Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Erin Donley:
Marketing her truth and yours.

Listen to the podcast at Voices of Living Creatively website. And on iTunes

"I was looking for an occupation that I knew was really in line with my own truth," says Erin. "one that was engaging my creativity and integrity, where I was giving back in a deeper way."

Erin Donley's business, Marketing Your Truth, began with an ending. Erin's first job in radio sales taught her a great deal about media and marketing but after 8 years, she realized it was time to move on. "I realized that my talents and passions weren't really in radio sales," Erin says. " it was something deeper and I didn't really know what it was, but I wasn't fulfilling it in that environment."

At Ohio University, Erin majored in Interpersonal Communications which gave her an understanding about the psychology of choices people make. This helped her succeed in radio sales, and in making her own choices. "I had to change my whole lifestyle. I chose a lifestyle that was so opposite from the one I had," Erin explains. "I wound up taking a job at New Renaissance Bookshop and I've been there 3 years, now. It's been an intense search to find out what's true for me."

This search to find truth is the core of Erin's life and work. Through her work at New Renaissance, Erin learned more about herself through all the unique and different spiritual and metaphysical authors and businesses. Soon, she realized that there was a way she could help. "Their work was so amazing, really transformational and it was really helping people at a deep level," says Erin. "I believed in their work so much and I wanted to help them."

Erin could see that many of these soul-centered businesses needed help with their marketing. While they tried to promote their work, their message wasn't getting to the right people in the right way. Marketing Your Truth, Erin's new business was born out of her passion to help these people communicate with their clients and community. "My main passion is to help people talk about what they do in more effective ways," Erin explains. "I also help them with getting their message out, because there are so many options out there. I help them choose the one that feels best to them."

Messaging and marketing are not the only ways Erin helps these unique soul-centered businesses. She explains that it's important to help them build community that supports their passions, "Because in a soul-centered business, they don't want to build clientele in artificial ways, they want the right people to come to them. They want it to be an energetic match."

Erin Donley's, Marketing Your Truth, means getting down to the core, investigating the psychographics and finding the people who resonate with a client's product or service. First, Erin starts with the client's true message which might involve a 2 hour consultation. Some clients want on-going coaching on a monthly basis. Either way, Erin helps them with what they specifically need for their business. It might be getting a website built, business cards or developing a flyer. Or it could be coming up with social networking updates to post about their business or making a list of local businesses in town that might have presentation opportunities.

Whether it's a yoga school, massage therapy, or a Chinese medicine practice, starting your own business can be tough and Erin understands this from her own personal experience. She knows how hard it is to start making money for yourself in a business that comes so deeply from your heart. "I had so much anxiety about meeting people's expectations, making sure they got their money's worth," says Erin. "I've been able to create packages for people, where I spend 2 hours with them, but I'm spending 4-5 hours behind the scenes to be sure I come to the table prepared. When I've been a little more assertive about my pricing, I've found that I get more of the client I want to work with. Because I really want to help people, I want a really focused and driven person to come to me."

Community plays a big part in the process of building a soul-centered business and Erin believes, "You have to start engaging with people in your community. There are people out there to help you bring this into fruition." One way to do this is networking, but maybe not in the traditional sense. Erin works with her clients to figure it out, "How do I start building a referral based business with people who are leaders in my community, with businesses that I love, so we can help each other?"

Erin used her own advice when starting her own business, going back to her radio sales contacts and building from there as well as taping into the people she met working at New Renaissance. "I looked all around me in the spiritual community and fine tuned my message," says Erin. While writing a weekly column for the bookshop, Erin got more opportunities, " I talked to different authors, promoted different products and now, I have people come in and want to talk because they feel they've had a chance to get to know me."

Then Erin takes the time to get to know them and that's what makes her feel good about Marketing Your Truth. "I don't tell them what to say," she explains. "I help them discover within themselves what they really want to say, then I bring together people to help them, so it's about growing this community and having us all work together to move forward with all our causes."

To bring the best to her clients, Erin's always learning form her own experience as well as using the resources all around her at New Renaissance. From technology and social networking to personal growth seminars and the latest books about building a business that speaks to your heart, Erin strives to be as good a resource to her clients as she would want for herself. And sometimes that means slowing down instead of speeding up, "I had business plans, goals and projections," Erin says. " Then I realized I don't want to go that fast, I don't want to have that many clients, I want to really spend some time with the clients I have, nurturing them."

You can learn more about how Erin Donley can help nurture your soul-centered business by visiting her website Marketing Your Truth . You can sign up for the email newsletter and check out her monthly columns that take an inner look at Marketing Your Truth.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Nicky Falkenhayn:
Building a studio
of her dreams.

