In the spirit of things

In case you have not searched around in AREtsy shops lately, you are missing out. Many of our team members have wonderful items for the Holidays. Of course we all have fabulous gift items, but these items would be perfect to decorate your home or yourself for this time of year.
Banners have been popular for the past couple of years on Etsy. Our very own StoriaHome makes a collection of wonderful banners for the home. She has one called "Believe" that is just perfect for this time of year. I don't know about all of you, but I still believe in Santa... no really... I do! :) While you're checking out her shop, look at all of the wonderful other Christmas decor she has. They range from traditional to cheeky - you don't want to miss her stuff.Over at AshleighsBowtique - outfit your little ones with these adorable hair bows. She also has some hair bows for Thanksgiving - so hurry over so your kiddos can be decked out for the entire season.
PunkinHead has an entire collection of Snowfolk. These guys are made from repurposed vintage linens, sweaters, and other fun fabrics. They all need a new family to spend the holidays with - so won't you take one up today?
GlassBead always has beautiful items and this year she has some ornaments listed in her shop. I just happen to be a proud owner of one of these lovelies and I know they will look great on your tree as well.
ChrisMassingill never fails to dissapoint with her fun, whimsicle designs. She has added some holiday inspired items to her shop as well. This pin would make the perfect addition to your personal decor for the Holidays or you can easily add a hook to the back and hang it on your tree for Christmas day.

This list is only the tip of the iceburg as far as AREtsy Christmas items go. Search here for more ideas and let the shopping begin.


Oh the weather outside is frightful...

but the sales on Etsy are so delightful!

Okay, so perhaps the weather isn't so frightful yet, but you know it's just around the corner. I was just thinking the other day that Thanksgiving weekend marked the first bit of icey weather we got here in my part of Arkansas a couple of years ago and that weekend is just 2 weeks away! I don't know about the rest of you, but the impending turn of the weather is reminding me that Christmas is just around the corner. In fact, it's only 44 days away.

Yeah, I said it, it's only 44 days away.

There was a HUGE movement that swept the internet/indie/crafty industry by storm last year. That was the "Buy Handmade" pledge. I signed up to do it last year and tried my best, I really tried to adhere to it. Alas, I failed. Guys are hard to shop for. However, I'll do it again this year, with more gusto, with more determination, and with more time spent looking for the perfect gift on Etsy (hopefully within AREtsy).

One way to get people to your shop for the Holidays is to promote a sale or special of some kind. Many shops on Etsy are gathering together for the Artisans for the Holidays Sale taking place Thursday,November 27 (hey, that's my birthday, don't forget it... oh, and it's Thanksgiving) through Monday, December 1.. There is a thread in the Etsy forums with more information here: http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=5903305&page=1.

If you think you can pull off their requirements - a bit of promotion and such - then go here and sign up for it: http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=5903349. Make sure to read the ins and outs of signing up listed in the first post.

If you are thinking a site wide sale isn't for you, please think again. I'd love to see a bunch of us AREtsy members join in on this. A few of us participated in the site wide "Yart Sale" this past summer, and I can't speak for everyone, but it resulted in a good handful of sales for me.

Original art above by bmacre at bmacre.etsy.com


If Graphic Art is Your Thing...

then read on.

El Dorado Promise out of El Dorado, Arkansas is "re-branding" itself and needs a logo. They city has chosen a new themeline for itself, El Dorado: We Promise and they need something to go along with that and all the city has to offer.

Cindy Langston, the Marketing Manager for El Dorado Promise and El Dorado Forward, writes the following:
"We have chosen a new themeline for our city "El Dorado : We Promise" sends a message that we want people to come see what we have to offer. From an incredible arts community, to an eclectic downtown with a vibrant music scene to quality health and wellness facilities to a world-class education and free college scholarship program, we have a lot to promise.

I hope you will consider sending in a design. 1st prize is $1,000 and 2nd place receives $500. Of course the design will be seen in all our marketing material so it will get a lot of notoriety..."

You can read more about the city here: GoElDorado and ElDoradoPromise. If graphic design is your thing, don't delay. Entries MUST be postmarked by Oct. 22 to be considered. Please contact Cindy with questions (and where to send entries) at (870)863-6113.


Ready... set... go!

AREtsy artists seem to be everywhere this fall. As I've said before, we're staring straight at craft show season here in Arkansas and we've geared up, signed up, and stocked up on goodies to show off at a variety of fairs.

If you are like me and love to do your Christmas shopping at a craft fair, or if you are also like me and love the tasty goodies at the fairs (as seen above), you can find us at the following events (event listed first and AREtsy members listed below each show)

Van Buren Fall Festival in Van Buren - October 11 - 12
Morning Star Studio

Bella Vista Arts and Crafts Festival in Bella Vista - October 16 - 18
Wooly Hands

Ozark Regional Arts and Crafts Show in Springdale and Rogers - October 17 - 18
My Curly Red

Dazzle Daze in Conway - November 20 - 22

Holiday Extravaganza in Bella Vista - November 22
IdyllHands and WoolyHands

Arkansas Craft Guild's Christmas Showcase in Little Rock - November 30 - December 2

If you are a member of AREtsy and are participating in a craft fair/show this fall, please email knittinghands@yahoo.com and let me know. I'll add you to this list.


