Tuesday, May 31, 2011

ART VERSUS COMMERCIALISM





















I have heard it said that artists are not good at business. Examples can be cited to both support and refute this statement. Throughout history, many artists have died penniless; while others, such as Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol, became rich. Unless independently wealthy, at some point in their career, an artist must make the choice whether to create art to satisfy their inner muse, or to concentrate on making art that will sell.

One of the most successful artists turned businessman of our time is Thomas Kinkade. Not only are prints of his work sold, but the images he has created have been used extensively on other merchandise such as calendars, puzzles, greeting cards and CDs. Kinkade is reported to have earned $53 million for his artistic work from 1997 to May 2005. Kinkade's success has not been without a price. He is looked down upon by the fine art community for the extent to which he has commercialized his art. Kinkade's work is not an outlet for self expression, but a commodity.

Art versus commercialism is something I have struggled with since I first started making jewelry a number of years ago. Not being one to follow the crowd, or trends for that matter, I began by making things I liked. I figured that if I liked what I made, others would, too. Some did, but not enough for me to feel successful. The few times I tried to make things I thought would sell, my muse fled, screaming.

A lot of artists blame their lack of sales on people they believe undercut their business by pricing too low, or by producing low-end merchandise. They are not considered professionals, but hobbyists. There is no denying that the "hobbyists" do have an impact on other businesses, but the fact is, there will always be such people. One may complain, but if nothing can be done to change the situation, it is a waste of energy.

Some artists have the good fortune to create what they love and make a good living. I personally know two artists who have been able to do this; Cecilia Miguez, a sculptress, and Gerald Brommer, a painter. The aforementioned may not be household names, but their work has been shown in prominent galleries and is much sought after. It gives me hope to know that it is possible to feed one's muse as well as one's bank account. Now, if only I could figure out how.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Mission Treasury! On Vacation!

The Mission Treasury is on Vacation this week!

We are on vacation for 2 reasons! First of all, because it is Memorial day here in the US, and we would love for you to take the time to thank a veteran and remember one! Second ... because we wanted to give ourselves a chance to announce the next week's topic a little early!

Starting on Wednesdays you will be getting a sneak peak into next week's mission treasury!

So come back Wednesday for some Mission Treasury results and fun!

Today - go relax and enjoy yourself!

Friday, May 27, 2011

April Challenge (No. 13, Part 3)

Our grand finale for our April Team challenge is here! Remember it is all about circles...




First item, check out this stunning wire wrapped necklace from Jewels by Trish! The lampwork pendant is just gorgeous.
















Next, just imagine what you can make with these slices of Wild Cherry branches from Headchange!













The last item of the month is this pretty magnet board from Moore Magnets. Perfect for those of us who would like to be a little more organized and yet fashionable!












With our April challenge complete, it is now time to get in your May challenge items! Hurry, there are only a few days left!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

IS THE GRASS ALWAYS GREENER ON THE OTHER SIDE?


There are a number of cautionary tales about leaving home in search of greener pastures. One such story is The Wizard of Oz, in which Dorothy wishes to go to a place somewhere over the rainbow. In the end of the tale, she realizes that there is no place like home. Yet, there continues to be something in the human spirit that causes us to seek out new frontiers, or at least dream about them. We cannot help but wonder if our lives would be better if we lived somewhere else.

Southern California has always been my home. Every year, people move here by the thousands. Many are lured by hopes of stardom. Some come because of the temperate weather. Though we've had an unusually cold and rainy Winter and Spring, more often than not, there is sunshine and temperatures that rarely go below 60 degrees Fahrenheit at night.

I live within driving distance to the beach and the mountains, so could surf and ski within the same day. (Actually, I don't surf or ski, but intend to take them up as soon as I learn how to swim and conquer my aversion to the cold). The streets here may not be paved with gold, but a lot are lined with palm trees. Palm trees are not native to California and had to be imported from somewhere else; but that's another story.

Besides the weather, other advantages to living in Southern California are the museums, theatres, nightclubs, art galleries, and theme parks. There are Starbucks (coffee houses) on practically every corner. (Well, that might be an exaggeration, but there are a lot of them). Those bored with coffee can amuse themselves at tennis courts, golfing greens, bowling alleys, ice-skating rinks, equestrian centers, racetracks, baseball or football stadiums, and malls. Oddly enough, on some weekends my husband and I look at one another and complain that there is nothing to do. I suppose it is similar to standing before a closet full of clothes and saying you have nothing to wear.

Even with all the perks that come with living in Los Angeles, I also wonder what it would be like to live somewhere else. A place without so much traffic, noise, pollution and crowds. Somewhere I could walk to my destination instead of drive. I remember hearing about such a place, once, in a lullaby.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Mission Treasury! How does your garden grow?


