Archive | October, 2011

After a Short Nap

12 Oct

This is just to give you an idea of what I was selling at the fair. My “half-orange”  (husband) took the time to snap a few while I busied myself with my efforts to sell.

venta en la calle - detalle (2)

I brought back a trick from my past experiences. I remembered how many of my artisan friends would take some work with them to their selling spot and work while showing the finished product. It is a good way for people to see that you are the actual artist, the real human being creating the pieces they are holding in their hands and enjoying.

venta en la calle 2

As you can see I didn’t even have a fabric cover for the table (which my dear friend Leslie loaned me) so I purchased some plastic party “tablecloths”. I had no stands or rests for my jewelry. I had no canopy to cover me from the sun… well, you got the picture. But there is something that did help me a lot, to bear the hours, the standing and the boredom. After my husband left with our son to go home till closing time, my friend Leslie came to keep me company and help me out. She is one of those people who can make you laugh and enjoy whatever you are doing even when carrying a burden herself. After she came my mood lightened considerably, which allowed me the levity to feel free, dance to the music of the pirated CDs stand –which was huge by the way, and had many, many customers- and sell some more stuff. If you have ever seen my mixed media portraits you may remember having seen her face:

 

5-26-2011 5;54;16 PM

So it comes to this. Just take a nap, (I tell myself)  and make your Ego get some sleep too. Maybe you will both dream big and exercise your mind while resting your soul. Always carry your loved ones, family and friends with you, you might need them to carry you once in a while. Love gives us stronger arms than any push-ups.

Now that the fat lady has sung she’s going back to bed. Just had about 3 hours of sleep before having to take my kid to the doctor. I’m beat!

Blessings, Love and Light!

E.

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Now My Ego Can’t Sleep

12 Oct

Back after some long hours hunched over my polymer clay beads trying to work some magic. I have struggled for the last few years to start my jewelry business. It would be an understatement in any part of the known universe to say that it’s been easy. There has never been any money to invest, but we have invested. There has been a “how much time can I spend working the clay and mixing colors and struggling to make interesting canes-while trying to keep a modicum of order in my house and a family happy” kind of issue. Not for either my son or my husband, but for myself.

The bottom line seems to be that in order to do as much as I think I should  do, I have to be home-maker by day and artist/artisan by night. It’s not: “Have gun/will travel” for me. It’s rather: “Have coffee/will create”. The problem is even during nights when I have “nothing” to do, I still stay awake in bed creating in my mind, so active, so loudly, so crazy I will not go to sleep. My mind keeps going on and on this loop that has each idea begetting another and another… it’s like an episode of LOST!

The last few weeks I spent sleepless nights either working or worrying over the looming date of October the 8th. I had come across a street “fair”, the kind where a group pays to have a piece of street closed off during much of a day to have an assortment of nondescript vendors set up camp and sell their stuff  -from food to clothes to used bric-a-brac to cheap plastic jewelry. I have been dying to go back to the years when I sold my home-made candles at craft fairs in Puerto Rico. I was a happy artisan back then. I even had a licence from the government that certified me as such and allowed me entrance as a legit seller at craft fairs all over the island. Back then scented candles were only available at department stores or through catalogues. So, when I found myself jobless and in need of something to help me keep my head above water I taught myself to make candles at home with very little expense and after taking some baby steps one thing led to another and I ended up on the local tv crafting show teaching a little bit of what I knew and advertising my workshops.

But this is not PR, this is New York City. Every bit of paper costs you if you want something to be legit (my Puerto Rican government issue artisan licence cost me nothing) so when I found myself at that street fair in Washington Heights, I took a shot and asked around. A very nice lady explained what I had to do and even gave me a written invitation to their next date, one which I could take to the proper authorities who would give me -for a very small fee, mind you- a temporary street fair vendor’s permit to be able to participate at the event. All well and good. I did all I had to do, in a very short amount of time I went, paid my ten bucks for 30 days worth of permit and came happily home, carrying an ID card permit thingie. They say the devil is in the details, right? Well, my own little devil had snuck in through the tiny detail of what I had to pay the nice lady who gave me the invite. The fee for participating in the event was $130.0. I gave her a 30 bucks advance and she secured a space for me, all of 10 feet by 10 feet.

It is more than understandable that I could not sleep, I had tons of stuff to do, I had lots of ideas to put to work, to try out before going. But I hadn’t done this in ages. I was so ignorant of all the basics, just as if I were doing this for the first time. And, I did not have any money for all the minutiae that comes with setting up “camp Madre Luna”. Anyone who reads this who has ever done any kind of selling event will pee in their pants laughing if they saw my pitiful set up. I just did the best I could. Honestly. I know that, my husband knows that, even my 6-year-old knows that. But my poor, wounded Ego has no idea. Frankly, I feel like shit. I am definitely thankful for the pieces I sold (all of 10), I am thankful for all the people who stopped by and looked, and looked, and looked and praised my work as original, as unique, and then strode on their merry way on to my neighbor the handsome Asian selling cheap chinese plastic jewelry. There were two very lovely ladies who stopped by and did not only compliment my work, they bought multiple pieces… after I lowered the prices so they could actually take more than one set of necklace and earrings. Oh! Price, that’s another joke. I price my stuff the way I was taught by my Mom -who has had home-based businesses of one kind or another all her married life- actually, the way anyone with a pulse would price their stuff: you add your investment in supplies to your time and the amount of work you put into it, not to mention taxes if you have to. Well, my jewelry is more than fairly priced, it takes into account competition and placing. So, I went even lower considering the competition and the place… I made $100.00. 30 bucks short of what I paid for spending the day on my feet doing the little “come see/come buy the goods” dance we all have to do.

It was definitely an experience. My dear half orange tells me I have to think about it this way: we paid 130 dollars for a workshop on how to sell in this kind of scenario. I know he’s right, even little Otto knows it, but my poor stupid Ego just won’t let go of its pain. So I will try to go to bed tonight (technically it’s morning, last I saw it was past 3:30) and sooth my Ego with memories of craft shows past, tell him (cause it’s a stubborn little man this Ego of mine) that everything will be all right, that my art is beautiful, that my pieces are one-of-a-kind, that each bead is unique and that next time it will hurt less and we’ll sell more.

Another thing to add to my list!

Oh! I almost forgot to tell you: the polymer clay jewelry workshop I had up on MMW has been closed. I decided to start showing my craft right here for free for everyone who comes to read, and laugh and commiserate with my poor, poor Ego. Watch out for this next few days, just to see what happens, Ok?

For now, the fat lady has sung and is off to bed at… at 4:39 a.m. Shit! My husband’s gonna kill me for not sleeping… again!

Blessings, Love and Light!

E.

P.S. I promise pics from the show next time…