Friday, April 6, 2018

A Book, A Bug and a Bit of a Revelation - First Friday Post - New Work - April 6th

Hello all!!

It's been a month since I've posted and, as many of you know, I 've been away for much of it.

The month started with a cross country train trip home to PA to see my mom. She's doing well all things considered. Still able to live on her own, drive etc. I cooked a lot, laughed a lot and learned a lot. (Family stories that you just never get as a kid or even as an adult, until you ask!) More on all that as time goes on. Anyway, that was where the first two missed Fridays went. I was off-line almost the whole time and LOVED it!

On the return trip, the train had to sit on the siding as a freight train passed. . . and that left us right outside the entrance to Glacier Park at sunrise! 

Not for everyone but I have always adored the landscape of the Dakotas. This is North Dakota.
I love the sparseness and the extremes. 

The Book: While away I finished a wonderful and inspiring book, The Witches of New York, by Ami McKay. I love a good period piece and this one set in the Victorian era of spiritualism in NY is filled with amazing scenes and characters. Its beautiful, full of magic and dreamy. . .  but gritty and relatable and I highly recommend it. I just have to say, where can I get a pet raven?!

The Bug: The last two weeks of March were spent recovering from my trip and from getting sick for the third year in a row, after my return. I don't know what I expect. It's a terrible time to travel with so many people sick and the trip, in all honesty, is exhausting. Physically (it's hard to get good sleep on a moving train) and emotionally with being both home (childhood home)  and away from home (Here, where my entire life and future are) all at once.  It took the last two weeks to get back to normal and so I let the posting of blogs slide.

The Bit of a Revelation - While away I've thought a lot about time and how I spend it.

I am fortunate, beyond my wildest dreams, that I get to make a living being creative. At the tail end of last year, and maybe this is human nature, I began thinking of how I could make things "better". I'm not even sure what that meant really. But it led to me thinking I should do more of this, or try more of that, or create new online presences etc etc.  While away, I realized that I am doing exactly what I want to be doing, Every single day. So why did I think I needed to do more?

I'm still not sure really.

On the train rides I talked to many people from all over the country and what always strikes me is how many (nearly every single person) react the same way when I tell them what I do for a living.

Their response falls along this line. . . "Oh, you can really make a living doing that?"

It's always stated, it seems, with a mix of exasperation and true joy.

It jars me to remember just how difficult that is to accomplish and also, when I set out to do it, that I never thought of it that way at all. It was always just going to be the next thing I do for a living when I sold the coffeehouse.

I was certain of it. Had no doubts. I was determined and willing to put in whatever time it took to make it happen. Never giving up.

The thing is, I never stopped in the last eight years to think about what I would need to do to continue it. I thought about that a lot this last month and the answer was pretty simple.

Follow the exact same path you always have. For me/us that means making and listing new work every single day and just letting it carry us where it will, trusting that the critical mass of listings, the continued desire to improve and the exposure will bring the customers.

In a sense, I'd come to allow the thinking me to overtake the intuitive. It's easy in a world where you can feel so "out of touch" if you are not on social media or connecting somehow when it seems everyone else is.

I kept feeling I should branch out, try new venues or promote my work more. The truth is, we have never done or had to do that and I cannot see why we would take time away from making and listing new work to do so at any point unless what works for us now stops working in the future.

Inspiration is always one reason to venture into those waters, I know, but I've come to think that there is such an overwhelming amount of visual out there to inspire and that too much of it is, for me, not good.  If I take in too much I can lose my way because, YES, I want to do SO many things! Try new ideas and go down rabbit holes at every turn. So I try to limit my inspirational online dives too.

All that is to say that I came back seeing clearly that the focus for the rest of 2018 is just this:

Create, create, create!

My shops currently have less than half the stock they "should". That is, in part, because I have been selling items as fast as they make it in there but I have always thought that a shop with 80 items is more attractive to a buyer than one with 20.  Especially as the holidays approach. (Yes, I said it, the holidays are NEAR. lol)

A long time ago I used to love to toss around a saying that I picked up in my old, urban/city-hardened art days:

"There are only two kinds of artists, talkers and doers. The talkers rarely make the time to do their art and the doers rarely have time to spend talking about it."

I've always been a mix I suppose and in those early days of my adult life was I was certainly more the talker. I didn't say that type of thing to rouse or poke others, only to light a fire under myself.

It was a reminder.

It's easy to talk about what we want to do and far harder to put ourselves on the line and just take action and do them.  Somehow though, when it came to creativity as far back as childhood, I was more the doer, never the talker.

So I am going back to those roots.

My shops and my "Ledgerkeepers" book

That's it. At least for the rest of this year. . . and, honestly, it's quite enough! :)

So I'll be putting off some of those new outlets and inspirations for now and getting back to what got me here and allowed me to become a maker-of-things

And that is, simply
The Making

Which I have been doing since getting past the flu bug and below are a few of the newest pieces. :)

Thank you for coming back and I look forward to posting weekly again and to catching up on all of your blogs in the days ahead too!

XO Nicolas

I love the idea of using large flowers with a tiny house!!

I just wanted to come up with a house that had a mushroom "feel" without being a mushroom.

When I was home, I reconnected with the root of my love of ancient Egyptian/Kemetic Art.
I never tire of making Sekhmet lioness pieces and these busts have been very popular lately. 

A request for a red and gold Anubis led to this. I LOVE the colors and may make more like it going forward too!
It feels very elemental and warm. 


