I had for sale.  In fact, what sold was located on the farthest outside grids....magnets sold like hot cakes and 3 paintings that were also on the very outside of the booth sold.  They were "in your face" so to say.

These beauties on the other hand pretty much all came home with me.   I was shocked.   Marist is not an easy show to get into.  It's juried.  And in fact, a few years back I sent in photos of some new jewelry I was making and they declined it.  I could only bring my art and items with my art printed on it.  In fact, Saturday I was standing in a booth talking to another vendor when the vendor chair came up to their booth and said, "You are not approved to sell this jewelry.  You must put it away now."  I appreciate this honestly.  It protects you as an artist from having copy cats or others selling the same product for less.  It keeps the integrity of the show in tact. 
So what was selling if my stuff wasn't?  Well the two people beside me were ornament people.  To the left she had 100's of hand painted ornaments that she personalized.  They were super cute.  Priced at $15 each.  The lady behind me was super sweet...she also made ornaments only they were clay, painted with assorted themes and personalized upon request.  Also $15 each.  They had lines at their booths for these.  I imagine they each sold 100 ornaments or more.  Across from me always is the wooden stake people.  They have snowmen, Santas, owls, turkeys, game days that they again personalize for you and you stick them in your yard by your front door.  The wooden stake people ALWAYS SELL OUT.  Priced all about $22 each.  They sell 100's of these things.  I can not imagine how long it takes her to make all these hand painted signs.  Marist shoppers love them.  And she is so nice and loves what she does.  That's the thing.  You can't even hate these people because they truly love what they make and some spend months preparing for shows like this.  Even though it's not my cup of tea, it is originally made, and lovingly crafted. 
Now  I was telling Billy all this Sunday.  And the bottom line is I am not going to become an ornament maker that personalizes nor a wooden yard stake maker.  Just because they sell 100's at these holiday shows.  It would not be full filling for me.  It's not who I am.  I am a painter and jewelry maker.  I love what I do.

Here are the numbers (yes, I am even telling you numbers folks). This weekend I sold $646 worth of stuff.  4 small paintings, a load of magnets and a few baubles.  The show cost $235 to enter.  I spent $200 on new jewelry pieces.  I spent $51 in gas.  And $20 on food.  That means I profited about $140.  Although I spent exactly that at the show on gifts and art for my home.  Funny right?  I broke even.  Now this is not normal for me.  At tent shows where art is the focus I sell lots and make a nice profit.  Back in the hey day when I was doing show after show I made so much money it was amazing!!  If I didn't sell it at one show, the next weekend there was another one to sell it at.   But now that I'm doing just a few select shows I am paying serious attention to the bottom line. And this weekend's bottom line was a doozie.

So Marist isn't my niche anymore.  And that's okay.  I am super glad my friend Rene was with me this weekend because after the show we went to Maggiano's and talked it out.  She's a big supporter of my work and told me some truthful things about what she as a consumer really likes about my business.  It's nice to have friends that will do that.  Just be honest.  Because sometimes you need to hear it.

So here's my goal.  I've a new following on instagram, facebook and my blog.  And many have asked how do I buy these new jewelry pieces?  And slacker me says....no where.  Boo.  Hiss.  Bad.  So goal #1 is to be active with Etsy.  I can do that.  And goal #2 is to paint.  It's my lifeline to the creative world.  It's speaks to so many people.  I can't tell you how many people wanted to buy the "How to Grow Love" and the "Penelope" painting.  I bet I got 50 comments on those paintings.  But again, since it was more holiday geared, people didn't want to spend $150 on themselves.

I'm not hiding in a cave depressed and feeling unworthy of happiness because of the show.  Actually it was kind of a wake-up call for me.  And another sign that teaching is a very good career path for an artist like me.  It's like the best of both world's if I can figure out how to motivate myself to get that online presence going.  And since I paid for the show entrance fee in March and the bauble pieces with my paypal I actually have the money from the show in my pocket.  On paper I made notta....but reality is that I have a nice stash for Christmas presents.

So....I have to get another computer cord (since Lawrence decided it made a great chew toy) but be looking for Etsy updates by next week!!   Because I am quite motivated to rid myself of the 100 baubles I lovingly made for you!

Well...again thanks for being here and supported my creative craziness.


Artsy Bracelets

Sometimes a new product comes along that I fall in LovE with.  This go around it's these artsy bracelets.  At first I was not too thrilled with their look.  And the chains were freaky small.  So I emailed the seller and she sent me some photos of them all finished with the beads on each side.  And voila...the love affair began.  Now, they were extremely time consuming to finish.  But super worth it.  I've priced them at just $25 so thinking they'll fly off my PVC pipe display and onto lots of wrists this weekend.  (I know, my PVC pipe display idea is so awesome.  Even the Home Depot guy was giving me high fives.)

