Saturday, July 30, 2016
I have launched, over three plus years, a new business...an online retail store Bidderbutter Baubles Plus ---- http://stores.ebay.com/bidderbutter-baubles-plus on ebay. I create, renovate, find, restore, write copy about, photograph, answer customer questions, devise and use inviting packaging, am the shipping clerk and so on. It is a big job. For three years almost all revenue has gone back into the company in inventory, supplies, marketing and packaging materials. I like the creative aspects, finding and researching my finds, fixing and creating new beautiful objects from old things. I like that I keep pretty pieces from returning to a smelters pot to be no more, that I give pretty objects new life, keep the cycle of beauty and usefulness for decorative objects moving forward...out of landfills. I like that I ship pieces all over the world. I like that I have 97-98 special customers who follow my store and watch for new listings and hundreds more who just find me and drop in. I like that some customers take the time to let me know they like my service and merchandise. It's all good. But I am tired.
It's not like I have a choice about continuing to work. Artists generally always continue to work at whatever age...but I did not know it would become more and more difficult. I have a tremor in my left hand...some days quite bad. So being a one handed jeweler is a trial and frustrating. I am slow, I can not do all I want to do. I have to compromise to move forward. Taking photos, on average 40-50 per item is difficult work, uncomfortable, physically draining. But must be done. Adding new merchandise regularly keeps you higher up in the ebay search engines. Without that status, the millions of viewers on ebay will not find your store or buy your products. Learning how to sell retail took months and months and ebay changes the rules regularly. New sales systems to learn about constantly...it is a malleable medium. The Internet is always evolving. And yet.....it is interesting to master or at least compete in a new marketplace, a new venue for me. I am still an artist...aid still create graphic design projects that fall into my hands. I am so far better at graphic design than being a retail store owner and jewelry creator.....but that said, graphic design is isolating, solo work with so few interactions with the folks that see and use the fruits of your labor. Retail sales is in your face interaction with many customers, all unique, all languages, all cultures....remarkable. The Internet makes this possible and doable....just amazing.
So New York Country Girl .,,yes....international audience YES YES YES. Amazing. It's just me in a room with heaps of materials all around me with a giant window onto the world. Amazing. Come see the store and all the 350 odd wonderful pieces being showcased.
Bidderbutter Baubles Plus
Sunday, June 3, 2012
Every summer James Taylor gives a fourth of July benefit concert at Tanglewood which is just over the mountain from my place. The concerts are always sold out. When I first moved here, I packed up my gear, ready to head out to sit on the great lawn for the JT concert. I had no tickets - lawn tickets aren't reserved, figured I'd just buy at the gate like any Tanglewood Concert. Almost out the door and a friend called and told me that the concerts had been sold out for weeks and road blocks wouldn't allow me anywhere near the place. I was crestfallen. Each year I think about making the trek to get tickets and every year it is already sold out. One day soon.
In my twenties when James Taylor was a pretty hot commodity - I found myself drawn to a guy, I later married, who looked a lot like the young James Taylor. Ross had the same tall, thin, little bit angular style couched in big doses of charm and humor. Perfect for me - nearly opposite in many ways but overlapping enough to make a relationship of sorts. He made me laugh and very happy as a traveling companion through our young adult lives. But we grew up quickly and the glue that cemented us together was more like little kids' sweet paste than the stuff that keep folks together for a lifetime. It was heartbreaking to pull our lives asunder but it happened.
Learning to live without Ross, with only melodies to measure memories or heal life's wounds - took a long time. Without a map to follow, like everyone else, just kept truckin'. As a result, I became convinced that love was non-existant - some false or shallow hormonal exercise. But I had a lot of healing to do. I was convinced I had no idea what love was, or if I had loved Ross or if he loved me. I was a disaster emotionally, I suppose. Just another victim of the sixties newish emotional open environment.
I feel fine.
