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Monthly Archives: August 2013

Art Classes

Oh how I wish I paid more attention to you when I was younger, art classes! And how I wish I had taken more art related subjects in high school and college (you know, when someone else was paying for them – ha!) I wish that I could go back in time and tell myself to stop worrying about what others will think if you take an art class instead of a business class and just take it. 

So now I am kicking myself for not continuing down the path I was on. In middle school, I got accepted into Talented Art. I loved it. You had two back to back periods of art. I even spent lunches in there. Most of us did. We had our own little art community where we could be as creative as we wanted to be. It was a great time. Well, minus when we actually had to learn the “Art History” part and sit through Mrs. S’s slides. 

I wish I remembered more of the supplies we used. I look around at the art store and see things and know I’ve used them before in a project, but the rest of the memory is hazy. I see pastels and know that I asked for a box of them for Christmas one time. They’re still sitting downstairs in a drawer in my dad’s office, along with the sketch pad. At one point they were used, but no more. Would I even know what to do with them if I tried to pick them up?

I know that everyone has a part of their past that they wish they remembered better or things they wish they continued. I was hoping to find some art classes in the Continuing Education book at one of the local community colleges, but I didn’t see much. There was photography, which I may need to take at some point to improve my pictures for Etsy. But there wasn’t really a basic art class. Maybe I need to take one as part of a program for a degree?

All I really wanted to do was take a class to try and jog my memory. I know that the information on how to use the supplies is in there somewhere. I miss being in a classroom surrounded by all artsy people. Even though I got distracted very easily (and I still do!!), it was a great environment. I just wanted to have that feeling again. Maybe it’s just nostalgia and my memories are romanticized. I do remember being frustrated when I couldn’t get something to look quite how I wanted it to. Or maybe I’ll just pick up some of those old supplies and see if it jogs my memory……

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Well, I think I figured out some of the basics of iMovie. I edited and uploaded a video that I previously uploaded. It has a title and an ending and even contains some music! I didn’t even get into the changing of the sound quality, editing the picture quality or cutting out parts of the video. I can see how it takes some people a long time to edit their videos! 

It is going to take me awhile before I feel comfortable trying some of the other editing features, but I am learning. I really like what I have been able to do so far. If you’d like to check it out, here is the link to the edited video. The unedited one should be the video right before that one. 

Feel free to leave me feedback – I’d love to know what you guys think! Also, leave any tips on how you edit your videos. Do you use iMovie? Another program? I’m not even sure what other programs are out there to edit videos. This is a whole new (scary) world to me!!

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Learning how to edit videos

Now that I have uploaded a bunch of videos to YouTube, I figure that I should really learn how to use iMovie. I am impressed with the quality of some of the amateur videos on YouTube. I usually just shoot and upload the video. However, I am looking to gain more viewers and I think the next step is creating a more professional looking product. 

I started out searching on YouTube for some tips on how to edit videos. I would love to add text, music, an introduction, logo and maybe some links to other videos or resources. I’ve never done any of this, so it is going to take me awhile to learn how to accomplish these goals!

I did find a YouTube channel that has a couple of iMovie tutorials. I have watched the first one and in it, he goes over the basics of what iMovie can do. And boy can it do a lot!! I can’t believe that I have had this program for so long and had NO idea how to use it! Well, not that I have a much better idea after watching one video. But, at least now I know some of the things that it can do and maybe I can start figuring the editing parts out!

The first thing that I have to do is upload all my videos. I am doing that right now and it says it will take about two hours. I guess I should have been doing this all along! I probably should have deleted all the outtakes of videos I’ve done, but I didn’t think about that before it started uploading all the clips. 

Once all the clips are uploaded, I can start working on editing the new video that I made today. I am excited to get started on adding and editing things. I did watch the other two videos that he made (his YouTube name is Charles Heureaux) and I learned a lot of basic features of iMovie. 

Do you have any tips for editing videos? Any good YouTube channels/videos I should watch about it? Good books to read? Feel free to let me know what you use to edit your videos and what resources you find helpful. I will post a link to my newly edited video once I figure this all out!

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Finding Your Voice (in life as well as crafting!)

My family is rarely in the same quarters for extended lengths of time. So, this weekend, when several of us were, I got an interesting perspective on the dynamic of the household. There always seemed to be one (or two) voices that were heard the most while the others seemed to struggle to be heard. And those roles rarely changed. Once in awhile a loud voice would take a break for a second and a quieter voice could be heard. But, the opinion of the quieter was usually squashed when the louder one was done taking a breath. 

You can also compare it to presence. Why is it that  a group of people can be in the same room and one gets noticed and others get “forgotten” or overlooked”? Do they have a certain quality that outshines (or is louder) than the others? Or do they just command a room when they walk into it? Do they need to be heard and seen while others take a backseat to them? And how do you make a switch from one group to the other?

This doesn’t just apply to people in life. This can apply to the craft world. How does one Etsy shop get noticed above all the rest? Where does their voice come from? Is it flash and attitude that get them noticed? How does the artist create that persona for their shop?

Lately with all of the fierce competition on Etsy, it is tough to get noticed. But there always seems to be those few competitive shops that drive most of your category’s business. Sure you can look at how they took their pictures, what they used as tags, the quality of materials used, etc but how can you copy that special something that they have? Does it come from artist confidence?

All too often, we are too close to our pieces to write about them objectively. We downplay how difficult it was to make the piece. We price them at barely breaking even amounts because we think no one will pay THAT much for the item. We see them through the eyes of a jewelry or card maker and not a consumer. We can’t seem to get descriptions that capture the true essence of our products. Or we have a great idea of how to draw in a customer with a description and then when it comes time to write them, the words don’t come or somehow they seem silly. 

Maybe this isn’t everyone. Maybe this is just me. However, I don’t think that is the case. At dinner the other night with several other women who sell on Etsy, we discussed this issue. We all found it rather difficult to make our products sound as awesome as they are. And that is the truth – they all are amazing items! But somehow, when it comes to conveying that awesomeness to the consumer, we all get stuck. We become the quiet voice, allowing the louder one(s) to outshine us. 

I think that with time comes confidence. The more shows you do, the better you know your audience. The more sales you get from Etsy, the more you will understand what keyboards to use and how to take pictures. However, to do well at shows and to increase sales, you have to find your crafty voice. And that is tough to do! In life, as well as crafts, some just seem to be born with that voice. The rest of us, well, we just have to work on it!