200 Yards Photos

Just found out today that one of my photos made it into the 200 Yards exhibition at Rare Device! The opening reception is on my birthday, June 1st, which makes it doubly exciting.  I took a ton of photos and whittled it down to five submissions.  I won’t spoil the surprise by showing the photo I’m exhibiting just yet, but here are the other four I really liked that didn’t make the cut:

Through the corner windows of Rare Device

Bus Shelter Reflection on Hayes (I think this one might be my favorite)

Flat Old Pick-up on Scott

And here are a few that I didn’t submit, but still kind of like:

Starling Perch

Automotive Service

Planter on Fell

Craftcation Recap

It’s been almost a week and I’m still not sure I’m fully recovered from the Craftcation conference.  I was scheduled to run three sessions in three days, but then added a fourth at the last minute when another speaker had to cancel.  Having been a middle school teacher for six years, where you teach 4-5 hours a day, I didn’t think it would be a big deal, but I was exhausted at the end of every day.  I forgot how tiring it can be when all of your down time between sessions is spent networking, even meals!

Moving your Business Beyond the Kitchen Table panel at Craftcation with me (moderator), Angharad Jones, Delilah Snell and Nicole Stevenson

Despite my exhaustion, I had a really good time.  I love helping other creatives (especially women) get their businesses on the right track, and I got to spend a little quality time with other energizing crafty business ladies.  I had one particularly raucous dinner with Steph Cortes from NerdJerk, Rosalie from Unanimous Craft, Marlo Miyashiro, Danielle from Etsy, Ashley Jennings, and Rena Tom that I will not soon forget.  I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time.

Marlo, Rena and me

I was really pleased to see such great attendance at Craftcation, though some of my sessions didn’t run quite as smoothly as I’d hoped.  The session on pricing was so popular that the room became a fire hazard and we had to start turning people away.  We also didn’t have a working projector, but the attendees all rallied their technology so that each table could view the slides on a shared iPad.  The marketing session was also a full house and we ended up running out of handouts halfway through, but my helper for that one, Stephanie, was freaking amazing.  I understand that you can never quite predict session attendance, and besides, shit happens, but I want to make sure that anyone who couldn’t attend or take home handouts has a chance to access the materials.  Y’all paid good money to attend the conference after all, so here are the links to the materials from my three solo sessions (the panel didn’t have materials):

Full house at the Marketing on a Budget Session at Craftcation

One thing I’m having trouble with is measuring the ROI of this conference to my own business.  The benefits are so intangible for the most part that it’s tough to tell whether offering three days of (essentially) free teaching will pay for itself in the long term.  I really like teaching, so there’s that intangible benefit right off the bat, but does it make up for the three days I couldn’t work on any of my own projects?  Right now I’m leaning towards “yes”, but I couldn’t give you any hard evidence for why I’m leaning that way.  Right now it’s just a gut feeling surrounding the concept of “networking”.

How do you figure out when to take on projects that are peripheral to your creative business, like speaking, writing and teaching?  I could honestly really use some help with this one.

Ventura, Here We Come!

Headed down to Ventura this morning to spend the weekend at the Craftcation Conference. I’ll be teaching three four sessions there:

  • Moving Your Business Beyond the Kitchen Table (panel)
  • Marketing on a Budget
  • Pricing Your Handmade Work
  • Accounting/Bookkeeping for Crafters

I’m excited to see far-flung friends Jenny Hart (at a conference I’m NOT organizing, for a change!) and Danielle Maveal (see this video Q&A we did together last month), and to spend time with fellow SF crafty-business ladies Stephanie Cortez from NerdJerk and Rena Tom.

For a little pre-conference recommended reading, please peruse this article I recently posted to design*sponge on approaching other business owners for advice.

Looking forward to trading business cards with y’all.

CCE 2011

I realize that I haven’t posted much lately, nor will I get through the mountain of no-longer-relevant items that I meant to post until mid-August at the earliest.  Why?  Because I have been eating, sleeping, and breathing the Conference of Creative Entrepreneurs.

