Bumbershoot Prep

My Bumbershoot bags are nearly packed. The pendants are all packaged, tucked and labeled and lined up in little rows. All that remains on my to do list is to finish carving my new price tag stamp and to use said stamp to finish tagging and packing the textile pieces. 5 Shoulder bags, 8 hand bags, half dozen kid shirts, a dozen cuff bracelets, 20 checkbook covers and 75 pendants.
I'm interested to see the outcome of Bumbershoot and I'm keeping my
fingers crossed for success ... but oddly enough that doesn't necessarily
mean a sell out for me. I think what I want is an affirmation in some
form or sign or interaction that pursuing this path with my art is the
Right Thing To Do. A conversation, a new connection, a smile - all would bring the feeling of success I think.
Or maybe I feel this way because
even if I don't sell a single thing I will still feel that I am a
success. Purely just because I set out to take on this monumental thing
and I did it. And the momentum of it will continue. Makes me feel like
having a ruby red glass right now to celebrate!


A Reward for all the Hard Work

Here we see Rekoj's Reward. Rekoj purchased these darling earrings at the end of last week as a personal reward to self for getting through last week. It is oddly enough - my first ever Etsy Purchase. Which blows my mind because I've been on Etsy for over a year. I'm just not much of a real shopper - more of a constant browser!
These lovelies hooked me in multiple ways.
One - they are earrings and I've been on an earring kick lately.
Two - the seller's whole shop has GREAT pictures. I mean - look at that darling print for the item backdrop.
Three - the seller had very concise write-ups
Four - the seller posted a sale promotion on her blog which got me to look in the first place
All fabulously simple Etsy "how to's" and all things I could do better with in my own shop. Once I start posting again after Bumbershoot I will be keeping Ambika in mind as my posting role model.


Right When You Need It

Sometimes things do work out.
Actually, they usually will.
Sometimes, you just have to push through the week of production - late nights and coffee cups and movie marathons because you got tired of the radio and bleary eyed mornings and bruised palms from over-use of a pair of pliers and brain static from the over-extension of your multi-tasking button and then Friday hits you. Friday. Already.
And then help was offered.
If someone is sincerely offering help and you sincerely need it - then take it. It will bring happiness to both parties.
Sincere thanks Denise. Without you, this bag would not be full today of happy-packaged-ready-to-go-awesomeness. You rock.


Pendant Packaging

I absolutely love being able to use something that was to otherwise be thrown away. So imagine my excitement when one of the architects I work with let me know about an entire box of expired product sample cards that were to be thrown out!

These very sample cards will become the packaging / display for my pendants at Bumbershoot. Now I just have to figure out how to get my name or logo on the front. I'm thinking some clear little labels with the cord wrapped up in recycled bag plastic and taped to the back ... we'll see!

I'm curious as to what other up-cycling others have done for packaging?

I just ran a quick search and didn't find much - maybe I was looking in the wrong places! But what I did find was the AWESOME tutorial on making your own bubble mailers from Etsy seller 27Things. Ah the power of the internet to distract us to no end. I bet I know how these little pendants will be mailed now though if anyone choses to buy one after I upload them to Etsy...


Hoards of Pendants

Today on the studio table we have exactly 80 wood burned, hand painted, signed and varnished Rekoj pendants. Say hello to the Rekoj Summer Pendant line!
It sure is powerful to see a month's worth of work you love compiled into one spot. I know I done good when I want to keep each and every one to myself.
This post is my first excercise in letting each one of these darlings go.
Soon one may even belong to YOU!


Part of what I love about reading the blogs of other artists is that I love seeing the process that artists go through to get to a finished piece.

Now, a business card design isn't exactly fine art per se... though some call it the ultimate design challenge.

A biz card is a major player towards a potential client or customer's first impression. It plays a key role in your brand identity and is a placeholder for the "feel" of your business/work. It is a simple little piece of your company that a customer can take with them.

Now, combine all that business card brain churn with the fact that they usually are ordered in large quantities which brings out my image commitment phobia quirk. (I can't even commit to a single design which is part of the reason why I am anti-screen print for my work!)

Needless to say, the process of "whipping up" some new business cards for myself was a bit more challenging than I initially thought it would be. So I spent hours playing in photoshop, tossing out just about everything. Finally deciding to toss photoshop itself - for the design process anyways - and I went back to my good ol trusty sketchbook. Back to the drawing board shall we say. And this is what finally came out of it. And I'm quite a happy girl.

