real life

Studio Update 2013: So Here's the Deal

As I neared my studio 'season' this summer, I thought long and hard about how I wanted to handle potential orders and my work load. I really did think long and hard; I started considering options as early as February and began bouncing ideas off of people in March. I consulted other hobbyists doing business in the same(ish) area, potential customers, past customers, and slowly came to the realization that I can't make everyone (myself included) happy all at once. It was a hard decision, but here it is:

As of 2013, I will no longer be taking regular commission work.

Instead, I'll be focusing on auction and sales pieces. There are a lot of reasons why, but here are the top 3:

1. I often work faster on sales pieces than commissions. We'll chalk that up to an uncooperative muse. The end result is that working faster = more tack on the market.
2. Commissions stress me out. I love them, but they stress me out. I just had a really stressful semester, and as much as I love them, I don't need more stress.
3. I get to work on projects that speak to me. Self explanatory.

I know that a lot of people will be disappointed that they won't have the opportunity to commission work from me, and I know this means there may be a lot of fun projects that I'll miss out on, but given my circumstances this feels like the right choice.

Here's what I hope to do:

Several highly detailed pieces to be auctioned, starting with the parade set that has been languishing in a box and several simpler, saddle-and-bridle pieces to be sold at a fixed cost on MH$P with plenty of advance notice so that interested parties can keep an eye out. I'm going to do my best to offer a fair mix of tack for popular plastics and resins. It's very likely that something for WeeJay, Little Lonestar, Working Girl, Mindy, and the G4/WEG molds will be put out over the summer.

I have other plans, too, like sculpting a western tree and casting it with the help of Rebecca Turner of Solstice Art. These trees won't be for just my personal use; I'll also be selling them, assuming all of this works out the way its supposed to. I'd like to get an instruction manual and pattern together to go with them.  I want to try my hand at a few how-to videos, too, starting with the best (well, my way) of tacking up. I want to be really active here on the blog and on Facebook; look for a freebie opportunity in the next few days - the studio page just hit 350 likes and the blog is pretty close to 60 watchers. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy and I'd like to share those feelings as they come along.

State of the Studio

So that is where the studio stands. I'll be cleaning up the website, updating the galleries, and clearing away some odds and ends this week. I have already done a lot of the pre-season clean up and restocking - yay for new toys (I mean tools)! I'm really excited about this summer. It feels like a marvelous jumping off point, and I hope you are all as excited as I am!

Here's to a wonderful summer full of tack, plastic ponies, and creativity!

Finals Relief

Last final is Monday! I'm taking about a week to decompress and clean up some odds and ends floating around the studio (high on the list? INVENTORY.). Then I'll get into the full summer swing; tack, photography, blogging, the works! I'm so excited!

I did a quick, couple of hours watercolor on Friday because I'm a horrible person and forgot to buy my mom a birthday card. She'll like this better anyway, AND I got a chance to play with paints. Creativity like this does wonders for my focus on other things.

Please excuse the poor cell phone photography. I was in a hurry!

New (To Me) Car!

Finally, a replacement for my 98 Ford Contour!

The new car is a 98 Pontiac Sunfire, with just 84k on it! It's a manual, which is definitely new for me but I'm doing okay! Two days of driving lessons and I can take it around our small town by myself.  It's a nice upgrade from my previous vehicle, though that's not a bad car, really.

Since buying my first one at 18, I've gone through a car a year like clockwork.  The transmission went out on my first car, but I paid $550 for it and it lasted me a year, so that's actually okay.   My second car was a lovely Chrylser Cirrus with a sunroof, automatic everything-but-headlights, and leather interior that was hit by a deer.  A month after the $500 body work, the timing belt blew on a full tank of gas while I was on my way to work.  I had just been thinking, "Gee, it's lasted me an entire year! This is great!"  Never. Again.  Third car was bought as emergency transportation after three weeks of being driven to work by my dad.  It was cheap and aside from some rust and no A/C was in really good running condition for it's age.  It's given me no problems, actually, but the lack of A/C in a Kansas summer isn't something to play around with.  Now it's been almost a year since I bought that car, but at least this switch was planned!

New car here should last me another three or four years, hopefully through the end of college.


Class started today, so I'm busy writing due dates into my wall calendar and getting things organized.  I actually took the afternoon off of work to get a solid start on this stuff.  I'm taking three full semester classes this time around, which is the heaviest workload I've done so far.  It's not full time, of course, but if I can't balance work and school I get overwhelmed and go into a tailspin.  It's not pretty and doesn't do anyone any good.

Now that class has started, posting may be a little slower.  I'm going to try to post two or three times a week, and right now I'm going to schedule Tuesdays and Thursdays as blog days.  That will give me several days to work up a topic of some sort and spew out something cohesive, I think.  Today will be some miscellaneous updates!

First and most importantly, the raffle ends this Saturday (Aug 27) at midnight central standard time! I'll compile the comments information Sunday afternoon and try to get winners announced that night.  There have been 157 comments so far, which is totally exciting! I've loved reading all of them, and you guys have had some great things to say!

I started working on a trade project Sunday afternoon.  It doesn't look like much right now, but eventually it will be an upper level dressage set for Dinky Duke.  DD is just a little larger than Wee Jay, and is the largest I've gone so far.

The tutorial is officially with my volunteers! I've already heard back from Christine of Last Alliance Studios, and she has pictures of her first try up! She did a brilliant job both assembling the saddle and giving me feed back.  We've found one place already that needs clarification and more pictures. Leah at Shoestring Stable is also testing the tutorial for me, and as soon as I hear back from her I'll start revising and putting together a "clean" version. Right now the tutorial is functional, but not very pretty.  I want to format it a little bit and enlarge the photos.  It's sitting at 7 pages with 11 point type and thumbnail-sized pictures right now, so it's going to be the size of a small novel by the time it's done! I'm going to have to put it in a PDF, I think. Related but not: after using Adobe's InDesign so extensively at work, I find myself extraordinarily frustrated with the limitations of Microsoft Word.

That sort of sums things up for now! Theoretically, the next post will be about going "buckle-less", which is sort of a misnomer since there actually ARE just don't use them!