Thursday, January 10, 2013

Will tone-on-tone be for 2013 what chevron was for 2012?

Chevron stripes were all the craze in 2012. Everywhere you looked, chevron was making a statement. Whether it was a bold new wallpaper, pillows or couch cushions in interior design; purses, wallets, or skirts for a bold, personalized statement; or prints and other designs, chevron was to bold look for 2012.

What will it be for 2013?

My vote is tone-on-tone! You can bring soft, artistic touches to your bedroom with different shades of fabric; or punch up your living room with bold, graphic art; or create amazing art by celebrating the different tones of your favorite color. I love how using tones of colors can add depth and complexity to my work. I suspect you'll find more tone-on-tone inspiration in future work of armas asi!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Happy New Year!

Celebrating the start of 2013 with a few resolutions:

  1. Participate (not just visit, but actually have a table) in at least 2 local street or craft fairs.
  2. Finalize my work plan to include my new partnership and a potentially new one.
  3. Blog weekly and twitter daily!

I closed out 2012 with my first sales which was such an amazing experience! To think - people will actually have my art work on their walls, my pendants around their necks, and my magnets on their fridge! It kind of blows my mind!

While slightly surreal, it also reaffirmed that I am indeed on the right track. The pleasure I am reaping from this process of planning, creating, and connecting with others absolutely assures me that I'm moving down the right path.

I fully expect 2013 will include a lot of work, likely some heartaches, but many lessons and much joy! I look forward to sharing these experiences.

-armas asi

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Wishing everyone a happy day!

-from armas asi

Friday, December 7, 2012

Destination: Printers

My new partner, and long-time friend cautioned me. "Printing always takes longer than you expect." And boy was she right!

Where does an artist go to get their prints? How do you find a place that produces high quality prints, while still balancing the need to keep costs down?

Taking stock
Like picking a vacation destination, I realized I needed to ask myself a few key questions:

How much am I willing to pay?
  1. How much inventory of paper do I really need since I am just getting started? 
  2. What will my profit margins look like if I pay $(enter value)?
What kind of vacation do I really want or need?
  1. What kind of paper will be best for the type of prints I'm working on? 
Then it was time to start doing some research...

To the Internet!
You know how they always warn you - don't trust what you find online? Or how your friends always tell you not to search the web anytime you have a headache?

Eh-hem. Now I get it! The rabbit hole of paper weights, qualities, finishes, printers threatened to swallow me hole. My mild headache was quickly evolving into a rare and incurable disease! Do I get a cover stock? What paper quality will look best for type? Make sure you set up those illustrator settings correctly.

Enough already!

I went back to my key questions and turned to someone who is sort of an expert in this field... My new partner! She helped me narrow down my options and focus my search. I also consulted a few of my competitors - meaning I checked out what they were using.

Drawing a map
So I narrowed down a few key features of my next steps. I knew my mode of transportation and my budget. I found a few paper options online. They are not super pricey, but have proven to hold up very well to the printing and are giving me exactly the high quality, sharp contrast print I was looking for.

Now it was time to figure out where I would stop along the way. I knew I wanted to go to a couple places and get some sample prints done to test the paper, the printing quality, price, and customer service. I also wanted to check out some small, high end printers (typically local, small business places), but their prices were just so high. I decided that I would keep that option in my back pocket when the time was right.

In the meantime, I visited three national chain, professional printers. Feeling a little like Goldilocks, I packed up my jump drive, a bi fold folder of the various papers I had purchased, a list of the jobs I wanted to test and ventured off to this new world I'm still exploring. Sidling up to the first counter, I used the jargon I picked up from my research (probably sounding a little like someone who is practicing a new, foreign language) and asked for my first test run. The results were okay, but I was firmly told that they do not print on the 7x10 paper I had with me.

Um - okay. On to the next place. There, I was reassured that they could do all the orders I wanted and needed, but because I was looking to use my own card stock, they needed their manager to run the job because they don't want to "ruin a customer's paper." I was given a print job number and told to come back in two days... but they were able to get one job done for me.


On to the last pit stop. It took a while for the temp guy to figure out how to set up the print job... and he never actually did. But the print manager came back from his break and got it all set up. Not only did their sample print on standard copy paper come out better than the print I got from the last place, but they could also print on my 7x10 paper, actually did a sample print for me for free, and everything turned out beautifully! I was so pleased! Like Goldilocks again, I found the perfect porridge!

So - moral of the story: Don't ever assume that printing is going to be the easiest part of your day. Sure, it takes time to come up with your idea, sketch out your vision, and execute your final design. But all the steps in my journey above took me nearly as long as one of my lengthiest design projects. But don't take short cuts. Spend your time plotting out your trip, doing the research, consulting with people you trust, and always plan to for more time than even your most liberal estimates!

But the final project? Amazing!

Next - how to package my items to safely cross the country on its very own journey!!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A new partnership and new designs!

I am so thrilled to announce that armas asi is now partnering with agdesigns! agdesigns has over 15 years of graphic design, creative arts, and printmaking experince.

This new partnership celebrates a new line of beautiful and custom designs, to include digital prints, scrapbook paper, and more!

Visit her blog: 

More stories to come about this new collaboration!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Words of Encouragement

As I launch into this new line of work, I am excited daily by my discoveries. I have not felt this energy, focus and desire in some time, and get lost in my work until long into the night even after working my full time job.

A few weeks ago, I was at the library and picked up Country Living's Book: "Crafting a Business; Make Money Doing What you Love" by Kathie Fitzgerald. I wasn't sure what I would find, but skimmed the title and the beautiful pictures and thought, 'why not?' After browsing through the short stories and profiles of other business women, I found I had stumbled on a gem. Each story depicts a woman who either found a way to transform their passion into a business, grew their passion from a hobby, or stumbled on their passion by a series of accidents. Some stories resonated with me more than others, but each came with a message of courage, determination and inspiration. Here are three women and three quotes that caught my attention:

"You have to make creativity a habit."
Lisa Norris: Made By One Girl, Chattanooga, TN  

"The one thing you should do is just start. You have to begin somewhere."
Denise Allen: Allen's 19th Century General Store, Palatine Bridge, NY

"I learned that failure is not the worst thing in the world and that fear of it was my biggest obstacle."
Barbara Schriber: Barbara Schriber Designs, Sandpoint, ID

Each message responds to some of my own insecurities and questions. Am I doing the right thing? Is this worth the work? What if I'm not successful? As each woman pushed through their own insecurities and challenges, they share stories of being rewarded: of being found, of finding happiness and success, the reward of being challenged and working hard. 

I share these with you in hopes that you find solace in knowing you're not alone! 

What or who do you turn to when you're losing confidence?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

How do you find the time?

This weekend is flying by! I blink, and suddenly I'm getting ready for my week! What happened? 

Today is going to be slam-packed day! In between doing my normal chores, laundry, housekeeping, errands, cooking, I'm trying to find time to play with a few new ideas for pendants and sketching out some drafts of my very own designs. What does this look like? It means I'm also getting a great workout, running upstairs, tossing clothes in the laundry, making the bed, and then running to my work space to cut out new designs and prints, before running back down, and getting online to do some research. Rinse and repeat!

Some of my new paper. Do I choose some of my favorites or  use  each of them? I love them all!

Since I'm also new to a lot of this, I'm scouring the web for helpful tips, useful blogs, and interesting articles so that I can stay on top of current trends and information. I'll keep posting things I find along the way. 

It's going to be a busy day!