Saturday, January 17, 2009

Experimentation

So I have been fine-tuning how I do things over the last few weeks. I've learned that everything related to growing a creative business is about trial and error. I've only been doing this for around six months, and I've already learned so many lessons. I've learned that being present with my work is more successful than leaving it somewhere-- that fairs and shows are much more suited for it than exhibitions are. I've learned that its important to engage people visually and mentally, to share your stories-- although this is something I would have done anyway. Perhaps that's part of what makes Etsy such a wonderful tool-- that you can share the story behind a piece right there.

The lessons I've been working on lately have been more practical in nature. The paper I have been using for woodcut prints these last few months (Japanese rice paper) is beautiful and delicate, and perfect for hand pulling prints, as I have been doing. But-- it bruises so easily, and is pretty floppy. I have been backing it with reused corrugated cardboard, but the paper will bend around the cardboard, and get all roughed up, especially if the print is at a show and hundreds of hands are flipping through it.

So I asked for a tabletop press for Christmas (thanks, Mom!) and am now using heavier textured card stock. The new paper is sturdy enough that a backing isn't necessary, it comes in a variety of colors, and doesn't get bruised up unless you force it! The overhead is a little more, but in the end, I'm not tossing almost perfectly good prints with a dinged corner or two. (Anyone want a perfectly good print with a dinged corner or two?)

I printed up a few Fleming Creek prints on this stock yesterday:


and love how they turned out. I bought some nice greens and browns too, some more will probably show up the shop throughout the weekend.

I've also been working finding ways to brand everything a little more cohesively. I purchased a custom-made stamp with the shop address on it (in Futura, my favorite mid-century font) and created a tiny lino-cut leaf to accompany it on correspondence and on prints.



I also thought I might be motivated to get extra prints matted/framed/stretched/photographed if I gave myself some kind of deadline, so I signed up for the Reinvent Your Space showcase on Friday.



This showcase didn't do wonders in terms of sales, but it did pay for itself and might drum up future sales, which is important to consider. All in all-- I probably wouldn't buy a slot again though.

I never thought business was that interesting, but I have come to look at it differently. You can see a direct correlation between cause and effect, and its fun to try new things and see what happens.

2 comments:

Amie Roman said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on business.

I have a suggestion for your for those dinged up prints (or less than perfect proofs): cut them into ATCs and use them at fairs & shows to give little "samplers" of your work to people you speak with. I have mine on quite heavy card stock so I was lucky not to have to mount the paper onto something stiffer. I back them with a label of my contact info (so they're not quite exactly ATCs).

Marcy said...

I'm almost out of business cards, so that's a lovely idea! I am printing on cardstock now... i love rice paper but it drives me crazy!