beth bundy designs

E-Commerce. Not what I envisioned.

Beth Bundy

I had no idea that it would be so difficult to sell my art online!  I mean, people go to school to get degrees in E-commerce.  I had no idea.  It has been a process.  One that I want to make sure I document and am totally honest about.  It has not been easy but I am still convinced that it will happen and I will be selling my work online in no time!

But simply getting the art ready to place in an online shop is a feat.  The professional photographer I worked with in February suggested that I scan my artwork instead of photographing it which was the best recommendation I could have gotten.  Not only does scanning keep the artwork in perspective, it also keeps the colors pretty true (except for that bright pink?!).  But that is just step one, scan.  Then I need to crop, edit with photoshop, choose a framing option, and place them in a digital frame.  Those steps add on at least 30 minutes for each product.

Photographing artwork...

Photographing artwork...

Scanning artwork...

Scanning artwork...

Then on to product additions.  After I sent all of my edited photos to my web designer and wrote up blurbs about each piece, I told her exactly how I wanted my shop to function.  (This was after I was shot down by two web designers with the idea that I really want to do; mix and match layers :))  So she worked for a few days on placing products and descriptions into a shop, with various colors and framing options under each product.   When I looked at my shop, it was really not what I had envisioned.  I want the customer to be able to make choices.  And then I saw that in the cart the product image is not even the correct image that the buyer placed in the cart!  It is always the image of the first photo under each product.

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 Come on Squarespace.  This seems like an easy fix.  Just have the image match up with each SKU!   I sent them a review and then began to problem solve.

Maybe I should just use Etsy?

Maybe I can just have one product in each without color choices but with framing options?

Maybe I should just have one color choice for each design?

Maybe I should just ditch the online shop?

It seemed like the best way to solve this problem is to reduce the buyers' choices.  So, I went from wanting to give the customer complete control in mixing and matching their layers and colors and custom design their artwork to now them not even being able to choose what frame they want.  I am limited by my options in technology and time.

So, it's not what I envisioned but it will have to work for now. And I have gained some appreciation for all of those Etsy artists.

 

 

 

Energy.

Beth BundyComment

Lately I've been applying for jobs.  Taking a leave of absence from my public school teaching job has been a blessing in so many ways.  I've had energy to spend with my family, create my own work, learn new skills, and even train for a triathlon (that's only a few days away!).  I've developed some skills that would greatly improve my teaching and I am anxious to get back into the classroom.   I feel energized.  

I am looking to see what options I have since the job that I left last year was reduced to .5 FTE.  I want to be in a school that believes in the visual arts and supports a solid arts program.  Two jobs have come up for next fall that would be ideal jobs for me.  After 20 years of teaching art, I feel like I have the knowledge, skills, and the right to be picky.  I interviewed at an all-girls Catholic high school.  It would be an amazing place to work, with motivated and talented teachers and students, and I would finally be in a high school.  I have always envisioned myself at this point in my career teaching at a high school or upper level classes.  So, this was my chance.  I got an interview but I did not get the job.  After feeling a bit disappointed, I moved on and applied for another ideal job at a local arts focus elementary school.  If any job is a great fit for me, it's this one!  I have a huge amount of experience in the elementary art classroom, shining letters of recommendation and I know I could continue a legacy of visual art excellence.  This time I did not even get called for an interview.  

It is interesting how at this time last year I was so ready to take a break and step away from the classroom, maybe even not returning.   Now the time has come to think about going back and it seems that the universe might not want me to.  

Why does this have to be such a difficult profession?  As art teachers, we not only have to teach but we also have to convince the people that make all of the decisions that reflect our lives that providing a space for students to be creative is highly important.  I'm not sure I have the energy to do it anymore.  Maybe it's time for me to put that charge in another direction?

On location.

Beth BundyComment

When I was growing up in Alabama, I spent many nights in grand homes in the city of Mobile, in Gulf Shores, or on Mobile Bay that were thoughtfully decorated.  There is something about the culture of the south that focuses on beautifying.  Southerners make sure their clothes, homes, faces, and feet are pretty at all times.  My mother spent hours of her time browsing antique stores and purchasing oriental rugs to fill our living room floor and artwork to adorn the walls of our den.  Most women also did not leave home without their makeup and hair done.  This is the environment I was raised in.

These bookshelves are a perfect place for a 4" paper cut at my friend's home in Auburn, Alabama.  Melissa even bought one of my favorite Beth Bundy Designs, the doug fir cone.

These bookshelves are a perfect place for a 4" paper cut at my friend's home in Auburn, Alabama.  Melissa even bought one of my favorite Beth Bundy Designs, the doug fir cone.

So, when I started thinking about going "home" for spring break I began thinking about all of the manicured homes that I would be visiting and envisioning my paper cuts adorning their walls, bookshelves, and mantels.  I lugged a carry on full of only my artwork and frames and began by asking one of my college friends if I could place my art in her home.  Lucky me, her living room could be on the pages of Pottery Barn it is so perfectly put together (and she has three sons, ages 4-8!).  Another one of my best friends just cleaned her home to put it on the market so it was also staged and ready for a raid of Beth Bundy Designs!  