Listen to the podcast at http://voicesoflivingcreatively.com/

“About three years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer," says Nicky. "During chemo, my dream was to build the studio.”

Three years later, Nicky Falkenhayn is putting in the electrical outlets, painting and plumbing to make her dream come true. As a metal sculptor, Nicky needed a safe place to weld, grind and patina her large metal sculptures as well as showcase her knitted wire jewelry. Now, all she has to do is walk out her door, along a covered walkway and into her studio to work.

Nicky's worked in many different places and spaces over the years. Born in Florida where her father was a fighter pilot, Nicky is an American citizen with an international life. After her family left the U.S., Nicky lived in Holland and Switzerland. In addition to art, she loved sports and was a Physical Education teacher for 20 years. After moving back to the U.S., and finding out that her Swiss teaching experience couldn’t get her a job, she decided it was time to explore her other love, art. “If I have to go back to school,” says Nicky. “I’ll go to art school. So that’s what I did, I went to the Oregon College of Arts & Crafts and started with the basics and then just start doing it.”

Her first studio was the kitchen table where she did her wearable art coats. Then she moved to the attic which was so hot in the summer, she had to start her work day at 8 pm and sleep during the day. After that, her studio was in a basement in Corvallis until she became pregnant with her first child, Hans. Even though her wearable art was being sold in over 40 galleries across the country, she knew she had to quit. The dyes involved in her work were toxic and she didn’t want to take any chances during pregnancy. “I didn’t even clean up my studio,” says Nicky. “I just locked it and that was it. Then I decided this was the time to change.”

Nicky’s art moved from sewing wearable art to crocheting metal wire breasts. “My best friend in Switzerland had breast cancer,” she explains. “When she had mastectomy, I wanted to do something for her, just for a joke, I was going to make her a metal bra, I couldn’t weld, so I got some metal wire and started crocheting.” That experiment led her to a whole new way to create work, support her far away friend while being a mom at the same time. “Everytime she had chemo, I would knit her a breast,” says Nicky. “I had a backpack with a roll of wire in it and my crochet hook and Hans would play on the playground and I would sit and crochet.”

Nicky created a line of jewelry next, these delicate knitted earrings, bracelets and pendants still sell well at various shows and galleries around the country and allow her to work while her son is doing his homework. A memorial to her grandmother, her first crocheted sculpture, holds gold and silver beads that represent all the stories her grandmother used to tell about her life. After that, Nicky realized that to give her sculpture stability, she’d have to learn to weld. Taking classes at PNCA and PCC, she says, “I fell in love with welding. Just the smell of molten metal is like a drug. It’s the immediacy of it, it’s really amazing.”

Her goal now is to do larger public sculptures. And even though she has no experience in public art, she’s not letting that stop her any more than she let her own cancer stop her from building her dream studio at home. “Slowly I’m starting to make it a really good studio. It started after I was done with chemo and it took a while,” Nicky says. “It went way over budget, so I had to stop in the middle.”

Using skills she learned doing home remodeling, Nicky’s studio is finally taking shape. Doing some of the work herself saved Nicky enough money to have a bigger studio. “My idea was to build the biggest studio possible,” she explains. “And it’s kind of fun to be part of it and you feel proud when it’s done.”

Some people might give up on their dreams when facing breast cancer but not Nicky. It made her even more determined to have her dream studio, her art and her life.
“It woke me up. It’s like, you know girl, you better live now, because now is what’s happening. Dream your dreams. Don’t put them in the future. Put them right here, where you are now, because nobody knows how long you’re going to live. I don’t think anymore that I ever had cancer, but I’m going to live now no matter what.”

This year, she’s finishing her studio, selling her jewelry at a show in Bellevue, Washington, doing an artist residency in Calgary, Canada, a large scale commission and showing public art in Grand Junction and Lake Oswego. In addition to being part of the Portland Open Studios Tour for the second year, Nicky loves the connections she makes with visitors to her studio.

For Nicky Falkenhayn, building a studio, creating her art, are her dreams come true. “I’ve always had something to look forward to and this drive to get it. If I have to learn something new, then I go for it. I live my life the best I can, I don’t take it for granted anymore, I just cherish every day.”

Nicky is also part of the 2009 Portland Open Studio Tour in Portland, Oregon. You can visit Nicky’s studio along with 100 other artists during Portland Open Studios Tour. For more information or to buy a Tour Guide, click portlandopenstudios.com

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Living a Creative Life
Article by: Susan Gallacher-Turner

Podcast by : Michael Turner

Listen to the podcast at www.voicesoflivingcreatively.com

“My first job out of school was sculpting for a high end mannequin company,” says Patrick. “I went from sculpting one life-size sculpture a semester to doing one every week and a half and getting paid for it. I had a beautiful studio and I was getting paid to do what I loved.”

