Art Filled Life: 5 Best Practices

Artists live, in general, an art filled life. In other words art touches all aspects of their lives. For example most often they live and work in the same space. This uncongenial lifestyle of course has its merits but can certainly be a challenge in a number of ways.

Sunrise after desert monsoons
Heavy rains and wind pose challenges for outside events. Living the art filled life.

Today I am going to share with you 5 Best Practices to help you enjoy the challenges your own art filled life may include. First I want to share with you a story of my own art filled life. It includes doing an outdoor Farmer’s Market and the last one included torrential rain and supercharged wind. Three artist canopies were destroyed along with some of their products. Thankfully no one was injured and the market continued after the storm. Today I am drying out my products and getting them ready to repack for next week’s market. I have found that I enjoy the challenge more and more of the unexpected, I love being outside, and enjoy going back week after week. During the week I am refilling my stock by making more items to sell. It is a creative and unconventional lifestyle that not only works for me but also kindles and refreshes my creativity each day.

product pots drying after the rain at market
product pots drying after the rain at market, part of living an art filled life
  1. Practice resiliency. It is true that not sweating the small stuff makes for a happier person and certainly applies to us artists. It’s amazing how much more energy you will have to create when you practice this.

    Take time to enjoy.
    Take time to enjoy your art filled life.
  2. Practice perseverance. Keep going, just like the old saying “If you’re in Hell, don’t stop, keep going” unknown author. Stay focused on your positive life and art. You may have to start telling yourself a different story of yourself to make the changes necessary to continue to thrive and grow as an artist.
  3. Practice sociability. Don’t spend all your time in studio, get out; talk to people, interact, and it will be easier to talk to your potential customers and patrons.
  4. Practice Follow Through. Whether it means really pushing an art piece you are working on or emailing a gallery or shop to see if they are taking new work. Follow through.
  5. Practice your practice. When I make art a part of my daily life I am much happier. For example, a misfired kiln broke my creative schedule and routine. I could not wait to get back at it today and get ready to fire tonight.

    Glazing today to fire tonight.
    Glazing today to fire tonight. Love my art filled life.

I hope that you have an art filled fulfilling day and also hope this blog has been helpful to you. I would love to hear your thoughts and your experiences that help you live an art filled life.

 

You can see more of my work on my Facebook page Disheveled Edge by Cynthia Inson and on Pinterest. Or check out my webpage at www.dishevelededge.com

 

Cynthia

 

Share

Creativity, 7 Easy Strategies to Boost Yours

What strategies and behaviors encourage artistic creativity, new ideas, and the will to take action and create new works of art? Do you ever wonder what enables artists to continue to create new works of Art?

I am going to share with you seven strategies that I use every day that will also help you rejuvenate and grow your creativity. By incorporating these behaviors and actions you will always have more ideas than time. I often feel like I need to be making something every moment but have learned over time that it takes more to continue to create new works and keep my creativity levels high. This is what I learned.

Create and enjoy “downtime”.

a walk along the beach always boosts creativity.
a walk along the beach is always boosts creativity

 

Living an art filled life takes balance. Take moments, hours, or a day to get some distance from your art. You will return to it with energy and often-new perspectives.

Keep a journal.

boost creativity with sketchbooks
Keeping sketchbooks and journals are great strategies to boost creativity

I have kept sketchbooks handy for years and they often include my thoughts on just about everything. Sometimes an idea takes days or years to develop and it’s good to check back through your journals and sketchbooks for that needed boost of creativity.

Sketch ideas.

pendant incorporating bone fragment and moonstones collected at the beach
pendant incorporating bone fragment and moonstones collected at the beach http://www.cynsartfullife.com

Don’t worry about making masterpieces just sketch on a regular basis. You will be amazed how many new creative ideas are generated by this practice. I like to date my sketches to track my life as an artist.

Visit Art Museums

Make and take time to visit permanent collections and special shows. Enjoy the time and soak up the styles and methodologies of artists whose message has been recognized and respected by many over time.