Not to toot my own horn, but our schedule and speaker line-up has tuned out pretty kick-ass, don’t you think?  I’m especially excited to hear Jeff Rudell’s keynote address.  He is one of my personal heroes and it felt like a real coup to get him on board.  I’ll be posting an interview and sneak peek with him in the next week or two.  Other amazing speakers include:

  • Meg Mateo Ilasco, author of Creative, Inc. and Craft, Inc. and creator of Anthology magazine
  • Diane Gilleland, Editor-in-Chief of Craftzine.com
  • Erin Loechner of DesignforMankind.com and Uppercase magazine
  • Christine Schmidt of Yellow Owl Workshop
  • Derek Fagerstrom and Lauren Smith of The Curiosity Shoppe, authors of two Show Me How books, and creative directors of the Pop Up Magazine events
  • Artist and Illustrator Lisa Congdon
  • Cathe Holden of JustSomethingIMade.com
  • and more than 40 other generous and helpful experts

But seriously, check out the schedule and then register for all three days because it’s going to rock the free world and I want you all there with me.  You can RSVP for the CCE 2011 event on Facebook (and invite friends as well) or “like” the conference page.

The Creeps are Coming!

Leonardo the Octopus, my very first Deep Creep, will be making his debut in the Bazaar Bizarre pavilion at the Bay Area Maker Faire.  The Maker Faire takes place at the San Mateo Fairgrounds next Saturday and Sunday, May 21st-22nd.  If you’ve never been to the Maker Faire before, grab your friends and/or your kids and make a day of it.  Never will you see so much human creativity, ingenuity and fun in one place.

At the Bazaar Bizarre, I will have exactly 24 Leonardos.  No more.  Once they’re gone, you won’t be able to get your hands on one until they appear in stores at the end of June.  This is also the only time you will be able to purchase the Creeps directly from me, since I am getting out of the retail game.

Also at the LOV table will be the last of the Sweet Meats, and an event-only deal on Mitch the Monster.  I’m also considering offering some decorate-it-yourself plush misfit blanks, but I’m hoping the real coup de grace will be the display itself.  Come check it out!

WonderCon 2011

While last year I also spent most of WonderCon weekend behind my “small press” table, this year I was tasked with taking some photos for RottenTomatoes.com.

As is the case at all “cons,” the highlight is the attendees who come in costume (if I change the name to “Creative Entrepreneur Con,” do you think I can get people to come to CCE in costume?).  Below are a few of my favorite WonderCon things:

People who really sell it

Although I have to give props to Leah for trying to exude some major Carrie Fisher ‘tude, the clear winner here is definitely Lando Calrissian.  Look at that Billy Dee Williams point-and-smirk!  Classic.

Spidey really wanted to look good for the camera.  He took off his backpack and shoes for maximum authenticity, and then gave me multiple amazing and spiderrific poses.

Enthusiastic children

How psyched are these kids to be wearing their Halloween costumes in April? In public?!

Almost as psyched as this kid is to be eaten by the Alien.  Why are Leather-Spidey and Batman ignoring this perilous situation?

Non-human characters

Not to continue to harp on the awesomeness of the Alien, but he just roared so hard it blurred this guy’s face off!

I love love love R2.  He rolls around the hall all day, bleeping and blooping sweet nothings and hugging children armlessly.

DIY Amazingness

I’m not sure who this character is, though I want to say it’s the evil slave lord from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.  But check out his awesome skull hat — he made that himself with tinfoil and model magic.  Tin foil!  I wonder if he got the heart from I Heart Guts, who also had a booth.

Group costumes

Picture Day aboard the Death Star:  “Okay now, troopers to the right, officers to the left…yes…now everyone remove your helmets and say ‘Hail Vader!’ Wonderful! That one’s going on the company web site.”

