TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List

Friday, January 29, 2010

Scoutle and Entrecard: Two Interesting Tools for Bloggers

Etsy does a great job in providing tutorials and tips to its sellers.  Their blog, The Storque, is packed with information on how to improve your Etsy store, your photos, how to network with other sellers, how to market the store, and on and on.  A frequent contributor, daniellexo, recently posted about how to blog.  I have to admit that I started this blog because the Etsy community harped on and on about how important it is to have one.  Those of you who have a blog, know that it can be a lot of work, especially increasing your audience and reaching the right people.

Always read the comments when you read a "How to" post!  I found two gems in one of them on the blogging post.  The Etsian uses Scoutle and Entrecard to drive people to her blog.  I had never heard of either one of them.  Both look interesting.

Scoutle operates as a personal web crawler.  It looks for other websites and blogs that have similar content or interests to yours:

Entrecard works on a networking concept that connects its membership through "business cards" (actually, they are ads).  I have been using Project Wonderful for quite awhile now, and it seems to have some similar ideas.

I especially like the Scoutle concept, but will have to research both of these a bit more before jumping in with either of them.  Meanwhile, have any of you used Scoutle or Entrecard?  Did they drive traffic to your site?  Are you pleased or disenchanted?  Let us know so that we can learn from you, too.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Rayela's Fiber Focus Participates in One World, One Heart 2010

The Magic Carpet ride is over!
It's been parked until next year...

I'm pleased to announce the winner of my prize:  CreativSpirit, a blogger from Australia with beautiful work.  You can go see for yourself:  http://creativspirit.blogspot.com/   I used a random number generator to pick her as the winner.

Something special will fly from Rayela Art's Etsy store, from the United States to Australia.  Truly appropriate in keeping with our magic carpet theme! 

Congratulations, CreativSpirit!
Thanks to all of you who have visited Fiber Focus.  I hope you will be back again!

Come ride the magic carpet!

One World, One Heart is an annual event hosted by Lisa Swifka of A Whimsical Bohemian.  This is the 4th year for this event, inspired by the idea that bloggers from around the world might get to know each other a bit better through a massive give-away effort in an "open house" format.  See more about the event further on down in this post.

Welcome Bloggers!

First, a quick introduction:  This blog focuses on fiber art and textiles with a special emphasis on how both impact society.  Special interest is given to fair trade, recycled materials, and green practices.  Guest artists are always welcome!  If these themes interest you, follow the blog through Blogger, your reader or on Facebook and come back later to explore more.  I know people do a crazy run around during the event, but the whole point is to find new connections, so don't lose us in the shuffle!

Fiber Focus is part of Rayela Art which sells ethnic textiles and provides technical assistance for craft related businesses.  I have been working with crafts for over twenty years and have good knowledge that can help other businesses increase their visibility and sales potential.  See my website for more info.

Rayela Art Giveaway
Every blogger participating in One World, One Heart is giving a prize to participants.  In order to qualify, leave a comment on this post.  You must also have an active blog and provide a link or email so that I can notify you if you win the giveaway.

The magic carpet ride ends on February 15th.  At that time, all of us will do a random pick from those who posted on our comments and notify our winners.  Last year, I gave away a textile stamp from Afghanistan and a vintage printing block from Kentucky, the state where I live.  I absolutely love this year's theme!  Afghanistan is a country close to my heart and one of the top producers of an art that is quickly dying, carpet weaving.  So, this year I decided that I would let the winner pick what they want as long as it is from Afghanistan.

Winner gets a $30 Gift Certificate 
from Rayela Art's store on Etsy!

At the time of this post, I have 66 items listed on Etsy that are from Afghanistan.  Click here to see what is in stock now.  My most popular sellers are the textile stamps, but I also have lots of Kuchi beaded patches, other textile remnants, handcarved beads made from semi-precious stones, and, yes!  even a magic carpet!!!
Note: The gift certificate can only be used towards product.  Winner pays for shipping. 
When I notify the winner, I will explain how to redeem the gift certificate and will post the winner and her or his links here.  No products will be reserved as special requests.

More about One World, One Heart
When Lisa started this event, she had no idea it would take off like it did.  Last year, 2009, there were over 900 participants!  She states in her text:

"This is more than wanting to win something.......that is only the means.......in the end it's about finding kindred spirits. Someone who may be fairly new to blogging, not sure how to navigate, find others and have others find them....Some are long time bloggers and in some cases well known in the blogging community. Whatever the case it brings all of them together. 

