Digital Interview with Amber Church

Name: Amber Church
Blog Title: The Craft Project
Blog URL: www.craftchick.wordpress.com
Subject of Blog: My journey as an artist and designer

 1) What got you into blogging, or, what made you start blogging?

I started my blog because I was trying to get myself to focus a bit.  I am interested in everything - which is really fun - but I found it was also causing me to have many half-finished projects lying around.  I'd start knitting a scarf and half way through the process would find myself with an unquenchable desire to can 12 different rhubarb recipes and create a new painting for example.  When the Craft Project started I had a humble goal of starting and finishing one project a week.  I had some more private goals with the blog as well - I hoped that it would help me start to realize my dreams of becoming a writer and artist. 

The blog has come a long way from those humble beginnings.  I sometimes joke that it now documents my "journey to become a DIY princess" but in reality it has become a bit of a digital portfolio - a place where I can share my art, theatre, dance and design work in a more personal way.  I can share the inspirations, hi-jinxes and back stories that go with my work while supporting others to follow their dreams and highlighting some of the fantastic work of others in my community. 

The blog keeps me productive - I feel accountable to the audience I've built so I'm always pushing myself to create more art or find another project.  The blog has also connected me with many opportunities, which in turn feed the blog. It's like a very joyful viscous cycle.

2) What have you learned thus far?

Pictures are worth a thousand words.  I know people say it all the time, but it's very true and therefore bears repeating.  The blogosphere is massive and there is so much out there to explore that I feel like it gives consumers of the digital age a bit of A.D.D. - imagery helps us focus, it provides a faster way to get an overall sense of the blog post, it draws us in, it provides a tool to complement our story telling...plus, if it's done right, it's beautiful and brings joy.  I'm blessed to be married to a professional photographer, and to have several other professional photographers as friends, which helps to keep the image quality high on my blog.

I've also learned to focus on quality over quantity.  For the first half of 2011 I challenged myself to blog every single day - and I did for about a period of 6 months.  The reality was though that the quality of each individual post suffered - most artists don't have something new every single day year-in, year-out without completely burning themselves out creatively and mentally - and the blogging began to feel like a chore instead of something fun.  So I scaled back the number of posts I publish - I no longer hold myself to any regular schedule.  Instead when I have something worthwhile to write about (and have a fabulous set of images to go with it) I then put together a post.  It keeps me much happier and I feel much better about the quality of material being produced.

3) Is there something unique about living in the north and blogging?

Although my readership comes from around the world, I find being a blogger from Whitehorse provides me with a fabulous opportunity to connect in real life with my local audience.  Blogging is so much about the interactions with the audience - building connections and friendships with them - that it's really special to actually know your readers in the real-world.

I also find that the connections in my work to the North that I highlight in my blog really fascinate non-Northerners.  For example I was recently honoured by having my artwork featured on the cover of the Northwestel phone directory.  The piece that was chosen featured the Chilkoot Trail and so I needed to explain the Trail's significance in a blog post for the portion of my audience who doesn't call the Yukon home.  They seemed really excited to learn about it.  Also anytime there's a photo of me in my can can skirt they get excited!

4) What are your recommendations to new bloggers?
Be authentic.  Speak with your own voice through your blog - people respond to an authentic voice.

5) What does the future have in store for you?

I don't know yet - ask me tomorrow!

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