Friday, December 31, 2010

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

We start the new year with a number of great videos and slideshows. We welcome some extremely talented artists and photographers to Art-Online. 

Our links to great studios, shops and resources are updated on an on-going basis, so you'll find some additions there as well.

As ever, you are cordially invited to join the ART-ONLINE family by following and sharing comments.

And may 2011 be a fabulous year for all!

Cheers,
Marian

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

HOLIDAY ISSUE

We had  scheduled an interview for December. However, the jewelry-maker got swamped with business -- which is a good thing! -- and she had to cancel at the last minute.

And so, for Art-Online, the New Year begins early.

You will have noticed our design change. We hope you like it as much as we do.

There are content changes as well.

Starting today, we will no longer carry feature stories or interviews. Instead, we will focus on videos and slideshows.

For this Holiday issue, we have four fascinating how-to videos that we located on "Empty Easel."

For the future, we'll have more of this type of video, as well as videos of the works of artists and craftspeople.

In the last issue, we started carrying slideshows of photography. We plan to expand to include more photographers and more slideshows for each issue.

We're so grateful for your interest in Art-Online. And we wish you the happiest of holiday seasons!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

LOOKING THROUGH A PAPER WINDOW

Third & final
interview in a series
featuring Etsy Handmade

shopkeepers who
specialize in paper creations
by Marian Cates


Introduction: An architect in Seattle, WA, Caitlin Struble is one-half of a creative team with her husband Tom, who recently retired from the U.S. Navy, where he served as Submarine Officer. They live on a small island in the middle of the Puget Sound and find inspiration in the natural beauty that surrounds them. They put this inspiration to good use in the Etsy shop, “Paper Window.”

MC: As you know, we’ve been doing a series of interviews with paper crafters, all of whom use paper in their own special ways. You’ve focused on stationery. How did you choose cards as your paper craft?

Caitlin: My love of art and paper started early. When I was little, my mother actively encouraged us kids to create art and held "craft-time" every afternoon. I always loved to draw on paper.

I also experimented with origami. My favorite papers are Japanese prints. I love the tight patterns and vibrant colors, the very ornate prints. I also love batik prints on paper because of the textures and organic feel.
MC: How did “Paper Window” come into being?

Caitlin: When I was planning my wedding, I discovered my love for creating stationery. After a thorough search for a special wedding design, my husband and I decided to design our own stationery and invitations. That’s when we discovered our passion for creating these things together.

Ever since our wedding, we've been creating stationery as gifts for family and friends. At some point, it dawned on us how often our family asked for more stationery gifts on their birthdays and for holidays. It got us thinking about developing an online business.

The inspiration for our shop name and logo comes from the design for our own wedding stationery. Our shop currently sells blank stationery sets, as well as personalized greeting cards and monogrammed stationery. Plus, I’m creating new card sets, like the new Skyline series.

MC: Skylines of cities?

Caitlin: Cities and landmarks. A family friend, who moved to Boston, wanted unique cards to notify others of his move. I had so much fun creating the silhouette sketch of the Boston skyline -- my hometown -- that I started sketching all the other cities I love. Of course Seattle, and also Chicago and New York City. The first “landmark” in the series is a Washington state ferry.

MC: Are you planning to expand the line?

It's such a fun new venture. Little by little, I hope to have a large collection of cities and places around the world. And it’s definitely not limited to just my favorite cities. Special requests for skyline drawings of any city or town are welcome.

I just got a request for a drawing of a lighthouse in a friend’s hometown, and that will be in the same style.

All I can say is, if you’ve got a city or town you love, or a landmark, not just an official landmark, but some special thing that symbolizes your hometown for you, get in touch and we’ll see what we can do.

MC: Are you working on any other new ideas?

Caitlin: I just did a birthday card for a friend who went parasailing this summer. I was very pleased with the result -- the man, the boat, and the parachute in a skyline-style drawing. I’m planning to add a "bon voyage" message and create a set. But don’t look for it right way, please! I’m adding new lines as fast as I can, but I’m only human.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

PAPER ANGEL


An Interview with
Charlene Ball of the
"Paper Angel" Etsy Shop
by Marian Cates


Lotus Blossom Box Wedding Favor

INTRO
Charlene Ball is a veterinarian living in the seaside town of Napier, New Zealand. Her fiance is very supportive of her creative ventures and her Etsy shop, "Paper Angel." When she finishes her day at work, Charlene has time to focus on her creative projects.

MC: Why did you choose paper for your craft?

Charlene: I’ve loved to work with paper since I was a child. My Mum taught night courses in cookery. One of those courses was about creating food gifts. I helped her craft cartons for her students to “wrap” their food gifts in. It’s a fond memory.

MC: What inspires you?

Charlene: One thing that inspires me is the symmetry I see in nature. And I also draw inspiration from architecture. I guess you could say that Ideas come to me from the world around me. And, of course, holidays.



MC: What is your favorite paper?

 Charlene: I love smooth 225 gram cardstock. It’s lovely to work with. My templates fold beautifully with this high-quality paper. I like to use bright colors. I love producing eye-popping color combinations.

