Autumn: Unity in Romance & Logistics

Jan 12, 2022

Inward

Autumn ii

It is hard to believe that this is the last post in the series. Putting together these posts and doing the deep work of reflection took more time than I thought it would, taking up the majority of my days. But I am really glad I did this. Going inward and processing the past year has been really fruitful and given me so much clarity. I’m really excited to implement what I’ve learned and for all that I have planned for this next year. I am itching to start working on the new collection and begin sharing the process with you.

But there is still some reflection to be done before we can move on. So let’s dive in.

Creation

With all that I made this Autumn, it was really difficult to narrow down which collection I would focus on in this post. I was tempted to highlight the new ornaments but decided to go with the new print collection instead. Mainly because I think there is more for me to glean from reflecting on them since I offer prints all year round and hope to expand prints in the new year.

Why I offer Prints

Throughout the year, I began to spend more and more time on each collection of originals and simultaneously realized I was paying myself well below minimum wage. So I made the scary decision to increase the prices of my work in order to actually pay myself a living wage and to literally keep the studio lights on. But I realize not everyone has the budget for original artwork and wanted to provide another more accessible option. Prints are my way of doing this, and it makes me delighted to be able to offer them.

The Process

I released my first print collection in February of 2021. I was so excited about this small but lovely bunch, but I quickly began dreaming of a new collection to for the future. This is because of two main reasons, the prints I offered from February – August of this past year were created from some of my very first original cyanotypes. While I still adore these pieces and think their prints were lovely, I have grown so much in my skill since then. And naturally, I wanted my prints to showcase that. The second reason I was dreaming of a new collection, was that I could only offer the first collection of prints in one size to ensure quality. But I knew I eventually wanted to be able to offer rather large prints of my floral work.

So then I set out to increase the quality of my prints so that my next selection would be a better representation of my work, and offer multiple sizes. This first involved figuring out how to take better quality documentation of my originals. I won’t bore you with these details, but it was a bit of a learning curve and a new thing to add to my collection release workflow.

Once I had curated a selection of pieces to be made into prints, now it was time to go through the many rounds of test prints to ensure quality when it comes to color and size. I work with a wonderful print lab that I love, but this means the tests take a lot of time. Tweaking issues and waiting for them to be processed and shipped in. Finalizing the five prints for the new collection with my print lab took a whole month! This leads me to one of my major findings from this season.

Findings

In house prints

While my print lab is wonderful and I have loved working with them this past year, I very much want to bring my prints in-house. This means I need to save up in order to purchase a really high-quality printer and the specialized paper and ink to go with it. It will also require me to learn a new skill, create new systems and package and ship out the prints myself.

Why go to all this hard work when I love my print lab? There are a few reasons.

The first is quicker turnaround times. Being able to do all the tests myself significantly reduces the amount of time, and money, it takes to put together a new print collection. Once I see that the color of a print is off, I can immediately make an adjustment on the computer and run another test. This changes a month-long process into a few hours! The second reason is that I can have greater control over the quality of each print and personally oversee all the fine-tuning. The third reason is that with in-house prints I can make them more special. I would have the ability to sign each print, package them in a lovely way, and put my personal touch on them.

Ideally, I would like to be able to do this by the spring, but for sure by the holidays! Which brings me to my next insight.

2022 Holiday game plan

My major takeaway that I want to apply to this year’s holiday season is to do everything sooner. For two reasons, I want to close the studio earlier and to give myself more breather room. In 2021, I closed orders and the studio on December 17th. It didn’t allow me very much time to wrap things up and get prepared for the year ahead. It will also be my first Christmas with a baby in the house and I imagine, in personal life and the studio, I will just need more time. My second reason is that I would like a little more margin. This past year my final release happened after Thanksgiving. This seems rather appropriate since this is when holidays typically start for people. However, it made things feel very full the last couple of weeks in the studio. I think doing all of my releases before Thanksgiving and then focusing on packaging and wrapping up the studio for the year seems like a more sustainable option, especially if I want to close a week early!

Reflection

This last inward post and reflection on this past autumn was very logistical and practical. I would love to leave things off with a more romantic note, but I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive. Practical application and change can be just as impactful as the more philosophical and romantic ones. Because the thing is, we aren’t just logical or emotional beings. We are a mix of both. And sometimes the biggest factors affecting how we move through the world are logistical ones. I’ve noticed that a simple practical switch can make all the difference in my internal landscape.

Think through your day. Are there any logistics or routines that negatively affect you emotionally? 

What is one way you can shift it or adapt it to make it more life-giving? 

What is a way you can add more margin to your life this next year?

Collect the artwork

Most of what I created during the holidays was collected, however, I always have prints available on my website. There are also still a handful of antique framed prints too. I’ve linked the available pieces below.

Framed Print iv – 6×7 antique bronze frame

 

Framed Print ii – 5.75 x 7.75 antique wood carved frame

 

Framed Print v – 9 x 11 Vintage wood frame with brass floral detailing

 

Framed Print viii – 13×15 inch antique gold frame with mat

 

Framed Print viii – 13.5 x 21.5 hand-carved antique frame

 

Thank you so much for joining me on this little series! I hope it was as insightful for you as it was for me.

Below is a quick reference guide to all the posts in this series.

Winter: A Dream in Bloom

Winter: A Desire for a Creative Life

Spring: Beauty Keeps Hope Alive

Spring: Failure is a Gift

Summer: Darkness a Safe Retreat

Summer: Art as Connection

Autumn: The Burden of Expectations

Autumn: Unity in romance & logistics

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