hello, spriggan!

art & curiosities by Leigh Ann Gagnon

This has been a challenging month, I wasn’t feeling very inspired or creative. Traveled for New Years; Covid boosters for all; husband bringing work home; sick kids; it’s just felt like a slog. Looking back at my 2022 sketchbooks helped with that, and I’m more excited now for the year ahead!

Art is a reprieve and a chance to center myself. I feel better when I do it and worse of a person when I don’t. I need art making for myself, and something I constantly struggle with is how to monetize that effectively, but to then also not tie my feelings of accomplishment or success to sales (which are low). It’s hard to make something and be excited about it…. then not sell any. The art making is intensely personal, and that can make lack of sales and social media views feel personal, too, in a really negative way.

I’ve gone through different combinations of having a print-on-demand shop (like Redbubble, inprnt, Threadless, Society6) and my own inventory. Print quality has always been really important to me, so I’ve always wanted to handle that myself. It’s costly to stock work like pins, notepads, and postcards, but I really enjoy having things that feel more unique than the POD offerings. I like the freedom of having both kinds of stores, honestly.

We were at a wedding last fall and someone asked me what I do for fun as an artist. I was basically like, uhhhhhhhhh art, it’s art all the way down. 6__6

I really want to have fun this year. My hopes for this year are to balance those product-specific projects with work that’s just fun or for myself, and to update my POD shops more regularly along the way. I’m also trying out ways to use the POD options to supplement my own shop too— I just added a deluxe letter set option that packages my Daisy notepads & envelopes plus a pen inside a zipper pouch from Threadless.

I’ve also toyed with the idea of relaunching my Patreon; I follow a few artists on Instagram that use it for a monthly pin or stationary subscription, and that resonates with me but I’m worried about the logistics since I have trouble right now making art on a schedule.

I’m restoring my letterpress and plan to get back to printmaking in general. I just successfully nurtured a sourdough starter from scratch and baked two beautiful loaves of bread.  I also started weaving again this winter. And I’m customizing two dolls to use as drawing references for some personal projects that I’ve been wanting to illustrate. My search history lately is the oddest mix of ball-jointed doll tutorials, sourdough starter recipes, and letterpress everything.

I’m also hoping to garden more this year! Something I didn’t get into with my 2022 retrospective post was everything I got done in the garden and with the house. I’ve got some fun outdoor projects in mind for this year: building raised beds along our front side walk where I ripped out some very scraggly boxwoods last fall, expanding on the raised beds for vegetables, adding more pollinator-friendly offerings, and eradicating an unsightly, weedy area on one side of our house (it’s a relatively narrow strip between our neighbor’s property line and our house). Everything I was able to do last year has me excited to expand on it this year! 😀

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