Arte Es Vida

Holy Moly — An Interview With Gloria Page by arteesvida
December 14, 2006, 1:05 am
Filed under: Artist Interviews, Book Reviews

I have read several books on the business of art, but this one was truly different. Holy Moly Mackeroly by Gloria Page is more than your typical how-to…Gloria’s book doesn’t just give you the basic tools to start your own art or craft business, but actually inspires you into it. Whether you are already involved in the business of art or just starting to think about moving in that direction, this book will do more than just give you the basic tools needed to start your own art or craft business. It will also motivate you to do so, feel much more comfortable about the trials and errors of the process, and leave you insisting that you have known Gloria your whole life!I’m not the only person out there waxing poetic about Gloria’s book. A Yahoo group was born last year by fans of her book, and there was an article published about them in the September/October issue of RubberStampMadness entitled “Holy Moly! Royal Mackerolies Explore Uncharted Waters!” Only a year in print and the book is becoming an art culture phenomenon!After finishing Gloria’s book, I couldn’t wait to talk about it. And who better than the Mistress of Mackeroly, Gloria herself?

I think your book is a prime example of the fact that you don’t have to be a John Grisham or Janet Evanovich to be a successful author. You have managed not only to publish Holy Moly Mackeroly but guide it to success. How does it feel to be the proud momma of a book that is not only thriving, but still gaining steam on its one year anniversary?

I love your reference to being a “momma” when it comes to writing / ”giving birth” to a book! Forget 9 months! I figured I could write it in three months and when I went into the second year, well, I understood about the Writing Life in combination with the Working Artist Life: it takes time to process the two. At one point – two years to the day of beginning writing – it was time to do a wrap and go to print. Self-publishing is quite an experience…How does it feel? It is the single most rewarding experience in my art-life, second only to having my two sons in my personal-life. The Dream of writing a book has been with me for as long as I can remember. I practiced signing my name in “cool ways” from the time I could hold a pencil – you know, for the book signings in the future. And it has happened, at age 49. The goal was before 50, so I slid in on that one! My life has completely changed since June 17th, 2002, when 2,000 books were delivered to my door on two huge palettes.And then hearing from people from literally all over the world who are reading it and responding with their own stories is beyond my dream. We have gone into-the-book and we have gone beyond-the-book as new friends trekking the art-life together.

 What first motivated you to write HMM to begin with?

The thought came to me gradually without my realizing it, and then “zapped” me one night while taking a hot bath in the middle of the night. Lightning in water is quite something! (That was at the end of 1998. I thought about it everyday of 1999.)I was wondering what I could do as my next step in my business at that juncture. I was making 10,000+ greeting cards a year, doing art shows, and many other art-adventures and wanted to pull it all together. Over the years, I had given talks every semester at the University of Missouri in the Creative Process class. My story inspired the students and inspired me to see my experiences as a series of stories, and in that middle-of the-night thinking-soak, I saw it all come together as a BOOK! It was like seeing it unfold as I was watching. I knew the title of the book and saw all of these individual stories line up. I realized that my experiences, as simple and humble as they were, could be a source of encouragement for people considering the “art-life.” That was my biggest motivation.Motivating factors:
– Encouraging others
– Not wanting to die before I wrote a book, darn it!
– I want my children to pursue their dreams: being an example is better than giving advice
– I wanted to thank people in my personal life and in my business life; writing a book was a wonderful way to do that.

Your book is very different from other books on the business of art on the market. Although I have read many of them, the rest just run together. HMM stands out as something truly unique. I have heard it described differently by others who have read it, but I would to hear it expressed in your own words. What makes HMM stand out from other books geared towards professional or aspiring-to-be-professional artists?

I like being different! Thanks for that! The title, cover art and the fact that there is a Foreword, Forward, Backward and Onward give you a glimpse into “different”!As I was developing my business (in 1993) from the days of making miniature Victorian grapevine wreaths to stamping 18 bookmarks with three Southwest stamps, I would look for support in the form of people to talk with and books to read. I couldn’t find any people who were doing an art business in my “world” at that time, and the books I found about The Business of Art always intimidated me. I never bought even one because I could never get past the Table of Contents and even the covers made me squirm. Something always so polished and “professional” about them, something in the tone that made it all seem so daunting.I just wanted to talk with some friendly person that’s all! I wanted to ask questions and be free to sound dumb, and I wanted to simply have a conversation with a human being who was willing to be honest with me. Spreadsheets and lists of formidable tasks, a formal Business Plan and a lot of legal jargon were just not my ideas of what I needed or wanted at the time. So, I wrote the book that I wished I could have found.I am not a “big shot” artist who has gone to such heights that the beginner cannot relate to. I am still a beginner in many ways, so there is not this huge gap between us. I have many experiences that I can share, and I will tell you about boredom and frustration and the “starving artist” syndrome and what it is like to be freaked out about your first art show. I will also talk about people moving you to tears when they tell you how much your artwork means to them… There are internal and external aspects to starting anything new and building it up from there. If we have a safe place to face and voice our fears and insecurities we can get to the starting point. If we explore these realms openly, then we can go arm-in-arm into the story, and process together how to look at these situations from a few different angles. A conversation – that was my goal, and when people from all over the world tell me that they felt like they had a “new best friend” while reading, well, I’ve had some tears over those messages.

