Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Good-bye 2008, and Thanks for all the Hits!

Dear Friends, Followers and Fans,

I most sincerely thank you for a great 2008!

Together, we can continue to follow our dreams, teach the world about what positive work we do in the universe, and be friends. (How cool is that?)

My first note of thanks goes to Peter Shankman, of HARO, because without HARO I wouldn't have had such wondrous ladies to interview for Votre Vray Creative Women.

Second thank you, but no less significant, I thank each of the ladies who went through the interview process. (See Friends of Votre Vray on the sidebar for a listing of those with websites and blogs.)

Third, and possibly most important of all, I need to thank the readers and followers of Votre Vray blog. Without an audience our work isn't worth much for than tension release of the creative mind.

I fully believe 2009 will be exponentially more fulfilling for the Votre Vray community because we're learning and growing together. Make friends. Play Nice. Spread the word that there's a community focused upon the positive work of amazing creative people...and invite them to Votre Vray. It is all free and will continue as long as I'm alive and kicking.

Happy New Year!
-Mel., founder of Votre Vray

@shoutkissmyart on Twitter
Mel Edwards on Facebook
Mel Edwards is LinkedIn
Votre Vray group on Facebook - Where you can post your work for free!
Shout: Kiss My Art group on Facebook - Shout here at anyone who didn't belive you'd make it
Monthly Votre Vray Newsletter Sign-up Link

P.S. Don't forget to send me press releases so I can blog about all the great things you're up to in 2009!

Thursday Bram - Why Are Freelancers More Expensive?

Why Are Freelancers More Expensive? by Thursday Bram

Posted: 30 Dec 2008 03:15 PM CST

I’ve had clients do a double take when they see my hourly rate. They’ve asked why I’m so expensive — especially when they can hire an employee to do the same sort of work for half the hourly wage I’m asking. A few have even mentioned that they can get some minimum wage, entry level to write their project — it’s not like writing is hard, right?

To read the rest of Thursday's post visit her blog!

(Don't know Thursday? She's a Votre Vray Creative Woman interviewee and this woman knows writing and how to network. If you don't know Thursday, you don't know freelance!)

*******

I personally subscribe to Thursday's blog...comes right to my e-mail. Maybe you should too. (Nothing promotes creativity like seeing what your peers are up to!)

Happy New Year, and for the rest of the day (and 2008),
Keep creating!
-Mel.

Judy Rodman Musical Chosen for Fringe Fest!

News from Judy Rodman (via her newsletter)

Our new musical "We The People" now has its website up

... thanks to lead actor and techie Bridget Lappert

Also, my co-writer Darren J. Butlerhas some great news: As he says in this email to our cast:

"Judy and I are THRILLED beyond belief at the news of our acceptance into the 60th Anniversary SETC Convention. For those of you not familiar, SETC is the Southeastern Theatre Conference held each year. It represents the southern United States in professional (equity and non-equity), community, university, and children's theater. The convention is a "big deal" in the theatre community. www.setc.org
I [Darren]submitted "We The People" for the Fringe Festival. The Fringe Festival is a selection of plays that are presented during the convention. Now, of course please remember, that at SETC there are numerous events going on all at the same time. But, we're talking THOUSANDS of people are at this thing.

Out of all the submissions, only a few are selected. WE THE PEOPLE is an official selection to be showcased!!!! And, we got a primo spot - Friday night at 7:00 p.m."

Needless to say -Darren and I are both pretty pumped.

***********
Love news about Judy Rodman and musical theatre?
Maybe you should be subscribing to her newsletter directly.
Visit Judy's sub page here and tell her Mel Edwards' Votre Vray sent you!

Art Classes at Trillium Arts Begin January 15



Watercolor Class
Beginning to intermediate
with Jo Ann Taylor.
Thursdays 6:30-9pm, $160 (4 wks)
Starts Jan.15th

Acrylics Class
Beginning to intermediate
with Kristen Heiselman.
Tuesdays 2-4pm, $160 (4 wks)
Starts Jan.20th

Basket-Weaving Workshop
Egg baskets with
Mary Alice Goetz.
Sat. Jan 31st 9am-1pm
$75 includes supplies


Mail your payment,
name, address, phone #,
and e-mail address to
Trillium Arts Centre
PO Box 466
Travelers Rest, SC 29690
(drop us a quick e-mail
to reserve your spot)

Trillium Launches Artists' C0-op!


