Friday, January 02, 2009

Reflecting on 2008

As many of you may know, I'm a big fan of Alyson Stanfield of and one of her recent Art Marketing Action Newsletters included her annual "Acknowledge Yourself and Celebrate" checklist. It's easy to forget sometimes how much we accomplish over the course of a year. I find this exercise of thinking about and writing a list of accomplishments particularly helpful for remembering how far I've come and the steps I've taken to grow my career. I thought I'd share some of my responses here. I encourage everyone to check out Alyson's website to find out how you can receive her weekly newsletters. Try answering these questions for yourself as a way to feel inspired about your progress before moving on to writing your goal lists for 2009.

How did you promote your Art and your online presence?
• blogged regularly (for the most part)
• joined LinkedIn, twitter, Crafthaus and Facebook.
• started new response blog: "creepy but cool"
• did various interviews for blogs, magazines and newspapers.
• wore my own jewelry more frequently to events where I knew I would be meeting new people.
• made an effort to visit and comment on other people's blogs.
• tried to update/replenish my etsy shop as frequently as possible
• blogged about and linked to any/all press features

Who were the top ten cool or influential people you met in 2008?
• Hugo: my caster (and quite possibly the sweetest old man ever)
Biba Schutz: art jeweler (extremely resourceful and inspiring mentor)
• Mike Holmes: owner Velvet Da Vinci Gallery
• Bruce Hoffman: gallery director Snyderman-Works Gallery
Harriete Estel Berman: art jeweler (via phone)
• Bruce Metcalf: art jeweler (met him at the Craft Council summer salon lecture)
• Lori: my biggest fan on etsy (major Barbie fan… and married to a man named Ken!)
• Brad Armistead: Mattel's head of soft goods division
• Lee Unkrich: director at Pixar Animation Studios (via email)
• Rob Walker: NY times magazine columnist/author (via email/phone)

Whom did you mentor or help out?
• Ashley: my fabulous intern/apprentice
Urte: the delightful replacement who took my job making jewelry at Swallow in Brooklyn when I left back in August.
• Dayna: a young jeweler, new to NYC that I met with at my studio, suggested resources for her, etc.

Did you create a new portfolio or other marketing piece?
• two new hard copy portfolios (one for press images and one for work)
• new stickers
• new postcard
• new wholesale catalog
• new thank you cards

What medium or skill did you attempt or master?
• etching on metal and glass
• gold/silver leafing on glass
• stone/wire wrapping/beading

What did you try that was completely new?
• having a studio outside my home
• etching
• gold/silver leafing on glass
• using a caster to make multiples of select elements of my work
• working with an intern
• selling retail at a high end craft fair (ACC Baltimore)
• a label maker (I'll never go back!)

What did you try that was uncomfortable but helped you grow?
• quit my part-time job to be a full time artist… AT LAST
• a business class at FIT
• created a wholesale line and catalog
ACC retail craft show Baltimore "new wave artist"
• interviews w/ press (always uncomfortable but always help me grow)
• sold jewelry (wholesale) to a woman who claimed to be a store buyer. She was not. Got ripped off. HUGE life lesson!

What worthy cause did you support in some way?
• Susan G. Komen Foundation, to help find a cure for breast cancer
WNYC public radio (I listen all the time - this is the first time I've pledged)
• MAD museum (became a member)
• SNAG (renewed membership)
ACC (renewed membership)
• James Renwick Alliance (silent auction submission)
• elected OBAMA!!

What new art events, galleries and museums did you visit?
• the new MAD museum opening
ACC show, Baltimore
ACC library: Bruce Metcalf lecture
• Brooklyn Museum: Art Smith jewelry exhibition
• Velvet da Vinci, San Francisco
de Young Museum, San Francisco: Dale Chihuly exhibition, etc

What resources did you discover?
• American Craft Council library in Manhattan
• twitter, FB, crafthaus
• the new MAD museum
• Alyson Stanfield class: "Get Organized"
• Inspired Home Office newsletter
• Brooklyn Based newsletter
• Hugo, my caster
SPB Gems in the diamond district
Kremer Pigments in Manhattan
• May Arts - amazing company where I now buy my ribbon

How did you improve your studio habits?
• I quit my part-time day job!
• I found the studio of my dreams, outside my house.
• I found an intern
• I tried hard to implement more regular studio hours every week
• I designed and created a personalized "Work Order" sheet to keep orders straight and organized between my office/studio
• I bought a proper jeweler's bench and stopped working on an old computer desk - ouch!

