Two months ago I was trying to make a sheep card, on the computer, to cut out on the machine. And sell.
I had to think what style I actually prefer and I got utterly confused because I like so many styles. Add to that the styles I think will sell and I was stuck like a donkey in the middle of a circle of hay hills.
I had to take a break and visit the cat which often sleeps in the attic, where my artist’ studio is. Where I never do any artistic work. Because the pressure to perform is too much. And there’s a lot of traffic noise up there too, it is right under a wood rafted roof with ceramic tiles and our house is the highest barriere between a city way and the historic inner city. And you may remember that chronic sounds are my nemesis.
The attic is a marvelous space. Its high wooden roof construction, with bare trees, is a lovely handmade construction and it sings to me of craftmanship and love of material. The window looks over the canal unto the other antique houses with straight across on the other site of the water a majestic cherry tree. There is great atmosphere here!
I have lots of books there too, art books.
That day I put in earplugs and on top of that I put my ear mufflers. Just sitting there, in that chair with the Norwegian reindeer pels on it, stroking the cat, looking around, glancing upon some of the books, it all reminded me of what style of art I love most: bold cut outs. Wood block prints. Scissor paper cut out. Wooden cut outs from Norwegian Fjords. That one Spanish sculptor. Inuit Art.
Being an intellectual omnivore, I also like fine scribbly art as much as the next person. Or the repetitive patterns that so many people love. You know, the cutey woodland scribblies, the birdhouses with guirlandes of hearts. Ikea bed linnens and fabrics. I think people are wired to like patterns (just like some predators are wired to focus on movement).
But over all the scribbly, finedrawn art I prefer Dick Bruna. Bold. Clarity. Not too many repetition within one image.
Reminded of what I like best I went down and fired the computer back up and finished my design. I had tremendous fun, tinkering with shapes and silhouettes and counter shapes and echoing shapes. Figuring out what shape should be the front and what the back, cutting out all extra’s and frivolities.
It reminded me of the designing phase of Architecture, or for wood cuts and of that moment just before you put your Japanese brush to the rice paper to perform Sumi-é. Which are the three things that in the past made my artist heart sing with joy. All meeting in this simple, unpretentious sheep design. I really had fun!
Then I spend a few weeks making the cards. Perfecting them. Finding envelopes. Protective bags.
A few weeks later I sold all the cards I had at the National Dutch HandSpinners Convention. Raving reviews :) Got some orders.
This week I set up an Etsy shop. I plan to put the first cards up for sale on Oct 30th. Untill then it is making new cards and learning about good photography for me.
But this is all hobby. No, strike that! I do take a professional approach. All products and sales are professional and quite perfectionist because that’s how I work. But to me it is fun. I have no ambition to make this my life focus. This lightheartedness keeps it fun to do.
I have bought an extra set of sound mufflers that will stay in the attic. I look forward to spending some more time up there. Something is stirring in me. A few other ideas have popped up. But nothing I want to share right now.
btw: Vistaprint’s business model is *blergh!* when it comes to being upfront to costumers so I found a marvellous artisan factory of stamps who gets my business now that I want to put the name of the shop on the back of the cards.