Back to the Future

Well. After an update of my self-hosted WordPress install did some bad things to my website, I killed the whole thing in a fit of frustration and now, we’re back to this.

I am extremely unimpressed. I put a LOT of work into the site design, and now my main website is back to looking the way it did before. And all the WordPress-based e-commerce stuff is gone, which was another HUGE chunk of time and effort. I’ll have to decide what to do going forward. Pretty much every non-WordPress self-hosted e-commerce solution either a) sucks or b) costs a LOT of money.

But in the meantime I should probably go do some studio work. That is why I’m here, after all.

Moving Day!

I’m taking back my WordPress. I’m taking another stab at self-hosted WordPress on my main website at Colour and Light, so this blog won’t be updated any more. Head on over there to check out my latest posts, and subscribe to the new RSS feed if you wish!

Looking Back, Looking Ahead!

I’d have to say that overall, 2012 was a good year for Colour and Light! This marks the first year since I started the business (in 2008) that my accounting spreadsheet has a BLACK number at the bottom of it. I’m pretty proud of that.

All of the sale events I was a part of were more successful than I’d anticipated, in some cases very much more so. I did many custom orders over the course of the year, particularly in the latter part. My Etsy sales were down from 2011, but I still sold a few items. I tried out the “variations” option on the molecule listings, and I think I will continue to do that in the future. It’s a great way to offer custom options on the geeky pieces that people love, and the customer pre-pays for the item, so I can create the requested product with the confidence that the buyer isn’t going to disappear on me when I list the finished piece.

My summer sojourn as a Bird Nerd certainly impacted my studio output. Not only was I not physically creating items (including soap…I had no soap to sell at all this year) but thanks to the general lack of internet access while I was away I also wasn’t doing any sort of marketing or promotion, even on a casual basis. I won’t be doing such a long absence this year, and I’m looking forward to being home (and in the studio!) for the summer in 2013. But my bird work is important to me, and I’m not ruling out doing something similar in future years.

Late in 2012 I finally managed to take my recycled bottle glassware to the next level by figuring out how to create a flame-polished rim. This was a particularly exciting development because it led to a deal with my favourite new local craft beer establishment in which I’ll be creating a large number of pint glasses from clear wine bottles, with the logo sandblasted on the side.

Recycled Bottle Pint Glass

Recycled Bottle Pint Glass

This is also great news because now that I can make a REALLY NICE product, I feel that I can charge more money for it! The previous price for my bottle glassware did not reflect the amount of time and work I put into each one, but I never thought I could ask for a higher price because the rims weren’t very nice. As a result, I never felt very enthusiastic about the recycled glassware, even though that is often the thing that draws the most customer interest at a sale event. Everyone seems to love it! And now I have a renewed excitement for that side of my business.

Now that the holiday season is over, I can take a moment and look ahead at 2013. In the immediate future, I have the bottle glassware project to keep me VERY busy, along with a couple of custom stained glass projects I need to finish up. I have the very important goal this year of getting further into the glass fusing. So far I’ve been using my kiln very heavily for creating wine bottle trays and (more recently) annealing the flame-polished bottle glasses. I also made a lot of simple fused glass star ornaments in the lead-up to Christmas. These are great, but I really want to dig deeper into the art of fusing and experiment with producing some nice fused pieces.

I was inspired today by a great sale price to pick up the double e-courses “Business by Design” and “Marketing for Makers” by Megan Auman, who produced the “Pricing for Profit” digital workshop that I found so helpful. I’m looking forward to working through these and hopefully learning some great things to help improve the business side of my business in 2013.

I’m pretty excited about what 2013 has in store for Colour and Light! I hope you’ll join me on this journey!

Holiday Season is Almost Over…

So, this past weekend wrapped up my last art show for this season. It was called the “Creative Spark Winter Market” and I have to say, it was pretty successful, especially for a new show in its first year. Both sales and attendance were higher than I expected, which is great! There was also a really great vibe to the show overall. If it happens again next year, I’ll probably do it again, despite a warning that the booth fee might be more in the future. Hopefully it won’t go up TOO much. Here’s a quick shot of my setup:

Creative Spark Winter Market, Dec 2012

Creative Spark Winter Market, Dec 2012

The Frederick Art Walk, which happened back in November, was also pretty good to me, as was the Central Art Walk. And now my shows are done! This is fantastic, because it means I can now turn my attention to the Very Long List of other things that need to get finished in the next two weeks (or less). Etsy shop maintenance, custom orders, more custom orders, oh and more custom orders!

Time to get back to work! 🙂

Clever Post Title Goes Here

Oh my goodness, I have been so busy lately! Let’s see, what has happened since I got stuck on the Jiimaan?

The Central Art Walk was October 20 and 21st. I think it was pretty successful for me this year! I was a little worried about how things would go this year, for several reasons: I didn’t have soap to sell, I didn’t have nearly as much glass inventory on-hand as I would have liked, and the weather forecast for the weekend was looking rather threatening. But, I surpassed my sales total from 2011 despite all that, so thumbs-up! It’s always such a fun event, too. I love being able to open up my studio and actually work on stuff through the day as people come in.

Since then, I’ve been working super hard at getting ready for the next event, which is the Frederick Art Walk on Saturday November 10th. Once again I’ll be at 60 Chapel Street, which is location “G” on the tour. I would love to see you there!

Finally I want to share an Etsy-related thing. I’ve decided to try to use the new “variations” feature that they have introduced, so on my molecule pieces you can request different colours and solder finishes at checkout! Pretty cool. It means that I’ll have to create a custom piece to-order if the buyer chooses something other than what is actually listed, but hopefully I can manage to get the piece finished and shipped in a timely manner if someone buys something. We’ll see! Anyway, check out my science-geeky listings by clicking below!

Media Adventures on the Jiimaan

This post isn’t directly related to my glass art, but I want to do a bit of a linkdump for some media things related to the recent stranding of the Jiimaan ferry, and this seems like as good a place as any to do it for now…

First off, this is a video that I made from footage Chris and I shot from onboard the Jiimaan on Oct 12, 2012:

This article from CBC features several photos of mine that I posted on Twitter:

This article from the Windsor Star features a video in which I am interviewed, and also a pic of me waving from the boat:

This is the CBC Windsor 6pm newscast. The Jiimaan is the lead story, and later in the program (starting around 24:05) they feature an interview with both myself and Chris:

And a short video clip from CTV Windsor featuring interviews with both myself and Chris:

This article from the National Post has some of my tweets:

Feb 4, 2013 edited to add:

Shortly after I got home, I was contacted by a writer for Professional Mariner magazine looking for some passenger point-of-view comments. I sent him an email, and the resulting article has now been published, including many verbatim quotes from that email.


Back to Work!

Hello again! My time as a Bird Nerd is now over, and I am back in the studio! Time to put my nose (or glass) to the grinder and get ready for the upcoming Art Walks and pre-Christmas season! I’m excited! And busy! But also excited! Here’s a little peek at what I’m working on right now…

Trying to remember how to solder after being away for so long!