This is an INTERNATIONAL event that has and had participants from the US, Canada, France, Sweden, Germany, Finland, Malaysia, Brazil, The Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, Ireland, England,Wales, Slovenia and more. It transcends geographical location, socio economics, political affiliation, religious beliefs......it's a coming together like the giant community we are on this planet. If only it took a simple giveaway to create PEACE everywhere, in the mean time here we give from our hearts. We are not solving the worlds problems nor are we curing anything nor are we changing the world. We are merely generating a closer community between humans through blogging. What more could I ask for, my little idea has surpassed my wildest dreams of what it could become."

The excellent level of participation shows a true desire of bloggers seeking to connect with each other.  I do think it goes beyond wanting to win something.

Now, with so many participants, it's hard to navigate the list which is set up chronologically from those who entered first.  The ones listed in the beginning will obviously get more traffic, so here are a couple of suggestions:
  • Start from the bottom and work backwards.
  • Look for blog names that might relate to your interest.
  • Jump to every 10th name.  (If 900 participate, you will have looked at 90 blogs!)
  • Use this as a learning tool.  Don't just look at the prize.  Look at how the blog is set up.  Take notes on ideas you could use for your own blog.  What platform is it on?  How quickly did it load?  Are the links useful?  Are they using Project Wonderful? 
  • If you like it, don't lose it.  I add blogs that I like on to my blog roll.  It got so long that only the top most recent posts show, but whenever I have time, I refer to it and go visit.
  • Leave personal comments (rather than canned ones) so that the blogger might want to visit you back.  "I hope I win!" is not an interesting comment...
  • Have fun!
Finally, a big thanks to Lisa and A Whimsical Bohemian.  This is a mammoth project and we all appreciate your time, energy and spirit in doing this!
Thank you, Lisa!!!



Tire Art: A Case for Recycling Garbage, The Artist's Raw Materials

Ji Yong Ho, Gana Art Gallery, Tire Art

A friend of mine sent me an email with images of these gorgeous sculptures made our of recycled tires.  I had to learn more about them, so I dug around a bit and found that they were made by Ji Yong Ho, a young Korean artist concerned about how we are genetically altering nature and controlling our wild environments.  He calls his sculptures "mutants" and seeks to create both frightening and sensitive creatures.  Theme Magazine has a nice article about him with more on how he relates to his work:

"Ho’s concept of mutants grew out of his life in Seoul, where there is fierce political debate over genetic engineering. In school, Yong Ho read Darwin and was galvanized by how his theory of evolution applied to man’s manipulation with nature. Already, he says, cats and dogs are bred to emphasize their domesticated traits and downplay their wild sides. The sculptures can be taken as warnings; if we’re not careful, we may soon lose the ability to see animals in their natural state altogether."    Theme Magazine   (Photo by Flora Hanitijio)

Ji Yong Ho, Gana Art Gallery, Tire Art 
I have seen objects made our of recycled tires before.  The most common are the soles used for sandals, found all over South America.  When I lived in Chicago, I met a woman who was working with a project that made sling chairs out of them.  I don't remember the name of her project, but Livbit has an affordable and attractive set that it reviewed:

Recycled Tire Furniture, Livbit

I remember asking this woman if the tires would give off any residue, turning your clothes or skin black.  She said that it would not.

Ji Yong Ho, Gana Art Gallery, Tire Art

Ji Yong Ho's work is especially interesting because of the elegance and vibrancy he gives his creatures.  He tried working with other mediums but found rubber to be the most life-like.  I wondered how the pieces are attached and from the photos, it looks like they are riveted or screwed.  Gary Pierre-Charles, a Haitian architect, also has chosen to use tires as his medium.  I have seen information on how to use tires as wall insulation in green building, but Pierre-Charles uses them everywhere.  Normally, green builders hide the tires while this artist emphasizes and makes use of them as a design element.  They are in walls, gardens, windows and landscaping.  The video also shows how he cuts and assembles the tires.  In Creole, the footage is especially poignant after the recent Haitian earthquake.  The YouTube page has an excellent text describing the content:

We are in a race to deplete our natural resources like never before in history.  Artists in developing countries have long used garbage as a material, mostly because they don't have the funds to purchase new materials.  Yet, what excellent role models they have become to all of us, regardless of what have been our preferred mediums.  Bottles can be fired and melted, discarded metals cut and re-shaped, and for the fiber artist, there are endless supplies of junked paper and cloth.  Look around you!  What can you salvage?  Use your garbage as your raw materials.  I understand the draw of new materials.  I worked at a fabric store for several months and could not resist the discount table of end fabric.  My check would inevitably go towards remnants.  Until then, I had found all my fabric at thrift stores.  Now I have a good stash of both and once the temptation was removed, I find that I still prefer the worn and faded look of the used fabrics in my stash.

