Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Pain In My...

Dear Mr. President, CEOs at my insurance company, and other assorted politicos currently at the wheel of this clown car:

Please fix things so I can go to my rheumatologist when my arthritis is really bad and get a shot of Kenalog in my butt and not have to pay $218.00 for it. Kenalog is not expensive, and if I could buy it at the pharmacy I would do it myself for a couple of bucks. If you trust me to drive my car every day you can trust me to give myself a shot in the butt. Additionally, your system causes me more stress which in turn causes more aggravation of my arthritis and requires me to get more shots. See how I am stuck here? Your help would be greatly appreciated in this matter.

M. Keeton

Monday, July 20, 2009

Meet Elliot the Elephant

Everyone loves an elephant!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Price of the Poke

With the current "economic downturn" that we are experiencing it seems that a lot of prices are falling. Generally this is a good thing. I'm happy that I can buy cheaper toilet paper and eggs and soap. Maybe the only time this is not so great is when you are an artist and the falling prices mean that other artists are dropping their prices to a degree that is simply ridiculous.

Needle felting is a relatively new craft that has only recently gained the kind of momentum as other fiber arts. When I started felting I couldn't find books on it. I had to order needles online and the wool I used was being sold for spinning. Now in any yarn shop there are books and supplies for felting. This discovery of the medium by the crafting public also happened to coincide with the boom that hit Etsy. The result is that there are a large number of needle felters selling their wares on Etsy now.

I would not be disappointed about this if it were about having more competition. I belong to several groups and enjoy seeing other work and bouncing ideas and techniques around with other artists. The problem is that a lot of these very new crafters who are also inexperienced Etsy sellers price their felt work so low that it makes the rest of us look like we are grossly inflating our prices. Whenever I show people my work if they are unfamiliar with needle felting they ask why something so small would cost so much. I kept a log while I was working on the Sleepytime Pip for an example. It took me over 7 hours to complete that piece. Selling him for $69 is not really a profit! I do it because I love it and I hope some day in the future that I might be able to cut back on my "real" job and make my art a more substantial part of my life.

People who are selling little needle felted pieces for $15 are damaging the work that the community has done in establishing the medium as a fine art. Other types of art dolls and artist bears don't sell for that cheap regardless of how small they are. I understand the lure of pricing items really low on Etsy to make more sales. You simply have to understand the value of your work and realize that selling something hastily thrown together at a very reduced cost it is hurting all of us. It makes needle felting look like something that is fast and easy (which it is not) and it makes those of us who are really taking the time to learn and perfect this craft look like we are just price gouging and pulling the wool over our customer's eyes, which we certainly are not.

Monday, June 15, 2009

New Mouse in the House

Perhaps you noticed my darling little mouse up there in the corner? Well I decided that I needed a professional logo for the new shop. I put a request on Etsy's Alchemy and got waaaaay too many bids! There are so many talented fine artists and graphic designers there. If you've never used Alchemy before you basically request whatever you are looking for (say a tuba cover knit in green mohair) and shop owners put in bids to do the project for you.
It was very hard to decide who to go with but I finally settled on Jade Nellans after seeing her portfolio here

The fact that we share part of our name and an infatuation with cats kind of sealed the deal. Unfortunately I got it done just as my good friend Emily was finishing a drawing for me so I ended up with two little mice. I am going with Jade's for now because it fits in the avatar and banner space on Etsy better. I might use Em's for some packaging (thanks Emmy!). Check out Emily's portfolio too. She's been my dear friend forever and I've seen her art progress from crayons and markers to the fantastic pieces she does now.

I discovered some other amazing artists and since I am still in the process of decorating the "new" house (we've been here for eight months!) I am going to have no problem filling some of this white wall space. Here is one of my favorites. It was so difficult to choose, let me tell you.

Another artist I fell in love with was Jenni Phillips. shop ID LucaJenn on Etsy. Her girls are so simple but expressive, sweet, and magical- kind of what I strive for in my felties.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Somebunny I Love

This is Susie Rabbit and her doll Annabelle.  She's named after my sweet mom.  At now! (the rabbit, not my mom)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Raindrops on Roses

Yes, more pictures from the garden.  I can't help but capture a permanent record of my first successes with it and really enjoy taking flower photos.  Since I am really tired (and sick at the moment) I'll just leave you with some pics.  My brain feels like it fell into the paper shredder. 

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sleepytime Pip

Meet someone special.  Sleepytime Pip is responsible for putting everyone to bed at night.  He carries his pocket watch so he is certain not to be late for bedtime and a little bottle of sparkling sand to sprinkle in your eyes.  Once his sand hits your eyelids you drift off into sweet, blissful sleep.  Since he is used to sneaking around in the night Sleepytime Pip is a quiet little fellow but he is one of the most gentle and friendly Pips and a true friend.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

They Found Me

This site contacted me to let me know they had put Little Wooliam my sheep on their blog. So go check it out! It's a couple of posts back now but that just means you have to look at more handmade goodies to get to it. Here's the link directly to the blog if you want to skip the intro and shopping (are you crazy??). It's so nice to get a little pick me up when things are so slooooowwww.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My Goofy Guys


Monday, May 11, 2009

You Garden and You Grow

Some things I have learned in my garden this spring:

Patience.   Not my forte, but you can't force a seed to sprout or a plant to flower. 

Balance- water, food, compost, worms, sun, and in life.  

Enjoyment of the most simple things.  My first blades of grass, so soft and vibrantly green, were so beautiful.  

To let go.  Sometimes there is nothing more you can do.  The peppers die and you pull them up, make a new plan, and move on.

The importance of taking time every day to be silent and still.  No email, telephone, iPod, Facebook, television.  

Optimism.  This patch of dirt looked like it might be a lost cause.  All it needed was some hard work and care.