We are forming an artists' co-op
at Trillium Arts Centre
on Main Street in Travelers Rest.
Spaces available for rent:
Rows of shelving (3ft wide): $30/mo.
5 ft wide x 3ft deep stall: $30/mo.
7ft wide x 5ft stall: $40/mo.
8ft x 8ft stall: $75/mo.
These are sales spaces that you may decorate as you like.
You may move in as soon as Monday, January 5.
Three months rent due at move-in.
10% commission on sales for this area to help cover costs of sales staff
or you can sign up to volunteer in the centre and there will be no commission
Contact us
864-834-2388

First Friday Reception - Greenville, SC


KICK OFF: JAN 2, (FIRST FRIDAY) RECEPTION 6-9PM

AT THE ARTIST'S GUILD GALLERY

200 N. MAIN ST. GREENVILLE, SC

Artists Guild Gallery of Greenville, SC is excited to announce an art extravaganza! The members
of AGGG are calling all artists, future artists, or anyone who would just
love a chance to participate in the making of a group-effort-masterpiece.
AGGG is dedicating our guest artist space, for the month of January. We wish to encourage spontaneous expression, we are offering a giant mural in the hopes of engaging those who wish to speak through
creative expression; come join us! A member/Artist of the AGGG will be available for personal assistance, during our opening hours , 7 days a week; no appointment is necessary, come as you are and bring your wildest, creative ideas! As artists and members of the AGGG, we will all participate, we invite the community to join us in creating a memorable artistic experience! (children are welcome but must be accompanied by an adult) The mural will consist of several panels joined together; at the end of the month, each panel will be raffled off. To obtain raffle tickets, simply stop in and browse through our gallery. (one ticket per patron, please) For those of you who would like to throw a little paint, in any
style or medium you wish; aprons, paint, brushes, etc. will be provided! Be a kid again... Come play with us this January, at AGGG! See you there!!!
Opening hours: Mon. thru Thurs. 10-6PM, Fri. 10-9PM, Sat. 10-6PM, Sun.1-5PM

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

4 Year Art Scholarship Announced!

Nikki Troxel, Director of Artist Development for The Prodigy Factory, has just announed that they will be offering a full 4 year Art scholarship to one of their Prodigies each year.

Email info@theprodigyfactory.com for details.

*****
Not LinkedIn? What are you waiting for? It is free networking and there are all kinds of groups of creative people, with announcements like these appearing daily. Join and send me and invite to link to you!
Until next time, keep creating!
-Mel. Edwards, founder Votre Vray

Get into the Meat of Marketing Yourself!


Savannah Spirit
, CEO of Veaux.com, is a photographer and art director in NYCity. She earned her BFA in photography at Parsons School of Design. She started Veaux, Fresh Talent Market, to help artists with social and business networking that can potentially add explosive growth to an artist's career. Additionally, Savannah knows there are discerning buyers and collectors who want a single place to visit and select art worth their time and money.

If you're an artist or a buyer who wants to be connected, it may be wise to get in on the ground floor at Veaux.

Oh, and when you go, tell Savannah that Mel Edwards' Votre Vray sent you!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Call for Entries - Photographic Portfolio Reviews!

Review Santa Fe Call For Entries -
Great photographic portfolio reviews


DEADLINE: JANUARY 23, 2009

REVIEW SANTA FE
Event date: June 4-6, 2009

PROJECT COMPETITION
Jurors: Alice Gabriner, Time Magazine; Karen Irvine, Museum of Contemporary Photography; and Maarten Schilt, Mets & Schilt publishers

SINGULAR IMAGE (3 CATEGORIES)
The Curator’s Choice judged by Corey Keller, SF Museum of Modern Art
The Editor’s Choice judged by Simon Barnett, Newsweek magazine
The Publisher’s Choice judged by Michael Mack, SteidlMack

AWARDS INCLUDE
$5,000 cash; exhibition at the Photographic Center Northwest; tuition to a week-long workshop at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops and much, much more.

For More Details/Original Call for Entries please visit Center here.
Center
P.O. Box 2483
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87504
505-984-8353

Votre Vray on Twitter...

Votre Vray is now also on Twitter! Follow me and...if you're a Votre Vray kind of person...let me know your Twitter name so I can follow you. Tweet away!

Every Woman's Film Competition Winner Named

Lifetime's Every Woman's Film Competition Announced that Melissa Kosar's film "The Doll Hospital" won the competition with 35% of the overall votes.

You can see Melissa' film by clicking the linked title of her film. However it also appears along with the others that were up for the prize at MyLifetime. com's voting site.

Congratulations to Melissa Kosar and to her formidable competition:
  • Nicole Nietz with "Reflections"
  • Elizabeth Thompson with "Copper Penny"
  • Kara Lee Burk with "Cross Pollination and You"
  • Negin Farsad with "The Hot Bread Kitchen"
  • Kiara Jones with "Basura"
This six women have set the bar high and are inspiration to creative people worldwide!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Koehnline Museum of Art: Current Exhibition Features Women Artists


Davida Schulman: Self-Portraits

Judy Langston: Post-Katrina Images

December 18, 2008 - January 23, 2009


Davida Schulman investigates herself as a large, middle-aged matron through paintings, watercolors, and prints. Her stark self-portraits, usually executed sans clothing, are antithetical to prevailing cultural perceptions about the ideal feminine image. Schulman accepts herself as she is. These works also introduce audiences to the artist's work environment of the studio and the domestic atmosphere of her home.

