I accomplished quite a bit yesterday. Sometimes, when I am working on the office part of the business (correspondence, paperwork, etc.) it seems that I am treading water. I know my blogs aren’t as exciting to you all when I talk of the mundane parts of the operation of my business, but it is essential and necessary part of my job that helps me to expand and grow. I had some promising payoff yesterday that may be a very positive things for me. I almost don’t want to even mention yet because I don’t want to ‘jinx’ it, but I realize that is silly and I have guarded optimism that things will work out. (Pink cloud alert!)
Many of you who read regularly have seen the ups and downs that I have had with my skating pond set. After waiting the better part of this year for it to be published, I was then disappointed because the publication left out the vital information as to how to contact me (which still hasn’t been resolved yet) I then was offered ads in several different magazines in order to sell the patterns and kits myself, only to hear that the top brass didn’t approve of offering it on that scope. I will be given a (much appreciated) half page ad in my own magazine as compensation.
Although I am grateful for the ad I will receive, I still felt that the set won’t be seen by the proper audience – the painters. I really believe in this project however, and it is because of believing in it that I continued to pursue different avenues to market it. Something inside me just won’t settle and let it go.
Late last week, I sent a proposal to one of the biggest tole painting suppliers in the US. I have known of them since I began tole painting in 1996. I ordered from them many times, and they not only have a great web presence, but they also send out several wonderful catalogs a year. They also offer wood pieces to go along with the pattern packets and books they sell and seem to support many ‘cottage industry’ designers such as myself. I got my nerve up and donned my “what have I got to lose” hat and called their office. I received the name of the woman who was in charge of acquiring new items for distribution, and it turned out I have been a fan of her work for them for many years. I was given the option of talking to her directly on the phone or emailing her and I chose to email her with the details. I felt that I would make a better impression if she could see what I was offering instead of hearing about it without even knowing who I was.
I prepared the email for her and sent it off on Friday. In it I sent the finished pattern packet of the Skating Pond Vignette as well as a link to my site so she could see my other work. I hit the “send” button not knowing if I would even hear from her again.
On Monday, I received a note in the email from her that she was interested in the set and that they were having a meeting on Tuesday to decide on things for the March catalog. She said she would present it to the group and get back to me. I was happy that she liked it enough to present it and tried not to get my hopes up too much.
Yesterday, I received another email from her. In it she stated that they all liked the set and idea, and she was wondering if I would be able to split it into several sets because the only concern they had was the size of it. That was also something that I was considering doing, as the idea was not only mentioned to me here as feedback from this blog, but in other places too. Originally, I was going to have it run in 4-5 issues of the magazine as smaller sets. When I designed it, it was with that in mind. It wasn’t until later on when they pushed it into one issue, making it a much larger endeavor.
I responded that I would be wiling to split it up and I am trying to not get my hopes up too much until something is more definite, but I am happy that I took the chance and didn’t give up. Whether it works out for me or not, it is a good lesson in promoting myself and now they know that I exist and I will hopefully be able to develop a relationship with them and obtain another (large) outlet for my work. Stay tuned for further developments . . .
In the mean time, I also shot three short videos yesterday. I received lots of positive feedback on the other short videos and I like the idea of keeping them short and to the point. I was going to use my Windows Movie Maker and string them all together with some cool fading and stuff, but when they were done, I liked them as short, simple videos and I have decided to keep them all separate. I feel that it will be easier to find just what you need without wasting time on watching what you already know. I can still include all of them as a series and offer them on DVD in it’s entirety, but they will all be separate chapters and easy to index and find.
So without further babbling – my new videos!
The first one is how to apply the pattern to your wood using temporary spray adhesive:
Next I show how to prepare the wood for stack cutting three layers of plywood at a time:
And finally I show the actual cutting of the stacked pieces:
I choose to use the snowman piece from the pond set because I am going to continue adding videos of the painting process I used for him. He is small and simple and I will be able to highlight several different techniques in creating him. By the time he is finished, he should encompass all the techniques needed to get you started on both cutting and basic painting.
As always, your feedback and comments are very welcome. I realize that the sound can be an issue on the cutting video, and I did limit my speaking on that one because of the saw noise. Eventually I will work on over-dubbing the voice, but at this point I am quite overwhelmed with learning everything and for now I believe that this is adequate and gets the point across. I need to use the equipment that I have in order to make these right now and it is the best I can do.
I hope you enjoy them and learn something from them. It is a great new way for me to teach. I know there is a great deal of room for improvement, but at least it is a start!
Thanks for looking! :D
-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts, Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"