Thursday, October 29, 2015

More Miles Than Money

New baby cousin!
Portland public schools sometimes have more days off than on, so for a recent 5-day break I grabbed the boys and flew down to sunny Santa Barbara to hang out with family and a new baby cousin.

We're lucky in that we get to travel quite a bit, often for free.

For a long time I didn't see a collaboration between being crafty and saving money, then I stumbled upon a graduation speech by Chuck Close that made the connection:

"I’d like to say something to the parents of the art majors. This is probably not what you had in mind, you know? You hoped maybe—I don’t know, maybe medical school, maybe a degree in law, but I want to tell you that a life in art can be a wonderful life. Artists live better at near-poverty level income than yuppie bond traders do at much larger income."

For me it's fun to come up with creative ways to do amazing things for free. For example, for the Santa Barbara trip I grabbed two Alaska Airlines credit cards. They each come with a 25,000 mile sign-up bonus, and if you use this special trick they'll even PAY YOU $100 to use them (which covers the $75 annual fee). So we ended up with three free airplane tickets and $20 in my pocket after taxes.

In fact, we've received around a million points/miles over the last several years with similar programs. If anyone is curious, I might write up a longer description of how exactly to go about traveling for free. Or here's a couple of good places to start:

The Points Guy Beginner's Guide
Make Your Dream Trip a Reality (or his free website here)

It mostly works if you have 4-8 hours per month to coordinate different trips and cards, love excel spreadsheets, and can pay your monthly bills off each month. It's definitely not for everyone. Or even most people. But for those with some creativity and a "why not" attitude, traveling and staying at places like this for free is pretty awesome.
Park Hyatt Maldives, where you can stay for free with your Hyatt certificate (photo from The Points Guy).

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Fearing Change (Even Awesome Change)

My youngest started preschool this month, which means for the first time in five years I won’t have to work until 3 am. I was so excited! But the transition has been much harder than I expected (for me). In fact, I'm writing this at 2 am when I really should be in bed.

I’ve been procrastinating during the day, filling my time with busy work instead of what really needs to get done. My sock drawer is all cleaned out (thanks to this book), I started two new websites (on Rocks and Architecture), yet the most important piddix work I need to do I ignore.

It’s frightening to admit, but I’m scared. Scared that now that all the excuses are gone, I won’t be able to make piddix work full-time as I once did.

I’m not sure what exactly is going on, but I’ve come up with three theories:

1. I need time to transition. It’s been almost a month, and I’m still on my swing-shift schedule. Perhaps like a cure for jet lag I need to force my body to readjust to a more normal routine.

2. I need time for myself. After years of only focusing on two things (piddix and family), I need time to have fun. Since my version of fun is taking on new projects, I’m filling up what I thought would be extra time with new ideas I’ve been sitting on forever.

3. I’m self-sabotaging. This is the scariest idea because it seems ridiculous, yet is probably true. I finally have exactly what I want. Two boys in amazing schools. Time for family and for what's the problem? Here goes: I’m afraid that if everything is too perfect, something horrible will go wrong. In my mind, life is meant to be a balance of good and bad. And if there’s too much good… I’m just waiting for the other shoe to fall. I’m afraid of this perfect life that’s just outside my grasp. It makes me sick to my stomach to even think about it. So I delay. I procrastinate. I won’t take those last few steps I need to get there. Perhaps I feel I don’t deserve it.

I have no idea how to overcome this resistance to change I’m experiencing. And feel ridiculous for having such a silly first-world problem. Which is why I suppose I'm writing this down. Getting my fears and doubts out of my head to make them dissipate, and sharing my goals and dreams to help make them real.