Judy Langston 's work documents numerous visits to the city of New Orleans , beginning with a 2002 photography field study class designed for Oakton students. In the years following the destruction of Hurricane Katrina, Langston returned to New Orleans in an attempt to depict scenes of daily life and recovery from natural disaster. As her shutter clicked, so did Langston's relationships with local residents. Their stories, opinions, and varied points of view are incorporated into this collection of images.

The Koehnline Museum of Art is located at Oakton's Des Plaines campus:
1600 E. Golf Rd., Des Plaines, IL 60016, Tel: (847) 635-2633 Fax: (847) 635-1764

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hamiltonian Artists Emerging Fellowship Opens Applications

Hamiltonian Artists, a 501c3, would like to announce that our application process for the 2009 Hamiltonian Emerging Artists Fellowship Program is now open. Please refer to our website for information on the application packages.

http://www.hamiltonianartists.org/apply.html

Happy Holidays and a wonderful New Year from all of us at Hamiltonian Gallery and Hamiltonian Artists! Thanks so much so much for all of your support in 2008!


All the Best,
Jacqueline Ionita
Director, Hamiltonian Gallery
1353 U Street, NW
Suite 101
Washington,DC 20056-3975

Monday, December 22, 2008

Tis the Season

This is the time that people around the globe find a reason to do something nice for friends, family, neighbors, business associates, and strangers all in the name of holiday celebrations. The question that comes to mind is, what happens to us the other 50+ weeks of the year?
For those of us who are creative, we rightfully want to earn a living wage from our work, but these gifts also should not be hidden from those who do not have the means to pay us directly. Here are a few nice things you can do to share your art with strangers who cannot afford to pay for original pieces, but may be delighted by your skills nevertheless.
  1. Create a blog, website or online video (such as a YouTube film) that showcases your work.
  2. Take an image of your work and send it to people via e-mail along with a friendly note.
  3. Find a piece that is just collecting dust and gift it to someone.
  4. Print pictures of your work and use them as greeting cards throughout the year for any occasion you might want to send a hand-written greeting.
I've decided to begin gifting my silly, but fun, poems that have no real marketing value to literary magazines or journals as material for hand-written cards this year. It doesn't cost anything extra to share a part of my creativity and may just make the day of someone who thinks they "hate" traditional poetry.

Happy, safe and joyous holidays to everyone. Be kind to strangers, but also generous with your own soul and spirit. Through our truth we can make the world a brighter place.

Until next time,
keep creating.

-Mel.

Friday, December 19, 2008

PR and Publicity Books for Creative People

More often than not, when I meet an artist or creative person the first thing I'm asked is if I can help with publicity and marketing. Alas, Votre Vray is not really an expert in this area. I try new methods all of the time and work, work, work on getting people to know who I am, what I do, and the artists and creative people whose stories I have learned.

Just this month I signed a one-time contract with a direct mail company to see how that impacts my local market. The price was right (only $405 for a half-page ad to go to 10,000 homes, and $630 for brochures to go to 10,000 more) and their artwork department had deals I loved, including the option of having 1,000 brochures printed for me for $60 more than my other services. One of the local free papers charges $300 for a one-time quarter page ad and the only people who see it are those who go out, pick up the paper and bring it home. They had no way of making sure it arrived in 20,000 homes. My direct mail company at least can get it into each residential mailbox.
Below is a list of some PR and Publicity books I have seen mentioned and some I've read. Please note a few of these are print-on-demand and must be ordered before a copy will be printed. I'm not endorsing any book but simply letting you know what is out there. Good luck and keep creating!
-Mel.
  • Complete Publicity Plans: How to Create Publicity That Will Spark Media Exposure and Excitement (Adams Streetwise Series) (Paperback)
  • The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use News Releases, Blogs, Podcasting, Viral Marketing and Online Media to Reach Buyers Directly (Paperback) by David Meerman Scott (Author)
  • Guerrilla Publicity: Hundreds of Sure-Fire Tactics to Get Maximum Sales for Minimum Dollars (Paperback) by Jay Conrad Levinson (Author), Rick Frishman (Author), Jill Lublin (Author)
  • The Publicity Handbook, New Edition : The Inside Scoop from More than 100 Journalists and PR Pros on How to Get Great Publicity Coverage (Paperback) by David R. Yale (Author), Andrew J. Carothers (Author)
  • On Deadline: Managing Media Relations (Paperback) by Carole M. Howard (Author), Wilma K. Mathews (Author)
  • Making News: A Straight-Shooting Guide to Media Relations (Paperback) by David Henderson (Author)
  • Press Releases Are Not a PR Strategy (Paperback) by Linda (Author), B. VandeVrede (Author)
  • PR Idea Book: 50 Proven Tools That Really Work (Paperback)by Jeff Winke
  • PR on a Budget: Free, Cheap, and Worth the Money Strategies for Getting Noticed (Paperback) by Leonard Saffir (Author)
  • Media Training 101: A Guide to Meeting the Press (Hardcover) by Sally Stewart (Author)
  • The New PR Toolkit: Strategies for Successful Media Relations (Financial Times Prentice Hall Books) (Paperback)by Deirdre Breakenridge (Author), Thomas J. DeLoughry (Author)
  • Full Frontal PR: Building Buzz About Your Business, Your Product, or You (Paperback)by Richard Laermer (Author)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mink Schmink Show in London for New Year!



