I am now turning some age in February where I have been deemed an old fart. I’m not being elusive about my age, I simply can never remember how old I am. However, I do remember that it happens every year on February 5th and for the most part, I like to relax with Klee and do nothing that day. No fanfare, no parties, no big todo, just a relaxed day, doing everything I do on just about every other day. I celebrate “me” a lot whether it is my birthday or not. This has led to the disappointment of some very good friends who love to celebrate birthdays and me.
This year is going to be slightly different. I’m having a party.
Well, February 1st will be my birthday bash… February 5th, I’ll be relaxing and doing nothing, so it’s a win-win for everyone.
I decided that the birthday party would be a fun art-stravaganza thing where Klee and I could show our latest art and jewelry, and have some really cool art reveals. We also picked a location that is eclectic and just plain awesome! Dolce & Gelato is such an amazing place full of unique personality and fun.
Today Klee and I were talking about the art stock market on our podcast. That’s the name we coined for the big-ticket commodities art market that you see blasted all over the news and in documentaries. Considering the amount of press that gets focused on large art auctions and big-name galleries, it’s easy to think that you are not actually an artist until you’ve somehow made it there.
It got me thinking about the way that people perceive the art world in general. When you think about it, what people call the art market in the media, is only about 1% of the actual art market. There is no mention of the everyday people that make up the art market, the real art market, the real world.
The real art world is made up of one-on-one interactions, and I think we forget that sometimes in this media blasted quick paced world. It’s not about how much money the art sold for, or how wealthy the collector is, or how much prestige the sale brought the artist. Honestly, the corporate companies I worked for would print out prestige in the form of “You did real good.” certificates, and I would put them in cheap frames and hang them on my wall as a symbol of how important I was. I feel like we miss the point when we confuse success with awards and accolades. You can add them to your resume, but I feel like we’ve lost the point of what it is all about.
It’s about the friendships developed, and the relationships we establish as artists, with the people that connect with us through the art we create. It’s about the creative process and the astonishing ability to face rejection every day and share your art with the world. It is about the collector who proudly displays your artwork on their wall, or wears it on their body, or listens to it in their car. It is about that connection that would not have been possible if that individual artist did not break through the barriers of fear and share their creations with the world. It would not have been possible without the vast amount of humans out there who buy art because of the value it has to them, not because it has market value.
As an artist who had to make his own way, I have trained myself to see the world quite differently than I used to. Where I once had hopelessness in an impossible art career system, I now see the opportunities, the misdirections to be avoided, and the hope for everyone to pursue their creative spirit.
I think it is easy to forget in this world that is so focused on money and success, that we artists create because of the love of creation. We create to express ourselves and bring back a childlike sense of imagination, wonder, and feeling into our world. Creations that can remind us all to pause and appreciate.
So, this post is not going to be my usual feel good post, because there’s just a little something I want to get off my chest. Don’t worry, I’m not going to go all “Rage Against The Machine” here, but I’ve got something to say.
If you follow us on YouTube, you know that last week just about every video we posted had to do with our feelings about the new move by Etsy to coerce their sellers into providing “free shipping” and roll the lost shipping cost into the item prices. Which means we lie to our collectors, which neither Klee nor I were prepared to do.
Also, this whole policy change came with a clusterfudge of other problems as well, such as inflation of price means some buyers will pay multiple hidden shipping when they didn’t need to and shops with unpredictable shipping rates would have to price themselves out of the market. Plus, items that are fragile and hand made would be problematic to estimate shipping in the first place.
Klee and I also discovered that it’s illegal to deceive customers this way, taxes would now be charged on shipping cost, and international buyers would pay inflated price plus shipping… plus more, we lay it all out in the videos.
What was interesting about this whole thing was the response we received.
Most people that responded were in the same boat, as sellers, in facing this dilemma. Like Andy King who said “We just spent the day jacking up our prices, but like Rafi we sell paintings…so we added the cost to ship to California (which is the most expensive shipping for us typically). It’s ridiculous, because now etsy has the same stuff priced radically higher than we have it on other sites…extremely frustrating, because we even though we sell less on etsy than elsewhere, we’ve really enjoyed the platform and the fact that it’s always felt very supportive.”
Some hadn’t joined Etsy but agreed with our point of view. Like Missy B. who said “I am so glad I never did an Etsy shop. Many have suggested I do it but I would not. I watched enough videos on how to have a successful shop to know it just wasn’t for me. Now I know it is really not for me! Good for you standing firm.”
