Hello, hello! Today I have a very special guest who’s kindly agreed to share some of her thoughts with us.
Her name is Shana de Snoo. Make sure you check out her links at the end of this post!
What country do you live in?
Australia! Specifically, I live in Perth, Western Australia. (It seems even more removed than if I was in the eastern states.)
Do you feel that being an artist in your country is different from being an artist in the United States? How so?
Definitely! We celebrate different dates and special days which means that I don’t release any cards themed for the 4th of July, but I do focus on ANZAC day or graduation being at the end of the year.
There’s also the fact that our Spring is America’s Autumn! A lot of the products released in one month would only work half a year later for myself!
We have a different view on current events, and we can take the opportunity to raise awareness of Australia-based problems and beneficial causes.
I’ve also noticed that being a crafter in Australia is so different because I have less inclination to obtain more “stuff”. Of course I’d love new release products but there are often themed releases that I personally have less inclination to reach for the credit card… and there’s going to be no inclination for those in my sphere to then use those cards. It’s hard enough being in a small community that thinks that $4 is too much for a card, let alone a card that’s not going to be used by anyone here.
What are some challenges of being an artist in your country?
Being a designer for different crafting companies is much harder for myself as a Non-US crafter. Most companies prefer the lesser shipping costs, and the realities of shipping taking a while means that getting products out to myself takes so much longer. That being said, I’ll more than love to be a DT one day…
Another huge barrier to obtaining supplies is the SHIPPING COSTS! Firstly, the products released in America cost me about 1.5x the amount in Australian dollars. And shipping is always expensive, and takes ages…. for example, if I shop online at Simon Says, the cart may add up to US$100. For me, that means roughly AU$150, plus shipping which is always at least $25.
What are some of the benefits of being an artist in your country?
There are some specifically Australian-based companies out there, the most well-known being Kaisercraft. I can go to Spotlight and find some decent supplies, along with basic inks and papers. Their releases are much more infrequent though.
Do you feel that social media has had any impact on the way in which you view your work or on the way in which you view yourself as an artist?
Definitely. It’s hugely helped me with ideas and increasing my skills. My go-to sites like Pinterest and YouTube give me ideas, tips and techniques I can then practice. This is amazingly helpful because no matter where a crafter is, they can access these sites.
It’s so easy to compare what you’ve created with what others put. I need to constantly remember not to compare my In-Process with other’s Finished products. Envy of others ability, or their craft stash, or their time, or their-… it can become a vicious cycle.
If need be, take a break from social media. Share your cards with your family, or with your pets, who will like the product because it was created by yourself. Don’t apologise for taking breaks, and acknowledge when you need to step away. Don’t take out the credit card so much, but turn to what you have and see if you can come up with new ideas from older sets. The possibilities are limitless!
What do you consider to be the most problematic or difficult aspect of social media for artists not residing in the US?
There are always lots of new supplies and new ideas all the time, but I have no access to them.
One recent idea is using a stitched border die on a simple card front. I don’t have any dies that would work, but it looks much better on Instagram with the stitched die! However, am I then limited to a certain size if I obtain a die? And do I go for a simple straight stitch or a wonky stitch? Both cost at least $40 for myself.
What, if anything, do you wish creative people in the US understood about creative people outside the US?
Simply put, we’re working with less. So a new post from ours with a ‘friends’ die that was released years ago doesn’t mean we’re behind the times – we probably only just purchased the product on sale or discontinued, and we’re super happy to be crafting with it.
If you have heaps of crafting supplies you don’t use anymore, DESTASH! I love a good destash – it’s cheaper for me, and you get some money back!
What is something that artists in the US could be doing differently on social media to be more sensitive or considerate of the struggles artists living outside the US have?
Giveaways are awesome, and I love the support and giving the community has for each other. Lots of giveaways, however, are US only. I understand that shipping is a big deal, I know that acutely!
Maybe if you do a giveaway, you could put a clause saying “international entries are welcome, provided you agree to cover the shipping costs if selected”. Then, if it’s a giveaway I’d love to win, I’m personally happy to cover any shipping costs if I was selected.
One other comment I’d like to make is just to reach out and get to know those in your crafting community, even if they’re out of your country. Sending a small card to say “hi” is so much fun, and also I get so excited when I receive a card or I see that someone has received one of mine!
In regards to selling cards, I really do suggest going somewhere to have a platform to sell. It may seem like a big task to update all the time, but it’s best that your cards are out and available for purchase. Personally, my own family and community in which I live is used to spending very little on cards. I’m encouraged to downplay the cost of the cards and sell them for about $2, where it may be worth more like $5. The problem is that I do still have to value my time, energy and in general just myself. If I continue to sell them for $2, then the community around me won’t ever change from their expectation of cheap cards. It’s a very difficult spot to be in.
Things to remember:
– Wherever you may be in the world, your cards are valued, and your skill is incredible.
– Never doubt the value of your cards or yourself. You’re amazing!
– Look for ways to improve your talents, try new things, and enjoy branching out. If it doesn’t work, that’s okay!
– Connect with those all around the world! We’re all incredible people.
– Look at your already owned crafting items, and think of new ways to use them. Old isn’t always boring!
– Use social media as a positive inspiration and source of new ideas, but step away if you need a break.
Wow. Thank you so much, Shana, for sharing your thoughts and perspectives with us. I for one have decided to add that clause about international friends covering shipping (or a portion of it) when I have a giveaway. I think that that’s a really great idea. I know I’ve accidentally tagged international friends in many, many giveaways that were US only and I can only imagine how disappointing it must be to see “US only” so often.
If you’d like to see more of Shana’s work you can find her at the following;