The LairShops Beckon
Sunday, 4 March 2012
SEO and all that Jazz...
Now Playing: Stereo in the Belltown Pub
Topic: Promoting LairShops
I've been trying to promote the LairShops all sorts of ways since I first opened them circa 2002. Facebook, the LiveJournal blog, my own website, my Myspace profile, links in my email signature--I've done them all. The only thing I've been lacking has been Twitter, and who's got time for that? I hardly have time for the online fora I currently occupy.
What may prove the most effective promotional technique, however, may be SEO tactics, including image tagging and metatags in the storefronts themselves. I have been making sales now and again--most especially in the Lair of Cards' Bumpersticker collection. Recently, while looking through my LairShops image collection, it occurred to me that my previous efforts at image tagging had gotten it all wrong: I needed to sharpen and focus my image keywords; make them highly specific, not use generalized keywords, courtesy of Google Adwords, that could be attached to practically any image out there. Therefore, I've been going through the whole image collection all over again during the past couple of weeks, and completely redoing all their keywords to make them more visible to fans of Marija Gimbutas, aerial photos of the North Atlantic, and Neolithic European pottery motifs.
I'll comment more on all this later. Meanwhile, before closing off this post, I'd like to encourage all readers here to check out the special collection of ornaments at Artifacts of the Lair. I call this section "Festivity Happens." Hanging round and oval ornaments: they're not just for Christmas trees anymore!
Sunday, 7 August 2011
Now Playing: I Salute You, Christopher - by IAMX
Topic: Promoting Specific Design
Well, folks, Colton Harris-Moore's little cross-country trek wrapped up just about a year ago; but we've still got our collection of slightly satirical "Join the Barefoot Bandit Tour 2010" merch up at Artifacts of the Lair and The Lair of Cards! We've got a whole range of teeshirts, mugs, ornaments, stickers; and just recently, some new decorative items such as keychains and charm necklaces!
Anyway, these might not be up for sale much longer; so come get 'em while they're cool! Here are some examples of our sardonic Colton love that we've been hawking over the past year:
Monday, 22 November 2010
The Lair of Cards: LairShop or Gallery?
Now Playing: Que Fait la Vie - by Vanessa Paradis
Topic: Individual LairShops
I should have done this entry a long time ago; sorry it's been ages since I posted at all! I just wanted to post about each individual LairShop in my collection, prior to posting about specific features such as our recent all-ornament collection, Festivity Happens, for example. This post is about our all-paper LairShop, The Lair of Cards. Sort of like "house of cards"; except ours is still standing, n'est-ce pas?
The Lair of Cards is the result of a desire I had to have a LairShop that was all-paper products with original photos and digital art. I wanted my work on calendars, greeting cards, postcards and such like; and thus the Lair of Cards came along. Actually, parts of it are still works in progress, as I'm aiming for a dozen items (give or take a couple) in each LairShop's every SubLair. The only problematic thing about the Lair of Cards is that it borrows images from practically all my other LairShops; and thus it kind of lacks focus. Perhaps focus is something it will achieve down the road a ways. Meanwhile, I've still got a huge backlog of original photos awaiting processing and uploading to this, and my Imagekind galleries; and I'm getting new ideas for digital art pieces all the time (check out my somewhat disturbing "Palin/Voldemort 2012" bumpersticker, for example).
Anyway, here are a few examples of what we've got up this LairShop so far...
Saturday, 9 January 2010
I've Been Robbed of a Post!
Topic: Individual LairShops
***All right, where the BLOODY HELL did my last post (on the LairShop 'All Bunnyz, All the Time') go?!! It just DISAPPEARED off this blog!! Whoever made off with it had better BRING IT THE FRICK BACK right this instant! No excuses!!!
UPDATE: Erm...it just reappeared, as if from nowhere. Right after I posted this post. I don't know how it vanished, and then reappeared. Guess I need a refresher course on how Angelfire blogs work...
Whatever. As long as I've got the bloody post back.
