What an interesting experience this has been. There were those who expressed doubt in the beginning, but I stuck to my guns and called upon the village and the village answered loud and clear. The crowdfund on indiegogo.com is now complete with 105% funding so far with a week yet to go on the clock. For those who wanted to get in on the perks I made available during the campaign, those are available for a limited time….until January 7th. After that, the site goes inactive and the perks go away.
The level of commitment people have shown for the campaign has been nothing short of inspirational. It helps to show me the kind of support there is here for the arts not just locally, but all over the country. Donations and perks were snatched up by people in California, Washington State, New Jersey, Alberta Canada, North Carolina, and Virginia. This bodes very well for moving forward into the next phase of the studio’s operation. With over two dozen people asking if they could come blow glass during the Fall, it has been word of mouth and fond memories of the fun folks have had in the studio in the past that have kept them inquiring even when the studio was temporarily shuttered. The good news is that hot glass will be back in the New River Valley!
My thanks go out to my 60 donors and even more who shared the status of the campaign on their Facebook pages. All of this resulted in building awareness and enough buzz to get me where I am with full funding. With all of your help, I will finally get to light the lamp!
In the days to come I will be busy ordering the supplies needed for the campaign and getting the furnace back online. I will be setting up appointments for people who chose as their perks and opportunity to blow their own glass as well as making a slew of the Gaia Lamps, which was the center of this funding effort. These pieces will be marketed nationwide and sold through craft galleries across the U.S. I will be announcing a party for the backers to the campaign soon where we will get to light the lamps, eat, drink, be merry and blow some glass! Tentatively the date scheduled for this is the weekend of January 24th beginning in the evening. Check my facebook page Stafford Art Glass for more details.
I began my crowd funding effort on Indiegogo.com a few weeks ago, and the clock is ticking away, and I thought I’d take a moment and update you on this holiday-straddling fund raising effort. While it seeks to launch a new product, the reach of this effort goes beyond just the launch. It opens a studio that has had more new designs coming out of it than ever before, and has been limited by the ups and downs of the economics of this past year. There was a furnace door that literally fell apart in January of this past year that forced the closure of the studio, and then the loss of some courses I normally teach each semester at the local University set me back financially such that I never fully recovered enough to fund the re-opening of the studio at the busiest time of the year. Lots of people have been asking when will they be able to come blow glass again? “It was so fun! We can’t wait to bring more of our friends when you reopen!” has been the refrain from many people. But what to do? If I could not do it, could my fans and friends help? Could the power of the crowd, the village, the grass roots do it? Could there be enough people out there who think this is a cool enough thing that they’d be moved to get behind it…even if it meant only sharing it on Facebook?
The result was to reach out and make this a community effort. Opening the studio will also mean that locals will get to come and learn about glassblowing by blowing glass themselves. I have had many poeple ask about this yearly tradition. I have been putting them off and also suggesting they support the campaign so that their donation might do double-duty; helping open the studio AND allowing them to take their donation and apply it to a mini class or workshop. For those who do not want to blow glass themselves, just having the furnaces running means you can watch as objects of beauty take shape before your eyes.
My campaign, which is on Indiegogo.com has a number of analytics that lets me see where my donations are coming from. I have had just under $400.00 worth of donations come from this blog platform. Facebook has thus far been heads and shoulders above the rest with about 1K in donations coming from my business page and personal page. My own contribution to gathering donations seems to have gotten first place. These are sources that came to Indiegogo by way of an email from my friends or family. I have had about a thousand visits of the campaign since it began. I get to see where page views are coming from, and the most is from the U.S., but Ireland and Great Britain is in line, with France, Italy, and then a long tumble of other views from all over the world. A handful have been from Russia. It has been interesting and educational. People are looking for the next big things to fund, obviously.
Currently I am at 60% funding. I have 40% yet to go. the campaign ends on the 7th of January and honestly, the campaign has surprised me every step of the way. I have been bewildered, mystified, frustrated, and elated, all at different times.
