What is Zenith?
The Zenith project is a end of year project that gives students time to focus on one project that truly interests us. It is called Zenith since it has the potential to be one of the most important and powerful projects of the year.
Creating an Online Store
For my Zenith project I am creating a RedBubble store, an Etsy store, and learning how to work with polymer clay.
I have always wanted to sell my work, but I knew it would take a lot of time to set up a store and do all the necessary prep work. Therefore I knew this was the perfect project to focus on this goal. At the end of this project I hope to have two fully stocked online stores that sell prints, custom painted shoes, stickers, pins, polymer clay figures, and more!
I have never attempted to sell my work before and only have limited experience promoting my work online. I have also never worked with polymer clay or created packaging that will be used in the real world before. I will utilized Photoshop and Illustrator in creating the packaging for my store. I will also use photoshop to document my work that will be sold online.
These are images of my online store.
These are packaging designs for my stickers and pins and some business cards I designed.
These are images of my final products.
This is a link to the presentation I use to present my Zenith Project:
It consists of photos of what I made during the project and what I am selling in my store.
My Zenith project, in short, was to create a online store. I uploaded my work on two different websites so that they can be sold. I created packaging which included labels for sticker packs and pin sets, circular stickers to embellish packaging, and a custom shoe box design. I resigned so old business cards I had made before so that they advertise my online stores and matched my overall theme better. I designed and ordered pins to sell.
I designed a sticker set and tried to have the Cricut die cut them. Getting the cricut to work was the most challenging part of this project and all though I did successfully cut two sticker sheets I’m not sure I would consider the whole enver a success.
I also learned how to work with polymer clay during this project. I intended to make 5 or 10 repeated designs and one big schuplture so experience they different ways polymer clay is often used. During my experiments I learned I really liked making small one off pieces and I am still working on my work flow and working to improve my tequinues with oven bake clay.
I had hand painted shoes before the project started and I ended to sell them on my store. I am going to continue working with polymer clay and painting shoes even after this project. I will also continue running my store and add to the products I am creating to sell and market my art.
I decided to create an online store and create products to sell because many artists I see online have there own stores and I wanted to create one as well. I knew it would be a huge time commitment and I knew that if I could dedicate school time to creating a store I could create a higher quality store and higher quality products.
My research process helped me pick which online stores I wanted to use to sell my work on. My research paper allowed me jump into my project without worrying about if I picked the correct store to sell on. I researched all the online stores that I knew of that applied to my project. I research what the cities actually do, what they claim to provide, and what people say about the cite. For example Esty gives people a platform to sell their products online and search for niche items. Etsy advertises itself as a global marketplace for handmade and unique good, but people feel like it is over saturated and full of manufactured goods. During my research on how the community feels about cites I knew about I discover more niche sites that people used as alternatives of the larger cities.
Although my project did not require a lot of collaboration, Fiona Householder’s Zenith project was to put on an event. I offered to run the merch table and sold my wheres at her event. The event was slightly different than I expected and I didn’t end up selling anything, but the experience was helpful nonetheless. I received feedback on my work and Fiona agreed to buy a pair of shoes I was currently working on.
If I could do the project over I would have looked into more different option on how to die cut stickers instead of getting so fixated on making the circuit work. I feel like I have been taught to never give up but the real lesson I learned was give up if one plan doesn’t work and find a new way to do what needs to be done. I would also try to make enamel pins as well as the bagges I did create for this project.
My critical thinking and problem solving skills improved the most since the Cricut presented unique challenges that I had never faced before and Ms. P was also unfamiliar with the product so I had to solve all the problems I encountered on my own. Since communication and collaboration weren’t integurl to my project I don’t feel like I learned as much about them as I learned about the other 21st century skills and therefor did not improve as much.
I will continue to add to the Redbubble store I created in the future and I will open en Etsy store once I turn 18. I will continue working with polymer clay, which I learned to work with during this project. I will continue to use my business cards I created and continue adding to my product list and continue letting my brand grow. I will also remember that Cricuts don’t cut stickers the way I want most of the time and don’t work with glossy paper. I need to redesign my stickers to have larger bleeds so that they will be easier to cut.