Ji Yong Ho, Gana Art Gallery, Tire Art 

Tires are huge.  They quickly fill up landfills.   Artists like Ji Yong Ho and Gary Pierre-Charles do us a great service by inspiring others to re-use and re-purpose objects that no longer have their original function.  Kudos to them! 

Ji Yong Ho, Gana Art Gallery, Tire Art

How about you?  Do you use garbage as a raw material?  Leave a comment to inspire others on how our waste can be made into something new and beautiful!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

1000 Markets: A Winter Outfit

DreamWoven     $290

Yesterday I wrote a post about winter wear on Etsy.  We've had a terrible cold spell here in Kentucky, so I picked woolen goodies that I could lust after.  There is nothing like wool to keep you warm when those temps hit rock bottom!  I have a store on Etsy and like to support the sellers there whenever possible.  I also have one on 1000 Markets and it didn't seem fair to do a post on Etsy without also doing on on 1000 Markets.  Actually, many of us sell in both places and several of the sellers shown have joined the fiber art/textiles network I started on Ning, The Fiber Focus Group.  Over time, those who are more active online and in social networks start bumping into each other, forming cyber friendships.

Now, to shop on 1000 Markets!  I am looking for an outfit that will keep me warm from head to toe.  Maybe it's a bit too fancy to sit at the computer as I am now, but this is the destination I have in mind.  A cold house with freezing floors.  The water pipes have burst and six inches of water have flooded the whole ground under the house.  Head to toe, I need warmth.

The place to start is the head.  Cover your head when you are cold!  And, why not do it with art for your head?  DreamWoven's hats have been a long time favorite of mine.  Someday I will own one.  "Simone", the hat above is the bestest hat in the whole wide world!  I love it, love it, love it!!!!!  All of the images are hyperlinked to the product in this post and you must click on DreamWoven's hat so that you can see it from all angles.  DreamWoven and I have been cyberfriends for quite awhile now.  We're both Rachels and we both enjoy the role of helping others find larger markets for their work.  She is on staff at 1000 Markets and has always been a great support, encouraging us all to move forward with our work. 

TickledPinkKnits    $98

DreamWoven's hat is open at the back, so I will need to keep my neck warm with this beautiful scarflette by Tickled Pink Knits.  The fibers are various soft wools, including alpaca, so it is sure to be luxurious!  I like the frilliness, harking back to Victorian wear mixed with enough ruggedness and texture to fit a Viking like me.

Coco and Juan   $45

Coco and Juan specialize in Plus Size wear which is perfect for me.  I like the lines in this top and think it will work just fine with what I've got so far.  Notice how the side panels of the blouse curve in, helping provide at least an illusion of a slender figure.  I know I need all the help I can get!  I would prefer a solid knit and it looks to me like Coco and Juan would probably work with you on your choice of fabric and color.

Modern Era Design makes these custom choices clear upfront.  The brown in these pants isn't going to really work well with what I have picked, but they have color swatches to pick from and there are several other choices that I could go with.  In fact, they will make it to your size, too.


Comfort was what I was looking for, which I found, with the added benefit that the cotton jersey is organic.  Gotta support those green industries!

I'm thinking that those comfy pants might just not be warm enough, so I'm going to add these custom dyed leggings from Dye Diana Dye.  When I first saw her name, a long time ago now, I just thought it was the most clever play on words!  Her work is impeccable and she has many other dyed garments that are stunningly beautiful.   Keep dyeing, Diana, but live a long, long life!

Dye Diana Dye     $36

This photo is a little dark, but I loved these tabi socks by Twiddle Toes.  (Another great name!)  Tabi socks were originally used by the Japanese with their wooden kimono flip flops.  Now, we can also wear them and Twiddle Toes has them in a bunch of different colors!


The tabi socks will need some booties, so I picked a pair made by my friend Catherine at Bazaar Bayar, another of my cyber friends.  She has been knitting up a storm lately and you will have to go look at her other lacey slippers. I thought these slippers were very reasonably priced!


Many of Catherine's knitting designs use complex color and texture patterns and some hearken to her second home, Turkey.  I decided that I really, really wanted one of her hand warmers, too.


Those rusty colors are perfect for me.  I would like the thumb and finger area to be a little longer, down to the first knuckle.  Can you do that, Catherine?  My friend Diane made the one I have on now and the thumb area goes almost all the way to the thumbnail.  I really like that.  Catherine has several other pairs in her store.  Type away and keep your fingers warm!

