Saturday, November 19, 2011

Some news and a silver lining

Dear Readers,
I've been considering recently whether to write an honest reckoning post here. I've been going back and forth about whether it is better to just keep a positive spin going or is it better to frank and honest and just say what is really going on... you see, I have hit a point in doing all this work, where I may just have to stop for an undetermined period of time.
Here is why:

While I absolutely LOVE doing the sculptures and photography work itself, along with making all the various products to share the work, there seems to be a big gap between my love for the work and my ability to generate a livable income from it. I had hoped that people would fall in love with the work enough to keep me going financially, but, sadly, that has not been the case.
As with many artists, especially us shy types, the idea of always having to be hustling our work is an anathema to what is in our hearts and souls. This is extremely so for me. The work that I do, out in Nature is pretty much the total opposite of what is required to be successful in the Marketplace. I know my work is good... I don't mean that from an egoistic place, but it comes from knowing deep inside what it takes to make sculptures and photographs like these...and how much work is done that is never seen by you, the viewer because it is not quite good enough. But to just be accomplished technically is not enough if one is to make a living at being an artist, and I have been unable to get that part of the process to work... I think mainly because there is just simply too much for one person to do and have it be a success financially.

I had hoped that the work would sell itself and that the people who liked it would help grow the business so that it could naturally and organically grow enough to sustain me in my simple and very modest lifestyle. Perhaps in a different economy this would be easier. Or perhaps, if people didn't have so many other shiny, expensive toys to spend their time/money on, there would be more for artists like myself who work very hard to produce something very special and somewhat spiritual to nourish and inspire others. I simply don't know what it takes to "make it" these days, but I've had to face facts and realize that I simply cannot do it all, alone, any more. I am not able to make ends meet and it does not make any sense to keep doing what does not work.

I am still working on my Kickstarter book and it will get finished by the end of the year. I hoped to have it done in time for Christmas giving, and am still pushing hard for that, but given Lulu's printing schedule, it may be down to the wire....but I will NOT compromise any quality in order to finish by some marketing deadline...this book is just too important for me to not give it my very best attention.

I do not know what the future will hold. I have some very exciting potentials that are still waiting to take shape, but if none of it will pay the bills anytime in the near future, then I have to think carefully about what I can and cannot do. More than anything, I have to face facts and look to this reality and get my finances in order.

Now for the good news...the "silver lining" part I mentioned in the title of this post. If you would like to help, there is a great offer that is just now been made by Lulu that could be a nice way to celebrate this whole adventure. Lulu has just announced that they are offering a 35% off sale on calendars till the end of the month.

This is HUGE...really!!!!!!

You will only get to use this coupon once, so be sure to get all your calendar gift-giving needs into one order and then be sure to place it before the end of the month.

Here is the coupon code:

The notice said it would be good till the end of the month. Now, I don't like to say negative things about Lulu, but in the past I have seen them take away offers before they have actually expired, so don't leave this till the last minute. I don't think you'll get a better offer for the rest of the year... with my discount of 10% off and Lulu's 35%, that is an unbelievably good savings.

Here again is the link to the Eartherials calendar: click HERE

and here you'll find the Spirals calendar: click HERE

As for what the future holds, I am still going to post here, I am still going to fulfill any orders I get thru my website at so please do continue to stop by and visit and see what might be new. However, I will have to be taking up other work of some kind so that I can increase my income stream. If there is anyone out there who would like to be an old-fashioned patron, please let me know. :-) If you would like to take some of my cards to your local gift shop to promote them, let me know and I'll send you a sales kit. If you would like to have your Holiday cards printed with one of my sculptures on the cover, let me know and I'll be happy to work with my printer to get custom cards printed just for you.
If you'd like to get a truly rare and collectible original sculpture, I will be putting more Faerie houses up for sale soon. (see the top of this page "Faerie House" for more information) However, I'm not going to reduce the prices to fire-sale levels because I need to honour all that has gone into them....hundreds of hours in some cases. I'll donate them to a children's hospital or something instead of selling them for less than what they are worth. But if you would like one, I'll do everything I can to work out a payment program or what I can to get one to you. And if you'd like one, I am still very happy to create custom houses.

