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.  It 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!

Woodland Caribou

I have been sculpting Woodland Caribou since April of 2015 when I saw the gala at the Museum of Nature in Ottawa for Our Incredible world series on this noble beasts.

Woodland Boreal Caribou are an animal who have sustained life in the boreal forest region for centuries. When I learned about them I just wanted to share them with folks, so I made miniature critters,to use as an educational tool. To spark interest and conversation.

You can learn more about them by going to the Incredible World Website:   https://incredibleworld.ca/2017/woodland-caribou-series/
Our Incredible World is a educational project. This 6 part video series on Woodland Caribou is aimed for 4 – 7th graders with lesson plans. So great for home schoolers, teacher (there are lesson plans and more resources). A team of 2 teens go and talk to Cree Elders, Scientists and others. They learn about Woodland Caribou habitant. And You will, too. Yeah.
I am writing now because an important deadline is coming up for maintaining the Caribou’s habitant. To quote the David Suzuki foundation:

” In 2012, the federal government gave provinces and territories five years to develop range plans for each herd that show how ranges will be managed to effectively protect critical habitat. The recovery strategy identifies a minimum of 65 per cent undisturbed habitat in a range as the “disturbance management threshold,” which provides a 60 per cent chance of the local herd surviving.

The five-year deadline (October 5) for caribou range plans is coming up fast. And the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) is now casting doubt on the science to further delay action!”   So click on the link below to write a letter.   http://action2.davidsuzuki.org/caribou

 

 

It is what inspired me to create the Caribou charms.
And if wearing this charm can inspire conversations about Boreal Forest, Woodland Caribou, saving habitants in the north, then awesome!  Half of the money from any purchase will go to the David Susuki foundation.

Here are the purchase links:

Woodland Caribou Charm

Woodland Caribou Earrings

Miniature are available by emailing me dirrectly at crittersandtales@gmail.com

 

 

Moose, Canadian Geese, and Cape Breton Ducks

What’s New with Molly’s Critters

Thanks to a challenge from the Water’s Edge Gallery in Baddeck: Canadian Moose

 

Canada Geese

 

Plaid Ducks

&nbs

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Bluebirds of happiness

Find on ETSY: https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/467784322/hand-sculpted-miniature-bluebird?ref=shop_home_active_29
Bluebird of happiness earrings

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Tiger Cats

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Marmalade Cat… in memory of my mother’s marmalade cat. A bit wild, a bit crazy and totally loveable.

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Orange and Black Cat – regal with a sense of superiority.

Marmalade Cat is glazed with shino, nutmeg, Albany, clear and bronze glazes. 6″ high x 5″ long x 3.5″ wide

Orange and Black Cat is glazed with cushing yellow ochre and bronze glaze. 6 3/8″ tall x 3 3/4″ long x 3″ wide.

Both are suitable for house or garden. Made from white sculptural glaze for stability. Made to come inside where is frosts and thaws in winter months.
Email me at mollyhforsythe@gmail.com if you are interested in purchasing.

 

Tall Ships

Tall Ship Pins

These Pins were first sculpted from white stoneware clay, they were then bisque fired to 1752 degreed fahrenheit. They were then hand painted with glazes – shown below. They were then fired to 2232 degrees – to turn the clay to stone, for a durable finish. Pin backs are then added to create coat and jacket brooches. Brooches are 2 to 4 inches long, 2 to 3 inches high.

Tall Ship Tiles

These tiles have notches, so they will work well as wall hangings. Each tile is 5.5 inches.  They are completely hand sculpted. The low relief tiles also can be used as hot pads on tables, with the addition of cork corners. As well they can be used with other tiles to create a back splash.

Sculpted from stoneware sculptural clay for durability. Hand painted with underglazes, then glazed for a hard durable finish.

 

Small Critters

I have been spending time mostly on my ETSY site – MollyCritters. In the last year. Keeping that up to date with images of the miniature animals that I have been making, inspired by last year’s February Challenge.

My newest additions are my Turkey Vulture: Miniatures, Earrings, Pendants and Pins. You can see them by clicking on the link.

Here is a small selection of what I have been working on:

1 inch Miniature Bears
1 inch Miniature Bears
1 inch Howling Wolf
1 inch Howling Wolf
Guernsey Cow Miniatures - 3 to 4 cm long
Guernsey Cow Miniatures – 3 to 4 cm long
Red Fox Miniature - with Link to Red Fox Pendants on Easy
Red Fox Miniature – with Link to Red Fox Pendants on Easy
Rabbit Miniature - Link to Pendants on ETSY
Rabbit Miniature – Link to Pendants on ETSY
1 inch Beavers available as Pendants and Miniatures on ETSY
1 inch Beavers available as Pendants and Miniatures on ETSY

 

Critters from February Challenge – now glazed

feb-club-glazerunFebruary Challenge Animals now glazed

February Challenge Critters and my other animals are available on my Etsy site: Molly Critters. Or contact me directly: crittersandtales@gmail.com.

Molly’s February Creative Challenge

feb-challenge-1Molly’s Creative Challenge this Feb. 2016. Each day she spent 30 minutes to create an animal culture out of a ball of clay.

Day 1 – Cow Bird

I saw lots of these brown headed cow birds singing in trees on my recent stay in Atlanta, Georgia.

Day 2 – Cat

Cat in a Tree Sculpture. 30 minutes not enough time for this larger hollow sculpture.