I'm feeling like my top is not enough.  I shopped around and couldn't find a sweater or vest that I liked on 1,000 Markets.  I wanted something long and roomy.  If you are a knitter, know that there is very little competition with those products right now.  Might be a good niche for you!  But, I did find something else that I really liked:

Isn't this a stunning piece?  Marge calls it a "fling" because you can fling one end over a shoulder.  She was inspired by the Middle Eastern marketplace and used a variety of threads, including bamboo (!!!!), to weave this piece.  Will it match my hat?  I've got a lot of different reds going on here, but I think it will all work.  I am warm and I am beautiful!  All because I shopped on 1000 Markets!  My total bill?  Only $923....  Interesting.  About the same I "spent" on Etsy.  (In my dreams!!!)

How does shopping here compare to Etsy?  Well, one thing is for sure, the search here works.  It is so easier to find things here because they are in defined categories.  The drop down menu is available on every page and is as smooth as butter.

How about the product selection?  I was disappointed to see that some categories were pretty sparse.  1000 Markets is a juried venue so each store has to be approved before it hits the marketplace.  That means that the approval process is much more laborious, but it eliminates all the junky stuff you might see elsewhere.  There is a lot of talent on 1000 Markets and I am sure that if the exact item cannot be found, someone would be willing to make it for you.

Have you visited 1000 Markets?  Shopped there?  I would love to hear of your experience, as a buyer, seller or voyeur....  Stay warm and dress well!


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Winter Wear on Etsy (My Wish List!)

 yellowfield7          $370

Yikes!  Winter!  One of the reasons I moved to Kentucky from Chicago is because I HATE winter.  Looks like I didn't move south enough...  We're having an unusual cold front that is snapping water pipes and causing a state emergency.  I'm in that crowd.  My pipes have been frozen for a week and I have had the luxury of two showers at a friend's house.  Fortunately, I have some cold water, so I can heat it up for minor chores and cooking.

When it's this cold, there is nothing better than wool to keep an old body warm.  My friend, Diane Gerlach, is a knitter and has given me wonderful woolies over the years.  They are my staples during these cold months.  My house here is a shack, full of holes.  I've tried to stop them up as best I can and normally, it's quite livable.  But, when the Arctic winds come swooping down on the South, I just want to shrivel up into a ball and hibernate.

So, I thought I would lust after some wool on Etsy.  I picked myself an outfit that I would actually wear.  The hat at the top of this post is one of many gorgeous sculpted felt hats by yellowfield7.  The buttons make it a bit to fancy for me, so I I would take them off and replace them with something ethnic, something more rugged.  Isn't it something like 80% of your body heat leaves through your head?  So, covering it is essential in the business of staying warm, and you might as well cover it with something beautiful.

 olivebrown           $40

Moving on down, we get to the neck.  Gotta have something nice and thick and warm there.  Olivebrown's neckwarmer is 50% alpaca, so it is bound to be nice and soft.  Itchy wool can be tough on the neck and alpaca would certainly be a good choice for gentle warmth!  Olivebrown is having a sale now, so you better dash over there and see what else is reduced in price!

duende74      $49

Then we get to the top.  I wanted something simple because I knew I would be looking for a knubby sweater to go over it.  I was surprised to find that it was hard to find a simple gray top like this one on Etsy.  I liked most of the things I saw on duende74's store.  Simple lines, earthy colors and natural fibers, color choices.  With care, all the way from Tel Aviv!

Ah, the knubby look that I wanted!  London based ileaiye had lots of things I liked.  I love texture and am drawn to the collar and loose look this sweater has.  They are calling it a cardigan...  looks like a sweater to me!

 ileaiye           $110

We're skipping underwear in this post, although, when it's this cold, I just must have a pair of long johns or tights on, especially if it is a green product and wool!  Stephanieteague gives you size an color options and she (I'm assuming it's a she...) does the dyeing with low impact dyes.  Oh, yes!
stepahnieteague      $145

I'll wear some vintage sailor pants over those organic wool tights,  a great find in ericaoblak's shop.  Still functional after 60 years, these are also wool.  Don't forget to look through the vintage stuff on Etsy when you go shopping there!  That's where a lot of my stuff is, too.  Etsy's search constantly defaults back to handmade, so you will be losing out on wonderful finds like Erica and I work so hard to get to market!

erikaoblak     $25

Yep, need those legwarmers!  I thought those sailor pants would work well, too, because I could hide these chunky legwarmers under the bell bottoms.  Keep that cold air out!  Legwarmers are just a great accessory to have in a cold climate, and now that I think about it, I don't have any.  Diaaaannnneeee!!!!!  Can you hear me?  (Hint, hint... )

talk2thetrees          $15

I like both the seller's name, talk2thetrees, and how she describes the legwarmers: "They are hand knit with soft gray yarn, they are perfect for dog walking, sheep herding and world saving."  Haven't done any sheep herding lately, but I do try for the dog walking and world saving.  I do wish she had said what kind of wool she used though...

