Biz Miss

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If You Know Your Work Sucks, You’re Halfway There March 6, 2010

Filed under: creativity,Success Stories — bizmiss @ 1:35 pm
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Or so I gleaned from this video with Ira Glass, in which he reinforces the old Thomas Edison idea that “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.”  Glass’s thesis is that if you know your field, and you have the eye to recognize that your work is not as good as it could be, then what is holding you back from greatness is not your lack of taste, it is lack of practice.  I personally find this notion very reassuring, because lack of practice is something you can easily remedy with something like a Thing-A-Day project.  Acquiring taste, on the other hand (as the judges on Project Runway will tell you) is much more elusive.

p.s. I am still making a thing-a-day, but I have had to revert back to my original rules.

via Craftzine

 

Wussify Your Way to Success September 8, 2009

Filed under: creativity,Feelings — bizmiss @ 3:48 pm
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I’m trying to be a more prolific crafter without adding any stress to my day. Being stressed just makes me procrastinate.

A couple of years ago as part of New Year’s resolution, my husband (who is already much more prolific than I) decided to try to change his habits by adopting a “make-a-thing-a-day” routine for just 30 days.  If it wasn’t too difficult, he would extend the project to three months, and so on.  More than two years later he’s still doing it, which means that since he made that resolution he has made no few than 800 pieces of artwork.  Today one of them got chosen for an art show in Prague!

The task has always seemed daunting to me.  I’m afraid I will fail, even within the 30-day trial.  But this is the time of year when I make my annual resolutions, so I’ve been trying to figure out ways to make a-thing-a-day easier to accomplish.  Here are some rules I’ve come up with for myself:

  • I can make anything.  It doesn’t have to be “crafted.”  I can make a ten-second drawing or write a two-line poem.
  • I can copy someone else’s work.  I’ll still get technique practice and new ideas from doing this, and as long as I’m not selling what I make or adding it to my public portfolio, I figure there’s no harm done.
  • I can make a project from someone else’s instructions or from a book.
  • I can substitute half an hour’s work on an existing project, like the sweater I’m knitting or the cross-stitch I’m trying to finish.
  • Craft/design work for clients counts.
  • I can make something I’ve already made before.
  • I cannot make two things one day in order to skip the next day.
  • I do not have to post the results of any day’s work if I don’t like it.
  • A project is finished when I am done working on it.  It doesn’t have to be complete.

These may seem like total wuss rules, but I think I’m more like to continue making something every day if I feel excited and confident. I can always ramp up the challenge later.  Whether this works despite my wussifying remains to be seen.  I’ll let you know next month.

Have any of you ever set creativity goals that you’ve successfully accomplished?  Please share in the comments!

 

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends April 17, 2008

With an ad deadline looming and no real time or resources to put together any of my more ambitious ideas, I turned to the power of collective creativity. A bunch of our friends met in Golden Gate Park this past Saturday for croquet and lemonade in the incredibly balmy weather. When people had drunk and played their fill, I brought out my box of Sweet Meats and a camera and let people go to town. My peeps did not disappoint. Here are just some of the fabulous shots they created:

My fiancé later helped me out by laying out an ad, which I tweaked and edited into this:

Our next project will be to create some kick-ass video commercials. My crew has already got a number of fantastic plans for this. This Saturday I’m having everyone over for a big seder dinner to say thanks for their help and support–always.

 

Make it Your Damn Self…if You Can Make it Fast April 2, 2008

One of the advantages of being a creative Biz Miss is that you don’t need to turn to corporate America for many of your office supplies. You can make them yourself. Not only do you save money (and the time spent shopping for these things), you can feel proud that you are exercising your creative muscles and putting your unique stamp onto the things you use every day.

diy plannerI first learned the joy of making your own stuff when I couldn’t find the kind of daily planner I wanted after months of shopping. I needed something that was about A5 (half letter) size, showed an entire week per spread, and had the hours of the day written in. A little section for notes would also be good, but I wasn’t going to be that picky. When nothing turned up, I decided to print my own. I bought a little binder and a few hundred pages of blank A5 paper from Kinokuniya and drew up exactly what I wanted in Adobe Illustrator. It only cost me $6 (far less than if I had bought one) and years later I’m still using it because it’s organized exactly the way my brain wants it to be.

car logThis week I made three things: a car log (with sleeve to stick to the dashboard), a spending diary, and a new wallet to keep my business cards and petty cash separate from my personal stuff. The car log and spending diary took only 5-10 minutes each to make, and they were made entirely from items in my recycling bin. The wallet, on the other hand, while also made entirely from leftover materials, took an inordinate amount of time to make–I’d say 8-10 hours. It’s a fairly complex wallet and I’ve never made a wallet before, so I’m proud to have a finished product that looks and functions exactly the way I want it to, but I probably would have been better off buying something like this for a measly $13.

diary coverspending diarywallet openwallet frontwallet back

I’ve already got my next two projects lined up: a cash apron for craft and design fairs to replace my huge and inconvenient lock box, and a large canvas tote for carrying around sales samples (complete with Sweet Meats iron-on logo) so I can finally toss the ratty plastic H&M shopping bag I’ve been using.

For more DIY inspiration, check out some of the posts at “girl on the rocks.” In this one, she reuses (and improves!) security envelopes from the bills she pays online, and in this one she makes her own fiber content stamps for labeling her yarn. I now turn all of my unused bill envelopes inside out, too. Put a little message or image in the clear window and voila!–a perfect gift envelope that’s personal, funky and doesn’t cost a dime.

If you’ve got a nifty office/studio supply project you’d like to show off, link to it in the comments!

 

A New Perspective on Getting Ripped Off February 20, 2008

Two weeks ago I did some contract production work at a kids’ toy/book company.  While having lunch in the company kitchen, several employees got into a rollicking discussion about their various techniques for ripping off ideas from trade show exhibitors.  Having just exhibited at my first trade show, this naturally made me very nervous and kind of angry, so I vented to friend about it.

I said, “I knew big companies had no qualms about ripping off small designers, but I didn’t know that it was the sole source of their creative development!”

“So what?” My friend said.

“So that sucks!  I don’t want to spend my whole life fighting off people who try to steal my ideas!”

“So don’t fight them” he said.  “Just move on to the next idea.  By the time they steal it, you’ll probably be bored with it anyway.  Besides, if you’ve only got one idea, you won’t last in business anyway.  Look at it this way: it’s like Apple and Microsoft.  One company makes money by constantly releasing brand new products.  The other makes money by watering down those products and making them more affordable and available to the mainstream.  Does Steve Jobs stomp his feet and sue Microsoft every time they steal an idea?  No.  He doesn’t care, because he’s already got ten more ideas in the works.  Apple may be a smaller company, but it’s better respected and still does extremely well financially.  Which one would you rather be?”