Thursday, February 12, 2015

2014 Challenge Wrap-up and Other Updates

Hello readers!  If you have been following along on my 14 Art Books in 2014 challenge you will notice that I do not have posts for all 14 books I had hoped to make.  That is because I got busy, and distracted, and lazy, and even more busy!  To recap, these are the 5 art books I completed last year, and my original "challenge proposal."

Out of the five books, three were for exhibitions, one was a benefit donation, and one was made to try out a new book structure.  (I will also add that one of the books made for an exhibition sold!)  With that being said, I have three partially completed art books that did not count towards the challenge because they are unfinished.

Instead of making excuses for myself about why I didn't finish the books, or why the challenge was too hard, I am going to do a quick "year in review" post as it relates to my artwork and artistic career.  Things have changed tremendously from Jan. 2014 when I created the challenge.

Last year in art:
- Participated in an invitational exhibition at Heights Arts
- Had one piece of artwork accepted to (and purchased from) the Morgan Conservatory's juried exhibition
- Taught two bookbinding classes in Midland, MI
- Taught a short bookbinding workshop for Art Books Cleveland
- Attended 4 amazing book and paper arts workshops at the Morgan Conservatory
- Participated in 8 art/craft festivals (12 days total)
- Had an artist bio published in the local newspaper
- Participated in Art Books Cleveland's exhibition at the Ingalls Library in the CMA
- Made the decision to quit my job and buy an art/paper store

YES, friends, you read that last line correctly.  I now own a store for paper, art supplies, and vintage goods, with a huge classroom space.  If I am going to blame any particular life event for getting in the way of my challenge, it would be this one.  I got the idea over Labor Day Weekend while taking a book arts workshop with the former owner of the store.  She had planned on closing the store and retiring at the end of 2014.  Several people had expressed interest in purchasing the business, but they all fell through.  The former owner always joked that I would be taking over the store someday when she retired... And I thought, "Why can't I?"

I talked to several close friends and family members about the idea, and did some research before making the decision in mid-September.  The last few months of the year were a whirlwind of meetings with the bank, accountants, a lawyer, the lease company, the former owner... TONS of phone calls, pieces of paperwork, and negotiations later, I finally secured a loan for the business in late November.  (Talk about cutting things close!)  The loan was much smaller than I needed, so I funded the rest of the project through Kickstarter with the help of many friends, relatives, and complete strangers.  I got the keys and officially took over the store on December 31st, 2014.  I am proud to say that I am now a business owner and my own boss.

I'm sure you will see a lot of posts about the store, and new products I will have the pleasure of testing.