pawfelts            $50

Feet!  The worst part of cold in my house is at the floor.  When it gets really bad, it feels like the fridge was left open up to my knees.   I layer on the socks and slippers.  I love everything pawfelts has and have lusted for her slippers forever, so I get to have two pairs of her sock/slippers in this post.  I'll layer them and wear them every day until spring.

pawfelts      $45

I need something warm around my hands while I am sitting at the computer.  A cup of tea will work here and there, but the best solution is to have a good pair of handwarmers or fingerless gloves.  Gotta be able to keep on typing!  KitMit's designs are fun and you can even buy the pattern to make your own!  I would feel like the Jetsons with one of these on.  Unfortunately, she is offering these in acrylic yarn, which I do not like at all.  It feels like plastic to me.  If she will do a pair in wool, I'll take it.  I picked the long arm version because I am so cold, but the short ones are cute, too.

KitMits     $35

Warm enough?  Sigh....  No, not really.  I need a blanket or something....  A poncho!  Yes!  That will work perfectly!

dirtybirdiesvintage     $79

Dirtiebirdiesvintage (cute name!!!) calls this a cape, but it looks like a poncho to me.  I think it would look great with the rest of my outfit, don't you?  I spent one semester in college in Colombia (the country) and they called these "ruanas" there.  Everybody wore them, even men in suits.  They could be hippie looking or of the most elegant wools.  Totally makes sense to wrap yourself in a wearable blanket when it is cold.

I've got my purchases.  Total, please...  Hmmm... let's see..  add it up....  mumble, mumble, calculate.  Eeeee, gads!!!!   $963!!!!!!!  Yikes!  Mama Mia!  Must have good taste, eh?  Well, I guess dreaming was fun....  Oh, wait a minute....  my birthday is coming up!  There we go!  Now I have a wish list all made out.  XL in everything, please!

Now, I hadn't been "shopping" on Etsy in awhile.  I'm on there a lot to stock up my store, but I don't often have enough time to just browse around.  I must say that although it was fun to put this outfit together, I was pretty shocked at how much the quality has gone down from the last time I was there.  There was a lot more of what I consider to be junky stuff and terrible photos.  I know that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, but at least put some effort to make the junk look good.  Hum it in your mind...  "It's beginning to look a lot like eBay...."  Which is fine.  I sell on eBay, too, and there are a lot of good people there, but then just don't have any illusions about Etsy being a high quality site of hand crafted goods.  There are wonderful things there and lots of gorgeous, expertly crafted clothing, jewelry, art, and everything else.  I love being there, it's a great community, BUT....  (you finish the sentence!)

And, the search system is still crappy in my book.  I know that this is because sellers don't know how to do it right, but if after all this time, people still don't know how to tag things properly, then guess what?  It doesn't work.

Have you been shopping on Etsy lately?  I have a lot of friends who are sellers there and we would all love to hear more about the buyer's perspective.  So, whether you have actually made the purchase or just longed for it, like I do, let us know what you think of being there as either buyer, seller or both.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Facebook: The Virus You Want to Catch for Your Business!

A screenshot of my personal page on Facebook

Facebook?  I have lots of friends who are on it and we all enjoy the spontaneous access it gives us all to our humor, insights, links, photos and whatever else we want to share with each other.  From the ones that aren't there, I get groans, moans, disgust or misinformation.  "I don't want the whole world to know what's going on in my life!"   Facebook has definitely transformed how we communicate with each other, replacing email for many of us.  It's a household name that has millions of avid fans and as many avid enemies...

I was one of the converts who joined kicking, screaming, rolling my eyes, and foaming at the mouth.  Now I have been on there for several months and I have been completely, irrevocably brainwashed into a convert, one who stands at the airports with my flowers and invites the public to join.  Facebook is a tool that you can control and tweak to match your needs.  I think it is the best network out there and it has so permeated our social fabric that as a business or artist, it's as essential as having a phone.

The problem with Facebook is that the way it is set up assumes that the users know how to use it.  Most don't.  Most figure out how to add new friends, respond to updates, add photos and links, and that's about it.  Those are all nice tools, but they just explore the tip of the iceberg.  Learning how to use it well can really help artists and businesses get the kind of exposure they long for.  This post is for those of you who use Facebook minimally or not at all.  In the end, I hope that you will also want to join in and become part of this Facebook revolution.

