Thursday, December 31, 2009

Combining Shops

For those of you who shop or sell at Etsy - the number one site to buy handmade craft and art - you may know that some sellers run more than one shop with the idea that different types of items should be sold in apart from each other. A few years ago, I opened a second shop for my photography, pastperfect. I did this for two reasons - the first and foremost, was that I was interested in becoming a member of the Etsy photography "street" team called POE - Photographers of Etsy. When I had contacted them from my shop, qbranchltd I was told that only shops that sold only photography were admitted as members. The second reason to open the second shop for photography was the idea that I could direct galleries and other interested parties to that shop to see my photography - without any distraction of the other things that I sell.

What I have found since opening this second shop is that it is very difficult to promote two shops equally and the attention and effort that is devoted to one takes a great deal away from the other. Yes, the second shop made some sales, but nothing like my first shop makes. I almost said my "main" shop. This is what happens. It is very hard to treat two shops as equal children - giving them both the love and attention that they each deserve and must have to flourish.

I have been seriously thinking of taking all of my photography - as it expires (and a great deal of it has already expired) and move it to my first shop. There it will get the attention of my efforts that I put to promote that shop. There it may get noticed by those who come to browse - to those whose initial attention is attracted by other things.

If I do this, it will happen a week or two into the new year - which by the way arrives in about six hours. With the Christmas retail season past and the late winter and Spring holidays on their way, perhaps - just perhaps - things will change for the better in sales of my art photos, nestled snugly in their own little category at qbranchltd. Come around in a few weeks and see.

If you are thinking about opening a second shop, think long and hard about how you will promote it and the time and resources that you have to do that. Whatever you do now will then be split in two. It is something to consider.

And crazy me! I have something new and different for me that I am thinking of making and selling and I had the thought that it might do better in --- it's own shop.

Happy 2010 to all!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays!

It is Christmas Eve. All the presents are now purchased and wrapped and should be sitting under the Christmas tree - or hidden in a closet waiting for Santa to find them and put them under the tree for the morning. Christmas customs vary not only by country but also by family. Some families like to exchange gifts on the night of Christmas Eve leaving Christmas morning for the kids, church, and a dinner that makes the table sag. Other families like to do it all on Christmas Day. Either way - gift buying is done for a while (or at least until all that Christmas cash is put together to start buying what you hoped you would get but didn't).

Never the less, we are not featuring any artists this week but taking this opportunity to wish everyone Happy Holidays - no matter what those holidays may be!

Peace to all from the Art of Craft!

Oh yes... If any of you have some of the holiday gift cash that you are itching to spend - come take a look through some of the featured artists on this site and treat yourself to something really, really nice!


Ho! Ho! Ho!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

FEATURED ARTIST

This featured artist's work is unique. You really must see it for yourself. Let me introduce you to



Here is our interview with the artist...

Briefly describe what you make?

I don’t know the best way to label what I make, but they are basically painted canvases that would be used as home d├ęcor or wall hangings. They have a design along with a quote or personalized to include a name. My next goal is to make some pictures frames.

What mediums do you enjoy working in most?

I am really into acrylic paints right now. They have an endless possibility when it comes to colors and I find them to be the easiest paint to work with. Not to mention adding a little paint to something can make a HUGE difference.

How long have you been creating craft?

I have been doing crafts all my life. My parents always say that when I was little I constantly had a piece of paper and pencil in my hands. From then on I’ve always had to be busy creating things. But only until about 2 months ago I finally decided to try to sell some of my pieces.

How did you get started?

One day I was sitting at Barnes & Nobles looking through a book of people who make money from selling crafts and came across someone who used Etsy. Right when I got home I started looking through the website and fell in love. I started creating canvases and when I felt like I had enough to start it up, I created an account and opened a shop. From there I created a facebook page and twitter account to try and get my name out there.

Where does the name of your shop come from?

Coming up with a name for me was almost a nightmare. Once I came up with it I knew I would be stuck with it, and when you are a perfectionist that is a little stressful. My mom and I started emailing back and forth trying to come up with something and finally she came up with “Bellatina.” Both sides of my family are Italian (Longinotti & Ugolini…can you tell?) so it’s only natural that she had to incorporate some Italian in there and then she added on “tina” because that’s what some of my close friends call me, short for Christina. Put the two words together, add “creations” to it, and it makes a pretty good name!

What would you most want people to know about your work?

I put a lot of effort into it. I am such a perfectionist it sometimes drives me crazy, but as a result, all of my pieces are very nicely done. I would never sell something that I wouldn’t approve of myself. I love doing them and I hope others can see that.

What advice do you have to give to other artists?

Be proud that you are an artist. Not everyone is given this talent. As an artist you are given the ability to express yourself and at the same time create beautiful things for others to enjoy.

