Jan 19, 2011

Branding, marketing, image...

I've been thinking about these things a lot lately, as I go through an unofficial Etsy workshop. Admittedly, I'm still working toward a style, a look that lets someone know "Oh, Jan Conwell made that." and it may be a while before that becomes apparent in my work.  But in order to find it, I've studied hard to discover what is it I love to make more than anything?

One article I read this morning was so useful to me..."Can you describe you/your shop in six words?"  The author came up with "Storyteller addicted to color and texture..."

I thought about it for a long time...what is it that draws me to a particular thing--whether it's to make or to bring into my home?  I came up with "Procreative in love with old souls..." because all the dolls feel like children to me, and I cannot seem to resist anything young, helpless, forlorn, or tired and in need of TLC. 

I looked for patterns in my work...and the things that stir me most, that make my hands itch to sculpt, sew, paint, assemble, are the things that reflect all the comfort and humor of long-ago.

Yes, an addiction to vintage is nothing new, but it was a revelation for me, because I'd though my tastes ran more to the wilder arts, the flashy sort of bohemian, eclectic, crazy folkart colors.  I do love wild colors--you should see the furniture and fabric in my house!--but I seem driven to beat the hell out of it and antique it.  There's got to be some psychological bad news in that, doesn't there?

So following the article's idea, to tell a story with my shop...I realized I needed to weed out the things that were more an attempt to chase a market.  Yes, I can make holiday folkart, but I have to find a way to make it mine...to be true to something in me rather than aiming to mimic what sells.

I'm still searching for that quality that marks my work as mine--and still learning which medium is the best for me--but I think I'm getting closer.

If you were to describe you/your work in six words, what would they be?


  1. I think you've hit the nail dead center! A lot of soul searching, and sometimes it does, just take time. I want the same thing, someone to know Lisa did that...

  2. I had this same sort of thought not to long ago... and it's been almost like an adventure to see if I can stay true to that vision without like you've said chasing a market.

  3. I've been thinking a lot about my style this year as well. I know it's not something you can force, but I would also like for people to see my dolls and say that's a Shauna Henry.

    On the other side though, I look at say, Susanna Oroyan, and think she never had a particular style. She seemed to be constantly evolving. So which is better?

    At this point I'm just doing my work and if a style emerges so be it - and if not, then I'll keep playing and evolving. :)

  4. I have to give a good thought before I can answer this last question...
    It is funny becaus I was just chatting about style with a young artist ( she is 17) and told her not to worry. The more you create, the more you find your own style.
    You got me very intrigued, I wonder what your house looks like now! LOL!


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