Wednesday, 2 December 2009
All Bunnyz, All the Time: How the World's Ugliest Bunny Became a Cult Figure
Topic: Individual LairShops
This, folks, is the original image that my Dad, Tom Olsen (1936-2009) emailed me sometime back in 2002, when he heard that I was uploading original digital art images onto teeshirts and other products in Cafepress LairShops. As he was messing around with some software firm's version of MS Paint, he duly created an image of his own that he apparently considered suitable for little kids; and sent it to me via email, suggesting that I open a store featuring his latest creation. He was actually a physicist with some background in engineering; digital art, clearly was not his forte. But he presumably had fun with it in his free time.
My initial reaction? Thought I: "You've got to be bloody joking! That's got to be the single UGLIEST rabbit cartoon I've ever seen, bar none!!" But after dithering over it awhile, I decided, "Oh well, if Dad'll be flattered at seeing his bunny pic on a couple of teeshirts, why not? Basic Cafepress stores are still free to set up, after all." That was the beginning of the rabbit's den of iniquity that is All Bunnyz, All the Time! I can just imagine the look on my Dad's face when he got an email a couple of days later, with a link to the new LairShop, which began: "Dear folks: So, you didn't think I'd do it, did you? Well, check this out!" According to my Mom, he was so impressed with the stuff with his Bunny pic uploaded onto them that he promptly ordered four coffee mugs; and after they arrived, he would proudly show them off to any visitor who crossed my folks' threshold.
Also, in addition to the original blue-background image, I created a couple of alternate versions: the infamous Dark Bunny (black background, Photoshop flare, red font), and a more innocuous white-background version. I recently added another version, Bleak House Bunny, with the Bunny'z head against the doorway of a cathedral in Ballina, Co. Mayo, Ireland. I keep meaning to make versions for Christmas and St. Patrick's Day as well; I just haven't gotten around to it yet.
My Dad passed away on March 1, 2009, after living with slow-growing liver cancer for nearly six years. However, I've kept up both the LairShop, and the Squidoo lens that promotes it; and, in fact, am still thinking up new All Bunnyz images based on the original. I've also been promoting this critter for years as a kind of edgy/alt-rock cult figure, if my descriptions of the All Bunnyz store products tell you anything! Anyway, check out this shop, and the scary bunny staring out at you from various shirts, mugs, postcards, and that scandalous thong! Plus, look for a possible upgrade of the store to a Premium Bunnyz Emporium one of these days...!!
Here are a few of the goodies currently available at the All Bunnyz LairShop. Click their images to be directed to the sales page of each item:
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
Desperately Seeking Art Prompts!!
Now Playing: Something French-pop
Topic: Updating LairShops
Folks, I need to update all the LairShops for spring and summer! Trouble is, I feel the need to refurbish my large collection of images by creating new ones. I've been through a dry spell lately when it comes to digital art creation. Does anyone have any ideas for that?
I need to go for long walks and look at more illustrations of Neolithic art, I suppose. The original motifs on Neolithic pottery clearly indicate that their creators saw analogies between shapes found in nature and the shapes of some of their own artifacts--such as the analogues of butterfly wings and double-headed harvesting axes (as only one example). I should go out to Alki Beach and walk around, or the Arboretum near the UW campus; or perhaps further afield, to Bainbridge Island, Victoria or the San Juans, whenever the funds arrive to finance such excursions (sigh)...
Anyway, I'll soon be back to blog on the two LairShops that haven't been featured here yet! I also may well be making promotional videos for each of the LairShops, and images used therein, now that I've nearly mastered the making of video slideshows with music or other audio files added...
Thursday, 19 February 2009
Eireann85: It Came from a Study-Abroad Photo Album
Topic: Individual LairShops
For today's post on our third-ever LairShop, Eireann85, I'd like first to invite you to visit the Squidoo lens dedicated to this LairShop. It's quite pretty, includes illustrated links to items from the shop, and features blog feeds on Irish megalithic sites! After that, I'd like to invite you to visit Ireland at your earliest convenience. After all, that's where the images for Eireann85 came from (originally during 1984-85, my third year of college); and we've heard the dollar-Euro exchange rate is improving on our end. Unfortunately, the Irish have had their lives messed up by the global
Depression 2.0 recession like the rest of us; but an influx of tourist dollars (in Euro form) would be of some help to them.
