Work light! Create a mobile (almost) paperless office

Obtaining a (almost) paperless office is very simple, it just takes some “outside the box” thinking. As we progress to an all “cloud” world, I made changes to my gear with syncing in mind.
      This idea is great for not only bloggers but those with small businesses. My personal favorite part is that it is light and will not strain your shoulder should you need to move to a new space .
     Having a portable office is essential , to me, as you can even take it with you to conventions or to ‘”finish” up work at the cottage.
      With no further a do, here are some suggested parts for this kit.

1. Tablet
     For writing or business tasks most can be done on via Google Drive and a few social media apps. For offline work, I suggest ensuring the device has an office like program so that you have access to a word processor and excel.
    If you want to do your bookkeeping, either there is excel or one of the many differnt online bookkeeping options. Do your research and I’m sure you will find one that suits your needs.

2. Bluetooth keyboard
      While the integrated screen keyboard is handy, I do prefer to have a little more room for my fingers to move across. This option is great as it virtually turns your tablet into a touchscreen “laptop” of awesomeness.

3. Smart Phone
       There have been a few times that I have not been able to access WiFi and love that I have some data for my phone. If you look online there may even be a way to tether you phone to be a WiFi hot spot to complete your work. Just make sure you have enough data on your plan to avoid extra charges when your next bill comes.
    I use it also to capture thoughts in Google Keep (its similar to Evernote) and at times manage social media while working on a post. 

4. Note book and a 4 in 1 pen
        Personally there are times when the feel of a pen gliding across paper is just needed. I personally use mine to do extra mind mapping to complete tasks that are in progress (along side my Google Keep app on my phone).  Recently I found a 4 in one pen. It has a stylus, black pen, red pen and a 0.5 mechanical pencil. The last three are in the barrel while  the stylus is on the top of the pen. Its super nifty to have around and keeps me from having a pencil case of randomness.

5. Charger cords and/ or charger block
       Luckily for me my Nexus 5, Bluetooth keyboard and tablet all take the same micro USB cord. Keeping it super simple. For times where I can not get to a spot to charge them, I have my charger block. I ensure this is charged a all times and is a great back up option to keep things rolling.

6. Headphones

      To be completely focused on the tasks at hand these really help out. Sometimes I work at a cafe or the library, so now I can still watch videos or listen to a podcast if one comes up during my research.

7. Bag

       Alright mine is just a purse, but this shows how easy it is to tote everything around. With my set up I can even take it on a long road trip and get work done Offline (Montreal in little over a week, yes!). I picked this because its organized, I can see everything when I look in and its me.

These are what I have as part of my office, most things are stored on Google drive or on the 64 GB micro SD card on my tablet. These are just some suggestions to get you started, whether you need an office for promoting your art, blog, shop or even just to finish a paper for school. Its super useful and wont strain your back or shoulder like a huge laptop and accessories (and snacks!).

      What do you have together for your mobile office? 

Why marketing yourself matters: Individuals and small buisnesses


  Marketing should be taught in high school and higher levels of education. We market ourselves when we submit a resume, cover letter or network at a gallery opening. The new system is all about selling yourself. As an artist I was only just learning more about branding myself as the last days passed in University. Over time I have taught myself some skills and  continue to learn.  I wanted to share with you some great points that you should try out and see what fits for your own marketing efforts. These also apply to small businesses but I would suggest researching and creating a plan for all marketing/branding material before starting. This will save you a lot of time should there be a company that has a similar logo design from you. 


1- Be Social

      If you don’t already have a few key social media accounts (Facebook, twitter, G+) then you need them. Being active on these accounts will boost the chance you have to show up in a google search. It also is great material for requiters to get to know you. The point is these are the places to be you, but be professional about it.  So before you post that picture of yourself last night at the bar wasted, think, Do I want potential employers to see this? I didn’t think so. 

2- Start a blog

      This is very important for everyone. Blogging lets you express your ideas and if used right can help show your expertise in your field. The key thing here is to be humble and admit when you don’t know the answer to something. Everyone honours honesty above everything else.  

3- Create Business cards

      I strongly believe that everyone should have this, no matter who you are! How great does it look when you are at a gallery opening or networking event and you exchange cards. Not only will the other party has your contact information, but you can have your blog address on there for them as well! These are important for anytime you meet someone.

4- Get away from your studio/computer

          Getting out and attending gallery openings is a great way to reset and inspire yourself. Although the key to attending gallery openings is to have your cards with you. Being social at these events helps you build your network. If you find someone who works in the same medium as you, having them in your network is invaluable. If you ever run into a problem you can ask them how they solved it. This also applies to small businesses as well. Create your own network to help eachother out. Finding out where to get the best deal on a POS system is hard


5- Be ambitious create a website

       Connect your website to your blog, this comes after starting a blog as it creates a following that would be interested in your page. Your website will be your online home for your portfolio, shop or library of literary works. What ever you decide it to be make sure you submit the url to top search engines to start getting traffic from these sources. 

  Make sure you have a simple design that lets viewers navigate easily, have a few friends check it out and give their honest feedback. 

