December for me is not as much a time for celebration as it is a quiet opportunity for mindful introspection. It's when I slow down, take stock and recharge. I look back at my accomplishments and failures, and take those lessons into the oncoming year.
I donated my van to charity. The unexpected benefit was the layer of stress that went with it. No more "will it start, will it get me home, will it cost me another $1000 in repairs". Now I rent a car, or take a bus or a taxi, and get along just fine. Heck, I think this year I might even rent a Mini-Cooper or a Mercedes for a night, just so I can say "yeah, nice car. I've driven that".
I rebranded my business environment. I build a new website and designed new business cards with help from friends on Facebook. I cleared out my sewing room and gave away over 20 boxes of fabrics, furs and trims. I had not seen the bottom of some of those boxes for 5 years! I sorted through every drawer and shelf, assessed every bead, bauble and gadget, kept what I wanted and gave away the rest. I now work in what feels like a brand new, highly efficient shop...
I joined a board. A working board where I collaborate with others to set the direction for Northwest Art Alliance. I've learned that taking on a single thing often morphs into a list of 10 related things, but I have found my niche. Although it has challenged my capacity at times, it continues to be incredible backstage access into the business of artist promotion and the non-profit sector.
I finally visited the Smith Tower and the legendary Chinese Room, an excursion which led me to the Alki Arts Gallery in Pioneer Square, and ultimately a showing of my hats there for the holidays... my first gallery installation in Seattle!
One of my long term goals has been to expand into more galleries. Fates nudged me in that direction when a hat shop in Gettysburg contacted me after a customer walked in to their store, wearing one of my hats that they had bought at the Fairweather Gallery in Juneau...
I got another push that direction when my major and most profitable local show - the Best of the Northwest Spring Show - declined my application for March 2015. I've been a member-artist there for 12 years. In Seattle, that's a lucky number :)
So, I am taking that set of hints. I have decided to scale back on local shows, and focus most of my energies on galleries in 2015. I'm redesigning my inventory system so I can better track when stock levels need replenishing, and I'll be sending more hats, more frequently, to better support my galleries and their customer requests. If you have a favorite gallery you would like to see my hats in, please send me the gallery name and location. I'll see what I can do to get hats into your neighborhood.
And, of course, I have projects. My website begs for inventory, travelogues and more frequent blogs. My patron has been promised her long awaited Art Coat. I have new hat designs to get out of my head and onto yours.
It's going to be a very busy year. Thank you for continuing to be part of it.
For a glimpse into a couple of my most recent projects, please see: