Homemade Crafts

Not everyone is a Rembrandt, a Picasso or an Andy Warhol. And that’s okay;  none of us have to be. If you enjoy making handmade crafts, if you have a passion for it, that alone can take you far. In most cases, passion brings with it an inherent talent – as you enjoy what you do, you unleash your stored creativity.

You’ve nurtured your talent for making homemade crafts — homemade cards, jewelry, drawings, photography. Friends buy your items from time to time, and some advise you to consider a career in crafts. So that’s great; now what?

homemade crafts

You have different roads open to you. You can pursue this passion for your own enjoyment, as holiday gifts for friends and family, or as a way to market a new business. Whatever the case, let www.boomerden.com help you get the rewards you seek from your talent. Check in regularly for free tips, blogs and advice.

Our regular features will offer guidance on things like: how to price your products and services, where to sell them, how to take an idea and patent it online, how to brand yourself, and more. Check back often!

Battlefield to Workshop; Healing Crafts for Disabled Veterans

Healing CraftsCraft work is healing. So says Patrick Mooney, of the National Museum of the Marine Corps, who feels that our nation’s disabled war veterans “…can help rebuild themselves at the same time” through hobbies and crafts. Perhaps that’s why the U.S. hobby industry supports groups such as the Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment, which help care for disabled and recovering veterans by providing free model building kits.

According to the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, the median age of a male war veteran in the  U.S. is 61; for a female it’s 47. That’s a lot of boomers, in a U.S. veteran population that’s 22 million strong.
BBut what can hobbies and healing crafts do for this particular group of people, particularly disabled veterans? Plenty. Besides providing a needed outlet for creativity and talent, a pursuit of hobbies can lower depression, reignite forgotten passions, and increase manual dexterity in fingers, hands and wrists.

And for those so inclined, numerous avenues exist to promote and sell handmade craft items, including online sites such as www.etsy.com, and www.dawanda.com, just to name two. Visit this URL for a great list of similar sites to get you started: http://workathomepay.weebly.com/sell-your-crafts.html. Finally, there’s the San Francisco-based Combat Paper Project, www.combatpaper.org, which helps veterans cut, grind and reshape uniforms they wore in combat to create original, cathartic works of art.

If you’re one of our nation’s proud war heroes, and you have an arts or crafts skill to share, give yourself the green light to move forward. You’ll be glad you did.

Social Media Blog for Sculptors — Wally Cleaver Shows Us How!

I remember watching episodes of “Leave it to Beaver,” in the ‘60s, cross-legged on the floor in front of the TV, cookies and chocolate milk in my lap. I was younger than Wally and the “Beav,” but I loved their innocent exploits each week. Their innocence and good nature has stayed with me through the years.

Social Media BlogSo I was delighted to read that Tony Dow, aka beloved older brother “Wally,” has found a new career as a sculptor and abstract artist. Working from his home studio just outside L.A., Dow rediscovered a 30-year-old talent and love for sculpting. Now 67 years old, a classic “Boomer,” Dow makes abstract wooden and bronze sculptures, drawing his inspiration from the scenic Topanga valleys around his home.

He’s following through on a dream to reconnect with his talent once he retired. “The dream was to get a barn space somewhere at the beach and have a studio,” he says. But the beach turned out to be too expensive, so he began working from his home. The time and investment have paid off.

Today, Dow is gaining fame and recognition in ways he never imagined on the Leave it to Beaver set.  Still, I’ll bet June and Ward would be very proud.

You, too, can achieve success using social media to promote your sculpting or art work. A Social media blog such as this are one tool that will head you in the right direction.

The “Art” of Public Relations

Perhaps your craftwork, music, photography or art is a relaxing hobby – a way to isolate your stress and express your creative side. Or maybe you seek extra income. While notoriety and wealth may or may not be your goal, there are easy ways to get your work noticed. One such way is know as public relations –  also known as a press release or media release. And good news — you don’t need a separate art budget to get it started.

Public RelationsPress releases don’t have to break the bank.  You also don’t have to be a professional in the public relations industry.  And you generally don’t have to pay for more than the paper, envelope and stamp. That’s because editors look for well-crafted press releases, and they’re eager to run them if your announcement holds interest to their readers.

To get you started writing your own news release, follow a general press release format. Here are 6 tips to follow:

1. Write a catchy headline! Grab your reader’s attention with bold action words!

2. Communicate your uniqueness in the first paragraph. What’s special about your artwork, design or photography? What will make your customer take notice?

3. Keep the body of the release short, sweet and to the point. Avoid any temptation to write long, wordy sentences.

4. Keep your news release to one page, double-spaced. Releases that run two pages or longer rarely get read.

5. Include your city and state, and your contact information. Publications are more inclined to run your news if you’re local.

6. If possible, include a picture of your artwork, and/or a head shot of yourself. Think human interest!

My next Boomer Den webinar, coming in 2013, will provide a friendly, usable guide to news release writing to promote your talents. Sign up for Boomer Den membership now (FREE!) to make sure you’re on the mailing list. To the first 50 who sign up, I’ll send a press release template to you – FREE!

Failure Club = Success Born From Fear of Failure

Failure Club

The fear of failure, or fear of rejection, has been the death knell of so many great dreams. It ranks right up there with a fear of flying.What would be the one thing you would change about your life? You would want to create a failure club to turn your negatives into positives.

Catch new episodes of the video TV series ‘Failure Club,’ hosted by Morgan Spurlock, every Monday and Friday at 10 a.m. PST/1 p.m. EST. You can watch the TV show for free online each week. Learn how to take a perceived failure and turn it into success beyond your wildest dreams.

