Getting Ready for a Show

My last craft fair for the season is this weekend. The SUNY Plattsburgh Arts and Crafts Fair is held at the SUNY Fieldhouse. It is a pretty good local show. Normally I would do a couple more shows before Christmas, but this year I do not have the inventory to support that. 

This week, I am working on last minute projects and making sure I have my display ready to go. A couple years ago I wrote a blog post about what you need for a craft fair. You can read it here

For now, I’ll just share a couple of the new pieces that I will have at the show.

Image

copyright Christina Kester 2013

Christmas Ornaments

I’ve already had people asking about my hand burned Christmas ornaments. I really have to start working on these earlier next year. I haven’t been able to list many online because I can’t keep them in stock locally. The good news is that I just received a large supply of wood slices to keep up with the demand. this year the types of wood include birch, maple, cedar, apple, linden, and a few more that I don’t have definite identification of. I’m also looking in to adding key chains to what I sell. 

Here are a couple of pictures of some of my ornaments (and a spoon) in progress.

OrnamentsWIP_CKester OrnamentsWIP2_CKester

 

The Habit of Art

In college I overheard two professors talking about a student. One was laughing about how this student hadn’t turned in their assignment using the excuse of not having enough time. The other made a quip about how this student would never succeed because artists never have to find the time for art. Art should be like breathing.

I remember being a little insulted by this conversation. I was not the student they were talking about, but I was struggling to fit art into my schedule. Sure I doodled anytime I had a pen and paper, but I was having trouble finding the time to do formal studies and finished pieces.

The thought that “real” artists naturally do art all of the time was something that has haunted me for a long time. The more I became involved in the art community, the more I realized that I wasn’t alone in my struggle. Art takes work. You have to practice.  You have to be dedicated to be a successful artist. You have to continually grow and develop your skills. You have to learn about business and marketing. All of this takes time. In many cases, you have to try to fit this all in with other responsibilities (family, second job, etc). You kind of have to really want to be an artist.

So, were those professors right all of those years ago?If you don’t instinctively do art all of the time, will you fail?

The answer isn’t that cut and dry. If you don’t make time for it, you probably wont succeed. You can learn how to make doing art a habit. However, making and breaking habits is difficult work. You have to change the way you think of things. It takes time.

I’m still working on changing my habits. I want to up the time I spend on formal studies and not just finished pieces.

If you are interested in how to make or break habits, I recommend this book.

Making Habits, Breaking Habits: Why We Do Things, Why We Don’t, and How to Make Any Change Stick by Jeremy Dean

It talks about the science behind making and breaking habits and gives you some ideas on how to change habits. I’ll warn you though, that Mr. Dean points out that we are not as in control of our brains and habits as we might think. Changing isn’t easy.

I have no affiliation with Mr. Dean, the publishers, or sellers of the book. I actually started reading it to see if it could help me develop better fitness and nutrition habits. The more I read, the more I realized it could help me with my art too.

Letter N

I’m skipping around with my letters. Here’s letter N for Nectarine

Copyright Christina Kester 2013

Copyright 2013 Christina Kester

I’m on the lining stages for letter R and I have letter Z prepped and ready to paint.

 

Update 2/9/13

After my holiday shows, I was in a bit of an art slump. Things have picked up a little recently. I am working on some character concept designs for a story I may or may not get to writing. It is good practice for drawing people even if I never finish the writing part.

Melora hairstyles_CKester2

I’ve prepped two more letters (J and K) for my long time Celtic Tree Alphabet project.

Here are some of my commissions, gifts, and new pieces that I can post now that the holidays are over -

A private commission -

copyright Christina Kester

copyright Christina Kester

A gift -

Some new pieces (all sold except the bear) -

copyright Christina Kester

copyright Christina Kester

copyright Christina Kester

copyright Christina Kester

copyright Christina Kester

copyright Christina Kester

Update 11/1/2012

Fall is my busy time of year. All of my big craft shows are in the fall. It leaves me with little time for anything else and as such I have neglected my blog. Never fear, I am still here and still plugging away at my art.

I finished my giant bowl just in time for the Artist Supporting ARC show last week. I think it turned out pretty well.

copyright 2012 Christina Kester

I’m currently working on upping my holiday ornament stock for upcoming shows. I have the SUNY Plattsburgh Craft show this weekend. It is one of the bigger shows in the area and was a good venue for me last year.  Here are some recent magnets, ornaments and a square bowl in progress.

 

In my spare time, I have also been working on my digital painting skills.  One of my goals for improvement earlier this year was to work on more dynamic figures and backgrounds. The following two sketches are a start to that.  For the first, I referenced stock photos by Chonastock on Deviant art for the pose. The second sketch was inspired by Brom.

copyright 2012 Christina Kester

 

copyright 2012 Christina Kester

 

Fairy Tale Glyphs

I’ve had an idea for a painting floating around in my head for a long time. I wanted to do a petroglyph with a fantasy twist. A while ago I sketched out some of my ideas. This week I colored them in Photoshop.

copyright 2012 Christina Kester

I may do a few more of these in the coming weeks. For now, these designs are available on t-shrts in my Zazzle store.

On the workbench

The farmers market is turning out to be a decent venue for my wares. So far my coasters are turning out to be fairly popular. Having said that, I am going to try to take my coasters in a slightly different direction by combining wood and cork. The coasters will come in sets of 6 with a matching box to keep them in.

Also, the fall craft shows and the holidays are right around the corner so I am working hard to up my inventory. I have more ornaments, magnets, pendants, bowls, frames, and spoons in stock and ready for burning.

 

 

The Making of a Bowl

I often get asked how long it takes me to finish a piece. It really depends on the design and the method I am using, but pyrography is a time-consuming craft. It takes a steady hand and a lot of patience. With a normal day job and a young child, it takes longer.

Take this bowl for example

I have been working on it, when my schedule allows, since the end of last year. It is a large bowl, 15 inches. It took me probably 2 hours just to draw the inside of the bowl and 1.5 hours to draw the design on the outside of the bowl. After drawing in pencil, I go over my lines with my pyrography tool. for most lines I use a writing tip.

This goes quicker than the original drawing, but it still takes a while. All together it was probably 1-2 hours. Next, I make adjustments to the lines, making some thicker than others. Then comes the really time-consuming part. Shading. It involves burning layer by layer. To avoid burning to deep or getting an undesired darkness, I keep the temp fairly low and just build up the burn.

I have put in another 6 hours of shading and I am nearly done with all of the inside designs. I still have the knotwork on the outside to shade, so there is probably another 6-8 hours of work left to do.  But because my larger pieces are slower sales, I have to find time between working on magnets, tiles, and pendants.  Here’s my current progress -

Colorado Fires

As a former Colorado resident, my heart goes out to those affected by the fires. From now until July 10th, 15% of my online sales will go to the American Red Cross. The 15% will be specifically allocated to the local chapters that are supporting fire victims.
Please visit my online stores at http://www.artfire.com/ext/shop/studio/FireOakStudio
and http://www.etsy.com/shop/FireOakStudio