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Recently we attended a workshop about artists as entrepreneurs, and it really helped put our goals as artists into perspective. When we first started making art we knew we wanted to share and sell it with others, but that’s about it. After our first year with our small art business, we are now thinking about where we want to be in a year or two as well as long term.

We realize now more than ever that our goals are our own, success is our definition of it, and our visions are something we have to stay true to in order to feel good about what we’re doing.

We know we love making art, we know what type we want to make, and we know what level of business we would like for our artwork short-term. As we continue our artistic journey, I would like to share some of the things that can be and have been useful to help us achieve our goals.

Celebrating success: I’m part of a wonderful Facebook artist group that makes it a point for each member to be able to share their weekly succeses, and recently I’ve been thinking more about this concept.  Although Edwin and I tend not to share our successes with other people, we can do a better job of highlighting them between each other. Did we sell a piece? Did I finally write that blog post or update the website? Did we connect with another artist or did we experiment with our work? Most importantly, are we learning and growing? It’s easy to overlook the seemingly small things but those are what really count and can potentially add up to something big. Celebrating small things also helps to keep the excitement going about what we’re doing and makes us more aware and appreciative of our progress. It's a way for us to stay fully engaged in what we do, and also a reminder that we are meeting mini goals all the time.

Doing a little each day: The days are hectic and it’s easy to let them slip away without doing all that we want or need to do. It’s also easy not to do something when it seems overwhelming. We've been making weekly/daily to-do-lists and each day we tackle something on it, even if that just means beginning something, or doing a little of a big project each night. This has been incredibly helpful and keeps us focused and motivated to see ideas through. Checking off mini goals each day eventually leads to realization of a larger one.

Planning Financially and Otherwise: A big part of the entrepreneur workshop we attended was about financial planning for artists. We are now forcing ourselves to be more specific about our monetary goals when it comes to our artwork. We believe that the clearer our goals are, the better we can plan to meet them. It's also exciting to have that conversation with one another about how we can reach specific goals. It's interesting to see how our general goals can be the same, but when you really break it down, it's fun to note the differences in how much art each one of us wants to make this year, how much we want to sell, and how we want to go about doing it. We also have non-financial goals that are equally as important. It's great to share our ideas with each other and become more aware of our expectations. Ultimately, we both agree that any sort of progress is success.

Minding Our Business: This one encompasses all the previous ones. Nothing is more important than focusing on what you love and seeing that passion grow and manifest in a variety of ways to open doors. We do our best to nurture our little business and give it time and attention consistently. Although it is already March, the year is still young and we hope to implement many successful business practices as it progresses. :)


Fun in the Community


From craft shows to café exhibitions, we are learning more about the area where we live and play. Mosaic making has brought us many lovely and fun opportunities that we otherwise wouldn’t have known. It also makes me think about how I would like to contribute to my community and how others such as children are exposed to art and how important it is. We are fortunate that our mosaic making has led us on the great path of getting to know our community better and connecting us to it.

As discussed in our previous blog Mosaics Everywhere! mosaic making has made me more aware of the joys, beauties, and artwork of where I live. It also makes me elated when someone purchases our work and is proud that it came from a local artist. I especially love it when children are drawn to our work and ask to touch and feel it. 

When I started making mosaics I did it because it was interesting and, in my personal experience, less talked about than other art forms. I never thought how art would connect us to other people but it is the part that I am enjoying the most.


Mosaics Everywhere!

We never noticed how many mosaics are in our local community until we started doing them ourselves. Edwin and I adore public art and hope to become public mosaic artists. With our interest in public art, it has been amazing to realize that mosaics are all around us. I always get excited when we are out and about and see a mosaic that we had no idea existed.

I first noticed public art mosaics in Silver Spring when I walked through the pedestrian passageway to get to my classes at Montgomery College. Soon after, I noticed that the back of the benches in downtown Silver Spring are decorated with broken glass. The big stairway next to the fountain in downtown Silver Spring used to be decorated with mosaics too.

When I spot mosaics, I like to look them up, try to find the artist, and learn more about their style and how they got into the art form. Some of the mosaics we see don’t have the name of the artist, making it all the more interesting because we are left to wonder about its story.

Seeing mosaics is inspiring because it is proof that mosaic art is alive and well and is integrated into so much of our community. I have posted photos of some of the mosaics that we have snapped while we were out to show how common they are.