Yep.  Being on facebook does mean having a public persona.  Social networking is a pretty recent phenomena, but it has become such a part of life on cyber space that it's hard to remember the days before we had all these venues where we could, for better or for worse, put ourselves out there.  Social networking falls under one of the many tools we now have under the umbrella of "Social Media".  Do you look at videos on YouTube?  Have a blog?  Tweet?  These are just a few of the more popular venues that people use to connect with each other, but there are many, many more.  Wikipedia has a good history and list.  Basically, social media has replaced the face-to-face interaction we had with our neighborhood shops and hang-outs.  As these tools developed, the mainstream marketplace was forced to adapt and include customer feedback, reviews and other interactive tools.  Unbelievably, Facebook was created by a Harvard student in his dorm room in 2003.  (see Wikipedia again)  It was one of those creations that came along at the right time and place.  The market and the people were ready.  When something catches on like this, it is said to have viral qualities and that is what artists and businesses hope for when they join facebook.  How exactly does this work then?

I've taken a bunch of screen shots to walk you through the different features Facebook offers which I think are important.  Click on the images to see a larger image, or you can go to my public page, Rayela Art, to follow along, or to your own page, if you have one.

First of all: How do you get friends?  You can have Facebook check your email address book and it will tell you who is already on there.  You can then choose who you want to invite to become your friend.  Then, once you have friends, you can check their friends and see if there is anybody you know.  The search bar also brings up names and if there are too many, you can narrow the search by location, school or job.  Somehow people start finding each other and last year was marked as a wonderful reconnecting for me with friends from that past that I had lost contact with.  Mine are grouped into family, Brazilian friends, missionary kids, high school and college, peer artists, Chicago people, and so on.  A creep from the past wants to be your friend?  Just say no!  Most of my re-connections have been treasures, but there are a couple that have raised my eyebrows.  "You were such a nice boy!  What happened to make you so bitter?" Believing in diversity, I try to find the common ground we share rather than keeping my friends limited to the same code of ethics, but I've noticed that some have "unfriended" me, which is just fine.  Not everyone wants to have a bleeding heart liberal flower child type in their midst...

Comment, Like and Share: the virus effect on Facebook.

Everybody who joins Facebook has a profile page where you can link to another website, upload a photo or video, or make a comment.  If this person has any "friends", those friends can comment, like or share, giving a reaction to what was posted.  Comment is straightforward.  You type some kind of a response.  If you like what you read, you click on that and you will be able to follow what other activity happens on this post.  You can set your settings to receive emails whenever any action like this happens on your page.  Now, the third option, Share, is the most important as far as achieving that viral effect. When a friend clicks on that, that post goes to their Home page and all their friends see it.  The hope is that those friends will also like it, click share, and on and on.  This is the viral effect of Facebook.  In theory, one post could have thousands of viewers.  However, this only happens on links or images that have public settings.  All personal comments get deleted in the sharing and the friend can say whatever he or she wants to about that link.  If you say something silly and you have private settings, the comment cannot leave your page.  Make sense?  Hopefully, this concept will become clear as we move along.

Friends, Fans and Members
There are three kinds of pages on Facebook and each has a different relationship.
  • You have your personal profile where friends are accepted or rejected.  
  • Personal pages can have sub-pages that are created for the public.  These are usually small businesses, special interest, artist, or music pages.  I have three: Rayela Art (for my business), Afghan Tribal Arts (for a friend's business that I manage) and Falamos Portugues (a just-for-fun page for Portuguese speakers).  Pages are public and anyone interested in the content can join as a fan.  An icon of that page pops up on that person's profile page and they will receive updates in their home page.
  • The third type of page is for groups.  Larger organizations, families, teams, museums and non-profits would normally select this option.  This is also a public page and whoever joins becomes a member and receives updates in their home page as well.  Groups joined are listed in the personal info page.


Now let's look at some of the features in each of these structures.

Personal Pages
Whenever I start using a new site or software, I click around on the tabs and links and look at what happens.  Usually, I can figure out what they mean and if I don't get it, I will ask friends or use the search or help functions.  I numbered the most important parts of a profile page:

Key spots on a Facebook profile page.

  1.  Your latest comment or post shows up here.
  2. The space where a new comment can be posted.  The small icons under it mean that you can attach a photo, video or link.  Videos have to be ones that you made.  If you post a youtube video, use the regular link option with the video's url as the address.
  3. The all-important Share button.
  4. Recent activity.  This shows up differently to different viewers depending on your privacy settings.
  5. At that bottom, left-hand corner, some little icons lead to applications and other functions.
  6. Chat function.
The top bar shows that this is the profile page.  If you click on "Home", you see all the activity that has been posted by your friends or the pages and groups you have joined.  Click on "Friends" to find one of your friends and on "Inbox" to send a private message to one or more friends.