Enjoy Nature.

High desert thunder.
High desert thunder.

Taking the time, whether it’s a moment to enjoy a sunset or sunrise, rainbow, or a longer hike or drive through the country is a great way to clear your thoughts and give your mind a boost in creativity.

Draw from Life

drawing from nature a great way to boost creativity.
drawing or painting directly from nature another great way to boost creativity. http://www.cynsartfullife.com

It doesn’t have to take hours and can be a quick sketch but the practice and discipline of looking at something and interpreting it will develop your skills as an artist and increase creativity.

Oregon coast sketch boosts creativity
Watercolor sketch from the Oregon coast. http://www.cynsartfullife.com

Daydream.

Take the time, it can be minutes, but take the time to let your mind wander. Stop thinking and just be at some point every day.

As you have probably noticed by now the seven strategies that I am sharing with you to boost creativity all require time away from your works of art. I find it ironic but true that it takes this balance to not only live an art filled life but to continue to have the energy and will to create new works of art. I hope this blog has been helpful to you and look forward to hearing your comments.

Cynthia

Share

5 Ways to Grow Your Email List at Vendor Fairs.

Think creatively, take action, and offer your customers and potential customers something they want free for signing up for your email postings.

 Today I am going to share how I creatively take action at each vendor fair to not only you’re your business but to grow your art business and email list.  Think about this you may be so busy trying to sell your product at each vendor fair that you forget to capitalize on your audience for future events. After all that’s what you are there for, right? Of course but we also want to think forward and offer customers the opportunity to shop with us in the future. These five strategies are a great way to start expanding and growing your customer base by growing your email list.

imagine your email list exploding
imagine your email list exploding

Each of these five action plans offers your customer and future customer something they want free just for signing up for your email list so remember to keep your guestbook (it can be as simple as a spiral note tablet or your own tablet if you are set up for it). Make it simple for your customer/client/patron to sign up.

new silk wristlets
new silk wristlets Disheveled Edge by Cynthia Inson

1.Offer a chance to win a drawing limited to people who sign up at thus particular event. Show them what you will be giving away. Take the opportunity to share your art while they are signing up. If they sign up be sure to give them a business card so they remember you and your art.

your drawing winner could receive one of these
your drawing winner could receive one of these Disheveled Edge by Cynthia Inson

2.Let them know that by signing up they will receive notifications of your upcoming events, fairs, and shows in the area. Be sure to let them know that you will be attending other events than the one you are at that day or weekend so they can plan Holiday and special occasion purchases.

upcoming coming events where you will be showing
upcoming coming events where you will be showing

3.Those who add themselves to your email list will be first to see your new available works of art. This is a great way to generate excitement and grow your business as you add new pieces of your work to your creative offerings.

new works/brown bag herb pots
new works/brown bag herb pots Disheveled Edge by Cynthia Inson

4.As they are signing up let them know they will be included in a monthly drawing for a piece of your art. You don’t have to be specific on this; it actually adds to the excitement and keeps them checking the email posts to find out who won and what it was. Be sure to post your monthly winner on the same day of each month to make it easy for you and your email recipients.

5.Finally, let your new email list people know that by signing they will be given access to any specials that you may create at any given time. Everyone loves specials!

These five creative ways to grow your email lists will give you the opportunity to stay in touch with your customers and to generate new customers as well. Remember, smile, be genuine, and grow your business. I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog and will check out my postings in the future. You can follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. Wishing you all good fortune in your effects to grow your business and make more art.

Cynthia

Disheveled Edge by Cynthia Inson

Share

7 Things You Must Do to Thrive at Art Fairs.

Do you wonder why some art vendors thrive and succeed at Art Fairs and others who may have great products do not?

You may think it’s all about showing up and your art will sell itself. Right? I don’t think so and today I am going to share with you what I have learned to help you be successful and thrive at Art Fairs.

