Sunday, September 27, 2009

Art Fair Troubles...

This has been one long Summer, and now I can relax a bit and enjoy the Fall and it's cooler weather--not that our weather has been particularly hot this year.

I spent a good part of my time getting ready for two shows that I was looking forward to doing and was working almost every weekend to make more stuff for the shows. However, fate had other plans.

About a week before my first show in August, I started to feel a slight twinge of pain in my stomach, but only when I moved in certain ways. Not really thinking much of it, I continued about my business as usual. On the Monday before my show, I went to work as normal and after work went for a bike ride through the wooded trails near our house. For two hours and rode all around the woods and enjoyed the summer evening.

After my ride, I came home and ate dinner--all the while feeling a bit uncomfortable but not really paying much attention. During that night, however, the pain increased and I had some trouble sleeping through the night.

In the morning, I got up, packed up my lunch and breakfast, got ready for work and just before leaving, told my partner that I was having some minor pain in my stomach. He suggested calling the doctor and I agreed. I promised to call the doctor and set up an appointment when I got to work.

Once at work, I started getting an upset stomach and couldn't bring my self to eat my breakfast. Then I knew I was sick. I was turning down food.

I called the doctor and left the symptoms with the nurse and she promised to call me back within the hour. Ten minutes later I was called back and told to go to the emergency room.

I figured they just couldn't fit me into their schedule, so I still wasn't thinking anything big was going on. I told my boss about the issue and headed back home so I could change into comfortable clothes and pick up my partner before going to the hospital. Still figuring I would be back at work the next day.

In the ER, they were having some trouble diagnosing my issue since it wasn't on the right side and I wasn't having nearly enough trouble for a normal appendicitis. However, the CAT scan revealed that it was indeed my appendix and it had to be removed--immediately.

"Will I be able to do the art fair this weekend?", I asked.

"I wouldn't recommend it," was their prompt reply.

So, after paying $500 for my booth at the show, I could not attend. Not only did I lose the money, but I'd spent a long time working on items that I just couldn't take to any show.

To say I was depressed would be an understatement, but I focused on getting better and was soon back on the torch to get ready for the next show.

Another month of torching, and I was ready to display a wide range of heart and leaf pendants along with some of my older items too.

The show ran three days over Labor Day weekend and it was my first time there. While first couple days started off slow, sales were steady until the last day.

I began to panic a bit, but I needn't have. As the afternoon wore on, I ended up having my best day of the show and doubling the sales for the weekend.

It turned out alright, but I'm still upset that I missed one of my shows and lost all of that money. Hopefully, next year's shows will work out better and I can avoid emergency surgery.

So, what's your art fair horror story?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Race Is On

Summer festival season is ramping up now and so is my production schedule. I'm currently rushing to complete as many items for the two shows I've been accepted into this summer (yeah!) and awaiting word on a third show where I will be able to showcase my "Naughty" pendants as well as my regular work.

In order to ensure maximum sales, I'm attempting to create 300 new pendants before August 1st (the first show date) which translates to roughly 15 pendants a week (at least).

So far, fortunately, I'm right on schedule and very excited about the prospects of getting my work out to the public and seeing what they think of it.

In my rush to continue torching, I've been neglecting my blogs, shops and other on-line venues in order to have enough time to get everything done, photographed and packaged up for the shows. Is this normal for us artists?

Working full-time, trying to find time to excercise (which I haven't been lately, and it shows!), keep up with the Internet chores and maintain a personal life all seem to be in conflict and never ending battle.

Sorry if you're feeling neglected; it's not you it's me! (how many times have you heard that one?)

Are you felling the summer pressure already? Tell me about it, won't you?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Does it seem like stupidity is taking over the planet to you?

Everywhere I turn, there's someone doing something really dumb--and usually getting away with it which makes it all the more infuriating.

While I'm generally a pretty laid back guy, some things really bug me (in case you haven't noticed from other posts).

For example, about a year ago, a post office in my area changed the flow of traffic in its parking lot by designating one entrance and one exit instead of the free-for-all that it had been.

Now there are HUGE signs that read "EXIT ONLY" on the way into the exit so that cars won't try to come in that way. It's been a year, but people still refuse to read the signs and try to come in against the flow of traffic.

