Category Archives: Packaging

Living Up To The Name

When I named this blog “Just Make a Mess” I meant it.  I meant to be willing to show the chaos that can ensue as a result of the creative process.  Now I know there are artists that create magnificent works while their studios remain pristine.  Their paints are carefully organized according to colour family, their pencils are all neatly sharpened and stored with their tips protected.  Their palettes could be sold as colour-wheels.  These kinds of artists do exist.  I personally believe them to be alien life-forms, but I do believe they exist.

Unless you have the luxury of a studio completely separate from your house, or you have a house with tons of storage, keeping a studio tidy and dedicated to its intended use can be difficult.  I live in a house that was likely built in the 40’s or 50’s and it is woefully lacking in storage space.  The end result of this is that most of my spaces must be multi-functional.  Which sucks for the studio.

Over Christmas, the usual happened.  This kind of thing……

led inevitably to this kind of thing…..

That’s my poor studio, buried underneath the remnants of our holiday.  Everything that needed to go “somewhere” ended up here.  This mess enabled the packaging of soap, the storage of yummy Chrismas baking, the taking of many blog photos, the printing of jewelry packaging and the final polishing of tons of new jewelry pieces.

So tomorrow, this room stops living up to this blog’s name and gets a mucking-out.  It’s a new year and I’ve tons of new projects I’m just itching to get at.  This is one of them:

From Away

This is a painting I started a long while ago that I kind of abandoned to get some jewelry done.  The plan is to spend more time on painting.  Until this is done, it’s going to be one day painting, one day jewelry, during the week, Monday to Friday once the studio is in working order again.  I have big plans for this painting.  I want to take it somewhere I’ve never seen a painting go before.  Stay tuned and I’ll keep you updated on that, AND the exciting new direction I’m going to explore with my jewelry.  It’s going to be a great year, isn’t it?  I’m excited and inspired and all of you are a big part of this journey.  Let’s see what’s next, shall we?

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A Little History

Something rather exciting came out of the Craft Fair on the weekend that I’d like to share with you all.  The bath products sold really, really well.  In fact, I totally sold out of my favorite soap, the Almond Oatcake.

This didn’t really surprise me and I’m going to make a fresh batch this weekend as well as order at least a quart of this fragrance.  It’s sooooo nummy.

Part of the reason I make soap is I really love the organic feel of the process.  There’s something downright magical about watching a bunch of oil emulsify with the lye solution and swirl itself into soap.  I love that it’s old-fashioned, the way they did things “back in the day”.

The really exciting thing is that I was approached by Tammy, the Manager of the Creston Museum and she asked me if I was interested in putting my soap line and jewelry into the gift shop at the museum.

I have to tell you, saying yes to this great opportunity is a no-brainer for me.  I’m honoured to be asked and, quite frankly, really excited about tailoring part of the soap line to the Museum itself.  I’m thinking antiqued papers, sepia tones, elegant fonts.  Lovely brown bottles.   Apothecary-style.

If you haven’t checked out the Creston Museum yet, you really should.  We often overlook great resources like this when they’re in our back yard.  Pay them a visit and experience a bit of the history of your very own town.  You can visit the website here:  Creston Museum.  Have a look and see what they’re all about!

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*.