  1. Hi Nicolas :) Welcome back :) The sunrise photo is really nice. I think that you are a great success and congratulations on making a living being creative, don't we all wish we can do that? :) Your works of art are very lovely :)

    1. Hi Rain! I think, sometimes, it's easy to forget that making a living creating is supposed to be a pleasure and somehow, maybe it's just our programming as human beings, we tend to turn even the things we love doing into more work and make it more difficult that we need to? I'm just trying to find that center place again where it's all about the simple joys. :)

  2. Hi Nicolas!! Welcome Back! Sorry I'm so late coming around. I'm very behind in blog land! Thank you for your beautiful comment, or should I say comments!
    Your blog is always such an inspiration! Your words always click! I'm happy you are "making"!! We all go through things, but as long as we are truly listening to our soul, that's what counts and being you!!!!
    Everything falls into place when we are true to our spirits!
    Love your new pieces! Big Hugs!
    (Love the pictures from your trip! Sorry you were sick!)

    1. Thank you Stacy! No worries, you know I always understand how life gets busy and you have a long list of blog friends!! :) "Listening to our soul", YES! And, as I said above in response to rain, sometimes those other voices, our programming, get in the way of that! Thank you for sharing YOUR wisdom Stacy! Big Crow Hugs!!

  3. Hello Nicolas, so sorry you were ill. I missed reading your posts. I totally understand your decision to just focus on what works for you. I really hope it helps make it more of a joy again. I can’t help be sad you won’t be on Instagram for myself though because in my own similar effort to be online less, i am leaning more toward Instagram and less to my blog. For me since I am not making a living at my art, I just recently decided to shut my Etsy shop down indefinitely and Blogger gives me so much trouble and my blog posts are seen by so fewer people than my instagram posts I was thinking about
    Giving up the blog and just sticking with Instagram. Whatever I decide I will keep making an effort to come read your posts, on whatever site you are on! And....Thank you so much for stopping by my site and commenting! And another, “and”.... that book looks wonderful. Will be adding it to my list.

    1. Andrea, thank you SO much for your lovely comment! The work is always a joy, it's only me that gets in it's way. : ) As for instagram, Well, I will be on it eventually, it's just that I couldn't see investing time if it weren't to help my business, and I do think it COULD but in all honesty it's just not something I can devote the time to right now when I am so far behind. Maybe easing into it will be better but I admit, I tried to start using it before my trip but apparently a slightly older iPhone is no longer compatible with the Instagram App. That really put me off. Phones are ridiculously expensive already and the thought that they are strong-arming people into buying a new one to stay up on, or even be a part of, things like Instagram really made me sad. Everything else on the ENTIRE internet works just fine on my "ancient" iPhone 4. . . but not that, one of the simplest frameworks of social media out there? That's intentional and it just rubbed me wrong. :( So I'll figure out how to bypass it with my iPad eventually!

      I do hope you will be able to come around if you stop blogging. I'd miss your posts and connecting here and I'm sorry you are having so much trouble with blogger. (given my instagram issues, I understand of course! lol)

      Writing these posts brings me joy. Commenting too. I grew up in letter writing days and often think of what has been lost without the depth of the written word. I find myself thinking more and more of well written stories and books as being my true treasures and wanting nothing more than to return to that world of writing being the main source of inspiration and connection. I've even dug out my old, fully functional, manual typewriter and set it up to allow me to work with it again.

      We just received a package from a woman who is using two of my art photos on her newest print and e-book covers. The package came from the Outer Herbides. What a joy!! From half way around the world to us. It included several hand knitted pieces for Sofie and I made from the local wool. The beautiful smells of the wool, the handwritten cards, the wonderful book (the book is called "The Wild Folk" if you have any interest in kindle-ing it! It's very well written and quite the immersive tale! You may even recognize the author, and her shoppe, Inner Wild from the old days on Etsy.) That hand-packed and thoughtful package could not have been more of a delight to receive. It really made me think. . .

      That's what i wish to do MORE of with my shop. In my world. Maybe I'll use instagram to create a postcard group. lol folk from all over sending actual handwritten notes to each other. . .

      And in my shoppes, I want to make each package, each fairy house or statue an even greater joy to receive. I have ideas but need the time to carry them out so I had to choose. . . for now. :)

      As for books, yes, I think you might adore The Witches of New York for it's characters and the world created. It is truly magical!

    2. How exciting to have your photos used as book covers!! And yes I remember innerwild! Not only wonderful items but great photos too. It has now been added to my to read list. When I was googling it, it led me to this book by the same name that I found .... which also looks interesting,
      Which led me to this author; peter bunzl who wrote
      And Cogheart
      Yes, I agree receiving packages or handwritten letters is truly a joy, that I miss. Before I found Etsy I used to be in several mail art exchanges. Some were wonderful !!but some were disappointing as either the participants didn’t follow through or things got lost in the mail, actually both happened. Nothing better than receiving the packages though. It makes me want to work on the old idea of Bigbig traveling again. I still think about it off and on, with various plans.
      As far as Instagram... I am still enjoying being on it daily. Most of the old bloggers I used to follow have gone there. I do hear a ton of complaints lately about their algorithms and how people with thousands of followers are still not getting their posts seen by their fans. But I gain new followers all the time and have found many artists I enjoy talking to and following. I am up to 1600 followers and I never could gain followers easily on my blog. I have better luck selling art there just by mentioning an item is for sale than I do from listing something on Etsy, part of the reason I put my shop on hold. The other reason was I am thinking I want to concentrate more on getting published than I do on selling art pieces singly. But I also may reopen my shop if I get around digital items like my paperdolls and patterns for embroidery etc. it would be a whole different shop. Just so unsure where to focus my energy but that is not a new dilemma for me. Anyway not trying to push Instagram any more than I already have. I understand your drawbacks... I only have an iPhone 5 myself.