Portland, Oregon sculptor, Patrick Gracewood, started his traditional and rigorous drawing and sculpture training at California State University at Long Beach. He describes the sculpture homework for one class, “We had to do one head bust a week. You could only spend 3 hours on it and only work on the face in the last hour. You had to learn to take accurate measurements, so you could produce a recognizable likeness in a very short period of time.” It’s this training that’s given him the skills, efficiency and confidence to do the wide variety of sculpture.

After the job ended at the Los Angeles mannequin company, Wolf & Vine/Greneker, Patrick went looking for work, showing his portfolio to an aerospace company, a mortuary and a wax works. The wax works company was approached by a film company and that led to working in the film industry. “I was told that you can’t get into the film industry unless you’ve worked on film and you can’t work on film until you’re in the industry,” says Patrick. “In, 1984 I got paid $25 an hour to sculpt.” Working on the film, “Legend”, Patrick did character drawings, sculpting and prosthetics for actors including Tom Cruise and Tim Curry. He worked on the film, Legal Eagles, created sets for the Twilight Zone and other shows for CBS and Universal Studios. What might look like a dream job was sometimes a nightmare. According to Gracewood, “The hours are inhuman, you work 10-16 hours a day with an hour commute each way. When you’re done after 6-8 months, you’re just exhausted.” And as a commercial sculptor, when he was done with a job, he was out of a job.

Gracewood combats the stress of job insecurity with curiosity and research. That’s how he found himself doing architectural sculpture for historic restoration, new construction and landscape sculpture. The commercial sculpture jobs give him the chance to expand his skills and work with a wider range of materials as well as giving him a chance to be part of a team, to create work he could never do on his own. He finds it’s a perfect balance to the isolation of studio work.

He’s designed fountains, columns capitols for casinos and created a portrait of Jimmy Hendrix for Seattle’s Garfield High School, that Hendrix attended. “My curiosity has always been a boon to my art and my professional life,” Gracewood explains. “I saw an article on landscape design and said, that’s sculpture. I introduced myself to the designers and found out what they needed.” He’s now using the internet to market his work with a website and a blog, but he feels it’s really about developing relationships, not how many people you know on Facebook. Sometimes his persistence pays off, sometimes it doesn’t. But he feels that failures are learning experiences and a chance for him to regroup and recommit to his art, not stop doing it. “I’m not going to quit making art. It’s ok that I bounce back and forth between my own work and commercial art,” Gracewood says. “I like them all and they’re all valuable.”

Along with sculpture, Patrick’s interests branched out into gardening and dance. He’s designed a beautiful garden outside his studio filled with large and small scale garden sculptures for his own pleasure and to show clients his art installed in a garden. In the 90’s, he and friend, Caroline Stewart did over 200 performances with their Contact Improvisation dance company, Touch Monkey. In the end, he had to make a choice. “The dance was a good counterpoint to sculpting,” says Gracewood. “But I realized I couldn’t have two careers.” Now, he dances for pleasure and stress relief.

The Buddhist theme of stillness is central to Gracewood’s dance, sculpture and dance. It relieves his stress and grounds him in the moment that allows his work to be quiet, contemplative and healing. That’s what he says drives his creative life, “I try to have my sculpture have a positive meaning, to make art about healing is vital.” His newest series of wood carvings featuring Buddhist monks in meditating poses clearly show his love of stillness. As he slowly carves the wood, he sees the transformation of life in the wood going from an old growth cedar tree, to a found fence rail to a garden sculpture.

Whether it’s an enormous dragon for Wynn Casino in China, a Portland area garden fountain, Seattle architectural restoration, or his own carvings, the bottom line for Gracewood is commitment. “In my early art I was trying to escape; now I’m arriving at myself. My pieces embody our humanity, patience, stillness or gentleness,” he says. “Art has saved my life many times; I give my life to art. It takes a big commitment.” He admits that the creative life is scary at times and that goes with the territory. Recently, when commissions dried up and out of fear, he applied at the local supermarket. When he didn’t get the job, he realized, “The universe is telling you stop. It’s not going to work. While I was waiting, I made a carving and figured out I have to be a better salesman of my work.”

His advice for others, “It’s a funny tightrope when you’re a professional artist, because it’s what you do for money. “But it’s also what you do for love. Stop comparing yourself and just be very grateful to have the good health and the good fortune to be able to do something you love. And be stubborn enough to keep at it.”

Patrick Gracewood is living a creative life and making a living with his sculpture work for many different businesses. Along the way, he’s managed to produce an impressive body of his own studio work from large concrete garden sculptures to small, hand-carved wooden figures. His ability to handle the variety comes from a simple philosophy: if it’s sculpture, he’ll do it.