The "Home" page on Facebook where you see all the activity of your connections.

The home page is the one you will check and your profile is what others will look at when they want to see more info about you.  I normally check my home page in the morning and at night.  I do a quick scroll down and screech to a quick stop if something interesting catches my eye and then I'll banter with a friend, watch a video, or give feedback on something that was posted.  One could spend hours and hours doing this, but I try to limit how much time I spend here, even though I do enjoy it.  Most of my friends are actual people I know, family,peer artists, and the organizations or pages that I follow are ones that I am truly interested in, so the content does interest me.

Friends who are diligent about loading photos make their page more interesting.  It's a great way to see new artwork, view the kids who are growing up, see rehab projects and just get a better mental picture of what is happening in their lives.

Those who have videos have a special page for them, too.  I'm just learning how to do this, but have a couple.  Business pages and groups also have these features.

Facebook has hit on the most interesting and vibrant way of sharing news and information.  I am terrible at making phone calls, often do this non-business stuff late at night, so I can browse and comment when the rest of the world is asleep.

Business Pages

Business pages have many of the same functions as a profile page plus a few others.  You can include photos, videos, discussions, and events.

Screenshot of Rayela Art

One of the things that I like about Facebook is the clean template and consistency among pages.  I had only seen My Space before and hated the chaotic jumble of images and glitter.  But, you can still personalize your page with photos, logo and how much information you add on.

You can set up your pages to allow fan photos, one more way to encourage networking among peer businesses and customers.  If someone posts something you think is inappropriate, you can delete it.

Screen shots of Afghan Tribal Arts.

A great tool for artists who do a lot of shows is the events page.  Your customers and fan base can keep track of you and try to attend a live performance, sale or opening.  I use it to post an occasional event that is happening locally in Paducah or a festival that I wish I could go to.

List your events on your business page on Facebook!

Many of your friends on your personal page will probably be interested in your business.  You can invite them to receive your updates.  Click on "Suggest to Friends" and a window pops up with icons of your friends.  If the image looks cloudy, they have already become a fan.  This is so much better than spamming people who don't want to receive your emails!  These people choose to follow your business, become a fan and get your news because they are interested.  Your job, then, is to come up with information that is interesting enough to make them want to share it with their friends.

Messages can also be sent through Facebook's Inbox (your messaging system on Facebook).  This should be used sparingly.  It can be really annoying to get multiple messages from one of the pages you became a fan of, especially if those messages aren't even in a language you understand.  Again, you can always leave a business page that gets on your nerve an "un-fan" yourself.

A nice feature when you become a fan of someone's page is that you can add them on as a favorite on your page.  I've added like-minded pages to Rayela Art because I think my fans will also find them interesting.  Of course, the hope is that these businesses will reciprocate and give you some floor space on their page, too.  If you click on the "See All" in the box, you can scroll down and see larger icons and names of the pages.


The one big complaint that I have of the business pages so far is that you cannot become a fan using your business.  So, when I fan people that have similar businesses, I show up as Rachel Biel instead of Rayela Art.  I would much rather drive people that I do not know to my Rayela Art page than to my personal one.  In the same way, I would like to know if my fans have businesses that I can interact with professionally, but if I click on their icon, it will go to their personal page.  It would be nice if Facebook would give you options of how you become a fan or how you join a group.

Groups are organized in a similar but slightly different manner from the other pages on Facebook.  I won't go much more into them, except to say that one can find any topic or theme under the sun on facebook.  When you do a search for groups, the results will show you which groups your friends have joined and what the latest activity is on the groups you belong to.  Once again, that viral potential in action. 

Group search on Facebook will come up with endless possibilities.


Applications are little independent programs that interface on facebook.  Some have to do with business, family or school connections, many with general silliness brought to life by people with too much time on their hands.  It's important to understand how to find and use applications as they can be useful tools.  The first icon at the bottom left-hand corner is where you will find them.  Click on it and a box pops up:

If one of the applications you are looking for is there, click on it.  Otherwise use "Browse More Applications" and a new page will open up.  This is where you go to create your pages that we discussed above. "Networked Blogs" is an important application for any of you who have blogs.  You join the application, are given a profile page with public snippets of your blogs and recent posts.  Every time you create a new post on your blog, it shows up in your news feed where all your friends can see it.  I have it set up so that the posts will also go to my pages.  Most applications will give you an option to create a box or tab on your profile page, too.  Interested friends can then click on that tab and see your blog posts and sign up for them.