These larger questions feel like wispy smoke I cannot grasp, so I suppose I'll start with something concrete that I can control: bedtime. My plan for October is to go to bed every night at midnight, and hope that getting 6-7 hours of sleep a night for a month it will bring some clarity for next steps. Well, that and bribes. If I get off my bottom and send out the piddix newsletter today, I get to open and build this with my boys after school. Sometimes it’s the little things.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Feedback from the Piddix 2014 Subscription

I've been offering piddix printable subscriptions on and off for six years now. Each summer I pour my heart (and many sleepless nights) into not only collage sheets, but also full-sized images, tutorials, examples, and custom requests. It's inspiring, thrilling, and exhausting. And at the end of each year I debate whether to do it all again. This year it's been a particularly difficult decision. Every night about 2 am I think: "oh, I just can't do it this year! I need to sleep." And every morning I've decided "I have to do it; it's so much fun!"
As part of my decision-making process, I gathered up all of the images sent last year, as well as looked through the surveys and feedback from the 2014 summer subscription. The images make me want to go back to bed (how did I make so many last year?). But the feedback makes me want to list the subscription right now and not look back.

If go ahead with the 2015 subscription it will be because of the unbelievably amazing community that forms while everyone is making, sharing, and learning. Thanks so much to everyone who has been part of the subscription in the past. I'll know soon what will happen for 2015. But in the mean time, a HUGE thanks for all of your support.

Feeback, and what was sent as part of the subscription in 2014

You cannot go wrong with a purchase like this one! First, the value is unbelievable for what you get. Each download that arrives is like a dose of candy for the mind. It really gets you jonesing to create something. Piddix digital images really are timeless. I will definitely keep coming back to this seller.

Really Corinna you have outdone yourself this time. I'm so impressed with all the new images and what you've done with them. The Facebook Group is fun too as I enjoy seeing what others are making with the images.

First, I want to say, I AM trilled with my subscription. Love, love your work.  What I love about it, the images are so crisp and clean, they are truly unique, something I could not find on my own, and they layer well together, and with text. The image sizes are perfect. They can be printed larger or smaller and there is no loss. I liked the "subscription so much, that I purchased a CD. These are great and I like :)
I could not have been more pleased with the subscription. You always keep it fresh and interesting - I can't think of anything I would change.

This is great. I really feel its been worth every penny.

I love all that you do!  The images are wonderful.

Always unique and wonderful images, very happy with last summer's prints, so I went all in for all three months.

I am always so happy with my purchases from Piddix. So many wonderful images.

The best customer service that I ever have experienced. Very cool images also. Corinna puts her heart and soul into her work!!

I have to say these are the BEST quality I have seen yet. Love this shop's sheets. Thanks and thanks!

Always love the subscriptions! I just love to get new themes even if I don't get to use them.
Yours are the only Collage Sheets and images that I will purchase because I appreciate the quality of same. I've already subscribed… Thanks so much.

 Piddix is the BEST! I love it.

Loving my daily downloads! Thanks for making this available.

I was thrilled with the selection and quality and variety of the images.

I love your creativity. With your subscription program, I have a chance to buy art that's different than what I would usually purchase.

Corinna, You rock as an artist and as a businesswoman. I'm sure you're getting loads of feedback. Thank you for asking. Thank you for listening. Thank you for doing the stunningly creative work you do. This summer subscription will be superb!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Is Etsy Dead? An Insider’s View of the “Handmade” Company’s Future