Mission Treasury is all about getting you, our readers, in on the treasury making fun! We also hope that you will find a shop or two to introduce us to that is fun and exciting!

So, we will be posting a theme and 4 shops each Monday - and challenging you to create a treasury that fits the theme and contains at least one item from one of the 4 featured shops.

You will have one week to create your treasury, and come back to the blog post and leave your treasury as a comment.

The best treasury will be featured, and all treasuries submitted will be mentioned!



The results of this weeks Mission Treasury will be posted on June 1st 2011!

Mission: Create a Treasury full of things that would grow in your garden! Focus on bright colors!

Shops to choose from (you must include at least one item from one of these shops)

http://www.etsy.com/shop/earjeans

http://www.etsy.com/shop/karinsf

http://www.etsy.com/shop/MaisondeTerre

http://www.etsy.com/shop/creatiate

Thanks to Sewsouk and FabricGreetings for coming up with these great themes!

Friday, May 20, 2011

April Challenge (No. 13, Part 2)

This is week two of posting our items from the April challenge. Our April challenge is all about circles. Let's see what you all came up with.






These pretty earrings from Shane's Sweet Creations are made with Swarovski crystals and Sterling Silver.








Circles are the theme for this very stylish handbag from Nancy's Bags Etc.













You are going to need a wallet to go in that bag! I love the color combo of this wallet from Robin's Flight.










Next week, I'll be back with the last of our April items. I hope you are all working diligently on your May challenge.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Team Spotlight! Maison de Terre!

Today we would like to introduce you to Betty of MaisondeTerre. Betty is one of our resident Mom's and we love her for that (Keeping us all in line)! I just love all of her hats! Check this one out!

1. Your name, nickname and a little about who you are.

Hi, my name is Betty Wallace. Here’s one of the listings in my shop. It’s hard to choose a favorite. My favorite always seems to be the last thing I’ve made.

http://www.etsy.com/listing/48229640/hot-pink-newsboy-with-white-rose-and

I’m a Mom, Grandma, Gardener, and Maker of Beautiful Things. As with most of the fantastic artists on Etsy, I have loved making beautiful things with many different techniques and materials all my life. I love sewing, knitting, crochet, floral design, working with polymer clay, and even building furniture.

2. Surprise us with something about you that you think will shock
us!

My home is a “Rammed Earth” house. It’s an ancient building method which was actually used to build parts of The Great Wall of China. You can see pictures of it in one of my photo albums on my Facebook page. Check out “rammed earth construction” on the internet for more information.

3. What is your main craft/art/collectible?

I owned a florist for many years which is extremely hard work! I’ve chosen a much easier art form for my online business. I have filled my Etsy shop with crochet and knit items. I love exploring and creating new designs and patterns. And it is so much fun to see how the same design will have an entirely different look and feel when I create it in a different texture or medium.

4. How did you start with Etsy?

I started with Etsy as a buyer. I loved the huge array of gorgeous items that were available from so many talented artists. When I listed my first few items, I thought no one would even notice them. Then when I started getting views, then hearts and even sales, I was hooked. I love checking my stats and finding that people from other countries are viewing and buying my designs. I’ve also made many new friends through this wonderful marketing method.

5. Any secrets to share for success?

Secrets to success? As with any business, it’s hard work, quality product and excellent customer service. The biggest difference with an online shop and a brick and mortar shop is the absolute must of having high quality pictures. This has been and still is my biggest struggle.

6. Hobbies or pastime when you are not doing Etsy.

My hobbies and pastimes are gardening and playing with grandchildren. I volunteer at our Wildflower Center and I’m taking classes with my new puppy. I hoping we will eventually be certified to visit hospitals and assisted living centers.

7. Where would your dream vacation be?

My dream vacation is being anywhere with family and friends. What could be more fun?

8. What do you hope to contribute and gain from Hearts and Hands
United?

The Hearts and Hands United Team is a wonderful supportive community of friends and artists. We are there for each other with business and personal advice. We laugh at each other, cry together and try to boss each other around. Ok, only a couple of us are bossy. And, as with my kids and grandkids, they don’t pay much attention to my directives.

9. Where can we find you?

www.maisondeterre.etsy.com

http://www.facebook.com/maisondeterre

http://twitter.com/maisondeterre

10. Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Most of my inspiration comes from nature. But my kids and grandkids keep me updated on current fashion trends. I love to make beautiful items but I’m also all about comfort. If it’s too hot, too tight or too itchy, I can’t imagine anyone enjoying owning it!