My favorite quote is this one:
“A thousand mile journey begins with one step.” – Chinese Proverb

My book is about getting ready for that first step and the joy of taking it.

What are your passions? What motivates you as an artist?

I love creating things that people cherish either personally for their own homes or personal enjoyment, or artwork that will become gifts and part of a bigger story. If a card I make is used for a special occasion, expressing love from one person to another, I am honored. If my published artwork inspires readers to create, hurray!Learning new things is a passion of mine. It is so enriching to inherit from others and then take it into myself and put my own signature on it. My stamping went from paper to fabric to clay. From 3 rubber stamps to countless printmaking tools and handcarved blocks which are a specialty. As a student I gain, as a teacher I keep learning!Laughter is also very important to me. Humor is a wonderful thing and I have had many people tell me they laugh and cry when reading it…and I love hearing that. I wanted to write a book that had deep points with a light heart.I am passionate about my family and about love in the world. Finding it, adding to it, nurturing it and demanding that we can find a better way of life on our lovely planet.

How about writing – love it! And the list goes on…for more passions, see the book: it’s filled with them…

What’s “next” for you as an artist?

So many people have contacted me and have said: “You wrote in your book that you are going to write a second. WHEN? I was so sad when I had to say that I was ‘finished’ with the first one…”I am so excited to be able to say that Marney Makridakis, the Editor and sparkling-heart of Artella (zine and e-zine) will be co-authoring with me. The second book will be a collection of stories by women artists from all over the world. We have made initial steps with that adventure. It will start out as an e-book and the idea is to pull out all the stops and see what we can do creatively and collaboratively.Also, I will continue my card business in a limited way and expand my work in handmade tiles. More writing for publications is on the horizon and also hopefully the licensing of my designs for a line of fabric stamps. There’s more, but that sounds good for now.

Although primarily work with paper arts, you work in many other different media, including some jewelry design. Can you tell us a little about the jewelry items you designed and your experiences marketing and selling those items in particular?

Over the years I have tried different jewelry techniques and I am the BEGINNER of beginners, trust me! Years ago I made these brooches that I loved and sold at an art show – sold them out actually. They were paper collage on mat board with a thick sealer over the top. I used Japanese papers and the cards for the pins were fashioned of handmade paper.Another jewelry effort: Raku-fired pins. That is a bit of a story but here’s the short version: I did a major article for Somerset Studio magazine called “The Tile Project.” While making the tiles, I had scrap stoneware and decided to make a few buttons and pieces that could be made into pins.Those got fired and that turned into another article for the then-new Belle Armoire magazine! Sharilyn Miller and I collaborated on several jewelry pieces and she did a fabulous job with my small tiles and buttons.My jewelry marketing experience has been through fine art shows and I have had good response over the years. It hasn’t been a focus in my business, more of an artistic diversion that is fun for me! (I love to trade for jewelry at art shows with my neighbors!)

What advice would you give to readers who are currently marketing their work or just starting to get interested in doing so?

First, take a deep breath (a few is better!) and smile! Relax. A cup of tea (hot chocolate, or you name it because you love it) by your side is a good idea.Next, please find comfort in knowing that you are not alone in having a desire, a need, or a curiosity about exploring the life of an artist. Sharing the Path makes it more interesting and if you connect with Artists-of-Heart, your whole Life and Being will be enhanced. You are not alone; remember that.Third and final point for this moment: it is so important to understand that you can take all of this one step at a time. No leaping, no panic attacks over the abyss are necessary. Who said that you have to give up everything in order to try something new? How about part-time bliss? How about just trying it on for size and giving your internal self the opportunity to spread her wings?Quietly whisper to yourself: “A thousand mile journey begins with one step.”
I look forward to meeting you on the way…

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