Monthly Archives: November 2010

Pleasantly Pleasing Pottery

Pottery is something that I’ve developed a craving for in the last few years.  There is something very earthy about pottery that appeals to me.  I love the weight of it.  I love the silkiness of the glazes and the fantastic colour-bombs produced on Raku.  Whether it’s an uber-useful ovenproof piece or a simply flat slab with decoration to die for, I’m a total addict.

I picked up these dynamite raku coasters at the Craft Fair.  They’re made by Andrea Revoy, as is the next piece.  They shimmer and glow and are a million light-years away from the ugly resin ones I had.  They’re lined with cork on the back and were just $2.50 each.  You just CAN’T beat that deal.  I also love that they were handmade locally.  In my  house, globalization is out and local hand-made is in.

Now this.  This is a dilemma.  Once I realized what this was, I had to have it.  I wanted more.  They didn’t have more.  Hence, the dilemma.  Do I keep it or do I give it to someone I know would LOVE it as a gift?  While it may look like a rather unassuming but very pretty dish, what it really IS is a Brie Melter.  Yes.  A Brie Melter.  Have you had melted Brie?  If you have, you’ll know what I’m talking about….if you haven’t, you simply must.  Pop a wheel or wedge of brie into your oven (the cheap stuff actually works best) and bake it at 350 F for 8 to 10 minutes or until it’s soft and melty inside.  Serve it on crustini or crackers with some bruschetta or antipasto or on sliced pears drizzled with Truscott honey and roasted pine nuts.  To.  Die.  For.  This little beauty even has a lovely wooden spatula for cutting and spreading the brie.

So…my dilemma.  Keep or give.  Decisions, decisions…….

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Back in the Day

This weekend’s Craft Fair was the first one I’ve participated in since probably about 1996.  When I had my consignment craft store in the mid-90’s, and even before that, I had a table almost every year.  The first time I put in these cool harlequin clowns I had made.  I sold out and made about $700 that day.  I was flabbergasted.

In subsequent years I had all kinds of different products, with varying levels of success, but I always did pretty well.  I stopped going though.  Do you know why?  It wasn’t just that I wasn’t doing much “crafting”.  It wasn’t even that “crafting”, as such, had gone out of vogue a bit.  It was that I just started feeling that there was a lot of…. well, here’s me being totally honest…. a lot of junk out there.  Things that were over-priced and of poor quality.  Things that were ugly.

It was like everyone on the planet had decided they could build stuff because they bought a hot-glue gun.  Problem was, they could.  And they did.  And it was not a good thing.

Having participated in  the Trade Shows here, however, I knew that you couldn’t get much better advertising.  Advertising was what I was really after, both to introduce the bath line and to let people know where the jewelry is now that I’m building again.  For a $50 table fee, you just can’t beat it in terms of being able to communicate with people.

The most important thing I want to stress in this entry though is that things have changed at the Creston Craft Fair.  Boy have they changed.  As I wandered around checking out the other booths, I was extremely impressed with the calibre of the products being offered.  Gone were the ticky-tacky, lace and ribbon-ridden froofy-thingies.  No more rose-embellished toilet-paper holders.  No more crocheted necklaces and knitted-skunk bathroom-spray covers.  Not at THIS craft fair.

Instead, there were lovely photography displays, warm felted slippers, wreaths made of fresh pine and balsam.  Chocolates to make your mouth water and your fillings ache.  Hand-blown glass and lots of sumptuous soaps, lotions, and salts….not just mine.  Gorgeous original artwork. And the pottery.  Oh wow.  The pottery.  Raku pieces to die for.  Innovative glaze applications, intricate pressed-patterns, glass frit on porcelain.  Literally To. Die. For.  And yes….I came home with some.  I had to.  It was talking to me.  It would have been wrong to leave it there.

Come back tomorrow and I’ll show it to you.  You’ll be glad you did.  In the meantime, here’s another shot of my table.  Thanks for visiting.  See you tomorrow….remember….tomorrow is Pottery Day!!

It’s Here, It’s Here!!

I don’t know whether I’m excited to see if anything sells or if I’m just looking forward to Sunday and it all being over.  It’s Craft Fair!!!

It took forever, but the bath salts are packaged.  There’s Spa Bath with Pure Essential Oils, Cocoa Butter, Meadowfoam & Sweet Almond Oils, Bath Fizzlers with the fresh scents of Green Apples or Peach Daquiris, Cocoa Butter & Honey Bath….and the list goes on.