We hope to find many more public mosaics and we hope to one day do some ourselves. :)

  The Galaxy Apartments (8025 13th Street, Silver Spring, MD, 20910)

The Galaxy Apartments (8025 13th Street, Silver Spring, MD, 20910)

  Glenmont Metro Station (12501 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20906) 

Glenmont Metro Station (12501 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20906) 

  The Silver Pass by Arts on the Block (Georgia Avenue between Sligo Ave and Blair Mill Rd. Silver Spring, MD 20910)

The Silver Pass by Arts on the Block (Georgia Avenue between Sligo Ave and Blair Mill Rd. Silver Spring, MD 20910)

  One of many mosaic benches in downtown Silver Spring by Arts on the Block

One of many mosaic benches in downtown Silver Spring by Arts on the Block

   From a Model to a Rainbow,  Sam Gilliam, 2011: Takoma Park Metro Station (327 Cedar St. NW, Washington, DC 20012)

From a Model to a Rainbow, Sam Gilliam, 2011: Takoma Park Metro Station (327 Cedar St. NW, Washington, DC 20012)

  Washington Ethical Society (7750 16th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20012)    

Washington Ethical Society (7750 16th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20012)



Every week feels busy. Scratch that, every week is busy. Starting our small business has been a whirlwind and we are, of course, still learning the ropes. With every day being so busy, we try to take time out for ourselves and do little things we enjoy- you know, so we can still stay sane. Self-care is so important. Between both of us working full-time, having a small business, and me working on my other passion- a children’s novel- we have to find time to do things that relax us and play. :)

1.      Soccer/running- Edwin loves soccer, I love running. Some days after work we will go to the park down the street and either run or play soccer. An hour or so of being outside and being in the moment with physical activity helps to relieve stress and keep me balanced. I love working out and used to do it a lot more. Now I find myself with less energy and time, but I still try to do it as much as possible.


2.       Meditation- I’ve practiced little by little over the years and I can see the difference. I am more able to stay in the moment and keep focused. When we have time we like to go the Meditation Museum and practice/learn about meditation.


3.       Baking/Making snacks: I love to bake. I find it relaxing and at the end of it there is a sweet treat to eat. I find that baking clears my head, slows things down, and keeps me in the moment. Plus Edwin always gets excited when I bake something. It’s a win-win.


4.       Hiking/nature- If it involves physical activity I’m usually in. If it involves physical activity outdoors, well, what can be better than that? I like hiking so much because it’s a great way to get moving and also enjoy nature. Other things we both enjoy are gardens and watching/spotting animals. I love how we’re always excited to see a bunny, a deer, or a chipmunk. :)

5.       Doing something new: Getting out of the routine is refreshing and needed. Luckily, we have a dear friend who is always inviting us to events and encouraging us to get out and enjoy ourselves- the mosaics will be there when we get back. Whether an activity is new for one of us or both of us, it’s always fun to share an experience that we’ve never had together before!

The Art of Making Mosaics Together

I remember coming home from class one day and telling Edwin about the new craft we were learning-mosaics. 

I was intrigued by them and so was he. He helped me work on a project, and then a week or so later we made another one just for fun. While most of my crafts class was vowing to never do a mosaic again, Edwin and I were thinking about all the mosaic making possibilities. After trying our hand at a few more "just for fun" mosaics, we really got into it and decided to start our own business. Edwin and I love working together and I want to share how we make it work. 

Patience for the art form.

First of all we have to practice patience for the art form. Mosaics take a ton of work. There's designing, cutting glass, choosing color schemes, and grouting and finishing the mosaic. We put a lot of time into each of our mosaics. Sometimes I think we are moving too slow. Sometimes I feel like I've been looking at the same unfinished mosaic for weeks. Chances are, I probably have. Mosaics are an arduous task, and depending upon design size and glass cuts, it can take quite a bit of time. Although mosaics can be a time consuming undertaking, we love doing them and we love seeing our finished products. Our love for mosaics allows us to have patience for them. 

Understanding each other's working styles.

Edwin and I make it a point to acknowledge and respect each other's working styles.

When I cut glass I like to cut a bunch in advance. Edwin cuts glass tiles as he goes, one by one (bless his soul, I don't know how he does this). Interestingly enough, this is a very efficient way of working for him.

Edwin and I think differently about some things, but ultimately we both have a passion for mosaics and want to make interesting work. Everything else is a matter of learning, acknowledging, and respecting each other's processes. Our differences often allow us to have interesting conversations and give us the opportunity to see things in a new light. 

Being open to each other's ideas and allowing freedom and independence.

Working in a pair is so much fun because we are always brainstorming together. We also constantly tweak our work depending upon suggestions from one another. Oftentimes we come up with neat collaborative ideas that we would have never thought of by ourselves.

On the same token, it is also important for us to have freedom and independence. We don't always completely agree on each other's ideas or even understand them. Sometimes the way we make it work is by just letting the other person do their own thing. Later we can show each other the results. We then can have a discussion about what each of us thinks does and doesn't work.

What we are learning is that experimenting is great, and when in doubt that is usually what we do. When we experiment we always learn something new. Even if the new thing learned is to never do what we did again. 

Knowing both our weaknesses and strengths/likes and dislikes.

I'm terrible at color schemes. At least I think I am. I love designing, but when it comes to color schemes I always have trouble.  Edwin on the other hand has a natural knack for colors. His skill in color definitely makes up for what I'm lacking. With that being said, Edwin doesn't like transferring designs to the wood. This is something I love and find relaxing. It's so nice to have one another to help with weaknesses and dislikes, and also enhance our strengths. It makes mosaic making all the more enjoyable.

Just having fun.

All in all, making mosaics is something both Edwin and I enjoy. We feel lucky to be able to do it with someone we love. :)