Frustration has come in the form of people not understanding how it is that I am not wanting their money bu their willingness to show that they think the campaign is worthwhile. Really. With 30 people all thinking this is worthwhile, they are all sharing the news and helping to build a network of interested people. Do the math; 30 people with an average of 350-450 people on their facebook friend list all seeing news of the campaign = 10,500-13,500 people . You can see how quickly the numbers add up. And the donations come in. With numbers like these, you don’t need BIG donations, you just need smaller ones when the reach gets this big. I have been nudging and asking and cajoling people who want to do a story on this work, but so far, there have been no takers. But as my advice was given, I am not taking anything personally. I am on to the next opportunity to find what will work. And its working. This is truly a community effort, although the community has emerged as being all across the world, all over our nation and into Canada. I have been sending out press releases, I have been on the local news (links to the story below). It has been very educational. If nothing else, I have expanded my reach, done a lot of networking, and done a kind of marketing I have never done before.
There is more to go. Will you share news of this on your social media? Check out my Facebook. I have shared a few pictures of glass that has been made by members in my local community. Its been fun. I do a lot of outreach. I offer classes at an affordable level that are fun and educational. I have had every size kid there is from the youngest being 5 years old to the oldest being 91.
So here is the campaign link to see the perks you can still order from the campaign! Check me out on Facebook, too!
I am in the midst of a crowdfunding campaign to raise resources to make repairs and get my studio operational so that I can make and launch a new product, which is a fusion of art glass with lighting. This is a grassroots effort with national reach. The Gaia Lamp which this project funds will get works into the hands of galleries of fine craft all across the United States. The campaign is a fixed campaign, which in crowdfunding lingo means that this is an “all or nothing” effort. I have a goal of $5,600.00 for this project. If I fall short, donations, which are being held by the campaign platform indiegogo.com, will be returned. That means I am under the gun and on the clock.
Getting the word out is huge for campaigns like this. I have tried to impress my family and friends with the thought that I am less concerned with donation and much more with their being willing to share updates of the campaign to friends. When I have three friends that share my news on Facebook, for instance, the views of my posts will double and triple. Imagine if I could get twenty people doing this on a regular basis! This is something I have termed “Virality” and is what makes small things become big things. And not a penny is spent; it is leveraging the power of the internet. So to do that, let’s talk about what is so cool about all of this….
I am a maker of fine craft in the American Studio Glass Movement. This is one of the newest establish craft movements in the U.S. which began in 1965 when Harvey Littelton taught the first graduate program in glassblowing. My teacher was one of Harvey’s students. I was lucky to learn with Bill in the sunset of his career teaching at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. This movement has brought new ideas, new forms, and new energy into the craft movement. It continues to grow, too! This is really something for a medium that is sooo ancient! I am also part of the American Craft Movement, something built on small studios that are keeping the old traditions alive in a world soaked in machine made objects. Cheap and useful, these objects lack the human touch, the sense of design and delight. Have you ever felt what a blown tumbler feels like in your hand? Okay, you have never felt one of MY tumblers. I make them ergonomic and intimate to the touch. Everyone notices the difference. Customers speak of my tumblers always sitting dirty in their sink; they are the go-to object. It is easy to just say that American Craft is overpriced stuff, and it entirely misses the mark. We have been dumbed down by cheap goods.
During my campaign I have partnered with a local gallery to help spread the word. After a reporter had been to my studio last year to blow glass, she caught wind of the campaign and spread the word to one of the reporters where she works and I got a call about doing an interview for the campaign. That interview happened yesterday and aired on the late news. Being able to get this kind of coverage is big and has the potential to push the campaign forward. Every eye, every voice, every heart who wishes to extend the reach is what is needed.
Right now the campaign is at 53%. THIS is very good! I am very pleased with the progress so far. Surprised, actually. But this is also the point where many campaigns lag or slow. We are also coming up against Christmas, too, which is probably going to be like a week-long dead spot. And I anticipated this, which is why the campaign is going until January 7th.