“Creativity takes courage”

Henri Matisse

Where I "store" succulent wall pockets between Art Fairs
Where I “store” succulent wall pockets between Art Fairs

Yes, creativity takes courage. Every artist knows this and practices it each time they show or share their work. It’s not enough to just show up and hope to sell your art you have to be prepared. I love the challenges that showing, sharing, and selling my art offer and I have learned to thrive at Art Fairs. I want to share with you how I do it so that you will be showing, sharing, and selling and thriving too. Here are seven things that I have learned that will that will help you also thrive as a vendor at Art Fairs.

1.Be engaging. Greet each person and be sincere in your conversations. Ask questions and smile. Know what you are going to say about your products if given the opportunity to share. You are there to share, show, and sell your work.

2.Develop a display that draws people in to see the details. Make sure you have a banner or sign that identifies you. Develop different levels to increase visual interest. You want your potential customers to be curious about what you do and your display is a great way to do this.

Colorful and engaging display
Colorful and engaging display

3.Make sure that you are offering a variety of price points to your audience. Group similar price point items together to keep it simple when answering how much something costs. I don’t like to use signs that announce prices, as I would rather engage my potential customers in conversations. Make sure you have adequate inventory, you don’t need to put it all out but have plenty to refresh your display as you sell down.

inventory snuggled in towels to transport
inventory snuggled in towels to transport

Always give customers who buy your business card, even if they have purchased before and already have one.

4.Be sure that you are prepared to sell. Have business cards ready to share with everyone you talk with even if they don’t buy at that moment they have been curious enough about your art and creativity to talk with you. I often have people come back because of the card. I like to say, this card may haunt you until you come back and smile, always smile.

5.Develop a customer and potential customer list. I use a small notepad and ask each buying customer if they would like to be added so I can let them know when I will be at an event in the area. This is also a great way to let potential customers know when you develop new works. If someone has taken enough interest in my artworks I will also ask if they want to be added.

6.Plan easiest transport, set up, and tear down.

Folding tables, display risers, and inventory
Folding tables, display risers, and inventory

Sometimes you will be able to off load directly at your spot and sometimes not. Plan appropriately and pack efficiently. I have a foldable canvas wagon that has helped me immensely. I’ve also developed my carrying containers to also use as display risers for my table.

7.Have a generosity of spirit for your fellow vendors, remember creativity takes courage, and be resilient. I can’t emphasize these two things enough. It takes a lot of energy and adrenalin to greet each person with sincerity and grace but it is well worth the effort.

 

Finally, let’s be honest, some Art Fairs are going to be better than others for a myriad of different reasons. Weather can be a big factor too. But I assure you that if you implement these seven approaches at your Art Fairs that you will enjoy them more, sell more, and thrive at what you are doing.

 

If you’ve enjoyed this blog you can follow me at this site, my website http://www.dishevelededge.com

And Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram

 

Thanks for reading. I’m wishing you all the success and joy in your upcoming Art Fairs.

 

Cynthia

Share

Learn Easy Way to Create Beautiful Dyed Silk

Do you want to learn how to create beautiful hand dyed silk fabric? And do you want it to be easy?

ice dyed silk
ice dyed silk

 

 Today I am going to share with you the steps and stages of how to create gorgeous hand dyed silk fabric. The  creative process and method that I will show you is one that I use often to create abstract and subtle designs on my silk fabrics. I call it ice dying. I like to order both my silks and dyes from Dharma Trading Company http://www.dharmatrading.com and today I am using a piece of silk chiffon and French Dupont dyes. You can use any type of silk and any type of dye that will work with silk. I have used these dyes for years and find them to be economical as they are very concentrated.

