I’ve never been one for New Year’s Resolutions. It always seems like they are looking backwards: here’s what I did wrong last year and how I am going to fix it. I think New Year’s Goals are more positive and productive. Here are the things that I want to do in 2018 and why.
Design more of my fabric.
I did basically no fabric designing just for me this last year. I did a lot of projects directed by other people, as partnerships or as samples for classes. They were some awesome designs that I am really proud of, don’t get me wrong, but they were constrained or influenced by people who weren’t me. I need a little more room to explore with me as the head of the expedition.
Sales of my designs on Spoonflower picked up this year and that’s really fun. For a number of years, I was working on designs for the Spoonflower book or other projects and so 90% of my designs were private for one reason or another. If you searched me out on Spoonflower there was almost nothing there to see. I added a few new things this year, like my Screaming Hairy Armadillos collection, and I would like to do more of that. With that in mind, my goal is to release one new public design every week this year. That’s pretty crazy ambitious, but it is something I know I procrastinate really easily because it’s something without a client or a deadline. So I think if I give myself an ambitious goal and state it right here publicly, I am more likely to make it happen.
Embrace the oboe.
No, I am not suddenly taking up a musical instrument. (I played clarinet and saxophone in high school and college and took organ lessons for several years as a kid. I have already checked that off my bucket list.) I designed this oboe fabric in 2009 to make some tool bags for my husband, who does play the oboe. It was the first “collection” I designed with three coordinating prints. “OboeBlues” has consistently been one of my most popular designs and I have always meant to go back and make it in more colors and add some more coordinating prints to it. I have learned a lot since 2009. It is time to stop procrastinating that.
I actually started working on this goal this morning and I wish I could smack my past-self upside the head. I didn’t save any of the original layered versions of these or the original vector drawings I made them from. So I am re-creating them properly in layers so that I can change the colors easily and pull out elements to make coordinating prints. I am hoping to send those off to proof by the end of this week with three new colorways.
I am starting with fabric, but the goal here is to actually open an Etsy shop that is all about oboe. I already have an Etsy shop that specializes in geeky puns and mashups with fiber art, and I realize, as I have been evaluating the parts of my business that I really enjoy, that I love designing these little things celebrating the stuff that people love.
When I looked at my best sellers for 2017, it wasn’t just generic knitting bags, it was overwhelmingly knitting or crochet mashed up with sci-fi. So that’s what I am going to do with the oboe. Celebrate the oboe geeks! Having been married to an oboist for 20+ years, I am always looking for oboe themed stocking stuffers and little gifts and they just aren’t out there (or they are designed by people who think the oboe is just another kind of clarinet).
I realize that the number of you that are interested in these designs just dropped to about <8% of my readers. This is not the shop that’s going to be profiled in the “Quit your Day Job” Etsy shop articles but that is 100% not the reason I am doing it. This is why:
…our cousin (senior in HS) won our symphony’s Young Musician Award and was featured in a symphony performance. If that wasn’t enough, he also won the oboe chair in the Youth Symphony Orchestra of the USA. He will be playing this summer at the Kennedy Center and touring to London, Moscow and St. Petersburg. I’m going to make him a quilt to commemorate his achievements; using embroidery to call out his awards. You offer the ONLY oboe print online – so glad I loved it!…
That’s just one of the notes I have gotten from people who have bought that original OboeBlues print. That joy is exactly why I am doing it. So it’s not going to be just fabric, but bags and stickers and all kinds if gifts for your oboist.
Do the drudge work and like it.
I launched two new online classes this fall and I have another really big one that I am working on. The tangible goal here is to get that third class done and launched, but the more intangible goal is to keep up the momentum. I have quite a few people registered in that first class (thank you!) and I have a few registered in the second one (I LOVE YOU GUYS!). The classes were monsterous, epic amounts of work to put together: learning the new platform, writing the content, editing the video, developing the curriculum, marketing and so on.
It’s actually not drudge work at all, I really enjoy putting them together (more than I thought I would) but it takes a lot of time and it is easy to get super discouraged. I’ve been struggling with that. Logically, I know that I don’t have enough stuff ready yet. To really build momentum, I need more than 2 intro-level classes, I need a whole curriculum so that you have a reason to come back and take another class or ask a question. And I need to somehow make sure that you don’t forget about me in the meantime and forget to come back and take that next class. There is a lot of shiny out there demanding our attention. But it’s just going to take time to get there.
Embracing the theme.
As I was thinking about those three goals that I was going to publicly hold myself accountable to here, I realized that there was a bigger theme for all of the things I really wanted to do: bring more joy. 2017 was a bit overwhelming in many ways. The biggest thing I felt was dragging me down was all of the negativity I kept running into in all of my communities, both in person and online. Negativity, disrespect, apathy, competitiveness. By the end of the year, I had to pull myself away from a number of things and just focus on getting things done that mattered to me. So my goals for 2018 are going to be all about bringing more joy to my community.
Designing my fabrics brings me joy through expression and creativity. That artistic voice is really essential to who I am and I need to remember that I need to be my own director too.
Embracing the oboe is about bringing joy to others by celebrating the things they love. Those notes I get from oboe fabric fans or watching someone laugh and call a friend over to check out the “Extermi-knit” bag are moments of pure delight. We all need more of that.
Doing the drudge work is about empowering others to make their own joy. I am a teacher at heart and there is no greater reward for me than watching a student have that “ah-ha!” moment and figure something out. That’s why I teach classes, so that other people can have the joy in creating and sharing their creations. Paying it forward, one little step at a time.
The woven piece up above is a great representation of all of these things. I sent one of my small weaving looms to a friend with the “price” being that she had to weave something on it that I could show as a sample project. (I don’t love making samples, so I like to bribe friends.) She surprised me and sent me truly the most awesome sample I could ever have dreamed up: my logo woven on a loom I designed, handmade by a friend (of more than 30 years). 2018 needs to be more of that.
I want to know: Are you a resolutions person or a goals person? What are your creative goals for the coming year? Do you have a theme?