8 Ways Your Work Can Become a Transformative Object:

Objects…they transform. They are "tokens that connect us to our largest selves," says Tim McCreight, the author of The Syntax of Objects.

He goes on to say "Objects surround us, as close as our clothing and as distant as public monuments. What is the language of these things? By what codes do they connect with us, embrace us, refute us, and in the end, inform us? This we could call the syntax of objects, the meaning that lies in their arrangement; the power of our relationship to each other."

We are a fabric of the objects we have touched, experienced, smelled, tasted, and played with. Objects are symbols of strength, protection, inspiration and fear.

Stop for a moment to consider what each object in your purse or wallet represents. Perhaps you are wearing a cross, carrying $5, and that lucky rabbit foot keychain.

Objects are sacred, adored, idolized and treasured.

When broken we grieve for their loss, when acquired we rejoice for their acquirement. This isn't just about consumerism or being materialistic.

When you create do you stop to consider this? Are you present when you create allowing your energy to become part of the piece that will carry forward with someone else? Will your piece transform the wearer or remind them of the day/occasion they bought or received it?

8 Ways Your Work Can Become a Transformative Object:

  1. Envision your customer.
    When you create, consider or envision the wearer feeling beautiful, confident and joyful.

    Taking time to be present when you create will help you to create that story of the customer. The story is key.

    Creating a ritual for yourself to get into this state of mind prior to creating is helpful. Maybe you meditate for a few moments, clear your mind, dance, light a candle etc. Or check out your Customer Board and reconnect with him/her. Rituals are an important part of getting from A to Z in anything that you do!

  2. Do you know your customer?
    I mean do you really know who is your customer. Take the time to create a Customer Board. This is like a Vision Board but specifically about your ideal customer.

    Do you know who that is? Can you tell me about her? What’s her name, where does she shop, what brands does she wear, etc. Again, it’s about the details.

  3. Carry through your story with the branding of your materials/packaging.
    Brand your packaging so that the message or story of your work is carried with the piece and with the customer.

    Do you include a branded “care card”. Of course it has all your “how to connect” info and how to find me info.

    If this piece is a gift, you want to make sure they know how to connect with you. Make it easy. Your card should have your Facebook, Twitter and blog info! There are two sides of valuable real estate there.

  4. What does your booth/advertising say about your story?
    Take time to design your booth and your advertising to reflect this story. Each piece of material, the typography, the layout, down to the smallest detail should exude you and your story.

    You may even want to suggest to galleries and stores how to best display your work with photos, material suggestions, etc. Send them a video telling them about your story, about how best to connect with the customer, and any relevant material information.

    This is often where the story and shopping experience disconnect and you lose the sale. If you sell vintage work, does your booth say new, slick and modern? Or does it seduce you and connect you to the work?

  5. What does your website say about your story?
    Create an amazing shopping experience from the time they are engaged on social media, to clicking onto your site, shopping your site, receiving the item, unwrapping it to wear, and the follow up gratitude card.

    Graphics, white space, typography, layout, and flow are extremely important. Take the time to design it. To really care for each detail as if you were planning a wedding, a party, etc.

    The collection of these moments will undoubtedly collectively change the way the customer/client views you and the object.

  6. Is it part of a collection?
    Is that piece you created part of a collection? Part of a story you created, thus having more value by linking to other pieces sold in that collection?

    Start thinking about your work in multiple pieces. This comes more easily when you view the pieces as part of a story. There is a concept, a beginning, a middle, a climax, an ending, and a conclusion. 5 or 6 pieces make up a great grouping.

    You’ll also encourage buyers to become collectors of future stories.

  7. Consider the materials and design elements carefully.
    Materials have a voice. They tell you to touch, to smell, to listen, and to dream. Select your materials and think about your design.

    What symbols have you included that can transform the meaning of the object? Do you have 3 elements alluding to chaos. Is is balanced or asymetrical?

    Is it smooth or rough and worn? Is there a pattern and the colors conflict?

    **Catch my series of blogs on The Art of Design by signing up for Whole Lotta Whimsy’s ezine

  8. Create it, talk about it, and smother it in love!
    Love is an energy that can be felt. You know when you look at an object whether it was loved (to death) or not loved at all.