Original Art "Dead Bird Series" by Katarina Thorsen, who used to sell on Etsy.
As a designer I need to be acutely aware of trends, and as a trend, the handmade movement, and Etsy in particular, is dying.
When Etsy launched in 2005, it was on the crest of an emerging national handmade movement. A new kind of craft fair, frequented by tattooed hipsters sporting “buy local” canvas totes, sprang up across the country, causing one writer in 2005 to cheekily lament “It's that time of year when the Look mailbox fills to bursting with perky pink postcards, each one advertising a holiday bazaar displaying the goods of local artists and designers.”
By Christmas 2007, supporting DIY and independent designers took on a patriotic urgency as the United States fell officially into the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. For thousands of gen-Xers, many of whom were laid off and/or starting families, Etsy promised an ideal lifestyle: make sweet jewelry from home in your spare time. Etsy’s Quit Your Day Job series encouraged this dream, even highlighting “typical workdays” that often involved biking to the post office and working around children’s naps and dog’s walks.
I first started on etsy in January 2007 as seller number 43,719. There were just five shops selling in my category (printables), which made it fairly easy to dominate an emerging market. By 2009 I was making more money in less time than in my “day job” and piddix became one of the top 10 handmade shops out of the now-million-plus active Etsy members.
In many ways my success mirrored Etsy’s phenomenal growth. By 2010, I was being approached for licensing gigs, and I soon had my artwork in stores like Target, Trader Joes, and hundreds of independent museums and boutiques. In comparing notes with other etsy top sellers, this year-over-year growth was common, and published etsy statistics trumpeted an ever-increasing amount of good sold, page views, and Etsy members.
The beginning of the end for Etsy came in 2012. Etsy was “busted” by the Wall Street Journal for the proliferation of factory-made goods, and then the situation was exacerbated just a few weeks later when Etsy accidentally named reseller Ecologica Malibu a Featured Seller. Etsy finally went all-in and announced in October 2013 that they would officially allow factory-made goods and drop shipping, as long as they were “designed” by an Etsy seller.
By this time many top sellers had already begun setting up their own, independent shops (I shifted my focus away from Etsy, "graduating" in July 2012). Lifestyle blogging--which came of age hand-in-hand with the handmade movement--was proclaimed dead at the end of 2013, with Grace Bonney of Design Sponge largely concurring in 2014 that independent writers sponsored via advertising were largely being replaced by paid sponsored content from larger companies.
The decline of Etsy as a home to small, US-based independent designers was also due to the maker’s own successes in licensing and wholesale: you can now go to the mall and get the same indie-design products that five years ago you could only find at craft fairs and online.
With Etsy’s stock recently going public many are questioning whether Etsy's success will rise or fall in the future.
My prediction is that Etsy will continue in the same direction as it is now for several years: an ever-increasing global market of disparate goods no longer tied together by a handmade or vintage thread. 
For a while, it will still be possible, though more difficult than before, to make a handmade living. Sellers who want to do so can go several ways. For example, they can become a stylized importer of well-photographed lifestyle goods, like Three Bird Nest (etsy’s current darling). Or they can offer something that is truly unique or hard to replicate elsewhere, such as customized gifts, niche products, and limited offerings.
Is etsy dead? No. But it is dying. Etsy as a company has never made a profit, and absolutely nothing that they are doing now, nor any of my personal experiences with the company and its staff, give me any confidence that they will ever do so. The eventual end-game of the company may be to merge or be bought by an online marketplace with no handmade preference, such as ebay, amazon, or shopify. But Etsy’s heyday as a marketplace to make a handmade living has passed.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Announcing Large-Sized Vintage Piddix Designs (& a free floral frame download)

For the past seven years, despite frequent requests, piddix images have been available to the public only in smaller sizes on digital collage sheets (normally 2-inches or less). So I am very, very excited to announce that the very first collections of full-sized piddix scans debuted this week at Creative Market. It's been really great there so far and I'm having a lot of fun creating new designs.

The new collections include all you'd expect from piddix: great resolution and quality, rare, authentic images, and thoroughly researched copyright.

Plus, for the first two weeks only, you can download every single image in my entire Creative Market shop (a value of $326), along with several thousand more images from other designers (worth over $700), and all including an amazing, extended license (which allows you to do almost anything you want with the images), for just $28 at Design Cuts. Click here to see all the details.

As a thank you and a "grand opening" celebration, I've included two images below that you can use for free in both personal and commercial projects without attribution. These frames are originally from 100-year-old French engravings and compliment my new Gardening Set.

Thanks everyone!
*Use blue links above for downloading your free images.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Win One of Five Free Spots in the Piddix Summer 2014 Subscription

I first offered the piddix "every-single-new-collage-sheet-subscription" back in 2009, and over the years it has come and go, changed, and expanded to what I think is its best form yet: an entire (US) summer completely full of printable goodness, tutorials and inspiration delivered to your in-box. The subscription--which is limited to the first 100 people who sign up--is already 80% sold out, and in record time. As a HUGE thank you to everyone who continues to support all the hard work and fun that goes into piddix, I'm offering five free spots between now and the official start date, June 1st:

Two first place: will win the entire summer of printable goodness
Two second place: will win one month of printable goodness
One third place: will win the 1-week trial

To Enter:
Write in the comments below what one collage sheet, design or image you would most like to see added to the piddix store

Deadline: Closed

Update June 1st, 2014: Randomly chosen (via the winners are...

