Today's post will be a little more rambling than the others; I started typing and ended up with the below.
Recently I decided to get a little more serious about my stained glass hobby. I had started out with the goal of making a transom for myself, and loved making it. So I made another, then I made a few panels for family... and eventually I was out of people to make gifts for and out of space in my own house.
I kept working on projects for fun, but was just accumulating a pile of completed panels on my workbench, all wrapped up and hidden from view.
It started to seem silly to keep making things when they might not see the light of day, so for a while I didn't really make anything at all - but I missed the hobby and so I decided to get back into it and see if I could sell a few pieces. I'm not looking to make a lot of money - nor do I think it would be possible since stained glass projects take so long to complete, but I think it would be pretty cool if I could find owners for my work and a reason to keep playing with glass. My ultimate goal would be for the hobby to be self-sustaining -- I have some tools and supplies on my wish list, first up being all the supplies I need to get started in fusing glass.
And that's where I am now. My workplace allows employees to hang art in our hallways every two months, so I hung four panels in March, and will hopefully have two more ready for May. Of the four I hung in March, two will have new homes soon - I was happy that two people contacted me about buying a panel! And I am currently working on a custom panel for a coworker, which I'll be finishing up this week.
I wanted to create a website too. I figured that people could contact me wanting custom work, so I'd need a gallery of pictures showing examples of other work I'd done. And in my searching, it seemed like the Interwebs weren't exactly overflowing with resources for stained glass artists, so I also wanted to start a blog to add to the community. My immediate plans for the blog are to talk about my own projects and things I've learned along the way, but I have some other ideas too, so stay tuned! You'll also get to follow along when I fire up the kiln for the first time, and I'll blog about my learning process when I get started in fusing and slumping. I promise to post pix of any spectacular failures!
Right now I'm working on finishing more panels to hang up at work and on finding ways to build an audience for this site. I started reading blogs about blogging and information about SEO in hopes of getting google to notice this tiny site. I created a Facebook page, an Instagram, and added some pins to Pinterest and 'promoted' a few of my favorites - and have been getting some traffic from Pinterest as a result.
I have a bunch of other goals too - I'd like to also set up a little Etsy shop and I have a few ideas for products to sell. I'm also interested in creating some instructional YouTube videos.
In the short term though, I made myself a little to-do list (I love to-do lists!) for the month of April. I don't think I'm going to get everything done, but I'll try:
- 6 blog posts (this is #3 - halfway there!)
- Order Business Cards (sigh.. I am working on this, but I got frustrated with the drawing programs and put this on pause... the design is just not coming out how I pictured it in my head) -- I wanted these by May 1 so I can include them with the deliveries of the panels people bought from me.
- 4 panels ready to hang at work in May (This was way too ambitious - I have one done now and will hopefully complete a second - the geometric one in the pic above)
- Complete custom project for my coworker (this will be done this week)
- Find two ways to "market" this website - I will count my Pinterest promotions as one of these.
- Buy supplies to get started in fusing - I think this one is just going to be on hold for a while... we still need to do some rearranging in the basement to give Esmeralda a nice home, and there is a lot of other non-glass stuff on our to-do list too. That's ok though; I wasn't planning to buy the kiln until the Fall, but went ahead and snapped up a good deal on Craigslist last month.
- Lastly, I want to figure out a good and repeatable way to etch my name or initials in the corner of each piece. I was going to try to get this sorted out for the two pieces I'm working on, but I am not ready to try on a real panel yet... maybe next month.
I'm also very happy that Spring is here, which means it is time for my very favorite hobby, sailing! Glass has become more of a winter hobby for me, since the warm-weather months are taken up with sailing. We have been working on the boat to get it ready to splash soon, and in the meantime, I'm sailing with my local sailing club.
So, I'll be spending less time on indoor hobbies for a while. I still have plans to work on some of the projects on my wish lists, they'll just take longer than they normally would. And I have a bunch of ideas for blog posts, so they will continue to roll out, just maybe more slowly than they will in the colder months.