It has literally been painful to my heart to come to this place of reckoning, but as agonizing as it has been, it is also important to recognize that at some point, one simply has to accept certain limits. For me, I have been extremely happy with the progression, refinement and quality of my artistic work, and sadly, for whatever reasons, it is not providing me with anything close to a sustainable income stream.

I have come to peace with this, and finally, after feeling like a failure and a disappointment, I know that I am neither. I know that the work I've done has merit and for some people has been a magical experience. For me it certainly has been, and I want to keep it that way. I know I will continue to do Environmental art in some form or another, but, I have to find some way to earn enough "dosh" as my dear Scottish friend says, so that at the very least I can pay my bills. I will keep posting here but I do not know what shape the future holds for me as an artist.
I want to thank Everyone for all the ways that you have supported my work in the past and I hope you will still do so in the future. I am deeply committed to continuing to create artworks that inspire the deep part of each of us that wants so much to re-connect with Nature and with the Magical realms that do indeed exist here and now. Now, more than ever we need to honour the Earth and our place here as stewards, caretakers and collaborators; with Nature and the Beings that inhabit the unseen worlds. My work, whatever form it takes will always have this as an underlying foundation because that is the core of who I am as an artist and as a person.

Deep gratitude to each of you for your support, your encouragement and your enthusiasm... you made my days shine ever brighter. With palms together and a deep and humble bow, I thank you.

I'm now going to focus completely on getting the Kickstarter book finished, honouring my previous agreements for my Kickstarter patrons, and then taking some time to figure out what I can do to earn a living wage.

Blessed Be to all of you,



magolla said...


As a self-published writer of children's books, I totally understand. Over the last few years, I, too, have written my heart out, but when it comes to self-promotion, I have failed miserably.

I currently have five childrens books up for sale on the Kindle, Nook and Smashwords, and originally wanted to earn a living by writing . . . now all I want to do is break even {I don't have an artistic bone in my body, so I had to hire a cover artist) for 6 books (#6 should be out in January 2012)}.

The reason that I'm telling you this is because your fairy houses hold a special place in my heart as faeries play a part in my stories. In fact, one by the name of Piper played a pivotal role in THE FAST AND THE FAERIEOUS.

I wish all the best for you that you can weather this horrible economy and continue to make wonderful art that touches everyone's soul.

--The dragon house is beautiful--and I would totally love to have a mini-version of it for my desk. Er, a golden dragon by the name of Zinzar plays a role in LOST LEPRECHAUN LOOT.

God bless,
M. A. Golla

Anonymous said...

Hi there :)
I have just come across your website and after seeing the first few pictures you posted, felt compelled to read all the way down to the bottom. I just wanted you to know that you have a truly beautiful gift and to thank you for sharing it.
Blessed be )o(

Valerianna said...

Oh... I hear you! These are truly tough times for artists. I'm not going to rant, but the university is treating us part-timers worse and worse, also. Thank GOODNESS I received a grant and am now building a studio where I can teach here to supplement and maybe even someday replace my university job. I do hope whatever you do will be in the arts, you are so gifted. Better yet, I pray someone will come out of the closet and be your SPONSOR! Much, much abundance and magical manifestation to you!
Blessings from the forest,

Kat said...

I just discovered you recently via your calendar that I saw in a store. I'm glad that you'll still make fairy houses as I absolutely love most anything to do with fairies and I hope to save up enough to get one some day, but as a struggling artist I can understand why you have to do what you need to do. I look forward to seeing the new things you create and I wish you all the best.


Sally J Smith, Environmental Artist said...

