One of my clients, Barbara Sebastian, is an artist and she journeys from show to show, displaying her pottery and other works of art. Periodically she sends me updates to her show calendar and I post them to her old tech website. We have done this for several years. But not now in the COVID-19 world!

There aren’t any in-person art shows in California. They’ve been postponed or cancelled.

It’s a scary time for artists who make money showing off their work at live gigs around the state. There are no appreciative crowds wandering through booths on lazy weekend afternoons, impulsively — or studiously — buying an elegant jar, teapot, or mural.

Raven Loves Persimmons Teapot

Raven Loves Persimmons Teapot
by Barbara Sebastian
See it on Etsy

Barbara mentioned that her friends had been suggesting that she open up a store on Etsy. As a dedicated technophobe, she said she had resisted using Etsy.

But, given the lack of live shows she asked if I would set her up online, using the nice photographs she had of 11 of her works.

I happily agreed to get SebastianArtStore up on Etsy.

Elephant on a Jar

Elephant on a Jar
by Barbara Sebastian
See it on Etsy

I typically avoid helping with e-commerce sites, mostly because I don’t want the stress of managing a mission-critical website. (I had enough midnight phone calls and lost weekends when I was programming dispatching systems for police and fire departments.)

But, because Barbara is selling original works on a site designed for arts and handicrafts, I felt that the risk of midnight calls is low.

The good news is that Etsy is fairly easy to use. Slightly editing 11 pictures in Lightroom, uploading them, and entering the descriptions of the artwork itself took only a couple hours.

The screens are repetitive and there are some annoyances. For example you have to select your unit of measure (inches, feet, meters, etc.) for height, width, and length separately from drop down boxes, and you have to do it again for every item — there are no defaults or memory. Yet, when you get to describing the packaging dimensions to estimate shipping costs, the system allows only inches.¬† And, on the day I was entering the inventory, every time you hit PUBLISH for a new item you got an error message about a field being left out. But, if you hit PUBLISH again, the item went live.

Anomalies like this would probably throw off someone not comfortable with tech, so I am glad I could help Barbara out.

It really wasn’t very difficult, and I think the online presence looks good.

So, if you are an artist or a craftsperson who needs a virtual place to sell in this COVID-19 world, checking out Etsy is reasonable. Give it a shot.

In the meantime, Barbara’s work is great. Check it out!