Today was a busy day of getting orders processed. The first one took me down to the creek to do a little bit of picking up rocks. That was a relaxing little while of walking around, looking at rocks, stooping down to scratch a few to see what the color looked like. After I found an array of color, I took them back to the house and began packing the order.
There’s something immensely satisfying to share my love for rocks this way. Since we’ve moved here, I’ve found every way I could think of to actually put rocks to use. But painting has by far been one of the most satisfying. However, it’s a lot of fun to package up a few to send a box of rocks to friends and customers, too. I made a new label to put on those boxes, because it tickles me every time I send one out:
Me Too! I get excited to send them, so I’m hoping recipients are excited to be getting them.
Digging White-leaf Mountain Mint
The mint is finally dying back and the flowers are shriveling. So I cut all of the stalks back and hung them over a bucket to collect the seeds. Then I dug up the bed and divided the roots to fill an order for those. Last week found me in the woods on hands and knees looking around for ginseng seedlings. These were a lot easier to find, because I grow them in my garden. This plant has been the star pollinator plant in my garden for years. But now I have some button bushes planted, and I think they’ll rival even the mountain mint. If I can get some more of those started, I’ll offer them in my little nursery, too.
Speaking of the nursery, it’s time to file for my license again. I have a small nurseryman’s license and a ginseng nursery license to renew each year. I believe Wild Ozark is still the only ginseng nursery in the state of Arkansas.
Processing orders, or administration work, takes me completely out of the art and nature immersion. But it’s a necessary part of my business. I need the income to continue producing art and products derived from my art, like the calendars. And it’s nature that provides me with both the subjects that I paint and the materials that I use. All three parts of this are symbiotic with each other contributing life to the whole. It’s a delightful triune. And yes, I get the spiritual reference in that word and it definitely applies, though not in a religious way.
This is the newest thing I’ve tried, and I plan to do it every year in September/October. It’s the best response to any product I’ve ever offered. Unfortunately, when I calculated all of the expenses it was going to cost me when I set my introductory trial price, I forgot about how much it would cost to have them shipped to me. That means I won’t make any profit at all on this first round of orders. But I was able to order 5 extra calendars and those will be offered at the regular price of $27, which will allow me to clear about $5 on each one.
I’m going to start looking for a local printer-binder who can make these for next year, hopefully at a cost that will allow me to charge a reasonable price for them on the other end. However, I think I may have to order larger quantities to actually get to the better prices. And that’s going to take more money up front than I have to spend, with no guarantee of actually being able to sell them all. So it might just be a promotional once-a-year thing just to get my art out there into the world. Not so much for earning any money. But I certainly don’t want to go into the hole over them.
The Products I’ve Mentioned
First and foremost, apart from being an artist and author, Madison is a nature enthusiast. She enjoys using local resources in every aspect of her life and considers the land she and her husband live on as partners in life. They care for the land and the land cares for them. She’s an herbalist, gardener, and wildcrafter of medicinal plants.
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