Thursday, July 28, 2011

A little humor goes a long way

My car was stolen out of my driveway sometime during the middle of Tuesday and Wednesday night. Needless to say, I was feeling uninspired when the time came to write this post. I thought that since "laughter is always the best medicine" I would give it a shot and try to lighten my mood up a bit.

It was only a car, but it had become full of memories as I have owned it for 15 years. As an homage to the good times and trips we shared, I thought I would share some of my favorite Car Art randomly found on the Internet.

Dirty Car Art by Scott Wade

This car is completely covered using a sharpie. (I cannot find who the artist is, if you know please tell me so I may give them due credit. Source for image:

Cadillac Ranch. Still on my list of places to go.

Artist Sara Watson spray painted a car to perfectly match a parking lot.

There are a great deal more slendid works of car art out there. I would love to know if you have any favorites. Share your links below.

Happy Creating!
upcycled unlimited

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wednesday Item Feature: Cute little friends for your wrist

Mark Poulin from Oakland (also known as marmar on Etsy) creates cute little sterling silver charms and jewelry featuring animals and creatures with a fun mouthless and noseless style with beady little eyes pleading you to become their friend. As I was browsing his shop, I kept coming across individual charms or necklaces featuring a little animal I wanted such as a sheep or a little hopping bunny. Then I stumbled across a bracelet that featured multiple little friends!

Mark herded all his little creations together on a charm bracelet, which features a dog, a sheep, a bunny, an owl, a cat, and an elephant — quite the variety! All of their little eyes just stare and at you (in the most non-creepy way possible) and ask, "Aren't I cute?"

With experience as a metalsmith and enamelist, Mark crafts each charm from sterling silver and attached to a sterling-plated adjustable length bracelet with a sterling-plated swivel clasp. So, if you're all about sterling silver, this is a major plus! You can find these individual charms throughout Mark's shop, but if you want a different animal added or substituted or just a different collection of charms altogether on your bracelet, just send Mark a message and he'll work with you to put together the charmed bracelet how you want it. Perhaps your best friend wants a little orbit boy and girl and a more love-themed bracelet or your daughter wants six hopping bunnies on her wrist — just ask Mark and maybe he can make a little magic happen for your special gifting needs!

Check out marmar's listing on Etsy now: Menagerie Charm Bracelet!

Tune in next week for the Wednesday Item Feature!

Love & donuts,

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Renegade Craft Pricing Experiment

What happens when you invite strangers to appraise your work? Sounds like an invitation to some serious anxiety. At the Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco, we decided to let visitors (and artists), price two of our pieces at our booth The Whiteout.

It was all done on an iPad version of a pricing app (The Pricerie) built in webkit. Users had to enter a value and at the end of the day we would have the final community price, which would be the sweet spot from all prices after dropping the outliers.

Day 1
On Saturday July 9, we picked a popular product ‘Fruit Fly’. This piece is made from a tree ornament salvaged from Urban Ore. It’s been primed and painted white with an original pen and ink illustration signed by the artist.

When we invited people to price, we told them the story behind the product and to use their best judgement... “Use your gut. No pressure.” We didn't linger around to see what price they entered.

52 people priced it. The final community price was $28.

This price point is interesting because we sold a similar piece earlier for $20, lower than what the community suggested. We artists always tend to underprice our work, don't we?

Day 2

The next day, we thought let's switch things up and and use a polarizing meme. Charlie Sheen '#Winning'.

This piece is made from a plaque salvaged from the Goodwill Store. It’s been sanded, primed and painted white, with a freehand illustration of Charlie Sheen with the once-upon-a-trending topic ‘winning’.

Not everyone got the cultural reference. Some said they wouldn’t pay 5 cents for Charlie Sheen because he’s a ‘total scum bag’. Fans said they would pay $150. Some people decided not to price it stating they wouldn't be the best judge. It was nice to know people chose to abstain versus throwing out some random number just for the heck of it.

The final community price was $68 with a total 22 people pricing it.

That's only half the people compared to Fruit Fly. We hadn't really set any price in our heads for this piece since it was a wild card.

What did we learn?
For items with a general theme, the pricing behavior is not only similar between people, it's also higher than what we predict. Our previous tests produced similar results.

For products that are niche and polarizing, like '#winning' it’s better to keep the pricing closed to a niche audience—in this case internet nerds. The highest entered price was $150. The data suggested this piece could easily go for $90-100.

We’d be better off selling a piece like this online and appealing to a specific audience like the Charlie Sheen fan group, if it exists (of course it does). Or if we sell at a craft fair, we’ll put it under a section like 'Memes'.

Overall people had a lot of fun pricing. I guess it was also empowering. A few were embarrassed that they priced lower than everyone else, but we said well this is art, there is no right answer.

Hopefully this experiment will be a step towards taking the guesswork out of pricing. Once we stress test the idea a bit more, we'll open it up to more artists who want to participate. It would be especially useful to new artists for test marketing ideas and introducing new products.

