Sunday, August 7, 2011

More than Fish and Hammocks

Past projects are interesting things.  I keep all my old sketchbooks specifically so I can look at past ideas and see if maybe any of them can help with current problems.  Past projects on the internet are especially interesting, because frequently they never go away, and if they're public, they often stay that way even when you've moved on to something else.

Before I found metal and glass, I was a Fiber Artist.  I still am, a little bit.  I have a spinning wheel tat I turn to in times when I really need to de-stress and think.  I'll probably be a spinner forever.  My other great fibery love was netting.  I learned it in order to make hair nets for costume purposes and then just sort of ran with the idea.  If you've ever been to the main home page, you saw under the Studio link a logo for More Than Fish and Hammocks, my netting web site, that I set up when I realized that while there were a lot of pictures of how to net, there was something of a lack of any really good color-coded illustrations.  The problem with pictures is that people tend to take pictures of their own projects-in-progress and when you're showing rows of interlacing and even simple knots, having all the thread the same color makes it difficult to see what's actually going on.
Sheet bend knot illustration from F&H

So anyway, I put up this instructional site, largely as a precursor to possibly writing a book on the subject, did maintenance, periodically added new info, and then life got crazy and I got distracted, and I ended up mostly abandoning it.  As life went on, and I moved from TX to Seattle I didn't think about it much, but I didn't bother taking the site down.  It's not like the information would go out-of-date.  Maybe twice a year I'd get an email praising the site or asking for more detailed info/advice on something, and I answered politely with the best advice I could give, but I didn't think anything of it.  Flash forward to the last couple of months.  I've got the studio site up, and Analytics installed, tracking how many visitors I have and where they're coming from (not a lot, and generally direct), and it occurs to me to put Analytics on F&H, "just to see."
Apparently F&H has been quietly gathering notice while I wasn't looking, and is now considered a standard internet reference on net-making...particularly the illustrations about how to make the knots.  It's getting 30-50 hits/day, with referrals from all sorts of other places.  The most entertaining thing to me is that while I made it thinking on the scale of lace and hairnets, a lot of my traffic is from fishing and utility-related sites.  Apparently everyone needs good illustrations.

Long story short (I know, too late), past project might be current again, simply because the internet kept it from just going away when I was done.  It won't be a lot, just a couple hours here and there to keep things fresh that might eventually add up to enough to publish in dead tree version.  My main focus will still be metal and glass, but you might end up seeing me work silk in on occasion now, too. :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

claw changes, buttons, prints, and other recent stuff

It's probably about time for me to officially give up on the fiction of regular weekly posts on Sundays.  It's just not gonna happen.  My production schedule is just too variable.

So, anyway, The price structure for the claws has changed a bit with the addition of the painted finish.

the shiny finish has gone up a bit in price, and the brushed has come down.  All the adjustments are to account for the actual amount of work that goes in to the claws.

Buttons have started showing up in the shops, soon to be followed by more prints, and I'm starting to pay a bit more attention over at the Etsy shop again.  I'm going to take a moment to be brutally honest, here:  I don't really like Etsy.  I dislike the pricing structure.  I dislike the way Etsy doesn't want you to admit you might have other online sales channels, and the way the admins are actively hostile toward any kind of negative comment (even when it's about someone  blatantly breaking rules).  I especially dislike that you have to constantly pay to renew listings just to avoid getting kicked to the back of the line in search results.  I like Artfire much more, with the straightforward pricing, the ability to link out to all your other sales channels (including Etsy), and search results that don't involve extortion.  Unfortunately, Etsy is the site that everyone's heard of, so I kind of have to work with it.
That being said, I'm starting to duplicate more of my listings into the Etsy shop.  I'm probably still going to focus my marketing efforts on Artfire, and then also my own site (if I ever manage to get direct sales set up).
Speaking of my main site, there will probably be some tweaks in the coming days, while I try to make things more friendly to more browsers (even browsers I don't like :)  )

That's it for now.  I think next time I might discuss my shady past, and the way it's recently come back to surprise me (in a positive way).