28 July 2011

To All Aspiring Creatives

Someone just posted this to Facebook, and I had to snatch it up. I wish someone had told me this in college, because some days I really could have used the encouragement contained in the message.
Click for full size
It took me a couple of years to hit my stride in mailling. Longer with my graphic design. Sometimes I still make crap. But I work past it to something greater. It takes time and a lot of hard work and dedication. If learning comes easy to you and you're one of those people who catch on quickly and you're used to getting perfect results, don't be dissuaded. Art and creativity of all kinds is messy and personal, and that gap is different for everyone.

Never give up. Keep at it, constantly. Whether you're a writer, mailler, painter, designer, or anything else that takes good taste and a keen eye. Don't quit. Close the gap.

UPDATE: Thanks to reader nw for linking the speech that inspired the poster!

25 July 2011

Supporting Local Artists: Jonny Nero

Three months ago, I never thought I would be working so often with other local artists. But there are so many incredible projects going on in Seattle right now that I just can't resist! Business at Knitted Steel is taking a very exciting turn.

Jonny's awesome Facebook photo

Allow me to introduce you to Jonny Nero Action Hero. He's a chiptune rock musician who looks like the Tenth Doctor, and he creates fantastic music with his sidekick Sheep. His main instrument, pictured above, is his yellow Gameboy. His most recent live performances have been at fundraising concerts for GeekGirlCon, and he has a hell of a show coming up next month.

On August 26th, PAX FRIDAY, he will be opening for none other than The Protomen at El Corazon. And it's a free show if you bring your PAX badge. (or $15 online at elcorazonseattle.com)

If you've never heard of him, please check out his music and buy a copy of his album if you like it! And if you REALLY like him, or if you want to guarantee yourself a piece of Action Hero swag at the concert, head over to his Storenvy shop and pre-order a tee shirt or pick out some buttons.

The yellow-on-black Logo tee is my design. The Sheep tee is pretty freakin' cool too. If he sells enough of this first run of shirts, Jonny says he'll later stock his store with Ladies' sizes as well!


On a related note, many thanks and sincere gratitude to those of you who have funded the indie film project REVERSAL. In just a few short days the total shot up over $2000, and now they are nearly halfway to full funding! If you haven't looked at it already, I urge you to do so.

12 July 2011

Supporting Local Artists: REVERSAL

Recently my coworker David approached me while I was lunching and mailling at my desk. He's into filmmaking, and rather good at it. (See: THE BOOK OF ZOMBIE) His most recent endeavor - REVERSAL - is currently in pre-production and I think it shows a whole lot of promise.

It started with a killer script...

We chatted and he told me the plot of the movie. Then he said that there's one little movie prop that has a big role - a keychain. He saw my dice earrings at Storenvy and asked if I could make something like that in keychain form. Uh, OF COURSE! I gave him a mockup, which is shown below, and promptly ordered materials for more.

Official Movie Prop!

So now the project has a cast and crew, a solid script, and the coolest prop ever. All it needs is funding. The crew has set up a fantastic fundraising page over at IndieGogo, and I ask you to please go check it out. It will answer all your questions and leave you very intrigued. And please donate! Supporting the local arts and small businesses of Seattle is what makes this city so great and colorful. Besides that, if you donate $100 or more you will get an OFFICIAL MOVIE REPLICA KEYCHAINalong with other cool stuff!

These keychains are not available for sale outside of this fundraiser. The keyring is a nickel-plated steel split ring, roughly 1" in diameter. 7 titanium rings connect the silver-plated die cage, which when pulled gently at both ends, releases the die for use in your on-the-go gaming! It's strong enough to contain the die in your pocket, purse, wherever. The die is a standard d6 and can be swapped out for any other die sized 8-12mm. The keychain will not be found in my store, and I will refuse all custom orders for it until this film is funded. Support the arts!


*Note: The keychain pictured above is the prototype. The final design will not change but the die inside will vary slightly in size and color. I will update this post once a color is chosen!

10 July 2011

Custom Orders Closed! and a note on Social Networks

This post comes with two subjects!

Lanyard Crafting for PAX Prime 2009

Custom Orders Now Closed
Thank you all for your lanyard orders! I came just shy of my 50 cap; perfect. My final materials order for the summer is made, and I'm going into blackout mode. What does this mean? I won't be taking any more custom orders until September. I will, however, be updating my stores at Etsy and Storenvy. Whatever materials I have leftover from custom lanyard orders will be put toward making a few random lanyards to sell online. Their base price will be $50 each, with the usual +$5 per color beyond the standard 2.

This will be the new standard base price starting September 1st.

Any orders I get AT PAX will still start at $40. More on that later.

So many choices!

Knitted Steel's Presence Online
There is a LOT happening with social media and networking right now. It can get a little overwhelming and there is more coming down the pipeline to pay attention to. With two stores, a blog, a facebook, and a twitter, it's getting kind of crazy on this end. I'm going to break it down a little.

I'm getting a little tired of Etsy. Granted, I haven't put a whole lot of effort into it lately. But it seems like the quality's gone downhill since I originally joined. A lot of it is filled with, as Regretsy queen Hellen Killer puts it, Whimsicle Fuckery. Please don't comment on the spelling.

There are some amazing stores on there and some truly wonderful people, groups, communities and products. But it's getting harder and harder to find unique and admirable handicrafts amidst the "vintage" junk, resold Chinese knockoffs and upcycled crap. It doesn't seem like the admins are doing much to clean up the site, either. I am going to slowly let that store disappear as I delve further into Storenvy.

I really, really like this website. It's customizable, it's free, it's SUPER friendly and it's not yet overrun by people who don't really want to be there. This is where I want to set up shop for now, and this is where I will be posting my lanyard leftovers before PAX this summer. Best of all, Storenvy is still in Beta, which means I can grow as it grows. And speaking of Beta...

This is amazing. I got in really early on the Beta and I'm happy I did, because I've been able to add my feedback to its growing pains. One feature I love is the Hangouts. Google has yet to roll out business profiles, but they are taking applications for the business beta. I just filled out the application and I sincerely hope they let me join. I want to implement Q&As and Tutorials via Hangouts. I want to organize my customers by what they're interested in. And I can't wait until Google+ integrates Blogger.

I'm still on Facebook, and I will be for quite some time. It's great for creating events, there's an app for each of my stores and for the most part it's simple to use. I've never been impressed by the privacy settings, and a lot of the customization is just plain confusing. Unless they can announce something truly awesome (and I don't think adding Skype is that awesome, because Skype is nothing new) I'll continue to be unimpressed. Really, the fate of my Facebook page hinges on the future G+ business profile. Even after that launches, I'll likely use my Facebook page to forward links to my G+ page.

I'm at a loss for what to do with Twitter. I get several follows each day, but 99% of them are spam, or other crafters who follow me 3 times per week in hopes that I'll follow them back. I don't like that strategy. Annoying me is not going to make me want to follow you more, fellow Twitcrafters. If I don't show interest in your Twitter feed, don't be offended. It's likely because I hardly log on. I hope to use it more often as Google+ and Storenvy progress, updating with new products and events. For now I just don't have much to offer via Twitter. Don't give it up yet! I won't.

All in all, I hope to streamline my online presence with the help of Storenvy and G+. G+ will especially make everything online more efficient, and Storenvy provides the edge and style more appropriate to my brand than Etsy.

TL;DR - No custom orders until September, and Social Media is running amok. Cheers!