Apr 27, 2009

It's so easy to get off track

Ok - so I have to tell a little secret to start this one - I read O Magazine. Not all the time, but when someone gives me an old copy I always read through it. This month (well the one I'm reading this month, I have no idea what issue it is really), she's talking about her weight gain, and how 1 month she was up 2 pounds - no biggy, then 5 pounds - still no biggy, then 10... you get the idea. And before she knew it she was up 40, she went off track.

Well, I'm not going to write about weight loss, but the idea of getting off track. I'm sure you've all been there. But what do you do about it? Last week I had a request for a custom ring. GREAT! April has been a great month for me for custom orders. So I brought some glass and my ring sizer so we could decided on the design and glass to use. The problem? This little girl wanted purple. Well, some art forms may have the luxury of working in purple, but us beach glass artists? Not very often. I have a few pieces of mauve, but unless you look close or compare it to a white piece of glass, they just look white. I've never found a deep purple. The mom tried to convince this little girl to pick a different color. Then someone standing near by said 'you could just take regular purple glass and tumble it'. I almost said yes. Can you believe it? If you've read previous entries you know that I pride myself on using only pure beach glass. I don't alter it, but I almost agreed to do it for a customer. There are somethings you do for customers, and there are somethings you don't. It would be like a CPR train on a CNR track. They just didn't do it, even though they could have.

I'm crossing my fingers she likes green because I'm delivering it tomorrow!

Apr 15, 2009

Bailouts all around

Ok, I've been trying to ignore, ok not ignore, but at least not jump on the auto industry bail out opinion band wagon. For those that know me, you know that keeping my opinions to myself is very hard and I've lasted a long time on this one. But I found some relevance to the art world that triggered some thoughts.

Yesterday, as I was getting interviewed for a story in Kingston This Week (coming out tomorrow) about the Gift Giving Show this weekend at Little Cat, Rob and I got talking about all the changes in the newspaper world. Iconic newspapers across the continent are closing, our local newspaper is making major shifts, KTW went from 2 times a week to a weekly, etc. Locally in Kingston we have seen over 80 jobs lost in the last year in the print media industry alone. And yet.... no bailout.

Today (in the newspaper funny enough) I read about one of Kingston's oldest retailers, S & R Department Store closing this summer. A lot of readers weighed in with their comments and yes it is a sad story, I make at least 1 trip there a week, sometimes 1 every day! And yet... no bailout.

When my life wasn't going as planned and I decided to leave my job and enter the art world full time, I didn't ask for a bailout (getting a credit card was hard enough). I made the necessary adjustments, planned, worked with my team and changed courses - all on my own! Just like the newspaper industry is doing and just like the retail sector is doing. Yes we will see some of these iconic stores and media groups close, and lay offs will happen; but innovation and inspiration doesn't come by doing the same old same old. You have to move with the times, in fact, in business.. you have to move ahead of the times!

Apr 2, 2009

When opportunity knocks

It may not always be the best time, but sometimes you just have to jump in anyways. The spring is always a great time for beach glass hunting because the strong waves and breaking ice turn everything upside down and the glass finds its way to the shore easier. Well, this year is an exceptionally good year in Kingston because when the ice broke up, my beach (the one I do a majority of my collecting) was the landing spot. The ice all ended up on the beach and even into the parking lot. I've gone down to the beach everyday as the ice melts, new treasurers rise to the surface. It may be cold to hunt on ice instead of sand, but the sounds of the waves, smells of the shores and site of the glass make it all worth it.

Another opportunity presented itself to me last month. It came about in a funny way, one of my stores that sells my art, asked me about my environmental beliefs and processes outside of simply using recycled beach glass. To be honest, this was a good question. I had never really thought of it. It's not that I'm not pro-earth, it's just that I thought I'm doing a small part by using the glass and hadn't thought further. But this got me thinking. If I'm going to hang my hat on being an eco-artist then it has to be more then just recycled glass. So, I've started making my own paper from old newspapers for some of my wall art and signs, I've asked my printing company to make sure my stock papers (for cards, etc) are on 100% post-consumer, Canadian made stock, I've started using found wood or off-cuts instead of canvases, and I've always worked with my left-over silver filings (that was just because I was cheap, but now there's two reasons!). Some of it is on display for April at the Starbucks at Princess & Division in Kingston, or you can visit me at the Back to Nature show April 18 & 19 to see more.

In your business are you carrying your philosophies, your mission and your brand throughout your entire work, or just a portion. You should take stock, there maybe an opportunity knocking at your door..