So are you coming to see me?  At The Marist School this weekend?  Oh I hope so!!  The show is 9-4PM.  I'm in the old LAIRD gym.  This is a new place for vendors because they tore down the gym I'm usually in.  There are 3 places for vendors so be sure to find me (the arcade outside, Laird Gym and Centennial Gym).  I'm on a corner.  Hope to see you!!


Weekend in the Maze

This weekend went by much too fast.  Like a blur really.  Saturday morning I woke at my usual o'darkthirty to prepare for my long run.  As I was fixing toast I said to myself, "What's that noise?"  That noise folks was rain.  So I put the toast down and crawled back in bed for another 3 hours!  There is just no sense in running a 20 mile training run in the rain.  After my battle with walking pneumonia earlier in the school year I am just not going to risk the lungs in wet cold!  After a nice little sleep in I was able to get into the studio and do a few more paintings for Marist this weekend.  And then......Mailey and I were off to Uncle Shuck's with the Girl Scouts for a little maze fun!
This place was pretty cool.  There were 3 maze courses to follow with a map.  The goal was to find each marker, punch your card then follow the map to the next marker.  I found out real quick like that you do NOT want me as your guide in a corn maze.  Yeah.  I was only seeing the negative space of the map, which meant every road was a dead end in my mind.  Artsy brain issues.
Each year the maze is trimmed to a different design.  This year from the areal view it was a hillbilly in a rocking chair with his shotgun.  Hilarious hearing, "Hey, Mrs Holly are we walking on his barrel yet or are we still in the beard?"
After the day maze we all went to eat.  These girls are so cute ordering for themselves, learning how to pay and tip their waiters.  After dinner we headed back to the maze for the haunted maze.  Now, growing up in Birmingham we always went to the Jaycee's haunted house.  Scared the pee outta me every time.  But I love that kind of thrill.  So I was SUPER excited to go through the haunted maze.  Especially when I heard the chainsaw roaring up and the fog rising from the corn.  Oh heck yeah bring on the scare.  So we waited in line.....and waited....then got to the entrance box.  And Mailey and Julie had complete mental break downs with bulldog tears.  And wouldn't go in.  And held up the 200 person line.  And made the rest of the scouts freaked out.  Yeah.  Good times.  So I grabbed them and ran away from the entrance with 2 others in tow.  The rest of the troop entered with Holly.  Only 5 ended up scared to death and exited by escort through the corn.  Only Holly and Beaneth made it all the way through.  13 waited in line, 2 made it.  HILARIOUS.  No really.  I was super embarrassed at first but then just had to laugh at the entire surreal experience of Mailey being so afraid. SO afraid.  Funny thing is she'll watch any scary movie with me.  Go figure.
Sunday we woke to a gorgeous day.  I set my sights on the 20 miles ahead.  I felt great.  I can always tell within the 1st mile if it's going to be a good run or a struggle run.  Immediately I knew it was going to be good.  My body was craving the miles.  Until mile 3...when the dang calf muscle stressed out again.  I knew I should have worn the knee brace and taped the calf.  But I didn't.  So I kept running.  Have you ever had a "Charlie horse"?  That's what it feels like.  I was able to get 15 outta myself before deciding to call it quits.  The crazy thing is my lungs, head and other parts were ready to keep going.  But dang that calf hurts.  I finished the 15 barely out of breath folks.  And even with potty stops I ran it under pace.  I've got 2 more long runs before the race.  Lesson learned....calf taped and brace is on.  If I can make it 15 miles in pretty good pain I know now I can make the 26.2.  I just really wanted the last few runs to feel good you know?  This week starts the tapering.  I'm getting very excited.  Thanks for being my little cheering section!



Little Houses

Sometimes studio time is productive.  I like it when that happens.  I'm making a bunch of little paintings for the upcoming Marist Show.  Trying to keep the paintings all under $150.  Be on the look out for more to appear in my instagram feed.  Are you following me??  My username is artsyorange.  After the show I'll be listing them in my etsy shop for those of you too far to come to Altanta for the show.  Woohooo!!