Friday, November 4, 2011
Erie Blvd. had nose in parking because the street was wide. It appeared to begin at the base of General Electric's oldest big red brick buildings and ran not more than a mile to the major intersection with State Street - the city's biggest commercial avenue. But Erie Blvd was unique. It was as wide as four normal city streets- and with sidewalks - five times normal width. It was the filled-in and paved-over site of the original Erie Canal and ran vaguely parallel to the Mohawk River - about 1/4 mile away on the other side of one additional diagonal street. I always found it amazing to be driving "on" the Erie Canal. I still do.
Sears was a modest stand alone little store. Basically it was a hardware store. My Dad, a card carrying DIYer- always had something he knew could be found at Sears. So we traveled the six miles to town from the Glenville hills which overlooked the area. We were not an affluent family group. Any purchase had to be well considered and labored over. However that said, my Dad's discretionary tool money seemed limitless in my eyes. We always left with a bag. It might have contained only a few screws or nails but I think the purchase made all my Dad's week long of long hard work hours somehow balanced by his modest purchase. Have things changed much for today's consumers?
Dad must have known the men who frequented the store and the men who ran the store pretty well. Perhaps the trip was partly social since he did a lot of really boring talking to these guys. I know I was the only child in the store and probably the only female.
On one back side of the store a high counter was placed with a couple copies of the "big book" Sear's catalogue for viewing and for making certain the item numbers, sizes, colors etc were correct before handing in an order. This counter was also where one picked-up happened. Boxed or brown paper wrapped purchases ordered through the catalogue were delivered over this counter from wherever they mysteriously originated. This counter was also where you returned items that did not fit or suit the needs of the purchaser. Amazingly, even on a Saturday, the counter was often empty.
I used to carefully review the catalogue items - especially the toys in the "big book.". If I had seen all of these toys in person I probably would have swooned in over stimulation. In my family, it was years before items were regularly seen in person before they were purchased. Our catalogue was well fingered. Christmas lists and birthday presents originated with the Sear's Holiday Catalogue.
Perhaps twice a year, my Mother, Father and I would make the big trip to the Montgomery Wards store. Montgomery Wards known affectionally as "Monkey Wars" was Srars major catalogue competitor in my neck of the woods. The Mokey Wars store was a behemoth. Overwhelming with many floors of merchandize and very, very crowded with shoppers. It was the sort of store a child easily could be swallowed up inside of and lost forever - or at least the best part of the trip. As a result over-tired and cranky, sweaty in snow pants kids hung close to parents. Rowdies, tough children grouped in small huddles could be seen in the giant cement stairwells. They seemed to be on their own. They looked mean. There was something foreign about them. They were "city kids." I am not sure which city. Perhaps Albany. Someplace I only went through - not to and not with any regularity. Did they have parents?
But at Sears, faces were friendly. There was room to move, space to examine the brightly chromed tools or hardware in assorted sizes which sat in open bins and divided cabinet top sections of the big wooden under drawer structures which defined the aisles of the store. Everything was labeled on the bin - not on the thing. Noticeably absent were gummy stickers messing up the surface of the new stuff. The tools themselves had numbers molded into their surfaces. I imagine one walked around the store with the latest catalogue to secure the prices of wrenches and pliers and the amazing variety of tools in the Craftsman brand. Or one asked a sales guy. They knew everything.
I think these sales guys felt sorry for me. Every Saturday waiting for my Dad as he did his thing for tweny minutes, forty-five minutes, an hour while I wandered listlessly or shrank into a corner and sat on the floor or went outside on the sidewalk or out the backdoor near the dirt parking lot and loading dock.
I knew from a young age that Craftman tools were guaranteed for life. I did not know that was a remarkable piece of merchandizing. Sears stood behind these tools. Sixty years later, there are several of my Dad's tools in my bright red tool box. They work as good as new. They outlived my Dad by thirty years and counting and will remain after mine. So guaranteed for life is not exactly accurate... Craftsman brand are multi-generational tools. Would that this was true of a dish washer, an oven... or a washing machine.
So happy 125th birthday Sears. Odd to contemplate that I have stood with you for half your 125 years. Whenever I have an appliance to replace or tires to buy or switch off - where do I go first. Sears.com. Of course I always wait for big 20-30% off sales but still- Sears is a reliable and worthy retailer. And Sears has secured my appliance purchase loyalty. Their website sucks but the salespeople in my local store outside of Pittsfield Mass are always helpful and knowledgeable. They guide me through a big purchase. And, just like when I was a child, the store is always sort of empty. For me it echoes my earliest memories of shopping with Dad. It's in the air.