Rekoj Design Article on Associated Content

An update on the interview I did for ShopEtsy : Dawn submitted the article she wrote to Associated Content and it was published which is awesome! It means that she got paid for her efforts and little ol' fledgling Rekoj got a little bit of publicity. You can read, rate and comment on the article here as well as link to other articles of "associated content" such as a couple of great ones on what it's like to be a seller on Etsy.com. Hooray!


Denting the Mountain

You may or may not have noticed that there was a "real" website link down at the end of the interview in the last post. It is my soon to be online portfolio http://www.rekojdesign.com/.

Right now it is linking direct to the page you are reading now. I just don't have the capacity to get it up and running in time for Bumbershoot but I wanted to be able to get my new business cards made so there you have it.

RekojDesign.com will be my second attempt at a website. My first had a marvelous portfolio of very outdated work. I would have just updated the content, except being older and wiser I realized the original domain name was quite... ahem... bad. We'll leave that in the past where it belongs...

Securing the domain has been yet another little craft business item checked off my to do list. One that has been ongoing for at least a year now.
Not any longer. Now it has become a time of movement and momentum. It has already become apparent that "Denting the Mountain" is my theme for the week. The month even! Just last night I enjoyed a lengthy phone conversation with a close friend of mine who is attempting the illustrious American classic dream of trying to "make it in LA." She was falling into a heap of overwhelms and I was trying to encourage her out of it by telling her to take one little step at a time. Just tackle one thing each day and intake all you can towards fulfilling your goals.

Because doing one little thing today brings you a lot closer to the tomorrow that you want than if you had done nothing.

Denting the Mountain is what I have been putting into practice for the past month. Ever since I returned from Yachats. I wrote a list the day after I got back and was surprised to find out this weekend that every single item had been checked off. It seemed like so much a month ago... and now it is gone. Now it is time for a new list.

And then after all that, I come into work this morning and my Note From the Universe today was this:

The number one reason most people don't start what they want to start, is because they think their simple, little efforts won't even dent the mountain they wish to move.
But little do they know, Sara, that's exactly how the mountain was formed.
I was there - The Universe


The Bag I Carry

This was one of the first large over the shoulder day bags I ever made. I ended up keeping it for myself because I didn't get the zipper put in right on the side I meant to - it ended up on the back. Ah the joy of the learning curve with zippers! It also was the first multi-color hand painted design I had done on textiles and it turned out quite striking. So striking that it ends up being a conversation piece with strangers quite often. One such person asked me about it when I was on vacation in Yachats, OR. I gave her my card and told her that I would make her one if she wanted. To my surprise, she actually contacted me after all - yay!
This post is for her. Thanks for admiring my bag and making my day! I can't wait to make you one of your very own. This time with the zipper in the right place... =)


Interviewed by ShopEtsy!

ShopEtsy is a new blog being written by fellow EtsyRain member ScaryWhiteGirl. She decided to start ShopEtsy as a place where she could write "about the people and the crafts that make Etsy one of my absolute favorite websites. Starting with the ladies (and gentlemen) of EtsyRain, this blog will examine shops and sellers in detail."

So she asked me a bunch of fun questions and she has an article in works. Once it is posted I'll include the link here.

In the meantime I thought it would be fun to share the interview itself with you!

1. Real name: Sara
2. Location:Seattle, WA
3. Age:26

4. What ther stuff do you do besides make art?
Paid the bills and supported the art habit through a 5 year stint as an event planner for a high school reunion company in Olympia, WA. Currently I'm doing the same bill paying bit by work as an administrative assistant / graphic designer for a real estate development firm here in Seattle.

5. How did you first get started with crafts / artwork?
Have always drawn and doodled for as long as I can remember. The black line drawings that are my signature style today developed during college lecture courses as a doodling way to keep myself awake. One professor noticed and commented on all the madness in the margins when reviewing my class notes and told me that I should "do something" with them. Which prompted an art show of the graphic line doodles. Only a few sales but it was a fun experience. A year or so after that – 2003 I think – I began taking notice of this awesome little artist collective where I lived at the time in Olympia WA – the Olympia Clothing Project. It was a collective of local designers and crafters running a retail shop to sell accessible designer wearables. Somehow, that led to the idea of "what if I could put my doodles on clothing?" and I've been hand-painting clothes, bags, cuffs, wallets, checkbook covers and accessories ever since.

6. How long have you been crafting / making art?
Since I made my first mud pie monster at age 2?

7. How long have you been selling your crafts / artwork (through any venue)?
Since joining the Olympia Clothing Project in November of 2003.

8. How long have you been selling on Etsy?
Started an Etsy shop in May of 2006 before completely uprooting my life a few months after to move into a low income Arts cooperative in Belltown Seattle. I spent about 6 months before and after dealing with the joys of moving from a 3 bedroom house with a seperate studio into a 250 square foot room and getting situated. Also part of which time I went on a 2 month art retreat where I worked on my painting – another joy of mine but have yet to sell any "fine art" or prints on etsy. Mostly because I haven't looked into it yet!