A lavender lion looks perfect in the beautiful baby room at Barcley's house in Birmingham, Alabama.

A lavender lion looks perfect in the beautiful baby room at Barcley's house in Birmingham, Alabama.

I will be continuing to visit homes in Birmingham, New Orleans, Mobile, Tallahassee, Panama City Beach and Georgia over the next couple of weeks, which gives me quite an array of locations to infest.  It is a good thing that I grew up in the south where people know how to take such good care of themselves and their homes!  My artwork approves.

 

Why I'm always thinking about design thinking.

Beth BundyComment

Ever since I experienced design thinking for the first time at the Educator's Bootcamp at the Stanford University d.school, I just haven't been able to stop thinking about this format for creative problem solving.*  Every meeting I go to I want to jump out of my chair and say, "there is a better way to tackle this!"  I overhear conversations about the world we live in and think, "if only we could get a group of creatives together to talk to others and look at this problem in a different way!"  And when I enter a classroom, my focus has become not only on the product but also on what students will learn as human beings throughout the process.  So, as I think back to this past weekend, I am filled to the brim with possibility.

Students at Concordia University synthesize their findings during the "define" stage of the design thinking process.

Students at Concordia University synthesize their findings during the "define" stage of the design thinking process.

I spent Saturday leading a design thinking workshop for students who are in leadership positions on their college campus.  They are challenged to "design ways in which to understand and teach the community about the essence of their university".  As they described why they were spending their Saturday with us, I could see pride and frustration in their faces.  They want so badly to share their experiences and those of others  and make a change that will benefit their school that they care deeply about.  One student even confronted us as we discussed the plan for the day.  "Why does it matter?  Who is going to listen to us anyway?  Will something really come of this work that we are doing?" he questioned.  Our hope is that as we guide them through the process and they will see that they do have the power to share their voices and make a positive difference in the lives of others.

Saturday was tiring and I was glad to have Sunday to reenergize.  I spent the majority of the day gathering my thoughts around a passion project that I would like to work on for the coming year to apply for the Adobe Creative Residency.  Once again, I came back to design thinking.   I know I want to write and illustrate a children's book with paper cut illustrations and I know I want to teach others about design thinking, so why not combine those two ideas!?  So my passion project is to design and illustrate an interactive children's book that teaches others the power and life skills of the design thinking process.  I'm not sure exactly what it will look like yet but I do know that it would be full of colorful layered paper cuts and challenge people to think about how they can problem solve in creative ways.  

My three year old son interacts with layered paper cuts by mixing and matching designs and colored faces.

My three year old son interacts with layered paper cuts by mixing and matching designs and colored faces.

Rules help to create a successful brainstorm session.

Rules help to create a successful brainstorm session.

This weekend reminded me of why I always have this process on my mind.  It gives us all a voice.  It teaches us valuable life skills such as how to communicate effectively and share stories with others.  It reminds us of our creative and fun sides and helps us to see those sides of others.  And it challenges us to look at problems as opportunities that can be solved if we bring our creative minds and come together to share and build ideas.  It reminds us that we are all human with needs and there are innovative ways to meet the needs of each and every one of us.

* I would like to give a nod to my sister, Maryanna Rogers, who convinced me to attend the d.school almost 5 years ago.  Thanks for changing my life, sisterita!  

Getting shop ready!

Beth Bundy

Managing this website has been fun.  I actually enjoy writing about my creative journey, choosing colors and playing around with image and text design.  Squarespace is an easy platform for novices like me but sometimes you need to call in the pros.  And luckily, I have been granted some money from the Regional Arts and Culture Council to do just that.

I found Outlaw Creative on the Squarespace website.  They have a list of specialists and Sasha's company jumped out at me for the simplicity of her websites and the educational aspect of her business.  She provides not only the services to create a great website but also helps clients manage their own websites through video tutorials and design sessions.  We chatted about what would be the most beneficial area of my website to work on with my grant money and decided to focus on the shop.  So, I am gearing up to sell my work online!  

scanning artwork.JPG

Currently I am scanning and editing the photos of my artwork to put in the shop.  I had no idea how much work it took to simply put your products on a website to sell!  I have to figure out how to do this because I am going to be the one managing the shop and the original pieces that will be selling, so things will constantly be changing.  First, I tried to photograph my artwork in a light box.  The photos turned out okay but it is difficult to get the lighting to show the correct colors of the artwork.  Aaron, the professional photographer I worked with at the beginning of the month, suggested that I scan my artwork instead.  So, yesterday, I tried it.  I spent the entire day working on scanning and editing the images.  Some colors were easier to match than others (that bright pink would not get bright enough!) but I used several tips that Aaron gave me when editing and I think they look pretty good.

Keep an eye out for the opening of my store in April!  I'm excited to finally be able to sell work to customers from near and far!