● How to Start Your Own Failure Club

Artist’s Showcase for Those Over 70 – It’s Possible!

In the rambling, scenic town of Southbury, CT, a life care retirement facility called Pomperaug Woods will hold its fifth annual Connecticut Senior Juried Art Show on September 22 and 23.  This is a very unique show — all contributed artwork will be from entrants ages 70 or older, and range up to age 98. It is the only artist’s showcase of its kind in Connecticut, and includes the categories of painting, drawing and photography.

“Our art show celebrates the energy and life experience of seniors,” said Carol Ann McCormick, director of marketing for Pomperaug Woods. “These talented people bring decades of experience to their artwork.”

Artist's ShowcaseWhile Pomperaug Wood’s juried show is unique to Connecticut, such art shows are cropping up all over the U.S., and with good reason. Seasoned painters, sculptures and artists bring a sophistication and confidence to the creative community around them. Many such entrants, besides being in their boomer years or older, must adhere to the same rules as their younger counterparts, including requirements that they have:

  1. Sold artwork commercially
  2. Exhibited in a professional gallery
  3. Held professional membership in a guild or association

Painting, clay work, mosaics, photography, ceramics and woodworking are becoming increasingly popular with this age group, as many decide that now is their time to nurture and showcase their talents and abilities. We hope this is just the start of a trend that’s here to stay. At Boomer Den, we say… Let your creative flags soar!

cited: www.pomperaugwoods.com

Stencil Drawings on Canvas; Brazilian Artist Shows You How

An Aug. 20 item from the Associated Press features Fernando de la Rocque, a young Brazilian painter, who makes prints on canvas by blowing marijuana smoke onto precut stencils that overlay paper. His images include former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, (an impressive likeness), political figures and religious icons. The tools of his craft? Five “joints” smoked daily — per print —  and paper.

Stencil DrawingsMarijuana, and all its colorful slang – joint, whacky weed, doobie, and others – has been part of our society for decades. Art appreciation, also, has characterized us since our earliest days. In the ‘60’s and ‘70s, the two enjoyed a playful courtship. So here in 2012 I must ask – do pot laced stencils represent true art? And perhaps the bigger question – who’s to  say? A juried art panel? A museum curator? The National Endowment for the Arts? You and me?

Fernando de la Rocque does well by showing us how to create a stencil… just not in the traditional sense. His commercial success supplies perhaps a measured response. The AP says that some of de la Rocque’s “pot stained prints” fetch upwards of $2,500. Further, he headlines his own art showings at small, eclectic galleries in cities like Rio de Janeiro and Ipanema. Finally, he’s been making international headlines and lighting up blogs and chat rooms around the world. Clearly, we enjoy watching him at work.

His latest stencil drawings are titled “Blow Job.” Clearly, de la Rocque is having some iconoclastic giggles. To the stencil art world, he appears to be what Madonna is to pop music, and Howard Stern is to talk radio. A boundary pusher. An eyebrow lifter. Surely we can applaud such displays of ingenuity. Yet many others might find his methods offensive.

Fernando de la Rocque’s stenciled images have been described as “amazing…delicate… original.” Is he supplying us with true art? Or is he just blowing smoke?

AP Photo, Felipe Dana, August 20, 2012

Guide to Profitable Juried Arts & Crafts Shows

It’s believed that artisans of all kinds prefer to be with other creative people when  showing and selling their work. They see this as preferable to selling among a mixed lot of importers, resellers and assembly line manufacturers. Such preference attracts them to “open” or crafts shows , where one or more judges determine the suitability of their arts or crafts for sale.

Crafts ShowsThese juries accept your work (or don’t) based on criteria such as creativity, technical knowledge, materials and medium chosen, and related requirements. For the most part, they succeed at blocking mass produced and imported items. The result is a venue for hand-crafted paintings, fine art and craft work created by the exhibitor or principal.

Be aware, though, that potential drawbacks can and do exist. For one thing, local, community-based shows can get political. Nepotism lurks everywhere, including the art world. Further, too much reliance on juried shows limits visibility to a wider audience of customers.

My suggestion? Try your hand at a few open shows, to iron out the wrinkles and find out which items in your line are most likely to sell. With that knowledge, perhaps branch into online promotion or auction sites, with the confidence that your work has been tested.

“NextGen” Message from Boomers: Stay True to Art!

What legacy are we leaving in the arts, for generations to follow?

The “early Boomers”, as they’re called, (those at or nearing adulthood during the Woodstock era) are the most likely to attend classical music events, opera, theatrical plays and other “traditional” artistic pursuits.   From there, it’s been a slow and steady ride downhill.
Are we seeing a decline in art appreciation by younger generations – those born in the 1960s or later? A “graying” of the arts? So say the statistics.

True to ArtA report issued by the National Endowment for the Arts – which tracked boomer “cohort” behavior over the past 10 years — portends this very trend in audience appreciation and attendance.

Participation in the classic arts used to correlate to socioeconomic status; the higher the education, the more creative and artistic. Not anymore. Now it’s generational. Now it’s become personal.  Now this is the time to stay true to art.

The NEA report cites “an overall decline in adult arts participation beginning with the cohort born during World War II.”  It says that “something needs to be done” to reignite interest in benchmark artistic pursuits. It does not, however, provide answers.

If anemic interest (and benefactor support) continues, then art in all its forms treads in perilous waters.  As a society, we celebrate the trendy, the “pop” and the new.  Think rappers, YouTubers, video makers.  Can we preserve the glory of those great and timeless talents that came before us, yet whose lights still burn so brightly?