9. What sorts of crafts / artwork do you sell in your Etsy store?
Hand painted one-of-a-kind goodies – up cycled tees and bags made from rescued materials that I then embellish by hand painting graphic line drawings.

10. What items have you found to be particularly popular sellers in your Etsy store?
So far anything I've done with a bird on it has sold. Other more "out there" animals like the octopus don't seem to do so well… poor neglected octopus!

11. Which of your items is / was your favorite to make, and why?
Currently my favorite is this new line of wood burned pendants that I have been making. It is probably my favorite because it is new! I've been burning my designs into the wood and then embellishing with little touches of acrylic paint before varnishing the whole piece and attaching it to a cord and chain for easy wearable portable art. I'm wearing one this very moment actually. Last month it was baby clothes because I had 4 girlfriends all having baby showers. Depending on my mood my designs can easily go from elegant wear for the conscious hipster to uber cute adornment for the sassy kid!

12. Please give me the URLs for one or two of your pieces that you want me to feature in the article.New Favorite Pendant: http://bp3.blogger.com/_i_VxFM9rXf8/RraoLx2siFI/AAAAAAAAAF0/c6b9zINzY_I/s1600-h/cherry.JPG

Mentioned Octopus: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=6161707

13. Do you do custom work?

I love working with people on custom designs – if someone gives me a shirt, skirt, jacket or hoodie that they already love and it fits them but they want to embellish it with a design I'm happy to oblige. I can hand paint a line drawing of any flora, fauna, person or thing that you wish. Price depends on the size of work.

14. "Additional Resources" section of the article.http://www.rekojdesign.com/
Currently linked to go direct to my blog but is the future site of my new online portfolio.


I have enough of these pendants made now (49!) that I could add a different one to every blog post. You might get tired of them if I did that though so better not. This little finch also qualifies for the blog reader sale mentioned in the previous post.

Today I added a list of all my favorite blog reads that I follow. I wanted to share and also it is nice to have them all in one spot! These crafty bloggin gals all whet my creative appetite on a regular basis and it's the least I could do to give a little shout out! They all inspire me to no end to be a better blogger and they give me hope that there are indeed artists out there doing this full time. One day I am determined to be one of them!



I just couldn't wait until AFTER Bumbershoot to use that new tripod of mine - I just had to show off these new beauties! And along with it comes my first blog reader special: If you fall in love with any of these pendants email me and I will let you purchase it through my shop with free shipping before it ever hits the umbrella of Bumbershoot buyers!


I returned from vacation and hit the ground running. Half the point of this post is to just get my head around all of things in the works and underway!
The day I returned from the coast I went to a planning meeting for I Heart Rummage and was graciously asked by the organizers, Cassandra Lanning and Anna Perrone, to join them as the third organizer. As I mentioned in a previous post, the IHR crew has already begun planning for I Heart Indie Holidays - a triple spot holiday slew of craft goodness! Three shows spanning three NW cities over three weekends.
November 24th at the Seattle Center Pavilion
December 2nd in Portland at the Wonder Ballroom
December 9th in Bellingham at the Majestic
Rekoj will be heading up the Portland market push. First things first - vendors needed! I'm pretty excited about these shows - not only will they provide tons of holiday sales and shopping opportunities, but it also is a chance to meet and work with some of the other strong NW indie craft organizations such as Crafty Wonderland, PDX Supercrafty, and Church of Craft to name a few!
On top of all that I've been getting super focused and busy preparing to sell at Bumbershoot. I need to have all of my merchandise ready to go by August 25th - ACK!!!! Not only does this require... well... MAKING STUFF - but it also provides a grand opportunity to stop slacking and get my website back up and running, finally get a studio message line and get a new set of business cards printed up. My oh my so much to think about.
And then there is Etsy - a newly formed Etsy street team has gathered and is rapidly building excited momentum - group called EtsyRain. I'm meeting up with some of them at a supply swap tomorrow afternoon which not only will help clear up my studio a bit but will be a fun way to network with fellow Etsy sellers.
After Bumbershoot I'll be using my brand new tripod to take tons of gorgeously clear photos of all the new work to upload to the shop - unless I completely sell out in which case ... well, give me another day or so...
And currently on the back burner is the new functional art co-op boutique ICONOGRAPHY, opening soon which is being headed up by another I Heart Rummage vendor Deviant Design.
Rekoj will be involved in that as well.
Rekoj is a nut that's what.