Monday, 16 September 2013

Why Blog? - Curious Clare

This week I'm talking to Clare Taylor (Curious Clare) whom I met via Twitter. She is going to tell us all about her blog and why she does it. This is what she had to say.....



My name is Clare Taylor (aka Curious Clare) and I am an artist, teacher and community co-ordinator from Cheshire. I have a studio at Local Creation in Altrincham where I have been based since December 2012 (featured on Creative Boom’s site http://creativeboom.co.uk/features/readers-studios-clare-taylor-aka-curious-clare/) I fit in studio visits around being a blogger, an Art teacher and Community Co-ordinator. The idea of having the space was to give me somewhere to focus upon my own work (after designing/making pretty much everything for my wedding last August) and to stop leaving my art stuff all over the house (although I just seem to be leaving creative mess out at both my home and studio now!).


My own art work is quite mixed and I work with Ceramics, Textiles, mixed and digital media. Since acquiring the studio I’ve designed flyers for a local business (Vintage Afternoon Teas), designed a postcard and a logo for French Knots Craft Studio and I’ve made laser cut Perspex trophies for a local charity’s Fun Run (The Joshua Tree in Northwich). I’ve been making a range of ‘Tiny Transport’ brooches to sell on Etsy, Folksy and they are soon to be sold through What I’ve Always Wanted.

How long have you been blogging?

I have been blogging for 11 months now. My first post, last September, was entitled ‘The Built Environment’ and focused on artists using buildings as their inspiration. I created a Pinterest account at the same time and created a board of the same name. http://www.curiousclaredesigns.com/2012/09/the-built-environment-part-one.html http://pinterest.com/curiousclare/built-environment

Why did you decide to start blogging and what was the main purpose of your blog when you first started?

My blog is designed to help my students and other Art Educators gain inspiration from an eclectic range of sources. I decided to start blogging as a way of broadening students’ understanding of artists and techniques. I wanted them to have a way of accessing information that we had been using in lessons at home. I had been inspired by reading the blogs of others and the book ‘Blogging for Creatives’ by Robin Houghton really fired my imagination.


How often do you post?

I aim to post at least twice a month on an artist, technique or something that I find inspiring. However, this can vary due to work commitments. I love writing my blog and if I was to put pressure on how often I posted, then this would spoil the pleasure of blogging for me. Having said that, I have got hundreds of blog post ideas just waiting to get out!

 

Who reads your blog and why do they enjoy it?

I have been pleasantly surprised at the wide range of people who read my blog. My pupils read my blog if a post is relevant to them and I‘ve been heartened by the fact that pupils take pride in having a teacher who blogs. As well as pupils, my blog appeals to fellow Art Educators, friends and other artists. I really enjoy looking at the stats to see where my audience is based. I have a growing US, Chinese and German readership. It excites me to know that my musings are reaching out to people across the world.

What do you think are the important ingredients of a successful blog?

‘Success’ is hard to define and means different things to different people. For me, successful ingredients have been writing from the heart and having a real enthusiasm for my subject matter. I try to limit the length of posts so that busy people aren’t put of by too many words. I would say my key ingredient is quality visuals. I spend a lot of time taking and editing photographs, and take pride in how my blog looks. It can be frustrating to find that the little quirks of Blogger have bumped text next to an image. However, I can’t fault a medium that has enabled me to have so much fun publishing my own material for free! In a nutshell, I think that a successful blog is created by putting in a lot of hard work, writing passionately and having a strong visual appeal.

How do you promote your blog?

I promote my blog through social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Occasionally, I will email a company or individual if I have mentioned them on my blog or if I think that they will find a post interesting . Earlier in the year, my pupils compiled a list of questions for the artist Mr Finch which he kindly answered. I then posted his interview responses and contacted him about my post. His promotion of this blog post resulted in a huge surge of traffic to my blog. http://www.curiousclaredesigns.com/2013/03/across-pennines-for-interview-with-mr.html www.facebook.com/CuriousClare www.twitter.com/CuriousClareArt

What kind of opportunities have arisen as a result of your blogging?

A wealth of opportunities have arisen as a result of blogging. I have had conversations with people all around the world. My own art work has been noticed by galleries and shop owners, allowing me to develop my own practice in new directions. Recently, I have been approached by The Harley Gallery to be a guest blogger which is incredibly exciting.

Fab imagery taken from Clares'blog

How do you manage your time with our blog and your other commitments?

I aim to post twice a month but it can be tricky balancing blogging with full time work, my own artistic practice and family life. As I mentioned earlier, it is important that my blog is 100% pleasurable and free of pressured deadlines. To be honest, I could quite happily sit blogging all day several days a week but that is just not practical!

What are the benefits of blogging?

Blogging gives me great pleasure and allows me to have an international voice (however small!). It has given me the opportunity to connect with other people.

What advice would you give to new bloggers?

I would advise new bloggers to get stuck in and avoid worrying too much about the appearance right at the beginning. It takes time to develop the blog aesthetic and it is better to start posting whilst getting used to the technicalities. When I see more sophisticated blogs I like to refer to John Acuff’s sentiment, ‘Don’t compare your beginning to someone else's middle’. Your blog will take time to evolve, enjoy that process.

Great advice Clare and very inspiring I'm sure you will all agree. If you want to find out a bit more about Clare you can find her at these following online places...

http://www.curiousclaredesigns.com
www.twitter.com/CuriousClareArt
www.facebook.com/CuriousClare
http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/CuriousClare
http://folksy.com/shops/CuriousClare
http://pinterest.com/curiousclare

A big thanks to Clare for taking the time to tell us all about her blog, and another really interesting insight into how blogs can bring people together and also bring great opportunities! You really should check out her blog, its a great read!

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