Monday, June 26, 2006

New items on CafePress for people in recovery

Recently someone suggested to me that some of my photographs would be perfect to be combined with the Serenity Prayer.

Being the curious person that I am I decided to do a little research and discovered that there is artwork around which incorporates the Serenity Prayer but I didn't find the art to be as bold, striking and colourful as some of my images. In quite a number of instances on CafePress I actually found quite a few items which only had the prayer itself - perhaps in a decorative or coloured font but still just the text.

Yesterday I spent time creating quite a lot of items using some images which I think are appropriate. In order to maximise searchability I placed them in two new sections in my CafePress store, the first is simply called 'The Serenity Prayer' the second I have called 'Recovery'. The latter contains a couple of images which have nothing to do with stained glass but which I hope will have meaning to people in, and associated with, recovery.

In a sense wearing a t-shirt with the Serenity Prayer might be viewed as inconsistent with the 'anonymous' part of Alcoholics Anonymous but I feel sure that there are enough members who are proud of their years of sobriety to generate a demand for these products, whether it be something to wear or a decorative tile or fridge magnet.

Depending on the interest that they attract I will probably add to these sections, perhaps including items which incorporate other prayers. Meanwhile one thing that I am consciously doing more of is more of the smaller items such as magnets and buttons. I recently saw quite a few magnets with another photographer's work and they are really quite good. They are printed on metal which encloses the magnet and come in rectangular and round shapes. Whereas I had originally thought not to bother with something which may cost double it's price to ship CafePress have recently improved their shipping terms and one of the options is 4 items for $5.00 which I think may encourage shoppers to look around for 'fillers'.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Mary Magdalene and the Da Vinci Code

The recent resurgence of interest in Mary Magdalene which has resulted from the release of the Da Vinci Code film leads me to post a reminder that we have a set of Frameable Art cards with three different depictions of Mary Magdalene in stained glass. Perhaps not in keeping with the storyline in Dan Brown's book, all three images show Mary at the scene of the Resurrection. In the first she is reaching for Him and (not pictured) there is an angel behind with a scroll saying "touch me not". In the second there is a close-up of her in awe with an angel behind. The third is a design by Edward Burne-Jones for a window by William Morris which depicts Mary mistaking the Risen Jesus for a gardener.

The cards may be purchased as a set here or individually here

Saturday, April 29, 2006

This entry has absolutely nothing to do with stained glass or photography. It is simply to announce the August publication of my first novel.

The book is a contemporary thriller called 'Risk Premium' and it has a plot which I think readers will find to be both relevant and controversial. Chapter 1 may be read in its entirity at the website though I defy anyone to guess the plot of the book from what is online. Also from the website it is possible to place orders both for the standard paperback edition and for a special signed, numbered and limited hard-bound edition.

The book has nothing whatever to do with stained glass and I must caution that it is aimed at an adult audience and contains both sex and violence, though not to excess.

Neil Ralley

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Exciting new fund-raising concept

We have just launched a brand new fund-raising programme

As some of you may know we began to use some of our images to create items for sale on CafePress. Late last year we were successful in helping Christ Episcopal Church in Riverton with their fund-raising by creating sets of ornaments incorporating some images of their stained glass. This coincided with the 150th anniversary of the church.

Impressed by the quality of the ornaments and calendars we decided to develop a programme which we could offer to a large number of churches and this is what we are now launching.

It really is very simple. What we are doing is setting up CafePress shops and accounts for churches which wish to participate. The churches will own the accounts and will be able to control all decisions regarding the items offered for sale, the pricing and the artwork which is used. Any profits generated from sales will be remitted directly to the churches and in addition it will be possible for churches to buy from the shops, in some cases at significant discounts, for their own local sales.

We plan to charge no fees for creating the shops, the way that they are set up enables us to take advantage of CafePress basic accounts which incurr no ongoing fees and there are no purchase commitments which need to be made. It really could not be simpler - it is free to set up, free to run and we have yet to find a downside. If people buy items from these shops then the churches will make money, if no-one buys anything then the only cost is the time we invest in setting up the shops.

The art which can be used to create items can come in many guises. It could be images from our portfolio, it could be pictures or even just scripture provided by the chuerches or perhaps some combination.

The range of items which can be produced is already extensive and is also constantly being added to. The ones which we believe are likely to be most successful and popular choices include ornaments, cards, posters, calendars, tote bags, tiles and tile-boxes but some items of apparel, mugs and bumper stickers may also appeal.

There are 3 distinct possibilities for fund-raising:

1) Online sales to members of participating churches and their friends and families.

2) Online sales to people totally unconnected with the churches who find the shop either via CafePress or our website.

3) Resale of products purchased by the church at church events.

Geography is not necessarily a problem either. Although it is likely that shipping logistics will dictate that it will be primarily of interest to churches in the US it is certainly not out of the question for others in Europe and elsewhere to participate. Even if it is impractical for churches outside the US to purchase their own items it is quite conceivable that they could benefit materially from sales of products incorporating their art which might prove to be highly desirable in the US and elsewhere.

If this is of interest then act quickly because we expect there to be a lot of interest and our resources are limited.