This latest addition to my Etsy shop is a pretty apt description of life right now....just stacking one more rock on top and hoping to maintain the balance. But, I love the challenge and I love being immersed in a new venture! First, I'll tell you about the venture and then how it came to be....and I'll try to wrap it up in a small nutshell....or maybe a large one.
After reading this post, I invite you to head over to Etsy to take a look around a new shop, The Art Filled Home, which is a collaborative adventure for my artist/printmaker husband and me. The works in that shop will be primarily print-based mixed media works. Johntimothy is the printmaker in the family and for many years has been trying to entice me over to the printmaking side, as he sees the possibilities of turning my drawings into etchings, drypoints, and even screen-prints. On several occasions over the years, as visiting artists, we have collaborated on projects that have become print-based mixed media pieces. In fact, the first pieces in the shop now are part of a series of screen-print/drawings that are the result of a recent collaboration. So, while we primarily make work separately in our own studios, we've been known to team up and we enjoy the synergy that happens when we create work together. It's sometimes a challenge, but in the end, we are always surprised and happy with the results.
You know how sometimes some small thing happens....maybe an offhand comment, maybe the eventual notice of something that's long been right under your nose....and suddenly everything changes and you are off on a new path? Well, in a way, that's how the idea for The Art Filled Home unfolded. One recent morning, I think I was expressing a kind of frustration about my work and a lack of focus that was needed to create a unified vision/brand for Missouri Bend Studio. Because I enjoy making so many things, visually, the shop seems to be all over the place. And Johntimothy then made a comment about my work being small and intimate and perfect for small scale spaces....I make art for small spaces. That was a moment of revelation somehow and brought my focus away from the work I make and onto who my audience might be. Isn't that the first rule of marketing....or at least high on the list....knowing your audience? As far as I knew, my audience was you all, the faithful readers of this blog and the folks who appreciate and buy my work. And you are certainly appreciated! A marketing focus though, it just wasn't there. But those words of his just hung in the air....art for small spaces.
The second piece of the inspiration for The Art Filled Home came as we picked up the conversation a bit later. We reminded ourselves about how important it is for us to be surrounded by art in our daily lives and how our home is a kind of gallery of works we love from artists near and far. We feel enveloped, nurtured, uplifted and inspired by having art in our home. And we reminded ourselves of all the people who have come through and have commented how good they feel when they come to our house....we've heard it over and over again....it's like a museum, or that people feel inspired and nurtured here in our home. It's an art filled home and we both believe that there are benefits to living in such spaces that are very real, yet hard to define. And so, before we knew it, we were hatching a plan to have a new shop with a clear focus....creating fine art for small spaces. You can have art on your walls, even in a tiny apartment and even large homes have small walls and spaces just right for intimate works of art.
A third piece of our inspiration was and is the conviction that anyone can collect original art and surround themselves with handmade art and craft. As a printmaker and the partner to a printmaker we have strong feelings about the difference between reproductions (glicee, etc.) and original hand-pulled prints. Hand-pulled prints are original art, as each one is made by the hand of the artist. Some of the works in our shop will be small editioned prints made by Johntimothy and some will be mixed media one-of-a-kind print based pieces.
We've got the shop up and running and are making new work to add on a regular basis. We started with the shop name, Art For Small Spaces, but all derivations of that were taken, so we expanded the idea to the basic philosophy that a home with art is one that inspires....and so The Art Filled Home was born. There is the Etsy shop, but also a website and a blog....oh, and a Facebook page. So, in addition to MissouriBendStudio, I am now running two shops, blogs, etc. While I was in the swing of creating new social media opportunities, I went ahead and created a separate website/blog through Etsy for MissouriBendStudio as well....so, now missouribendstudio.com is a thing on its own. So, as you can see, I've just stacked a few more stones on my balanced pile, but I have to say, I love this kind of creative life.
I've come to realize another kind of balance over the past few years. I can go out and get a job to bring in an income and be less than happy, or be here in the studio making work and trying to find good home for it and be very happy, even with little income. Those are the trade offs we make in life and when I check in with myself as I sit at my studio desk, I know that it is where I belong...
...right here, at this desk. Well, that was a long story, so thanks for reading to the end. Now, when you have a moment, head on over to The Art Filled Home and keep up with our blog at theartfilledhome.com.
Oh, and don't worry....this blog is not going anywhere. Part of me thought that perhaps it would be redundant now that missouribendstudio.com has a blog component, but you all are too near and dear to my heart.....this blog will still be active and full of stories of Missouri Bend Studio and probably tales from The Art Filled Home as well.
Thanks so much for your cheer and support across the miles!