Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Here's to Infinite Possibilities!

“Start by doing what’s necessary;
then do what’s possible;
and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
- St. Francis of Assisi

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

And We're Back!

Ken and I snuck one last peek at the windswept scenery before returning to reality today.  Our last planned vacations were disrupted by brutal weather and illness.  It was nice to steal away for a few unstructured days by the sea, in an area that we often pass without stopping.  Our time away fed my soul; now onto the holiday season!

Friday, November 9, 2018

Everything Old is New Again

Industrial Layered Studies in Texture
I tend to move quickly.  An idea strikes, and if I have time in the studio, I execute it.  Often I'll play with a concept for weeks or months. (Or sometimes mere hours!)  And then, when the next commitment interrupts my flow, I'm off and running again.  When I return to my bench, it's generally with new inspiration, and I  move in a different direction. 
A little ADHD ?!?  Maybe.  It serves me well in many ways; but a recent visit with friends caused me to reexamine some of the projects, concepts, and techniques that I've abandoned through the years.  These include the earrings shown, and I'll share other similar pieces as I discover them.  They serve as a visual timeline of my professional life as a maker, and they remind me to pause occasionally to appreciate and fully examine what's in front of me in the moment.

Texture and Cold Connections
Still Steal My Heart

Thursday, November 1, 2018

The Sound of Silence

ReMe Retreat - The Sandhills - 2018
It's exceptionally quiet as I write this in my living room.  The cats are sleeping, and I'm intentionally avoiding television, music, and podcasts for a time.  Silence is golden in moments like these. 

By comparison, last week overflowed with a cacophony of sounds that filled my heart.  Laughter and conversation were my constant companions, and when friends departed, the silence was deafening.

The Fountain at our ReMe House

Even my quietest moments last week were filled with soul soothing melodies, in our ReMe Retreat House and in the Studio at ARTworks Vass.  This sweet fountain is one example of that.

Silence and Sound; Yin and Yang; I suppose that we need a bit of both of them.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Beginning Again... and Again... and Again

Jean Skipper during a recent ReMe Retreat.
I was talking with several friends recently about the power of the written word in our lives.  Without exception, each of us loves our journals, diaries, and blogs; although some of us are definitely better than others about the practice of writing.

I fall into a category of one who loves the idea of writing regularly.  My follow through however,  is a bit weak.  I periodically try to alter this course by declaring, "Today is the day!  I will write a page or a post today, and every day for the rest of my life!"  And I mean it; I really do.  In the moment I'm eternally optimistic that this time will be different from all of the others, and that my collection of barely used journals will become a thing of my past.  Alas, so far this hasn't been the case.

So today I'll begin again in a kinder gentler way.  I will write everyday, one day at a time.  My posts need not be witty, riveting, or even coherent; they just need to exist in some form.  As anyone who's met me in person knows, for better or worse, I have a lot to say.  Today I will begin again to say it.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Business Marketing for Creative Entrepreneurs with Jean Skipper

With a fifteen year career in banking and financial services, fourteen years as a full time working Artist, six years as a gallery owner, and five years as the owner and host of ReMe Retreats; my background gives me a unique perspective on the business side of art, retail, and marketing.  In  many ways I'm self-taught by years of trial-and-error, and I've also benefited by the generous nature of others along the way.  I've learned from my mistakes...and I make them frequently and with abandon!  I love sharing my experiences with others, and I'm passionate about helping them reach their full potential as artists and as business people.

This casual *helping* through the years has evolved into a more formalized method of delivering my unique brand of assistance.  Officially titled as "Marketing for Creative Entrepreneurs with Jean Skipper", a few of the ways in which you can participate in this process follow.

Several times each month we gather in a group setting to discuss creatively marketing our businesses.  Participants in these groups act as a sounding board for each other as we discuss our progress, challenges, and successes.  We serve as each other's Board of Directors, and the most amazing things happen when we connect and harness the combined power, knowledge, and experience in the room.  Each week's meeting also includes a goal setting component and a relevant marketing lesson, based on the current needs of participants.
You can live the life that you're imagining!

We meet from 3:00 until 5:00 on Tuesdays.  Cost to join us is $20 per week, and I request that folks plan to attend regularly... be it weekly, every two weeks, or monthly.  Please visit the ARTworks Vass Website to view our current schedule and reserve your space. 

If you're a professional artist, a small business owner, or if you're longing to be one, the other or both...  Marketing needs to become a part of your daily routine.  There's no easy fix.  It's a process, and the goal of our weekly meetings is for each of us to develop a regular marketing practice.  

Guests with all levels of experience and interest are welcome to join our group.  

