Status Reports & Other Ramblings
First of all: THANK YOU. I can't tell you how many times this week I had to fight back tears because of all the kind notes, orders, and overwhelming support coming at me from all directions. I asked, and the universe answered resoundingly loudly. Thank you. I will do absolutely everything I can to live up to your faith in me in the coming days and years.
Second: my lawyer was paid in full Thursday morning. He was worth every single penny, not just for helping me negotiate a settlement that was fair to everyone and kept Miles's best interests at heart, but for being a genuinely kind and compassionate human being who cares profoundly about the emotional wellbeing of his clients. Being able to promptly pay him for his work was at the very top of my priority list, because he was one of the people who made a horrible situation easier.
Third: Depending on what I hear from my accountant on Monday regarding the money I owe the IRS, I will either be able to pay the back property taxes in full this week or pay off enough that I will easily be able to cover the rest before the May 15th deadline to avoid having a lien imposed.
Fourth: Orders that didn't involve neckvines or mindfulness pendants have all shipped; orders that involved neckvines have been processed and will be dropped at the post office first thing Monday morning, and orders that involve mindfulness pendants will go out Tuesday or Wednesday.
Fifth: Thank you and welcome to all the new Earring Club subscribers! I'm in the process of making sure I have preference profiles for all of you and getting you set up in the database where I track your preferences and shipment history, and tomorrow I will be buying the beads for the special exclusive bonus earrings. Your first shipment should go out next week, hopefully no later than Friday. Subsequent months will usually ship more promptly.
Sixth: Website update of as-of-yet-undetermined size tomorrow night! Some of it will be the items that accompany the poem in Unwritten Stories #2; I also just got a bag of inventory back from a local store that went out of business last month and whatever is in there is going into the clearance section tomorrow. The 25% coupon code will still work.
Seventh: Instant Gratification on Tuesday! Did you miss out on something when the website sold out? I can probably make you something similar! Go sign up now! (The coupon code does not apply to these items, sorry - but it is a "name your price" session which means you get to set a budget anywhere between $5 and $50 and I'll work with you to figure out a way to make what you want at a price you can afford.)
Eighth: I am so tired and you have no idea how much I want to be asleep right now, but I have shinies to make and two more episodes of Agents of S.H.E.I.D. to watch, so it's not bedtime yet.
SIGNUPS ARE CURRENTLY CLOSED! I have a few more requests to sneak in over the next few days; today was apparently the day that all the people I've been trying to get in touch with about Very Urgent Things decided they could finally all call me. All at once. *headdesk* But listings are up in the store if you're one of the pieces I didn't have to bump to tomorrow - thank you and enjoy!
This is the signup post for April's Name-Your-Price Instant Gratification session! I will be doing simple custom work from approximately 10 am to 6pm on Tuesday, April 14th. Please read this post carefully before placing your request, particularly the parts in bold text.
If you can describe what you in ONE paragraph and I have the necessary materials in stock, I will make it for you! Simple is the operative word - I should be able to look at your request and immediately start working without having to ask for more information. Please be as specific as possible about what you want and how much you want to spend. (I am bad at mind-reading.) Requests that are missing necessary information will automatically be moved to the back of the queue, which may result in them not being finished on Tuesday.
There is a $5 minimum and a $50 maximum for these pieces. If you really loved something that was more expensive than you could ever afford, don't hesitate to ask if I can make something similar to it at a much lower price point - I won't be offended and I'm very good at finding ways to do exactly that. I firmly believe that handcrafted art should be accessible to everyone.
I will reply to your request with a link to a reserved-for-you listing in the store. I do ask that you either purchase for your item or let me know that it's not to your liking within 48 hours. Any unpaid items will be made available to the general public on Friday, April 17th. All purchases must be made through the cart system on the web store, which accepts both credit cards and PayPal.
I reserve the right to limit this to a maximum of 30 requests and one item per person, as well as to say "that needs to be a regular commission" for any requests that are too complex, vague, or time-consuming for this format.
Requests are open as of now/strong> and will remain open until approximately noon on Tuesday or when we hit the 30-request cap, whichever comes first. Tell me what you'd like and how much you want to spend and I will do my best to make it for you. I will be working through requests in a roughly first-come, first-served basis.
You can comment below using a variety of login options, most of which will notify you by email when I respond to your comment. If you don't get an email by Tuesday night, please check back for your link.
(Please DO NOT use Facebook messaging/comments, Twitter @s/DMs, or any other form of social media commenting/messaging to place requests! The ONLY way I will be taking requests for this session is in the comments on this blog post. (Unless if you are plotting a surprise for someone, in which case you you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.)
(Need inspiration? New here and not sure what I make? Have a look at what's recently sold to see what I've been doing recently, search the 2003-2013 archive, or browse through ten years of photos on Flickr.)
The divorce papers are being finalized by my lawyer as I type this. It's over.
Instead of trying to run a business in one or two days a week plus whatever tiny bits of time I can steal out of nights and weekends, I can go back to spending a solid 30-40 hours a week in the studio and get enough sleep and give my son my undivided attention in the evenings and on weekends... and right now, that sounds like the most amazing thing in the world.
