Friday, October 30, 2009

Special Order info and whatnot

November is almost here, I can't believe it! In a way I am happy about it - it means that Spring is that much closer (it's never too early to long for Spring, is it?). It also means that I have a lot of work ahead of me for the holiday season. I have lots of shows in November and going into December so it's time to really get my rear in gear.

So that brings me to the topic of Special/Custom Orders. If you were thinking "Gee, I would really like to have the old Round Rabbit make me that awesome pair of earrings but in a different color for Christmas" then NOW is the time to ask the old Rabbit. This also goes for my RoundRabbitExtra shop. I won't be updating that shop too incredibly much during this season, because I have to focus on the jewelry, but if there are any components that you wanted for use in your own lovely creations for the holidays then it would be a good idea to make those requests now. (Incidentally, I haven't checked that account in a while so if you have sent me any convos and I haven't responded fear not! I will be doing some work in there this weekend and will attend to your every wish! I also realize that I am super slacking in the etched copper area and that there are some of you who have been patiently waiting for a zillion years - I will try to get on the etching train this weekend as well:)

I will also tell you that I will be taking many of the pieces you see in my shop with me to my shows this season. So that means that if there is something you have had your eye on for a while it might be a good idea to snatch it up now or at least let me know and I will hold it for you. Many things in the shop are one-of-a-kinds so I encourage you to stake your claim before they are gone. Cause that would be sad. And I don't want you to be sad. :(

And to those waiting at this very moment for their special orders - I am wrapping them all up today and will contact you just as soon as I have photographed everything. So there.Ta-da! :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Piccadilly

Somehow a week has zipped by without me bloggity-blog-blogging. Huh. Not really sure how that happened. I did make a quick little trip down to Long Island to celebrate my grandparent's 65 anniversary (Happy Anniversary Grandma and Papa!) so I will blame it on that. :)

Above is the first pair of earrings made with molds I made from a few London trip buttons. I call them Piccadilly. There will be many variations on this design - some single dangles in different sizes, some on hoops, some posts... you get the idea. I really like this two part pair in the two different glazes. It's different for me. They have a distinctive medieval/middle ages look which makes me very happy. And best of all they remind me of my trip with L. :)

This is another new design which I haven't named yet. Any suggestions? Again, they have a very Old World feel to them. I'm really diggin' that feeling these days. (Incidentally, the button that I made this mold from dates to the 1830s! I just love that:)

This third new design is called Shell Drops (I was really low on inspiration when I came up with that name). They are glazed in my favorite Autumn Harvest glaze combo of brown and blues. Pretty, eh?

Monday, October 19, 2009

A cuteness interlude

(photo by kimberlyann207)

Thanks so much to everyone for your overwhelming support regarding my post from yesterday. I try to keep quiet when it comes to the topic of copying (unless you see me on a regular basis and then you get to hear about it all the freaking time:) but now and then I need to vent a bit. I can't really imagine if my open letter will have any impact on what this person, or other would-be copiers, will do in the future, but I did feel better after putting it out there.

For today I think we should all look at cute baby bunnies and be happy. I saw this photo on Flickr and just melted. See? Bunnies DO make everything better! And for those who have asked about my pile of bunnies - they are doing great! Petey and Laurel are completely in love with each other and spend all day mushed together like a giant fat fur blob. Finch is still separated from them but they have developed a friendship and all hang out together even though there is a gate between them. I am still hopeful that one day they will all be snuggly together. Emma is upstairs by herself but seems to be having the time of her life running top speed up and down the hallway and exploring closets. She has made herself a nice "nest" surrounded by stuffed animals which she seems to think are real. She grooms them and snuggles with them and seems quite content. She's my studio bunny and keeps me company while I work.
So that's my bunny update. I will take some new photos soon and show you how fat they have all gotten. (I had to put Petey on a diet - he looked like a furry beach ball with bunny ears:)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

An open letter to my latest copycat

Dear L,

Some months ago my attention was drawn to you by several of my loyal and oh-so-perceptive customers who felt that your ceramic jewelry work was just a little too close-for-comfort-looking-way-too-much-like-mine. I was already aware of you, as I am of all people who feel the need to copy my work (I see everything), but the fact that others were able to pinpoint the copycat made me pay even more attention to you. Since that time you have copied much of my style and many of my designs. You have also branched out and copied the work of other ceramic jewelry artists. You photograph your work on one of the same backgrounds that I used to use (you can have it, I am done with it). You even give your work similar names and use similar descriptions in your Etsy listings. Basically what it comes down to is that you seem to have no imagination of your own.