    I love it when a piece is special enough that when you compliment someone on it, they tell you a story about it. Wow! That’s what you want for your pieces.

    This love comes through when you create the piece, when you tell the gallery how to sell it with love (by sharing the story making their job easier), when you love every person that comes to your facebook page, blog, or Etsy site.

    Do you share the love?

    Love is where it’s at. It transforms everything! Sending you gobs today 😉

Don't forget to leave a comment and get entered to win a F*R*E*E give-away from Whole Lotta Whimsy! Drawing is November 15th, 2011!

22 Responses to 8 Ways Your Work Can Become a Transformative Object:

  1. this article is great. I take it one step further, with color. I can tell before I go to work what kind of day it will be by the colors I wear-bright jewel tones=happy monochromatic=tired or just content, grays and blacks= feeling a little under the weather. My jewelry is made according to what is movng me at that time blue=water, Iam thinking about taking or thinking about a cruise I already was on. Green=spring, yellow=sun like when in Sedona Arizona

  2. Tonya, this is a great article, as are all of yours. I also like your new newsletter look. I am still digesting my Artful Success information and each day is a new discovery and ahha moment. Thank you for all of your hard work in developing this wonderful and indispensible program, It is a must take for any artist struggling with starting a business or just getting organized;o)

  3. I do need to do more of stepping away from my bench and refocusing my energy like in number one. I tend to be so focused on working, hours go by without me really knowing. GREAT article. Lots and lots of great tips and things to think about. First time I have got your newsletter. LOVE it. thanks so much.

  4. The Vision Board for my ideal customer is fantastic! This is one of the most powerful ideas I have ever heard. It just takes my breath away.

    • Hi Mary 😉 This is one of the important parts of the program that I teach on clarity. This is one of many exercises that I find is crucial to becoming the artist that stands on his/her dime and connects with his/her market.

  5. The love is absolutely essential! I know I've got it right when I have to sneak a peek at the piece I made the previous day as soon as I get up. Those are the ones that are easy to sell and the hardest to part with and give you the biggest buzz when you see someone wearing them.

  6. This is great information for anyone starting out and a good reminder to all of us who've been at it for awhile. Branding is very important. There has to be a cohesiveness between your product, your promotional materials, your social media and your selling venues. It really shows when you love what you do and you put all of yourself into it. It's what makes your work special!

    Thanks again Tonya for a wonderful article!

  7. I agree withh this article 100%. The problem I'm having is after smothering them in love, they feel like a part of the family. I can't part with my symbolic "child". I'm knee deep in beautiful objects, with great stories, very beloved, and NOT MOVING ON! I thought it was a phase, but I get more and more blessed and can't move from my studio, or my jewelry boxes for that matter. Any suggestions?

  8. Great ideas presented here – I need to take some time to think about these and do some re-evaluating as I seem to have stalled somewhat with my creating lately.

  9. As usual, this article just nails it. I am in the beginning phase of starting a business, dealing with logistics and of course questioning my every move. Including my work, who will buy it…will anyone even like it…the anxiety!

  10. Thanks for sharing this article! It's very informative and it gave me a lot to think about. Although there's some things I already do, others are worth paying attention to. Thanks again!

  11. Nice article, Tonya! I love that idea of a transformative object. I've been thinking a lot lately about my own work and where I want it to go. Overall, the idea I have is that I need to go deeper with every detail of the work. Introspection shows. It's also hard work. Your post supports my idea that I'm on the right track. Thanks!

  12. I thank you for the informative article….it really makes me want to get in there and get started. I also forwarded the article to a friend–I hope that is okay.

  13. Tanya I can't tell you how helpful you are!! I've just now started the program and have already made great strides towards my goal!! I also REALLY appreciate you allowing me to post about THE NEW CHRISTMAS TRADITION on the abundance comments!! Thank you so much! Maybe if we all would do this we would develop more of a sense of pride about ourselves (by really doing something that helps our nation–not to mention our hometowns) and our country! You truly are an inspiration!!

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