Things are getting more and more eccentric at Casa de la Swain. Changing styles in my textile work, falling in love again with painting and photography...and then there is the ever illusive quest for continuing creativity through working with Eric Maisel. Still on the road teaching, posting now at the Ragged Cloth Cafe and taking the pledge to keep handmaiden up to date.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Then and Now

You are all probably way over reading about goals and what was accomplished but I am behind in doing mine.....so here goes anyway.
This will be short and sweet I promise. 2005 was the year I decided to make major changes in my business...often at the expense of making quilts but I didn't know that at the time. The solution was to create a set of instructional dvd's to try a reach a broader market....you know, folks who can't make it to seminars or don't have a guild where they live. These dvd's were also to act as inspiration to try new things and to act as a "hand out" for students after they left the classes.
To this end I started working with Alyson Stanfield . I cannot recommend her services highly enough. The first step was to take an on-line marketing class. Since my professional life was fairly well established, she suggested we do individual sessions on a needed basis. Long story short, after much financial investment, the business was launched. To date, things are going well. Individual sales from my web site have been very successful. At the last minute, I decided to do Quilt Market and ended up with two distributors. Looking back, I had no idea what work would be involved in this new project but I am satisfied that it has been successful.
The down side is it took so much creative time that I made fewer quilts but now that things are up and running, time management is getting better.
As to contacting coaches or networking with experts in fields outside our expertise, I think this was one of the wisest decisions I made last year. They get you focused on issues you may not have considered and are a wealth of information on how to break into venues you might not have considered. For instance, one piece of advice Alyson gave me was to move into the art world more.....not stop entering quilt shows but develop pieces for other venues.
Which brings us to this year and my transitioning to more abstract work. I plan on continuting this path in my 2006 work. Once I have a decent body of work, I will do as Alyson suggested and enter the art world shows.
Having made this decision, I knew I would be experiencing all sorts of self doubt and artistic highs and lows. To that end, I have been fortunate enough to get involved with Eric Maisel.
We start our coaching tomorrow. I am no end excited. I am also participating in a study with his meaning making group which has already been very informative and enlightening.
2006 goals: continue to develop work in new style, spend more time in the studio that is meaningful instead of piddling, keep up my rowing schedule between teaching trips......and please don't take this the wrong way...but be more selfish of my time. Time is the only thing we have creatively that can never be replaced.
There is always more fabric, paint, thread....but once that hour is gone..well, you get the idea. This make me sound so serious but I really am a fun person...just ask Mrs. Mel for a testimonial to how silly I am. However, 2006 is time to focus so I am on my way to the studio with three pieces of bristol board, cut into rectangles that read: Focus, Discipline, and Experiment.
Thumb tacks in hand, up they go on the design wall.




2 comments:

Valeri said...

Well that all sounds highly commendable! All strength to your elbow. It will be an interesting evolution to watch and I am looking forward to it!

Cathy said...

You go, Gabrielle! These are admirable steps that will reap big rewards for you. I get Eric Maisel's newsletter and have always been wishful to be part of his coaching class. Is this his new group for visual artists? I'm excited for you and will want to hear details!

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