Turning Creative Ebb into Flow in 21 Days

Turning Creative Ebb into Flow in 21 Days

I have to admit, I am so happy to be back on the blog after my post vlogmas hiatus. After taking 3 weeks to recharge and reorganize, I have to admit I am so freaking happy to start a new year. In 2017, I found my creative groove and I don’t think I have ever been so productive when it came to art. I have since kind of fizzled out a little, but lord knows I am ready to be back in that creative space. I came across my art journal from most of last year and holy smokes, I don’t think I have ever made such a wonderful art filled book. Here are two journal flips I did.

Last fall I made my fauxdori, and proceeded to use this collection of journals to track my projects and work. And you know what….my art mojo dried up since then.

Outside of my wall dolls, there was really not much happening. Avoiding the clay studio, Not much in the way of fiber happening either outside of a boring but much needed sweater, and a stash buster blanket. All the essential oils in the world could not break this slump. But I have been doing this long enough to know that creativity ebbs and flows. For the most part it is best to just roll with the waves. But I also think we are not always at the mercy of our slumps. I have written about this so much. (like here, here and here).

So yeah…once again, I am aware of how much my creativity flourishes when I art journal. And for me what that looks like is ONE BOOK. One books that I carry with me always with all my ideas and notes and day to day stuff.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a HUGE fan of little notebooks. OMG squared Moleskins, dotted Leuchtterms, even handmade journals. I love love love them all. I have a collection of them. And I have been using two focused goal planners (this and this) to work on my business. I love the idea of bullet journaling, but honestly…as many times as I tried to do a bullet journal…it just does not stick.

What works for me is one book, A5 (5.5″ x 8″), preferably watercolor paper with lots of squared paper sheets I can glue in. Lots of inks, watercolors, ephemera, washi tape, envelopes, and my favorite pens. Just leafing through my old journal brings me back to all the inspirations and creative energy. I have placed it on my drafting table to inspire me further this week. I am grateful for this resource of my own inspirations. And it is not even that I make beautiful master piecing in my journal. It is a collection of doodles, and color and random stuff. But as a whole it becomes a work of art. It is a collection of notes and ideas, even the mundane stuff like my meal plan for the week becomes part of my art, reminding me that inspirations can come from anywhere.

So I suppose it is time for a new art journal challenge. I do this every now and then when I find myself falling off the journaling wagon (and in this case, the art mojo wagon). So, this time, I am going to aim for 21 days. I will post to Instagram and Pinterest. I also will post at least 3 flips on YouTube. Alright! I am gonna give myself 3 days to prepare, so starting Saturday I am doing it.

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Vlogmas Week 2: Behind the scenes of a fiber art business

Vlogmas Week 2: Behind the scenes of a fiber art business

We are officially halfway through vlogmas!! woo!

I am not gonna lie. It has been challenging. Even though my editing skills have improved ten fold, it is an extra chunk of time out of my work day (and even my off days). But the connections with you guys have been great, and reminds me why I am doing this. You guys inspire me so much.

This week was my annual planning time. And while it is not sexy or artsy, it is super important. Not just for my bottom line, but to ensure my work grows in tandem with the goals that I have for my fiber art. It always surprises me how much the business of being an artist is only 50% actually making art. Then again, building an art business is a creative project in and of itself.

So here are this weeks videos that give a little peak behind the scenes of what it means to have an art business.

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Pumpkin Spice Sweater Knitting

Pumpkin Spice Sweater Knitting

I have no doubt where you live now, You are already deep into the crisp fall weather. Here in Raleigh, It all started this week.

Flip the switch on the gas fireplace and cue pumpkin spice everything. Thank you baby Jebuz, it is finally sweater weather.

If I had been a productive and smart cookie, I would have a stack of new hand knits to unwrap. But alas, I was a total slacker on filling out the wardrobe over the summer. Argh!! I had this idea that over the years I would stop buying commercially made sweaters and began replacing my fading wardrobe with hand knits. HA!! All I seem to have is a fading wardrobe. It is not that I don’t have a long list of sweater WIPS, I just get bored with the the drudgery of the follow through. I know many of you know exactly what I mean. Startitis is actually a thing. And so is the class of patterns called quick knits, with the intentions of shortening that drudgery middle part of making something.

