Tuesday, July 30, 2013

10 art studio / business productivity things that I find useful

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10 art studio / business productivity things that I find useful
and I probably should implement them... 

1. Plan ahead! 

I am currently working in fibers to create my art, I need a lot of time to get pieces finished. Stitching takes a long time - I've tried to embroider things quickly, it doesn't work, I just stab myself with the needle more quickly. However.... when I have my projects lined up and know what I need to do to finish them, then no matter how much studio time I have there is always an opportunity to make a little progress.

2. Watch Dr. Who - or reruns of your favorite show.
I have a chance to work in my studio in the evenings, but I get tired by 9pm and will fall asleep if all is quiet. So, I get my stitching ready and turn on Netflix. I am on season 3 of Dr. Who (I think this may be my third time through), I really wish Netflix would make the newest season available now... although, the reason reruns are great is because I already know what happens and I don't really need to pay attention to it so I can stay awake and get my stitching done. All the Harry Potter movies work well for this, too.

3. Do Not Organize! 
or maybe just organize and label things - or put things in places that make sense. It seems that every time I organize my studio, I can't find anything and I waste a lot of time looking for something that I know I have and I'm sure I put it in just the right spot. Arrg! (I could take some clues from these Pinterest ideas).

4. Turn off alerts on your computer and phone
It's amazing how much I can focus when I'm not checking my email constantly or looking at my phone to see how people like my new pic on Instagram! (by the way, I love Instagram and the insta-validation I get from all those 'likes' - follow me at @kellydarke !).

5. Stop playing Words with Friends. seriously.

6. Step away from the computer!
This sounds a lot like #4 and #5... I currently have 16 tabs open in my browser, plus I'm listening to an audio clip from a business group (ArtBiz). I think I just read that multitasking is not a good idea and is actually bad for your brain. I can't remember where I read that though, so I can't provide a link - sorry.  I open links from articles, from Facebook, and for my own research. I genuinely want to read about and / or save the information on all these things, but there really isn't enough time for all of it. Prioritize and make a schedule.

7. Use Inventory tools
I have a spreadsheet of my inventory and income / expenses of all personal and business information. I found I was wasting time trying to account for some of my artwork because I wasn't updating my inventory list regularly. Such bad business practice, I know, but I would give pieces to family members, or donate something for an auction and forget to write it down. Now, I update my spreadsheet immediately when I sell something, give something, or put something in a gallery, or a different store online.  I highlight items in green when they are sold, blue for auctions, and leave the color black for pieces that are still available. I have a column that lists where the piece is, including if it is at home. Selling my art is a business and I'm starting to treat it that way.

8. Know how you want to feel
Danielle LaPorte is amazing. Everyone should read her work - The Desire Map is brilliant. When you can identify how you really want to feel you are better able to prioritize your time.

9. Love the work you're doing
or at least like it enough that it doesn't completely drain you to work hard at it every day. There are a lot of different things that I really love to do and most are art related, so that's my area of focus. Also, do the work because you love it, not because you think you should love it. When you truly love the work you're doing it will be easier to put in the studio time. I know it helps to get feedback and validation from friends and online followers, especially if you are working alone in your studio, but you are the expert on what really makes you happy. Or just try to figure out how to make a living using your passion... or not. (This topic requires more research...)

10. Find Support
If you can surround yourself with supportive people then they will encourage you to spend more time in your studio and get the work done. My husband will take the kids to their stuff on the weekends so that I can have those days in the studio - (of course, if I haven't implemented #1 - #9, then I might just be wasting a lot of time, but I'm getting there). I have also been trying to prepare meals ahead of time, so that I can focus when I am in the studio and not think about dinner, which at the last minute might be a sandwich or a bowl of cereal...whatever...

Monday, July 29, 2013

trying to focus... some progress so far

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feeling scattered and having difficulty focusing. I was able to be home all day today and thought it would be such a great time to work in the studio... I keep looking at my social media marketing and getting lost in facebook updates and links to articles, then getting on Pinterest and sifting through seemingly endless pictures... Then, I decided I should research some best practices for blogging... then I got hungry so I ate lunch, washed the dishes, cleaned the counters, made coffee, walked back and forth... now, I'm writing a blog post about wasting time............

let's look at some progress I made over the weekend:

Thursday, July 25, 2013

An ambitious new embroidered "Burst"

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I have been working on a series of embroidery pieces that I call "bursts" because they kind of look like an explosion (but burst sounds better - less violent). I finished this one today:

Now I'm starting this 50 x 50 inch burst. I am using a recycled fabric purchased at Arts and Scraps in Detroit during their recent fabric sale. My daughter and I spent almost two hours searching and filling our paper grocery bags for $8 each - an amazing deal! 
This might take me a while... :)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Work in progress - embroidery

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I am working on a series of 8x8 inch embroidery "bursts" like this one. I have also started a 50x59 inch burst embroidery - that might take a while...

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Please join me for an online embroidery workshop - Stitch Therapy - beginning July 22, 2013

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Stitch Therapy - a self-paced online embroidery workshop

Begins July 22

This is a self paced workshop and class sign ups end Sept. 30th

4 Lessons/4 Weeks=$40.00 usd

Click Here To Purchase

Description: Using fiber art as a method for personal awareness and healing. I will show you my process and techniques for creating a fiber art painting using new and recycled materials.

The idea for this series of work began with a combination of my passion for fiber art and my practice of art therapy. As a therapist, it is important for me to remember that every person I meet has their own life experiences and processes those experiences differently. I never know exactly where someone is coming from.

I have also learned through my art therapy (and personal) experience that what we present to the world is not always consistent with how we are feeling.

I use this process to create some order from the chaos. To put together scraps and bits of everyday life. Repairing, healing, layering - slowing down, enjoying the relaxing and meditative process - to feel the materials and hear them as I pierce the fabric with a needle and pull thread through. It's about taking time, listening, feeling, and healing.

List of materials:
-fabric - any kind will work. I use a lot of cotton muslin (bleached or unbleached)

-embroidery needle - I prefer to use size 2 crewel embroidery needles, they feel sturdy enough to go through heavier fabric or painted fabric.

-Thread - regular sewing thread and colorful embroidery thread (collect all your snipped thread from other sewing projects)

-10" Embroidery hoop - I prefer to use wood embroider hoops

-Gesso and / or acrylic paint

Optional: yarn, paper, ribbon, ric-rak, sewing machine, stretcher bars
4 Lessons:
 * This workshop explores techniques, which I hope you will do - I will not give step-by-step instructions on how to create your final piece. The process is part of the discovery.
1. Gather supplies including scraps from your daily life (threads, fabric, paper, wrappers...)
2. Practice techniques and sketch design
3. Work on fiber painting: stitching, painting, stitching some more
4. Finish final piece: add any details, finish the edges, stretch onto stretcher bars, and wire the back for hanging
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