How it Grows

Author Archives: Heather Keew

Learning Product Photography

Photographing products, such as art, can be a tricky process. I admire beautiful professional photography. But as many of us do not have endless funds to hire a photographer or purchase the most high end camera, it is useful to know a few guidelines. Plus it’s just fun to capture daily life yourself! I’d like to grow into a more journalistic approach, but I’m glad I’ve made a little progress so far!

I’ve found both Tyler Stalman‘s photography utube video and  Indie Craft Parade’s blog post helpful. These are just a few basics I’ve learned.

1. Good lighting: I prefer to shoot in natural light on an overcast day. This kind of light will not create harsh shadows that hide parts of the piece. It is naturally diffused (it won’t usually create a bright hot-spot). A home-made light box might also be a good time-investment if you often shoot small pieces.

2. Simple background: I’ve collected a basket of large rolls of paper that I can roll out on the ground when shooting straight down, or tape on the wall and draped a few feet onto the floor for a non distracting background. Many other simple backgrounds work too, such as a hardwood floor or tablecloth. I believe blog followers and magazine readers appreciate a journalistic approach as well, which captures the product in a natural environment with a few accompanying objects.

3. Basic editing program: If you take your time getting the best photograph with your camera first, your editing will hopefully be minimal. Adobe Photoshop and iphoto are great editing tools none-the-less. Find out what works for you. iphoto will do alot. You can straighten a crooked photo, crop, adjust lighting and color, and even add a few filters if you’d like. In photoshop  you can eliminate problems that might detract from your product like the corner of a laptop that snuck into the shot or dust on your camera lens.These are fixed with the Clone and Spot Healing tool. You can also select specific areas of the photo that are off (too dark or too blue), and correct them with Dodging/Burning or with the many Image Adjustment tools.

4. Trick for photographing art under glass:  If you can, avoid it! In other words, photograph your piece before you frame it. But if you are unable to, a simple trick might help you out. The problem you’ll come across is that the glass reflects everything: the sky, you, the edge of your roof. . . ). You will need a large white board or white paper/fabric over a stiff frame. In a pinch, I used an old large mat board and taped scraps of paper to it. (Very jimmy rigged, but my nice overcast light was about to turn into rain!) I poked a hole into the center of the contraption and positioned my camera lens at the hole. I could then photograph the piece with nothing reflected but plain white paper. In essence, you cannot see any reflections. Super! I’m embarrassed to post this as an example, but it give you an idea of the white paper idea and the shot you might get from it.

My goal is to sell online this year. Sadly, I’ve not posted on etsy yet, so my store sits empty. But I’ve been busily photographing recent pieces, retouching photos, and researching the etsy posting process. It’s time to show you where I am so far.

Get out and snap some photos!


Upcoming Indie Craft Parade

Looking for Christmas presents yet? Well. . . even if it’s a little early, you won’t want to miss this event. 75+ artists and craftsmens will be displaying fabulous work at Indie Craft Parade in Greenville, SC!

Even though Paul and I moved to Virginia this summer, I am grateful to be participating again this year.

We will be thrilled to see our Greenville friends at the show. So please stop by! New Virginia friends, if you are not able to come, you are still invited to browse the list of venders on Indie’s website and make a shopping list to send with us.  No joke. Or you can contact artists directly. I already have a little list in mind, like handmade soap from my former music teacher’s company, The Herb Garden, and jewelry from 17 Dove Street.

I used to do a lot of drawing and painting in college. . . but somehow it got pushed out while I was exploring fiber art. Sad. But, it’s making a comeback in my repertoire, alongside more fiber art!  It has been fun, though work sometimes, making these past few weeks. So take a look.  Some of these are in process. The Creator has so many fantastic ideas. . . I tried to highlight a few with my pieces.


If you remember to bring a note pad (ok–or an ipad), you will probably walk away with ideas for your own creative ventures in addition to your new treasures.

Hope to see you there!


I’ve inherited a parade of flowers in my Virginia Beach yard this summer! Several new ones surprised me this week. I’m taking as many pictures as I can with the hopes of painting a few!

. . . just hope I can keep them alive and coming back next year!

Makers Summit

This post is far past due. . . but I would still like to share my experience. (And life has just been happening too fast for me recently to reflect with posts).

February 2nd Greenville hosted it’s first “Makers Summit” organized by Erin Godbey, Elizabeth Ramos, and Jenny Moroe. This was a waterfall of helpful information in a delightful presentation! I couldn’t have been more thankful that I attended.

