Some Lateral Moves
It's the weekend again. That means not much will be moving that requires contacting businesses, but I did get two names of vets, one here (and one located in Florida, given to me by the woman whose dog was recently put to sleep).
I wrote the one in Florida but it seems to be an outdated e-mail address because even though I wrote directly through his website bellsouth sent it back stating this was not one of their customers. Well, another one down. It was too late yesterday to get in touch with the local vet whose name had been given me by the founder of a disability transportation rights group, and I was not able to find any website or e-mail for her. There were reviews, most of them glowingly favorable, but it appeared the last two which were left in the past one or two weeks were negative, noting that the vet did not seem herself and was letting her standards slip this month. It could be just something temporary going on in her life interfering with her work, but you can never know for sure.
All these vets I've been getting the contact info for seem iffy in one way or another. I'm not sure whether most vets are unstable/unreliable as a group or whether it's just been unlucky that the ones people have happened to have recommended just turned out to be flakey. Maybe they all start out pretty good and then burn out. I sure hope there are some solid ones out there. Carmella really needs one to come through.
I wrote Dr. Sears to let him know that so far we've been unsuccessful at getting a vet to do the procedure, and he wrote back saying he was sorry I was running into these barriers, but this is not uncommon, as most vets are afraid of it because it's not been published. I wrote him back and said that I think it may require for him to break the ice by starting to do workshops at conferences before the ball will get rolling. Hopefully he'll listen to that advice, as I truly believe that will make a difference. Vets need to hear it right from the horse's mouth and published or not, a conference is nevertheless a respectable place for vets to get their continuing education once settled into private practice. They may not seek him out to learn about this treatment but if they're already signed up for a big conference and they see this on the program they might be curious to see what he has to say. Curiosity is a good step toward integrating something new into what they consider to be useful methods.
The repairman was here most of the day yesterday. I had still had very little sleep and felt as though my brain was still asleep when I got up knowing he would be arriving soon. He got to work on some damage caused by squirrels who had decided to move their nest indoors into a corner. They had chewed their way clean through and I'd often heard them running around my attic just above my bedroom (sometimes at the wee hours of the morning, which did not help my sleep patterns any).
Carmella seemed to like him and as he got up on the stepladder to replace some wooden planks, she whined for him to come back and play with her. I had told him about her condition earlier and he jokingly told her how clumsy and uncoordinated she was, not seeming to get the connection. I think I had pointed that out once as being part of the neurological effects of the disease, but it didn't seem to register for long. Despite his joking manner the comments began to grate on me a little. When she bumped into his leg while running he asked her if she needed glasses. His somewhat insulting humor started to get old pretty fast. After all, I really love this dog, and her incoordination is not due to stupidity or some sort of inadequacy on her part. Considering what she's dealing with she gets around pretty damn well. I believe he likes her but, OK, enough ribbing already. It's kind of like telling a woman with breast cancer that she can use her bald chemo-ravaged head for a bowling ball or kidding a man with testicular cancer that now his wife will trade him in for a man "with balls". Carmella, unaware of the content behind the words wagged her tail and jumped up to lick his face. This newcomer seemed to captivate her and she accepted him as non-threatening only because I had let him in. His entrance unimpeded was a priviledge. Had he been a stranger she would have met him at the door with barking, growls, and beared teeth. Carmella generally doesn't like men coming into her territory. The man who lives next door came out into his driveway next to the fence today and was talking kind of loud and she really went off.
I ordered some molding compound today recommened by a fellow jewelry artist in preparation for the new line I'm planning and am planning out what images will work best to create molds of.
Also, I've been looking into ways to put video on my blog, and gathering ideas for which news agencies to contact with my press release.
Today was a day for putting key steps into position. Sometimes one must move sideways in order to move forward.
Carmella seemed to have slowed down on her voracious need to chew everything that passed her nose, so I let her lie on the rug of the computer room while I cooked homemade chili and spaghetti sauce for my meals over the next week so all I'd have to do then is heat them up. She seemed to lie there calmly for about a half hour but while I was paying close attention to these dishes to make sure they didn't burn I looked back at her to find that she was in the process of chewing the speaker wires to my computer and that to my horror the wires were hanging from both speakers, severed, with bits of plastic covering on the floor by her front paws. I ran in there and grabbed her but she'd bitten clean through them and the wires were not the type you could buy replacements for. They were firmly attached at the end where they connected to the back of each speaker. If my sound drivers were installed I would have been twice as furious, but the last computer technician had not reinstalled them so I've been going without sound for a long time. I may still have some older speakers that I didn't throw away and if so then maybe I won't have to buy new ones. At some point I would like to get the sound working again so that I can listen to what people are saying when I watch tutorials on techniques.