________________________

Good interview. Nice shop. Come and take a look at Bellatina Creations and then come on back here and comment and let this artist know what you think!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Something a Bit Different

I thought that with all of the promotion and presentation of other artists that I do on this site I might blow my own horn and share some of my work with you. I am an eclectic craft artist. I work in a variety of mediums. I have been creating craft for more than forty years and I have always look at new ways to express myself. What will happen is that I will see something that catches my eye - a medium that I have not tried yet and then start finding out all that I can about it. Almost all of my skills have been self-taught. I am a strong believer that if you are motivated and willing to put in the time to find out how something is done you can do it.

As I am blowing my own horn here I will say that what I have set my mind to mastering I have been successful at. I have had many exhibitions of my work. I sell in a gallery. I have won awards, both local and statewide. I have been published in craft and art magazines. And I have three pieces in a museum collection. All this in addition to selling for the past over thirty years at craft shows - and now on the Internet at Etsy and my own sites.

I present to you a sampling of my work. With it you will find links where you may purchase if you so desire - and if that link does not work, it means, happily, that the piece has been sold.

I have been turning pens for about six years. I work on a wood lathe and create the barrels for the pens and assemble the wood barrels onto high quality pen hardware.

This particular pen is of artistic styling - not a conventionally shaped pen. This pen is made of Goncalo Alves and interesting wood that is light reddish brown in color.


This pen sells at my shop at Etsy. If you are interested take a look HERE.





Here is something from my other passion - living history. I am a reenactor of the American Revolutionary War period.
I created this game to play at 18th Century encampments and thought it would make a great addition to my crafts for sale. I has proven very successful and is sold through a national catelog/website for living history. I also sell it at my shop at Etsy. In my shop this is called The Pirate's Box Game. It is a gambling actually played in the 18th Century. It was very popular at seaports and with pirates, along with those with a bit of coin to lose in taverns.

This is a fun game that may be played by all ages. The game may be played solitaire or with a group. If you are interested in this game - they make great gifts - come and take a look HERE. These are always in my shop so if this link does not work just go to my Etsy shop - Q Branch Ltd. to see one.


This is called a Lucet. This is another of my historic reproduction. This is an ancient cord making tool used for thousands of years to create strong, decorative cord. If you look at Cinderella's dress and see the lacing holding it up in the front - that is cord made on a lucet. Lucets were used commonly throughout the 17th Century through the 19th Century in America. They are still commonly used in parts of Europe today.

The lucet is fun to use and VERY EASY to learn. The cord made on the lucet today is made from any string, thread, floss, ribbon, yarn, and so on. The cord that is created is thicker and stronger than the string that it is made from. Today it is used by craft artists for jewelry, fabric embellishment, laces, and so much more. This is simple enough for a child to learn and create friendship bracelets, shoe laces, and such. These are always in my Etsy shop made from different woods and there are two styles - with a handle and without. This has no handle. The difference is just a matter of preference - as they make the same cord. If you are interested in a lucet look HERE. Also if this link is sold there will always be others in my Etsy Shop.

I am not going to overwhelm you all with too much but I should mention my other shop - Past Perfect and show you a sample of my work from that shop. This is my photography shop and I have been professionally taking art photographs for the past four years. Here is just one of my photos. This is a red tail hawk. This hawk was rescued by a wildlife rescue preserve. I was doing an indoor craft show and this preserve was showing some of their animals to the public. It happened that our booth was right next to their presentation area and I was so close that I could take photos that I never would have been able to get any other way. I am glad I had my camera with me that day.

If you are interested in this photo it is HERE. There are many other photos - and another hawk too - at my shop Past Perfect.

So there you have it. A small sample of my work. I thank you all for looking and appreciate any comments.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

FEATURED ARTIST

We have another artist who works in unusual medium for craft - soap, but never the less, craft it is. Come and meet




Here is our interview with the artist, Jackie -

Briefly describe what you make?

I handcraft soap, bath and beauty, and home fragrance products.

What product do you enjoy making the most?

I truly enjoy making my hand milled soap the best. I find the hand grating process to prepare the soap base to be therapeutic and I like fussing over the Crockpot the 4 hours it takes to cook the soap. It’s fun! It is also neat to add exotic ingredients like emu oil and pumpkin powder and watch them magically transform the soap.

How long have you been making bath and beauty products?

2 years now.

How did you get started?

I did a year’s worth of Internet research and joined soaping forums and read everything I could on making soap. I tried to learn about every aspect of soapmaking from the different ingredients to business legalities.

Where does the name of your shop come from?

Twice in the past I have partnered with another Virgo making business cards. I like the name and people know me by it and maybe in the future there will be another Virgo who will join me in this venture!

What would you most like people to know about your work?

I have done and still do a ton of research so my products can be the best they can be and be safe and enjoyable to use. My soaps and bath and beauty products are very high quality for the money! I am also greening up my line and am now using all natural glycerin soap bases in my glycerin soaps. My hand milled soaps are pure soap, no chemicals in them other than the colors I add and sometimes the fragrances.

What words of advice do you have for other artists?

You are only limited by your imagination! If you love doing it and have determination, you will succeed!

________________________

Like puppies - come check out the puppy soaps - their for people, not puppies. Come take a look at Jackie's shop!