Dear M.A. Golla,
Thank you so very much for your very sweet and kind comments. Your books sound enchanting! Is there a place where we can find your books? Keep me in mind for your next cover... I'm a painter too! ;-)

Yes, we all have to keep faith that what we do IS worthwhile and important. And I look forward to the day when people who are actually making something good and affirming for the world and the earth will be rewarded appropriately for it rather than what we seem to have now which is a twisted system that rewards those who manipulate numbers and cheat others. This system is broken. Looking forward to the healing of it and each other as we say farewell to that which is no longer in balance.

Thank you so much for taking the time to write... it means a great deal. Thank you.

Sally J Smith, Environmental Artist said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you so very much for your very heartfelt remarks. I'm so glad you found my website and my blog. I will continue to keep active, it will just be at a different pace. Thank you for taking the time to write!!


Sally J Smith, Environmental Artist said...

Dear Valerianna,

Ah deep woman of the woods who knows the Raven's song! Thank you for your words of understanding and kindness.... and congratulations on getting your studio well on it's way...perhaps we will have to collaborate on a workshop next summer!! All best prayers of Gratitude to you, Dear One.


Sally J Smith, Environmental Artist said...

Dear Kat,

Thank you so much for your sweet words and, do come back here and check out the archives... there are TONS and TONS of images and stories here, all waiting to greet you with Faerie dust and magic...enjoy!! And thanks for taking the time to write. I will still be posting here... the Faeries have not let me go by any means!

Blessed Be to you

Carolyn said...

You have such a gift, Sally, as well as an intuitive connection to Nature. Your works are delightful, beautiful, whimsical, magical, inspiring, and evocative. Your perfectionism shows as there is nothing ever slipshod or half done. I can only imagine the hours and hours of work/play going into each creation. The love and joy you put into your work shows through. I truly wish it were possible for you to make a "living" from your creative work, as it is a true blessing. Unfortunately, I understand all too well. I lost my job two years ago and am still trying to find a way to create an income. My son is a gifted musical artist and can only find minimal hourly wages. I'm sending you lots of positive energy that you will find the perfect means to sustain yourself while allowing time for all of your wonderful creations.

msmickeymcc said...

I am terribly sad to read this post. I just discovered you and the Magick you create today. I have only seen such things in my mind.....and I am not talented enuf to know where to begin to create them myself. This is a moment when I wish I were a millionaire so that I could fund your work for as long as you continue to be inspired. My heart feels we have let you down that such art is not world famous! Love, Light, and Blessings!

Sally J Smith, Environmental Artist said...

Dear Carolyn,

Thank you so much for your very heartfelt and kind comments. I am sorry to hear of your employment situation , and of your son's. I look forward to the time when sensitive types, like you and your son-obviously he must be - and so many of us will be respected for the gifts we have without having to be something other than who we are just to get by. Sending you much Light, Hope and positive energy most especially now in this busy time of Family and Music...may you all get to share in plenty of both!

sending Love,


Sally J Smith, Environmental Artist said...

Dear Msmickeymcc,

Oh my... your comment tugs at my heartstrings more than you know...My father's nickname was "Mickey" and quite literally his last words to me were for me to keep making my art, my Faerie your comment brought a flood of tears as I feel like I'm letting him down. much emotion around this!
I want very much to continue to do this work...I too would love to have a patron, and have often wondered if such kindnesses exist in this modern era. SOMEhow this work will continue...I feel another blog post coming about this subject and all the lovely supportive messages here, including your especially remind me of the words spoken by the Lady of Light, Galadriel in Lord of the Rings, when she said "Even the smallest person can change the course of the future."
Thank you for taking the time to have given me a huge emotional boost...thank you.

May Light and Peace surround you this Holiday season and for all the coming days.


Welcome to the enchanted world of Environmental art and Faerie Houses sculptures created by Sally J Smith. Here you will find photos of the artist's unique art-forms and hear some of the stories from behind the scenes as she shares with you her creative process.