Now I realize that sometimes people unconsciously make things that look very much like other artist's work. What you are doing is NOT unconscious. In fact, it seems to be rather calculated and without a conscious. You sell blatant copies of other people's work at shows, passing them off as your own (you seem to be under the impression that if you don't list the copies on Etsy that it's OK). Even your booth display and earring cards are copies.

I could rant on and on about ethics, dignity, creativity... I could even give the PC response and say that "I feel sorry for you." But I don't. You know what you are doing and you are doing it without a care in the world. I could also out you right this minute and publish your name, business name and even your address. But I won't. It is absurdly obvious to any and all who see your Etsy shop and (especially) Flickr account where you are getting your ideas from so I will spare you the outright public embarrassment. You have done it to yourself already.

What I will do is offer you a little advice. Work on the quality of your pieces. It's not very good. Rule number one of being a good copycat is to do it well (wasn't that in the handbook?). It's one thing to rip off other's ideas but at least try to do it as well as they do. And you, my dear, have a long way to go. Your pieces are crude and the commercial glazes you use are muddy. Your wire work is amateur at best. You may find that once you turn your focus to improving the quality of your work you may actually develop some ideas of your own. (In your case, probably not, but it was worth a shot.)

Sincerely,
Nancy

Friday, October 16, 2009

Me and Swarovski

I've been invited to be a blogging partner for Artbeads.com! Yay! I love to experiment with new and different materials and see what I can do outside of my usual style. This time around I had my pick of some stunning Swarovski crystal beads and components and let me tell you, it was soooo tough to decided. I had no idea that Swarovski made so many different things from buttons to links to pearls... in the end I settled on some light amethyst round buttons in a variety of sizes.

Using copper wire I strung them together and connected them to one of my porcelain focal pieces. I was going for an antique Edwardian festoon style necklace - like something that would have been worn in the British TV series Upstairs Downstairs (LOVE that series!). The necklace is meant to be worn very short so that all the buttons lay properly and the porcelain piece is nice and high and visible. I can picture this being worn this holiday season with lush velvets and satins. Oo-la-la!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bracelet love

It always takes me a few days to get back in the swing of things after a long show. This particular show, last weekend, was very cold, very damp and one of the days was so windy that I thought my tent would launch into the stratosphere. All in all it was alright. Nothing fantastic but not horrible either. I'm glad to be home, however, and am still trying to warm up.

I have started working on some new bracelet designs and I am a having a lot of fun with them. The first style you can see in progress above and competed below. I'm using a heavy gauge copper wire which is really nice to hammer like a mad freak - gets out all my frustrations. I fashioned the chain after a common style found in the local hardware store. It really lends itself to attaching charms and has very nice movement. The two-piece heart focal moves nicely as well and looks really flattering on the wrist (worn with the bottom of the heart facing down on your hand - it lays like a dream!).


I started this bracelet the weekend I returned from London and only just finished it today. It's rather unusual, I admit, but I can't take it off! It all started with this extraordinary leather ribbon that Lorelei and I found while in London. I was determined to use it in a way that would really show what it was - I wanted the fact that it is leather to be obvious - so I laid it flat in three rows and riveted it between copper sheet with sterling silver.

The central tangle is made of sterling silver wire which I heated just to the point of melting to fuse it together a little. I then made a bunch of twisty ties out of sterling wire with hammered ends. I like how they spin around and look cluttered but add a little design touch with their flat paddle heads.

I wonder if this bracelet phase will consume me like my earring phase did over the past weeks? I am getting a strong sense that it will. I am slave to my whims. Thank god my whims are my idea of a good time. :)

Friday, October 9, 2009

The last outdoor show of the season!