1st place: Laura Strack
1st place: Dianne Kellock
2nd place: Sarah (Vintage Figments)
2nd place: Dana Vlach
3rd place: Sheena (Thoughts and Observations)

Thank you so very much!

Friday, May 9, 2014

A Year in the Life of a Full-Time Designer

I've been going through all my new designs from the past year, getting ready for this summer's every-single-new-collage-sheet subscription. Working by myself, it can be very easy to get lost in day-to-day minutiae, or spend weeks and weeks on a project and then forget it as soon as I move onto the next one. So it's been fun (if not exhausting) remembering all these projects and all the work that went with them. Here's a select few.
Confession time: I'm totally not a scrapbooker; but I love the idea of using scrapbook paper for other jewelry and mixed media crafts. This series (above) was probably my favorite project of the year....a set of 50+ scrapbook pages in a vintage/travel theme. It was part of a proposal for a major craft company and I really hope it gets picked up, just so I can have a good excuse to make some more.

On the flip side, one of my least favorite parts of licensing is mocking up products with my designs on them, like this set of vintage florals I created above. There's something about twisting and warping my images to fit on pretend products in Illustrator that I must be doing wrong because it's just not fun and definitely not easy. Totally up for suggestions if anyone has any.

This set of travel designs was a doozy. I created each postcard to look like an original, vintage postcard that had traveled the world and picked up all kinds of interesting stamps and cancellations along the way. Each file can have 40-50 layers once you add in all the colors, text, stamps, etc. (and that doesn't even include all the work tracking down and purchasing all the individual vintage pieces). In the end they were grouped into sets of six and made into this 2015 Vintage Postcard calendar.

I took a class this year from Lilla Rogers called "Make Art That Sells." Before starting I had pretty low expectations for a couple of random reasons (I'd already done quite a bit of licensing; I have a very different style from Lilla's artists, etc.), but I was actually pretty blown away by what I learned and would definitely recommend it. Above are a few of the designs I created during the 6-week-course, some of which have already made their way onto other products.

My entire November and part of December was spent researching, buying and restoring nearly 1000 new holiday images as part of a proposal to a major greeting card company. Yes, I completely love having any passable excuse to buy more vintage ephemera.

Sometimes, instead of buying original prints for the piddix archive I travel around the country visiting other archives to scan especially rare and exquisite pieces not available elsewhere. The flowers above come from two different collections, one from the late 1700s/early 1800s and the second from 1855. I ran some numbers today and discovered that between original creations and scans of vintage artwork I've added 2,366 new images to the piddix collection in the last 12 months alone.

With all the other research and designing I've been doing, I haven't had much time to just be creative and design whatever I'd like. The images above are the very beginning of a whole new set I'm planning to call "Gypsy Rose." I see a lot of shabby roses and teal/aqua in my future.

A big part of my job as both an artist and an archivist is researching copyright and negotiating rights for the vintage imagery I use, and the images above have been some of my most challenging (and thus rewarding) finds this year. In January 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that there's a whole new set of laws that must be negotiated when working with foreign works, so I've been slowly re-researching all 600 of my mid-century travel posters. The pin-ups above can also be very tricky, but this year I finally was able to acquire the rights to my very first Gil Elvgren images. So happy!

I love this set of mid-cenury children's patterns. The little redhead on her bike in the blue and orange scene looks straight out of my childhood. I originally made this proposal for kids' toys, but I can see these being used for all kinds of fun products. This was one of the collections I had completely forgotten about until looking through all my recent files.