Eireann85 came about because I had all these prints and slides from my first Irish visit languishing in photo albums, and I wanted to do something with them. Thus, having already opened up our first two LairShops, Artifacts of the Lair and The LithicLair, yet another LairShop seemed like a logical step. The tough part was deciding which prints to scan and upload to our Image collection at Cafepress. At the time we were shooting various landmarks and archaeological/prehistoric sites in the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland, I was still sort of learning to do scenic photography with my old 35mm. Pentax somethingorother, now long since deceased (I managed to sell the lens to a used camera shop a few years ago; but the guy wouldn't touch the actual camera with a ten-meter stadia rod). Hence, my one surviving shot of the cliffs of Moher, a popular site to visit on Ireland's west coast, got its auto lighting a bit screwed up; the cliffs look more like a multi-tiered black bookshelf lying on its side. However, I was lucky enough to get some decent shots of the Giant's Causeway (right as I was running out of shots in my film supply), as well as a few dolmens and stone circles in the Carrowmore megalithic complex, spread out over a number of farmers' fields near Sligo town (taken in rather stormy, windy weather, with local farmers out liming their fields, and warning me to stay upwind of the lime dust. I needed to head to a roadside pub for a nice hot whiskey-and-lemon after that trek).
Anyway, our Eireann85 LairShop is the result of the collection of mid-1980's 35mm. prints scanned and uploaded, with some tweaking on Photoshop along the way. We have also recently added a few images from my 2006 solo tour around Ireland (only my second-ever visit!) sometime in the future. I just hope it's not another 21 years until my next visit to the Emerald Isle! Here, meanwhile, are some linked items from the LairShop itself. Click on each image to be taken to its Cafepress sales page:
Enjoy! And pay a visit to an Irish dolmen today!!
Tuesday, 10 February 2009
Lenses Added to the Mix...
Topic: Promoting LairShops
Have you seen our collection of Squidoo lenses yet, LairCronies? We've got four up so far, one for each of our Basic LairShops! We still need to make one for our Premium LairShop, The Lair of Cards; and perhaps one for our Imagekind gallery, LithicStock, as well. I'd best add the above Profile link to this blog's Links column too, while I'm at it. I just hope I can get our Photostock gallery up and running again (the subscription ran out, and I can't afford the renewal/upgrade fee yet), and get that pimped in a lens when said renewal takes effect.
Meanwhile, I'd like to show y'all our new wall calendars, Complete with links to their sale pages--just click on the images!
"New Eireann" has Original photos, mostly from the 2006 trip, including the Bishop's Manor ruin, prehistoric tombs, and other somewhat-Esoteric things that you don't normally see on an Irish scenes calendar (for example, I have yet to get a Decent shot of the Cliffs of Moher--LOL). "Look Out Below" is all Aerial photos--a combination of North Atlantic ice sheets from 2006, and overland winter shots of the Cascades mountain range, midwestern plains, and other scenes I've snapped out of plane windows in 2007 and 2008.
Now, all I need is to (somehow!) embed a Scary Subliminal Message device on this here post, flashing "BUY! BUY! BUY!" into your subconscious every 100 nanoseconds or thereabouts...BWAAHAHAHAAA...!!!
*Calendar info cross-posted from our LiveJournal blog. *****
Friday, 6 February 2009
The LithicLair: What Came Out of an Ex-Housemate's Burning Man Trade Beads
Now Playing: Starbucks' PA System
Topic: Individual LairShops
Where did the ornaments in The LithicLair come from exactly, LairCronies?
I make these things out of Sculpey polymer clay: mixing different colors and shades (both for the ornament matrix and the colors used to fill in designs); rolling out batches onto the smooth side of a piece of artist's canvas; cutting them into quarter-inch-thick rounds with an old dental night-guard case; and etching Neolithic pottery motifs and Old European script characters into them with toothpicks, pencil tips and (for the really fine-pointed symbols) pins and needles. No wonder I need bifocals. Then, I bake these suckers, just like cookies, the first time, at about 325 Fahrenheit, for about 15 minutes. After they harden from an initial rubbery consistency (if I don't die from the fumes first), I usually fill in the etched-out motifs with various bright and dark colors of the same brand of polymer clay which will hopefully show up against the ornamental matrix; then bake 'em again. I like to call this "painting with clay." I have yet to try Fimo or other brands of polymer clay; I guess my Sculpey bias is showing.
