Friday, June 12, 2009

whitney smith : artists who blog

Whitney's blog:
Whitney's website:
Whitney's shop:

Why did you decide to start a blog?

I have a lot to say, as the people in my life know all too well, and I’m always framing my daily life and thoughts into stories and essays. I wasn’t sure what the blog thing was really all about, but when my friend Diana Fayt started hers about 3 years ago I saw how you could really write about whatever you wanted. I realized I could get out of my head and share my experiences as an artist with other people, while also using my blog as a promotional tool.

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

I’m a huge fan of this American life, and I’m not ashamed to admit I totally ripped the idea of the name off from them. I hope they don’t sue me now.

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

It hadn’t affected my ceramic work per se. I do pay more attention to what is going through my mind or what is happening in the studio day to day so I can write about it later for my blog. I have been a writer all my life and I haven’t had much time for it since starting my ceramic business in 1998, so blogging has opened that part of my life up again.

What are your favorite artist/designer blogs? Why?

outofcharacter because this woman is a great writer and hilarious, totally sick and twisted. I’ve been reading posy gets cozy forever and I have an extremely fond affection for Alicia and all she does, and she’s also a great and engaging writer. My ceramic artist friend Rae Dunn has a dog who writes a blog! I just think it’s so funny. I really appreciate blogs that have a strong voice of the person—or dog-- who writes it. I’m not so into looking at pictures or products, I’m interested in people’s lives.

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

Have a point of view, take the time to edit and write well. If you can’t do that, take lots of pretty pictures and keep it short. I probably won’t read it but lots of other people will!

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

Connecting with others who like me and/or my work has been wonderful and has opened up a new world of people for me—clients, clay pals, fans, stores. When people come up to me at a show and say, “I love your blog!” it gives me a major thrill, and also makes me feel kinda famous. I also like bringing up topics that are not often discussed, like copying on etsy, what it’s like to be tortured by demanding clients, or having a big order go totally of the rails.

What do you find the most difficult/most rewarding part of having a creative profession?

The most difficult part is dealing with my failures and having no one to blame. I have to take full responsibility for everything that happens in my business, even when it is one of my assistants who messes something up. The most rewarding part is being able to do what I love most, which is creating beautiful things with my hands, and being able to arrive at my studio every day when it is most convenient for me, not a boss.

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

Having a regularly updated website and steady press seems to really give me a promotional boost. And wholesaling to stores nationwide also seems to build my name.

How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?

That question implies that I maintain a healthy work/life balance. I’ve found that balance is one of those passing things, like happiness or frustration. I strive for balance by keeping a regimen of scheduled exercise, healthy food, time for friends, no work on the weekends or late into the evening, and a strict daily intake of coffee. Of course, when I’m under pressure all of those rules go right out the window. Except for the coffee part. That’s the one steady thing in my day: there’s always coffee.

What are your main goals for 2009?

On the business side, keeping my sales at the same or better level as 2008 despite the weird economy, getting some major print press, and continuing to develop new lines of work. On the personal side, taking better care of myself, being sweet to my husband every day, and keeping a garden alive through the whole summer.

Thanks Whitney!

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