Saturday, June 15, 2013

Blogger's Summer Camp

I got to go to summer camp yesterday- Bloggers Summer Camp, that is! (*Geek Alert!*) A couple months ago I wrote here about my intention to blog more often. And while I have posted a *bit* more than before, I felt uninspired and in need of more direction. Then my friend Michelle Templeton posted on Facebook that she was signing up for a Blogger's Summer Camp and I decided to jump on board and check it out too.
The Camp was actually a one day workshop organized by School House Craft in the rustic Mount Baker Community Center (it really did remind me of summer camp!)
There was one morning and one afternoon panel discussions with a break for lunch/roundtables in the middle. I really enjoyed the roundtables because it gave us the chance to talk in person with the presenters and each other.
The morning panel topic was "Creating a Life/Blog Balance" and the members were Arianne Foulks, founder of a small web design business Aeolidia, Megan Reardon, of the crafter blog "Not Martha," Blair Stocker of "Wisecraft" and Andie Powers, entrepreneur and writer. Our afternoon theme was "The Myths and Realities of Monetizing Your Blog" with fashion blogger Moorea Seal, Melanie Biehl of Inward Facing Girl, and crafter Marie LeBaron of Make and Takes.
What impressed me the most was the realization that what these women were making their money from was primarily writing. The content of their blogs, in most cases, are "how to" instructions for crafts. Some of them had even worked as writers for other websites or published books that had grown  out of the material that they had written on their blogs. 
As artist with a website, I have always considered my website as sort of an online "studio visit" for anyone interested in taking a look at some of my artwork. The blog part of it has been a little less focused, ranging between diary and shop talk. I can see now that I might want to consider offering my readers more information, such as "how to" tips for the aspiring artist. That would be fun, wouldn't it?
It was great to hear the panelists share their personal blogging stories, their insights into the business, and specific tips and tricks. I enjoyed meeting my fellow bloggers and look forward to keeping in touch. 
Writing a blog, like painting in a studio, can seem like an isolating experience. How nice it was it to gather together in a big cabin-y room for a whole day with a group of other people who were all talking about and doing the same thing! I feel energized and refocused to go forward with my blogging.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Plant Pig

Once upon a time the city of Seattle had one of those "let's put decorated animals all over the place" fundraising events.  The time was the summer of 2001 and the animals were pigs. Pigs were chosen because the pig statues would be auctioned off to raise money for the Pike Place Market clinic and there is a famous pig statue in the middle of the market.  In order to be chosen to decorate a pig, each artist had to propose a theme.

Rachel, the original Pike Place Market Pig
I thought: How would a pig feel, finding itself in the middle of a city, standing on a hard cement sidewalk, surrounded by honking cars and exhaust fumes, stuck between endless rows of buildings that shut out the sunshine? Wouldn't it dream of being back in the country?

That was my idea for "The Plant Pig." I decorated her with elements of a landscape, representing her dream of being free in the countryside.

"The Plant Pig", painting in progress, on my back porch.
 I painted lush green leaves that came up from the ground, hugging her sides. Behind that I made a beautifu blue sky dotted with white fluffy clouds and topped it off with a bright orange sun shining down on her forehead. 

"The Plant Pig" was placed on the boardwalk at the Seattle waterfront where she entertained children and kept street vendors company all summer long.

When the auction came, at the end of summer, "The Plant Pig" was bought by a man who lived outside the city. He took her home and placed her in his garden. Her dream of escaping the city and being out in nature came true.

"The Plant Pig" on the Seattle waterfront with admirers, Summer 2001. Photo by Paul Klein.

Rebecca with "The Plant Pig" Summer 2001, photo by Michelle Templeton