Thursday, 24 September 2015

Plans. . .

An attempt to reproduce a set of earrings the post office ate

Just a bit of musing on the creative process. . . I like a bit of a muse from time to time.

Having a Plan. You know, the process whereby you start off with a strong idea of what you are going to do and how you are going to do it.
I always feel it's something I should have, that if I was serious about what I am doing I would have it all worked out. So I make a plan and sit down to produce what I had planned to produce. Trouble is, though it starts well, after a while I find it all starting to feel a bit flat. The results are perfectly acceptable, but there's no spark somehow.
Maybe that's the trouble with plans, there's no room for distractions and discursions, or even abstractions and obfuscations. . . For me that's where the important stuff happens. The stuff you trip over in the back alley can lead to more interesting and satisfying things than you will find if you keep to  the clearly defined track.

Something I tripped over - an earring charm, probably.

This is my take on it anyway. But that said, I still get caught out by this little emotional trap despite supposedly knowing better. It happens to me when I have decided that I want to make copies of something that sold, or was quite popular. Sets of textured disk beads for example. I can usually remember the process, or at least reverse engineer 'how I did it' in my head, and consequently that process becomes the 'plan' I need to follow. So I follow it and usually manage to come up with something pretty close to the particular popular/strong selling thing in question. All well and good, but before long I find myself missing the excitement and satisfaction I felt making the original version.
It seems to me that when you make a copy of something you don't say to yourself, "I wonder how this will turn out.", instead you say, "I hope I don't mess this up." Which is a different emotion. Not curiosity, but anxiety. I know which I prefer so I don't try to make copies any more.

'In the same vein'

Not to say that I don't make things that are like things I have made before, things that are 'in the same vein as', things that occupy the same niche, that are the 'same sort of thing as', but not copies. A subtle difference maybe, but one that makes the process more enjoyable and satisfying for me. Which is a large part of the point of doing this art stuff. . .

I have to conclude that my particular buzz is the creative process. Ideas, diversions, creative meanderings. Following the Fascination ;-) Where have I seen that phrase?
It's a self indulgent approach I guess, and not sound commercial good sense, but it fits my idea of who I am, and that is important to me.
Finding something people like and are prepared to buy is a buzz too, but homing in on what is popular and exploiting it is not something I am driven to do. And as such not something I would be very good at. Nothing wrong with it, it's just not what I'm after.

 A variation based on a basic principle

So why am I selling stuff at all if that's the way I feel?
Because I love it when someone likes something I make enough to buy it. It's a very solid form of affirmation. And it gives me a reason to make things other than because I feel like it. However small, there is an audience out there. Artists want their stuff to be 'out there' in the world, being seen, and if they are lucky, appreciated. It's a pleasant kind of motivation.
Also, running an online shop is another learning curve. Another aspect of the Fascination I am following. I find it interesting, mostly. . .

I'm up to 150 sales now btw.

Go, me! ;-)

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Been a Year. . . Blimey. .

Early stuff

One year ago, I had been playing around with polymer clay for a couple of months, discovered that people made beads with it and got interested in the whole subject of what beads were and could be and what polymer clay could be made to do and be. . . And had started making beads.

Early pod like things

I realised very early on that I had a feel for the more crudely handmade or 'rustic' side of things. Especially when I started to work out what paint and inks and gilder's paste etc could do the surface of said beads. making them look like ancient artifacts or strange tribal beads from somewhere dim and distant.

First sale. I still like these ones. . .

I liked what I was producing and decided to try putting them up on Etsy to see what would happen. I had very little expectation that anyone would buy anything for months at least, if that. And anyway, it wasn't exactly expensive. Amazingly, I sold something within a couple of weeks. Then sold something else. So I took it a bit more seriously and started making more and listing more.

So my shop has been active for a fraction over a year now. I've learned about SEO and Relevancy, well, up to a point, but what I have managed to put in place has helped me get seen in what is a very saturated niche on Etsy. Sales have slowly grown in frequency and I think my work and style is gradually becoming more widely known.

So I'm really pleased that I started on this strange polymer clay adventure. Strange, because it is such a departure from anything else I do or have done, and also strange, because I seem to have managed to get something pretty much 'right' from the get go, which is not my normal pattern of learning.
Let's hope the next twelve months are as interesting.
Jon x

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