IMG_6900
french silk dye
IMG_3199
ice dying

 

IMG_6887
dyed silk drying in the sun

 Rinse your silk to both wet it to receive the dyes and to wash it. You can use a bit of detergent if you like and rinse. Shake it out and crinkle it into a bowl, add a handful of ice cubes, then mix a small amount of dye with a little water and drip it on top of the ice. I like to add color and depth of shade variations so I mixed up another slightly blue and drizzled it over the ice. Set the bowl in the sun but remove the ice cubes once you see the fabric is colored. You can move the fabric around to soak up more dye but you want to keep the variations. Remove the fabric and drape to dry. I like to do this outside if possible as it only take a few minutes.

IMG_6888
silk steamer

You will need to steam these dyes to set them and make the color permanent. I made this “steamer” from a soup stock pot, added tin flashing to get the height that I needed to steam larger quantities of silk, and manufactured the riser out of a tin, cutting a hole to allow steam to rise through the metal mesh cylinder made form fence wiring available at any hardware store.

IMG_6896
dyed silk in pellon coccoon
IMG_6897
dyed silk packet ready for steaming

 Now we are going to wrap the dry fabric in a cocoon of pellon or interfacing purchased from any fabric shop. Make a package, covering all edges, tie onto the wire mesh with twine. Remember to tuck the ends of twine in to keep them out of the steam bath. Fill the bottom of the steamer with a couple of inches of water making sure it doesn’t touch your fabric bundle as you don’t want your dyes to bleed into the water. Place a folded section of old newspaper on top of the pot to catch the water that condenses and to keep it away from your cloth. Place the lid on the pot and I like to anchor it with a large rock. IMG_6899Come on, you know that’s fun. Bring to boil, you will hear it, and turn heat to simmer for an hour. If you are dying larger amounts of silk you will want to steam it longer to make sure the steam penetrates all layers.

 And for the most fun of all carefully remove the lid, staying out of the steam as it rises and once the steam if released and it’s cool enough to grab with a pair of tongs, remove your silk packet, unwrap, and admire! I really love the creative, unexpected and surprising blends of colors that can be achieved with this method. I’ve worked with tighter more controlled designs but this method can’t be beat for it ease, creativity, and beauty.

ice dyed silk
ice dyed silk

Before you rush off to begin this fun and creative project remember to take all necessary safety precautions from beginning to end. Like wearing safety glasses and vinyl gloves to keep the dye off your skin. Remember and be aware, do your research for any chemical sensitivity just like you would do for any other creative project. Protect surfaces with plastic and have fun.

If you enjoyed reading and learning today you can share my artful life adventures by following me on Facebook, Pinterest, or my blog http:/www.cynsartfullife.com

 Thanks for reading!

Cynthia

 

Share

The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Choker Necklace

You will never need to shop for another choker necklace after you read this blog! Choker necklaces are fun to wear and easy to create. Today I am going to share with you just how easy they are to make and how you can design them to your tastes and neck size.

IMG_6864

First decide on your base ribbon or fabric. The choices are limitless and just a little tweaking can change the entire design. Ribbons can be velvet, grosgrain, satin, patterned or plain. Fabrics can have finished structured, raw, or seamed edges.

IMG_6867

Decide how you are going to close the choker necklace. For example, I have pictured one option as stick on Velcro fasteners. I used hot glue to turn the edges of the satin ribbon then measured my neck and attached the Velcro tabs to each side.

IMG_6879

I choice to needle felt some silk fabric scrapes left from another project and simply tie the ends together in the back.

IMG_6878

Choker necklaces can either be left plain, as I chose to do with the silk raw edged one or have an item of interest. This can be anything that you can glue or sew into place.

IMG_6866

Have fun with this simple project. They are really fun to make. Post a picture of your creations in the comments.

IMG_6880

IMG_6881

Cynthia

Share

How the Muse Works for me or How walking in the garden is morphed into silk original.

IMG_3043

I am going to share with you how the abstract and concrete come together in the making of a textured silk hoodie vest and in so doing share how the muse works with, through, and for me. Are you ready to get started?