Networked Blogs on Facebook, an important application.

Applications can also bring on a nightmare of games and stupid stuff.  If you do open that applications page, you will see that there are business tools, education, lifestyle, sports, and the dreaded games and just for fun.  The two top games that my friends enjoy are Farmville and Mafia Wars.  They are addictive and they go on and on and every time they do something new on it, it shows up on our personal page news feeds.  I just have no interest in knowing that so and so just bought a new pig for their farm or however it goes.  I've got a couple hundred friends right now and just imagine if 30 or more of them are playing these games!  As my group of friends got bigger, the number of games increased and my annoyance level grew.  I was about ready to quit the whole thing and get off Facebook, when one of my friends told me that if I hovered my cursor next to the application, a box pops up that gives you the option to hide that person or that application.  Ha!  Well, I still wanted the other stuff from that person, just not the games.  Once you hide the application from one person, it is hidden forever!  Good-bye farmville!  Relief!  Facebook became fun again for me.

 Farmville and Mafia Wars, application nightmares on Facebook...

One of the greatest fears many people have about Facebook is whether their privacy will be protected.  This is a legitimate concern according to the Wikipedia article I mentioned at the beginning of this post.  Hopefully, they will continue to improve this, but meanwhile, just make sure that you will not post things that might shame you later and check your settings so that they reflect the level of privacy you want to have.  I keep my updates so that only my friends can see them, but allow my photos to be seen by friends of friends.  If you have friends on your photos, you can tag them and that photo will show up in their photo page as well, so I figure that it's nice for their friends to be able to see them as well.  You might want to make an art album public to anyone.  The settings options can be accessed on the top bar, next to the search box.

Linked accounts and privacy are the two important settings to check whenever you have doubts about who is seeing what.  Many of my friends kids are on Facebook and they revel in silliness.  I think about how it will be for them, if they still have the same accounts in 10 years, where they will have mountains of records of how they behaved as teens...  Will they want to delete it or look back on these times with a smile?  Who knows where the world will be then, but never before has our private life become so public.

Pages also have settings that should be monitored.  You can decide how much fan input you want to have: whether they can submit comments, post photos, participate in discussions and so on.

As if all of the above is not enough to convince you that Facebook can be a powerful promotional tool for your business, there is one more feature that I really like.  Increasingly, Facebook is linking with other social media so that updates and information can be shared back and forth.  As an Etsy seller, I was thrilled when they became linked to each other.  There is an Etsy application that pulls items from your shop on an Etsy page that has its own tab in your profile page.  Click on an item and it takes you to the Etsy shop.


I have my Etsy shop application on both my personal profile page and on Rayela Art and Falamos Portugues.  I created one for Afghan Tribal Arts which is on the Afghan Tribal Arts page on Facebook.

When you post something on Etsy, there is a Facebook icon which you can click and send that item to your Home Page's stream.  Again, I wish this went to my business page instead of my personal one, but in time, maybe it will.

Twitter is also linked in.  I don't have the patience to post on Twitter, but know that I have to be there, too, so I was relieved to find that I could set up my Rayela Art Facebook posts to go there, too.  And, they go to my Linked In page.  All of it helps, all of it has viral potential, the sneeze we all want for our businesses!

There is much more, I am sure, but hopefully, this tutorial has helped you understand how to make use of Facebook your tool to fit your needs.  As a final tip, I would like to point to the Search box.  This is such a great tool in itself!  Once you become friends with someone or join a page or group, start typing the name and it pops up.  This is how I travel between my pages.  You can also search using any key word and all related pages and entries will pop up, giving preference to the ones your friends have created or posted.  Here is an example using the keyword "textile":

Topics show up, grouped into pages, groups, or posts and you can enter anyone of them to see more results.  You will certainly find more information than you ever imagined!  Facebook can be addictive and I even had one friend who was kicked off the site because she was accused of spamming.  She is an incredibly talented artist who was just enjoying the site and networking with other artists.  All of her information was lost and she had to start over from scratch.  There are definitely improvements that need to be made, but you can be that when things like that happen, the people start screaming and Facebook listens.

It's free and interesting.  I advertised there over the Holidays and got a couple thousand hits on my Etsy store.  It's not cheap and I don't know if it generated any extra sales, but my Google Analytics tells me that both my Etsy store and my blog are getting more and more traffic from my presence on Facebook.  As my fan base grows, it can only help my other endeavors.

Of all the social media efforts I engage in, I find Facebook to be the most valuable use of my time.  Get on there and expand your base.  You never know who will want to be your friend!



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