Here’s the thing, the magic of creative ideas are often born during the drudgery of doing the work. Doing the work simple requires you to show up. And fiberista, I have not been showing up for my own knit work. I don’t know about you but the start of fall always feels like a fiber arts new year to me. It renews my knitting love and calls me to remember why I love what I do.

So today firbeista, I am sharing my creative plan not for the greater good of adding my visual language to the conversation. I am straight up wanting some new clothes. So here is what my knitting season is going to look like.

I am not going to start anything new. No, really…nothing new. I have 24+ WIPs. 

I am, however, willing to frog stuff. Because sometime it is better to abandon the project and save the yarn than to soldier through and end up with a sweater you will not wear.

I am going to show up at least 3x a week. Here is a crazy truth…I have always had a hard time wrapping my brain around art time as real work. Yep, this professional artist feels guilty for doing the work that makes me an artist. It is a very deep rooted issue I will always struggle with. But, it is also always something I overcome thanks to lots of practice. Wash rinse repeat. So yeah, routines are pretty vital.

I am also stopping there with the guidelines. Any more rules or promises to myself will overcomplicate this. I am hoping to get at least 2 new sweaters out of this, but 3 would be amazing. And it would also be amazing if I promised to vlog about it, but that might be more than I am ready to bite off right now.

What are you working on? Leave me some comment love below.

 

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Selling What You Make

Selling What You Make

Hey I get it. Every artist at some point or another starts to think about selling what they make. Be it because friends are demanding it or because they have lofty dreams of quitting their day job and doing something they love all day long. But I have to say, selling your work is WAY more complex than opening an Etsy shop and putting a price on something. Now, I have written a few articles on how to price you work and things to consider when pursuing a creative job. Today, fiberista, I am going to break down some things to consider when  creating work to sell.

Product verses art. Creating can actually take two routes, Fine art and art product. Fine art is one of a kind thing you make. Think gallery type of work. Art is the kind of thing you languish in making following your heart. It is usually priced higher. Product is a thing you craft using your art and skills. It is repeated and produced as efficiently as possible without losing it’s handmade qualities. Think art fairs and craft shows.

Start with the art. Making stuff is fun. Pinterest is fun. Crafts are fun. But stuff is stuff. Popularity dies, trends come and go. When you are an artist you are moving beyond making stuff and really diving into expressing visual language no matter what your medium. Being an artist has a longer shelf life. Art is what will add value to your handmade stuff if you are producing product. You can easily copy a product, but adding your art to production will set you apart and become your brand (more in this in a minute).

In fact make art a habit. So even as you develop a product that is financially viable to sell (you kind of need to read this article first), you are still going to need to be creating art work for yourself. Even if it is art journaling. Actually, I think you should art journal regardless. Your style will evolve. What you make will change. Developing an art habit will keep you from becoming a one hit wonder. Scheduling time to make art is as important as production of items you are selling.

Where you sell is important. So where do you want to sell? In Galleries? On Etsy? Art craft shows? On your own website? How you like to pimp your stuff can be just as important as what you make. And depending on what you are resonating will determine what you make. For example, you really would not approach a gallery with your craft product. And you might be frustrated trying to sell you one of a kind paintings at a craft show. So how do you see your self selling your work?

What customers are really buying. The thing is when customers buy your work they are not really buying your stuff as much as they are buying into you vision. People feel good when they buy art. They can get any old picture to hang over the sofa, but when they buy art, they feel good about supporting culture. They want to know artist statements and inspirations. They are curious about their studios. Even fine crafts they want to see how it is made and know the history behind techniques and the details that the artists bring to the methods. This becomes as much a part of the product as the product itself.

Which all points back to your art. Developing your art is your brand. Developing your art is your story for customers. It is the starting point for your product. Developing you art is what will fill you up when the grind of pimping your work takes its toll.

So, Fiberista. If I had only one piece of advice for you when it comes to selling what you make it would be this: No matter how deep you get into growing a handmade business, make time to keep making art. It may seem counter productive and a waste of precious production time. But, trust me in the end it will sustain your business more than anything else.

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Gift Knitting Like A Boss

Gift Knitting Like A Boss

HoHoHo!

Fiberistas, Break out the stash, It is that time of year again. Time to make your list, check it, and the stash, twice.

We are officially just shy of 6 months from Christmas.

If you are like me, you are gonna want to do what you can to offset any of the normal holiday stress, gift those hand knits like a boss, and actually drink that spiked eggnog for recreation not therapy.