 But what is it that inspires you to create? Where and when do you most often find creative inspiration? For sure, mine comes from a deep respect for and curiosity about nature. Plants, rocks, clouds, wind, and water all fascinate. Looking at these things I see patterns for cloth, textures for metal work, and colors for clay glazes.

 IMG_2930

Today, however, I’m going to narrow it down and focus on fiber. I am going to share how the idea came to me for I have to see it before I can make it. This most probably is not everyone’s way but it’s how I work.

 My days most always start with a step outside to either see the sunrise or to walk through the garden. I knew that I wanted to make a hoodie vest but what would it look like? What kind of fabric and what colors and textures would it have? How would it move on the body?

 IMG_3018

Walking through the garden I feel the morning breeze and know the fabric needs to be light to move and float with the air movement. I also want it to drape the body and not be stiff. The textures of the new zucchini plants and the play of lights and shadows play in my mind and I see subtle variations of color for the fabric to be. I want it to be versatile so I’m thinking a warm grey with some green and blue to give interest. The veins of the leaves give me an idea for the fabric’s texture and I see needle felting as a way to achieve the meandering lines of puckered fabric.

IMG_3026

 I ordered yardage and waited impatiently for it’s arrival as I had my abstract design, colors, and textures ready to put into concrete action and couldn’t wait to see how it would turn out. As a result of the planning and playing in a very abstract way when the fabric arrived it was just a matter of process to bring the project to completion. 

 IMG_3038

And there it is, the description of how I find inspiration and turn it into creative action. I hope this blog helps you find your muse and make new and wonderful creative projects. Would love to hear your comments too.

 IMG_3046

Cynthia

 

Share

Ten Easy Ways for Artists to Live an Artfilled Life

It’s Easy and I’m going to share my secrets with you. This is how I do it.

 

  1. Practice Gratitude. Sound corny? Not really, if I stop using my energies on negative thoughts and begin to focus on gratitude in a very basic way I have energy to create, room to think. Take a moment to really look at the sky or water, mountains, desert. I have found that doing those things makes it much easier for me to focus on what I want to do and that is to use my energies to create art.
IMG_2614
beach combing always inspires new projects

 

2.Look at the small stuff. You are ahead of me in thinking this builds off of number one on our list. I find that creative inspiration develops from the simplest things. Sometimes it begins by finding a beach stone, often the sound and sight of the beach, the shape and color of a leaf. Sometimes it’s more abstract like the sound of something that will spark an idea for a new clay, metal, or fiber project.

 

IMG_2803
beach stones drilled and findings created from bronze with patina

 

3.Be a student all your life. Develop your curiosity and take the time to learn something new each day that contributes to your creativity and the making of art. This doesn’t have to be a direct link or a new process but something that makes you use processes involved with making art like critical thinking and analysis.

 

  1. Practice what you learn and what you know. Problem solving is a big part of making art, apply it every time you work and push your art to new levels. Be your own best critic and at the same time the biggest supporter.

 

  1. Share what you know and are learning. Sharing your knowledge is the best way to learn something. I find that sharing my knowledge triggers more art projects and pushes me to develop my techniques and therefore my visuals.
IMG_2968
my handmade jewelry and hand dyed needle felted silk
  1. Practice humility. There are lots of us and many are incredible for a myriad of reasons. Share your art passionately and at the same time respect works by other artists as we all know what great energy it takes to put ourselves and our art out there.

 

  1. Look at other artist’s works on a daily basis. Once again, analyzing the choices made and solutions found helps me develop my eye. I may never make the same choices or use the same technique but I do find that this practice provides a continuum for my artistic growth.

 

  1. Look at process as meditation. Being thoughtful and conscious of the process I am using helps me define, remember, and develop my technique while I am working. I like repetition in my work for this very reason. I will make a dozen clay serving trays to refine my process and get the look I want. Then it’s easy to make variations on the theme in the future. Try it. It works for me.
IMG_6671
first round of clay cactus serving trays
  1. Reflect on where you started and look forward to the developing artist that you are. Daydream! Thinking about a new project and letting it develop in your mind is a great way to get started.