A Weekend Off

This past weekend was our fall break from school.  Yep...we get a lot of nice breaks in our school system, which I love.  And Oh boy did I need the break!!  I tried to get the family to go away...but alas everyone just wanted to hang out at home.  Friday the kids and I slept in late and went shopping.  We all love to shop a bit too much, but it is fun with my two kiddos!  Saturday Billy and William went to the Auburn game with friends while Mailey and I went to Six Flags with friends.  I must say in my younger years coming to Six Flags from Birmingham was a huge treat.  In my young adulthood we brought the church youth here and I still enjoyed it.  But the older I've gotten the more fearful of these insane contraptions I've become.  And honestly icky feeling after every ride.
But I did it.  Every single coaster we could get on.  Now I drew the line at the swings that soared some 50 stories high.  Yeah.  The line has to go somewhere!  My favorite was the Superman.  You actually ride the entire ride on your belly!  I am so glad we went and that we had such an amazing Mother/Daughter day.  Oh and the above photo is the Batman.  Mailey and the rest of the gang wanted to ride in the front seat.  I didn't care where I sat I just wanted to get it over with.  It was fun watching them on it! 
Other than the coaster riding and football game we literally hung out at home.  Monday I'm not sure I ever got out of my exercise clothes.  I worked on my booth set-up for Marist and a few lovely paintings.  I love getting ready for a show.  So much anticipation and joy goes into preparing for each show.  Now that I'm only participating in about 3 a year I tend to be more particular about the set-ups.  I am most excited about the drop cloth walls I've created to eliminate see through to the other booths.  One problem with inside shows is creating a sense of magical space that is yours.  Since my grids for art are see through I am sure the neighbors are going to appreciate my walls as well!
I'm also trying to find unique ways to display all the new jewelry pieces I've created.  I didn't realize until I was attempting to display it all how much I had!!  New for this show are:  art image bracelets, art image pendants in 1" and 30mm, encaustic pendants, and gentle reminder bracelets.  Now I just have to price and pack.  Oh, and keep painting!

So the show is Saturday, October 26th from 9-4 at the Marist School.  Here's the link:  Marist Holiday Traditions  I hope to see you there!!  It's a super fun art show.


Brick Melting

My schedule is clear....the sketches are made.....it's time to melt the bricks.  I'm really hoping to get into the studio tonight.  I'll let you know how that goes!


Artsy Bracelets

For the upcoming shows I'm participating in I made some cool choices for lower priced items in my booth.  It's always a struggle for me to shift modes and create these type of items.  Not too many people buy paintings at the holidays.  I've never had luck with selling prints.  Buyers these days are looking for unique gifty items.  In-particular, gifts that are $30 and under AND unique.  A combination that as an artist is sometimes hard to full-fill and still be able to make a profit.   

Marist Holiday Traditions is first up and I can not wait!  These bracelets priced at $30 each, I hope will fly off my displays!  I also have necklaces with the same type images on really nice chains and key chains.  All of which will make a lovely display and all compliment the selection of original works of art I'll have for sale at the shows.  Of course, I've got to paint some to sell at this point.  haha..been working so much in the studio on the weekends making these baubles that the painting pile is not so tall.  But I've been sketching in my free time and the ideas are there.  I just have to carve out new time for painting.  Looking forward to it.

Oh...and the Marist Holiday Traditions show is Saturday, October 26th.  At the Marist School in Atlanta.  It's a great show you'll want to attend.  Hope you mark your calendars for it!!


Orange You Glad You're Here?

Hehehehe...I know.  Such a cheesy joke.  I'm glad you're here.  It's Thursday.  Yoohooo!  That means fun art days.  Centers days.  It makes the days FLY by.

I'm gearing up for a huge run this weekend.  Packing in the carbs today and tomorrow.  When this run is over I'll kinda be happy not to have to eat so freaking much.  I know that sounds nuts, but the carb loading on Thursday and Friday is overwhelming.  It pays off on Saturday when I'm running for hours on end, but geesh.  Soon I think I'll post some of my marathon training tips.  I sure wish someone had a cute blog like this for me to follow along during the training.  I've read so much about training that my head is dizzy.  Ha.  Oh and BTW....it's a fact that people training for their first 26.2 mile run about 4 weeks out get what's known as marathonitis.  Where we talk about nothing but the training and the run.  Supposedly you get a little loco.  Perhaps even run a few friends away until after the run since you talk nothing but of the run.  Yeah.  My "itis" is starting a tad early.  Sorry.  I'll try to talk more about artsy stuff.  But I'm just so darn excited!!  I mean seriously.  I'm about to run 26.2 miles.  Holy mackerel.  I am insane.  Anyhoo....gotta go.  Get ready for color day in the centers.  Lots of painting today.  Life is good right?
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