"Were I called on to define, very briefly, the term Art, I should call it 'the reproduction of what the Senses perceive in Nature through the veil of the soul.' The mere imitation, however accurate, of what is in Nature, entitles no man to the sacred name of 'Artist.' "
~Edgar Allan Poe
I also got a chance to spend some quality time with my Mom during slow hours in the day while the event attendees were in workshops. We had a great time setting up my store, having a nice leisurely lunch together, and taking a Raks Assaya (Egyptian cane dancing) workshop from the beautiful and talented Aliayah Sahar, one of the workshop instructors and featured headliner for the event.
Upon returning home, I was happy to discover that I more than paid for my travel, workshops, and expenses by vending. I'm definitely considering do this again!
PHOTO: Sarah, a bellydancer from Northern WI, modeling her favorite veils in front of my traveling souk. In addition to my own bellydance wares, I also vended a few hand dyed silk bellydance veils for my friend Vashti.
In working on getting ready for the event this weekend, I'm using some spare time at work to create a flier about myself and my business. Ultimately, I want it to communicate the preciousness of my work to me... hoping that when people read it, they will understand the inherent value in my pieces.
I have to admit that I feel a little nervous about vending this weekend. What if nothing sells? What if other vendors have similar wares to mine? What if... what if... what...
Then I remember why I got started doing this in the first place. I LOVE every single one of my pieces. I really love to make them. I spend a lot of money, time, and effort making them, and I do it knowing I may never be compensated fully for the effort. I suppose my fascinator art is the same as my dance - ultimately, I do it because I just love it.
I made the rule for myself that every single one of my fascinators should be something that I'd wear myself - so if it never sells, I won't feel the slightest regret keeping it myself. I would have to say that this is pretty much true!
Well... off to work on my artist's statement...Here is a new piece I made last night to bring to the festival this weekend.
I have had some left over teensy, tiny flowers -- you know the little ones that come on a flower stalk that are supposed to look like emerging buds? I generally deconstruct a silk flower, and recreate it, replacing insides with beads, changing the petal layout, and creating something new, so as far as my normal creations go... those little flowers are useless.
However, it struck me that they'd look BEAUTIFUL emerging from a bun, french twist, or up-do! I've decided to call them "EMERGING" and I'm selling them for very inexpensive prices. I'd like to give them with items sometimes too - because they match other altered flowers in my shop. I think it would be so beautiful to wear a bun, twist, or up-do with a fascinator on one side and an emerging bud coming out of the other side of the bun, tying the entire hair style together!
I took this picture of them in one of my hand-folded boxes, which I'm planning on stocking up on for this weekend... so much to do!
Tonight I watched "Memoirs of a Geisha" and unintentionally ended up making verdant green, jade, and jeweled pieces.
Overall, I spent 2-3 hours making more fascinators to get my store fully stocked before my first ever vending experience! I've vending small amounts of bellydancing trinkets, but never THIS much OOAK items, and I've never sold items that I've been so personally and artistically invested in.
This is one of the items--one that I actually made with my mom in mind. She'll be at the event helping me vend, and it will be really nice to spend time with her. The green and crystal centerpiece is actually a vintage earring from my grandma's costume jewelry. I know my mom's going to love it. :)
Today I got the nicest message from a buyer! She told me that she loved my work and she's giving it to her sister-in-law-to-be on her big day. She also asked me to include in the package an "Artist's Statement" about my work. When I saw it... I was like... Uhhhh, What? An Artist's Statement is something that goes on the wall of a gallery... I don't even have a business card! :P
But then I googled "Artist's Statement," and luckily Molly Gordon's site (linked to title) saved my day. I'm currently working on it, and I'll post drafts as they come.
I've never used Blogger before, but I used to maintain an account at Live Journal. After SEVERAL hours of working to customize my blog's layout, title font, background color, comments settings, photographs, header, and gadgets, I'm completely exhausted. Although I like the fact that Blogger's interface looks so professional, I really do NOT like how long it took me to work on this! I could have made several Live Journal accounts (albeit less attractive accounts), not to mention--- the fascinators I could have made in this time...
I think I need an IT person already. Yikes!
Well, after many hours, I'm feeling ready to share my store, my store's connections / advertisements (blog), with the world via an interview with the Haute Hawaiian Holiday Extravaganza, which I'm excited for.
Very exciting! One of my new fascinator photos has been featured! This means that my shop is getting good exposure. I've been trying hard to take nicer photos of my items being worn. I noticed that most of the best sellers have models wearing their items. I am currently taking my own photos against my bathroom door, using the mirror over the sink to make sure I'm in the view of the camera (peeking into viewfinder of camera through mirror!). I felt quite clever when I figured that method out. :)
Last night I spent a stolen night crafting and watching old movies on ancient VHS tapes that my mom brought me from her basement. I made beautiful fascinators with ivory, bleached peacock feathers, cocoa-and-cream-striped-feathers, and stripped white hen feathers.
At 10pm, I decided to forge forward with the fascinators, and stayed up late with my camera, photographing, uploading, and listing. The computer portion of my store is most certainly my least favorite part, perhaps because long hours in front of a monitor are often a part of my other career... But I have to admit to nerdily having a great time geeking out with a thesaurus looking for silly and extravagant names for my soft, sweet creations, like "Cappucciono," "Caramel," "Sepia," and "Intrigue."
This fall I finally heeded the urgings and support of friends and dance students by opening my own store - specifically, a store aimed a bellydancers for costuming, dance gear, hair flowers, and other crafts.
Initially, my idea was that I would work mainly on tribe, but then I soon realized the clunkiness and slow-speed of the site would be too hindering. Then, I considered ebay, but the addicting and untidy nature of auctions really turned me off. I wanted my online store to be calming, neatly arranged, and items to be priced in a way that reflected their value as a handmade good. I wanted coming into my store to be like walking into an old book store off a side street - a place full of comfort, soul, and soft incense. I wanted shoppers to come to me with questions or ideas for customized items... not feedback or bids.
Ultimately, I decided to open a store on etsy-an online forum for artists to display their wares at a very inexpensive listing price. Thus far, I've been extremely pleased with etsy's services, and I've only encountered a few glitches (my first international shipping order). The other great thing has been the online community. Everyone is really polite, interesting and interested, and unique. Most are craftspeople or fans of the arts, so people are sympathetic to the artists' dilhemma... to sell or not to sell.