 

  1. Document, document, document. I have boxes of sketchbooks and journals with sketches stretching back years and years. Periodically I get them out and find the process of looking through them not only reminds me of where I was but often reveals the why of where I am today in my art journey. In a very practical way this practice provides photos, thoughts, and sketches that form the basis of your revealing yourself and art to the larger world and creates your clients and business.
IMG_2878
on the body detail of nuno felted scarf

Did you find something to take away from this blog? I hope so. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

 

Living an art filled and fulfilled life happens for me when I practice these ten tips. Let me know if they resound with you and your artful life.

 

Cynthia

 

 

Share

How to Make a Ceramic Wall Pocket to REALLY Showcase Succulents

inspiration for new pottery pieces
inspiration for new pottery pieces

I am fascinated with the unusual forms and patterns that are characteristic of succulent plants and wanted to design and make pottery that would showcase their beauty. I find them visually interesting, and love their sculptural austere appearance. Their forms, colors, and blooms are fascinating and exotic. And they are kind of quirky and nonconventional, like me and other creative types that I know. They are very popular with almost everyone at the moment so why not give them a stage and frame to show them off.

With that in mind I am going to share with you the design that I developed and made from stoneware clay. I wanted to develop a design that was rather retro and rustic at the same time and one that could be hung on a wall or fence outside or look wonderful on an interior wall. I also wanted to select glaze colors that would compliment the succulents and be as interesting as the plants themselves.

For these pieces I chose white stoneware clay to allow the glaze colors to really show off. I often use under glazes to create the look that I am going for and I think their use in these pieces really played up the retro and rustic aspects that I was trying to achieve.

unfired clay pieces drying
unfired clay pieces drying

This is how I did it. First I applied the under glazes to the bisque fired stoneware, let it dry, and then used a sponge to create a look similar to a rubbing. After that dried I glazed them with a satin matte yellow glaze that reminds me of 1930s Bauer pottery pieces. They were then fired to cone six in my beautiful Skutt computerized kiln.

under glazes applied and drying
under glazes applied and drying

After impatiently waiting for the kiln to cool so I could see what really occurred as a result of my choices I pulled out some winners, planted them with sphagnum moss and cactus and succulent potting soil and used bailing wire to make a hanger.

Finished pottery wall pockets planted with succulents
Finished pottery wall pockets planted with succulents

I hope this blog inspired you to create your own pieces. Have fun and please let me know if you have questions in the comment section and while you are at it why not let me know what you think of the design. Thanks! Now I’m off to the studio!

 

Cynthia

IMG_2922

Share

Have you decided to jump outside your fishbowl, let go of the trapeze, and write a blog?

wet felting abstractions
wet felting abstractions

Here’s why I didn’t wait for the “ready, set, go” and went straight to the “go”. I like the following quote a lot, don’t you? “If we wait until we are ready we’ll be waiting the rest of our lives”______Lemony Snicket. I’m not waiting.

And that is why I am writing my first blog ever, this one. Welcome to my world. I am artist passionate about living life to the fullest and developing my art every day that I draw breath. I work with fiber, metals, clay, found objects, and repurposed objects.

I love tools and process.
I love tools and process.

If you are reading this you are curious and that is one of the identifying characteristics of an artist. Asking yourself “why am I reading this?” That’s analysis and critical thinking, another characteristic of an artist. And that means we have something in common. I am driven to create as well as to share. Isn’t that what being an artist is about at its core? Once again, welcome to my journey as an artist. You will see how I work, what I do, and what inspires me. Want a sneak peak of what I am working on and learning about now?

Beach stones on new clay tray
Beach stones on new clay tray

I hope you will continue to read upcoming blogs and join the conversation by commenting to help me grow and to have some fun yourself.

patterns manufactured over time
patterns manufactured over time
Share