Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Artist Spotlight - CiCi House of Clay

I have admired the work of this potter for a number of years, however this is the first piece of Cynthia's that I have purchased. I have long been drawn to the amazing colors that she uses in her glazes. Finally, this bowl showed up in our 817 Arts Alliance hut at the Texas Christkindl Market this past December. It spoke to me so much it had to come home with me. I love the free form of the fiery colors inside that contrast with the cool blues & browns dripping down the outside. I photographed the bowl on a mirror so you can see both inside and outside at the same time. The base is inscribed with her last name, year and a leaf. (Click to enlarge.)

Cynthia had a ceramics workshop built behind her house to facilitate the practice of her craft. You can find her and her creations at several shows in the metroplex during the year and she has her things on consignment in a couple of brick and mortar locations, including Potager's Other Stuff in downtown Arlington. You can also find her on Etsy as ClayBabies, where you can find a smattering of her creations, learn more about her inspiration and get a peek inside her workshop. (Check out her sold listings too, in order to see more of the variety of what she creates.) Most of Cynthia's ceramics are functional as well as beautiful. They are microwave and dishwasher safe in addition to being food safe.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Design This - Crane Origami Earrings

Last fall I met with another local artist, Amy Schultz, to discuss her participation in the 817 Arts Alliance hut at the Texas Christkindl Market. I happened to be wearing my origami crane earrings that day. Amy expressed an interest in them and I explained where they had come from and that I had additional pairs of folded critters in various stages of earring completion, made by the same amazing origamist that had folded my cranes. She suggested that I bring them to the hut for her to look at during Christkindl. That had been the plan, however it was not until she stopped by to pick up her unsold inventory that I remembered to have them with me.

Amy asked if I thought the origami would hold up for a necklace. I hesitated because even though it is coated so that the paper is hardened, they still seem rather delicate to me. She decided to stick with earrings and picked out two pair of cranes, one for her and one to give as a gift. One pair already had its finish on it and I just needed to add ear wires and a dangle from the loop under the crane. The other pair was still only uncoated paper. I added eye pins to suspend the cranes from, painted them with hardener and added complementarily colored beads and gold plated ear wires.

While we were looking over the origami critters, an onlooker appeared fascinated and I invited her to look too. She thought the pair of flying pigs would be perfect for a family member. They were also only uncoated folded paper so I treated them the same as the second pair of cranes that Amy had picked out. Because it had been some time since I had stiffened a pair of the origami critters, I made sure I was up to speed before coating any of my custom requests. Both tests turned out and I now have two more pair of ready to ship origami earrings. The folded flying pigs were my only ones and unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of them before they flew to their new home, unlike the cranes, which I have shared pictures of in this post.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Valentine's Day Gift Suggestions 2017

Have you given thought to what you will get your Valentine this year? Will your gift be practical, funny or romantic? That could depend on how long you have known your Valentine, whether he or she is a romantic or a practical type and your relationship status. (Don't forget family members, they appreciate a shout out on Valentine's Day too. Remember when you were in grade school and everyone in your class got a card from you?)

There are fun flying pig Valentine's Day cards in my EclectcSkeptic Etsy shop along with a variety of creations sporting hearts. While there are not as many items sporting hearts in my EDCCollective Etsy shop, there are many practical and pretty creations to choose from.

Order ready to ship items from either of my Etsy shops no later than the end of the first week in February (U.S. addresses) so that your gift should arrive in time for Valentine's Day. If you are interested in a custom order for your Valentine, contact me by the end of January to discuss details so I can complete your request and ship your gift to you in a timely manner. You may find inspiration for your custom item, with or without a heart, in my sold items sections in my shops.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Making Social Networking More Manageable

I still don't know what social media platform I enjoy using the most or more importantly what my target market enjoys using and will interact with my brand on the best. I started using a tool last year for my 817 Arts Alliance organization because trying to post regularly on several social media platforms was becoming too time consuming. The tool that I chose was IFTTT. The way that this tool works is that you create recipes for action based on preset occurrences, if x then y. I set up recipes based on newly published blog posts. I was even able to break that down further and create different recipes based on specific labels I included in blog posts so that a tweet about a music concert that resulted from a blog post would be different than a tweet generated from a post about upcoming art classes.

I realized when I got so busy with the Christkindl Market between Thanksgiving and Christmas that using IFTTT would be a big time saver for me with Eclectic Design Choices' social media efforts too. (I am not sure why that light bulb did not go off sooner.) To start, I will begin with simple recipes that take action based on a blog post being published for just my EDC business Facebook page and Twitter. Going forward if I find it makes sense to split out the recipes for different labels in my posts as I did with my 817ArtsAllinace recipes, I will update them. (Note: I have just created my new account for Eclectic Design Choices and the term recipe seems to have been replaced with the term applet.)

To create a new applet, click New Applet under your account name. Next, click the blue "this" on the page that comes up and select the trigger platform for your applet to run. (Use the search bar to narrow the range of possibilities.) Once you have chosen the trigger platform, choose from any actions that are shown for that platform. Then you will be shown a page when you click the blue "that" to build what action is taken based on your trigger. Tips: Make sure to choose Facebook pages and not just Facebook if you want something to post to a business Facebook page. Unfortunately Instagram will not allow a third party app to post to it, so you can only use that platform to trigger an action, not receive one.

Here goes. Hopefully when I hit publish everything will work as seamlessly as it does for my 817ArtsAlliance recipes (applets). Perhaps IFTTT is something you can use to help you save some time while managing your social media presences and more. (I am not affiliated with IFTTT nor have I received any compensation for this post.)