And finally, as part of the new subscription, I compiled every single new collage sheet (above left) and digital image (above right) that I sent out in the summer of 2013: over 50 digital sheets and 100+ full scans in 90 days. Yikes.

Besides making me feel both tired and excited--because man, that's a lot of new work--seeing everything all together made me realize two things: First, I should try to make more time for creating my own digital artwork, since that is often when I'm having the most fun. And second, I am so lucky to have a job where a good chunk of my day is spent doing exactly what I love: buying/restoring/researching and creating art. It really doesn't get much better.

Quick links:
For Manufacturers Looking to License Piddix Images
More Information on the Piddix Summer 2014 Every-Single-Collage-Sheet Subscription
Sign up for the Piddix Newsletter for tutorials, tips, tricks and printables

Saturday, February 22, 2014

On Posing Nude, and Thoughts Half-Formed

Poster from Emma Bergqvist
Yes, I've posed nude for an artist before. Stick with me please; this is going somewhere. Last summer, while driving back from the Gorge I started thinking about another time I'd been there, seven years previous when I was part of a group of pregnant women posing for photographer Justine Kurkland's series of Utopian women communities.

Wondering what Justine was up to, I googled her and came across this profoundly sad article online. Well, to me it was profoundly sad, and brought up a concept I'd never thought of before: the pull specifically between art and motherhood. With two children, ages one and six at the time, I was struggling with this acutely, heightened by the ever-present gloom that comes from sleep deprivation.

So while Brian was driving back into Portland, I scribbled down my feelings in the form of a blog post, them promptly set it aside in my stacks of paper.

On my return trip from Camp Mighty I did the same thing: wrote down all my thoughts in article form and then promptly forgot them completely. In fact, as I scroll through my iPhone notes from the past year I come across all kinds of half-formed and complete articles that never saw the light of day:
  • How my issues around money and success tie into relationships in 6th grade
  • The "soul mission" of my business (to help people achieve their dreams)
  • Tips to increase creative thinking and problem solving (aka, how to overcome fears and bring your crazy ideas to life)
  • How to submit your work and not take rejection personally
  • On finding inspiration (especially during Portland's rare, beautiful summers)
  • My Ted Talk
  • CHA vs Disneyland
  • Oh, and a few random grocery lists and apparently notes to myself that just say things like "Joy. Apples. Diapers."
Image from the my Camp Mighty Talk, taken by Tia Lambert.

My secret hoarding of these stories can be attributed to two things:

First, there's of course always a lack of hours in the day. I have time to scribble thoughts on my phone or random scraps of paper while hanging out at the playground. But time to sit at my computer while fully awake is often a luxury.

But more importantly, and I think more happily, these articles never came to full fruition because they didn't need to. By the time I finished writing up my struggles with balancing creativity and motherhood, I had made it past that particularly stressful time and was feeling much more in sync. My experience presenting my Ted Talk on Getting 100 Rejections in 100 Days (which I gave at Camp Mighty) was so completely amazing and wonderful, I haven't yet felt the need to do anything more with the PowerPoint presentation still sitting on Brian's laptop.

All of which I think is a good sign. Anyone who's been a parent, or run a business, or probably just about anything else involved with factors both inside and outside of your control, knows that there's often lots of ups and downs. During the past year I've had plenty of both, but the down moments are being overridden by moments of joy more quickly, or perhaps that's just the Six-Full-Uninterrupted Hours-of-Sleep I got the other night talking. I can see the light at the end of the proverbial sleep deprivation tunnel, and have lovely dreams of more time to create and happy trips to Disneyland to come.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Make Art That Sells by Lilla Rogers: My Review from Week 1

Above is the vintage-inspired kitchen fabric I created for the first week of "Make Art That Sells."
Perhaps this is a bit too much information, but one way I can tell that I'm really excited about something is I don't even want to take a pee break I'm having so much fun. Right after college, this was what took up many of my evening hours and caused me to sit at my desk for hours on end without a break. Yes, I am a total nerd.

