Monday, September 16, 2013

This site has moved

Please go to my new GOURDWORKS site, http://gourdworksinc.com to continue this conversation.  I am couching my ideas for information fluency (literacy) in terms of my gourd art business.  I want to present to you real activities and real demands so you can experience, along with me, how information skills helps in the journey.  See you there. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Keep Doing It

I don't like to leave things go.  I like to respond to gourd art issues right away.  This tends to soak up my time though.  And take away from creating.  Examples:

  • Had to go over and work out the set-up for an art open house that I will take part of in late September.
  • Exchanged several emails so the guy setting up a library display to include some of my gourds could meet me and take the gourds.  
  • Had to call back a fellow artist and thank them for leaving off a gourd for me.
  • Went online to create a set of business cards for the open house.  Talked about cheapest place to do this with two fellow artists.  Wound up spending money on "free" cards since the basic version was so poor.  
  • Wanted to create smaller-buys for the show, so I went online to create note cards and postcards to sell along with my gourds.
 So attending to the process is part and parcel of an art business.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Making Arrangements to Show

Publicity -- and marketing.  When I had my own information business, I figured that 50% of my time had to be spent on getting my name out there.  I had to call current and past customers.  I had to go to conferences, keep up with communications, and respond quickly to RFPs.  So if I needed to make $30 per hour, I had to charge $60 per hour to make up for the other 50% of time that I was not working.

With the gourd work, it is the same.  It seems less of a burden because the type of "publicity" efforts are a lot more fun!  So I pick some of my favorite creations and show them in libraries, bring them to local fairs or town celebrations.  In the first year I restarted this gourd art business, I was very fortunate to join a group of local artists.  They had started a group, called ArtSEE, which held a year tour of their studios for the public.  Such wonderful, giving, and helpful fellow artists.  So we alert each other of various events, especially shows that we can join or enter. 

I do sell items at shows but by and large it is a chance to share art with fellow artists and time to talk with the general public about my art and what they like best of what they see on my table. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Rehashing Again

Did a final check of my next set of 7 gourd birdhouses.  Found two minor blemishes and fixed them with some fluid.  Admired some of the colors and mix of natural gourd texture and the pressed flowers.  Almost out of eyelet screws.  Must remember (and keep track!) of where I get these things.

Lesson - I never did find the source for the small candle holders that fit perfectly in the gourd hole in top.  I had to go through all of my receipts and my online credit card transactions list, but I could not determine where I had got them.  Must have paid cash and just tossed the receipt.

Record keeping - don't do it and you lose time or lose a resource.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Ease of entry drives web choices

Had to go back over the recent birdhouses I made.  I missed some details.  I had to drill the three 1/4 inch drain holes in the bottom.  I had to apply acrylic to the thicker pressed flowers so they would not flake off.  I had to add the eyelet screw to the top (for hanging).  I applied some semi-gloss spray to some as they looked dull.

Received a new custom order, so I did order a new batch of dried gourds from my supplier.  One site is annoying as I have to put in my info each time; there is no regular customer login available.  Saving my information saves me time!  If in a rush, I may shop elsewhere.  Good less on to remember for my websites. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

More custom work

Interesting that as much as I sell ready-made on ETSY site, an equal amount comes in as custom work.  At least my stuff sparks excitement and people are using their creativity to image what they want in their homes.  Did not expect or plan for this.  Immediate response is to jump right in and do.  But sometimes, it might cost me in extra time or supplies.

Today's latest is a request that requires me to find a gourd that is a shaped in a similar way but smaller than what I have in stock.  What do I do?  If I order more, than I have to order a full box to get a decent price.  Must take the risk. 

It is hard to balance responsiveness with risks of spending.  Somehow I need to expand my awareness of what sells and what people like.  So far, it is experience in-person and the ETSY stats.  I need to think of other ways to collect data.  Information lesson: I can't be profitable without a good feedback loop from customers and potential customers.  Although I want my creativity to flow, I need to work toward items that sell as well. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Ignoring a scale at my peril

Point 1 -- Was only able to spray coat six gourds once last night.  It got dark too soon.  They need at least 3 coats of varnish.  So I had to bring them all back in and will try to get in 2 more coats tonight.  I need to pay attention to the time I do things and how much light is needed.  I cannot spray this stuff indoors.

Point 2-  Last night, I noticed that For some reason the matte medium (acrylic) is not drying.  I use it to attach the pressed flowers to the already polished and dyed gourd.  I noticed that the leftover in a plastic top in which I pour it was still wet.  And the gourds which I had adhered flowers to, were still wet.  I was able to blotch them with a paper towel, but still it's not good.  Not sure why?  Is it the heat or the humidity.  I notice that in buying the acrylic, there is a chart on the back that shows a horizontal scale for 3 factors: thickness, transparency, and flat-gloss scale.  When I was first buying this stuff, I did not pay attention to it.  Now I do.  I have been experimenting and found that really thick destroys the delicate pressed flowers.  If I have even a few notches along the scale of opaqueness, then it shows up as white after it dries on the gourd. 

Now when I use this matte medium to glue the flowers on, I need to note what exact scorings of acryclic I am using.  Did not think, I would have to be so precise.  But it seems to matter.  It either works or it doesn't.  Another information factor that I must keep track of.