Timothy Adam is not only an amazing metal artist, but he is a pretty neat guy.  I have seen many of his helpful hints in my web travels.  I thought I would share his latest.  Handmadeology is a site dedicated to teaching creatives how to sell online.  The first class starts January 26th, although the information will be up for you to read at any time after.  Join me!

My kids are getting older and it occurred to me I have not drawn one sidewalk chalk mural, maze or face all summer.  This is a bit sad.  Do I really have to wait for grandchildren to relive my dreams of sidewalk art fame?  Nope.  This is your lucky day.  I’m about to let you in on a great chance to win a video ipod.  I mean really great.  Your chances are going to be about 1 in 26.  But, you do have to do a bit of work, because you are going to be competing against me 😉

Grab your sidewalk chalk, a chunk of pavement and get to it!    Joe Hill’s sidewalk chalk contest

On Flaming Hot I asked glass artists how they measure their businesses success and stay focused.  I’m sure it is no surprise I sit down and write out my goals and objectives each year. I’m a list person, I can’t help it.

I split my goals into three categories.  The first is financial.  I have a monthly sales number I try to meet.  The second is educational.  I determine the glass techniques I wish to master and how I’m going to make it happen.  

My third category is all about my feel good factor.  I’m not sure of the word to use.  I focus on helping other lampworkers get started,  new art business people work more efficiently, educating the public about glass and art businesses and get my name out there in the process.  I suppose you could call it networking with a humanitarian focus.

I do find pleasure in setting goals and meeting them.  They keep me on track and feeling productive. I don’t get a weekly paycheck or a glowing evaluation from my boss, but I can check things off my list.

The internet has really helped many of us sell our hand crafted work.  No matter where you live, chances are you can sell in a global marketplace.  Pretty neat when you think about it.  Because for years the saying “Location, location, location” was everything when it came to a successful storefront business. 

Now that the ability to access prime location is not a huge hurdle, other things become issues.  How do I get people to see my auctions and my site?  I can’t see those buyers walking down the street, but I know they are out there wandering the internet. 

But when should one list? I think each seller has a theory and it is the topic for Flaming Hot’s blog it this week.  When is the best time to list auctions in order to maximize views? 

When I first started selling I was convinced I needed to be as regular as clockwork.  I created a must follow schedule of listing Tuesdays and Thursdays; day slots for justbeads and night slots for ebay.  If I had extra sets I would add another weekday or weeknight auction. 

A year or so later I added a newsletter to my marketing efforts.  I began to sell from my site and announce new strands.  I was again convinced I needed a strict schedule of every week.  I think you are beginning to see where this is going, right? 

Even more recently I added Etsy to my auction sales sites.  Over there the suggestion is to list as often as possible one auction at a time.  What?!  any old time?  Oh my, but what about a schedule?  Within days I was enjoying just listing willy nilly.  How completely free-spirited and wild I felt.  I was so liberated I sent my newsletter out on a completely random day.  Crazy, I know.  I put up a couple Saturday auctions on one of the sites.  What was I thinking? 

Now before you get too worried, I still have to fill my Tuesday and Thursday slots to maintain a tiny slice of order.  But don’t be surprised to see other auctions listed on any old day of the week.  And my newsletter?  I just might surprise you with a 2am version.    My new motto is location, location, and list any darn time you want.  

I love color.  I still find a box of crayola crayons exciting and irresistible.  While I am waiting for my kiln to heat up, I often just browse my selection of colored glass rods.  They are organized by system and color.  I pull out a few shades and mix and match the combinations until I have a few ready to be melted.

But, what happens when I don’t have the exact shade I want?  I want to create the color and start to think in terms of what I would need to create the tone.  As anyone who has ever mixed glass knows, it is time consuming and experimental.  More often than not you get something you didn’t plan on.  I do it and usually enjoy the results.   But…..  I have this fantasy. 

“I am standing before a huge furnace where I can heat up base glass colors in a pot.  I grab a little of this and a little of that.  I mix them together to see what I have.  I need a bit more yellow…. no, that’s not it, maybe a touch of red.  Oh, that looks yummy.  Let me pour it out into rods and see what I have.  Awesome!  But next time I think I’ll add a bit more blue.” 

Wouldn’t that be fun?  I am envious of the people at Bullseye Glass.  They make new colors almost every month and sell them to color obsessed bead makers like me.  Maybe they have an opening?  

When it comes to idolizing people I’m not sure I do.  When it comes to idolizing people’s work, I certainly do.  Numerous glass artists inspire me, intrigue me and astound me.

At the beginning of my glass journey I was mesmerized by Jill Symons.  I see her beads as being beauty in simplicity.  She allows one to look into the glass, watch it shine, shimmer and reflect light without many distractions.  The sheer joy of a single color is allowed to stand proud in Jill’s beads.

As I improved and discovered how glass works, I became enamored with technical genius.  Japanese bead artist Emiko Sawamoto has such precision in her work.  Complex cane, murrini and an eye for detail are all things I have grown to appreciate. If I ever feel I have arrived and have little to learn, I’m sure one day attempting these techniques would bring me to a my knees.

Currently I admire and am inspired by the work of Leah Fairbanks.  It is no surprise I love her florals.  Her beads include fine metals, gemstones and colors that keep me wanting more.  One day I do wish to make beads as beautiful as hers.

When I was a teenager Seventeen Magazine was the end all for fashion decisions.  I poured over the back to school issue and dreamed about the outfits I would be wearing.  I knew just what colors were hot and what styles I had to wear.  My school clothes shopping excursion down to the mall in Portland, Maine was a well planed event.

Perhaps this is why sitting down to lunch all alone with Vogue inspires me so.  I pour through the pages and tear out the things that give me wonderful color or design ideas.  I plan bead sets for the upcoming season.  I know what colors are hot and can’t wait to find the right glass to match.

Did you know that all this inspiration is just a dollar an issue?  That’s right; a subscription to Vogue is just one dollar a month.  I find that pretty amazing in today’s economy.  Treat yourself to a magazine subscription of your choice.   I think you’ll find it well worth the money.