Which is why I can say without a doubt that I am really, really enjoying the licensing class I'm taking with Lilla Rogers and Beth Nichols since my "homework" has been keeping me happily glued to my computer until the wee hours of the night. To be honest, it's kind of surprising. I am quite picky when it comes to classes, and the last big one I took (with Marie Forleo) was not a great fit. That, combined with the fact that just about "everyone" I know loved Lilla and Beth's first class (yes, I know it's counter-intuitive…but when "everyone" loves something, I tend to be skeptical) means I went in with very low expectations.

A large part of the reason I wanted to take "Make Art That Sells" was to get a bit of my art mojo back. For most the past year I've been focusing on selling and marketing my printed collage sheets and completing my 100-day-quest. Making art took a back seat, even though it's one of my favorite parts of piddix. So I am just thrilled that designing is once again front and center and getting me all excited. Tonight I find out what my second assignment will be at 1 am and I am literally counting down the minutes….33….32….31… I'll hopefully post again once the class is all finished. But so far, so very good.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Old School Tattoo Designs by Norm Collins, aka Sailor Jerry

When you think of classic mid-century sailor tattoos--from swallows and hearts to skulls and tigers--the artwork that most often comes to mind is by Norm Keith Collins, also known as "Sailor Jerry," who is regarded by many as the most influential and important tattoo artist of the 20th century. For 40 years, Collins ran a tattoo parlor in Honolulu, inking his legendary tattoos on sailors on 48-hour shore leave. One of his famous sayings, "Good work ain't cheap, cheap work ain't good," echoed the care he put into his artwork, which featured clear, bold lines and bright colors.

Legend has it that Collins told his wife that upon his death, his shop should either be taken over by one of his protegees, Ed Hardy or Mike Malone, or burned to the ground with all the contents inside. Luckily, Mike Malone took over Collin's Hotel Street shop after Collins' death in 1973, renaming it the China Sea Tattoo Company. Over the years, Malone would occasionally sell off a piece of original Sailor Jerry tattoo flash--the cards of tattoo options that hung on the shop walls. These originals currently sell for an average $5000-$10,000 (if they can be found at all).

The piddix collection of Old School tattoos includes nearly 100 Norm Collins designs, all of which were scanned directly from the original Norm Collins flash from the Mike Malone collection. The ladies above are some of my favorites and I've never seen another copy of them anywhere. A note on the original (left) written by Malone in the 1990s reads "This is a sheet I'd ask $1500 for, it's the real deal from '49 or so, but some dunce used it for a dart board...lots of little holes, still it is something to see."

I've spent nearly two years collecting, researching and meticulously restoring the piddix collection of vintage tattoo flash. This artwork, along with many other Old School tattoo designs, is available for commercial licensing though piddix and as instant downloads for handmade crafters on etsy.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Announcing Wholesale Distribution of Piddix Collage Sheets

Years ago, when interviewing agents to represent my artwork, my licensing fairy godmother gave me some of the best business advice I've ever received: picture yourself sitting next to this person on an 8-hour flight. Would you get along with them? Would you enjoy the flight?

I keep these questions in mind frequently when choosing a wide range of business partners. That, combined with mutual respect for one another's work, impeccable integrity, quick responses to questions, and an impossibly high standard of quality are what often lead me to say yes to some and no to others.

Which is why I couldn't be happier to announce the official distributor of piddix printed collage sheets: Product Performers. Believe it or not, this relationship has been four years in the making, from the very first tentative email I sent to their president, Ken Petersen, to seeing 63 piddix collage sheets arrive in their online store.