I can take all of the time and energy and emotion that I've been forced to divert into the divorce process for the past year and transmute that into making art and getting it into your hands. I can have my life back. It's over.
So: DIVORCE PARTY! RIDICULOUSLY HUGE SALE! SHENANIGANS!
Coupon code SAVETHEEVERYTHING takes 25% off anything in the "currently available" category! Which
is basically every one-of-a-kind item that I have for sale right nowsold out in approximately 3 hours on Tuesday but I have managed to restock it a tiny bit tonight.
- Neckvines are 50% off which I think means you can't afford NOT to get one. Or three.
- Every single order this week gets a signed advance copy of Unwritten Stories #2, which is going to be awesome. Depending on how you want to look at it, it's either one long and obstinate poem that can't make up its mind about the shape it wants to take or approximately twenty intertwined micropoems... about astrophysics, technology, creativity, magic, and space travel. I've been writing it since last July.
- Sign up for the Earring Club and get a special bonus second pair of earrings in your first shipment! They'll be a one-of-a-kind design created just for this sale/party and will never be available for purchase. Not even if you make sad puppy eyes at me. (New and returning subscribers only.) What will they look like? Even I don't know that yet.
- As soon as I get current orders and subscriptions shipped (so realistically, early next week) there will be a special Name-Your-Price Instant Gratification day! If you don't know what that is, it's super cool and I haven't done one in a while: you get to tell me what you want me to make and how much you can afford to spend on it, then I do the wirebending thing and if you like the result you can buy it! Also it happens more or less in real time and sometimes there's a webcam.
- Possibly more to come in the next day or so as I think up new ways to tempt you.
(For anyone who wants to know details and/or is wondering why I'm running such a drastic sale right now: what isn't over yet is the financial mess. I'm getting to keep my beautiful and beloved house but I owe the city a year of unpaid property taxes by May 15th, I owe the IRS an as-of-yet-unknown sum of money by April 15th, and I owe my amazing lawyer considerably less than I feared I would but still rather a lot of money. As things stand right now, if I pay all three of those bills today I'd probably still have about enough money for the mortgage and groceries next month, but I'd really rather not find out if my math is that good.)
EDIT April 12th or 13th I have no idea anymore: I heard you like status updates so here's a status update in your status update BRB GOING TO BED FOR THREE HOURS? But basically, my lawyer is paid, my property taxes are mostly covered, I'll worry about the IRS tomorrow, and I love all of you.
Please, please, PLEASE tell everybody you know about the sale. Post it on Facebook! Tweet about it! Tumblr it! Do whatever new thing the cool kids are doing these days! Seriously, signal-boosting something like this helps me at least as much as making a purchase. I mean that, because it's true.
Additional backstory for those of you who don't already know: I'm going through a nasty and unexpected divorce that has dragged on for almost a year, drastically affecting my chronic health issues and my ability to work. I had already sidelined Wyrding Studios a few years ago to focus on being the primary parent and homemaker, so when my former spouse abruptly left me after 14 years of marriage, it put me in the utterly terrifying position of relying on a struggling and almost obsolete small business as my only source of income for myself, my four-year-old son, two rescue cats, and two rescue dogs.
That was last May. In June, I announced what had happened and threw all of my available energy into work. It's been a long, uphill road, but I'm now confident that I can bring Wyrding Studios back to the thriving business that it was before I let it be pushed aside. In the past year, I've completely overhauled and updated the website, launched several new projects that I'm utterly thrilled about, and focused on making the best possible art that I could in what limited time I had available. Just wait until you see what I can do when I actually have enough time to do everything I want to be doing.
It's going to be awesome, and I can't wait to share it with you.
(I want to preface this rant by saying that 99.9% of the people I meet as a result of my work are amazing. I've met some of my closest friends through my work, I've gotten emails and messages at random moments that made me cry from gratitude at the kindness of near-strangers, and I have had amazing adventures because my art has introduced me to people who I otherwise would never have met. I promise that I will also write a blog post entitled Ten Ways To Dramatically Improve An Artist's Day. But in the meantime, have some snark. It's been that kind of a week.)
1. "I could do this/my child could do this/anyone could do this."
I completely agree. All you you need are pliers and wire cutters, some beads and pretty rocks, and wire. Oh, and years of study, practice, and experience. By all means, go right ahead and try it if it appeals to you. Just be prepared to spend quite a bit of time angrily flinging tangles of wire across the room. Don't feel bad, though, I still do that myself on a regular basis.
Alternative: "Your work is lovely. I make [type of art] too. I particularly like the way you did [insert distinctive characteristic of work in question].
2. "Does this really cost THAT much? It's just some wire and beads."
Yes, it does. My prices reflect the cost of materials and the time it took to make the piece, plus my experience and reputation, plus the time and expenses involved in running a retail business. There's also a pretty decent chance I'm not even charging as much as I could, because I try to keep my work affordable to everyone.
[if you actually want to purchase something from the artist but can only spend a certain amount of money] "I love this, but I'm afraid this particular piece is out of my budget. Do you have anything in the [insert what you can afford to spend] range?"