Puppet Workshop

Just a quick update about an event coming up this weekend:

“Arkansas Community Arts Co-op to Host Giant Puppet Workshop”

The Arkansas Community Arts Cooperative, a local non-profit organization that promotes art and music to youth in central Arkansas , will be hosting a giant puppet building workshop at their art and resource space located at 1419 South Main Street in downtown Little Rock . The event, which will take place on Saturday, September 13, Sunday, September 14, and Saturday, September 20, will feature long-time visual artist and puppeteer, JoAnn Kaminsky, from Fayetteville , Arkansas .

Kaminsky will be teaching Little Rock youth how to build a variety of giant parade puppets as seen in New Orleans Mardi Gras festivals. The event is open to Little Rock youth who are in the 5th through 8th grades. There is a $ 5.00 fee to cover the cost of lunch. During the workshop the students will be assembling five giant puppets to be featured in the SoMa sponsored 2009 Little Rock Mardi Gras Parade.

JoAnn Kaminsky is an Arkansas native who enjoys working with many facets of the community using art. She has worked as an artist in education, with elementary students and high school students, and as an art therapist. She has her own studio, the Art Experience, in Fayetteville , Arkansas . Her community art making interests has led her to create murals and puppet productions in a variety of settings. Through the Partners of the Americas she has traveled to Bolivia , South America to create puppets, large and small and also murals with youth of all ages.

You can see Kaminsky’s work in the streets of Fayetteville on New Years Eve at the First Night Fayetteville’s puppet parade which she coordinates.

For more information see http://www.acacarkansas.org.

For more information about JoAnn Kaminsky - visit her website here: www.JoAnnKaminsky.com


2nd Annual Pinnacle Hills Promenade Art Festival

If you find yourselves up in Northwest Arkansas this weekend, be sure to swing by the Pinnacle Hills Promenade for the 2nd Annual Pinnacle Hills Promenade Art Festival. The schedule is as follows:
Friday, 9/5 - 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Saturday, 9/6 - 10:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Sunday, 9/7 - 12:00 PM - 6:00 PM

I hear that Chris Massingill will be up there and after seeing her items in person this past weekend at The Clothesline Fair, I can say that you do not want to miss out on her stuff. It's great!


Let the Craft Fairs Begin

Just when you think cooler weather and changing leaves will never get here, you turn around and there they are. The cooler weather means the start of many a fall/holiday craft fair here in Arkansas. The members of The AREtsy Street Team take a few weekends out of their busy schedules to set up shop at these fairs and share their art with thousands upon thousands of shoppers.

Northwest Arkansas provides craft fair shoppers and fans with plenty of opportunities to spend some money and time browsing. Besides the big weekend of fairs the 3rd weekend in October (does War Eagle ring a bell with anyone?), there are many other fairs that dot the calender leading up to Christmas.

The first one that comes to mind is The Clothesline Fair in Prairie Grove at the Battlefield Park (park seen above). This is a fair steeped in many, many years of tradition, 57 years, in fact. I've been told that artists used to display their goods on clothelines that were strung between the trees and their tents. This would make sense, seeing as how it is call The Clothesline Fair. Those days are long gone, but the fair is still going strong.

A few of the AREtsy Artists will have booths at the fair:

Starlight Designs
Idyll Hands

So come on out and meet some fellow AREtsy members.

If shopping for crafts isn't your thing (and shame on you if it isn't) there are plenty of other activities for you or your family members to do. You can visit the Latta Barn for some tasty turkey legs or burgers. There is a play ground for the kiddos and a short hiking trail with lots of Civil War history along its path. There is also a museum that is free to the public that has the history of the battle that took place on that very spot. So come on out, do some shopping, learn a bit of history, and enjoy Labor Day weekend in Northwest Arkansas at The Clothesline Fair.

If you are a member of AREtsy and are participating in a fair (in Arkansas or otherwise), leave a comment here so we can share it with the world!


Art On The Corner

Who doesn't like to be featured as an artist? I'm sure none of you raised your hand and if you did, we need to talk. The Fine Arts Center of Hot Springs is hosting their annual Art On The Corner and they are looking for artists to feature. This is a great opportunity not only to gain some exposure for your lovely creations, but also to pad your pocket a bit as $500 in prize money is up for grabs! I know that would buy me a lot of supplies or pay for a couple of craft shows, so I know I'm signing up for this one.

Maureen Ganster, one of the Hot Springs Fine Arts Center Board of Directors, writes this:
"This Compeition is for Arkansas artists only and has $500 in cash prices. The 20 finilists will exhibit at the Hot Springs Fine Arts Center (a non-profit organization) in the month of October, 2008. The winner will be the featured artist and have the center area of the Hot Springs Fine Arts CEnter to exhibit 20-30 pieces of art."

The deadline to enter is September 6, 2008 - so enter now!

For more information about the Hot Spring Fine Arts Center, visit their website HERE.