Fiberista, It is time to do some planning…

No worries. I got you.

Today, I give you the UrbanGypZ’s Guide to Slaying Holiday Gift Knitting Like a Boss.

First, here is a post detailing my very best left brain system for out right making a production schedule for this years Holiday knitting.

10 Steps to Beat Overwhelm: Christmas gift Ideas to start knitting NOW!!!

And here is another post with some additional tips for you to work faster, and prevent overwhelm.

Tis the season: Plan your Christmas knitting NOW!

Even though we are almost 6 months out, here are some tips to help you knit faster.

Six Secrets You Should Know If You Want To Knit Faster

I also keep a running Pinterest Board with insanely cool gift ideas to knit/crochet and even felt.

This year Fiberista, I dug deep within my OCD and have made a holiday planner just for your knitting projects!!! It is a free download.


So make that list, check it twice and go make some art to share this year. By all means if there is a project you think I need to add to my Pinterest board, leave me a comment below with a link if you have one and I will make sure it gets pinned in the Merry Knitmas Board.

UrbanGypZ's FREE Gift Like A Boss Holiday Planner

Something I made to help you get your shit together and slay your holiday gift knitting like a boss.

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5 Powerful Keys to Making Your Competition Irrelevant

5 Powerful Keys to Making Your Competition Irrelevant

Jealousy. We have all been there. It does not matter if it is amongst stay at home moms, corporate executives and yes, even artists. There is a time in EVERYONE’s life when you are green with envy over what someone else has. And while I think jealousy is just a fact on every life, I am going to focus today on jealousy in the art scene.

Jealousy can be a good thing in a way. It can fuel action, take your work to the next level, set that bar higher than you would without the challenge. But here is what I hate…the bitterness and even hate when artist become jealous. I don’t know about you but I want to live with as little hate as possible AND to advance and challenge myself to do better work. Jealousy means you are gauging your work against someone else. So today, Fiberista I give you my to 5 Keys to making your competition irrelevant.

Honor what is awesome in other’s work. Let them have their moment without interjecting ANYTHING about yourself. Yes you may have done this before, Yes you may have done it better. So what. This is not your moment, it is theirs. Share in their excitement. Ask questions and LISTEN to what they say. You are being given the gift of seeing something beautiful. Be in that moment of awe and be happy that it happened, even if it was not by your hand. It is just good Karma.

Blue Ocean Strategy. The theory being, rather than operate in an artistic shark tank, competing for the same customers (red oceans) you actually should follow your ideas out into unchartered waters(blue oceans). These ideas are formed by highlighting the differences between you and the competition, and build on those differences. For example, Steve Jobs did this when he designed Apple. He took those differences between his computer and others, amplified the differences, and built on those differences to form more unique ideas. Another example, thing of the differences between Cirque Du Soleil and a traditional circus. Cirque Du Soleil highlighted and built on what set them apart. I might also point out in both cases, these differences were not hamstring by cheaper prices. In fact, these companies are actually able to charge more for their unique offerings. This is all based on a marketing strategy book, called The Blue Ocean Strategy.

Turn down the noise. If you find yourself only looking for your inspirations in other’s work, it is often hard to listen to your own ideas. And especially if you hope to excel in your work, pinning your ideas to another’s pace will eventually limit your growth. Don’t hang faith in your own art on some one else’s path. Sometimes, you just need to detach from the hive mind and go make some stuff. Find inspirations in everyday life, and art journal like crazy.

Be okay with working through bad ideas. Ugly art happens to everyone. But I promise it always leads to better work. It does not make you a bad artist. And it is okay if you don’t want to show any of it. However, I find the most confident artist will show their most self deprecating work bravely. If you are at that point where you are confidently showing your mistakes, I think it is a strong indicator that you are not afraid of competition.

Show your work humbly. Remember when I said to honor other’s work? Eventually it is your turn to show your work. It will be your moment. Despite all the find-your-own-path talk I mentioned in the last three steps, there comes a time when you will have the opportunity inspire others to find their own path. That is where art communities happen. Welcome questions, share information freely and confidently, and encourage others to build their own path through any inspirations they might glean from you. It is okay. Those who copy will find the path short and frustrating. Encourage them past that dead end and into their own ideas. There is no finite resource of creative ideas, there is enough for all. Blue Oceans for everyone.

 

 

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