[if you actually want to purchase a particular item from the artist but can't afford it on the spot] "I love this, but I'm afraid can't afford it today. Do you ever do payment plans? Or could you make me something similar in the future when I've saved up for it?"
[if in person and you have no intention of purchasing anything] "Lovely weather we're having today, isn't it?"
[if online and you have no intention of purchasing anything] Say nothing. Go to a different website.
3. "I could buy something like this at Walmart for $5."
If you want to own a mass-produced item that involved unethical labor policies and environmentally harmful manufacturing practices and will probably promptly break and/or give you a rash, yes, you certainly can go right ahead and do that.
Alternative: "Lovely weather we're having today, isn't it?"
4. "It must be nice to not have a real job and just get to make art all day."
It is. I particularly like the part where the only way I get to spend time with friends is if I either lure them into the studio to keep me company while I work or stuff a work kit into my purse. Being perpetually sleep-deprived because I go back into the studio as soon as my child goes to bed and work until at least two hours past my bedtime is also awesome. And what is this "vacation" of which you speak?
Alternative: "I can tell you put a lot of time and effort into your work."
5. "Will you donate something/work for free? It'll be great exposure for you!"
This is a tricky one. I personally do donate items to fundraisers on a fairly regular basis, but it's almost always because I want to support a specific cause but can't afford to do so monetarily. Once in a while it actually does result in people discovering my work, but it's probably the least effective form of marketing I do.
Alternative: "I know you support/have a particular interest in [insert good cause here] and I think a piece of your work would help us raise money for [insert specific fundraiser here]. Would you be willing to donate something for us to sell/raffle/auction? We would be tremendously grateful for anything you can afford to give.”
6. "Can you show me how to do this?"
Maybe. Are you seriously interested in learning the techniques I use in order to become an artist with your own unique style, or are you thinking you can make one exactly like this for free instead of buying it from me?
[if you just want to make it yourself for free] "Lovely weather we're having today, isn't it?"
[if you're seriously interested in becoming an artist in my particular field of expertise] "I've always wanted to learn to do [insert art form here], but I haven't had much luck learning from books/videos. Do you teach lessons, by any chance?"
7. "Would anyone actually WEAR something like this?"
Given that the last time I bothered to do the math, I'd made and sold over 10,000 pieces of jewelry... I'm going to have to say the answer is yes.
Alternative: "Lovely weather we're having today, isn't it?"
8. "I saw a different sort of necklace online that I liked better than yours but the artist wanted way too much money for it. Can you make me one exactly like it but cheaper?"
A) No, because copying someone else's work is unethical and I won't do it; B) I've worked hard to develop my own distinct style, and if that style doesn't appeal to you, that's totally fine and you should feel free to take your business elsewhere; C) chances are pretty good that I'm friends with the other artist or at least know them in passing; D) you seem to have mistaken me for Walmart again.
Alternative: “Lovely weather we're having today, isn't it?”
9. "I saw something exactly like this at that booth over there/on the internet/at the store across town/at some other event."
One of several possibilities exist here. Either you're lumping all artists who work in a particular medium together, or you've encountered my work at one of the stores that carries it or on my website and just don't remember the name of my business, or you've run across somebody who's copying my work and hasn't gotten a cease-and-desist letter yet.
Alternative: "Your work reminds me of something I saw at [insert location/event/website]. Was that you?"
10: Pin a photo of my work to a Pinterest board called "Things To Make."
Don't do this. Seriously, just... DON'T. While Pinterest is a great place to find crafty DIY tutorials of all sorts, not everything that ends up there is a tutorial. Let me repeat that: not everything on Pinterest is a tutorial. I assure you, artists DO see where you've pinned our product photos, and when we see our work on boards called "Things To Make" or something similar, we are not happy about it.
Alternative: Even if you fully intend to copy an artist's original design, please have the good manners to at least name the board something a little more discrete, like "Inspiring Art" or "Really Nifty Techniques" or "Things I Like A Lot."
As many of you know, I have a tendency to find really spectacularly crystals and stone specimens. I also have a tendency to buy far more of them than I can ever realistically use. Do you see a trend developing here?
Starting this weekend, I will be adding a new section to the website - hand-selected crystals, carefully chosen for color, clarity, and energy. I'll be offering them at retail prices, usually between $5 and $10 each, although if I have an opportunity to buy something spectacular that would cost more than that I may do so occasionally. I'll also be putting together sets of tumbled stones - chakra balancing sets, grounding/protective sets, creativity sets, prosperity & fortune sets, and many others that will be around $5 each, in a pretty organza bag with a small notecard about the stones in each set and how to charge and cleanse them.
If there are particular stones you'd like to see me make available, or tumbled stone sets that you'd especially want, please leave a comment and let me know!
I'm also working on downloadable tutorials for the most requested things people ask me about - a neckvine tutorial will probably be the first, followed by a tutorial that will teach you how to make beautiful lightweight earrings out of spare bits of wire and whatever beads you happen to already have on hand. I may in the future also offer earring making kits that would contain everything you'd need except the tools to make your own beautiful handcrafted earrings!