Everyone is then expected to get the hell out of their way so they can steal the parking spot you were waiting for, by the way.

If you try to warn them with a polite toot (which only makes them more stubborn) or gently point out (with your middle finger) the huge signs they're not reading or just flat out refuse to be complicit in their stupidity by moving over and letting them terrorize the rest of the motorists, they look at you like YOU are doing something wrong.

Worse, my partner told me, "Move over so she can get in".

"ABSOLUTELY NOT" I then explained to him that I was not on her side, she was going the wrong way. Both cars sat their facing each other for a few minutes (nobody was behind me, thank goodness) while we waited for a lightbulb to go on. Whether she got it or not, eventually, the other motorist did have to back out and go in the correct way.

Score 1 for society and following the rules! Hopefully she learned the correct way to enter the parking lot from then on.

Then there are those who do something stupid and then want to blame everyone else for it. You've met these people, I'm sure. They're practically entitled to do anything they want and never suffer any consequences (or at least don't think that they should have any consequences).

Just yesterday, a couple friends and I went over to Woodfield Mall at lunch time for a quick stroll through the shops. I parked quickly and we were off toward the mall.

On the other side of the car that I'd parked next to was a woman complaining about the same car.

"I should let all of the air out of his tires" I heard her exclaim as we walked up. "I cannot get my door open to get into the car. They parked too close!"

Notice she said "THEY" parked too close. In actuality, SHE had parked her car right on the line, had rather large doors that needed a lot of room to open and an even larger ass that needed more room yet.

The car, presumably, came in after she'd left her car and parked normally in its parking space. However, now that her poor parking job was inconveniencing her, she felt it was within her rights to flatten their tires and rant about it to strangers walking by.

I quickly looked at the situation and determined she was a victim of her own stupidity. My friends, however, were more easily suckered into helping.

After a few minutes, they'd managed rearrange the seats in her car and wedge her (all of her) into the back seat of the car so she could hopefully maneuver the state of Ohio into the front seat and drive off.

I'm sure she was swearing about that "other driver" the entire time and never realized she was the one in the wrong.

Oh well, I guess you can't win them all.

Have you made a stand against stupidity lately? Tell me about it.

Friday, April 10, 2009

My Swim In The 'Bay

If you’ve been following my blog, then you know that last week I dipped my toes back into the eBay pool to test the waters.  I’d been on eBay quite a bit earlier in my lampworking career, but didn’t find the success I’d originally been hoping for with some of my earlier designs and pieces.

With the advent of my new “male” pendants, I thought I’d give this a try again to see how they would be received.  Since they’ve been pretty popular on Etsy, it was time to give “The Bay” another shot.Joseph Penis Pendant

Last night, the auction for “Joseph” completed with six bids and multiple bidders.  To say that I was pleased in the response would be an understatement.  While I doubt that I’ll be using it as often as I used to for sales, it would appear that there is a market that I can tap into there too.

Any source of new customers is good, right?

Of course it is!  This morning I found a very nice letter from my buyer who is very excited and happy that he won.  The e-mail also included this wonderful bit of encouragement:

“If this beautiful multi-colored penis was created on a whim, I encourage you to make more!  The others who bid against me would certainly appreciate being able to have one of their own!  What a splendid way to celebrate the beauty of the male member!”

I took a chance last week and struck out to expose my work to a new audience and gained a brand new customer with the potential for a few more in the wings.  If I hadn’t tried it, I might never have found them.

I guess the moral of the story is to get out of your marketing rut and try something new.  For the cost of a few bucks, I was rewarded with a wonderful new customer and some new ideas on how to make my shop work for me!

Remember, try new venues (or older ones that didn’t work in the past), new mediums and anything you can think of to bring in those customers!

Needless to say, there are more penis pendants coming and this won’t be the last auction on eBay!

Now to figure out how to skinny down the cost of the listing fees and still get noticed! 

More on that later!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Stress is in the air!

Well, now that Winter is just about over, a whole new season can begin. For most people, that season is Spring and it is welcomed by all.

For artists who are busily trying to get applications into art fairs, festivals, craft fairs and other seasonal venues, you have now entered the season of Stress!

