Saturday, April 17, 2010

Butterfly House, Chesterfield, Missouri

The Butterfly House in Chesterfield, Missouri is one of my favorite locations in the St. Louis region. It is truly one of the best butterfly houses I have ever been to. Since my partner and I will soon be uprooting ourselves in order to move to Massachusetts, we are creating a "bucket list" of sorts, places and restaurants we want to go to again before our transition. Not having much else planned today, I heard the butterflies calling! With my camera in hand, I set off. It was a great day; the conservatory was very active! Thousands of lepidoptera were flying around the room, many landing and resting on the tropical plants all around. They just seem to be oblivious of the many humans surrounding them.

For nine years, I have been part of a teaching team inspiring second graders about these majestic creatures. From the life cycle, to behavior patterns and other interesting facts. In my quest to inform them, I have learned so much and am forever grateful for the knowledge and appreciation I have gained. This environmental passion was heightened and magnified through the inspiration of two wonderful colleagues. One of my favorite parts of this kind of environmental education is that children learn how delicate nature can be, also how colorful, amazing, and patient.

It is interesting to stand back and watch other people interact with them too. You can see the uncertainty on the face of some - young and old. Some of the children are quite afraid of them; I understand that. They might but them in the same category as bees or other flying creatures. I can't wait to explore some of the natural aspects of western Massachusetts. I hope one day to be able to plant a butterfly garden in my own yard so I can watch these awe-inspiring transformations in my own space.

I have added a photography section to my Etsy page; one of these photos is there now - the others will soon follow.

Friday, April 9, 2010

My Plunge Into Etsy

A number of years ago, a colleague of mine (who also happens to be a very good friend), went to a craft show in northern Missouri. She met a potter who made this wonderful tall sleeping man mug. The potter was telling my friend how she had not made many sales in her actual brick and mortar shop; in fact, she had barely enough money to buy the clay that she needed. After joining Etsy, this artist found great success selling her work online. (I am not sure who the artist is, but would be interested in knowing if anyone in cyberspace happens to know.)

At the time, my bookbinding endeavours were relatively new. But, I kept this story in the back of my mind. Once my products got to the point in which I felt as though they were "quality enough" to share with others, I considered the idea of selling them online. In December of 2008, I took the plunge, setting up my account. I sold my first two items within hours and days of posting my first few items. While this initial success slowed, I have enjoyed the challenges and joys of selling online. I have especially enjoyed the personal connections that I have made with people from all over the globe.

My friend retired last spring. Now, I am preparing to move to Massachusetts. She came to my classroom the other day, bringing this clay figure with her. She is gifting it to me. Not only does it remind me of the valued friendship that we share, but also of my journey into the world of Etsy. I look forward to putting this functional sculpture right along with my other treasured art supplies once I get my new "art space" set up - be that a closet (like I have now) or a whole room.