What have you got if you haven't got love?" (Eartha Kitt, Mink Schmink)

Just like a timeless tune, or a legendary French perfume, this group exhibition has top notes of glamour, style and bling, mid notes of aspiration, beauty and mortality and lingering just a little longer than is comfortable are base notes of vanity, envy and greed.

Mink Schmink oscillates between high and low culture and draws in the gold-digging, superficial, fake, embroidered, wishful, delusional and longing worlds that fills our emotional voids.

This show is a colourful blast for all the senses, with sculpture, painting, photography, print and performance from Emma Barrow, Deni Francis, Phil Illingworth, Denise Mahon, Eleanor Moulsdale, Starchild, Boa Swindler, David Wightman, Chiara Williams and Irlanda Zantone.

The exhibition runs from 17th Jan to 15th Feb 2009
www.wilsonwilliamsgallery.com

Private View
Date:
Friday, January 16, 2009
Time:
6:00pm - 9:00pm
Location:
Wilson Williams Gallery
Street:
30 Queensdown Road ,Hackney E5 8NN
City/Town:
London, United Kingdom

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Manifest Your Vision!



What is your vision of your success? Have you put it in writing? Posted in on a board and focus upon it each day? Told it to everyone you know? That's right. If people know you and don't know your vision for success you might need to rethink a few things.

1. Surround yourself with people who believe in your success, are successful and can help you achieve results you never imagined.
2. Share your dreams with other dreamers who are also on a quest to live their truth.
3. If those around you do not believe in you or your vision, perhaps you need to let some of these people fall into the background for right now and put your energy where it does the most good for all involved.

Today, I'm meeting with someone who will help me get the message I have about Votre Vray and living your truth to 20,000 people for minimal cost and effort on my part. I'm not a PR or marketing expert, but I do listen to and learn from anyone I can in the field. They have helped others achieve their vision in ways I've been unable to up to this point.

[Image above created by Cynthia Tierra. Like many of us, a woman of many interests, skills and talents.]

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Please, Join Votre Vray Group on Facebook!

This is not a letter I ever intended to write but I’m not sure where to turn to make my vision work the way I know that it can. I’m not dying, homeless, or anything else that might spur someone to action and get them to help me. I’m just a woman who is creative and has spent a majority of my life trying to fit in where I “should” and create a life that others respect instead of living my truth. I have more education than anyone in my family’s history and still owe $19,000 worth of student loans that someday might just get paid off. I have worked in more career paths than I care to count and hated most of them because all along I wasn’t following my dream or using the skills that I know that I have, even if these jobs helped others. The bottom line is now I’m 40 years old and I can’t bare getting up in the morning without acknowledging my truth: I am creative, I like people, I cannot ever have children, and although I have parents who love me and a husband who does too, they’re all I’ve really got in this world and I don’t want to die with my soul still aching to make a real difference in lives of others. I am not powerful or wealthy enough to end world hunger or disease or make the impact that Bill and Melinda Gates can. However, I am a storyteller (even have a master’s degree in it from East TN State University) and I believe sharing my story and the stories of other creative people is what I can do in my lifetime. I aspire to be someone like Studs Terkel and Eve Ensler's brain child wrapped up in my own quirky little mind and body.

My dream is to connect creative people with each other through a network so that we’re never alone -- because many of us have been treated like second or third-class citizens because we’re not the MBAs of the Regan-era. In my quest to learn the stories of creative women, I’ve used all my savings and cashed in my small 401k to have a website built and launch my business. I’ve interviewed over 75 creative women around the US and Canada via the phone to ask them about their creative path in hopes they will become support for each other and anyone else who wants to live a similar life. I’ve posted many of their stories and advice via a blog that speaks of them and their work and also gives tips for trying to pay the bills when you’re a creative person. I’ve even created a one-woman show I call “Shout: Kiss My Art” based upon their tales and my own struggles to live my dream. The show received a small grant from the Metropolitan Arts Council of Greenville, SC, to help pay back a fraction of what I’ve put into it and I feel more optimistic that others can see the benefit of my vision and learning each others’ stories. In Summer 2009 I plan to interview 75 (or more) creative men and do the same work to reach out to the rest of the world with them.

Although Votre Vray, meaning ‘your truth’ is my business name, I am not writing this because I want you do buy anything, send money or ask others to throw money my way. I really am writing because I would love to have you as part of my network of people who believe we can all live our dreams if we all work together and support each other. If you go to Facebook and look up Votre Vray you’ll see my name and some of the casual friends I’ve made in life and in my new work. I thought if you joined us, maybe other creative people you respect might join us as well, and perhaps the ball will get rolling. Once you join, you can post links to your creative work for free, as long as you are kind, courteous, professional and do not discriminate or harass others in any form.

