Pushing Beyond My Comfort Zone

This may sound foolish but I get intimidated by silliest things. So I decided to tackle some of my little monsters this fall.

#1)  Fear of Fabric! Absurd, yes? I love all the colors, patterns & textures.....but when it comes to creating, fabric is my kryptonite! Or at least it has been since I nearly flunked home-ec. in middle school. My mother & sisters are geniuses with a sewing machine. Give me some pencils or molten metal and I'm good to go, but if there is cloth involved I have a very difficult time getting anything to come out right.  So what did I do? I joined the Creative Troupe over at C&T publishing. (You can too - just click the  C&T button for info. ) 

C&T Creative Troupe

C&T publishes books & sells supplies, most having to do with fabric & quilting. I figured I needed a kick in the pants, so I recently answered one of their email call-outs. They sent a box of supplies & asked me to come up with a tutorial using the supplies and fabric. At some point they'll post my project to their flickr & maybe their blog. I'll share the links when that happens.

i paint on fabric

#2) Public speaking. Never been a fan. I do it for work, - just slip on my salesperson hat and I'm ready to go. I've also been a teacher's aide, so I'm confident with kids. But I have never been a social butterfly or comfortable talking about myself & art. 

I've attended demos of art supplies & thought "I'd like to do that but...I've decided to kick the "but" and signed up to be a Surface Design Ambassador. I'm totally psyched to start learning some new techniques and pass them along to others. It will be fun to see where this leads.

#3) Writing. When I was a kid I wrote all the time, just for the love of it. My favorite toy was a working red plastic typewriter. A bajillion years later (2 yrs ago) I reluctantly started this blog on a lark. It has been a lot of fun, as well as a great eye-opener.  Now that the self-consciousness is (mostly) gone,  I've decided to push past this comfort zone. 

My first stop is the site Handmade Spark. I've  had a mini-site there for a while to direct more traffic to my ArtSnark Etsy shop. I've enjoyed reading their blog &  have just been accepted as one of their writers. So, I'll be submitting a few pieces each month. They have even unmasked my not-so-secret identity & (gasp) have an actual photo instead of my Little Red Riding Hood avatar I like to hide behind. Which leads us to....

#4) Being myself. Still thinking about this one. Little Red & ArtSnark fit so comfortably.... but I've had requests for something more personal. Maybe this post satisfies some of the curiosity? I am squirming a bit so moving on to...

#5) Submitting art. A few years ago I wandered into the online art group ZNE, a fantastic selection of supportive creative types. Many of those talented folks have gone on to writing for art & craft magazines, teaching workshops, publishing books and other exciting endeavors. They have inspired me to push beyond my front door (even though I'm a big chicken). I've only submitted to a few small art shows & some magazines this year.  I've had work in 2 or 3 local shows, and a couple of pieces in the "reader submissions" sections of magazines. Also more than a few rejections. But, hey, its a start....

#6) Getting the eggs out of 1 basket. In 2009 Etsy was a very comfortable basket. In 2010 my online sales have tanked. Earlier this summer I temporarily closed my online supplies shop & SteamDreams  vintage/assemblage supplies shop. (They will reopen later this year.) But the ArtSnark art shop plods along, steadily losing traffic.

ArtSnark.etsy.com remains open, but I'm also giving Artfire a try. Here's the new Artfire link but nothing is up yet. Hope to get a few items in the shop soon.

I'm also giving illustration a whirl. Not actively pursuing as there are not enough hours in a day. But  will have work in a new illustration book that is getting shopped around.

Phew. I think the list goes on but this post is getting too long. Lets stop here. Somehow day job, family & other domestic bliss fits into this new schedule too. Also, blogging (including resuming Interviews, Giveaways & Studio Tours) and hopefully some creative time as well.

So what is new with you? Are you playing outside your comfort zone? If so, please share! I would love to hear about it.


  1. Great blogging. Congratulations for getting outside your comfort zone in so many ways. You are really an inspiration.

  2. Congratulation!
    That is fantastic!
    I am so proud of you!
    (I had a little début myself in my youtube video http://ewian.blogspot.com/2010/10/view-form-studio-window-video.html , (blush)). It take some time to get over the "anonymity" that the web gives you. Fun to read a bit more and see a picture :)

    You can come over here any day to show of new techniques!

    I'll give you a loud HURRA for stepping out of your comfort zone!


  3. If you're going to change you might as well take on the world and it sounds like you have! :) Fabulous and inspiring!!

  4. Wow! That's a lot of change! I know you'll achieve great things!

  5. Wow Stacey, I am deeply impressed. You are a busy soul... I am overwhelmed with all the new ways you are emerging all over the art world! You are rockin' it, babe!

    I LOVE that I could finally see a picture of your beautiful face... thank you so much for trusting your blog readers and sharing that link with us. You shine! xoxo

  6. Wow, Stacey! You are a huge inspiration! Thank you so much for sharing all of this. Can't wait to see where your adventures take you. Keep sharing!

  7. Yes Snark, a REAL inspiration! I'm exhausted just from reading it all - I too am anxious to see where this takes you!

  8. Congrats Stacey! You are doing so well! It is not easy wearing the different hats. So bravo!
    I too am trying ArtFire...so far no sales yet!

  9. So nice to "see" you, Stacey! I'm amazed at what you are taking on - no wonder you have been so busy! You've inspired me before, so I think you'll do it again. I'm restless with my situation right now too so if you can add more to an already busy schedule, maybe I can too. Thanks!

  10. Stacey, you're an inspiration! Good for you! You seem to be tackling everything that you want to do head on. Wonderful! Hope a little of that rubs off on me...

  11. Congrats Stacey! Its hard to move out of your comfort zone..I know that from personal experience!

    I know good things will come of this, so keep it up!

    I have to peek out from my comfort zone too.....I have to blog about more interesting ideas....and more often...I neglect my blog sooo much so, I did post something new today, take a look!

  12. Congrats to you. I have an Etsy shop also and just started on Artfire to! Great blog, found you through Handmade Spark.

  13. Sounds like you are doing what you should- I have had to get out of my comfort zone in order to create things that I normally would have been trying to avoid for fear I wouldn't like the finished product...but I have found my fears to be unfounded! :)

    It is always good to try something new- "nothing ventured, nothing gained!"

  14. Wow, your blog is great! It's always better to just 'jump in'
    and just do it,and you certainly have. You are living your dream!
    You are really an inspiration.

  15. Good luck! I've been struggling with the personal/public divide myself.

    Could you post a link to the ENZ community? They sound like a lot of help! I'm hoping to get a gallery show this year, and maybe sell some illustrations to magazines and the like.


  16. First, thanks for commenting on my blog on The Success of Failure. I can see from this post that you are well on your way of going outside of your comfort zone and I am sure you will do well.

    Etsy is a great market but bloated. You have the right idea to spread your work around (which is amazing) and hopefully more eyes will see your work--don't give up!

    Now, I need to spread my wings a bit as well...

  17. Way to go, Stacey! What an inspiration you are to me...and to all of us in Melange! I have a feeling that 2010 is going to be YOUR YEAR!

  18. Hey Stacey, wow that is amazing. You are so inspiring, I always learn so much from you. It is really hard to challenge our comfort zones but I think it is the way we grow and once we do it we usually realize it wasn't as bad as we thought it would be.

    Wishing you well with all your wonderful new adventures.

    I too, am working in a few new directions but they are all works in progress but hopefully I will be at a point to share them soon.

    Have a lovely day, T. :)