Friday, June 19, 2009
apol lejano-massebieau : artists who blog
Apol's blog: www.lapommeblogs.blogspot.com
Apol's shops: www.lapomme.etsy.com, www.lapommestories.etsy.com
Why did you decide to start a blog?
I already had a blog before La Pomme, called Provenciana, that was devoted to my observations of life in the south of France, where I had just moved. I kept that one for about two years and it really helped me process the adjustment difficulties I went through; at the same time it was also a wonderfully creative experience, as the blog was written in a sort of humorous, literary way, and has now been published into a book. (A reception/reading is going to be held in Paris in June!) So I already felt positively about blogs. When I began selling my creations online, it sort of came naturally for me to start another blog, as this was another personal adventure I wanted to document.
How did you come up with the name of your blog?
The blog is named after my online shops, La Pomme and La Pomme Stories, both of which in turn are named after me. People who’ve read about me in the past might be bored by this story already, as I’m always telling it, sorry! Anyway, my name is Apol Lejano-Massebieau, and Apol was originally spelled Apple, like the fruit, except I changed it when I was a teenager in a feeble attempt to sound more original. So anyway, "la pomme" is French for "the apple." I’m egocentric that way. ☺
How has blogging affected your work as an artist/designer?
I think that because I am striving to make the blog a virtual notebook of the things that inspire me, the biggest thing is that it has made me more conscious of what exactly these sources of inspiration are. When I am engaged in an activity or even just looking at an object that moves or excites me in a creative way, I now tend to whip out my camera and take a picture, because I know I want to blog about it. Before blogging, these experiences would just stay in my brain and come out as an objects already made, a soft sculpture, for example. The process of writing about it in my blog gives me a halfway point, where I actually have to think about and verbalize, and therefore become conscious of, where my ideas are coming from. I think this is great because being self-taught, I have not had any formal art training and this allows me to strengthen my visual vocabulary.
What are your favorite artist/designer blogs? Why?
I love love love looking at the blogs of soft sculpture artists whose works I admire, especially if their blogs contain lots of photos! Looking at their works give me joy. Some of these artists’ blogs are the following:
Do you have any advice for artists/designers who are starting a blog?
This is something I just learned myself: Don’t be afraid to open up and share more of yourself and your process in your blog. Of course, it’s up to each individual to set limits as to what personal things he is willing to talk about, but I think it’s rewarding both ways to let your readers into your head more.
What has been the most positive and inspirational aspect of having a blog for you?
My readers’ comments leave me pleasantly surprised at how complete strangers from all different countries are responding to my works. I spend a lot of my time alone in my workshop, and it’s a way of working that pleases me enormously, however having some sort of feedback is also very nice.
What do you find the most difficult/most rewarding part of having a creative profession?
The most difficult part is learning how to market my own creations. I’m still an amateur in that area, but I’m picking things up as I go along. At the same time, I’m also finding this process a rewarding experience – not the no. 1 most rewarding, but admittedly very satisfying – as it is allowing me to learn skills I did not have before. I’m a very energetic creature, and I always – always – need to be doing something new to keep myself happy.
Other than your blog, what has been the most effective way for you to promote your art/design?
Aside from my blog, my flickr account, and also occasionally touching base with design and crafts sites to tell them if I have something new cooking up. In a few weeks, I plan to start sending off a monthly or a bimonthly newsletter to people on my mailing list. As I already said, this marketing part is difficult, and sometimes when something is difficult we tend to not do it, right? So I’m in the baby stages of creating a partnership with another textile artist whose works I admire, Dana Komjaty of Leililaloo, and we’ll be helping each other out in this area.
How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?
I don’t. Heehee. Seriously, at the moment, it’s just my husband and I, so even if both of us sometimes spend 12 to 14 hours working, it’s not a problem. We do, however, always make it a point to have dinner together every night – even if the dinner happens at 10 or 11 p.m. – and also to do something on Sundays –a motorcycle ride through the country, a picnic, a bit of rock-climbing, a movie, or even just going to the market together in the morning and cooking something special after. We’re expecting our first child soon, though, so I’m quite certain that things will be a little less relaxed then!
What are your main goals for 2009?
I’d like to be able to establish La Pomme more as a brand. A short, simple sentence that calls for a lot of work! Also, I write very short, modern fairytales, some of which you can see in my shop La Pomme Stories, and I’d be ecstatic to be able to have these published as a collection, in book form.