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The Business of Art Revisited

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I told you that I’d be relaying information gleaned from my attendance at Dixie University’s “Business of Art” seminar. Mostly I was frustrated and disappointed. Perhaps it is because I only attended the Saturday portion, which focused on painting and photography. The sessions about Facebook and Instagram did contain some useful information, though. But I wanted to know about marketing our art. Not much of that was discussed.

I want to know how to market art because I live in a small retirement community. Well, Mesquite didn’t start out that way. In 1878 farmers came to the area hoping to make it home. But when torrential rains hit in June of 1882, dams were broken and families displaced. Finally, in 1887 Dudley Leavitt and his wives settled what was then called Mesquite Flats. They, too, were forced to leave because the Virgin River flooded them out. It wasn’t until 1897 that Mesquite was finally settled for good.

Yep, this is the desert. But if you watch the national news, you know that recently we had rains that undermined I-15. The damage was so extensive that the road had to be closed and traffic rerouted. It forced drivers to drive through The Valley of Fire, a real hardship–not. That is some of the most beautiful country in the world. The following picture was taken outside Valley of Fire, but this is what you’ll find there.

red rock for blog

There are videos of the rain we had recently, so I’ll try to figure out how to insert a link for you. Even learning how to blog is an adventure, as I’ve come to realize.

Meanwhile, back at the seminar. While I did get a smattering of info about Instagram, I’ll have to go onto my smart phone, set it up and then give you the lowdown. I did get a real feel for how sharing photos on Instagram can be useful to marketing your art.

Then there was the Facebook portion of the day. Basically, I learned that I have to have a Facebook fan page for our art and then make albums, tag relevant network contacts, invite others into my network, share albums, boost posts, watch insights, share, use links and friend and like all relevant people that can help boost views. With that in mind, you have to remember that it is a business page, and not for personal sharing.

I have created a fan page, but have lots more to learn about it. I will share that here too. For me technology is one great adventure.

Next comes Christmas. I promised to make gifts for everyone, but time is getting short. I do have earrings and spirit dolls already made, so I’m somewhat ahead of the game. Here’s a picture of some earrings.

earrings for blog

I find I really enjoy creating them. Leather has become a new fabric for exploration. Love it. It, too, is repurposed from furniture store samples.

I will next be talking about an adventure with my husband’s grandkids. Ankle biters–three and six. So, stay tuned.

 

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The Adventure of Art Began With a Bang

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I can safely say the adventure of art started while I was the staff writer for our local paper, but took some years to germinate. It turns out that one of the artists I interviewed would be my future husband. That in itself is an adventure.
Turns out he used to be a tour guide in the Canyonlands area where he and his group of friends spent many days on camp-outs. His company was called Mystic Eye Expeditions and its tag line: “the adventure of art, the art of adventure.” All that time he was also painting and developing his massive talent as an artist. Me, I was a mom crafting and keeping busy learning skills I would later use.
Well, we met and married and I opened my Interior Design business. I had these massive inventories of discontinued fabrics and left-overs from jobs. Being an environmentalist, it pained me to throw them out.
I looked for something to do with them and Randy (the spouse) and I created our Cliff Spirits (They can be seen on redrockartisans.com.), but that didn’t begin to help. 
One day we were walking through Joanne’s Fabrics and I spied a book called “Fabulous Fabric Beads” by Kristal Wick. That was the answer to a prayer!

I love fabric. I love textiles. My art centers around fabric and I am always asking, how can I do that with fabric. So the fabric beads were the beginning.
With the guidance of the book I began making beads by the dozens and jewelry with the beads. Then came the craft shows at which I sold almost everything I made and where I grew in understanding and art.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, I never do things by half and beading has become an addiction. I have trays of beads in every color and tubes of seed beads too.

But, I digress. I wanted to share with you some of what I have learned about fabric, jewelry, art and adventure. Today, I’ll talk about fabric beads, but later about our adventures! So, far it’s all been fun!

Instructions on making fabric beads make the process look simple. Maybe for some it is, but I worked at getting it just right. First, you have to start with the right fabrics. Many of those I had just wouldn’t do, so I gave them to quilters to create with.

The best fabrics to use are silks, cotton, muslin, batiks and vintage kimono fabric. Polyester, nylon and upholstery fabrics just don’t stick well at the edges. I have also found that I love to work with leather and friends in the furniture business have donated much of that to me.

But fabric is just the beginning. You need a rotary cutter, ruler, iron and self-healing mat like quilters use. Then there are the glues, paints scissors, spatula and straws. Never mind, the embellishments: beads, bleach, copper sheets, crystals, dyes, embossing gun, embossing powders, fibers, yarns, wire, hole punches and die cuts, inks, ink pads, metallic markers, glitter, paint brushes, rubber stamps, templates and texture pads, salt, sponges, stencils, and stringing tools. Beading is a whole other subject, which we will take up in parts.

Meanwhile, if you think you might enjoy making fabric beads, I’ll be giving hints and tricks right here.

If it works like it should I’ll insert a photo of a finished necklace right here.

Image

I call this necklace Carnival, and it is sold. I never make any two alike, but can make similar ones.

Next installment: How it all works.