Woo-hoo! I just finished setting up for my last outdoor show of the season (in the rain, no less)! Come on up to the Letchworth Art & Crafts Show & Sale at Letchworth State Park (that's in upstate NY for those of you wondering) and check me out in booth #A23. For those who will be visiting me again this year make a note that this booth location is different from where I was last year. I am now on the completely other side of the show (near where the shuttle bus drops people off).
It looks like the weather will be clear, though a touch chilly, so I'll be bundled to the hilt and drinking hot mint tea until I float. The show runs Saturday through Monday. Be there. If you can. And if you want to. But if not, that's fine too. :)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Necklace swap - part 2

Time for part two of the necklace Round Robin. First up is Alison of Tiny Leaves. Her theme is Autumn Comes Softly. Above is her start and what Lorelei added to it. (Again, I "borrowed" L's photos of the starts.)


Alison said that she didn't mind if we switched her design up a bit, so I did. Just a little. I made it asymmetrical - giving it some nice drapes and drips.


I added a vintage copper tassel (I love these tassels!) to the beautiful emerald green focal rhinestone. I just love the deep green and copper together!


And then I added a few beads - some clear glass rimmed in copper (some of my most favorite beads), and added another chain.

Emanda created a charm necklace with a variety of religious symbols and beads.


She wanted more symbols added to the piece and believe it or not, this kind of stumped me. I had to really think hard about what symbols I might have around or just what constitutes a symbol.


In the end I decided on two hearts - a copper one that I etched and a sterling silver heart made by Mimosa - a cluster of antique mother-of-pearl buttons (meant to symbolize the past), a vintage sterling Iron Cross (from the International Order of King's Daughters and Sons, founded 1886. The IHN stands for In His Name), and a porcelain piece that I made.


Last up is my necklace. My theme is eclectic. My start was pretty shrimpy compared to everyone else so I was thrilled when L told us that we could add to our own pieces once we got them again. So I did.

I loved the additions that Lorelei made - the beautiful ribbon and the fun beaded rings.

I added to the ribbon by wiring off sections, adding jump rings and these cute dangles I made from vintage green glass end caps and freshwater pearls. They look like sweet little flowers! I finished off the ribbon with a vintage mother-of-pearl ring secured with a piece of copper tube that has been crimped.

Then I added one of my porcelain rings to go with the toggle, a bright green blown glass bead and some nice chunky chain. All done for now!

Tomorrow they will be sent to the next participant, Emanda. I can't wait to see what happens to them next!

And the winner is.....

AMANDA of Panda Mae Jewelry!!!!
Congratulations Amanda!
Drop me an email at naneliz2@yahoo.com with your ring size and/or ring preference.
(drawing was conducted via Random.org)

I want to thank everyone who left a comment. I have never had such a good turnout for a giveaway!! Thanks to everyone to blogged about it and spread the word!

There were some great suggestions left in the comments about how to prevent fingers from turning green due to the copper. I haven't tired any of them myself, but I will spread the word to my customers. My rings do have Renaissance Wax on them but I have found that that doesn't do much to prevent going green. But hey, going green is so trendy right now, why not do it literally? ;)

Look for some of these rings to hit my shop sometime next week!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Necklace swap - part 1

As some of you may know I am participating in a necklace round robin with a group of lovely ladies from all over the country. Lorelei is the organizer and was the first to add to each of our necklace "starts" and then they made their way to me. This blog post will feature three of the necklaces and tomorrow I will feature the other half.

First up is Mollie Valente whose theme is Wings. The photo above (which I swiped from L) shows her start and what L added to it. Below shows my additions.

Mollie is going for a super long necklace that can be wrapped around the neck and it looks like we are off to a good start! (though it may weigh 40 pounds by the time it is done:)

I etched a copper disk with a sweet little bird and nestled it in with Lorelei's handmade chain. Then I added a gorgeous stone bead (can't remember what the stone is at the moment) in a blazing amber color. From there I added some chunky copper chain and attached three blue quartz stones.

Next up is Gaea whose theme is A Charmed Life. Above is her start and what L added to it.

This is going to be a fun necklace when it is finished! The colors Gaea chose to start with have sent this necklace in a festive direction.

