Unfortunately, we had a significant death in the family at the beginning of December. I used this time to create a moment of pause in my life and generally took a break from all things business and social media. Now I am so happy to be able to begin again in a new year. I am feeling rested and ready to start fresh with new projects. There are a few categories of projects I have in mind to work on and I thought I’d share them here. You can also check in with the goals on Instagram by visiting my profile @laruedefleurs. I will be using the hashtag #quiltgoals2022 for saving all of the project goals I hope to complete as well as little updates throughout the year as I work to finish them. Perhaps we’ll do a check-in at the end of the year and see how many goals were accomplished and how many were forgotten. The basic categories of projects I would like to work on for 2022 are Etsy and RedBubble shop inventory, teaching classes and content development, and all the quilts! – specifically, memory quilts using reclaimed clothing.
Etsy and Red Bubble Shop Goals
Since my Etsy shop has felt like it has been taking a bit of a backseat to other interests, I think this year I would like to focus on being more consistent with creating listings. Honestly, I often create items, but then drag my feet to get the sale listing put together. I have purposely let the Etsy shop become more of a secondary part of my business. I found over the last several years that just focusing on making items to sell was not fueling my creative fire. More and more I was so attached to the number and value of sales, more than the art and creativity. It lead me to feel constantly frustrated and unfulfilled. When I found teaching, I decided to put more energy there because of the fresh challenges. However, I still want (and need) to sell what I make. Therefore, I want to refocus some more energy there on being timely with listings and just creating some inventory to have a more fresh and fun shop. The plan will be to keep it as an avenue to sell some of my more creative pursuits, while also maintaining the items that have more consistently sold for me over the years.
I have a few products in mind for the shop are: more patchwork minky blankets, kits and patterns, and art quilts. Patchwork Minky Blankets are my all-time best seller, plus I still very much enjoy making them. I love them so much because you can just play with print or theme and not focus as much on the technical details. When I want to play, I turn here, to what a friend refers to as my “mixed lollipop” project. The minky blankets are a place to combine, use up and clean out some of my fabric inventory in a tasty way. I will be kicking the year off by making my daughter her very own, more mature, patchwork minky blanket. The color pallet and fabric pull are shown here, with a more detailed post on how to choose a fabric jumping-off point and pull all the fabrics you’ll need coming soon. If you would like to learn how I create these fun and functional blankets, check out my blog posts part one and two on the subject, as well as my free Minky Blanket class on Youtube.
Probably my second biggest seller is some of the little DIY sewing kits I have created. I include a pattern sheet with basic instructions as well as all of the pieces of precut fabric to make the items. All the customer has to do is add scissors and a needle and thread to get making! Though my larger quilt patterns haven’t sold that well overall, the little kits do really well. I love pulling fabrics for new projects, and since making these kits allows for lots of pattern play, I am happy to work on them again and again. I plan to add additional projects to this collection since it is profitable and also fun to work on. Check out my current pattern and kit offerings in the shop here.
Lastly, I plan to focus more attention on my art quilts. I love working in smaller sizes. Focusing on a quilt as more of a piece of art rather than a utilitarian item gives me just the artistic outlet I am craving. I love designing and trying to solve all of the problems of getting images from my head to the final piece. I do need to be much better about scanning the final quilts and adding them to Red Bubble so they can create additional income as reprinted merchandise long after I have sold the original. The art quilts also lead to the teaching by allowing me to experiment, be creative and design new projects on a smaller scale.
Teaching and Content Development Goals
2021 was totally the year of teaching for me. I started out by creating an online class for a local arts council’s teaching databank. Then I taught two summer camps throughout the months of June and July. I finished out the year with an artists’ residency at a local middle school. Check out the Teaching page of my website for all of the links to read more about those individual gigs.
In 2022 I already have one residency set to run for three weeks at an elementary school about an hour from my house. The plan so far with this residency is to work with the entire Fourth Grade to complete a series of barn quilts inspired by traditional pioneer quilt blocks. I am naturally still in the planning phases of this one since it is not set to run until April 2022. In the summer, I hope to be hosting another art camp with my local IU. These camps typically run for a week with one group of students who sign up specifically for your class. This year I have pitched a camp that will focus on using different mixed media to create print and woven fabrics with the students. Then on the final days of the camp, we will turn the created fabric into useful items to use and display. I will of course share more when I am working on these camps and residencies and have awesome pictures of the kids’ work to show.
In addition to teaching in person, I would love to get back into creating more online lessons. I am currently looking into the best platform to host various types of ongoing classes for both youth and adult lessons. Oh, and I guess, I actually have to nail down just a few lessons to start with and block out each technique. There are a ton of ideas swirling in my brain as to how to best parcel out each lesson and technique into easy-to-follow video chunks. Getting started is for sure the hardest part! Perhaps keep an eye here on the blog to see if I get it together and start a new menu or drop-down button to join in for classes!!
All. The. Quilts. Goals
Of course, this is a quilt blog and I am a quilt artist, so no good goals list for the year would be complete without an overabundance of quilty goals I will never have time to finish. Sometimes being a creative, small business owner and teaching artist actually leaves less time for creating the craft you’re known for than one might imagine. I find I spend a fair amount of my workday doing all of the other content and admin tasks associated with running and advertising my business or building courses. In 2022, I strive to find more balance between creative time and business building time. I would love to burn through my WIP list and finally clear it out. I (always) have several quilts that have been only partially completed. They get put aside to work on orders or other tasks and then languish in their bin, sometimes for years. It’s an ongoing process to be better about seeing things through from start to finish. I plan to focus attention there in 2022.
As mentioned above, I really want to expand on making more art quilts in 2022. The fun size and creative freedom I feel when I work on them is one of my favorite things about creating in cloth. The fact that I can scan them and re-sell the print version of these on RedBubble makes it that much sweater.
The past few years I have had as a goal to make more of my fabrics through various mixed media techniques such as ink, stamping, and dying. It sadly remains on my list as undone, but I have high hopes this will be the year of experimentation for me. At the very least, I have it as part of a summer camp, so perhaps that will inspire me to do more of the techniques for myself as well.
You may remember in 2021 I also started a memory project focusing on reworking and finishing quilts by my late aunt. The Lana Bates Memorial Quilt Project didn’t get too deep into the year before I lost steam. I hope to pick back up with this project and finish the remaining quilts. The materials and pattern have already been purchased to finish the birdhouse quilt with sweet little tweets around her birdhouse blocks. I will probably start there.
I also plan to do more memorial quilts for myself and my family. Since my father passed away in December 2021, I have been inundated with settling his estate and gathering up all of his belongings to redistribute among the family. Clothing is just a small part of what I’ve been sorting through. I plan to make several quilts from the fabric of his shirts similar in fashion to the Vintage Dresses Quilt I completed in November. I will likely be offering this service in my Etsy shop later in the year as well.
I am positive this list will again evolve as I work through the year, but it is nice to have a running game plan. Hopefully, I will finish up some of the outstanding projects on the list and create a lot of interesting and fun content along the way. I look forward to sharing progress with you throughout the year. Keep an eye on #quiltgoals2022. Let’s make the hashtag grow and grow. Please feel free to share your goals there as well so we can all be inspired by one another! Thank you so much for reading!
Stay creative friends! Janice
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(©2022, Janice Bailor // laruedefleurs.com)