The Art of Selling on line and surviving

Seems a bit silly to start a blog to deal with my anxiety about trying to sell on the internet… but here I go.
I have been trying to sell, or rather mostly not selling on ETSY since July 2016. I put a great deal of time into focusing on why folks would want to buy my stuff… creating decriptions and tags…. cleaning up descriptions and tags. Photographing my work, and re-photographing to change the look.
I have also invested in advertising via both Google and ETSY to try to promote both my ETSY site and individual listings.
I have thought about what need my beloved critters are solving for the consumer.
Lets get up close to one critter and see what they have to say for themselves.
” Ah – on line life.. Oh to be a bear lumbering thru the wood looking for a bit of honey, or sitting in someone’s room enjoying being in the company of other art-i-facts. But somehow I am stuck in cyberspace. Flatened and put into digital code. “
And indeed I often feel like my bears. Trapped in an on-line world, with images flashing past. A world of chaos, that it infact in opposition with the whole concept of ceramic folk art. ┬áIt must be taken in small doses.. and indeed not to be taken too seriously. It is good to have an on-line presence…. if one can manage to not let it overtake ones time.
Art is only about 20% creation. The cleaning of one’s studio and kiln. The making of glazes. The bookwork, and accounting end of life, all take time. The on-line world is just one marketing and selling medium. Data entry and photos to do that marketing just one part of that marketing. It is part of why most work sold on line is re-selling, not creating an selling. It has an art all it’s own. And one should be aware that original work is not easy to sell on line.
It is all about balancing “the life of a bear” with the marketing and design. Sometimes one spends too long in front of the computer… and that is just as dangerous to ones artwork as overworking a painting, or a relief tile.
So – take a walk. For me the ocean is out my door and there are berries to pick and jam to make. No bees to battle for honey., I have it easier than your average bear!
Polar Bear
1 inch Miniature Bears
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Creating jewelry cards and presentation boards.

Greetings folks, Molly here.
I am going to share my marketing ideas, in the next few posts. In September I talked about doing on-line photography pictures, on a shoe string. Today I am going to talk about presenting work at shows, pop-up stores or for consignment shops.
This spring developed jewelry cards – that would show off the critters, more than the generic cards I had been using.
Find on ETSY: https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/467784322/hand-sculpted-miniature-bluebird?ref=shop_home_active_29
Bluebird of happiness earrings
I then found some old oak boards in the basement and persuaded my better half to help me make them into boards to fit the cards in.

 

New Jewelry cards and boards with slots to present them on.
Much better than the old cards:
Old Cards
Caribou Earrings on old jewelry cards
Old generic earring cards, that I put in white cardboard boxes.
This was a dated look, did not highlight the funky pleasure of the earrings and charms, and was more expensive.
I can get these printed off at Staples on card stock, on an as need bases, instead of investing in hundreds of cards and boxes. That I still have around, and think I should be using. The originals are plastic… and my new ones are on recycled paper… bonus!

The Magic of Relief

Carving for lines and depth.
Banjo Girl Relief Tile
I love taking a drawing, and sketching it out on a fresh slab of clay. I then draw the legs, bangos, etc, that I want to stand out an pop. I carve these out of a second stab, and attch then to the first drawing.
I then wrap it in plastic and let it meld overnight.
When the slab is a soft leather hard I start cutting away, smoothing the edges. In doing this I create undercuts that add depth. It means I can not recreate these tiles by making moulds and reproducing the same form.
I do use my first drawings to create more tiles, but they are never the same. Check out these wren tiles, that were done from the same first drawing:
For these I added an extra layer for the bird, and cut away around the tree.
After I have the basic shape I them paint the tiles with underglazes. I use techniques I learned doing egg tempra painting with pigment, and egg yolk on gessoed wooden boards, Ater painting with colour is good training for this work. A person in our studio has been studying watercolour and does amazing work for our local Empty Bowls project.
After I put 3-4 layers of colour on, I go away for a day. I come back and see if there is more underglaze work to do, or if areas would benift from having glazes painted on, that would add more depth of field.
The above tile uses glazes and underglazes on the colour layer.
I leave them for a day, and wax the back of the tile, and spray them with cone 6 clear feldspar glaze in my spray booth.
After they are completely bone dry, I once fire them in my kiln over 15 to 18 hours, to a high cone 5. This keeps the underglaze colours from fading and saves on energy and the environment.
I do NOT have higher warping/shrinkage/breakage rates by once firing.