Monday, December 24

Merry Christmas!

It's time for a Christmas vacation, no post today!

Then I'm visiting family so no post next Thursday or Monday!

Happy holidays!

Thursday, December 20

Intro to Ebay for Artists

I'm not an on-line shopping kind of gal, but Michael's (oddly) does not sell glue on bails for pendants, so I ventured onto Ebay.

What I learned there is;

1. Things are ridiculously cheap, and free shipping is awesome.

First purchase, 60 bails for $5.29

2. Things are really, ravishingly, ridiculously cheap if you bid instead of buy.

50 bails for $0.95!

3. If things are ridiculously cheap and shipping is free, expect your purchases to take a lot longer than you anticipated.

There go my Christmas Vacation plans!

Have you ever had a find as amazing as my less than two pennies per bail?

Monday, December 17

Crafty Christmas Gifts

It's Christmas time, so the busy crafter has to make last minute crafts for gifts! Mine, unfortunately, didn't go perfectly because I used scrap glass and didn't know the melting points. These did make me realize though, that this would be a really fun workshop idea. In fact, while making them I recruited a first year who wanted to make some fused name plates for herself too!

Some need to be glued together because they came out in two pieces - oops!

For anyone interested, these fused name plates ultimately went to 810C for 15 minutes. This was more than enough for my white SY96 glass (and white is the hardest to melt). Whatever that stripey glass is, it's magically tough.

And in case Jessi reads this, please come back to me soon! I miss you on this blog! (She is so darn busy.)

Thursday, December 13

Pushing The Business Plan Forward

Separate your sketch book from your business, from your essay classes, from your labels and posters. Do it.

This semester we wrote business plans, half of us thought it was pointless at this point in our development, half of us thought it would be a great tool to move into the future. I was part of the latter, and I spent 30 hours (albeit a last minute 30 hours), writing a 30 page business plan for myself; I got an A+. This really got me thinking seriously about business, because so many artists these days are 'starving', and they might not be if they had an established plan and really knew what they were doing. It might also help that I watch Dragon's Den religiously.

So what I've done is so simple that you'll slap your head against the keyboard; I bought a pretty little book from Dollarama for $1.50 that was exactly what I wanted, and it is EXCLUSIVELY for workshop and studio ideas. Too many ideas for different things get scribbled and mixed up in note and sketch books, which tends to make all the information unfindable.

What this did for me?

When I wrote my business plan I had 3 workshop ideas that I subsequently forgot, in my dedicated book I already have 25 ideas, one per page for clarity.

I also sectioned off part of my little book to record all the kiln workshops in Canada and the cost/ time/ products for each class they offer. (That's also a great way to get ideas for your own workshops, hint hint.)

Seriously, do it.

Monday, December 10

Stress Reliever

When critiques are only days away everyone gets really, really stressed. On Sunday I walked into my classroom to find a bunny staring at me from the corner of the room.

Two of my classmates, Amy and Paul, borrowed their roommate's bunny to help everyone unwind. It was amazing, I didn't even want to work, and lots of people insisted that they had to keep taking 'Bunny Breaks' or else the poor bunny would be alone - and that just wouldn't be fair!

I definitely think all art studios should have fuzzy mascots to keep everyone happy.

Monday, December 3

Crunch Time: How Do You Prioritize?

There comes a time in every artist's life when they are put under pressure to complete a piece or entire series of work by a certain date. I am, of course, speaking of deadlines. They turn up all throughout your artistic life: with school, galleries, art tours, commissions, holidays, special occasions, articles, blogs, and even with books, if you are so inclined to write one.

I don't believe anyone has a life that is structured solely around the act of artistic creation, even the most successful and dedicated professional artist must make time to apply for shows, photograph work, advertise themselves, and generally organize the business side of the art life. In fact, if you read the novel Art & Fear as I suggested you should, you would have come across the sobering knowledge that one established painter shared with us. That is, that after meticulously documenting how he spent his time, he found that in a month he only spent a total of 6 or 7 days actually painting. The rest of the time was dedicated towards the business end of being an artist, which includes tasks such as the ones I listed above.

I assume I am correct and that no one artist spends 100% of their time working on the physical production of art. In school I have come to the conclusion that other students, like myself, find it difficult to work on written projects, even when they are directly related to our work as artists (such as business proposals and independent research projects). Anything that we cannot do in the studio, that does not help us create finished pieces, makes us feel like we are not working, like we are doing absolutely nothing important with our time.

If other artists feel like us, and I'm sure that some other artists also feel that way, then the question is, how do they prioritize? At school the majority of students leave written projects to the near last moment, some don't even make the deadlines - and this would be a detrimental habit if the written work was related to grants or audits. So, do a lot of us break these habits as we mature into the art world? When money and exposure is on the line do we learn to pick up the slack?

After all, I think the business proposal was an extremely relevant project to my own future as an artist, yet still I underestimated the time I would need and was left working until 5 in the morning on the day it was due. Despite the fact that I put 30 solid hours into the project, if it were a real business proposal for a bank, investor, or grants council, I certainly would have failed to gain funding. So when the time comes will I be able to tear myself away from the studio and convince myself that the writing I have to do is for the greater good of my artistic wellbeing?

Can you pull yourself away from the studio when it matters? How can you convince yourself to put down the tools, wash your hands and go open up Microsoft Word?