It's the time of year when you get to send a bunch of faceless, nameless folk pictures of your work, what you feel about your work and a non-refundable check for jurying fees, which basically means we're paying them for the privilege of rejection.

Who comes up with these applications for these shows, anyway?

After filling in our names, addresses, websites, astrological sign, favorite food and estimated weight at the time of the show, the really fun questions begin.

Please describe your work, the process or processes involved, materials and inspirations in 50 words or less.

Are you kidding me? Oh, after this question there will be a very small (SMALL!) box to fill in with our stunning insights and pearls of wisdom--or at least what we can fit in 50 words.

The question practically takes up more words than we're allowed answer it with.

Please categorize your work (one choice only): Art, Glass, Jewelry, Ceramics, Woodcraft, or Other.

This is a trick question, right? I can just about hear the carnival barker now, "Step right up. It's time to play 'Pick Your Pigeonhole'".

For me, I make glass jewelry which I think is art, but isn't it also glass and jewelry? (one choice only, Please)

Seriously, if the show has the word "Art" in the title, then shouldn't everything be art? If I don't pick Art from the list, am I out completely? What about the poor folks who pick Woodcraft? Since craft is in their name do they get automatically rejected?

At least I don't have to pick Other.

Please submit three photos of your work.

OK, this seems simple enough, right? You've been working all year creating one fabulous piece after the other, now pick three (and only three) to represent you in front of our panel of esteemed judges (which we don't know).

If we pick the more elaborate and detailed pieces to showcase our talents, they might think "it's just not right for our attendees". But, if we pick the pieces that are generally popular and should sell well we run the risk of "it's very nice, but not really special enough for our attendees".

Or better yet...

Please submit three photos of your work as slides.

Slides, really? Who can take slides anymore? Where would you get them developed and on what would we display them on?

If I were 10 years younger I probably wouldn't even know what slides are. This is the digital age, take a CD or prints at least.

Fortunately, in lieu of slides, oil paintings and cave drawings are also valid and acceptable forms of pictorial represenation of our work.

Special Requests or Needs?

"Yeah, I'd like to be accepted into your show."

I would love to see what other vendors put down for this one. I'm always afraid to put anything in it since I don't want to appear to be: needy, picky, pushy, demanding, high-maintenance, self-important, entitled, arrogant, a PITA or any other horrible descriptor you can think up. I'm trying to put my best foot forward and hoping to get into a show, so I'll just leave that one blank.

Is that a rookie mistake?

"There are no special requests or needs listed. Obviously, he has no idea what he is doing. Reject!"

After all that, you're probably wondering if I've applied to any shows this year.

Well, yes, I've applied to several this year in spite of the stress and hope and panic and self-doubt it inspires year after year. In the end, if I can get into a couple of shows, it all become worth it. I get to show my work to the public, get feedback, meet some interesting people and, with a little luck, make some money so I can do it all again next year because it is all so worth it!(after all that I'm hoping not to get black balled entirely)

Happy Stress Season, Everyone!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Dipping My Toes Back Into The 'Bay!

So, why am I nervous?

Maybe it's because I've been down this road once before without much success.

Maybe I'm afraid that this item won't sell either and it will be a waste of my time and energy.

Maybe it means that my work is, which I love, is just not that great.

Maybe I'm just chronically insecure.

So why did I bother in the first place?

I listed an item because I have something new and didn't see anything like it out there currently.

I listed an item to give it a shot and see what the response is like to it.

I listed an item to prove that my own doubts would not derail my ambition.

I listed an item to help publicize my Facebook page for these items and maybe get some new fans.

I listed an item because I figured if it didn't work, I'd still have my item and I'd only be out a couple of bucks and week's worth of watching and waiting.

I listed an item because I was curious.

As you can see, the potential benefits outweigh the doubts, so now I've just got to wait and see what happens. Wish me luck!

Tune in next week for the exciting conclusion! Same ByHand Time, Same ByHand Channel!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

To Boldly Rant Where No One Has Ranted Before

Before I start this, I just want to say that I am a BIG Star Trek fan, and I've apparently spent way too much time thinking about the flaws in a number of episodes and movies.  In light of the new movie coming out in May, I thought I'd share with you my list of Star Trek's biggest mistakes and wrong turns.  And now my top 10 things I'd love to change about Star Trek:

    1.    In the original series, they successfully steal a Romulan cloaking device and integrate it into the ship's systems well enough to cloak the enterprise.  Then they NEVER use it again!  Not in the original series, not in any series following either.  Wouldn't you think they'd have replicated the technology and made it standard issue by the time Next Gen came around?  What was Star Fleet thinking?

    2.    The Starship Excelsior is equipped with Trans-Warp drive in "Star Trek III The Search For Spock".  This technology is also NEVER used again on a Star Fleet vessel. It is, however, used by the Borg and is the holy grail of transportation in Star Trek Voyager since Trans-Warp drive would enable them to return home in a matter of months instead of decades.  If Star Fleet had that technology decades earlier, why was it never used again except by their enemies?  Makes no sense to me!

    3.    Deep Space Nine.  WTF?  An entire series stuck in an a futuristic airport.  Did they forget that half the name of the franchise was Trek?  That implies movement, travel, and seeing new things, exploring.  That's a little hard to do when you're standing still!

    4.    Star Trek First Contact is one of my favorite movies, but it too has it's problems.  Most notably developing and testing warp drive technology in Montana.  There are several Star Trek books that have been written about the perils of using a warp drive anywhere near a large gravity well like a planet or star.  Yet this movie decided to make warp travel pioneers land based probably because it would be cheaper to shoot.  I once read a terrific book on the subject and it was set on multiple timelines using both original and Next-Gen crews which told a much better tale of how warp drive technology was developed, but it took weeks of slow acceleration due to achieve it until the Inertial Dampeners were invented.  It was full of political intrigue, time travel and multiple factions all trying gain control of this new technology.  It would have made a far superior movie to this one, but they came up with their own story instead which was good, but could have been so much more!

    5.    Which brings me to my next point--ignoring the books that have really kept the franchise going and expanded upon the rich universe Gene Rodenberry created.  A lot of them would make terrific movies, but they are completely ignored when script time comes around for the next movie.  Instead of some really great adventures there have been a few flops in the franchise such as "The Final Frontier", "The Undiscovered Country", and "Generations" with it's plot holes large enough to drive trucks through.

    6.    Star Trek Enterprise.  This poor show started out being written by the producers for the first couple of seasons and it sucked MAJOR.  By the time the third and fourth seasons came around and they actually started using noted Star Trek Authors to write the show it was too late.  It had failed to gain an audience in the first couple of critical years and that was the end of that.  Seasons three and four were really terrific and if the show had started out like that it might have been a big hit.  Just remember, Producers do NOT equal Writers!

    7.    Time Travel Paradoxes.  Here's a quick rule.  If A lead to B and B Leads to C which prevents A from happening, don't leave your characters at C discussing how they just did it.  They should be back at A with no memory of this happening since it wouldn't have happened.  Star Trek has gotten this right a few times, but they've also gotten it wrong on more than a few occasions too.  Case in point:  Star Trek Voyager: Future's End Pt II.

    8.    Robert Beltran's butt.  Why, of all the men they could have stripped down for a little gratuitous nudity on Star Trek Voyager, was Chakotay the one they chose?  See #9 for my choice, but Tom Paris would have been nice too. 

    9.    Lieutenant  Ayala is the strikingly handsome ex-maquis bridge officer that is seen standing in the background of nearly every episode from the pilot to the finale and only speaks exactly once.  He's probably the hottest cast member on the show, but is just not put to any use (although the actor does end up playing many stunt related parts throughout the show including Satan's Robot).  I do hope someone on that ship was tapping that when no one was looking!

    10.    And now for my biggest change:  Wesley Crusher--bye bye!  I know there's a huge fan base for this one, but he was really nothing more than annoying and needy.  Maybe I'm reacting to all of the posts and buzz that were around on-line (pre-internet) about this one, but I just never thought he added much to the show besides being a complete dork and sucking up to the captain every chance he got.  Fortunately, he did eventually go Star Fleet Academy and was off the show for most of the run from there.