If you want all people (regardless of age, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, body type, religion, political affiliation, etc.) to be able to live their dreams without feeling less-than or alone because they're creative and unique individuals, please join Votre Vray group. Tell everyone you know and respect about my vision and ask them to join us too. Help me leave a positive legacy and help each other by learning each others’ stories and holding on to each others' dreams.

-Melissa “Mel.” (Bentley) Edwards
www.votrevray.com

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Dream a Financial Dream

With the collective buzz about the economy and bailing out of industries and banks, the average creative person feels, well, at least miffed, left-out and forgotten. We all want to be successful. In our dreams the federal powers hand us a check that will pay off all of our bills. But the reality is that we, as tax payers, know we're footing the bill for the mistakes others have made. We can be enraged or we can try to make our own positive windfall.

By now, most Americans have at least heard of Rhonda Byrne's self-help powerhouse The Secret. Some even know if you go to the website of the company, you can find helpful resources. You can go here and print yourself a check. Then, write it for any amount that you want. Now, this isn't from a human-run bank and you can't take it to Wells Fargo to cash it. It is from the Bank of the Universe and requires gratitude, visualization and positive expectation. How much money do you want in your life? (Don't say need, or you'll keep creating the need, not abundance.) This visualization tool is powerful. The choice for abundance is all yours.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

CALLING TEACHING ARTISTS of Mixed Media and Jewelry!

Recently, I received a query from HARO and I immediately wrote to the author, Cindy, and asked if I could post this on my site. She said yes but that all replies should ONLY be from artists who teach making jewelry or mixed media.
So, here it is for you to go for it, Friends of Votre Vray!

Deadline in January (see below)!
***********
Category: Lifestyle & Entertainment

Name: Cyndi L

Email: cyndi@b5Media.com

Title: editor

Media Outlet/Publication: b5Media.com
blogging network

Anonymous? No

Specific Geographic Region? No

Region:

Deadline: 5:00 PM EASTERN - January 31

Query:

"I would like to hear from artists who teach workshops or classes
on the following topics: mixed media arts (including collage,
assemblage, art quilts, etc), bead making, and jewelry making. I'm
looking for those artists who would like to share their teaching
schedules and locations for 2009: please include your name, a brief
description of the class, website link for more information, and an
image of what will be made (72 dpi res).

These schedules will be posted on a first come, first served basis
on either http://www.jewelryandbeading.com
or
http://www.layersuponlayers.com

Both are network blogs with very large readerships."

Monday, December 08, 2008

Who Cares About Your Bills?

Award willing, top dollar public speaker James Malinchak did not become one of the best in the business while commanding tens of thousands of dollars for each event because he learned how to be the best speaker in front of coaches. He became famous and rich because he realized that "No one cares about your bills but you and the people you owe." He advises to go to those who know how to make money. They will be the mentors who help you pay your bills.

Now, that is not to say if you're not up to par in your art that you don't need to work on those skills simultaneously. Keep practicing your art and develop a body of work that you can share with those who you want to hire you. However, as you create, think about what audiences want.

You don't have to "sell out" to make your mortgage. Decide what your art/skill is and then look for people who want that art/skill. Providing the market with what they already want will make everyone happy in the long run -- you as the creator, and your audience as consumers.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Change a Cover Get a New Audience?


Since marketing has been a big topic around here lately, I wanted to address how marketing is done in areas where an artist may have little or no control: covers of the books they write.
Take Eileen Favorite, author of The Heroines, and Votre Vray Creative Woman. Her hardback edition cover appears above (at the top of this post).

Then, her paperback edition, which is due for release in February 2009, has a cover that looks absolutely nothing like the hardback. Why? Perhaps the publisher thinks a new cover will bring a new audience. Maybe the paperback edition fits more in line with the price that people who like romantic historical fiction might be willing to pay, so the cover looks like a more of a romance novel than the hardbound edition.

From an author's viewpoint, good news is that the hardbound edition is popular enough to warrant the paperback. The book isn't changing, just the cover, and some people who overlooked it in its original form just may grab a copy -- or several to gift friends and loved-ones with.

From the viewpoint of a creative person who is not an author, the message is clear. You CAN rework a small portion of the marketing or ideas associated with work you've already labored over and send it back into the world in a new format or with a different twist to attract a new audience. If your first round was acceptable, your second round might just turn out to be phenomenal!

Best wishes to Eileen in the paperback edition release!

