Saturday, August 11, 2012

What's up with the E-Commerce, Shams?

You may have noticed that I have added a few widgets to my blog designed to promote a few avenues I am experimenting with to earn some extra money.

"Why, Shams, why?!?! Why have you gone to the dark side of e-commerce, when you have always maintained an ad-free, commercial-free zone?", you may ask.

Well, it's just one of those fiscal realities. DD1 begins university in a few weeks. DD2 begins next fall. There are other reasons I am not willing to post publicly. ('Cause once posted, it's out there forever.)

I don't want to belabor the point, but I am selling some of my historical costuming books on Amazon (which has been the most lucrative avenue, so far), some clothing on Ebay, and I just opened an Etsy shop, Textile Exile. I plan to slowly populate it with a few handmade items. None of these endeavors will be all consuming, because I do have a full time job, as well as my own creative work (and if I shut that down, I might blow, and it wouldn't be pretty), but earning some extra money is pretty useful about now.

Design Outside the Lines

There is something else in the offing I am fairly psyched about. I've had a rather late-breaking opportunity to attend Design Outside the Lines in Taos, New Mexico, at the end of September. This is one of those bucket list things, so I am going to make it happen, obstacles be d*mned. :)

If you aren't familiar with DOL, it's a creative sewing retreat hosted by Marcy Tilton and Diane Ericson in three locations throughout the year. It runs for three full days, a partial day at the beginning, and another partial day at the end. The focus of the retreat seems, to me, to be about goosing one's creativity. This appeals to me very much.

Since embracing this opportunity, I have been thinking a lot about creativity. I have been (inconsistently) journaling, thinking about how to focus my energies. Or at least how I think I want to focus - the power of this event is to be a bit loose, flexible, and willing to "go with the flow".

For example, I do not plan to focus on making garments - to my mind completing a garment is an inefficient way to use the limited time available. I want to focus on techniques, new approaches, new ways of thinking. I do not plan to bring a sewing machine. I have to fly (not enough vacation days to drive), and schlepping a machine does not appeal. I hear there will be a machine or two available if needed, but I hope not to need one too much.

I am especially excited about visiting Taos. I have always wanted to visit New Mexico. While I won't be able to spend much time seeing the sites, it's a start! And, by the way, I hope to blog during the retreat - I've already inquired about wifi.

As mentioned, I have been thinking a lot about creativity. I've never felt like a legitimate "creative" person, believing that if you are an "artistic" person you have to be able to draw and paint, or write poetry or fiction, or play an instrument and compose music. I've always felt like a "craftsman", rather than an "artist". It's really only in recent years that I've started to understand some of the nuances of creativity and to see my place in that sphere, if only orbiting along its edge.

It occurred to me that I am not the only person who thinks about these things. I started imagining what kinds of questions I would like to pose to Marcy and Diane about this subject. I asked them if they would agree to an "interview." I would send them a list of questions that relate to creativity, they would email me their answers, and I would post the results on my blog.

Both Marcy and Diane graciously (and speedily) agreed. In fact, Marcy replied so quickly I thought my email had bounced. So, in the near future, I plan to post an interview with each of them. I'm curious - if you could ask a question of Marcy and Diane relating to creativity, what would it be? I have quite a list already, but am interested in hearing your thoughts. If I use one of your questions and it doesn't replicate one of my own, I'll give you credit.

And speaking of Marcy. Did you see that she has started a blog on I was one of those people who badgered her (a tad) about having a legitimate blog with RSS feeds and all that goodness, so I was very happy. She plans to slowly migrate the blog from her webstore over to blogger.

Stay tuned for more talk about DOL!