Creating an intricate 3-D structure from a flat piece of paper is such fun. I love the geometry and logistics of the transformation. For years, I’ve created boxes and cartons as presents. I also love origami.

MC: Why did you decide to sell templates in your Etsy shop?

Charlene: Living in New Zealand created shipping difficulties. My customers live all over the world. Oftentimes, shipping was slow and expensive.

I decided that a great solution was to offer PDF templates that my customers could download on their computers. I love the instant gratification of digital downloading.

MC: Where do you see "Paper Angel" heading in the future?

Charlene: I consider "Paper Angel" my creative outlet, which is something I need. Having something creative to put my mind to, after a day at work. Even if it’s been a stressful day. Giving myself over to creative ideas and designs for "Paper Angel" soothes my mind.



 
Charlene's shop is at 
http://paperangel.etsy.com.

Friday, September 10, 2010

GOING ABSOLUTELY DOTTIE

An interview with Nancy Sheehan of
the “Absolutely Dottie" Etsy Shop
by Marian Cates




INTRO
Nancy, her husband and their three children live in the Philadelphia metro area. Nancy is devoted to her shop. And her husband is so supportive of her work that he gave up his home-office space so that she’d have a better space for her craft work. Nancy recently made the transition from holding a day job to full-time crafting.

MC: When did you begin crafting?

Nancy: My love of crafts goes back to my childhood. My mother studied fashion design. When I was a child, she created various crafts. One that stands out to me is her decoupaged pocketbooks that she sold on consignment. She also decoupaged my lunchboxes. I still have one of those lunchboxes -- a treasure from my childhood.

I can’t help but think that that’s when my love of paper was born. One of my earliest memories is using construction paper for book reports in grade school.

MC: Why did you choose to focus on paper tags?

Nancy: There’s just something about paper tags that really appeals to me. A shipping tag is a great grade of card stock. You can “age” one using coffee or tea and a warm oven. And you can modify the texture using sandpaper.

I love to see what new uses I can put these tags to. So far, the list includes cupcake toppers, gift tags, place cards, hand-stitched tags, and “distressed” tags. A tag can be turned into a spooky mummy or a gingerbread person that sits on top of a cupcake. They are just the right size for cupcake toppers. (see above)

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MC: How did you come up with the shop name, “Absolutely Dottie”?

Nancy: I have my mother-in-law to thank for that. When I first started dating my husband, his mother introduced me to the world of ceramics. She’s a potter and used to have a ceramic studio. She let me embellish her ceramics with dots.

I started putting dots on everything! That’s where the name “Absolutely Dottie” came from. I chose a Raggedy Ann doll for my logo. When shop visitors and customers drop me notes, they call me Dottie. I love that!

Friday, June 18, 2010

PIDDIX 24/7


by Marian Cates

Alice in Wonderland

collage by Corrina

CORINNA OPENED HER ETSY SHOP, PIDDIX, in 2007, working on it in her spare time. She was successful at selling her collage sheets on a part-time basis. But the more successful she became with piddix, the more time she needed to devote to her shop.

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FINALLY, she reached the point when she must choose between her day-job with the non-profit and self-employment as an Etsy crafter.She knew that she would miss her colleagues. On the other hand, she longed to be in charge of her own business--with no meetings, committees and paperwork.

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NO MORE WAITING FOR APPROVAL for what she wanted to do -- this was important to her. She thought that devoting herself full-time to piddix would be relatively secure, because her sales figures were so high. In preparation for this change, she took a small-business class, saved up a nest egg, and made lots of lists and plans.

Women with Secrets

Click here for piddix


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FULL-TIME CRAFTING turned out to be harder and more tiring than she had imagined. She found herself working longer hours and making less money than she had thought she would.

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HOWEVER, PIDDIX 24/7 also turned out to be more rewarding than she had expected. If she wanted to make a change, she could just do it. No paperwork or seeking approval from a boss. Corinna was solely responsible for the success or failure of piddix and she found that she enjoyed the responsibility and its challenge.

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FLUCTUATING SALES came as a shock. From the inception of piddix, sales of her collage sheets climbed every month. Imagine how horrified she was, when she quit her day-job and suddenly her sales plummeted.

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EVENTUALLY, SHE REALIZED that sales of collage sheets fluctuate. In summer and winter her business boomed, while spring brought a slow-down. Once she recognized that seasonal fluctuation in collage-sheet sales is usual, her panic abated. 

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"YOU HAVE TO LOVE WHAT YOU'RE DOING to do well" -- a saying that Corinna had thought was a myth. But after a year of full-time crafting, she finds that her life happily revolves around piddix.

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CORRINA LOVES THE NITTY-GRITTY of piddix--scanning images, research, graphic design. In her "free" time, she explores bookstores and antique stores, seeking images for piddix. Piddix fills her life with inspiration & satisfaction.