My introduction to Sculpey came about sometime in the late '90's, when I still lived in a rooming house, shared with eight students and other folks, in Seattle's University District. One summer, one of my housemates was a young bohemian chick with long hair done in a mass of dreadlocks and braids; I've long forgotten her name. I found her sitting at our ramshackle little kitchen table one afternoon, twisting bits of polymer clay between her fingers and arranging them on a cookie sheet. She explained that she was heading down to the Burning Man Festival pretty soon; and she was making these beads to trade for other stuff once she got down there. She said she was using Sculpey polymer clay, and that it could be baked hard, once modeled, in a regular oven. I soon began wondering what I could possibly make with this sort of material. When I discovered and began tracing illustrations of Neolithic European decorated pottery, the swirling artistic designs I found therein spoke to me, and gave me an answer to this question.
I have been studying the ceramic art of Neolithic Europe for quite a few years since then, just on my own. Are Cucuteni painted ceramics the coolest pottery you've ever seen, or what? Surprisingly, or not surprisingly, I've seen many of the same motifs on Chinese ceramics from the same periods in prehistory. Versions of them can also be found on Russian and Ukrainian Easter eggs, African wood carvings, and artifacts from many other cultures across continents and historic/prehistoric periods.
Which brings us to the LithicLair images. My ornaments are each one of a kind; I'm not sure it's even possible to mass-produce these suckers. When I make one, I start out intending the design to look a certain way; but I've found that this art tradition emphasizes dynamism and continuous motion for a reason. As I'm working on a design, it seems to take on a life of its own, and comes out at the end of the process looking a good bit different than I intended it to look, though it's still a very nice result. Anyway, I've been seeking to share these designs, and the Neolithic tradition that inspired them, with the world at large; hence the scanning of the ornaments themselves, and giving their images various backgrounds by way of Photoshop Elements. For a while, I've been creating very synthetic, very "digital"-looking backgrounds; more recently, I've been experimenting with more naturalistic backgrounds constructed from images of stone walls, the trunks of trees, and such like.
Anyway, here are some of The LithicLair's products for your perusal, and hopefully purchase! Click on the images below to travel on to their product pages:
Tuesday, 13 January 2009
Okay, Moving Along...
Now Playing: Bluebirds in Heaven - by Mascott
Topic: Individual LairShops
Well, on this, a cloudy Tuesday afternoon in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood, I've been spending some time trying to sandwich the top photo between a couple of other images (via the Blog Builder's "Advanced Customization" tool), and only succeeded in messing up the main page layout a tad. Hence, hitting Cancel on these efforts, I've concluded that I still have a thing or two to learn about the code in Advanced Customization. Meanwhile, the content is what I really ought to be focussing on.
I want to begin by saying a word or two about the first LairShop we opened sometime around the turn of the millennium, Artifacts of the Lair. Its theme has always been a bit ill-defined; it's sort of, more-or-less, promoting Kari's Lair, though it may actually have predated this site. It's first images included a really rough version of the Official LairLogo; a quote from one of my original short stories, "The Young Clan Mother's Tale" (here is an excerpt from that Neolithic-inspired story); and our Wyoming sunset photo, taken in the late summer of 1988 on the ranch in Granger, Wyoming, where my first-ever contract archaeology crew was camped out. In other words, it was not the most sophisticated marketing effort ever. I was introduced to Cafepress stores by my friend, Seattle artist/photographer Shannon Kringen (of "Goddess Kring" fame), who also referred me to hang images at Art/Not Terminal Gallery, beginning in 2004.
In any case, Artifacts of the Lair was the beginning of my association, for better or worse, with the e-commerce phenomenon known as Cafepress. Now, if only they'd bring back HTML and paragraph spacing for the Basic shops' storefronts! I've been fighting with them over this for a couple of years now. Meanwhile, it will soon be time to update all the apparel-based shops for spring, including the addition of new black hooded sweatshirts. Anyway, here is a sampling of products available from this, our first-ever LairShop (click on the images for easy access to their LairShop pages!):
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