Secret Teatime:Tea Bowl Making

       In October I went over to Secret Teatime’s studio in Scarborough. I had signed up for their fall Chawan workshop and was eager to try my had my ceramics. We started with an overview of the history of tea ceremony up till present day and covered the shapes of a tea bowl. Helen treated us to seeing her perform
       It was another great Saturday with Secret Teatime. Our group each made a chawan (tea bowl) the first day. Before we met the next Saturday, Helen and Sorlie glazed and fired the works. They were then presented to us during tea ceremony.
      For the first section we had usucha (thin tea). It was very interesting to see the difference between Urasenke and Omotesenke, the latter being what Helen was using. The biggest for me is the “snapping” of the fukusa before folding. The whole style was beautiful and had little intentional sounds that were absent from Urasenke.
        Back to our bowls, I was very pleased with how my chawan turned out with the glaze I choose. I depicted a buddhist flame on the shoumen (front of the bowl) and a fox inside it. I choose these two symbols as I find them together in images from shrines in Japan. Also, Inari’s symbol is a fox. To me these fit together and worked very well as a piece.
       As Sado is a life long learning process and I have been enjoying practice with the new piece. I enjoyed my time at the studio and the company of Helen, and Sorlie.

       If you were to make a chawan what would it look like? Would you use any imagery? There are so many possibilities out there, What would you do? -KAT


Follow me for more @bellmanart  /katherine.bellmanart 

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Goal for 2013 and turning a whole year older

    Life has thrown a lot of great things my way since the end of January. Promotion, the chance to show my work at a huge event (Toronto Tea Festival) and now, what I’m going to call, a “Working-Vacation”.
     Life is all thrown up in the air currently.  I will be going for some management training (yup, I’m a manager, great learning experience right?).
  This is fantastic opportunity for me and my store as a whole (with my fab team of course), although I need to implement some organizational strategies to make things…organized.
     Up till about 2 weeks ago I was using a “At-A-Glance” day planner, then after too many hours on Pintrest I discovered “Home Binders”. These great little organizers to make things… work.
    I took the first step and made my “Personal Planner” which I adore. Come on just look at that great detail of washi tape around it!
    This includes things like Blog organization (ideas, when to post, what point am I in the plan, research needed etc), home binder section (more on that in a moment), Art section (submissions to track, projects, story info, ANYTHING related to the creative process), regular weekly day planner pages with a large month page and addresses.
     Now my home binder is still new, I got this started Friday night. I looked all over the net for free printables and even created my own. After watching athomewithnikki over on YouTube, I was hooked with the idea of having somewhere to plan out my projects (no matter the size). I hate wasting money and I love my projects (home binder being one of them sadly…oops).
    Anyhow. This little guy is tough. Its packed with financial info (cheque tracking, budgeting, expenses etc), cleaning chores, organization & other projects, meal plans and shopping lists. THEN there is the smaller section with everything else, this includes passwords, gift planning, online order tracking, electronics info (I can never remember what ink to buy for my printer), goals, want lists, make-up refill master list (where I got it and how much), coupons and gift cards (I loose these easily so why not keep them all together!)
     My task now is to take on a routine challenge. I have signed up for and I hope to get my “sink shined”. Or at least that’s all I have understood from her so far. She was recommended to my by my mother last year and I passed off the website as BS. I found it again and she encourages a “Control Binder” or “Home Binder”, thus this is why I signed up. She will send tasks for each day of little reminders. This is to reinforce routines, make new ones and just keep things as they should be. If I can get this all together sooner than latter the better.

     Okay, back to something art related……
Before I created both of these binders I made this bad boy. It’s my art journal. I was getting frustrated that I could never find the note I needed or a past artist statement I wanted to refer to. Now everything has a home. I even have space to house suppliers info, galleries, inspiration etc. Its really handy. I used the same Martha Stuart inserts I have used for my other binders (I have one for Tea Guild of Canada as well…I’m OCD it seems…). They are very easy to change to something else, I have pockets for everything that I need as well. Check it out. Staples sells her line, right now a few of her things are on sale. Quite a steal right now.
     I’m hoping to get more work done before, during and after going for my “Working-Vacation”, but please give me time.  I am also working to move my website to a possible WordPress platform. I just need to figure out how to use it prior to switching.

"Shen Nong"- In process

      After applying a few layers of rice paper I decided to sand part of it away and even get it wet to help with the process. I wore a mask as I had an asthma attack a few days earlier, it helped to an extent. Once I got really into sanding parts of it away I got a little winded.

I left it propped up against the wall over night, and came back after work… the cats had used it as a scratching post!!! I have been cleaning up the studio today and will take some pictures of the result they created.

       Pride is just around the corner I can’t wait to see some old friends who have been away for a while. I will be posting about different aspects which relate to my practice and have them linked to the “Studio Research” page which is on the right. I hope to have a collection so I have a better understanding of what I do and like. I have posted a list of ones I want to do at this point in time, but I hope this list will grow. Many of them may help others and I hope they do. This is the second part of my reason for doing this.  Please look forward to these posts~