You may register for these sessions online here, or if you have questions about participation, please email me at or call me at 910-528-1109.

Seminars and Group Work Sessions

By special engagement, I'm available to travel to your location to work with your group.  Past sessions have been conducted with community groups (Small Business Owners ARE Creative Entrepreneurs, and many of the practices that we discuss with artists apply to them too.), arts organizations, and educational institutions.

The possibilities are endless.
During our time together, the format of my presentations is extremely interactive.  No lectures here!  I enjoy working in small group sessions so that each participant's individual needs are sure to be addressed.  These small group sessions also lay the groundwork for an ongoing marketing practice for individual participants and for the group's members collectively.

The topics that we address in these sessions cover a wide range of timely marketing concerns, and each session is tailored to address the unique needs of the participants and the community in which they live and work.

Cost for these sessions is based on the location of the event and the number of participants.  I'm happy to discuss scheduling and your group's unique needs, and I may be reached at or 910-528-1109. 

One-on-One Private Marketing Sessions

Now is the time to pursue your dreams!
For those who desire a more intensive approach to their marketing efforts, I'm available to conduct One-on-One Private Marketing Sessions.  These will be designed to address your most pressing needs, and past topics have included intensives on Product Photography, Establishing an Online Presence, Social Media Marketing, Show Participation, and Designing Printed Marketing Materials.

Private Marketing Sessions are available at a cost of $50 per hour, with a three hour minimum commitment, and they may be scheduled by contacting me at or 910-245-4129.

Design Service

Do you need product photos, a head-shot, business cards, brochures, banners, or other online or print design work AND do you have absolutely no desire to do it yourself?   If so, then this may be the service for you.  

After an initial meeting to set the course for your project, I'll proceed with designing and even ordering these items for you.  Cost is based on the scope of your project.  Please contact me at or 910-528-1109 to discuss your specific needs.   

I am thankful.

In Gratitude

I'm thankful that I have the opportunity to be a full time working artist.  

I'm humbled daily by the love and support that I receive from family, friends, and so often from the most unexpected of people.  

And I'm grateful to be able to help others to achieve the satisfaction that comes from making their living doing what they love. 

Photos of the mixed media hearts in this post are part of the 
"When Hearts Take Flight" collection of collaborative artwork created with the talented, Jodi Ohl.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Snow Days Then and Now

4114 Highgrove Road in Winter
As many of you know, I'm a Pittsburgh Girl at heart.  I was born in Pennsylvania, and I spent the first thirty-eight years of my life there.  During that time, winter often began with an early snowfall in October, and it ended as the last holdouts of blackened snow finally disappeared with the spring rains.

We shoveled.  We blew snow.  We salted.  We made snow balls, and snowmen, and snow forts.  We wore snow pants, and mittens, and stocking caps.  (In fact, and to our embarrassment, our Mother used to tie plastic bread bags over our socks, and we wore them inside of our boots, to keep our precious feet warm.)

When it snowed, almost without exception, we went to work, and school, and on with our daily lives.

An Angel Making An Angel
Here in North Carolina, winter is different, and I love it.  When the word "snow" is whispered here by weather forecasters, we all run to the grocery store for bread and milk.  (Why bread and milk?  I'm not sure; but my native husband swears that it's for milk sandwiches.)

And when the snow actually arrives, schools, businesses, and other activities are canceled.  (Whatever your position on this, and folks debate it at great length, we just don't have the infrastructure to effectively remove snow and ice from our roadways.)

During times of wintry weather, my hero husband and his fellow first-responders go off to protect us, while we hunker down at home and enjoy the unexpected break in the action.  Days pass.  The snow melts.  And life goes on as if it had never happened.

I happily embraced this routine without too much deep thought, and then I opened ARTworks Vass.  The challenge of deciding when and if we should close or remain open during these times is one that has been thrust upon me, and my position is this.

Could she possibly
be any cuter?
Safety first.  In all things, the safety of my artists, employees, customers, and friends means more to me than business-as-usual or the possibility of a random sale.  (I promise.  If you have a true art-emergency, call, text, or email; and I'll snowshoe my way to the gallery to meet you!)

Our public schools will be closed today.  I've made the decision to follow their lead to close too, even though the temperature is predicted to soar to almost fifty degrees.  Why?  Because our secondary and tertiary roads are still iffy; our parking lot is covered in inches of snow and ice; and our sweet shady sidewalk just doesn't look safe to me.

Is this a good solid business practice when January is historically one of the slowest months for retail sales?  That's debatable.

Is it one that I can live with when I safely lay my head on my pillow at night and you do too?  Absolutely.

Be safe.  Stay warm.  And I'll see you on the other side.

My Backyard Today