I have no idea who these insect-guys are, nor why they’re traveling with a 60s flight attendant, but they sure make for an intriguing tableau as they buzz by.  They remind me a little bit of Arthur the Moth from The Tick.

Exhibition Opportunities at The LAB

Hey Folks,

Just found out about two great exhibition opportunities at The LAB gallery here in San Francisco.  You don’t have to be local to the Bay Area to exhibit in either show and one of them is a guaranteed “in,” so if you want to beef up the old CV this season read on!

Postcard Show: an annual favorite here in San Francisco, the Postcard Show is a haven of affordable art.  Read here for the specifics, but basically, if you made it, it fits in a 6” wide box, and it costs $50 or less, you can sell it at this exhibition — prints, poetry, jewelry, whatever!!  Free for members, $15 per box for non-members.  Drop-off work 11/18-11/20 or mail in by December 2nd.

A Floorless Room Without Walls: an exhibition that takes place entirely on the ceiling!  Free for members, $20 for non-members.  Due December 5th.  Read the full call for entries here.

Best. Conference. Ever.

Wow, what a summer!  I took a bunch of trips, made a ton of artwork, and worked on growing my business.  It didn’t leave much time for posting (or resting), but after a whole spring of feeling like I was just spinning my wheels, I finally feel like I accomplished something. Luckily for me, summer is just starting here in San Francisco, so I can still enjoy some warmer weather now that I have a little free time.

The highlight of August was of course the Conference of Creative Entrepreneurs in Seattle.  Our inaugural year was  more successful that I ever anticipated and it makes me feel both extremely lucky and extremely proud.  I could not have been more thrilled with the skill of our speakers, or the enthusiasm of our attendees.  I met more wonderful new friends than I can even count.  We also had exceedingly delicious food every day, both at the conference and at our meals and happy hours around Seattle.  It makes me really excited to start working on CCE 2011 in San Francisco.  Here are a few highlights:

Cathie Filian, Emmy-nominated host of Creative Juice on HGTV, gave one of the best talks I’ve ever heard about how to create your own business opportunities rather than sitting around and waiting for them.

Craftsanity Live!Podcasting Session with Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood and Becky Stern

Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood interviewed Megan Reardon of Not Martha during a live CraftSanity podcast.  Then Jennifer and Becky Stern from Craftzine/Make magazine showed attendees how to make podcasts of their own!
Taking It To The Next Level: Lauren Venell, Jenny Hart and Andrea Porter

I got to be part of two amazing panels, “Taking it to the Next Level” with Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching (center) and Andrea Porter of Matthew Porter Art (and fellow organizer!, right), and “Valuing Your Work and Getting Paid for it,” with Lisa Congdon, Becky Stern, and Leanne Winslow of Cake Central.  Every single one of these ladies is so. friggin. smart.

Trophy Cupcakes

Speaking of cake, we had (among other amazing goodies) these ridiculous cupcakes from Trophy cupcakes.  Those flavors are Nutella and Salted Caramel, my friends.  WHAT???!!  Yeah, I had, like, eight.  I also had my first poutine in Seattle (I ate it too quickly to take a photo), which is french fries drenched in gravy and cheese.  Oh my stars.  Yum.  All that weekend was yum.

Attendees At CCE

Isn’t the Hugo House gorgeous?  This is in the “cabaret room”.  I love it when creative events are held in inspiring, colorful spaces, rather than in sterile hotel conference rooms.  I also love it when we have three days without major A/V or tech issues.  What a treat!

Last Chance for a Free CCE Ticket!

The free ticket giveaway on design*sponge ends tomorrow at 8AM for the Conference of Creative Entrepreneurs, so if you want a chance to win, act quickly!  The rules are at the bottom of my latest “biz ladies” article, titled “Maintain Confidence in a Competitive Market,” which is all about keeping it together as a creative professional when everyone else in the world seems younger, skinnier and more talented than you.

If you’d like to remove the element of chance altogether, you can get your ticket at the CCE site, which has day passes and full weekend passes available for extremely reasonable prices.