What books did you read to help your career?
I'd Rather Be In The Studio by Alyson Stanfield
The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp
The Success Principles by Jack Canfield
7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey
Getting Things Done by David Allen
Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway by Susan Jeffers
Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters by Courtney Martin

What videos or films were useful (to your career)?
Who Does She Think She is? documentary
Craft in America, PBS documentary series
• Andy Goldsworthy, artist documentary
DIY or die, documentary
Helvetica documentary

What seminars or workshops did you attend?
• Bruce Metcalf lecture at ACC library
• Gloria Steinem lecture at 92nd st. Y
• David McFadden, new MAD museum opening exhibition lecture @ SOFA, NY
• Jamie Bennett lecture @ SOFA, NY
teleseminar w/ Hilary Pfiefer and Alyson Stanfield
• Get Organized web-class w/ Alyson Stanfield
• FIT business class

How did you enhance your office and/or studio environment?
• moved studio outside of my home
• re-painted and re-decorated home office.
• new office desk
• purchased used jeweler's bench on ebay
• new laser jet printer
• office is now a separate room from the living room
• bought new cell phone w/ internet service so I can access internet at my studio

What grants/honors/awards did you receive?
• accepted to ACC show in Baltimore as a "new wave" artist
• applied for NYFA grant (fingers crossed!)

What articles were written about your work?
Arcadium, Hungary
Cosmopolitan, Czech Republic
InDesign, Australia
Step by Step Wire, USA
abcDesign, Brazil
Top Teen, Mexico
Sunday Times Newspaper, Australia
• Columbia Chronicle newspaper,
Chicago USA
• Metro News,
• Sky News,
• Daily Mail,
• Telegraph,
• Indie Quarter,
• Female First,
• Times of the Internet
Cool Hunting
Boing Boing
… and lots of other various blog nods

What exhibits, grants, contests, etc did you submit art to?
NYFA grant
• Alloy Gallery, Newport, RI
• Pop Culture Collision, Shaw Gallery, ME
• Materialistic, Whitney Gallery, Savannah, GA
Shoes Tell Stories, Fuller Craft Museum, MA
Forms For Pleasure Book, Belgium
500 Plastic Jewelry Book, Lark Books (fingers crossed!)

Where did you save a wad of money?
• by getting an intern (saved me a lot of time, = $)
• buying a used jeweler's work bench on ebay
• testing the craft show waters by applying for the "new wave" section of the ACC show in Baltimore (much less than a full booth)

What was the single best thing that happened to your art career in 2008?
• Quitting my part-time job to become a full time artist and finding the perfect private art studio in a loft building full of artists 5 blocks from my apartment are the best things that happened to me this year. Hooray!

Happy 2009 everyone!


annie said...

what a wonderful post! thank you so much for sharing this. cheers to all of your 2008 successes and i wish you a great 2009 :) i'm off to answer these questions for myself!

KMJewelryStudio said...

What a fantastic list! Congratulations on your endeavors. I also benefited from the questions you asked.

sarah said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
montserrat lacomba said...

Thank you for share this post, it make me feel well, it's nice to know people like you, I think at last we have that we deserve.
Good luck in 2009!

Alyson B. Stanfield said...

Margaux, this is a fantastic list! I'm going to tweet it and hopefully get some people over here. Never heard of DIY or Die, so I'm checking it out right now.

Congratulations on your many successes. And happy 2009!

manymuses said...

Hello Margaux,
I followed Alyson over from Twitter. After compiling my own year-end inventory here I shall now go back and add more details using the format above. I found the process refreshing and enlightening. The perfect way to begin a new year of creativity.

Best to you!

Linda Plaisted
Manymuses Studio

Danielle Miller-Gilliam said...

I'm a new fan of Art Biz...thanks to you! I have been struggling with my thoughts of what happened in 2008 and what my expectations are for 2009...and your post has helped me wrap my mind around it. I am working on my lists right now!

Congrats on all your achievements!

Judy said...

What a terrific year! Congrats and thanks for sharing it with us.

Ashley said...

Thanks for Sharing Marguax! I'm not sure I have much to fill out for last year, though I will try. This is a good tool to use throughout the year to keep me on track I think.

Hilary Pfeifer said...

Hey Margaux--I popped over to your blog after seeing Alyson Stanfield twitter about it, and was honored to see my name there. I'm glad I could inspire in some way. You have inspired me in turn to make a list of my own--such a good exercise. Here's to an even better 2009!

Margaux Lange said...

Thanks everyone! I'm glad it was helpful for others to view my list. I often hesitate with a post this personal, so it helps to know it benefits others when I decide to share. Here's to a fabulous 2009!