Day3 – Fish

Inspired by Fish Costume in Climate Change march in Ottawa, November, 2015
I started making a pinch pot, with 2nd pinch pot for tale, then joining them. It takes away from time for design, but gives me more of a sense of form.

Day 4 – Navaho Churro Sheep

20 minute Navaho Churro Sheep. Short on time, but great to sit down, breath and focus on this incredible animal.

Day 5 – Sea Bird

Sea Bird take off. Moved from pinch pot to relief for this bird in flight. In my usual work I do animals in groups… 3 – 12 owls,cats. Working on a different animal each day. Working on a different animal each day – has me seeing them a-new.

Day 6 – Pig

Pinch Pot of Mother Pig. I first met pigs in grade 2 at Taylor’s Lane.. a land of magic… endlessly playing out parts of Huckleberry Finn. Pigs were danger.”Don’t get too close to the pig pen” To Minton’s Paradise and Gary’s praise of Pigs… learning some pig anatomy. To Bunker farm.. and Noah’s love of pigs intelligence.

Day 7 – Red Squirrel

Our house is in flying red squirrel territory. And unlike the Jack and Bunny Rabbits, they did not move on when we invaded their territory. Intact while we were building they would come and inspect, and are often seen flying thru the trees. When we were down to our last laying hen, Henrietta, red squirrels and chipmunks would come and share her dinner.

Day 8 – Woodland Caribou

Pinch Pot… As you can see I totally ran out of time with my Woodland Caribou. My goal in this challenge is to keep with animals I know, and that have touched me in some way. I have never seen a woodland caribou. I have held their shredded horns. I feel that they have more right than me to the Canadian Shield.. yet they are endangered. Their is a wonderful website, called our incredible world, that for the last 5 years has been working on a Woodland Caribou project. I had the honour of going to their opening. – http://www.incredibleworld.ca/index.php/woodland-caribou-homepage</a

Day 9- Hen

We had laying hens. Such wonderful characters. And thanks for all the eggs.

Day 10 – Owl

I have seen barred owls hanging out in trees at sunset looking for food.

Day 11 – Bear

Great White Grizzly Bear. Also called the Spirit Bear. The land this magical creature lives in has just won a hard won battle. I lived for 4 years in a bit of Northern Rainforest. It’s magic. Ah.

Day 12 – Beaver

The Beaver… Our national symbol. Chewer of our trees. Polluter of our waters, who loves basking on our rocks. Yes – Industrious. Makes dams.. creates lakes. Much like the humans who live here.

Day 13 – Toad

Took 45 minutes on this Toad.. and could have gone on much longer. What a beautiful form. I have always loved “odd shapes” as the most beautiful. Still did not begin to give this noble beast justice!

Day 14 – Coyote

Coyote. Trickster. Our dog Kyle used to howl with the coyote’s on the full moon. The Hyena of North America.

Day 15 – Porcupine

In the 90’s I made batik porcupines and called them Canadian monkeys…. making of our common woodland creatures equal to those in southern climates. Here is a porcupine in a tree. They love chewing on wood.

Day 16 – Fisher Cat

Fisher are many ways they are our king of the forest. They are also beautiful.. with rich black fur… and an interesting arched gate as they cross the road in front of me. I have never seen one as road kill. Fisher are no bigger than a house cat yet kills off deer, skunks, cats… only in the porcupine with it’s quills survives their hunger. Intelligent with the last laugh.

Day 17 – River Otter

When I was a child I watched the otters in the zoo.. such grace.. such playfulness. It was a real treat when I was going for a walk down by our creek and spotted 2 river otters at play.

Day 18 – Skunk

A beauty with a sticky reputation.

Day 19 – Red Fox

I thought sculpting a red fox would be easy.. I have lots of images in my mind, of them sitting on the road drying out in rainy seasons. Running across fields and roads.. Running off with one of my ducks. Plus having a photo on my computer to reference while sculpting. I had to force myself to stop after 40 minutes… still so incomplete.

Day 20 – Raccoon

Intelligent. Agile with their hands. Ruthless. Killed a number of my hens and a roster. Just sucked their blood and left a bloody mess. Hard for me to appreciate these critters.

Day 21 – Snapping Turtle

Ok – it’s Sunday.. so I let myself loose track of time and totally get into this critter. Snapping Turtles have been in my back yard forever. A few years ago I was privileged to see a mother laying her eggs on our hill side.

Day 22 – Guernsey Dairy Cow

Relief Tile .. of a critter very dear to my heart. I grew up with these wonderful animals.

Day 23 – Loon

It is hard to really see what this will look like without the glaze.

Feb-Challenge16-2

Day 24 – Turkey Vulture

Once the natural cleaners of dead critters, I see vultures less, whether soaring in circles in the sky, or on the road side.

Day 25 – Blue Heron

If there are fish – they will come.

Day 26 – Skink

This skink lives in the Lanark Highlands. I have only seen one once. They are endangered.

Day 27 – Whitetail Deer

We each have our own relationship with deer in Lanark County. Their grace and beauty, their love of our gardens..  I made this deer upside down, so the delicate legs had a chance.

Day 28 – Honey Bee

I use pictures from books and the internet while I am sculpting this challenge. Usually I just use my own drawings, but with the 30 minute time limit, I choose this process. The question as I re-look at these works will be the balance. I get more detail this way, but am I loosing gesture by working from photos ?

Day 29 – Leap Year Brown Fruit Bat

Last day the beloved bat.