Heeling at Last

Heeling is a sailing term for when a sailboat leans over in the water, pushed by the wind. There’s nothing else like the thrill of heeling over as your sails fill and your speed picks up! My friend taught me that this summer. Seems like a whole lifetime ago already.

Thought I’d take a moment to update you on the latest happenings in my 10 foot square studio. My days are flying by now, and there never seems to be as much time to paint as I would like. The truth is, I could paint every day all day for weeks on end without ever leaving the house and still be annoyed by my phone ringing. It is as if 45 years of painting has been stuffed down into the cellar and has finally been set free! I still haven’t quite figured out how to balance my desire to be left alone to create with my desire to not wake up one day to find I actually am totally alone to create due to my own neglect of all my relationships! I am grateful for all of you who have cheered me on while I push this boulder up the mountain.

As most of you know already, I was juried into the Indiana Artisan brand last month! In case you don’t know what that means, here is a quick explanation: In 2008 Lt. Governor Becky Skillman began Indiana Artisan as an economic development program to help expand the businesses of Hoosier artisans through initiatives that support and promote their handmade work. The program was a joint venture between the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, the Indiana Office of Tourism Development, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, and the Indiana Arts Commission. In 2010, the Indiana Legislature passed a Resolution tasking the organization with identifying, recognizing and promoting the state’s highest-quality art and foods. According to their own literature, “An Indiana Artisan is a Hoosier recognized for careful attention to detail, in-depth knowledge of a craft and an entrepreneurial spirit. His or her talent contributes to Indiana’s reputation for quality work.”

Last week was the first informational meeting for the handful of artists newly welcomed into the brand. I’ve been apprehensive about the opportunity simply because I do not have nearly a large enough inventory yet for retail sales. I learned that my first Indiana Artisan Marketplace event will be April 6-7, 2019 at the Exposition Hall at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, and that I have the freedom to sell reproductions of my original work. This was the first piece of fantastic news. The second is that I also have the freedom to accept inquiries about my custom design work for large installations. All along my understanding was that I could only be juried in based on work already in existence and currently for sale, an automatic preclusion of the most important facet of my business- one of a kind custom installations. In addition, my misunderstanding was that the requirement for what is sold at the marketplace is an individual hand made item, no reproductions. Not true. I can indeed sell my original designs printed onto silk scarves. The skies have parted for Carrie Wright Silk. We are heeling!

April may sound like plenty of time, but it feels like the day after tomorrow to me. There is much to accomplish, far more than I ever dreamed when I launched this website the first of April. I am still on the hunt for a manufacturer here in the USA who will make quality reproductions with no minimum amounts at an affordable rate, but am losing hope. I did find a fantastic privately owned business in the UK I am considering. Although I would be losing money on the exchange rate, their quality and pricing seems to be much more in line with what I need at this stage of the game.

Being named an Indiana Artisan has also prompted me to fast forward my business plan a bit. Through these first few months, I've developed a vision for selling my hand painted original scarves exclusively through my website, and now at the Indiana Artisan Marketplace as well, at a much more appropriate rate than I have been, while selling reproductions in gift shops, boutiques and on Etsy at a lower retail price point. My ultimate goal is to have the scarves as a retail revenue stream for the business while the majority of my own design and painting time is spent working with individual clients to create large custom installations. I am stunned and overjoyed that this vision is now fully focused and coming to fruition! Even though I am still at the very beginning, I see now that all of this is truly possible and already happening year one on a small scale.

Between now and then there is much to accomplish. I want to design and hand paint every element that will appear in my booth at the Marketplace. I have a personal goal of creating at least 20 new intricately designed original scarves to sell online and at the event, not an easy task considering how little time is left. I thankfully have a promise of some custom installation work thrown in that mix as well as a silk painted dress I'd like to make for my own self. There’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, and life in the middle of all of the work too. Seems now is the time to hit the gas and pay close attention. Hang in there with me if you don’t hear from me for a spell. Everything I am doing is on Instagram and Facebook, including some short work-in- process video clips that are fun to watch. Click those links if you’re not following my work there already.

Last, I just wanted to mention how thrilled and thankful I am to be booked with my Danny aboard the marvelous Queen Mary 2 for our second Christmastime Transatlantic Crossing! This year we will arrive in Southampton two days before embarking, and we have discovered there is a huge annual Christmas Festival within walking distance from our hotel! Somehow I will strategically pack with room in our luggage for foreign treasures to make their way back to a place under our tree this year. As I’ve written before, taking that trip last year changed my life. Being on this ship again, on the Atlantic Ocean, exactly one year later after all that has transpired feels like a dream come true. Yes, I am very aware after all of the hard and heartache and difficulty my life has sometimes traveled through that I am now living the very best years I will ever experience here on earth. To God be the glory for all of it!


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