Monday, January 19, 2015

Progress Report on Etsy Shop

Changes are not happening as quickly as I intended, but there has definitely been progress made on my Etsy shop. The journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step...and I've taken quite a few steps in the last couple of weeks.

My profile has been modified (a couple of times) and is much more concise than before...less chatty...more professional sounding. The observation of a business associate helped me to look at what I wanted to convey to customers in a different way.

I've started taking new product photos. The process is time consuming and tedious but is moving along at a steady pace. Looking at the before and after pics, I can really see how a photo could make or break a sale.


I thought the driftwood prop was an artistic touch but it, along with the busy background, actually distracted the eye away from the product I was trying to sell. The plain white background, minus the props, allows the potential customer to see the product much better.

All that I have to work on now is my lighting set-up so that there is less processing required after downloading the photos from the camera onto my computer.

The feedback and suggestions that have been given to me by various people in my circle has really been appreciated. Sometimes when you are too close to something, you can't see the obvious when it is right in front of you. An outside perspective is often extremely critical to improvement and growth. Thank you, my friends, for you continued support.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Burr House Spinners and Weavers Guild

Inkle loom demonstration at Burr House
In my quest to re-invent myself this year, I came across the Burr House Spinners and Weavers Guild. They are a multi-aged, multicultural group of men and women who enjoy, appreciate and create works of fibre art and functionality. They share their skills and learn from other members of the Guild, as well as, have guest teachers from time to time. Since I've been learning how to weave on an inkle loom, this seemed like a group where I could fit in.

View from the back parking lot of Burr House
Meetings take place on the third Wednesday of each month at the Burr House Craft Gallery and Tea Room not too far from where I live. They also have drop-in nights where members and non-members can get together for fellowship, conversation and crafting. I went to one such gathering this week and had a very pleasant time. About half a dozen women showed up, most were knitting, while I was setting up my newest weaving project. I'll be going back, and likely signing up as a member of the Guild at the January meeting.

The history of the Burr house is quite interesting. It was built in 1820 by Rowland Burr, a local carpenter and millwright. The original four-room stuccoed Ontario cottage was plank-on-plank construction. He later added a blacksmith's shop. In 1836, the house was sold to Samuel Sanderson and then to Thomas Boothby in 1844. Sanderson and Boothby both ran blacksmith businesses on the property. In 1851, Boothby added three brick rooms, including a large kitchen with cooking fireplace and bake oven.

Photo from Wood Family Archive
In 1872, the Boothbys sold the house, which was passed through a number of owners until George Wood bought it and lived there from 1897 until the late 1960's.  At that time, Cadillac Baif bought the land for a subdivision. In 1973 the newly formed Richmond Hill Historical Society urged the Town to acquire and preserve the Burr House. It was renovated by the Historical Society, and remains on the original site to this day.

Hill Potter's Guild Gallery
For several years, the Historical Society operated the house as a working craft house for the demonstration and teaching of handcrafts and pioneer household activities. The building also served as a local museum and later as a craft and gift shop. During this time, Burr House became the home of the Hill Potters' Guild and the Richmond Hill Spinners and Weavers Guild, which was made up of students of Burr House Craft classes.

In 1984, the Richmond Hill Spinners & Weavers, the Hill Potters' Guild, and the Historical society formed a partnership and jointly took over the operation of the Burr House. In 1990, the Keffer Small House, a summer kitchen/woodshed was added on to provide a new entrance for it's current use as the Burr House Craft Gallery and Tea Room. The gallery now showcases fine arts and crafts by local artists and is jointly operated by volunteers from the two guilds.

View of the Tea Room

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Happy New Year, 2015

I wanted to wish all my faithful blog readers a Happy New Year, actually a bit belated, but better late than never they say. And I wanted to update you on the changes I have made in my Etsy shop. The new banner is up, and I have added a photo of my smiling face on my profile.

I have started to add part numbers to the products and made sure to label them all so that when a purchase is made, I send the right one. Since I plan to add much more to my shop in the upcoming weeks, I do not want to get everything mixed up. You will eventually find the part number at the bottom of each product description. So far, only one section has been completed.

Some minor changes have been made to my profile blurb but I plan to take a closer look at it this week. I’m still not entirely happy with it. If you have any suggestions, please pass them along to me in the comments section. To see what I have posted now, click here.

The biggest job is going to be taking all new photographs of the current products listed and getting them uploaded to the Etsy shop. That is going to take a bit of time and there is a learning curve involved too. I will be experimenting and refining my technique as I go along.
I need to take a serious look at my ability (or inability) to attend events this year. I no longer have the equipment or the help I need to do them. The first hurdle to jump over is the expense of a new sleeping tent and air mattress (for those overnight events) and a 10’ X 10’ canopy to be used as my ‘shop’. I’m starting to watch the ads for sales but I’m not sure that I will financially be able to purchase everything that I need in time for this season. There is always next year, right?

So, big changes, new challenges, and much more are ahead for 2015. I wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous new year in every way.