I think I was very successful in igniting my own passion since I completed a project I has really wanted to do as well as discovered a new medium that I really enjoy working with. I feel like I did not have enough time to elevate my skills. Improvement of skills takes a lot of time and I focused on teaching myself new skills and new techniques. For example I learned how to work a cricut and learned how polymer clay behaves, but I did not have enough time to see noticeable progress. I do believe I created my most successful Freestyle project when I created my Zenith. I feel like my Zenith had the most successful parts of any project I have done before. I created so many different things for my Zenith and each one was a success in its own way. All the other freestyle projects resulted in just one thing like a book or a video, but this project resulted in many different successes.
My presentation was average. I was unsure of exactly what a Zenith presentation should be and when I asked I received vague answers. I was told that I needed to practice and dress nicely. The one content based suggestion I recieve was to mention what I had issues with, but I feared that I would dwell on my own setbacks too much undermine my own successes. I ended up just making a slide show of all the physical things I made which was redundant since I had all the physical things to show. I was under the impression that this years presentations would be like last years senior Zenith presentations. Last year the seniors mostly just showed off what they had made and explained why they made it the way they did. I clearly should have focused on the why more than the what of my own project.
Questions after my presentation were mainly about my thought process when creating my pieces since I left most of that out of the presentation. I was ill prepared for the questions people had for me and I would have probably would change all my answers if I could redo the presentation. I was asked what I made during the Zenith project, since I mentioned I did some work before hand. I tried to list everything I did during the project and obviously forgot some things. I should have said that I did the designing and planning of what I made ahead of time and spent the whole Zenith producing products. That would be a much more concise and accurate than just listing all the products I made. I was asked specifically about my design process for my shoes which I had not thought about in depth and if I had been asked about my design process of anything else I would have been equally unprepared. I should have taken the time to think about it when I was planning the presentation, but since I didn’t I will explain my design process now.
I created an online store because it felt like the logical next step to try to get my artwork out into the world.
Two of my shoe designs were for a Vans customs contest I entered Freshmen year for my Commercial Art class.One pair was created for the prompt “art” and one for the prompt “skating.” The third pair of shoes was a recreation of the “art” pair that I made freshman year. The fourth pair of shoes utilizes and is based off motifs I enjoy wearing like flowers and the colors red and purple.
The paper doll, pin designs, sticker designs, and business card designs where are originally conceived and mocked up using Photoshop and Illustrator in a summer pre-college program I took at the MAryland Institute College of Arts (MICA) this year. The character designs pre-date the pre-college program and represent fictional characters that were the main characters of a fake TV show. My business cards utilize my favorite colors (purple, blue, and green) and overlapping geometric shapes. I thought the motifs of either purple, blue, and green or overlapping shapes could be reimaged in many different ways to create branding for myself and my products.
I then used an online service to order the buttons to be made with my art on them. The stickers I printed myself and tried to use Cricut to die cut them. I quickly learned that I will need to make changes to the design to make it possible to reliably die cut the stickers, but I felt I didn’t have time to redesign them. The packaging was based on the colors in the sticker sheet and utilized similar overlapping shapes to my business cards. The shoe box design use the same colors, overlapping shapes, and font as my business cards.
I was inspired by the packaging of other small artists I have bought art from online with other aspects of my packaging. One artist, for example had their own logo on small round stickers that embellished many different types of packages they sent out. I wanted a similar type of sticker so I used overlapping shapes in familiar cool colors and my initials to create a versatile logo sticker that didn’t need custom die cutting.
The polymer clay pieces that are swords are small models of the yellow sward on my sticker sheet and the large sculpture is of the purple haired girl on the sticker sheet. Polymer clay ended up being a versatile medium that I enjoy using for my own personal projects as well as for making gifts for others. I find that medium and baking time surprisingly intuitive and am continuing to practice and improve my work flow when making clay creations.
The value of being given time and resources to pursue something you care about and really enjoy doing is unmatched. I wish schools emphasized the pursuit of learning about what you love more and focused less on general standards. Being able to do what you care about and what makes you happy so wonderful that I have problems putting it into words and equating it with other experiences. It gives so much purpose to school which often feels like we are just given work to do since a standard requires it.