A notice came encouraging me to apply for the annual ACRE show held in Las Vegas sponsored by WholesaleCrafts.com came by e-mail. Every year I have wanted to do this show, and each year I've had to pass it up because I just don't have $1,995 or even $498.75/Month for their payment plan. I heard that lots of artists racked up at that show last year and the year before. This is one of my pet peeves (the shows with the really good customer-bases having entry fees priced so high it's inaccessible to people who don't already have lots of disposable income). I would love to see either scholarships provided or a cap put on what show organizers can charge for entry fee. Also, for years shows never charged a jurying fee, then it was a nominal one, and now it's often $50-$75 in addition to the entry fee.
I'm sorry but I just don't think judges need to be paid that much just to sit in a room and look at slides or digital photos and say, "yes, no, yes, no" or to give a score. The system has become one of exploitation of the artist and not one of looking for great talent and accepting applicants based on merit. This type of system helps the rich get richer and leaves the poor no vehicle through which to attain more capitol. If your perfect market is there but you can't even get in the door because of lack of money then that is a problem. It becomes a vicious cycle because if all you have access to are the shows with a few of your target customers and mostly browsers and those luke warm to what you have for sale, then there is a glass ceiling on your earnings. Over the past year I have not had the money at the time any really good show's entries are due, and in my part of the country there are only really a small handful of shows with good, buying customers who come back to purchase at the same ones each year.
For a time there were some options available in which the fees were $65.00 or less that still had pretty good customers. There were even some who looked for me each year intending to buy because they liked what they'd bought from me the previous year(s), but then those shows stopped being held for one reason or another and I lost those resources. Trying to get the customers from there to then buy from me online was unsuccessful and even offering a free pair of earrings with their first online purchase did not motivate them. I can only surmise that it has to do with where I live, because most people I've spoken with for whom that has worked did not live in Georgia.
Many of the galleries and neat little stores here selling hand-made art objects that once existed have since gone out of business, and the ones that remain do not seem to want to carry any more artists than their old standbys. Georgia's economy must be even worse than the National average. I know that alot of this is due to the depletion of the Federal budget, our country's money having been diverted into the war in Iraq, but Georgia seems to have been hit especially hard. I was just at the mall yesterday and even the big commercial department stores like Macy's and JC Penny looked like an abandoned ghost town. Items were in disarray, shelves were allowed to sit with big gaps in conspicuously absent inventory, and even many of the lights were left off in the afternoon. Whole lines that had been there for months had been discontinued and displays removed. Things looked disheveled and nobody was putting clothing back in its proper place. It looked as though these department stores had a bare bones crew. Even some of the vendors in the food court were closed.
The woman who lives a mile away from me tells me that Sonny Perdue, Georgia's Governor, cut a major section where she works responsible for putting disabled people back to work. There had been nobody hiring their clientele for a long time and so those employees pretty much had given up trying.
These kinds of economic changes are scary. If Government agencies are being cut to the bone, then it stands to reason that this is a hard place for an artist who makes his/her money from non-essential items to live. The ironic thing is that while selling online used to be considered a real crap-shoot, it has probably become easier for a Georgia artist to sell their wares online than it would be in a local brick and mortar store.
Taking all these variables into account my strategy is going to focus on contacts outside of Georgia through which to sell my work. I don't want to do consignment in places I can't physically travel to but I welcome outright purchases made from my Etsy store by brick and mortar stores. If you own one that you're looking to stock, please check out what I have available and consider making a purchase or placing a custom order. If you would like to test market a few pieces before placing a big order that would be relatively low-risk. Be sure to keep an eye on my shop and bookmark it to watch for my upcoming line. I believe this is going to appeal to many!
If you would like to help Carmella there are three easy ways to do that;
* Start your holiday shopping now at http://Giftbearer.etsy.com/
* Use the donation button on the upper right of my blog, or
* Buy a $5.00 ad on my blog in my "Top Spots" through Scratchback
Thank you, all of you who have already donated and/or bought ad space. Keep it up, and keep reading and commenting. Carmella and I both really appreciate your love and support.