I love making art and craft, but am a beginner to marketing and developing a community for my art and inspiration. The Makers Summit gave me courage to think big about my business goals, and showed me very practical steps for achieving them.

our lecture hall was located at Zen

The attendees were able to listen and interact with many experienced individuals. Stephen Fraser, founder of Spoonflower; Kimm Alfonso, manager for etsy community outreach teams, and Grace Kang, president of Retail Recipes gave stories and tips from their personal experiences and expertise.

We were allowed ten-minute personal interviews with three experts in specific areas of art & craft business. I learned about budgeting and taxes. What a good idea to have a separate checking account for my business. I can then tract my expenses easily for tax deduction, and see if I am making any profit! I also talked to one expert about branding and logos. Now . . . it seems obvious that the artist/maker IS the brand! People want to know the thoughts and personality of the maker. That becomes the personality of the brand rather than starting with a  logo or  particular look. One expert talked about approaching shop owners and editors about products! Most gallerists and editors are very busy people. Therefore it is considerate to first approach them with an email introduction and short pitch of the product including a large photo of the product. All of the experts there were good listeners and eager to help direct us.

group discussions let us ask questions of our peers

There was amble time to mingle with fellow artists, designers, and crafters in-between lectures, group discussions, and panels. We also enjoyed a delicious lunch and coffee break.


So. . . now it’s time for me to put this into practice! . . . and time for you to plan to attend the next one!

Indie Craft Parade Holiday Fair in 2 weeks!

I’m furiously crafting felt ornaments and jewelry at this moment, so my house is strewn with fuzzy bits of wool, thread, sketchbooks, water basins, and baskets of yarn and fabric! A seemingly chaotic, but none the less orderly production. Oh- just remembered I left some little felt covered rocks on the deck. I’m sure the sun dried them thoroughly by now, since it’s just turned dark. I’m excited to make them into necklaces tonight. I’ll also be showing some pieces left from the Fall show as well as some new hanging pieces combining fiber and drawing/painting. Hope you enjoy the preview and stop by on December 1st!

Saturday, December 1st, 10am-5pm

Artisan Traders at 1274 Pendleton St, Greenville, SC

Can fall be more beautiful?

I wish I lived in a tree house during the fall- can’t get enough of creation!

a Family Production (display booth)

A week or so before the Indie Craft Parade the art pieces were just about finished and . . . oh! I need a booth display! I got some ideas from former craft fair displays and started sketching and planning. Here’s a few ideas I came up with at the beginning.

I come from a family of carpenters, so, when I need shelving and back drops for my booth . . . guess who gets roped into the job? Dad, by brother, and my husband.

And the finished product!


Felting process for Indie Craft Parade pieces

So- this is it. The magical process of felting. This most ancient of textiles originated in Asia and Europe. It is still integral to the lives of Asian nomads, since it provides them with both clothing and shelter.

My creations are not integral to my survival, but still let me explore the wonderful sculptural and decorative qualities the nomads employ as well. Though wool (mostly from sheep) is soft and pulls apart easily, felted wool can become an amazingly strong textile in a relatively short period of time. Combine warm water, a fat (or soap), and pressure/friction to layers of wool and it will shrink down or around an object until it is so tightly interlocked that I have to use scissors to take the fibers apart! Pretty fascinating!

These pieces are beginnings of some wall hangings I’m doing for the Indie Craft Parade, which opens two weeks from today!

Here is a sneak peek of my show work:



Glad to be back

Yes- it has been 2 years since I’ve blogged! Since then I have married Paul Keew and been spending my time learning to be a wife and enjoying many new family members and friends. I’ve found “house-y” things can be mundane sometime, but also full of creative possibilities- so, though I didn’t give up on making art, a lot of attention went to figuring out cooking, decorating, entertaining, and loving my husband. I’m enthusiastic about blogging again, especially since Paul also has a blog and can help me navigate it’s workings. (I’m not very tech savvy). I hope to post mostly about art, but might throw in some recipes or other odds and ends when I get too excited.

Fun at Indie Craft Parade!

Thank you to all who came out to the craft parade today and yesterday! I hope it was very enjoyable- (I know I had fun meeting so many people and seeing beautiful art everywhere). It was a great communal effort.


I will have photos soon of some pieces from the show. Keep checking back!

My wonderfully supportive fiance made my creative banner