Wednesday, October 5, 2011

From Maker to Making a Living, class #2: just say yes.

I've had a day to digest my second class in the workshop series I'm going to be taking for this month. I think I needed it, as last night was a tough one, for me and a lot of my classmates too. Jacqueline's task for the night was to look at all the directions businesses could go in. We're talking blue-skying it. If money wasn't an option, what could I do? You'd think it would be an easy answer, but it's hard not to default back to thinking "I could do that, if I had the money, time, space, etc.". Jacqueline's catch phrase of the night was JUST SAY YES. I have to say it really opened my head to the possibilities I have available. It's funny that though I came into this class thinking that I wanted advice purely for my crafty endeavors. Tea towels and pillows. I went up to Jacqueline after the first class to ensure she knew that though I said I was an illustrator in my introduction that I wasn't intending to bring that part of my business into the class. I'm not sure if you'd call it an "ah ha!" moment or a "duh" moment, but my crafty business IS my illustration business. All my conversation about what I could do with my crafts lead straight to ILLUSTRATE A BOOK. Of course, I didn't talk about how difficult it is to get into a publishing company and that making money in books is hard, I just said yes. It was hard to keep my trap shut, but refreshing after the fact. It's really exciting to see all your potential sprawled across a big, white piece of paper. I really cannot wait until next week's classes!

Now, speaking of just say yes, today we lost an incredible man that did just that and more. I have to make a little shout out to Steve Jobs, as I sit here typing on my third Apple desktop computer. Thank goodness he was one of those guys that saw that the sky has no limit. It really is one thing to have a brilliant mind and limitless imagination, but another to have the guts to use them fully and fearlessly. Macs have changed the way I look at computers, digital media, and, from a girl who once would rather spend hours painting in gouache than open photoshop, digital art. As CBC news stated today, he really was the Henry Ford of our generation. I'm getting a bit teary over here.... anyway, I've wanted to share this speech on my blog since I first heard it, as I've found it to be so utterly inspirational. If you've got 15 minutes I would highly recommend watching it and remembering Steve's genius and heart.  I know he's resting in peace knowing he's left the world a much better place. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

From Maker to Making a Living, class #1: same problem, different boats.

Wow! What a great start to a month of learning! I know for sure that signing up for this workshop series was a great idea. Jacqueline is even more amazing in real life than she is on paper (or web page) and I am looking forward to taking in all her words of wisdom and learning from her experiences. 

There are ten business owners participating, including myself. Tonight was about getting to know a little about everyone's businesses and history, and determining the key issues we all have in making successes of them. I don't know why (ego, maybe?) but I figured that I would here similar stories to my own. Boy, I couldn't have been more off. The areas of craft were wide spread, from weaving to jewellery, furniture making to ceramics. Though everyone had a different perspective on their issues, there were definitely a few common threads. I'm looking forward to seeing the progression of my fellow classmates, and myself.

My first homework assignment was to breathe (lots of information in one night), and then write down what I see my dream business to be. So I started jotting down ideas, and really thinking about it. At the end of the day, my dream business is along the lines of one of my favourite illustrators, Susie Ghahremani of Boy Girl Party. Look to your right and you'll see the permanent link to her site. She's really got it all. She sells stationary and such that gets produced by a third party, necklaces, bags, etc., all featuring her amazing characters. In addition she sells prints of her work, and original paintings. In addition to all of this she's able to participate in art shows AND she's an active illustrator. I like to read her personal blog too, as she is honest about the issues a creative business owner has. Plus, she's funny. Hopefully if I share this with Jacqueline she'll have a better idea of my goals.

So, homework done for the night. I'm a bit of a keener. Now this keener is going to try to read more of her book club book that needs to be done by Thursday. Class number 2 tomorrow!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Back to school.

That's right, kids. I'm about to start some learning. Tomorrow night I start an eight class workshop called From Maker to Making a Living put on by the ever wonderful Ontario Craft Council. The lectures are being led by the very successful Jacqueline Sava of Soak, a money-making crafter extrordinaire. From Maker to Making a Living is a series of classes designed to guide craftspeople through the process of understanding, designing and building their individual businesses. Obviously, if you've read even a few posts on my blog, this has been my pursuit and dream since forever. You would also notice that I've not had amazing results as of yet. I am conceptualizing a whole new plan of action for my handiwork and am hoping that these classes will not only get my plan off the ground, but allow me to keep up a momentum. I will be posting a little bit about each class after I've attended it, starting with tomorrow night. I'm actually really excited to interact not only with a business mentor, but to meet people who are in the same ship as me. 

Stay tuned tomorrow! Off to get ready for class!