For a copy of the application, email Idyll Hands at knittinghands@yahoo.com.


Arkansas Craft School Apprenticeship Program

Hey ARETSY - this is another opportunity that Glassbead sent my way. You only have a few days left (because I somehow missed this one when she sent it a few weeks ago) to apply or nominate but it's a GREAT opportunity - so act fast.

The Arkansas Craft School , located in Mountain View , Arkansas, is seeking applications from Master Craft Artisans and for its 2008 APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM. Interested Master Artisans should be skilled in a heritage, traditional, or contemporary craft medium. Apprentices should be persons who have a continuing interest in improving his/her skills as a practicing artisan.

The 2008 program will involve one apprenticeship in each of the Arkansas geographic regions – the Delta, the Ozarks, the Arkansas River Valley , the Quachitas, and Southwest Arkansas . Selected Masters will be paid a stipend of $4,800 for the program which will begin on October 1, 2008 and end on April 30, 2009. There is no charge or stipend for participating Apprentices.
Masters will work with selected apprentices in their own studio/workshop. Masters and apprentices will be expected to demonstrate their craft at a public event in their region at the culmination of the program. Apprenticeships will be supervised by the Program and Curriculum Committee of the Craft School which will provide site visits during the process by Dr. Mike Luster, project coordinator.

Applications for both Masters and Apprentices are available at the Arkansas Craft School ’s website, www.arkansascraftschool.com or by contacting the School Office at arkcraftschool@mvtel.net.

The School will also accept nominations for both Masters and Apprentices. To nominate a candidate, a letter from the nominator indicating the reasons for the nomination should be accompanied by a completed application form for the nominee. Deadline for applications and nominations is August 22, 2008.

The 2008 Apprenticeship Program is made possible in part by a grant from the Department of Arkansas Heritage, funded by General Improvement Funds provided by the Arkansas General Assembly.

The Arkansas Craft School is a program of the Arkansas Craft School Education and Support Association, Inc. (a 501.c.3 designee) in partnership with the Ozarka College – Mountain View and the Ozark Folk Center. The School is located in Mountain View , Arkansas , and provides program on the campuses of the Ozark Folk Center and Ozarka College.


WKNO Gallery 10 Arts and Antiques Auction

Like I said, GlassBead had a wealth of information to send us about opportunities around our state (or right across the river from us - as it is in this case). This one is for the WKNO Gallery 10 Arts and Antiques Auction. WKNO is a not for profit, public broadcasting station out of Memphis, TN. It has been on the air since 1956 and rely heavily on donor support and events like this one. Fayth Rowland, WKNO Marketing Representative, sent GlassBead the following information:

"The 18th Annual WKNO Art & Antiques Auction will be broadcast live on Channel 10 on November 8, 9 and 15, 16.

We plan to continue the two new twists we added to the Auction last year: The Collection and Emerging Young Artists segments.

The Collection is comprised of approximately 100 jury-selected, gallery ready pieces. Once selected, these pieces will be showcased together and the final day of the auction (Sunday, November 16) will be dedicated solely to these pieces.

Emerging Young Artists will feature the work of new young artists and a segment of the Auction on Saturday, November 15 will be devoted exclusively to this work.

Consideration for inclusion in The Collection or Emerging Young Artists is optional and will be at the discretion of the individual artists.

All work not included in these segments will be sold on Saturday, November 8, Sunday November 9 and Saturday, November 15.

We have great appreciation for the generous support of our donors and we will continue to focus on getting as many people as possible to view their art in person during the month of October.

In anticipation that you will consider supporting WKNO by participating in Gallery 10, I am taking the liberty of including more specific information regarding the Auction and will follow up to answer your questions and to see if we may count on your support."

Please email me at knittinghands@yahoo.com for an application for this event. Or you can contact Fayth Rowland for more information at frowland@wkno.org or 901-325-6587.


For a Good Cause

Thank goodness for Laurie over at Glassbead. She is somehow on the "get great emails" list and sent over a few opportunities to post here at the AREtsy blog. There are quite a few to share with the group - so keep your eyes on this blog over the course of the next few days and I'll get all of them posted.

My first posting of the week/weekend is for the Gallery of Hope fund raiser. You have the option of donating your artwork to the Candlelighters of Central Arkansas, a non-profit 501-C3 organization devoted to assisting children with cancer and their families in Arkansas, or donating a portion of the sales from this auction. Either way, it's a win win for both a great cause and the artist.

A letter about the event says this:

It is with sheer gratitude that I am writing to you! This year is our third annual fundraiser, Gallery of Hope, which will feature artwork from local artists and children with cancer in Arkansas. The event will be held on September 13, at 7:00 p.m. at The Peabody Little Rock and will feature live and silent auctions of various types of art, music, drinks, and food. We are hoping it will be a fun event, raise awareness regarding childhood cancer, and of course raise money for Candlelighters.

It is my hope that you will help support a wonderful organization located here in Little Rock. Candelighters of Central Arkansas is a, 501(C)3, non-profit organization serving children with cancer and their families. As a board member of this organization, and a social worker at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, I see first hand how Candlelighters directly affects our cancer patients in Arkansas and the surrounding areas.

When one of our children is diagnosed with cancer, nine times out of ten a parent has to quit their job to care for their child. As you can imagine, finances become a significant stressor and there are limited resources available to help. I can continually rely on Candlelighters to help our families with practical assistance during their child’s treatment. They have helped our families with money for rent/mortgage, groceries, gas, utilities, even tires for the car. They are the only organization that helps pay for funerals for our children - something no one likes to admit happens, but unfortunately does at times.

Please consider donating a piece of your art or sharing the commission from a piece of your art that would be auctioned at the event. If you chose to share commission, you may choose the percentage you wish to give to Candlelighters. Do not hesitate to contact me with any questions about the event, families we help, or specifications on the art we are requesting. I appreciate all you do for the Arkansas community and look forward to working with you to assist the cancer kids of Arkansas.

If you choose to participate in this year’s event we have enclosed an information form/artist contract. Please fill out the following and return it by mail or email. This information will assist with organization of the event itself as well as financial issues. Please assist us in planning for the event by turned in all artwork by August 16, 2008. We will be contacting you about specific drop-off locations and times. If needed, we can assist in arranging for someone to pick up the piece of work from you. All artwork needs to be delivered as if ready to sell, hang, etc. There are no regulations on the size of the piece. For the artists who have chosen to share their commission, all money will be paid to you within 14 days of the event. Should you have any questions please feel free to contact me at 501-364-6513 or Kristy Davis at 501-364-1406. You are also welcome to email me at calhoonct@archildrens.org

Again, thank you for your generosity, time, and creativity. “Because Kids Can’t Fight Cancer Alone” and thanks to you, they don’t have to.


Carrie Calhoon, LCSW
Hematology/Oncology Social Worker
Candlelighters Board Member/Art Recruitment Chairman
(501) 364-6513 office; (501) 680-6151 cell
calhoonct@archildrens.org email

If you are interested in an application, please email Idyll Hands at knittinghands@yahoo.com or I'm sure you can contact Carrie Calhoon with the Candlelighters directly for more information.


AREtsy Mixer

It's been quite awhile since we got together to show off our crafts and chat. We are having a get together on Saturday, August 2nd at 1 pm in Conway. Please check the yahoo chat group and look for the e-vite in the group messages (CLICK HERE). You can RSVP through the e-vite link or through the yahoo group. Email Cyndi Minister (TheTwistedPurl) if you have any questions.
Please bring a finger food or a dessert to the shin dig. Also bring along a sample of your work, to show off. There will be food, crafts, and fun. There will even be a kids craft table set up in the backyard, so feel free to bring your kiddos.
Hope to see you there!


New AREtsy Website Coming Soon

We have been working on a website for the Arkansas Etsy Street Team. Before it can be released, we need your help.

We want the site to be as much a part of everyone's artwork and ideas as possible. Please send pictures of your crafts and any graphics you may have that really speak of our wonderful state. Throughout the site, there will be links to all our shops, how to guides and much, much more.

If you have an instructional guide written somewhere online (your blog, the storque, etc.) , on How To do something crafty, please also send those links.

Send the links and pics to cyndi@thetwistedpurl.com

Thanks so much for all your help! Our new website will be released soon, and keep an eye out for more information on the site itself.



Many artists on Etsy are having a YART Sale and many of our AREtsy team members are joining in. This is the perfect opportunity to buy from your favorite shop and save a few bucks in the process. The sale began yesterday and is planned to last until June 20. Some shops are participating in it the entire time, some just for a few days, but rest assured, you will find a deal.

AREtsy shops having a YART Sale:


*** If you are a member of the AREtsy Street Team and are participating in the YART Sale, please leave a comment and we'll add you to the list!!!***


Chat Night

image from DeniseFelton.etsy.com

It's been quite awhile since we had a chat night. This Wednesday night at 8pm, please join us as we talk about the future of our street team.

The awesome gals at Etsy have arranged for us to have a Virtual Room *cheers*

Come and join us as the airplanes fly and all types of good things will be discussed.


The above link is the room you want to join up on Wednesday!

***This is an informal chat, but many important things will be discussed. Please be sure to send an email to Cyndi@TheTwistedPurl.com if you have an issue you would like brought up that you are not comfortable bringing up yourself or if you are unable to attend.***

Hope to see you all there. Notes from the chat will be posted if you happen to miss out on the fun.


Blogging: What's In It For Me?

Blogging is quite the buzzword lately. Everyone has a blog, even my mother has posted to a blog she shares with my sister... once. Blogs come in many different forms. You'll find diaries, instructional writings, hobby blogs, fashion blogs, housing decor, political, and so much more. You name it, there is a blog for it.

A type of blog that has become very popular in the Etsy community is a blog that is related to your craft and your Etsy shop. They serve not only as a place to keep your favorite customers updated with what you are doing, but also to promote your shop and wares to the world. Many people are skeptical as to if this is a useful tool when promoting your Etsy shop. Just like any type of promotion, you get from it what you put into it.

Laurie of Glassbead recently pointed me in the direction of a blogger, Peg Corwin, who recently blogged about, well, blogging. You can read the post here: All About Blogging for Small Biz. The points are good and I believe that yes, you can use your blog to promote and bring business to your shop just by maintaining a blog.

Many of our AREtsy members keep up with their blog. I'd love to list them but am deathly afraid that I will leave several, amazing bloggers out. So, go forward, AREtsy, and update your blogs (or start one if you don't already have one).

The lovely item pictured above is titled "At Least Once a Week" and can be found in DeniseFelton's shop. Do you update your blog at least once a week? You should!


Looking Out For Yourself

Picture by Marge54.etsy.com

Wow! It seems that AREtsy is growing by leaps and bounds. We've had quite a handful of new members in the past few weeks. There are always questions from the newbies about where to post information about your shop. I'll give everyone an outline:

Yahoo Group Database

Hmmm... one place, seems easy enough, doesn't it? Well, yes, it is. The hard part comes in when those of us heading up forum threads and this blog try to keep things updated. This is where I ask for all of your help. Please check the various places that we promote our fellow AREtsy shops and let us know, nicely, if your information is missing or incorrect. We have such wonderful artists and shop owners in this street team and would hate it if we all didn't have our chance at being promoted. It's such a huge job to keep up on all of the information and we're always open to a friendly reminder to update your info.


Toad Suck Promotions

The Promos are coming in daily! Just thought y'all should get a peek at the cool things that everyone has been coming up with.

Sally, has come up with these little paper notebooks: And Hannah has made these adorable cards with little crocheted flowers that are on hair pens.
There is still plenty of time to get your Goodies to Cyndi of TheTwistedPurl. They need to be to her by Thursday, the 24th. On Friday, the 25th, she is having a "Stuffing Party" where anyone is welcome to come! We will be stuffing ourselves with cheese, grapes, bread, and wine and then stuffing the Toad Suck Sacks as well. Please contact cyndi@thetwistedpurl.com if you need her address.


Team Tag Update "AREtsy Team"

Etsy Teams Administration is asking Teams to start using the word "team" in all team tags. The reasoning behind this is very understandable. In a nut shell, they want to be able to easily recognize a Team Tag.

This is a quote copied directly from a post on the forum from sarawearsskirts:

sarawearsskirts says:
I'll try to address some of the concerns raised in this thread and on this issue here (hopefully I won't forget anything to crucial in this post).

Okay, here's what's up: When I did a compilation of all the Team Tags that Teams were using in autumn, the list of Tags Teams were using was just all over the place - there was consistency or predictability for the list. To strengthen the Team Tag program, we decided that if there was some consistency among the Team Tags, it would make it really benefit the program overall.By adding "Team", it's apparent to everyone that it is a Team Tag, because the word Team is right there. This will hopefully cut down on the number of sellers accidentally misusing Team Tags because they don't realize certain tags are Team Tags. Also, it will make it easier for all Admin (support, etc) to spot a Team tag immediately. This is important because with over 250 Teams and new Teams being created daily, it's nearly impossible to keep up with Team Tags otherwise. As I've told Team leaders, your Team does not *have* to incorporate this change - promote your Team Tag however you wish. However, for consistency and to make the program as strong as possible on our end, we'll be promoting Team Tags that include the word "Team". This makes it easier for staff to find related items for Storque articles, makes it easier for people working on flagged items and site content to recognize Team Tags, and will help us work on more features promoting Teams in the future, among other things. This change does not need to be made immediately - make the changes gradually throughout your shop - when you list a new item or relist existing items. I'm not suggesting sitting down for hours on end tonight to make this change - I realize it can be a time consuming task and understand that it will take time to implement.Thanks for understanding that this really is a change we're initiating for the benefit of the Teams. We're constantly working to improve the Teams program, give the Teams more promotion, spotlight great Teams and provide more tools and improve communication and give resources to Teams. If we didn't feel this slight change in tags was really for the benefit of the program, we wouldn't implement it. Teams are so important to Etsy and this change does help in a few ways.

for more information:http://team.etsy.com/teamtags.html http://www.etsy.com/storque/section/howTos/article/team-tip-team-tags/1376/


For our team tag it is changing from "AREtsy" to "AREtsy Team" and as Sara has said, they does not have to happen over night. When listing a new item, be sure to add the new tag to your listing in replace of the old tag. Thank you all so much for your help in this and if you have any questions or concerns, please email cyndi@thetwistedpurl.com or send a convo to TheTwistedPurl on Etsy. Thanks again.


Governor's Arts Awards

The Arkansas Arts Council is now accepting nominations for the 2008 Governor’s Arts Awards program, according to Joy Pennington, executive director of the Arkansas Arts Council. The annual awards recognize Arkansans for their outstanding contributions to the arts community.

Nominations will be accepted in seven categories: Arts Community Development, Arts in Education, Corporate Sponsorship of the Arts, Individual Artist, Folklife, Patron and Lifetime Achievement. Each nomination will be judged on the significance of the contributions made, the range of the individuals and groups served and the length of time and degree of the activity or contributions.

Governor’s Arts Awards nomination forms are available from the Arkansas Arts Council at (501) 324-9766, at info@arkansasarts.org or the Arts Council website at www.arkansasarts.org. The deadline for nominations is May 2, 2008. The recipients will be honored at an awards ceremony and luncheon during the ArtLinks 2008 Annual Arts Conference in Little Rock in October.

The Arkansas Arts Council was established in 1971 to develop and implement a comprehensive statewide program for the support of the arts in Arkansas. The Arts Council carries out a program of services and grants-in-aid supporting arts endeavors that have significance and that encourage and assist artists in achieving standards of professional excellence. In addition, the Arts Council assists other relevant arts projects including surveys, research and planning for the arts.

The Arkansas Arts Council is an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage (DAH) and shares the goals of all of its agencies, that of preserving and enhancing the heritage of the state of Arkansas. Other DAH agencies are: Arkansas Historic

Preservation Program, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, Historic Arkansas Museum, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and the Old State House Museum. Funding for the Arkansas Arts Council and its programs is provided by the State of Arkansas and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Toad Suck Daze Goody Bags

Calling ALL AREtsy Members! We have talked for some time now about spreading the word in the Natural State about our group of wonderfully talented crafters and artists. Here is our first opportunity. Toad Suck Daze is the first weekend in May. One of our members has a booth and will be putting together AREtsy Goody Bags to hand out free. This is a excellent way to get your shop name noticed. The event typically has attendance of 300,000 people that travel from all over the state and some from even further distances.

Think how cool it would be to have your shop business card or promotional item in the AREtsy Goody Bag. We are hoping to make 200 + bags, but any amount of promotional items you can send would be appreciated. Please send your items by April 23rd, and email Cyndi if you do not already have her address! Thanks!
If you have any questions or ideas, please email Cyndi@TheTwistedPurl.com. Let's get the word out and show the state what we are all about!


We Chat...Where are You?

Our little Arkansas Street Team is a pretty chatty group! You may have noticed this in all the emails that go on back and forth between everyone in our yahoo group. But did you know about our board in the Etsy Teams & Events Forum?

This weeks board can be found HERE.

The forums is a great place to chat and really get to know one another.

A special thank you to Laurie, glassbead on Etsy, who keeps us updated with a new board every week or so and she does an amazing job at it! Be sure to check out all her goodies on Etsy! Below is a gorgeous lampwork necklace she has done. Her work is even more breath taking in person.

So...what are you waiting for? Get over to the forum and start typing!


It's All About the Tag!

Once a week the wonderful folks at Etsy Labs produces a new team tip for us to ponder over and discuss. Last weeks tip is all about tags and how to effectively use them for our team.

Our team tag is "AREtsy"

Be sure to add this tag to all your items when you list them on Etsy. This is a great way for other AREtsy members to share other Arkansas crafters with their friends and family.

***For those who are not sure what is meant by tags...when you add a new item to your Etsy Shop, the first page is your item title, description, and list of materials. The second page is the "Sort Your Item" page and this is where you enter in the tags that describe your item. This is where you should add "aretsy" as one of your tag options.***

As our group grows, it is becoming more and more difficult to get all of our shops on a page to hand out or use as bag stuffers. We can always share the tag "AREtsy" with people to let them know a way to find more of us through Etsy.

The beautiful tags above are from casserole's shop on Etsy.

The below image can be taken and put on your own blogs or websites, if you like. If you click on the picture it should take you right to the AREtsy Search Query on Etsy.


Craft Shows ... in a nutshell

It's beginning to look and feel a lot like springtime outside (even if just for a day or two here and there). Spring brings the start of outdoor craft fairs here in Arkansas. They are quite a big deal in this state, some bringing guests from all over the US into small towns, flooding used-to-be farms and town squares with groups of people sporting matching shirts, tackle vests printed with acronyms like "CSI", that would be Craft Show Investigators, and travel packs on wheels for their heavy duty shopping. Ah, spring, I would not have it any other way.

Many first time craft show artists find themselves in a panic prior to their first show. What should they take for display? How much inventory should they prepare? What type of payments will they take? Are 100 bottles of water really necessary for one weekend? There are plenty of resources out there to help you with this and sometimes your best source is your fellow craft show artist. Some of the members of AREtsy put their heads together to come up with quite the extensive list of helpful hints for the first timer and the not-so-first timer on the craft show circuit.

- Know before you go. Read and re-read the craft fair "rules". Will you submit sales tax to the organizers or submit it yourself? Will the organizers collect commission at the end of each day? Are you going to be at a show with other crafters or in the middle of a commercial nightmare with items priced at prices you could never beat as a handmade artist? These are all important questions that can be answered (for the most part) in the rules and guidelines.
- The word "juried" does not an "all handmade" show make. If your application states that the show is juried but there are no guidelines, proceed with caution. Juried can mean that only "artists" will be selling, but can also mean only that the organizers can pick and choose who's there, no matter what is being sold. Sometimes the best way to know which shows are which is word of mouth. If you still aren't sure, attend the fair this year as a buyer/observer and if you like it, sign up next year.
- Hey you with the $50.00 necklace, do you think the average person has a $50 in their pocket? If you sell expensive items, be prepared to accept credit cards. It's not hard and there are many forums in the Etsy world talking about it. One site that makes accepting credit cards a cinch is ProPay. If you haven't signed up for ProPay yet, make sure to do it ahead of time. It can take up to a week to get it going.
- Practice makes perfect and craft shows are no exception. Set your booth up at home and practice how you want to set things out. No matter how early you get to a show to set up, if you have no idea how you want your tables to look, it's a guarantee that customers will show up while you're still arranging and rearranging. You might want to take some snapshots of your tables at home, to help you remember your brilliant ideas later.
- Once your booth is set up, take a step back, walk by, pretend you're the buyer and not the seller. Does the booth look great? Did it catch your attention? If not, address the problems - there are hundreds of booths and yours needs to stand out.

- Bring everything that you might need. Extra tables (if you can) extra covers, bags, etc. I bet you'll find that you wish you had if you do not.
- Laurie at GlassBead has a MARVELOUS packing list - far too involved for a post on here but far too valuable not to have it in your hands. You can contact her through her Etsy site and I bet she'll send you a copy.
- Ice coolers are your friend. Fill them with drinks and small snacks; you'll wish you had if you don't. Craft fair food it tasty, but it can be a bit pricey.

- More often than not, your customers will want to try out what you are selling. For those with bath/beauty products, this means having samples of your items available to try. Those who sell jewelry might find it wise to bring a mirror - trying out jewelry is all about seeing yourself in it.
- Display your items in action. If you sell wallets, it is a good idea to have one on display full to the brim to show your customers how much it will hold. Or perhaps you sell market totes - fill one up with some fresh looking produce. You'd be surprised at how well suggestive selling works!
- While you're enjoying the nice weather sitting in your booth (or the lovely mood lighting inside a convention center), you'll never find a better time to show off your craft. If you sell knit items, knit at the show. If you sell jewelry, bead away. Customers love to see the sellers actually making what is on the table. It's kind of a guarantee that their future purchases did not get shipped in from a factory.
- If the show is outdoors and it's any time of year in Arkansas, be prepared for rain. Tents are great, tents with sides are even better. If you don't own a tent with roll down walls, bring some tarps to hang for peace of mind. You do not want your stock getting soggy and wet.
- Think of creative ways to display your items that spread them out across your space. Don't make your customer dig through piles if you can help it. If you sell scarves, have a coat rack type item to drape them over. Draping gives the customer a full view of the scarf they will wear next season. Maybe you sell fan pulls that also make great light catchers. These look great hanging up above the tables catching that afternoon sun. Also, arranging items by colors is a good way to catch the buyers eye. Perhaps neutrals can all hang out on one side of the table while the wild colors can chill on the other side. Mixing too many colors can drown individual items out.
- While we're on the topic of colors, make things in all colors. Just because you do not like blue, does not mean everyone else does not. Make sure there is something for everyone.
- Dress nicely, funky, cute, anything but plain. This is not the place to not put some time in to your ensemble. Make sure your hands look nice, your hair has been paid attention to, and you're wearing/using what you sell. Note - put your hair up, brushing your hair in the booth is not attractive to a customer no matter how windy it is.
- Do you really need lighting/lamps and electrical cords? Don't assume that because the fair is indoors that the lighting will be sufficient. It's pretty certain that it is not. While electricity at a booth often costs a bit extra, it really can be worth it. As I've mentioned, you're competing with hundres of other booths for attention.
- So you think you're set with your 3'x6' folding tables and are good to go. Well, guess what? Those tables are a bit short for shows. Bring a way to raise them (pvc tubing or cinder blocks work well for this). It's easier to look at the items if they are a bit higher than your average convention table.
- Bring a sign! Tell people from a distance who you are. It's also an easy way for people to find you. Make it striking and attention-getting, but make it readable. Your artistry and creativity will shine in your products.


- Bring many, many, many business cards. Some people might take them for free bookmarks, but many take them to put with an item they bought as a gift or to do some shopping later. There is nothing worse than finding a booth you like that has no business cards. BTW - business cards with the wrong Etsy address or email are useless - double check the information before getting them printed.
- While you're printing more business cards, why not print a coupon for your customer. If they love the item they bought at your booth, it's quite likely they will visit your Etsy shop and repeat customers love a discount. A 15% off coupon is not much of a loss and is a good incentive to get some repeat business.
- Price your items, all of them. Either have a sign that reads "Glass Pendants - $25" or mark each item individually. Unmarked items could lead to a loss in sales if you are busy or if your potential customer doesn't want to strike up a conversation asking about the price. You'd be surprised how many potential customers really don't want to ask you questions or engage in conversation. If they can't see a price, they'll keep walking.
-If you don't want to include sales tax in the price of your item and prefer to keep things at an even dollar amount, you'll need change and lots of it. Really, though, make it easy on you and your customers and just round to the next dollar after you've added tax to the price.
- Be able to talk about what you do and how you do it. Be ready to have this conversation over and over. Stress the important and unique parts and leave out the details that lose the average customer. Save those for the kindred spirits.

- Smile - it goes a long way. This means being friendly to your customers (even those playing the flea market game who are trying to negotiate the price of your art) and to your booth neighbors. I've found that your booth neighbors can be your best marketing tool at a show and after a show. Some booth neighbors go on year after year setting up next to each other, and yes, they will remember if you aren't very nice.
- Don't complain with your customers or neighbors if it is a bad show. Surely no show is bad. If you don't sell anything, at least get business cards in people's hands. Talk up your Etsy site or your crafting blog. Chin up - some shows take time and optimism goes a LONG way.
- Don't eat a 3 course meal in your booth. If you are alone and won't be able to take a break for a proper meal, take small, clean snacks that can be eaten discretely. If you have a booth with a friend, take turns eating so one can man the booth while the other fuels up.
- Remember, the customer always comes first... even if is not your customer. Booth neighbors tend to be chatty; join in the conversation, but when a customer walks up, excuse yourself or allow your neighbor to do the same. The same applies when chatting to your booth partner. Be available for questions and keep your daily gossip about kids, in-laws, and lousy jobs to yourself.
- Keep a good record of what is sold and for how much. You'll appreciate this come tax season.

Tips contributed by Lauren of DressGreen, Cyndi of The Twisted Purl, Laurie of GlassBead, and Erin of IdyllHands.


NEW Promotional Buttons!

Look at the new promotional item Debbie from HotButtons made for our group:

Cyndi (the DIVA), divaschmiva, made the graphic and Debbie is making the buttons. If you would like some, please send a convo to Debbie and tell her which shop name you would like.

Please check out the Etsy Listing for this item by CLICKING HERE.

They are only $2.00 for 6 buttons, which is pretty darn cheap!
To quote Debbie "As a member of ARETSY I am making these buttons at my cost of materials! Shipping is $2.00 and $1.00 handling to help cover the listing/paypal fees. Lot of 6 Buttons is $2.00 plus $2.00 shipping $1.00 handling TOTAl for 6 is $5.00BUY 12 Buttons for $4.00 shipping/handling is the same. REMEMBER THESE ARE A BUSINESS DEDUCTION."

I'd say that is a great deal! I plan on getting a bunch of them and putting them in the AREtsy promotional goodie bags to hand out during Toad Suck Daze.
Debbie is has two other Etsy Shops. You may know her more from being FrontPorchCrafts, which has lots of cute knitted items and other goodies! She also has a pet shop, WagsWiggles!

A special thank you to Debbie for working on these new promotional items for us all to enjoy!


Swap - Three R's Style

Recycle, Reuse, and Refresh. Okay, okay, so it's not Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - but participating in this swap only implies that you're reducing waste! Diva Cindy of Divaschmiva initiated this very cool swap. I know, I know, we just did a swap. We've had so many new members since we set the last swap in motion, and many older members who love making and giving, that Cindy threw this idea out there and the team has run with it.

The officialness as written by the hostess herself:

Definition of each as follows:

*Recycled - things you would throw away (if it contained food at one
time you must be able to wash it before using it again) such as a cereal box, paper towel roll, plastic butter container, etc.

*Reused - things like an old lamp shade that you recovered or a pair
of jeans that you turn into a purse.

*Refreshed - things like an old birdhouse that you repaint and make
into a planter, or an old frame that you paint & add a mirror, or recover pillows with new fabric.


Rules: Anyone interested just email the group through our Yahoo page c/o Diva Cyndi

Enrollment starts Feb. 15th and ends on Feb.25th.

On Feb. 26th I will email everyone their swap mates name.

Your gift is due to your swap mate by April 1


Photos should be posted on the group site by April 5th (take them before
you mail it!) Everyone votes by April 10th, Winner announced on April 11th.


Gifts - 75% of the elements you use to make your gift should be
something that is recycled, reused, or refreshed.


Get creative! Take those bills and shred them and turn them into handmade paper in your blender! Use those washed meat trays to mix your paint on! Knit a bag with Wal-Mart sacks! (just kidding!)

Please make something you would be proud to have in your own home.


OH YEAH! For an extra incentive - you can post your item on the group photo page and we'll all vote for our favorite. The one who wins will get a special gift from ME!


Who is AREtsy?

AREtsy is simply a group of Etsy artists who live in Arkansas, the Natural State. We are a fairly young street team with an ever growing base of members. Our artistry varies as much as the regions in our state do. We have artists that specialize in glass beads and pendants, mosaics, collage, paper goods, clothing, wallets, bags, bath and beauty products, jewelry, accessories for children and babies, fiber arts, knitting, and so much more.

While Arkansas is a state known for it's beauty and agricultural industry, we are also home to some amazing artist and craft guilds, craft shows, artist communities, and soon to be known for a museum expected to house the greatest collection of American Art.

This blog will feature AREtsy artists, shows and fairs we're participating in, local meet and greets, workshop notes and more.

If you are in Arkansas and are not a member of AREtsy, but can't wait to call this group home, please join here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aretsy/

Now, please sit back and browse through the many shops that make up this great street team.