Monday, December 14, 2009

pamela tobler : artists who blog

Pam's blog:
Pam's website:
Pam's shop:

Why did you decide to start a blog?

I first started my Etsy shop in September 2007. After reading advice on Etsy's blog about getting your stuff out there and seen by people, I opened a Flickr account, and then started my blog soon afterwards in early 2008.

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

It is simply the name of my shop, zoetropa, which is a word I sort of made up. Originally I was going to name my shop zoetrope after the spinning wheel toy from the late 19th century that has a small connection with the early beginnings of cinema (which is a subject I am most interested in). I decided to change the "e" on the end to an "a" so it would be a little more unique.

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

I'm not sure blogging itself has effected my work necessarily. By starting a blog I began reading other blogs which in turn have really inspired me and have also helped keep me up to date on what's new, what trends are going on, etc.

What are your favorite artist/designer blogs? Why?

Let's see, so so many: I love love love Studio Violet run by Camilla Engman and Elisabeth Dunker. An amazing creative duo over there, they inspire me so much. They have such a unique and sweet style and their photography is brilliant. I would love to work in a studio space like theirs too. Other favorites: Astrid , Ninainvorm, The Small Object's Steno Pad & so many more.

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

For me, starting a blog was one of the hardest things. I was completely new to the blog world and thought having a blog was actually sort of weird. So, I would suggest to start reading other blogs now (if you are not already) so you get used to the idea of blogs in general. Putting your own voice out there can be pretty odd and perhaps scary at first, so maybe by posting genuine comments on other blogs is a good way to start getting comfortable with your voice. At least this is what I wish I had done before I started my blog. I've never been one to keep a diary and I'm a very private and shy person, so the idea of having a blog seemed crazy to me and it took me a long long time to get comfortable with it.

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

Definitely the most positive thing is feeling connected to other creative types and meeting wonderful people through my blog, mostly virtually but sometimes eventually in person. Also, getting feedback through my blog is great, it has given me greater confidence in myself, my voice and my work.

What do you find the most difficult/most rewarding part of having a creative profession?
I have a difficult time deciding on which tasks to tackle next and I tend to get distracted easily. Some days fly by so fast and I never accomplish as much as I'd hoped for which is forever frustrating. Oddly enough, I find that when I have time constraints or imposed structure or deadlines I am better able to manage my time. Up until last February I have been working at a day job, but since then I have been unemployed. This is great of course for my creative self but the drawback is that I don't have a steady income at the moment. However, working for myself is the best thing, it's what I 've always wanted to do and I'm so happy I have an opportunity right now to do so. Being able to spend my days to create and explore new ideas can't be beat.

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

Self promotion is not one of my strong points. So far I have to say that twitter has been the most effective, not only for promoting my work and shop but also my blog. I don't just post links to my shop all day long, but when I do want to get the word out there about something new that I've made or added to my shop, twitter is the first place I go. I have signed up for some ad spaces on a few sites and also have participated in online markets like Poppytalk Handmade and Paper 'N' Stitch which have helped a bit. In fact someone found me on Poppytalk Handmade and contacted me asking if I would like to be a vendor at a printing arts fair. That fair ended up being a great experience and my best day of sales yet. Also, occasionally my work featured on other artist blogs or design sites which is a huge plus as well.

How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?

My life is fairly boring really, there is not a lot to maintain. During the weekdays is when I try to get work done and tackle my long list of things to do. My evenings and weekends are spent hanging out with my husband, watching tv or a movie, browsing online, or continuing to work on whatever I'm working on at the moment.

What would you like to accomplish by the end of 2009?

Hmmm, really I would just like to get to the end of 2009 without any scrapes or mishaps. Right now I'm focused on the holiday season that will be here very soon. One of my goals is to actually get some holiday items in my shop this year which I failed to do in the past two years. Also, I will be a vendor at Boston Bazaar Bizarre this year which is very exciting for me because it will be the biggest craft fair I've attended yet, so I am getting ready for that and hoping all goes well.

Thank you Pam and all the best to you!

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