Alice in Wonderland
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ON A TYPICAL WORKDAY, Corinna has two work periods. The first is from 10 to 5 p.m., with perhaps a break or two for lunch or playing with her children. At 9 p.m. she resumes work on piddix, usually continuing until 2 a.m. On average, she works 60 - 70 hours a week.

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CORINNA ADMITS that she makes less money now than she did when she had a day-job. Of course, she would prefer to make more money. She wishes that she and her family had more discretionary funds for travel, eating out and cultural activities.

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BUT SHE'S FOUND CREATIVE WAYS -- using credit cards with bonus and rewards plans, coupons, and kid-friendly happy hours -- to enable the family to engage in the activities that they love.

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WHEN SHE LISTED her first collage sheet in 2007, there were fewer than 1000 such sheets for sale on Etsy. Now there are over 30,000 collage sheets. Shops selling them have gone from fewer than 10 to several hundred.


Vintage Bird Engravings

Click here for piddix


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SHE EXPLORES SHOPS, to see how they're attracting buyers, pricing their products, and designing their shops. She compares her shop to theirs. She doesn't copy those other shops. Instead, she looks for insights into what makes a shop financially successful. And she applies those insights to piddix.

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"A CRAZY YEAR" is how Corinna describes her first year. Sales going up and down, her spirits going up and down with them. Now, with her first year under her belt, she looks forward to improving her shop and her collage sheets, so that her second year will bring more income, for less work. A good goal. May she reach it!

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based on the January 12 Etsy Storque Blog
Original Story by: "marymary"
http://www.etsy.com/storque/spotlight/quit-your-day-job-piddix-2880/

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CORRINA'S PROFILE "Inspired by nature, worldwide travels, and vintage illustrations, piddix, LLC, provides the highest quality graphics to use in your crafting and design applications. Owner Corinna Buchholz regularly travels across the country with her family, a scanner and camera to gather inspiration in archives, beaches and mountains. Back home she uses her 15+ years of graphic design experience to create professional, unique designs that have made her one of the top selling clip artists online. Piddix images are in use in nearly 50 countries and have been featured in countless publications, including Belle Armoire Jewelry, HGTV, Stringing Magazine, Modish and two upcoming books.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY

An Enduring Passion
by Marlin Harms



I’ve been a photographer for most of my life. In my earlier years, I had a strong interest in black-and-white photography and had my own darkroom for developing black-and-white pictures. I was greatly inspired by two of my heroes, Ansel Adams and Edward Weston.

By the 1990s, photography – in both black-and-white and color – was an enduring passion for me.


With a degree in Environmental Biology, it’s no surprise that I’ve especially focused on natural-history subjects. In fact, nature photography has been a springboard for me to greater knowledge of the natural world, with all its intricacies.



I’m especially proud of the work I’ve done for several land conservancies, including The Trust for Public Land and The American Land Conservancy. This is because my work has contributed to the preservation of public properties.


Many of my photos have appeared in local newspapers and literature for conservation groups. Recently, I was chosen to contribute a number of photographs, including the front-cover, for “Wildflowers of San Luis Obispo, California.” It is satisfying to see that “Wildflowers…” is selling very well.



Marlin's Flickr Studio is at
http://www.flickr.com/photos/marlinharms
See his slideshow below.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

INCREASING INCOME BY GIVING

YOOLA’S STORY
by Marian Cates

I was inspired by Yoola's story, as well as the lovely creations on display in her Etsy shop, Yoola's.


I want to tell you about how I achieved successful sales figures through mental stretching.

Many Etsy sellers have successful designs, in terms of high views, many fans and some have even been featured on Etsy’s home page. But somehow ... this still resulted in low sales. Until not so long ago, I was one of these sellers.

My most successful item was my “knitted wire pomegranates” (see above), which I called "poms." My "poms" appeared on numerous front pages, numerous blogs (small and big), personal interviews, feature articles, and even Etsy blog articles. Still, my sales continued to be low.

I thought of several directions that might lead to financial success. One idea was to develop smaller pomegranates that would be less expensive.

I started creating the smaller poms, which I called "mini pom beads.” They did sell better than the larger poms had. But I still wasn’t generating as much income as I wanted to.

I debated for several months about another idea I had -- that of offering free tutorials. I decided to try it.

To my delight, it wasn’t long before the tutorials became popular! Then I started getting questions about supplies. This led me to develop kits to go along with the free tutorials.

And with these tutorials and kits, I realized my dream of having my shop be a financial success.

And it’s so fun to think that I got here by offering something for free!

(See Yoola's crocheted metal ring below on the left.)

NOTE: This story is based on an Etsy blog. 
 

Bulldog by Marian Cates

Bulldog by Marian Cates
Click for prints, canvases & various products

Burrowing Owl by Marian Cates

Burrowing Owl by Marian Cates
Click for prints and canvases & products

Jack Sprat Mother Goose Rhyme by Marian Cates, from a vintage illustration

Jack Sprat Mother Goose Rhyme by Marian Cates, from a vintage illustration
Click for prints, canvases & products

Robin Hood by Marian Cates, from a vintage illustration