Marketing Your Book Online - Before, During, After Publication

If you're a writer -- for any type of writing from business how-to all the way to the most polished literary work -- you've probably heard that there is little or no funding for big league marketing of your work. The good news is, you're not alone, and many authors have tips and trick to offer. Learn from those who've been through the hoops and tweak what you learn to your particular need. Below are two of many resources I'm familiar with. (Please note this is not an endorsement of any services other than the free information provided here so you can make your own decisions based upon your needs, product and comfort-level of marketing.)
You need a plan to be successful. The best way to make a plan is to be aware of your options. Go scout the 'net and see what appeals to you. You may just walk away with ideas that will make your work a best-seller!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Keep On Top of Your Game

Here is a sketch I made in 1997 of my (late) cat Beau-Beau. It is posted to illustrate that not only am I literary and oral story teller, but I also dabble in many other art and craft forms as well: knitting, spinning yarn, basket weaving, wood burning, folk painting, sketching, scrapbooking, and many other creative endeavors are part of my life just for the fun of it. One year, my best pal's birthday received homemade flower-shaped cookie pops (like lollipops but made of icing decorated cookies) displayed in a terracotta flowerpot. The point of this is not to get people to ooh or ahh over anything I've done in arts/crafts but to say that sometimes, when peace and joy are lacking, it is a good idea to try to make things outside of your normal medium. It relaxes the mind and body a bit, and allows new energy to come in. Honestly, if every bit of creative work I did was for money and for an audience, I'd be as grumpy as a person who never got to create at all. Give yourself a break. Play a little.

Until next time,
keep creating!
-Mel.

Friday, December 05, 2008

FACT Blog Launched

Just to prove that I absolutely feel there is more than enough business to go around, Votre Vray is introducing readers to a flashy new blog out of Liverpool. It is part of Foundation for ART and Creativity (FACT) which also has a Facebook group. Check out the blog and marvel at the splashy look, then take some time to really look at/read the content. You never know what might light a fire in your furnace!

Until next time,
keep creating.
-Mel.

GreenKangaroo and YOU on Flickr


Are you looking for a way to have photos of your work readily accessible to your audience? Maybe you can't afford to have a web designer upload all of your work each time you get a new image. Perhaps you're just a DIY kind of person anyway or you know the value of being seen in a variety of forums. (The whole "I have one website, why do I need a blog, to post my images of work elsewhere and take time for social networking?" just doesn't hold up in to marketing standards. It is nearly as narrow of a market as saying, "I have a business card. Why aren't the customers running to me?")

Rachelle Matherne, artist in charge at GreenKangaroo, of New Orleans not only maintains a website, but makes sure her Facebook friends can see what she's up to when she posts her work on Flickr. Check it out, and if you're in her area, follow her on Facebook and see her at the numerous shows she does regularly. By the way, she has a pretty big following of friends. Why? Because she takes time to be a friend and not just do her art! (Three cheers for Rachelle! You're Votre Vray's inspiration today.)

Was your Art Sale a "Sold Out" Event?

"Tough times call for tough actions," he says. So he started selling ads on his test papers: $10 for a quiz, $20 for a chapter test, $30 for a semester final.

San Diego magazine and The San Diego Union-Tribune featured his plan just before Thanksgiving, and Farber came home from a few days out of town to 75 e-mail requests for ads. So far, he has collected $350. His semester final is sold out.

Sold out. Now those are two words every artist and creative would love to hear. If you've never had the chance to write "SOLD OUT" on a sign and hang it in your booth, maybe it is time to look for new marketing avenues. No excuses and no whining, I've told students time after time. If you have an excuse you're just saying, "I can't" or "I'm not worth it" and if that's the mind-set you're in, as Henry Ford said, "If you think you can or think you can't, you're right."

Jay Lipe, founder of Emerge Marketing, stated in his latest newsletter that most small companies cannot say what benefits they/their products offer customers. When was the last time you said, "My work will....for you/your home/your business." For example, the focus of Votre Vray is all about helping people discover and follow their truth. In doing so, you can be on a path of least resistance in life, reducing stress, depression, increase happiness and productivity, and maybe even lose weight! Seriously.

So, what benefits do you provide? Once you know and communicate that to customers, you just might find your next art show "SOLD OUT."

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Walrus Glam Girl Performs -- Isn't She Cute?

Sara the walrus and her Russian trainer Sergiy perform during ...

Sara the walrus and her Russian trainer Sergiy perform during a show at the newly-opened Istanbul Dolphinarium in Istanbul, Turkey, Dec. 1, 2008.

(AP Photo/Murad Sezer)

Nancy Lee, Votre Vray Creative Woman, Open House - Indianapolis, IN


Saturday, December 13 from 10 a.m.-5p.m.
Sunday, December 14, Noon-4p.m.
Featuring work by Nancy Lee and Wug Laku at Nancy Lee's home
7530 Mohawk Lane
Indianapolis, IN 46260

For more information e-mail:
n_designs@hotmail.com

Breaking News and Invite from Judy Rodman, Votre Vray Creative Woman

Breaking News!


There is a new
social networking site
specifically devoted to singers called

"The Modern Vocalist.com"


I highly recommend
the spirited discussions there;
lots of top vocal coaches are contributing and accessible.
If you sign up,
please add me as friend!