At every step of the way both Ken and Dana (Director of Purchasing) have been the most professional and lovely folks to work with. I'm beyond thrilled. And yes, I'd totally sit on a cross-country flight next to them, and probably enjoy every minute of it.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

CHA 2013 Recap

Me and one of my cutie booth helpers.
CHA 2013 in Vegas was absolutely amazing. I am so happy I had a booth there (my very first big tradeshow). Okay, technically it was more of a table than a booth, but it was still all mine and had a steady stream of shop owners, distributors, sales reps and designers for 2 1/2 days. Response to the piddix collage sheets was wonderful. The Flora & Fauna and Paris lines were popular, and it seems that Steampunk is finally taking off outside of etsy. The big hit of the show were the piddix collage sheets sized especially to fit the new Spellbinders® Media Mixáge™/Susan Lenart Kazmer™ bezels. Thanks so very much to Annie, Stephanie, Brian, and Pennie for all their booth help and to Mom and Dad for thoroughly loving and spoiling the kiddos while we were away.
The very first person to stop by the booth was the one-and-only Suze Weinberg (designer and multi-media artist), who could not have been more supportive and kind. What an amazing way to start the show. Above is a necklace she made using the piddix Steampunk collage sheet (necklace available here).
I finally got to meet the lovely Annie Howes in person and she even helped staff the booth on Thursday.
Piddix Flora & Fauna image sized to fit the new Spellbinders® Media Mixáge™/Susan Lenart Kazmer™ bezels.

Author and designer Suzann Sladcik Wilson with one of two books she's authored that features piddix images.

Designer Melissa Mercer with pendant she created with piddix collage sheet and Vintaj brass bird.
Almost the whole set-up fit in one checked bag. Not too bad!

Monday, July 22, 2013

CHA Sneak Peek

Have you ever wondered what a tradeshow looks like on set-up days? I took these photos at CHA (the Craft & Hobby Association's big tradeshow) today, and it's hard to believe that just a couple of hours later all of the booths were finished. There were HUGE crates and cranes everywhere.
There's Tim Holtz and the people at Ranger getting ready.
When you first walk in and look to your right, you can see my table
(see the tiny piddix logo on the blue drapes?)
Sooo happy with my location.
There's Brian directing the crane above our booth.
A before shot.
And almost done. Tomorrow morning I'll finish up.

And did I mention yesterday was our wedding anniversary? Twelve years!
If you're in Vegas for CHA, swing by lucky booth #1001 (first table on your right) and say hi.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Jumping About

I love this awesome fashion print from the 1800s because the woman on the left looks like she's rolling her eyes, which has almost nothing to do with the article below.
I think a lot of creative types like to jump from one new idea to another. It keeps things fresh and fun, and we can always be dreaming, planning and imagining the next steps for the next big thing.

I try to keep this "jumping" in check a bit by deeply focusing on one new project every quarter. I might spend three months on licensing, then another three working on art prints. My 100-day-quest was (duh) about three months, and right now I'm in the middle of three months of new collage sheets through the piddix subscription. Which means I'm also in the middle of deciding what to do in September when the subscription ends for 2013.

I've been thinking a lot about writing a book. I learned a ton during my 100-day-quest and feel like it could help others who struggle with the fear of fully embracing their creative life. But I've been feeling an equally strong pull toward focusing on licensing again, possibly through taking Lilla Rogers' "Make Art that Sells" class." And tonight Lilla's book "I Just Like to Make Things" arrived at my doorstep and is definitely pulling me in that direction.

Writing my own book would be for others, doesn't fit within my business plan, wouldn't make much money, but keeps taking shape inside of me. I keep writing bits of it down on paper. It's most definitely struggling to get out.

The licensing fits completely within my business plan, would be a ton of fun (I love making new art) and could help piddix grown financially. Even just writing down the differences makes licensing seem like the obvious choice. But will "the book" quiet down? Or will it continue to struggle within me until I get it down on paper?

What to do; what to do….

Luckily, I have a big distraction in the form of a tradeshow in just TWO WEEKS. Plus, did I mention that this is finally happening? Many, many digital files to prep, print, package and send.

Often when I'm at this type of crossroads, a bit of time and serendipitous advice tends to send me down my path. I have a feeling whatever happens at CHA (tons of orders, none at all, new connections, etc.) will also help sway me one way or another. Being at a crossroads, and having periods of thoughtful indecision, have become a frequent theme over the last several years in my business. I can't decide whether I like it or not, but at least for the moment, it's an inescapable part of how I run my business. I wonder if there's another, better way to go about it, or if I should just embrace this jumping about as another part of living a creative life.