Monday, October 10, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
While it's true Steve Jobs doesn't have fantasy sections of the globe named after him. He's way too cool for SteveJobsWorld. But we all know who we think of when Cupertino, CA is mentioned. And it's none of the other rich geeks.
Visionaries both- Steve Jobs, Walt Disney.
There are many, many other influential leaders and remarkable artists in the visual and entertainment realms living and long gone ( think Beetles or Van Gogh) but still Steve Jobs, with his feet in so many pies, able to guide a conglomerate of personalities and skilled folks in the design and production of the best damn "stuff" and convince us (we're so easy) we not only want the "thing" - we want the next iteration of that "thing" and the next and the next. And in so doing, has the audacity to call the "thing" an "iPod shuffle" or "nano" and while claiming the wonders of a "clip" to attach the "thing" to the person to whom it belongs as a design innovation the equivalent of "pocket" as the "thing" knocks the CD market right out of existance. Well this guy beats all other visionaries hands down... If it were a contest of domination. Well, perhaps it is.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
This reminds me, I had a dream last night or this morning that I was in the city, east village somewhere, helping put together an art exhibit...mine I think, but also a benefit of some sort, and I lost my purse and had no money to travel about except what was in my pockets. Which meant I could take a subway to a friends and beg to borrow money until I got a new bankcard, or go to the bank and try to withdraw money from my account without proof of self. I was also aware that I'd probably left my purse in a taxi....and could use my pocket change to call the taxi people to find my purse and the identity it contained. What a set of choices? I only had enough money to do one of these things. In the back of mind was the memory that this had happed three times in the recent past.
Odd dream, oddly true- isn't it? Yesterday my world got a little jolt when I received confirmation that I will receive a HEAP grant from New York State to help pay for my fuel oil. It's a great thing. And saving $650 in fuel oil means I can readjust expenses or more likely pay bills as yet unpaid...but like the woman with the lost purse of my dream....I think I have an opportunity to buy only one thing with the change in my pocket. I must make a smart choice — what is best for my future financial security and my peace of mind (which often can not be measured in dollasr).
I want desperately to buy an iPad....I want to buy one even more now that Steve Jobs is ill again or more ill than he has been in months past. I want to show support for Apple and for the group who has, in a great part, given me the prosperity that I enjoy today ( even in my lesser and older reality) and have enjoyed since stumbling into their path or visa verso.
If I had to choose between the factors that had the biggest and more significant and best influences on my life....I've thought about this....who would I choose if I had to choose one individual.
I'm afraid my choice of most significant mentor is not either parent, not my husband with whom I travelled the globe and began my adult(ish) life, any of my art professors who set me on a course of study and life, any of my other professors or teachers who opened my eyes and mind or allowed me to decide.."geez - this is crap" and move in another direction, or any of my few bosses who paid me to do the things I loved to do.....or any of my animals who I dearly loved and considered always the members of my multi-species family, or my many colleagues and friends who shared vision, silliness, laughs, stress and ideas with me over the years when knowledge was power......nope...it has got to be Steve Jobs who shared a future with me. His vision was my future, my entire professional and overlapping life which spread into every crevice of my being. And like someone once said — a future is not a gift — it's an accomplishment.
I met Steve Jobs once at Siggraph — the computer graphic conference...the conference I went to on behalf of the little ad agency (KNVB) I worked for who used Macintosh's before anyone else — to find a subtle partner with whom we could create a meshing bit of software to link the Apple platform to the black box platforms of the computers that could already create 3-D and real graphic work (much before Macintosh could do it.) Why didn't Gordon and Carl - my bosses make the plunge? It was a measly $20k investment and they would have reaped an even larger piece of a NYC advertising and publishing pie they already had a nice sized wedge of while creating a spicey piece of computer design history. Who knows.