You can find me there at:
http://www.themodernvocalist.com/profile/JudyRodman


Six Jewelry Artists Show - December 1-31



The Artists
Guild Gallery of Greenville announces
December Jewelry Show with Six Artists


Greenville, SC, December 1-31
Opening Reception with the artists, December 5, 6-9 pm
About the Artists:
Duffy Brown thinks of jewelry as small sculptures. Sterling silver,
copper, bronze, and found objects are the materials which she most
frequently uses. Duffy is drawn to the colors and textures of the earth.
Many of her designs are a mosaic of shells, woven copper, river rocks
and other found objects. Other materials include porcelain shards and
glass bead mosaic. These materials add more color to her work without
resorting to gems. Tile grout is often used in the mosaics to set the
objects off.

Patricia Stalb has been a metalsmith and jewelry designer since 1991.
She especially enjoys working with antique jeweler's tools and
traditional metal fabrication techniques. She has studied cloisonné
enamel formally and is self-taught in the area of intricate enamel.
Patricia has also attended the Penland School of Crafts and is a member
of the Southern Highland Craft Guild.

Barbara Green began making jewelry in 1994 as a way to fill her time.
She uses a variety of beads made from glass, pearl, gem stones, shell,
bone and wood. Barbara incorporates cabochons of stone and glass into
her work. She looks to nature for inspiration for the colors and flow of
the pieces. In the quest to make jewelry, Barbara took up
silversmithing, this, in turn, led to creating with other metals. At
present, she works with copper.

Creative by nature, Joanne Morash was introduced to silversmithing by a
friend nine years ago. Joanne fell in love with it! She ended up
apprenticing [for the teacher] (in the field) for four years. During
that time she proceeded to teach herself the art of lampworking. Now,
finding ways to combine metal and glass is her main challenge.
Joanne’s ideas just keep coming and are virtually endless.

Jennifer Henderson has been a metalsmith since 1991. Specializing in
sterling silver, she enjoys adding semi-precious stones and gems
creating unique and reasonably priced jewelry. Jennifer also works with
several other metals using a variety of techniques such as hollow
forming, patina on copper and brass, silver and bronze casting, roller
printing, marriage of metals, and anodizing.

Laura Dahl is a recent transplant from Spokane, Washington. Her primary
medium is non-ferrous metal, but also includes, stones, handmade felt,
wood, or leather. She creates hand-fabricated metal jewelry, boxes,
handbags, and other small metal objects.
Laura is passionate about marrying metals and etching. Her
award-winning work can be found in galleries in WA and SC, including the
Artists Guild Gallery. In December 2008, she is participating in two
invitational shows at the Brevard Museum of Art and Science and the
Pickens County Museum of Art and History.
About the show:

Six jewelry artists will be showing an exciting diversity of styles and
materials including: fabricated silver to mixed metals; precious stones
to organic materials; vitreous enamels and lampworked beads to woven
bead work. You don’t want to miss these wonderful sculptural pieces
that will grace your body and create a “Wow” factor everywhere you
go.

Jewelry making demonstrations are scheduled throughout the month with
each artist. Please come by or call (864-239-3882) the gallery for more
information regarding the dates and times of the jewelry making
demonstrations.





The Artists Guild Gallery of Greenville is a co-operative gallery
located in the heart of Greenville at 200 North Main Street in downtown
Greenville, SC. Over twenty local artists are represented in the gallery
along with various mediums including acrylic, mixed media, oil and
watercolor paintings, jewelry, glass, woodwork and sculpture. One or
more of the artists is in the gallery at all times, demonstrating
throughout the day and always ready to discuss their art with visitors.
The Artists Guild Gallery is open daily Mon-Sat 10-6, Sunday 1-5, the
first Friday of each month 10-9. Phone: 864-239-3882
www.artistsguildgalleryofgreenville.com

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

A Weekend to Find Your Truth -- March 13 and 14, 2009



Friday, March 13th:

8 p.m.
Performance of
"Shout: Kiss My Art"
A one-woman, grant-winning show based upon the
lives of creative women, featuring Mel Edwards.

Come embrace your creative truth
and offer no apologies!

Open to the public.
Tickets $20 at the door
or FREE with early bird workshop registration!

Saturday, March 14th
Deluxe Continental Breakfast -
Assorted Bottled Juices
Fresh Breakfast Pastries;
Danish, Muffins, and Bagels with
Cream Cheese, Butter and Preserves
Sliced Fresh Seasonal Fruit
Chilled Fruit Yogurts and Granola
Fresh Brewed Coffee, Decaf and Hot Tea
from 8:00-9:00 a.m.
and

Workshop:
A Weekend to Find Your Truth

9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
(1 hr break for lunch, on own.)

Learn how YOUR personal life narrative
and
story exploration
illuminate YOUR essential life path!

Find it.
Claim it.
Live it!

Take Home Resources for all
A Weekend to Find Your Truth workshop
participants:

  • Votre Vray Exclusive! Find YOUR Truth Workbook
  • Support Network of Like-Minded Individuals
  • Guide for Living the Life of Your Dreams


HURRY!
This offer will NEVER occur in
Greenville, SC again!


