Thursday, May 28, 2009

dana lake komjaty : artists who blog

Dana's blog:
Dana's shop:

Why did you decide to start a blog?

Somewhere around January 2007 I ‘accidentally’ stumbled across my first designer craft blog. It was Rosa Pomar’s blog. I had never seen anything like it before. At first I had no idea what it was I was looking at, just felt this incredible attraction, I could not stop looking at it. It was like stepping into a different reality. The virtual world! Which before this experience was just a word to me without any meaning. Now it had become a reality in which I felt surprisingly at home.

When I started to understand the way it worked I really got the hang of it and I started surfing from one artists blog to another. And for maybe six months this was all I did. When it all started to click in my mind it changed my view on the creative world entirely. I suddenly saw there is this big group of people all over the world who are all interconnected in a creative way. Isn’t that amazing?! The best part was that they are often mothers like me, with the same daily struggles like me. How to create and take care of others is the main friction I feel in this life as an artist and mother, and I am not alone! I had searched for this group of people I could mirror myself against for all my life. I know it sounds corny but it is true.

I have been creatively involved all my life, I always had big plans to be a self supporting artist. Just had no idea where to start really. Years and years I put one foot in front of the other. But did not get ahead very quickly. There just had never been enough feedback or sharing to really understand what to do about it. I can very clearly see that now. Until then I had always worked alone in my studio. I had even stopped creating anything for a few years because I felt so isolated and alone, it’s had just dried me up inside. When I found out about blogging I could not wait to start creating again.

I very much wanted to become a part of this energetic and creative group of people. So I started with setting up a Flickr account, that for me was relatively easy to do, I had no idea how to create a blog. I did not start with my own blog until April last year because until then I thought that you had to have extensive computer knowledge to have one of those.

How did you come up with the name of your blog?

Actually my then aprox. 1,5 year old son came up with it. His name is Leilani and he could not pronounce it right in the beginning. For a long time he said Leililaloo when he referred to himself. It sounded so funny hearing him say that. It was just what I was looking for, whimsical, lighthearted and a bit strange.

How has blogging affected your work as an artist/designer?

Very profoundly…. I get a bit lost for words trying to explain how it has affected me and my work. For starters I felt not isolated and alone anymore. That was and is very important to me. I crave feedback and communication about creating. This community is incredible, the feedback on my blog and my Flickr account has become very important and addictive, it’s the light of my day.

The the incredible pool of inspiration who keeps me going day and night. It’s such a miracle to be able to find new inspiring work other people made on every moment of every day around the whole world. I can’t think of another word for it other than it’s just virtual paradise! It has become the fuel to my creative engine.

I also got more of a realistic understanding of words like; promote your work, press kit, press release, professionalism, sharing, giving and receiving feedback. In general reading the blogs of these inspiring artists and designers have given me the confidence I needed to start creating again. Because of it I started to believe that I can take my creative work further than I had ever the courage to imagine.

Since I got to know bloggers and started blogging myself the feeling of ‘anything is possible’ is what I wake up (almost ☺) every morning with now, instead of what I felt for years; ‘I would like to but I don’t know how, so never mind’ .

What are your favorite artist/designer blogs? Why?

When I sit down in front of my computer in the morning with a cup of coffee I normally start my blog reading journey at my friends blog Beth, at Tangledskystudio . I am so glad I met her through blogging, our friendship feels like a warm blanket from the States. When I finish reading hers I go on following the blogs in her favorites list or my own.
I love to read Heather Smith Jones’s blog, Apol’s blog at La Pomme, Cathy Cullis’s blog at Novembermoon, Melissa’s blog at tiny happy and so so many others……..

Do you have any advice for artists/designers who are starting a blog?

I don’t feel like an expert at all, I feel I am just putting one foot in front of the other in the dark because I am still discovering blogging every day. So it feels a bit strange to me to give out any advice. But I guess trial and error is the way I learn the blogging tricks, so that is what my advice would be to others. Just dare to try and dare to fail. And having the courage to occasionally ask fellow bloggers for help is another advice I would like to give. If I don’t know or understand something in technical or other blogging areas I learned that asking fellow bloggers is a really helpful and rewarding. The people in this designer and craft blog world are very very nice people, and I found them to be very open to help as well.

What has been the most positive and inspirational aspect of having a blog for you?

My blog experience has been an real life changing thing for me. Suddenly I feel closer to my dream as I ever did. The most positive aspect is the that I don’t feel isolated as an artist any more. I am no longer stuck in my own little world between my own four walls. Even if in the material reality is that I am still working from between the same four walls as always. And from that aspect alone come tons and tons of inspiration and energy to create new things.

Also I love the global feel of blogging. There are no boundaries between countries any more. I live in the Netherlands, but most of my contacts are in the States. That I never dreamed could happen. I would never have met these people and their work if it weren’t for blogging. It makes me really happy to be so free in traveling the world from my own studio-living room.

What do you find the most difficult/most rewarding part of having a creative profession?
Most difficult I find finding the balance between the different roles I chose in life. Roles like being a wife a mother and an artist. As for the most rewarding part I have to say is my soul’s freedom. It sounds a bit contradictive when I see it here in writing, but it’s the truth.

Other than your blog, what has been the most effective way for you to promote your art/design?

Those would be my Flickr account and my Etsy shop until now. I am in that particular faze right now where I am trying to find out how to promote my work more professionally and more effectively. For example I try to find out how to write a press release and how to make a press kit and then who/where to send those to.

How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?

Well, that is a very difficult thing to maintain for me. I sometimes feel like I am working on my Etsy shop 24 hours a day. And in the mean time I feel really guilty that I neglect other important life duties, such as being a good mother, resting enough, cooking healthy and wholesome food, exercising enough, etc…….. so to this questions I have nothing but doubts about how I am doing and no answers.

What are your main goals for 2009?

I would like more than anything to become an (financially) independent designer/artist/ crafter. To get there I have still so much to learn and discover. But I have a clearer vision every day of what I would like the situation to be in the future and how I might be able to get there.

As a main goal for this year, besides giving birth to a new baby at any moment now, I would like it if I could get some editorials in magazines and in the so called ‘hot’ blogs. I am in the process of partnering up with my fellow blogger and Etsy artists, Apol from La Pomme, to learn the tricks of the promotional trade. We just started this process so it’s still very exciting and new, and I have no idea yet where it might lead. I hope that in the end all efforts will lead to my (little) Leililaloo empire, what else ☺

Thanks Dana!

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