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"How can I share my creative work in wood?"
Will Hunt produces beautiful, artistic pieces that would elevate any coffee table or mantlepiece. He revels in the detail of realistic, wooden sculptures, such as leaves and horses. His current projects include turning local wood into elegant bowls and carving vase-like sculpures. He's happiest making things in his workshop.
Will isn't a salesman. He's doesn't want to do marketing.
In our experience, most creative people don't like self-promotion or selling. Artists and artisans don't feel the need to shout about their work. They'd rather their work speak for itself.
But unless you have an audience who know about you and your artistic work, you're unlikely to make many sales. So I convinced Mr Hunt (who also happens to be my husband!) that social media would be an effective means of sharing his new work, generating awareness of his art and sculpture, as well as genuine interest in his creative talents.
Since William's portfolio isn't yet large enough to require a full website - although that's already in the planning stages - the informal nature of Facebook and Twitter allow him to share his projects and tell their story. Facebook and Twitter are two social media channels that lend themselves perfectly to stunning photography, conversational updates and news-bites. Even someone who doesn't particularly like doing sales or marketing can have fun with them.
Our response? Social media management focused on two channels.
Since Will already uses Facebook, it was an obvious first choice. He did have a Twitter account, but wasn't really doing anything with it. So we agreed that a separate Twitter account called @SculptureHunt would be a suitable companion to a new Facebook Business Page. His Klout score is already 48 within just a few weeks, due to the level of engagement we're seeing.
Recently he'd had some professional photographs taken of his first, favourite wooden sculptures and bowls. These beautiful images provided some elegant content right from the start. I recommended only sharing a few photos to start with, to see how they fared. Once we were sure the style was right, we'd commission more photos.
Wood is full of patience and depth. Think of the number of years it takes for a tree to grow. Then you have to wait for it to season before you can carve or turn it. Then the hours of sanding and finishing it. You can't hurry art like this. There's that warm satisfaction of knowing that nobody has a piece of art like yours. This isn't a commodity item. It's ingrained with history and uniqueness.
The first wooden bowl is sold on Facebook on Day 1
On the first day of setting up Will's Facebook business page, he sold a bowl to a customer in Ireland. The response to his work has been warm and motivating. Facebook fans have engaged with photos of the wood in all its stages: felled, drying, turned and carved. William is also interested in the history of trees, so shares fun facts and photos about them.
We use the tag #WoodLife when posting his work on Twitter and Facebook. Also, we think it's great to use local wood wherever possible. We've been lucky enough to receive a donation of felled eucalyptus only today from BCA, our local Berkshire college of Higher Education. BCA is keen to support local artisans, and we're pleased to be making use of wood that would otherwise been thrown to the chain saws.
What's next for Will Hunt ~ Sculptor?
Will has two dozen bowls roughed out and drying out right now. In a couple of months they'll be ready for turning. He's also working on a number of hand sculptures, which he may decide to have reproduced in bronze. His attendance at life drawing classes in Henley has also inspired him to work on a bust. And there are plenty more projects in the making. If you love nature, trees and outdoor life, I think you'll enjoy seeing his artistic creations on his Facebook page, William Hunt Sculptor.
Will has recently launched a new website to share his indoor sculptures, made from wood and plaster of Paris.