Next month, I'll speak to three artists with different approaches to pricing and what they do to take the pain out of the process. If you have have thoughts on how to make the pricing process fun, please do share! We could all use any help we get.

This is part of a monthly post on the touchiest of all subjects, pricing! See you again in August.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Art as a service to the community.

If you love to volunteer like me, there is an amazing upcoming opportunity to combine that love with your love of art. On September 2, 2011 from 9am to 5pm in 5 cities across the bay area art sites will be set up with tables, chairs, and free art supplies. Passersby will be encouraged to "Take an art break!" and make art for free.

Check out this video for more details.

I am the woman on the right hand side of the video! My collaborator and I have spent the last year organizing Take 5: Art Break Day and are looking for volunteers to help us make art free! If you are available anytime between 8am and 6pm on Friday, September 2nd, give us a holler and we will get you on the list.

Trust me, you will be exhausted and exhilarated by the end of the day. There is hardly anything more satisfying than watching the smiles on people's faces when they get the chance to make art for free. You will leave the event inspired to get back in your studio and create!

Any questions, check out our website: or email us artismoving(at)gmail(dot)com

Happy Creating!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wednesday Item Feature: The whimsical, the colorful & the shiny

Seeing as the final installment of the Harry Potter series finally opened this past weekend in movie theaters all over the place, in honor of all HP fans (myself included), I've spotted a gryphon (or griffin/griffon) on Etsy! I'm also a fan of whimsical things, colorful objects, and shiny pieces. Robin Senour from Berkeley (also known as sacredlaughter on Etsy) has captured these three attributes into one: her little wearable sculptures.

For those of you unfamiliar with the gryphon, it is a legendary creature with the body of a lion and head and wings of an eagle, almost like a sphinx but with a bird's head instead of a human one. For those of you familiar with Harry Potter, it is the house mascot for Gryffindor, whose students are noted for their courage and chivalry. Robin's bright talismans are suitable for anyone, Harry Potter fan or not. Crafted from clear acrylic and paint, these creatures are fastened on the back with a pin and are meant to remind us to accentuate the positive.

Robin's gryphon pin is a bold, positive statement that can be fastened to a bag or plain sweater to show of its bright hues of blue, red, orange, and sparkly green. Finished with a glaze, this pin will sparkle in the light and is surely something to brighten your day. Robin's passion for her crafts shines through in these pins and helps bring out the passion in others. Give it as a gift to a friend who needs a little cheering up, a little motivation, or just because. Get two and use it as unique symbols of friendship between yourself and another!

Be enamored with Robin's fantastical imagery and be taken into a brightly colored whimsical world with her little trinkets!

Check out sacredlaughter's listing on Etsy now: Gryphon Pin!

Tune in next week for the Wednesday Item Feature!

Love & donuts,

Friday, July 15, 2011

Legal Issues –Agreements with Stores

You’ve got the etsy shop, you’ve done the art fairs and now what? Maybe it’s time to try selling your work through stores! This blog post presents a brief overview of the agreements you might have with stores that sell your work.

In general, stores will carry your work under one of two kinds of agreements: wholesale or consignment. Occasionally a store may use both.

Under a wholesale arrangement, the store will buy your work outright. Stores typically expect to make their wholesale purchase at a percentage of retail; normally 50% or less. However, once the transaction is completed, the store owns the products and, unless there are unusual provisions in your contract, it can price or sell them in any way it wants. Remember, you may not want customers to see your work on clearance!

Consignment is a little more complicated. Under a consignment arrangement, a store (the consignee) agrees to carry your work but you (the consignor) continue to own it. The store will generally agree to sell your work for a certain price, and to compensate you at a certain percentage of the selling price within some period of time after your work sells. Some stores will charge you a fee for consigning your work.

Many store owners prefer consignment because you, the seller, bear the risk that the items won’t sell. Logically, you should receive a higher percentage as compensation for this risk, but not all store owners embrace this practice.

In addition to your percentage, consignment agreements should specify:

ü the length of the consignment period;

ü whether the consignment period can be renewed and how (e.g., at the store’s option or by mutual agreement of the store and the seller);

ü whether the store can discount the price of your work;

ü whether you can remove work before the end of the consignment period;

ü how the store will inform you when your work is sold;

ü whether you can restock or replace work that is sold;

ü who bears the risk of loss if the work is lost or damaged;

ü who pays for any shipping expenses; and

ü how and when work is returned to you at the end of the consignment period.

Each of these provisions should be negotiable, but many store owners are reluctant to change their standard agreements. Sometimes a store will be more flexible about a non-financial provision, such as your ability to take your work out before the consignment agreement ends.

Should you choose wholesale or consignment? Generally, you don’t get the option. Most stores will tell you how they deal with vendors. However, you may be able to convince a store that normally buys wholesale to try something more risky on consignment.

Good luck and be sure to comment and share your experience!


Gabrielle Lessard

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Get your head wrapped around this.

