Monday, November 29, 2010

Right under my nose and I had no idea they were here...

Curated blogs such as Design Sponge, Print and Pattern, Etsy stalker and Apartment Therapy have been part of my daily routine for the past year since I discovered blogging. But I was really taken aback when I happened on Poppytalk today for the first time. Poppytalk is (according to their website) the first to offer a curated marketplace and they are right here in Vancouver! Not only that, but they focus on handmade and emerging designers.

From their blog:
“We are proud to be "the original curated marketplace" (having come up with the concept first) and are proud to be number one (email us for details) for bringing the best results to it's participants! Now in our second year, we are dedicated to supporting emerging artists by giving them a "fair" and best option to have their work seen online.”

They cater to a young demographic and the work I have seen just today really inspired me.

There are a couple of ways to hook up with them. Either through their curated themed markets or by advertising with them. I believe that the advertising is also curated but I need to read more about it.

The trick is to fit into their themes, which I am not very good at. Not likely there will be a theme for Jewish weddings anytime soon ...  but I am intrigued about what they are up to and when I get up enough nerve, I will contact Jan and Earl. Hey—they are right here—and so am I!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Dear Diary: If you have patience, you will reap the rewards.

I can't believe it's Friday again. Where does the time go? Of course there was that last minute ketubah for a wedding next Saturday in New York, but really—the true culprit was getting some real new work done. It is easy to recycle all the stuff I have already done. Making new art is soooo much harder.

There are moments when I must take myself in hand and say—OK—it is time to get down to it and try to come up with something different. The kind of hard creative work that makes me yawn over and over again and makes my eyes tear and my legs cramp and my hands freeze (I mean really from the cold but also from concentrating so hard). The kind of work that makes the day seem long and makes me wonder if in fact I have it in me.

A few weeks back, cousin Sheryl called to talk about a new avenue for my work. "I think I have an idea to expand your business" she said. "Now that you have weddings covered, what about birth certificates?" I was quick to say that I was way ahead of her and had been playing around with some ideas but hadn't really gotten far enough with it to do something serious about it. She was very encouraging and assured me I would come up with something great.

Well that was kind of the kiss of death.

Now there were expectations... It was for some reason like a lead weight I couldn't get out from under—So I gave myself a shake this week, and between rush ketubah jobs and trips to the post office and Fedex I started doing research and started putting some ideas together.

Then I let them sit for a few days ...  and you know, I am kind of excited about the results.

First I researched the Jewish tradition of baby naming which is to officially present the child with a Hebrew name, usually honoring a loved one who has passed on. I wanted to create a certificate that documented the baby’s key statistics, English and Hebrew names as well as the dearly departed family members that were being honoured by the naming. In the tradition of ketubah artwork, I wanted to decorate the document with meaningful symbolism.

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Since pomegranates are a symbol of fertility and bees and butterflies pollinate and fertilize, these elements seemed like a great beginning.

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In both designs, the background faded leaves form a subtle Star of David. Not everyone will see this detail, but I know it's there.

These two designs will be are for sale at my etsy shop next week now. The text will be totally customizable and I think I will offer two sizes based on off the shelf frames.

And this is not the end of my weeks accomplishments. But I will save that for another post...

Monday, November 15, 2010

But she MADE me do it!

When two of my  DIY Hanukkah decorations listings sold on Sunday, I got really pumped! When I checked to see who had bought them, I was surprised to see that a certain cousin of mine in Winnipeg had bought the second one! I shot off an email right away—hey you didn't have to do that! Family after all have privileges. I know he reads this blog, so I will keep his name to myself, but his reply still has me giggling. “She made me do it” he wrote, blaming his adorable wife who is probably right now cutting out dreidle and candle decorations.

Well I couldn't help myself. I sat down and designed this new set of cards for them.

These cards are on their way to you my unnamed Winnipeg cousins, as a thank you for being so cute and for supporting my new business!

The rest of you can find the new listing at my shop. But hurry, Hanukkah is only a couple of weeks away. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Diary of a Ketubah artist: So now what?

Dear Diary:
This week’s Ketubah orders under control—check. New designs for in production—check. Daily perusal of Design Sponge, Print and Pattern and Apartment therapy done—check. First load of laundry in the machine—check.

So now what?

There has been a lot of visualizing, and a lot of tossing and turning about whether or not it makes sense to expand my ketubah work into full blown collections. I can't help myself. Every time I develop a new ketubah design, the elements immediately transform into other wedding related products—like invitations, thank you cards, save the date... Yikes!

And then of course I am also really (really!) hoping to find a way to economically move forward with Chuppah designs on silk. There are still a lot of challenges ahead but I am hoping that I can work through them. It would be soooo exciting to see my designs (like this one) on beautiful flowing fabric!

This week there was time to think about all of these things. A little window to put together mock-ups and see if any of these ideas are worth pursuing. I get really excited about every new idea but I also realize that my getting giddy about this design or that is not exactly marketing research! So one small step at a time...

I have made some progress on one other idea. I am calling them wedding mementos. For couples that have already purchased one of my ketubah designs, this mini ketubah will have their design (with their customized text) nicely placed on the page with their names and wedding date in a beautiful calligraphic font. This really feels right. Such a nice gift for their parents, grand parents or members of the wedding party. I managed to get some time to work on a couple of mock-ups this week and hope to have them finalized for the shop soon.

And what about e-vites? If getting into the wedding stationery business proves to be just a bit over my head, I may take the next little window of time that makes it self available to me, to investigate developing a line of customized wedding invitations that go out by email. A green alternative!

I have also been thinking about how lucky I am to be living in this beautiful city, doing what I love.

Enough thinking for one day. Over and out.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Diary of a Ketubah artist: entry #1

Dear Diary:
My etsy shop has been open since August. And the best part of having my own shop is meeting each and every couple I have the pleasure of working with. Each couple that chooses my work for their special day is unique. In the few weeks that we send our convos and emails back and fourth to each other, a relationship develops that is really special. Sometimes it is the groom who initiates contact, sometimes the bride. By the end of the process I really feel like I have made new friends. I am always so excited on the day of their wedding, thinking about my artwork being a part of such a special day for them. Even more exciting is when I get a quick email from one of them thanking me for the ketubah and the experience.

“I received the ketubah yesterday, and it's beautiful!! Thank you so much for such a wonderful online shopping experience. I am very pleased with everything.”

“Thanks for this update and all your patience!!! Your work is really beautiful and I'd be very happy to recommend you to anyone.”

“Our ketubah came today! It is gorgeous - we love it!
Thank you so much for all your help. It was a pleasure to work with you.”

With each project comes it's own challenges, like this week—I had to figure out how to piece together the Conservative text with Lieberman clause correctly. Rabbi David and his listserv came to my rescue with lots of advice and texts to review. And then I have Ellen and Anat in Jerusalem to translate and proof my work. As they say it takes a village ... And what a village I have!

Two weeks ago a bride in Sydney Australia came to me with a request for turnaround time that was not going to be possible through conventional methods. I couldn't take any chances that the package would be stopped at customs or delayed in any way.  I decided that the best solution was to find a giclee printer in Sydney who could print the final ketubah for me. Thanks to Tom at Vision Image Lab in Sydney, all went smoothly and another crisis was averted. 

Every week brings new and exciting interactions and challenges. What I have found so far is that there is never a challenge big enough to discourage me, and most importantly, that anyone I have approached for help or encouragement has been extremely generous.