I added a vintage copper tassel which I gave a nice blue patina to. I also added a fun glittery bead I bought in London and an etched copper heart.

A few of my own porcelain charms completed my part.

And here we have Lorelei. Her theme is Birds. Above shows her start.

This is going to be another weighty one! (Nearly everyone wants a long necklace - we all need to start working on building up our neck muscles!)

Several months ago I purchased this wonderful vintage sterling owl pin from a local antiques shop. I had L in mind when I saw it and this necklace gave me the perfect opportunity to give it to her and have it be a part of the necklace. I wanted her to still be able to wear it as a pin if she felt like it so I took a copper disk, etched it with a sun ray design and drilled two large holes in it. This way the pin fits into the holes and clasps in the back but it can still be taken off and worn alone.

It is attached to the necklace with some simple jump rings. I attached it to one of my porcelain round connectors and a piece of deep purple leather cord that we found in London. I secured the cord with two pieces of copper tube which was hammered flat.

I finished up the necklace with a little ceramic bird and a gorgeous plastic button (both London finds).

Check in tomorrow for the remaining three necklaces! :)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Autumn Harvest




Autumn is my favorite time of year. I've been working on some glazes that reflect the beauty found in nature during its decay and early slumber. I am particularly smitten with the teal/brown combinations. The pair on top may quite possibly be my favorite ever. The colors came out stunning and they look like butterfly wings (totally unintentional)!

In other news, a big thanks to everyone who has left a comment for my ring giveaway! There is still time to participate so feel free to add your comment. :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

A giveaway! And... look what I've been hoarding for 8 months

OK, so I made these rings sometime last February, maybe even in January. I have no idea why I haven't listed them in the shop or shown them to the world in any way. I haven't even brought them out to a show. Well, Lorelei convinced me that it is time so here they are. To make it a real party I am going to have a drawing to give one of these puppies away! Woo-hoo!

As you can see the bands are made of copper. I etched some of them and others I gave a hammered texture to. If you know anything about copper you know that it may turn your finger green. I say may because it doesn't turn everyone's finger green, just some (the chosen ones, I like to think:). This doesn't bother me in the slightest but I realize it might not be everyone's cup of tea. So if you are someone not holding a cup of tea this drawing might not be for you. :)

They are rustic, a bit primitive, even a little crude (it was my very first attempt at soldering) but I love them nonetheless! The sizes range from approximately 6 to 9.5 so this is what I am going to do: the winner (which will be chosen by a random drawing) will tell me what size they want and I will tell them which rings are in that size. Or, you can tell me which ring you like and I will tell you what size it is and perhaps (if you want it bad enough) it will be a size that will fit.


The rules: Just leave me a comment and you will be entered into the drawing. Just one comment per person please. I will choose a winner around noon on Thursday. After that the rings are heading out to my last outdoor show of the season so if you see one you absolutely must have just let me know. :)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Adornment Adored

Before I left for London I was in a mad rush to finish up some pieces for an exhibition at Baltimore Clayworks. The exhibition is called Adornment Adored and it runs from October 3rd - November 6th. I was very honored to be asked to participate in this show as I have been a longtime fan Baltimore Clayworks and all that they do.

Here are three of the 14 pieces that I sent to them. The necklace above features a handforged sterling silver chain that I made. I was pretty excited with the way it came out. It was one of those times when very little planning was involved - I just started and before I knew it I had a chain that I was just smitten with. I will definitely be making this style again (and fine-tuning it a bit).

These two necklace are similar in style. Both are pendants that hang from heavy hand-hammered sterling silver neckrings that I oxidized. The pendants themselves were spruced up with some sterling "branches" which give them an edgier feel. The glaze on the piece above is truly amazing. I had been hoarding this piece away for quite some time. I felt a little sad as I sent it off, knowing that I will never be able to replicate those colors again. (Believe me, I have tired!) I wish my photos were a bit clearer, but I was taking pictures literally minutes before leaving for the airport, and it was dark and rainy and blah, blah blah...

If you happen to live in Baltimore or will be in the area please go and check out the show. I don't think I will be able to make it down to see it myself, unfortunately, but if any of you can make it please(!) send me some photos. I am dying to see how they have displayed everything. :)