I love the Museum of Craft and Folk Art. I feel like every time I go to a new show I am blown away. The newest exhibition, Wrapping Traditions: Korean Textiles Now is no exception. I walked out of that gallery with about 10 ideas for new works. It makes you feel like no material is off limits in terms of looking sophisticated, edgy, classic, whatever you want. As long as you take the time and learn your craft you can create anything you want. I love the concept of creating everything that is around your from your table cloths, to your napkins, to your own clothing. It just breeds gratitude in spades.

Check out the show. I guarantee you will see something you've never seen before and fall in love with several works on display.

Show is open until October 22,2011

*images courtesy of mocfa website*

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wednesday Item Feature: Just going to the beach to tan?

As a resident of San Francisco, I find myself still wearing knit or crocheted clothes layered on top of turtle necks in the middle of July. But, for those of you who actually get to experience summer sunshine, you can still wear a crocheted top without breaking out into a sweat. Annie Chew from Hayward (also known as achewsy1 on Etsy) makes knit bikini tops that are bright and colorful, perfect for those beach days you're planning sans swimming.

Now, I haven't owned a swimsuit or anything of the sort since about 2001 or 2002, so I would consider myself in the market for this stuff. Additionally, as someone who can't really swim and who just hangs out if dragged to the beach, Annie's crocheted bikini tops are the perfect choice for someone like me. They're cute and customizable as well, so even if you don't see a color you like or you have trouble finding things that fit you well because you're part of the itty bitty you-know-what committee, just send Annie a convo on Etsy and talk to her! You can specify your favorite colors, your cup size, and which embellishment you like best (daisy, dragonfly, butterfly, etc.)!

Made of 100% organic cotton vegan yarn, your eco-friendly bikini top will definitely be something unique on your next trip to the beach or the next pool party on your calendar. Any color can be done, so choose your favorites, find out what colors match with your skintone well, or be bold and choose a crazy combination! From kiwi and white to neon colors to beige, think of something and let Annie know what you'd like. All tops feature a pair of aqua glass beads on each end of the straps in the back and one bead in front between cups. Again, as these are super customizable, if you would like a different color bead just let Annie know and she'll work with you to create a bikini top specially for you.

Also, buy 2 or more bikini tops and receive free domestic shipping (or half off international shipping)!

Get Chewsy and check out Annie's listing on Etsy now: DESIGN YOUR OWN Crochet Bikini Top with Organic U.S.A. Grown Cotton Yarn!

Tune in next week for the Wednesday Item Feature!

Love & donuts,

Thursday, July 7, 2011

You inspire me.

I love when I get feedback about my work, whether it be negative or positive. I thought I would share a bit of my own opinion with you all in regards to some of our lovely teammates work. Just a few words to let you know that I love your work and what I find inspiring about it.

shop: marmar

I love the playful nature and the sweetness of this. It also reminds my of my pups, Neko, so that doesn't hurt.

shop: metalight

In case you haven't noticed, I am a big fan of creative reuse. I love the idea of turning an old sad blender into an amazing lamp! How awesome is that? It's fun and unique. It reminds me that the possibilities are almost endless when it comes to reusing.

shop: elisemahan

I can't really pinpoint what it is about this piece that draws me in, but it is certainly eye catching. I love the shape and I feel like it gives me a place to breath. It's relaxing and such a great use of mixed media.

shop: goldegg

I love the imagination of this work. Just the idea of peeking through a keyhole to find this world! Who wouldn't love to travel there. Orange is such a brave color to use and it makes perfect sense.

Thanks everyone for all that you do.

Happy Creating!
upcycled unlimited

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wednesday Item Feature: What is a Green Man?

Don't get freaked out by the face buried in the leaves (unless you have no idea what I'm talking about and didn't immediately spot the eyes and nose) — a Green Man symbolizes rebirth and represents the cycle of growth in his various shapes and forms found in several cultures around the world. Moriahart on Etsy popped out at me with her handcrafted pottery and sculptural items. I found myself browsing her stoneware in her Etsy shop and came across these "Green Men".

If you research and look into what a Green Man is, you'll find many variations on this mythological character, ranging from rounded representations to more rectangular faces to full figured bodies to drawings or sculptures that blend into the stone or metal color that it's attached to. While there are many "Green Men" melded and carved into church details or renaissance buildings and fountains in other parts of the world, moriahart molds lovely low fire white clay in Alameda and breathes life into Green Men of her own creation for you to place in your own home to liven up your walls or garden.

Using an old copper glaze, moriahart's GreenMan measures about seven inches; the light green and blue-green colors are calming and would go well in many places inside or outside the house, giving a subtle essence of spring to its surroundings. Completely freehand, these Green Men are unique, so you can rest assured that no one else will have a identical piece hanging in their home or garden. Summer is a great time to go hunting for more home decor, why not start with an affordable little GreenMan? Save a special spot for it by a window where the sun will shine directly in and give it a new life.

Check out moriahart's listing on Etsy now: GreenMan with Flowers!

Tune in next week for the Wednesday Item Feature!

Love & donuts,