Monday, October 24, 2016

The Etsy Endeavor and Creative Living

Like many people, I always turn to Etsy when I need a personal, unique, creative gift for someone (or when I want to window shop for all the things I wish I could own).  Etsy is such a wonderful platform - it gives both artists the chance to grow their own business, and the consumer a chance to support these independent creators.  I know personally that it's very hard to create when you are in financial woes, and giving this avenue of relief for artists of all kinds (painters, writers, musicians, sculptors, jewelry designers) is so important.

For a long time, I told myself it was impossible to make a living off of art, and because of that I always put in on the back-burner (to the extent that for several years in college, the only art I made was some doodles on my notes).  I went from dreaming of being a cartoonist for Nickelodeon, to being a full-time scientist, and while I love the work that I've done/do in science, I always felt like something was missing.  It took me a while to realize that just because art isn't the most reliable skill to make a living off of, didn't mean I had to ignore it completely.  Art is just a part of who I am, and a part of who a lot of people are, and to put that kind of pressure on an aspect of yourself only does it an injustice.  

I've been reading a book by Elizabeth Gilbert called Big Magic, which dissects the worries and doubts that all people have when pursuing a "creative living."  She does a great job of putting it all into perspective, and this was one of my favorite passages:
"Perhaps creativity's greatest mercy is this: By completely absorbing our attention for a short and magical spell, it can relieve us temporarily from the dreadful burden of being who we are.  Best of all, at the end of your creative adventure, you have a souvenir - something you made, something to remind you forever of your brief but transformative encounter with inspiration..... It doesn't have to be perfect, and you don't have to be Plato.  It's all just an instinct and an experiment and a mystery, so begin.  Begin anywhere.  Preferably right now.  And if greatness should ever accidentally stumble upon you, let it catch you hard at work.  Hard at work, and sane."
While it can be, art doesn't have to be meaningful, or life-changing, or financially successful in order to have the right to be made.  If it makes you happy and you love it, then find a way to do it.  And if you happen to make money from it along the way, even better!

About 2 years ago I really started getting inspired by the strange world of pins and patch making.  I loved how simple, cartoony, and personality filled they are, and after months of scaring myself out of it, I finally started my own shop of charm designs - Sweet Dea Drawings!  My shop has been open for almost 5 months now, and I have been overwhelmed by the support I've already received.  I still have those thoughts of "What if my work isn't good enough?  What if I'm annoying people with all of this?  What if it's still stupid to put all this effort into something so uncertain?"  And the answers might be "It's not, you are, and it is," but so what?  I like creating things, and I absolutely love seeing my work make other people happy, and that is all I need.

So thank you thank you thank you to everyone who has shown any kind of love towards my work.  I hope this little blog post can put into perspective how much it truly means to me<3

some charms from my Etsy shop
Mermaid patch in my shop
fall-style studs in my shop

Also, here is another sneak peak of my custom pet charms that will be hitting my shop in November! Start getting pics of your furry/feathered/scaly friends ready :)

Finally, I wanted to end this with a shout-out to some of the shops that continually blow my mind and inspire me.  In the words of Tom Waits: "As a songwriter, the only thing I really do is make jewelry for the inside of other people's minds."  While all of these pins and bowls and earrings and felt-figurines may not be the next Sistine Chapel, they still generated that happy feeling of creativity in someone, and they might inspire others to do the same.  So if you have an idea, make it!!  You never know who you'll touch with your ideas, especially if you never put them out in the world.

Here are just a couple of amazing shops that have made "jewelry" for the inside of my mind:

Silver Lining Ceramics
Barruntando Ceramica
Lisa Junius
Lorien Stern
Small Wild Shop
ZZIEE Ceramics

Good Natured Art
Emillie Ferris
Sarah K Benning
Sew Sal Shop

Ali Munn Jewelry
Benu Made
Buried Diamond
Moana Matron Designs
The Sea & Me Creations

Big Bud Press
Caitlin Stout
Cat Coven
Coucou Suzette
Natelle Draws Stuff
Minna Leunig
Pony People
Robin Eisenberg
Sparkle Collective

Avocado Stone Faces
Tara Galuska
Wild Cactus

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Planet Earth

In the midst of this election, a crumbling economy, rampant racism, a sugar epidemic, terrorism, student loan debt, global warming, and the fact that the Ouija movie somehow made a sequel, 2016 has finally shown us a ray of light - and that light is the announcement of Planet Earth II!!!

While most people aren't avid watchers of nature documentaries, I don't think I knew anyone who wasn't infatuated with this show when it came out back in 2006.  It had all the elements critically acclaimed shows have: beautiful cinematography, amazing soundtrack, great characters, crazy twists, and of course, David Attenborough.  And while it's great that this show was so entertaining and captivating, it achieved something much bigger by reconnecting us with the natural world.  

It feels almost impossible to think about nature when so many seemingly more pertinent problems face us today.  Why should I care about an endangered snow leopard when I can't afford to pay my rent this month?  Why should I fight to save the Everglades when 13.5 million refugees in Syria need humanitarian assistance?  There is no doubt that we need to put our fundamental needs above a dying species, or that we feel a greater duty to help a group of people rather than a place we might never see in our lives.  But there's a reason why people continuously turn to nature when the turmoils of society become too overwhelming.  Nature reminds us that we are apart of something bigger than our day-to-day lives.  And in being apart of it, we need to be conscious of it (watching this show is a great way to start!)

Aside from all this seriousness, I really just wanted to make a post about this because Planet Earth was just an awesome and perfect piece of art, and I am so f-ing excited to see what season 2 has in store!!! Our planet is a truly lovely, bizarre, incredible place to exist.

In anticipation for season 2, I've been re-watching season 1 (which is on Netflix), so to tide you guys over, here are some grade A inspiring stills from Planet Earth:

Snow leopard mother and cub
Himalayan mountains

A Nile crocodile feasting on wildebeests
Cave salamander
Diver exploring an underwater cave
Desert dunes
Fennec fox
Emperor penguins
Pink-stained arctic cliffs (the pink is penguin poop)

Zebra herd in African great plains
Tibetan fox
Bird of paradise mating dance
Tree frog
The parasitic cordyceps fungi
Pygmy seahorse
Great Barrier Reef from space
Brittle stars
Baby owl attempting its first flight
Redwood tree leaves
Dumbo octopus

5 million snow geese migrating from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic