Tag: 2013

November + December Inspiration


1. John Baldessari’s work and especially his philosophy on art: “I get really attracted to details and parts of things. I used to tell people I would feel happy if there was just one square inch of a painting I liked. I wouldn’t even have to like the whole painting.”


2. Anatomy of Digestion cup and saucer from Street Anatomy


3. Alexa Minc | Jewelry inspired by the human body

Pulse Room

4. Rafael Lozano-Hemmer | The Pulse Room


5. Mayan Art


6. Boo and Boo Factory | Handmade Leather Jewelry

“You are about to enter the much more difficult phase of unlearning everything you have learned in college, of questioning it, redefining it, challenging it, and reinventing it to call it your own. More than in any other vocation, being an artist means always starting from nothing. Our work as artists is courageous and scary. There is no brief that comes along with it, no problem solving that’s given as a task… An artist’s work is almost entirely inquiry based and self-regulated. It is a fragile process of teaching oneself to work alone, and focusing on how to hone your quirky creative obsessions so that they eventually become so oddly specific that they can only be your own.”

7. Teresita Fernández’s 2013 commencement address at VCU 

Links: 1/2/3/4/5/6/7


Free Shipping on Etsy Products!

Hi! I just wanted to make a more formal announcement that you can get free shipping on my all of my Etsy products through December 15th using the code HOLIDAY2013. All of my items are one-of-a-kind and make great gifts. I guarantee that products will be shipped in 3-5 days, but I usually try to send them out within the first two days. Happy Shopping! :]



World Diabetes Day!


Hey everyone! So if you’re new to the site, November 14th is World Diabetes Day and that’s important to me because I’ve had Type I Diabetes for almost 20 years. One of the main reasons why diabetes awareness is so important is because so many people go undiagnosed due to their lack of knowledge about diabetes and it’s symptoms. It’s also really important because there are lots of diagnosed diabetics who don’t have access to the care they need to stay alive. Type I diabetics can’t survive without insulin. That doesn’t make insulin a cure.

The American Recall Center teamed up with several diabetes bloggers to create this awesome graphic:


If I could only tell you one thing that I wanted you to know about diabetes, it would be that even though I look like a healthy 23-year-old, I’m constantly battling a chronic disease that affects my whole body.

You can help raise awareness today by doing a few simple things:

  1. Wear blue–the color for diabetes awareness–and share your blue on your social media accounts. Get the word out that you’re wearing blue in an effort to raise diabetes awareness. Share some information about diabetes if you can.
  2. Take the Big Blue Test. You can do this if you have access to a blood glucose meter even if you’re not diabetic. The point is to show the positive impact of exercise on blood sugar levels. For every 10 submissions, The Diabetes Hands Foundation will grant $5 in support of people with diabetes in need around the world.
  3. Educate yourself–even if it’s just finding out what the symptoms or complications of diabetes are.

Now get out there and spread the word! :]


Business Conferences + Workshops + Discussions

Over the past year, I’ve been more active in learning about the business aspect of my art. I already told you guys about the classes I’ve been taking and the research I’ve been doing, but I’ve yet to mention the conference, workshop, and panel discussion I went to a while ago.


Last November, I went to the annual “Make Art Your Business” Conference at Blue Ridge Community College. This conference is still pretty new–it began in 2011. I wasn’t able to go the year before unfortunately, so I was really excited that I had the opportunity to go this time. The conference took place on a Monday so I skipped class and brought an artist friend with me. It was a great experience. I networked a little and learned a ton of information about marketing strategies, setting up a physical store, creating a social media presence,  getting work into galleries, etc. The keynote speaker was Ragan McManus, the executive director of The Arts Council of the Valley in Harrisonburg. Her presentation was probably my favorite part of the conference.


The conference this year is taking place on Monday November 4th from 9am-4pm and the keynote speaker is internationally-known artist P. Buckley Moss. I recommend this conference to any artist who is interested in starting a business as well as artists who have already taken the plunge and own a business. It’s always a good idea to keep seeking more information and see what other people are doing. You can find more information and register here: Make Art Your Business


A few months later in February, I went to a workshop called Start Smart that I signed up for through the Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development Center in Harrisonburg (which also co-sponsored the Make Art Your Business conference). This workshop did not focus on art, but on starting any kind of small business. It’s goal was to help participants determine whether starting a small business was really what they wanted, and if so, how to get started and what things to consider. We talked about coming up with a business name, the importance of marketing, common mistakes, startup costs, etc. The small workbook I got to take home with me even had a thoroughly-explained business plan template, which I find very useful.


The last thing I attended that I want to mention was a panel discussion in Roanoke. This discussion was part of the Cox Business Executive Discussion Series. I went on May 8th when the topic was “The Role of the Arts in Economic Development.” Admission was free and participants were provided with a really nice breakfast. The expert panel included: David Mickenberg (former president/CEO of the Taubman Museum of Art), Amy Moorefield (director of the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University), Chris Morrill (city manager of the city of Roanoke), Wayne Strickland (executive director of the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission), and Ruth Waalkes (associate provost for the arts and executive director of the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech).


The discussion was really enlightening and I learned about the growth of art where I live compared to the growth and presence of art in other fairly large cities. I also learned that while Roanoke is developing pretty quickly, it is not the greatest place for a new artist (like me) who doesn’t have a lot of connections. In other words, there seems to be more focus on individual success than there is on helping out fellow artists. This is pretty discouraging, but I think it’s good to be realistic when it comes to your career. For the time being, I am staying in Roanoke. After all, with the internet, you can become a successful artist even in the smallest of towns. Successful is a relative term of course.

I’ve learned so so much in the past year about starting a business, and I’m actually feeling pretty confident that I can do this. Unfortunately, this government shutdown is putting a bit of a damper on things, so I’ll just keep doing some more research in the meantime. As always, thanks for reading :]


Show at Larkin Arts

larkinarts-20-1024x682Photo by Larkin Arts

Larkin Arts is a space in downtown Harrisonburg, VA that offers supplies, classes, studios, and gallery space for small art shows. It is owned and run by three super talented individuals: Lynda Bostrom, Valerie Smith, and Scott Whitten. They opened this wonderful place in September of 2012 and seem to be doing an awesome job of getting involved in the community and giving artists the means to create and showcase their work.

As an art student at James Madison University, which is also located in Harrisonburg, I heard about this new place that was opening. I figured they would be taking applications for art shows in their space and I was right. I immediately applied for a spot and patiently waited. In early March, I received an email from Lynda saying that I had been one of the two artists selected for a show in August. I was so excited!


I had already decided that I wanted the show to be about my diabetes again. I received a lot of great feedback at my first art show, which was also about diabetes, and I wanted to expand this body of work and share it with more people.

I set up the show the day before the opening and my mom came with me to help out. Set-up went super smoothly, thanks to Lynda who is totally a gallery expert. For this show, I was paired with local artist Michael Houghs, who displayed an awesome series of metal sculptures. We agreed that the combination of his sculptures and my colorful paintings worked really well!

michaelhoughPhoto by Katie Schmid of Larkin Arts

The 3-hour opening reception took place on Friday August 2nd and it totally exceeded my expectations. My parents and younger brother were able to come to Harrisonburg with me for the event, which was great. Several people came through to check out the art and I was able to talk to many of them about my work. I heard all kinds of stories and was blown away by how people responded to my own story and my work. I was even able to talk to some young kids about the paintings, which forced me to think about how I can effectively get my message across to a child.




Here are some of the comments people left in my comment book:

“What an amazing and powerful presentation. So eye-opening into the world of being diabetic. My heart goes out to every (especially young) person who struggles with the day to day challenges.”

“You have touched my heart—thank you.”

“This is an amazing show. I love when an artist truly puts something of themselves into the art and you have given yourself completely to your art, I love it. You’re amazing, keep it going.” 

“I feel that nobody truly understands what it is like living with this disease! I feel that I have a spiritual sister of some sort as I gaze upon your work. It is awe-inspiring! Please, keep doing what you’re doing—giving others like us hope and kinship of sorts! Thank you for your work. It was and is truly a blessing!”

“I live with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia pain. I’m working to express visually how that feels—thanks for this!”

“Meaningful work. The world needs this.”

“Really cool! Love your brushstrokes, color, and subject matter.”

“Saw your work today. Awesome. No one realizes what diabetes does to a person—my husband has it—my mom had it. Your paintings are awesome. Get the word out—people can identify with these feelings.”

“I commend you for sharing this part of your life through your beautiful artwork! It’s a unique perspective that blesses us all!”

“I love walking into the exhibit and then making my way over to your intro and realizing your pictures tell a story. Absolutely stunning and heartbreaking.”

DSC02949Quick Fix
DSC02951Pins and Needles

I am so so thankful for the opportunity that Larkin Arts gave me to share my work with more people. I met some really great people and came out of the experience with ideas on how to take this message further. A huge thank you to everyone who was able to come to the opening and to all the kind people who helped me out :]

larkin4Photo by Katie Schmid of Larkin Arts

Fall 2013 Update

Mmmmmm I love the fall. The smells, the sights, the feels…it’s all just so cozy and inspiring. I’m sure I’m not alone here, but I think I feel the most inspired during the fall season. It’s probably because I associate this season with the beginning of a new school year. No, I’m not in school anymore, but I was for the past…17 years? It’s pretty much wired into my subconscious now.


This fall, I’m definitely feeling inspired, but also very overwhelmed. I guess you could say I’m out in the “real world” now and I’m at a crossroads, trying to decide what I need/want to do at this point in my life. My brain is overflowing with ideas and prioritizing isn’t coming to me so easily right now. There’s no doubt that being an artist is risky. It’s hard to prepare for something unknown, you know? But more and more, I’m feeling the urge to take the risks. I’m writing a lot, reading a lot, and thinking a lot in an attempt to go into this with as much knowledge and confidence as I can. I’ve been more active in asking for help from others who know more than I do, and even the smallest bits of advice have been really eye opening and helpful.

I’ve learned a lot of things about myself since graduating from college. One thing I learned is that apparently I’m not ready to stop taking classes. I’m currently enrolled in about 11 online classes and I took two more over the summer. The majority are free classes offered by several different universities, which is so awesome because anyone with Internet access can take them. I will include the links at the end.

I only paid for two classes and neither one was overpriced in my opinion. I took the first one over the summer through Blue Ridge Community College. This 8-week class, taught by the knowledgeable Teri King, was all about starting your own arts and crafts business. It was filled with tons and tons of useful information that I’m still referring to now.


The second class I paid for is actually an e-course written by the owners of A Beautiful Mess. This class is about creating your dream job, and I haven’t read through all the content yet, but it seems very similar to the class I previously mentioned only more personal and with a sort of different perspective. I will share more of my thoughts on the e-course once I finish it.

dream job pichttp://redvelvetshop.myshopify.com/collections/e-course/products/dream-job-e-course

Although being unemployed is frustrating for sure, I have to look on the bright side and say that all this time to myself is super beneficial. I’m really thankful that I’m able to do this right now. Besides taking a million classes, I’ve also been creating more products for my Etsy shop, working on grad school applications (yes, I decided to apply—more on that soon!), and attempting to get a handle on the business aspects of my art (making it more legit).


Since not all my plans and ideas are fully developed/make a lot of sense, I’m keeping things kind of under wraps for now. I feel like I need to keep them somewhat to myself while I work out the kinks and all the confusing stuff. Don’t fret though, because like I said in my last post, I have lots of other content coming up to keep you occupied while I work on this other stuff :] Thanks for reading and have an awesome day!

P.S. Here are some links to click if you’re feeling the thirst to learn: