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Bytesmiths

The Bytesmiths Editions Newsletter August 2001

Topics

And The Winner Is...
New Translesce Prints & Frames
E-Commerce Is Here!
E-Commerce Grand Opening Bonus
Recent Exhibits
This Month
Future Events
Feature Article: Art As a Leading Economic Indicator
Top Ten Titles

And The Winner Is...

(drum roll, please) Wendi Hawley has won the free print drawing this month!

Wendi makes wonderful abstract paintings with metallics that change colors as you pass by, and has exhibited at the Streff Gallery and elsewhere. I met Wendi in a Mountain Ecology class at Marylhurst University, which included a week-long field trip to Mt. Rainier.

Each newsletter, I give away a signed, open-edition print in an acid-free mat, ready for framing, to a random email newsletter subscriber. (Winners are ineligible to win again for a year.)


New Translesce Prints & Frames

The 7x11 translucent prints in 12x16 mats have been popular, but many of you have asked for something between these $32 prints and the $4 note cards, so I've added a new line of translucent matted prints.

The new prints feature an image area of 4 1/4" x 5 1/2" (same size as the deluxe note cards that some of you have been buying to frame) in a two-sided 8x10 mat, for only $16. These have been VERY popular, with nearly half as many sold in one month as I've sold of the larger ones in nearly two years!

Like their big brothers in the 12x16 mats, these are matted both front and back for attractive display in a window, and come with a nylon lanyard attached and a suction-cup hook, so you can simply remove the shrink-wrap and stick the matted print up in your window.

But also due to your requests, I've now added two framing options. I can now supply any of the open-edition matted prints in a frame, ready to hang. The Translesce prints have glass on both front and back for window display, and the opaque prints have a front glass and backing material. These are in matte black aluminum channel frame material, which I can do at a great price, due to a bulk purchase.

The second option is a "frame kit," which includes everything but the glass (two pieces needed for Translesce prints) and the backing (for opaque prints only). These are easily assembled with a simple screwdriver, and are easily and inexpensively shipped without fear of glass breakage. This is the best deal, with prices at or below similar frame kits from national framing chains.

Although I've designed my Translesce lines for economical "ready to hang" use, a frame protects your print and gives it a complete, finished look.

For more details on these products, visit this new web page.

For prices, check out the next section.


E-Commerce Is Here!

The new product description page is a result of a total re-work of much of my website. All of my open edition offerings are now available for ordering directly from my web site, including the new $16 prints and frame kits.

To browse the images, go to the Gallery, where you will see thumbnails of all 44 images I currently have in print. Click on any thumbnail to see a larger image, the image story, and a price/availability ordering chart.

The ordering chart has a row for each print size and a column for each presentation option. At the intersections of the rows and columns is either the price for that item, or an asterisk "*" if that item is currently not available. (It's easier to experience than to describe -- please check it out and send me your suggestions for improving it.)

Clicking on any price in the ordering chart brings you to a PayPal secure ordering form.

If you have never used PayPal, it will allow you to "sign up" on the spot with a credit card number. It costs nothing to join -- in fact, there may be a bonus to sign up -- and after joining, you can send money to anyone who has an email address.

Why PayPal? It is really neat for "the little guy." It was designed for individual-to-individual transactions, typically for auction sites like eBay, but two people can use it to exchange funds for any purpose.

I can't afford a "normal" web store, most of which require at least $100 per month in fees and a percent of each sale, but with PayPal, I can offer a simple e-commerce solution, and still keep my prices down.

To find out more about PayPal, visit their website.

Even if you don't intend to buy something (you can leave a transaction at any time before final check-out), please feel free to try it out and tell me what you think!


E-Commerce Grand Opening Bonus

And if you MIGHT want to buy something, August is the month!

To celebrate my new e-commerce ability, I'm offering my newsletter subscribers a 40% rebate an any single, in-stock, unframed open edition print, through the month of August 2001.

To claim your rebate, you must order through PayPal at the full price. In the PayPal comment field, enter the exclusive special offer code "SEND ME A REBATE," or anything else you feel like writing.

If your PayPal account is not the same as the address to which I send this newsletter, please note that in the comment field too, so I can verify you are a subscriber. I will then ship the order and credit you, also via PayPal, for 40% of the print price -- no rebate coupons to fill out and send in!

(If you are not a PayPal member, you must join -- which is free -- to take advantage of this offer, and provide my email as the reference when you join. They may give me a bonus for recruiting you, but it changes from time to time.)

(Discount does not apply to shipping fees, although I will refund unused shipping.)

Please also note that prices that seem unreal probably are. I reserve the right to make reasonable changes during this period, and will notify you before completing your order if there is a pricing problem.

This is my way of thanking you for signing up for my mailing list, AND as a way of de-bugging my new e-commerce capabilites. I only spent a couple days putting it together, so please be patient if you encounter problems!


Recent Exhibits

Finally, the weekend rain has sort-of stopped! But that doesn't mean life is simple -- skip to the Anacortes report (Aug 3-5) for a tale of moto-woe with a happy ending.

  • June 29 - July 1: Art a la Carte is a small arts festival, dwarfed by its unwieldy cousin, The Taste of Tacoma. The promoters claim 130,000 visitors, making it the largest festival in the greater Tacoma area. This may be true, but most visitors come for The Taste, the three music stages, and the carnival rides, rather than the art exhibit. As I elbowed my way through the crowd near the food booths, I actually overheard someone say, "Hey, let's cut through the art exhibits, where there aren't so many people."

    That said, we enjoyed a rain-free weekend for the first time this year, along with the best gross sales of the season. But this is an expensive event, both in terms of exhibitor space rental, and personal energy -- by the end of three 11AM-to-dark workdays, we were totally exhausted.

  • July 7: The Sisters Village Green is a small, one-day show in the delightful faux old western town of Sisters, in Central Oregon. Carol and I both suffered sunburns, but our booth neighbors were nice and the art patrons were appreciative. Since we had Sunday free, we took pictures from Pilot Butte in Bend and at Smith Rock State Park -- look for one or more of these as a new issue this fall.
  • July 14-15: The Sandy Mountain Festival has something for everyone -- a parade, a "town drunk" in the evening, a carnival for the kids, and a lovely art festival in Meinig Park, just a block from downtown.

    Many of the exhibitors at this festival have been doing it for over ten years, and some of them do no other festivals at all, so it was nice to be involved in something with a distinctly local flavor.

  • July 27-29 If you haven't been to Leavenworth, Washington, you haven't been to Bavaria -- at least the local Chamber of Commerce's version of Bavaria! Unlike many "theme towns," Leavenworth seems to be a cut above, in terms of the quality of the local arts offerings.

    Unfortunately, the many quality artisan shops compete strongly with any sort of one-shot festival, and we weren't selling something that looked Bavarian or went "oom-pah," so there were many more lookers than buyers. And three days of polka music is about 2 3/4 days too many.

  • August 3-5: The oldest arts festival in Washington is held in Anacortes, on Whidby Island. It stretches seven blocks, and has the highest quality I have seen at a festival. The patrons were very appreciative, and we set new sales records. The other exhibitors were kind and wonderful, and we made some new friends. And it didn't rain very much!

But we almost didn't get there. About 30 miles into Washington, the Van d'Art started making a terrible noise. It seemed to be coming from the front, and I was thinking a water pump bearing, or alternator, or, or, or...

We nursed it at 25 MPH along the gravelly Interstate shoulder to a local discount auto parts store who also does installations, Kalama Auto Supply. We were on our way two hours later with a new fan clutch installed.

About two more miles down the road, a loud, periodic screeching noise started coming from the front driver's side. I put it in neutral and took my foot off the gas, but the screeching stayed the same. "Oh boy, sounds like a wheel bearing, or stuck caliper, or, or, or..." We went to Sears -- the only place that wouldn't be closing soon -- and their guy drove it around the parking lot, and said he thought it was a wheel bearing.

But luckily for us, the manager said he couldn't work on anything that big. We limped back down the debris-strewn Interstate shoulder for eight miles, back to the nice folks at Kalama Auto Supply. They were closing in a half hour, but they jacked it up to determine which bearing, so they could be ready to fix it in the morning. The tech turned the wheel back and forth, grinned, and said, "I can fix this now!"

It was really wedged in there, and it took him some time to get it out, but I now carry around for good luck the brightly polished lump of basalt he pulled out from between the wheel and the brake shield!

Less that 20 miles down the road, people started honking at us and pointing backwards as they passed. I looked in the mirror; "Yup, the trailer's still there." We pull over and find the trailer driver's side wheel is shredded -- nothing left but some strips of rubber flapping around.

Once again, we drive slowly on the shoulder to the rest area that was just ahead of where we stopped. Then I discover I don't have a lug wrench, so the spare is useless!

But Carol found a nearby trucker who had a complete air impact socket set! He drove over, put on his gloves, hooked up his air, and helped me change the tire.

They say bad things come in threes, so I couldn't believe it when we got close to Anacortes at 10 PM, just four hours behind schedule, and it started to rain. We pull up to our spot, and find our neighbor had put up a tent, but no merchandise or sides, so we were able to unload into Laura's tent in order to put up our own.

But rather than think we had a record-breaking show coming to us after all this, Anacortes will always have a soft spot in our hearts, and we look forward to doing this one again.

And I'm NEVER driving on the shoulder again! :-)


This Month

  • August 17-19 (Friday-Sunday) Albany Art & Air Festival, Albany, Oregon, about two hours south of Portland. This is only the third year for this festival, but we had a good time there last year, and so decided to do it again. They feature one of the biggest baloon launches in Oregon, and a spectacular baloon "Night Glow."
  • August 24-26 (Friday-Sunday) Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival, Vancouver, Washington, next to Portland, Oregon. This festival features the best regional wines and jazz, plus quality juried arts.
  • August 31 - September 3 (Friday-Monday, Labor Day Weekend) Bumbershoot, The Seattle Arts Festival. We're especially proud to be one of 60 participants selected from among hundreds to participate in the largest art festival on the West Coast! There is a little bit of everything there, including national music acts, outdoor theater, ethnic food treats, and of course, quality art and craft. There is a $12 per day admission, but if you're help us staff our booth, we can get around that!

(Our complete events schedule, with links to event websites and maps to event locations, can be seen on the Events page.


Future Events

The season is winding down, but in many ways, we've saved the best for last. If you haven't had a chance to visit yet this summer, we hope you'll be able to make one of these events.

  • August 31 - September 3 (Friday-Monday, Labor Day Weekend) Bumbershoot, The Seattle Arts Festival. We're especially proud to be one of 60 participants selected from among hundreds to participate in the largest art festival on the West Coast!
  • September 8-30, Portland Open Studios group exhibit at the Littman and White Galleries, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon. We'll be at the "First Thursday" opening, which will feature refreshments and (hopefully) some live music!
  • September 22-24 (Friday-Sunday) Village of Willamette Art Festival, West Linn, Oregon.
  • October 13, 14, 20, 21 (two weekends) Portland Open Studios, exhibit and demonstrations at our West Linn, Oregon, studio.

Photoshop and 35mm SLR photography classes begin again this fall, and Carol will teach a beading class -- watch this space and the website for dates and registration info.

(Our complete events schedule, with links to events and maps to their locations, can be seen on the Events page.


Feature Article: Art As a Leading Economic Indicator

Abraham Maslow revolutionized social science with his "heirarchy of needs." At the bottom are basic requirements for life, such as food, water, shelter. Near the top are spiritual needs, such as self-actualization, meditation and contemplation, and art appreciation.

Maslow posits that one must meet the lower needs before one can begin working on the higher needs, which supply the joy and meaning to life.

Those who remember the sixties may recall not only a socially turbulent period, but also one with alternating economic expansion and recession. John Kenneth Galbraith had the revolutionary thought that when the economy is going into the dumper, certain economic sectors suffer before others do, and when things are getting better, those same sectors begin improving first.

Put Maslow and Galbraith together in a room, and I think they'd agree that artists are on the economic edge of things.

The Puget Sound has suffered numerous psyco-economic blows recently. Boeing employees are wondering if they'll be moving to Chicago. The "dot com" paper millionaires have largely seen their stock options "dot bomb." And even that large segment of the economy that nurses from the huge Microsoft mammary have wondered what the anti-trust conviction holds for them.

Galbraith once was asked the difference between a recession and a depression. "A recession," he said, "is when your neighbor loses his job, whereas a depression is when you lose yours."

People are not losing their jobs so much as they fear losing them, or have heard rumors of others losing theirs. So by Galbraith's whimsical definition, Puget Sound is in recession.

All this makes for hard times for those who make their living in the higher reaches of Maslow's hierachy. When you might lose your job, it's an easy call whether to put a pizza on the table or hang a picture in the window.

Mosts artists we've talked to at festivals this year say their sales are down 30% to 50% or more. Perhaps I should get into the pizza business while there's still some savings left... or perhaps the recent good shows we've had mean better times are coming soon for the rest of the economy!


Top Ten Titles

Here is a list of my most popular images, based on sales of all media combined, from 25 cent postcards to huge, custom-sized framed prints of over $500.

and the most popular image this month is:

Carol's violet continues to lead the way, due to strong note card and postcard sales. One woman at Anacortes actually bought all the remaining postcards we had!

Sunrise Tree contiunes to be the most popular image when cards are excluded -- I simply can't keep them around in my new 8x10 (matted size) prints, and it might have been #1 if I had a couple dozen more printed when I needed them. (At Anacortes, it sold out on Friday!) North Falls has likewise taken off in the new smaller size.

Do you have a favorite image from my Top Ten Titles? Let me know what you like!


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