Some said our country was going to crap and went a little overboard in the comments. I’m guessing they were a little more upset than usual.
One person said I was whining about corporate change. She said “It sounds to me like Etsy is trying to separate the wheat from the chaff, it sounds like you don’t understand how business works. If you are selling enough art on Etsy, then this policy change should not bother you. “Rolling shipping into the selling price” is not new. It is a marketing strategy using psychology. And it works. Please do some business research before you publish videos trashing the hand that feeds you.”
To which I responded “I’m not sure you would be qualified to give me business lessons, especially because Etsy is not the hand that feeds me, they are merely one of many platforms to sell on. If anything, makers are the hand that feed Etsy. I’ve been in business for most of my life, and if you are selling cheap crap, then rolling in prices would be the way to go to trick people into purchasing by saying something is free when it’s not. You can justify it however you want, you’ll get no judgment from me, but don’t be offensive simply because you are trying to justify your point. You don’t know me, nor do you know my experience. So go on with your happy self.”
People are just different with different opinions, some will agree with you passionately, others will disagree passionately, most won’t care, and others just ignore you.
I was surprised to find that with the thousands of responses I received from Etsy sellers, forums of people who are upset, and plethora of videos discussing this issue, that none of the news outlets are talking about this. In fact the only real media you find is Forbes and other large outlets briefly mentioning that people are upset, followed by a plethora of quotes from the Etsy CEO talking about how great this move is for Etsy.
Etsy itself hasn’t made any kind of follow up statement… but then again they’re not facing any pressure from the mainstream media.
Small creative business be damned.
So, how do I feel in all this?
Eh, I’ve moved on. Looking towards the future of my business, which does not involve Etsy. Not because I’m up in arms or looking for a fight, but because we no longer make good business partners. End of story.
I think what was most interesting about all of this is the way some people perceive Etsy sellers. Although we are small businesses with profit margins, overhead, costs, labor, business taxes, and everything else that it takes to run a business… there are some people viewing us as mentally unstable protesters, just using any means possible to bring down the government.
It’s just so interesting sometimes, to see how people react to what they believe is going on, without actually looking into it. Reading some of the comments, I was like “Did you even watch the video??”
Either way, we got so many amazing and supportive responses from so many people around the world, that it makes up for the idiots who think I’m a radical or something.
The truth is we are always going to be facing some challenges in our creative business, and how we handle it is up to us. Whether or not people perceive me as a victim, someone who is standing up and moving on, or some troublemaker, is none of my concern. Only I know what is good for my business, and honestly whether or not someone stays with Etsy or they go is none of my concern. They ultimately know what’s best for their business, and I support their decisions.
Personally, I will not advertise free shipping and not actually provide free shipping, it may not seem like a big deal and really it isn’t, but I will not compromise my ethics in order to make an extra buck. I will also not support a company who is willing to force their partners into doing such things at the expense of said partners. It also makes me sick every time I see an advertising from Etsy offering free shipping to people knowing that that person is paying inflated pricing… just not willing to do it.
All I know is that I’m looking forward, getting excited about my new chapter and new e-commerce ventures, and having fun… that’s all that matters.
If you want to watch the videos that started this adventure go to
I’ll be doing a demo and talk about the beauty of imperfection at the Santa Rosa Art Association on February 23 at 9am.
I will share some of my experimental techniques, insights, advice, philosophy and inspiration while assisting in pushing outside of comfort zones by allowing the participants to get comfortable with making mistakes and seeing what comes out the other side. Embracing imperfection, and viewing it as perfection is my ultimate message.
Members and guests are invited to bring whatever art project they are currently working on and I will assist with the time remaining.
One of the subjects I’ll talk about is Wabi-sabi to describe the perfection of imperfection. According to Japanese legend, a young man named Sen No Rikyu sought to learn the elaborate set of customs known as the Way of Tea. He went to a tea-master who tested the younger man by asking him to tend the garden.
Rikyu cleaned up debris and raked the ground until it was perfect, then scrutinized the immaculate garden. Before presenting his work to the master, he shook a cherry tree, causing a few flowers to spill randomly onto the ground.
Wabi-sabi understands the tender, raw beauty of a gray December landscape and the elegance of an abandoned building or shed. It celebrates cracks and crevices and all the other marks that time and weather leave behind. It is to see the singular beauty in something that may first look decrepit, ugly, or unfinished.