The interview went pretty well, all in all. I sought to emphasize the grass roots effort, how this campaign will happen by every person willing to share a status or reblog a post. Perhaps in a bid to grab attention and raise awareness, the threat of a Grinch was added into the mix. Times have been hard this year, no doubt, but its not something that brightens hearts. What does, is my willingness to be as resourceful as I can be and continue to move forward after difficulty. Triumph of the human spirit.
So here I am and I am reaching out to let you know that this very cool thing is happening. You can be a part of it. If you want to share, that would be great! If you want to write, I am all over it. If you want to give, I would point you toward the campaign site to decide if you would like a perk. There are lots of them!
I have an E-book I call “The Guide” which is a compilation of all of the tips and hints I have given my customers over the years about how to clean and care for glass. This includes things many people don’t know, like how glass cleaners aren’t even used by many glass workers. Wanna know that secret mix? Or how about a way to clean glass that uses NO cleaning compounds at all and is highly effective? The Guide also shows you how best to light your artglass for a variety of situations. I show how you can decide and size a room for your glass without having to plunk down the money for a contractor. I show you ways that you can do this in an exact way, simply and with a minimum of expense. I include historical facts about glass and I also go into the chemistry of glass in plain language in order to help you to better understand why blown glass IS different from other commercially made glass. Includes diagrams and photos. 27 pages. Available for a $2.00 donation.
There are many other perks that include glassblowing. I had someone today asking if they could come blow glass for a day class. I suggested we settle on a price for it and that he consider paying for it by donating to the campaign, explaining his perk would be a class that he and three others would set up. If the campaign made it, great. We would look forward to a class sometime in the next two months. If not, he would not be out anything. In fact, giving to the campaign would move me ever closer to my goal. This is how a crowdfund is a win-win. It is the kind of thing that doesn’t just give for one person. It can give a multitude of times. I would urge anyone thinking about a day in the studio blowing as much glass as humanely possible and learning more stuff than you could ever believe, to contact me before donating so we can work out the details. If you are out of state, I can also arrange to have you picked up from our local airport in Roanoke. The possibilities are endless. You can quite literally make your own perk; it is worth it to me, but let’s talk to make sure we are all on the same page.
So this is why the recent interview was a big deal in my area. The local news did it, and I
am incredibly blessed that they did! Newspapers have been contacted, press releases have been sent out. For now I am relying on the power of the press and media to help me. So far, though, half of the effort has come directly through the internet and by sharing emails and links with friends and even family.
So if you would like to see the interview you can go HERE. To go to the campaign itself you can go HERE. You can use indiegogo’s share tools to share the campaign. You will discover and learn and find out if this is something that this is something you want to get behind. It could be something that you could crow about; you got to be a part of it!
And whatever you DO decide to do, my thanks in advance!
I have been working on a guide for my inquisitive customers who have wanted to understand why blown glass is different from regular factory made glass. The guide will explain the physical properties of glass without getting bogged down in technical lingo.
The guide will explain best practices for the cleaning of glass and answers such questions as…..”can I put my glass in my dishwasher” with an answer that might surprise you!
The guide will help to explain how to store and display glass and what impacts glass the most in terms of its physical durability. Can you display glass outside and how is this done safely?
There is a section on lighting glass, with a number of useful tips for everything from large display pieces, platters, vases, sculptures, and paperweights. The guide explains the differences between fluorescents, incandescents, as well as L.E.D. lighting heads that have recently flooded the market.
This will be a quick read, easy to understand, and very useful for anyone who wants to put their glass in its best light. Written by a professional with nearly two decades of lighting glass professionally for product marketing as well as in the gallery. Help put my knowledge to work for you.
The guide will be available during my fundraising campaign on indiegogo for a limited time for a donation of just $1.00! In PDF format, anyone will be able to access this guide for use on the run, at home, or while in the field.
Look for the launch announcement here but get it on indiegogo.com once the announcement is made. The Care And Feeding Of Blown Glass, by Parker Stafford.
Please contact me directly for studio hours: our work is seasonal and sometimes the studio can be down for repairs, for example. Some days we are blowing glass while other days we are running errands or away at a show. Let us know when you are free to come see us and we can work something out that works for you.