The Studio Earth Initiative in Review

It is time that I should once again write about how Studio Earth was first conceptualized, contemplated, then planned and put into action. A lot of time has spanned from the inception, so this writing will be as much for me as it is for all of those interested in the Studio Earth Initiative. I would openly invite anyone to comment or ask questions if they come up. The doors of communication are open.

I remember when I first had the idea to establish this creative social enterprise. It was in the winter (Feb of 2006) that I was inspired to take my work to the next level. That level meant being a retail location in a town that I felt certain would support my work, in addition to supporting my vision of a better world. How would I begin? In my own back yard  was how.

Studio Thirty Three began that fall of 2006 at 33 Pigeon St. in  downtown Waynesville. It was  enough off the beaten path to allow for a working jewelry design studio and gallery which I hoped would give me the chance to fully realize the business plan that was awarded the Small Business Start-up grant of $10,000. Selling retail was not the primary focus as I knew that I could cater to a clientele seeking quality, handcrafted, custom jewelry for any occasion. This and the scheduled shows would constitute the majority of business. One of my specialties was and still is, handmade wedding sets and engagement rings.

What happened in the 4 years on location was a blessing, but also a compromise. I stayed very busy, often working very late just to make sure my work was done, especially around Christmas. One year, it was in 2008 I worked 460 hours for the month. I promised I would never do that again. It was a great season no doubt, especially in the midst of an economic challenge, but at what price was I willing to continue to work with my main objective just simmering on the back burner. The following year I began to devise a strategy that would allow me to  create the Studio Earth Signature Series – a line of affordable jewelry that will assist many non profit organizations with  a sustainable source of revenue. I already had some of the pieces in production and everywhere I turned, I seemed to be doing something for a charitable organization. This production line could have so much potential.

Once I had the plan in mind, I began to talk about it to people I trusted and also with the organizations I had in mind to partner with. Everybody thought it was a great idea. I never heard one negative comment. My passion to enlist this part of my work was fueled with the support of the organizations as well as the colleagues and confidants I shared this vision with. In December of 2009 I would spend the last Christmas working into the wee hours. I would soon begin to actively develop the Studio Earth body of work.

In February of 2010 I learned of the Pepsi Refresh project. In Aptil, I submitted a grant proposal  (I could post an entire blog about that experience) which was accepted, and in May I began the quest for Pepsi funding. That is also how this blog began. I knew I would need a way to keep people informed about what was going on and what Studio Thirty Three was up to in regards to Studio Earth. This is now month six and I cannot believe I am still rallying the community for support. Our first month in Pepsi, we moved into the top 100 where the projects who make it that far automatically are rolled over into the next months contest. Yes, it is a contest. Each consecutive month, we have either been in the top ten for an extended period of time, or very very close. There is a strategy to this.

After learning how to partner with other projects in the second month, forming alliances always seemed to bring us close to the winning,  often into the lead position of the top ten. This has been a roller coast ride of many things in every consecutive month. I wonder if this funding will ever happen. I know that what is needed is full community support. I have moved forward with this project because of the encouraging feedback  to support the idea. In order for this project to actively commence production and marketing, a source of funding is needed.  I am still passionate and eager to nurture the growth of Studio Earth but to do this requires the proper equipment and qualified help. We can get a Pepsi grant but only if we are getting the community support that this project requires.

So now for the last 6 months, we have been rallying for this grant in the way of votes. We have gotten a lot of press about it, our local newspaper “The Mountaineer” has been wonderful in making sure our news gets out to the general public. It is also my hope that all of the nonprofit agencies are doing all they can with the limited resources they have to help promote and establish a solid support base. The sad truth is that every month for the last 5, we have either been so close to winning – or in a winning position, only to end up in the last week or two, going in the wrong direction. Only with an increase of community support from everyone who thinks this is a great idea, to vote diligently everyday and every way possible, will this be a success. Here is how to vote:

Text Vote: Send each project# as the text to 73774 (one project# per text)

1.    Studio 33 ::  100505

2.    Skip Program  ::  100847

3.    Casting for Recovery  ::  101715

4.    Tilden Playground  ::  100507

5.    Buss Fitness  ::  100585

6.    Avalon  ::  102340

7.    Redlands Bowl  ::  102320

8.   Tualatin Elementary  :: 100321

9. St. Joseph School  ::  100242

10.  TwHistory  :: 102066

Thank you for your interest in what we are doing.  We hope this inspires you!

The Studio Earth Initiative:

Bridging the World of Art and Social Needs

  • Supporting local business and local economy with a moderately priced item that will generate tax revenues, nonprofit funding revenues and revenues for local businesses.

  • The production line will create income revenue for professional craft artists seeking employment in their field of study.

  • The marketing strategies target markets outside the local sector, not limiting sales to physical locations. A virtual gallery will allow sales to be generated worldwide.

  • The experience gained in a working environment such as this will be valuable to students who have completed a field of study in any one of the art related curriculums at HCC or other local colleges.


 

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