Ultimately, wabi-sabi opens space for love. Love for others, and no less for ourselves. Love for our virtues and our scars, our strengths and our vulnerabilities.
It is this love that can lead to a deeper satisfaction with life. A deeper satisfaction with our art and creativity. To allow for the happy little accidents that can enhance the feeling of an original work.
After all, in a lifetime of fleeting moments, one after another, what bigger gift than to stare in the eyes of beauty – whatever form it may take – and to revel in its reflection of love.
The Santa Rosa Art Association meets at Pensacola State College, Milton Campus, in Building 4800 at 9 am.
Valentine’s Day is coming! Whether you are shopping to spoil those you love, want to splurge on yourself, or don’t believe in celebrating a hallmark holiday, the lead-up to Valentine’s Day is rife with sales and specials.
You’ll find everything from free desserts to naughty items, and it can be a whole bunch of fun. I personally like the idea of taking a day to remember the people you love most and celebrate that love.
Klee has designed something special for this 2019 Valentines day. It’s on sale for 20% OFF until February 10th 2019.
The symbol of the open heart is as timeless as it is cherished. Representing love in all of it’s various incarnations: romantic, family, friendship, passion for life… it reminds us to keep our hearts open and to give and receive love to the world around us. This pendant necklace is a beautiful and simple representation of a universal and powerful symbol.
I start with solid 12 gauge sterling silver which gets hammer formed, soldered and shaped completely by hand into a beautiful and unique open heart with it’s own rustic texture, no two are ever the same. After the hammer forming, it gets meticulously refined, filed and polished by hand, to ensure that it is beautiful and long lasting. Finally it is placed free floating on your choice of chain for her or cord for him to complete the design.
This necklace is made to order and each one is unique, just like your love.
-Hand formed solid sterling silver rustic heart pendant with hammer texture. -Heart pendant measures 25mm (1″) across when measuring from the top of each arch to the opposite flat side. (please expect very slight variations as these are hand forged). -Stamped on backside with .925 sterling stamp. -Free floating setting allows the heart to move freely on the chain or cord and flip around.
The rustic free floating heart is my representation of unconditional love. It is not tethered or restrained. It is kept close, but free to move as it will. It can be sometimes rough-hewn and even bumpy at times… but it is real, tangible, textural, unique and beautiful.
Happy Valentine’s Day from both of us! Although we try and celebrate the people we love daily, it’s nice to have an excuse to announce it to you! We love you!
Ho Ho Ho and such! I’ve got some important news about ordering, Holiday shipping times, and all the craziness involved.
I also wanted to make sure you guys are aware that today is the last day to order Calendars. That is December 5th, 2018 until 11:59PM Central Time. At midnight I will be pulling the listings down. Thank you so much to everyone that ordered a Calendar! I appreciate you guys so much.
Last year some people missed the deadline, and wanted to know if I can “help a brotha out” but alas I could not, and I felt really bad about it, but it would have messed up the orders that were already placed.
Also, in the last blog I put information about holiday ordering and shipping times, it’s important, so I’m going to share it again.
HOLIDAY ORDERING AND SHIPPING FROM RAFI AND KLEE
Order cutoff dates are as follows, to ensure timely delivery for Christmas. Domestic orders (continental US), for bespoke (made to order) items: December 11th. Limited collection (ready to ship) items: Dec 17th. All international orders: December 3rd.
Usually, it takes 2-7 business days, but most shipping companies do not work during weekends. Strikes, severe weather conditions, flight delays, increased volumes, and other unforeseeable issues may cause an increase in shipping time. So keep that in mind.
Oh, btw… You’re awesome and we love you. I know it’s been all business with deadlines and ordering for the Holidays, so I want to take the time out to say, I really appreciate you and thank you for being so supportive.
That time of year is upon us where we desperately try to remember what the people who are near and dear to us would like in their stocking. In the spirit of the holidays I have compiled a list of our most popular stuff to stuff a stocking with.
These are gifts that are both affordable and meaningful from our collections of fine jewelry and fine art.
PLEASE NOTE: While people are generally overflowing with joy and uncontainable excitement, this season can also cause a bit of stress for us with increased orders and workload or winter storms that can drastically impact delivery times. It is important to us that you get your gifts.
