08 Jan

The Ubiquitous New Year Blog Post

So here’s where I sum up what I’ve accomplished in the past year and lay out what I hope to do in the new year. But I’m not doing that this year.

Everything changed in 2015. Well, maybe not quite that dramatic, but it was a year of transition for sure. My husband was medically retired from the Army, where he had served, and I have followed, for nearly 20 years. For the first time in two decades, we got to choose where we wanted to live. Needless to say, there was much soul searching (mostly on his part) as to how we/he wanted to see ourselves/himself. We decided to move first and find employment later and long story short, we purchased our very first home and moved across country to be closer to our families.

So now that we’ve been in Portland, Oregon for nearly six months, we’re settling in. For me, the biggest change is probably home ownership. We bought a 65 year old fixer upper and it will suck every ounce of time and energy I have if I let it. So, art has taken a back seat to home decor and renovation. And I’m OK with that.

I joined the SAQA Education Committee in 2015 and have been doing some writing for exhibition catalogs and venues. I need to continue to make time for that.

I had considered starting a new business, making custom quilts from military uniforms. I have the samples and the bones of a website ready, but the move, the house, my computer dying, my web host screwing things up, and now my camera in hospital, have all conspired to delay this project. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself. I just might not be the entrepreneurial type.

Finally, and maybe most importantly, I was feeling a little guilty about all the plans I have for the house and how to pay for them, so I decided that maybe I should get a part time job. And wouldn’t you know it, a job practically plopped right into my lap. I’ve now been working at The Pine Needle quilt shop for three months and I love it. Making art is fraught with angst. I might like what I create, but does anyone else? Have I communicated effectively? Has anyone else done the same thing before? Of course they have, and done it better too.  I’m always doubting myself. My making art is a negative cash flow too. I can’t seem to sell enough work or somehow monetize it so that it pays for the supplies and promotion. Case in point, I was invited to send work to a show in NY and now the unsold work is on it’s way back to me. The shipping costs are just a few dollars less than my percentage of the one sale. Getting work into group shows is a money loser too since I have to pay to enter and pay shipping. In contrast, I’ve caught on quickly to the systems at the quilt shop. I get along well with my co-workers. I love helping customers choose fabric, and I enjoy being part of combining fabrics for kits and bundles. I can sew samples if I want — thus playing with patterns and fabrics without expenditure or increase in stash. AND I get paid to do this! Imagine that — instead of me paying others hoping they’ll like my artwork, my boss is paying me for doing a job I enjoy and do well.

So I’m going to let 2016 unfold in whatever way it chooses. There will be art making, but there might be more house projects. And there will be work at the quilt shop. I’m donning the social media hat there, so I’ll be blogging my own story here and on Facebook and Instagram, but I’ll also be sharing gorgeous fabric and fun events on The Pine Needle’s blog, Facebook, and Instagram accounts.  I’ll share details as I get things up and running.

2016, show me what you’ve got.

TPN Katya

29 Dec

It’s That Time of Year

As the year draws to a close I find myself getting all ambitious about what I hope to accomplish and organize in the new year. Here’s last year’s list, and the year before. 2009 was a good post, balancing out the previous year’s angst one. Sometimes I wonder if it wouldn’t be better to feel this way in the spring when everything is bursting forth and being born, but I guess it’s a kind of clean slate after a busy birthdays to Halloween to Thanksgiving to birthday to Christmas run combined with new calendar year. January is typically quiet for me, and quiet leads to contemplation.

Americana VII web

So, what’s up for 2015?

Just sitting here writing this reminds me that I’d like to post more. Facebook has admittedly leached my sharing energy and I’m afraid I post there and rarely elaborate over here. I’d like to adjust that balance. I’m also on the verge of updating my website. Nothing big (I hope), but the current framework isn’t working well for me as I have an overflowing list of art that needs to be added to my online gallery and the gallery isn’t cooperating.

I’ll still be working on artwork ideas started in 2014. That flow from one year to the next never changes. I keep thinking I need to assign myself a more rigid work schedule. I could probably just start with less time online.

2015 is the year I’d like to improve my art marketing strategy. A newsletter may be in my future.

I will actively seek art venues for my work as opposed to quilt venues. Not to say I’m abandoning the latter, I just think I may have more audience in the former. I’d like to make “Craft the Internet” happen. I will admit that I have no idea where to start with all of this and that it scares and overwhelms me.

I’d like to have Modern Military Quilts (custom quilts made from customer’s uniforms) ready to launch when we settle on the left coast in the fall.

Yes, we’re moving this summer. This is scary too because we’re planning on buying a house for the very first time. I’m 49 years old and I’ve never bought a house. I am so ready though.

I’m still attending life drawing group. One of the ideas I’d like to pursue is to recreate some of my drawings in fabric and thread. Another idea is to institute Figure Drawing Fridays in which I post the fruits of Thursday’s session. That could get me posting more regularly.

I’ve been feeling the urge to paint/draw patterns. I’m very inspired by what Lisa Congdon has been posting on Instagram from her sketchbook and I readily admit the desire to copy the idea of those full, lush, pages. I also miss the sketchbook work I was doing when I took Melly Testa’s online art journaling class. I feel like I could revisit my tropical designs and quilt pattern ideas in a more casual, painterly way, filling sketchbook pages. It couldn’t do it daily, but maybe weekly. That might be a good way to get back to blogging more regularly. Last year’s daily self portraits only lasted three months though, so I’m not sure the staying power of this lark.

Speaking of regular posts, I was rather proud of myself yesterday when I realized that my new sweater dress was the same colors as a scarf I recently completed and together they made quite the fetching outfit. I had a fleeting thought of posting a hand knit each week as an ensemble, especially since I just finished a lovely aran sweater. Ha, I try to focus my blog and my message, but I just can’t escape my myriad interests and the schizophrenic posts they create!

And finally, that daily list I’ve been making? I stopped making it the last two weeks and I was completely discombobulated. I’m reading Art Inc by Lisa Congdon and she suggests a daily or weekly to-do list. It’s also the mainstay of “Getting Things Done.” The list stays.