The Craft Fair is Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm in the Creston Room at the Rec Center.   Stop by and have a visit.  The jewelry and soaps will be there too.  And the bath salts.  Did I mention the bath salts?  I’ve got a few……

 

It’s a Dirty Job…

I love being creative.  I love taking a bunch of different things and producing something new and wonderful.  Something that would not exist if not for my intervention.  Whether it be yummy soap or a fabulous new piece of jewelry, their very existence makes me happy.  I’m happy to say “I did that.”  Strangely enough, though, when it comes to SELLING what I’ve made I turn into a bit of a turtle.  I’ve been told I tend to under-value what I make.  When someone says “How much?” I mumble some price that I’m usually thinking I have no business asking and that the person asking is thinking “Is that all?”  I say this only because I’ve been told this.  Repeatedly.

I don’t know why it is, but it’s quite common for some artists to under-price their work.  I think part of it is because many artists don’t make a living off their art and are just thrilled to sell something.  I think the other part is more insidious.  I think it’s a self-esteem issue.  It’s almost as if some artists think, if even on only a subconscious level, that if they ask a higher price then they’re somehow guilty of hubris.  They may fear that someone will actually gasp in horror and exclaim “You must be joking…it’s not THAT good”.   I’ve finally acknowledged that maybe that’s a problem I need to deal with.

Along with pricing issues, there come the marketing issues.  I’m not good at marketing.  It feels somehow a little dirty to me to be promoting myself.  Because that’s what it’s ultimately about…. while I may be selling a product, on some levels I’m really selling myself…or at least my abilities, particularly with the jewelry.  But I’m going to do it.  I’m going to keep plugging away at coming up with a cohesive marketing strategy.  Step 1…..this weekend’s craft fair.

I’ve made flyers to let people know where to buy my products.  I’m not expecting to sell a lot of jewelry because craft fair buyers, here at least, tend to not purchase more expensive items, but I want the jewelry to be seen.

Brandy printed me up some business cards on that scrumptious copper card-stock, I bought decorations for the table, so I guess I’m ready to roll.  I’ll take pics and post them next week.

So we’ll see if I’m getting it right.  With the packaging, the marketing, the pricing, the product.  With everything.  It’ll be interesting, to say the least.  As for the pricing, the other phenomenon I’ve noticed is people that drastically over-price their products.  But that’s a topic for another blog post.  I’m sure I’ll address it at some point.  Stir the pot a little.  Make a different kind of mess.  *evil grin*.

Pure Decadence

There is an amazing bath & body company out there that is a 4-letter word in my house.  Yes, its name has 4 letters, it begins with an L and ends with an H and I have a love-hate relationship with them.  I loooooove their products.  All their products.  Haven’t found one yet that I didn’t fall head-over-heels for.  But……..

I HATE that in order to get their stuff I have to either drive to a major center to stand in the middle of their store inhaling so deeply that the dust-bunnies come creeping out from under their shelves or I have to do mail-order.  I don’t want do mail-order.  I want to sniff it before I buy it.  I want to touch it before I plunk down $8 for an itty-bitty bar of soap.

So to heck with it.  I just made my own.  You’ve seen the soaps already.  I’ve been using them in the shower.  My skin is soft, they lather like crazy, they’re creamy, foamy, and downright delectable.

Today was the bath salts.  “Bath Salts” is such an inadequate term for these though.  They’re all enriched with skin-loving oils or butters to leave you soft and silky even in the horror we call winter.  My favorite is the Pure Decadence Spa Bath line.  These are also enriched with my own blends of Pure Essential Oils and smell divine.  The Rainforest Pure Decadence Spa Bath is a blend of Patchouli and 2 other Essential Oils.  It reminds me of the West Coast Temperate Rainforest.  My favorite part of living in Vancouver was wandering through the forests of UBC and just BREATHING it all in.

The Island Blossom Pure Decadence Spa Bath takes me back to Hawaii.  With Neroli and 2 other Essential Oils it has a rich, heady fragrance that I find flat-out intoxicating.  Just ask my husband…he laughed, shook his head, and walked away from me when he saw me sitting there with my face buried in the bag opening for this stuff.  Sniffing.  No…..snuffling, really.  I may not take this to the Craft Fair on Saturday.  I may hide it.  For ME.