Space is limited

This offer will become public on January 20th, 2009.
(On that day 20,000 invitations will be sent to homes in Greenville, SC.)

Beat the crowds by registering now!

Call
1-866-960-9458
or
e-mail Votre Vray
at
VotreVray@yahoo.com
(MasterCard and Visa accepted via PayPal.)

Early Bird Special:
$125.00
includes one
FREE ticket to Shout: Kiss My Art!

Deluxe Continental Breakfast
(offer expires February 13, 2009)


Pre-registration Discount:
$175.00*
Deluxe Continental Breakfast included

*Add Shout: Kiss My Art Ticket $20.00
(Offer dates: February 14 - March 1, 2009)

Late-registration
Workshop ONLY
Rate:

$250.00*

*Add Shout: Kiss My Art Ticket $20.00
*Add Deluxe Continental Breakfast $13.95
(Workshop Only Rate: March 2 - March 10)

Absolutely no registrations will be taken after March 10th!

Accept or Refuse -- No Middle Ground

We are rich only through what we give, and poor only through what we refuse."
-- Anne-Sophie Swetchine, Russian-French writer

www.istockphoto.com/file_thumbview_approve/279137/2/istockphoto_279137_money_mind.jpg

Every day I begin with an "absolutely must do" list. It is only one to three items but anything listed there is critical for me and my work. The items I accept and accomplish propel my work forward exponentially. The items I put off, I'm really refusing to do, perhaps forever. I had someone say to me recently, "I am amazed by how much you accomplish." I laughed and thought, I only do on to three things per day. How hard is that? Then, I started to think of all those other goals I have in life that are on the back burner -- like get into great physical condition -- that I do almost nothing to achieve each day.

I honestly admit that really, I'm refusing to do those things. Why? I loathe working out for exercise sake, but I do love yoga (since I am a certified Ashtanga primary series teacher) and walking. So, if there are healthy things I enjoy that also allow me to be in the moment and focus on what is truly important in the world, why don't I do it? Incidentally, this is the same question I ask artists and creative people of all ilk: Why, if you enjoy it, do you not make time for it?

The answer lies in our values. If I valued being healthy more than I value moving Votre Vray forward, I'd make it more of a priority. Like many, I take my health for granted -- a foolish mistake. If artists and creatives value their work more than their societal roles and day jobs, they'd put their art/craft first.

We're coming upon a the last few days of a year filled with changes we could have never fully anticipated. It isn't too late to make a move in a positive direction. What are you going to do to make something more valued in your life? I think I'll take a walk.

-Until next time,
keep creating.
-Mel.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Mumbai Spirit

One of the best parts of Votre Vray is that I get to meet wonderful people who are an inspiration to me and others no matter what may be happening in the world. One such woman is Dawn Clare of SPISE BLISS. Please read her message below and respond as you feel appropriate.
Remember, we create the world we elect to live in. Today, I join Dawn to elect to create a world of love.
-Mel.

******

Moment of celebration
People light candles in the memory of Mumbai terror attack victims. (PTI)

I have a client, Saurabh, who lost a very good friend in the Mumbai attacks. Saurabh has had a tough year including losing his job at AIG and his father becoming ill. Luckily, he has a very loving family who is supporting him during this time; they also fully encourage him to pursue his dreams. Saurabh is a kind person. On his own, he remembered my birthday and ordered me a gift all the way from India. He wants to make the world a better place. I was invited to be in Mumbai last month. It could have been me sitting, laughing, enjoying a mango drink. That is true of every situation. We are all connected so it can be anyone ... and what we do to others, we are doing to ourselves.

In the spirit of Saurabh, his friend who passed, and the overall generous feeling of the holiday, I would like to reposition the Mumbai attacks into the MUMBAI SPIRIT. Please do something kind this holiday season; an act which supports the bliss, love and abundance of someone else. A friend in need is a friend for that time but a friend who supports another in love, bliss, peace, harmony, abundance, success and wealth is a friend for eternity; the more we support the latter, the less that times of need happen for people. Saurabh is able to cope with this challenging situation because he has those in his life who reaffirm him and help him a carve a path to his dreams on a daily basis. Let these values be those of the MUMBAI SPIRIT. If you are not sure what to do, then ask a friend or loved one how you can help him/her.

To start you off with an idea - today, unsolicited, I gave a person a recommendation/direct connection for clients for their business. With my support this person may be able to get through serious red tape. However, it is me and all of us who get so much back in return. When we help someone be on their bliss line/lfe's purpose, then of course, we spread the energy of love and happiness, and the whole world is a wonderful place.

A special meditation for those souls who every day sacrifice their human lives so that the rest of us can understand that the primary sustainable path is peace, and not violence.

Please pass this email to interested parties. Let's spread love around the world!

Have a blissful day,

Dawn
The Bliss Guide
SPISE BLISS

"Do what you love, be with those you love, and your whole life falls into Bliss." D. T. Clare