Anyhow I met Steve Jobs in a small group of men standing at the display in some 3-D modeling booth...maybe it was Pixar...I think Steve Jobs was still absorbed in his NEXT platform (after being tossed by Apple in 1987 in their single most stupid coup of the decade). In hindsight I imagine Steve Jobs was being courted by Pixar or maybe he'd already signed on. For me this Steve Jobs encounter was like standing next to Zeus.....or Cary Grant. (in my mind). I just looked up and there he was. I admit I was slightly thunderstruck to be on the same planet with the guy and awestruck to be in the same space with the guy and frozen in place to think I was sharing oxygen with the guy . That event and a 3-D animation done by the "Late night crew" at Disney (predecessor to Pixar) were the highlights of my conference....well that and going to Disneyland via monorail ...being photographed with Mickey Mouse (maybe that was another conference...) wasn't bad either.
Anyhow I am being to mourn the loss in fear of the loss of Steve Jobs.....of a visionary that has deeply influenced all of our lives (even years and years before I was smart enough to buy Apple stock)...even all you non-Apple platform folks. Your PC platform was always simply a catch-up reproduction of what Steve had already created.
Is there any other single person living who has influenced so positively as many multi-generations of people in as many markets (as in continents) as Steve Jobs? Maybe FDR did the same sort of thing in the USA, maybe Ghandi in India, Mao in China? Steve Jobs with a little help from his friends.... has influenced the greater part of planet Earth's human population.
He's reassured us that we live in a visual world... have you seen the design of the new China Apple Store? It's a sculpture in arhitectural curved glass with a giant platinum apple logo suspended in a 3 story cylinder of space.
Or the design of the new Nano and it's great logo?
Or the iPad? And it's literally snappy tv commercials? With an open screen dripping in droplets on a machine which would seize if actually wet. Odd but very interesting and a "thou shall covet" thing. Boy do I covet...Doth thou covet too?
Or even the logo of the iPod Touch...with the five colored fingerprints. Beautifully designed bits...the things and their graphics....yum yum. perfect.
For years I have used my Macintosh computers to earn my keep. But for the past couple of years...my iPod Touch has become a dream machine...an article of pure bliss. I love my iPod. Stick it in my jeans and it goes with me whereever I go. I log on when ever, where ever....I see hardly any reason to open a laptop anymore. I draw with my finger on the iPod touch screen.....Of course I can't design on an iPod touch but I am sure I will not need to hold my breath very long until I can use an iPad for just about any design thing I'd need to do. Soon, very soon this will be true.
I think I should buy an iPad now and not wait; use my HEAP grant savings to make the plunge. Ergo, weird dream. I am at the vortex of a Tipping Point.
Good vibes to Steve Jobs. Thank you Steve...thank you, thank you, thank you. Stay tuned Steve.*
* really subtle itunes pun.
SOGO 2 DESIGN
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Thus far lots of pictures and slides of my parents, aunts, uncles and cousins and child self and ooddles of slides of my art work and technique slides for lectures I gave at workshops years ago. But none of Ross or pretty much that entire decade of my life.
It is a weird trip to look at old images of things you haven't thought of for years. I recall suddenly relationships with a couple professional photographers post Ross and am looking at their photos of me in my thirties. How come I didn't know this is what I looked like, at least to them? Who was that pretty young girl? Geez. How odd.
But considering Ross was also a serious student of photography... I guess he must have left with our photos, if we had any. We traveled all thru Europe for a couple months... Where are those slides? Where are my own slides of an earlier three months in Europe while an u.g.? Did images just disappear during my moves?
I have a few places left to look- an attic box of old family photos that is buried under tons of old crap and empty boxes; through my flat files of all my old design work; my horizontal files of project documentation; in my studio "paper sample" closet and the couple file cabinets left in my studio after my grand exodus and dispersal of all my old computer gear last year. I am not hopeful.
So wondering - old friends- you who are probably much more faithful to old memories in photo form than I ever was - anybody got any old photos of Ross? General call for old Ross photos. Can you who knew me way back when...40+ years ago and who knew well good guy Ross, take a look in your archives? Many thanks. I think his kids would enjoy seeing their dad as we knew him. Don't you?