There you have it, my list of changes that I would make to Star Trek if I could go back in time and change the scripts, casting and other events to make the various incarnations as perfect as they could be.

What would you change?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Do you want to be successful? Read This!

For those of you who know me, I'm not a regular blog reader.  I'm barely a regular blog writer, but am working on getting back to that.  However, I have found something that I need to share with everyone!

Allow me to introduce:  The Fluent Self Blog

This is a gold mine of do's and don'ts for running just about any business, but with a focus on Internet and artistic salesmanship. 

Sounds boring doesn't it?  Its NOT.  She's got a great conversational style and a great sense of humor.

My introductory article was this one:  It's Not The Economy

I soon discovered a bunch of other articles that I will need to read as well.  I'm so glad I found this one, and I hope you will be too.

If you're having trouble with sales or want to increase sales (which we do, right?) or just to get a new perspective on your website, business or Internet presence, then this is the blog for you (and ME).

I will be following this blog and taking notes since it really speaks to me, and is a great, fun read.

I hope you enjoy it! 



Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Perponderance Of Profiles!

The following is taken from a new handmade only site I'm a member of. Check out my profile and blog on If you love handmade, you should see this!

Do you realize how much time it takes to set up a profile on a new site to market your work? It seems to take me weeks before I've fully completed everything and have it just the way I want it. Maybe having a full-time job slows me down a bit than some of the lucky ones who only have their art business.

I'm on many sites now, I can hardly keep up with it all, but I do it because I love my art and want to share it with as many others as possible. Would we really do all of this if we didn't love it?

Tonight I've been creating banners for use on Etsy and on my profile here and have finally put them into place. There's a lot of great options on this site in the profile, but it's taken a few weeks of exploring and seeing what other's profiles look like to determine what all it can do.

Up until yesterday, I had no idea that I could upload banners to my profile and blog pages, but now I do. So Voila! New banners on both pages.

A day or two before that, I put up some Etsy Mini's onto my blog sidebar to give it a bit of personality too.

What do you think of the changes so far?

On the blog I tried to merge the banners for both my Etsy shops since this blog will cover either one as time permits.

Now, how many shops should I set up? I probably should have presences on more than one selling site, so I'm thinking about that now. Of course, I'll want it to be a shop that can be linked into this site too. Any suggestions?

(argh, more profiles!)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Shop Loading Continues

I've been very busy getting my shop loaded with lots of new items over this weekend in addition to making several new pieces.

Working in Boro is a lot of fun and I hope you are enjoying my adventure with me.

This weekend I made some new disk pendants--some with a large front hole--that I will be adding over the next few days.

Drop pendants and a couple hearts were also made, but I'm not sure if one of them will go up. I was using a new color, cranberry, but it didn't quite turn out as expected. The color looks too much like rust and cherry. Reds are giving me some trouble, but I will get them worked out soon, I hope.

If they won't come out, then I can always use some "Red Elvis"--yes, that's actually the name of the color. I know it will come out red for me since I used it in class and is a very reliable color.

The pictures in this posting are new items that I posted to my shop today. Be sure to stop by Etsy and see what all I've added over the weekend.

Hope you're having a great week so far.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Where have I been?

"I've been to paradise, but I've never been to me!"

It's been quite a while between posting, but I thought it was time revive my blog and get back to you great folks.

Creatively, I've been in a bit of a funk for several months--since last summer actually-- and wasn't sure how to break out of it.

After much thought, soul searching and just generally taking a break from most things glass, I have been able to recapture my desire and creativity.

Over the past few months, I've been preparing to switch from using the soft-glass that I learned on to the harder Borosilicate. There are a number of reasons for this.

  1. I love the wide range of reactive colors available to me in this glass.
  2. I needed a new challenge creatively to prevent me from just making the same thing over and over again.
  3. Boro gives me much more freedom over the types of items that I can make--not just jewelry but sculpture, marbles, paperweights etc. (If I have enough heat, that is).
  4. It was just time for a change.

So, now that the switch has been made, I hope you enjoy the pictures of my latest creations in the new medium.

Also, be sure to check out my Facebook Page for Burning Scentsations!

Several new items have been added my Esty Shop over the past few days, so please check out the all-Boro items now!

Have a great night!