Ok, now that’s out of the way, on to the fun:
Tiny Hammered Disk Earrings – Sterling Silver and 14k Solid Gold “Mini Gong” Earrings $59.00
Three Little Birds Wall Art by artist Rafi Perez Original Artist Enhanced Print On Wood $25.00
Green Fluorite Crystal Necklace – Solid Sterling Silver – Raw Fluorite Octahedron Crystal – Long Layering Necklace $60.00 (Was $75.00)
Four Seasons – 4 Piece – Tree Paintings on Reclaimed Wood By Artist Rafi Perez $131.75 (was $155.00)
Also! Don’t forget! Calendar Order deadline is tomorrow, December 5th. Please order yours before they are gone.
I am so appreciative and grateful of the response I’ve been getting to the Calendars. I’ll be honest, I was a bit surprised at how many of you showed excitement over the new designs. Truly, from my heart, I thank you.
My plan is to have all the calendars ready to ship no later than December 15th, which will put the calendar in your hands before Christmas. My goal is to ship them the same day I get them from the printer, so it may ship earlier, either way I will keep you updated.
Once the deadline passes in 4 days, its go time. That’s when the craziness begins and the process truly gets started. Speaking of deadlines, I noticed that there are several calendars sitting in carts, I really hope whoever you are, you don’t miss the deadline, because once I have my final order number, that’s it, these are coming down.
If you haven’t gotten one yet, please order online, by following the link below. I have it set up this way so that I can keep track of the orders. I will not be selling calendars in person at the market, sorry.
It’s that time of year again! When big companies have sales and everyone loses their mind shopping. Usually this time of year is not a big deal for us since we don’t have the advertising budget to promote ball buster deals… which, I’m not even sure I know what that is, or if I got the term right.
Cyber week sale! Nov 20th-25th Enjoy 20% off all items in our shops, no coupon code necessary. Take advantage of free shipping (domestic only) on all orders!
We do, however, have a beautiful and amazing small dedicated few that would rather get hand crafted art and jewelry from us than the mass produced big box store merchandise.
Because of this, Klee and I decided it would be awesome to have a sale for our awesome following and collectors!
Cyber week sale! Nov 20th-25th Enjoy 20% off all items in our shops, no coupon code necessary. Take advantage of free shipping (domestic only) on all orders!
Also my Calendars are now available for order until the December 5th deadline.
I would appreciate early ordering so I can have them all shipped out by the shipping date!
I am very excited to announce that this year will be the second year of limited edition calendars to be released by me. There was such an amazing response last year that I am even more excited about this project!
Each series calendar has art that was carefully chosen by me in order to convey the message that I would like you to carry with you throughout the year.
This year, the first 50 orders will receive a free gift with their calendar!
Same as last year, I will be taking pre-orders online from November 4th – December 5th. Please make sure to order before the December 5th deadline, I had a few people that missed the deadline last year and couldn’t order a calendar. Also, these are pre-orders only, I will not have calendars with me at the market. Contact me if you want a calendar but are unable to prepay online.
You Can Pre- Order The Calendars On My Web Store.
All orders will ship by December 15th. Receive a 10% discount when you order 2 or more at a time. Use discount code at checkout: CALENDARS2019 and save!
Because I designed these calendars for myself and Klee, I also added a few non official holidays:
Along with all U.S. Holidays,
-January 13 – Make your dreams come true day
-February 16th – Do a grouch a favor day
-February 17th – Random act of kindness day
-February 22nd – Single tasking day
-February 24th – Tortilla chip day
-March 16th – Everything you do is right day
-March 19th – Let’s laugh day
-March 22nd – International goof off day
-March 26th – Make up your own holiday day
-April 14th – Look up at the sky day
-April 17th – Haiku Poetry Day
-April 23rd – Take a chance day
-April 30th – Honesty day
-May 4th – Starwars day
-May 5th – No pants day
-May 14th – Dance like a chicken day
-May 21st – Talk like Yoda day
-June 1st – Say something nice day
-June 8th – Best friends day
-July 3rd – Compliment your mirror day
-August 8th – Happiness happens day
-August 16th – Tell a joke day
-August 31st – Eat outside day
-September 4th – Eat an extra dessert day
-September 13th – Positive thinking day
-September 28th – Ask a stupid question day
-October 28th – International Observe the Moon Night
-November 24th – Celebrate your unique talent day
-December 19th – Ugly Sweater Day
-December 24th – Eggnog Day