This guy was such a challenge. The commissioner had a reference drawing full of lovely detail so I had to try out some new techniques. Most of what I tried turned out good… Which was a really pleasant surprise! There are bits of wool baked right into the clay, makes me glad I only use real wool felt. Anything synthetic would have definitely melted into the over.
I’m excited to be growing as an artist and that I’m getting interesting work to do. The one good thing I got out of the pandemic was time to improve. I don’t think I would have tried to do this commission a year ago, or at least I would have simplified things greatly. I guess there really is a silver lining to everything!
I’m still taking commissions by the way (wink wink, nudge nudge) A piece like this takes about 1 month to create so plan ahead if you have any gift ideas.
I received 2 commissions in January that compelled me to learn some new techniques. The more standard thing I learned is wet felting. Wet felting may seem like a natural thing for a needle felter to do but let me tell you, they are very different processes. I’m kind of liking it though! When the weather turns warm I think I might just set up a table outside and make a few scarfs.
I will be making at least one scarf (for the commission that prompted me to learn this process) and below is a little test strip I made. How cool are those dragon sales?
Interesting enough, my other commission was also dragon related. This other piece being a 3-d fiber art sculpture, I could certainly stick to my usual needle felting techniques. They wanted a clay head (which I have certainly done before) but there was going to be scales on that head that needed to blend into the scales on the spine. The texture transition (or really the lack of transition) of moving from clay to felt always kind bothered me in my past sculpts. Then it dawned on me, I use real wool in all my felting, and real wool is heat resistant. So I tested inserting the wool scales into the clay and baked them. And it worked! This opens up so much possibility moving forward. There’s still a few kinks to work out but overall I am happy with the result. I show off that dragon in my next post so stay tuned!
How are we already halfway through January? Time has always seemed to flow at it’s own pace but with Covid 19 still looming over us it seems especially random. This time last year I would have still be deciding if I wanted to go full time with my art. I would have (or maybe very shortly after this date last year) signed up for the “Punk Rock Flea Market” – a very unique sort of show that included your normal craft faire stuff with car smashing and live bands. It was an un expectedly good event for me. I believe that same weekend I got accepted into what would be my largest show ever, the state fair up in Puyallup, WA. I felt like I got my sign that said go ahead, be an artist full time. So I quit my day job, excited for my overwhelming line-up of opportunities!
And then the virus struck, with lockdowns happening a mere week after my last day at my old job.
Long story short, nearly all my shows were cancelled and I even cancelled my own wedding too. 2020 was a rough year. But here we are, in a new year and with a vaccine on the way. And for all the disappointment I will say this unintentional sabbatical has had a few upswings. Without the expectation of selling things I allowed myself time to explore techniques or to make large show pieces. The improvement in the quality of my work has been quite drastic. I’ve also grown my social media presence and finally started making some online sales. I have invested heavily in myself and am curious to see what this year (and future years) bring. I will probably always wonder what last year would have been like without the virus. I’ll think wistfully of large events like state fairs, which may take a few years to fully recover from all this. But I am not going to live in the past, or whine (too much) about my lost year because it wasn’t really lost. Today I have an impressive catalogue of 54 items on Etsy. I have a better appreciation for the value of my own work, a few of those large show pieces I made last year actually sold with no shows at all. I feel focused. All this extra time to reflect of whether or not I should be a full time artist have actually strengthened my resolve. I can do this!
This year has been rough, I don’t know a single person who hasn’t had life impacted by 2020. But now it is December, and with the new year looming around the corner I want to send out some positive energy and be hopeful that next year will be better. So I want to flip the script, see the silver lining, and remind myself that these trials may one day be a shining accomplishments that help me grow. My best accomplishment this year was continuing to work on my fiber art in spite of losing most of the venues I could sell it at.
I didn’t just work to keep my hand busy either, I worked to improve. Without all the show and conventions I didn’t need the small impulse buy type items I sell the most of. So this was my chance to get artistic, test techniques, new materials, and work on my understanding of anatomy.
And something great started to happen. I wasn’t just improving, people were noticing it! Big pieces I thought for sure would sit around for a while because I had to price them high were selling and I was getting commissions both big and small. The past couple of months have been close to profitable and that is amazing all things considered.
So I’m feeling optimistic. Almost confident (for the first time since the pandemic began) that I can make it in this world with my art. So crazy!
If you want to learn more about commissions feel free to email me: email@example.com
I love fall best of all the seasons, and October is not only my birth month, but Halloween is definitely my favorite holiday. So imagine my pleasant surprise to get two large, theme appropriate commissions for this month. First up is a raven dragon pictured below. Life has been so hard this year but I truly want to make the most of things, even now in 2020. So yay raven dragon! Who knows, maybe this is the first domino in a long string of commissions. Christmas is coming up after all.
Commissions have certainly been a saving grace for me so for in this pandemic. Sometimes people are just looking for a certain species of animal but many times people want their favorite character recreated. I’ve done fanart ranging from reimaginings of children book illustrations to video game characters. Below is an image of my version of Flick from Animal Crossing.
He is sold ( a past commission naturally), and the customer plus their recipient were quite happy with it. I’m proud of it but at the same time it *is* fanart and I’m not sure how I feel about that. It won’t be my last (in fact email me any commission ideas you have lol!) but I wonder how much I should let it be a part of my business?
I decided to revamp my online presence. I confess that I started out strong but have slowed down as the this endless pandemic continues. I don’t have a strong drive to do social media and I always preferred in person sales. But as the weeks turn to months and I find my self esteem slipping. I told myself “the economy is just too bad to sell luxury items right now.” Or that “I’ll get to do a (in person) show soon. The truth is though, I *need* to be online right now. So I added my newest platform: Pinterest. And as I did my research I realized I’m long over due for a water mark on my images. The felted little deer to my left is an example of my new branding.
We are already into month 2 of the lock down. My shows are being cancelled left and right and I have a hard time thinking that spring is just about over. What has happened to this year? And what will happen in it’s second half?
I will take a moment to pat myself on the back though. I’m prone to depression and this situation is certainly weighing heavy on me but I’m still creating. And honestly without any deadlines or sense of “what my time is worth” I’ve been really throwing myself into projects and making some amazing pieces. Even if I’ve fallen back onto the habit of selling for less than I should it’s still nice to see some progress.
Naturally with large gatherings being banned across the nation now is a rough time for professional artists, any small business really. I follow a few small time sticker companies and they are pretty much begging for people to keep buying stuff. I’ve definitely have had to slow down on buying material for shows because at this point I don’t know when I can sell again, if people will come, and if they will have any disposable income. I thought, briefly, about trying to get my old bakery job back. After all I could start over again in a year, maybe the universe would be more forgiving of me trying to start a business at that point. But then, much like taking a year off of school, would I really be able to pick back up where I left off? Maybe I would, but I’m going double or nothing on this art thing. It’ll hew through my saving considerably but I’m going to stick with my business long enough to see if things become a bit more doable in summer. Until then I should just keep creating, after all, I may not be able to find chicken in the grocery stores but I won’t starve and I can make my own fluffy chickens here at home.