Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The rings have landed...

Yeah! I just listed the first of my new rings in my Etsy shop. I am so thrilled with these rings and the feedback from everyone has been excellent. I have been wearing one for the past two weeks and it is so comfortable and durable and (best of all) it gets attention like you wouldn't believe. :) The two rings pictured are sized 7 (purple) and 6 (green) and I have many more sizes in many amazing colors so stayed tuned.

If you would like to follow the creative journey of these rings read here and here.

Mass production

The past few days have been spent producing, producing, producing. The warm weather brings busy times for me with shows and the market so I need to have a massive stock built up. Not that I don't already have a massive stock. I do. You would think I lived through the Great Depression with the way I hoard my jewelry, always worried that I won't have enough when the time is right. But even with my obsessive stockpiling I occasionally do run low on certain forms and then the panic begins all over again.

Here is a little peak into my work world. Last week I posted a photo of some molds I had just made. Someone made a comment that they didn't realize that I made my own molds so I thought I would take a moment to explain my process a little. With the exception of just a few I make all of my own molds from objects I have been collecting for years. I have found that it is really the only way to stay fresh and original and (hopefully) make it a little harder for the copycats to duplicate. You can't stop people from copying your style (unfortunately, it does happen) but you can make it difficult for them to copy your designs (though that happens as well).

After the molds are made I hand press porcelain clay into them, one at a time. After that comes the drying, the refining, the first firing, the glazing, the final firing and then the assembling.

Today I will do more of the same. I made 47 new molds a few days ago and I can't wait to bring those new designs to life!

Monday, April 28, 2008

What kind of sale??

This past Saturday the studio where I work as an assistant participated in an Earth Day festival. I was not able to attend since I was up in Syracuse at the Farmers' Market but I was told it was a great success. There were raku firings all day long, a tent where kids could play and get messy with clay and we also sold a lot of pottery to help pay for our new super fancy (and lightweight) kiln shelves. When I pulled into the studio early Sunday morning I was greeted by the above sign made by my good friend Dani. I guess I missed quite a party!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Business card attention deficit

I had some new business cards printed up this week and I am just thrilled with them! For now. When comes to my cards I tend to get bored pretty quickly. Thankfully I go through them at a brisk pace so I change them up every time I reorder. This time around I went with bright turquoise with black lettering (as you can see). Since I give out so many cards each week I try to keep my cost down by having them printed locally. I have tired several online sources but was never truly happy with the quality and price (after shipping it is rarely a great deal). I know many people who use Mini Moo cards as their business card but this, too, is not very economical if you dole out a high volume. But they are so darn cute, aren't they? So I have appeased my need for Moo by having mini text cards printed with information about my working process on the back. I give these out with each purchase and I have found that my customers really enjoy having a little bit of information about me and my work to keep with their piece of jewelry.

And that is my business card story. Thank you.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Is Bust a bust? Pet peeve of the day...

For the most part I try to keep my blog on a positive note. There are certainly days when I would love to write a scathing, whining, bitchy post about any number of irritants that I encounter from time to time - and I think today is just that kind of day.

Today's pet peeve comes to you courtesy of the Bust Craftacular Spring Fling craft show. Several months ago Etsy made the announcement of a call for entries for this show. I applied and waited patiently for the email notification that was sent on April 1st. I didn't make it into the show. That was just fine, really. It is a very small show, just 50 vendors, and I am certain they received hundreds of applications, especially after Etsy made the announcement. The fact that I didn't get in didn't ruin my day at all, but I was curious to see who did make it.

Today I looked up the website and discovered that a vendor list had been posted. I started to click on the various vendors and suddenly a pattern emerged. One vendor was from Brooklyn, then another, then another... Brooklyn, Brooklyn, NYC, Brooklyn, Brooklyn, Brooklyn, Brooklyn... you get the point. Now, don't get me wrong, not everyone is from Brooklyn or the NYC area - just MOST of them. I realize that this is a Brooklyn based show so it stands to reason that many applicants would be from that area. However, I know with much certainty that many, many talented artists from all over the country applied and were turned down. Now, those familiar with Etsy are used to seeing Brooklyn based artists featured prominently as "Featured Sellers," in the gift guides and in the Storque. That aspect of Esty lost its charm a while ago and it is disheartening, to say the least, to see this type of favoritism carried over into the Bust show. Yes, this is my opinion, and yes, it could just be one big coincidence that the most talented artisans in the country happen to live in Brooklyn (coughs), OR it could be that the majority of the 50 spots in this show were already filled with crafty friends and the good folks at Bust decided to collect thousands of dollars in application fees from unsuspecting artists anyway.

Some food for thought...

Shop update - a new series in the works

How funny is this clown necklace, I ask you? OK, perhaps some of you find it a little scary. I know that clowns have that power, but not his one. He is happy and harmless and the first in a series of new necklaces I am working on.

A few months ago I spent an afternoon in the studio playing around with textures and stamping clay with some vintage rings from my collection. The clown is a ring I have had for years - who knew he would inspire such a goofy necklace?

I also finished the earrings that are shown in my last blog. I paired them with handwrought oxidized sterling silver earwires and the contrast is just lovely.

Both of these items can be found in my Etsy shop. :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Back in the swing...

It's been a while since I have been here, I know. The past week was a little on the stressful side with continuing illness, continuing ex-husbandness and just a general feeling of being run down and run over. However, today I was back in the studio and though I didn't get as much done as I would have liked I did managed to unload a kiln and find these little pretties (above). The bright green with yellow glaze combo is a spring and summer favorite so I am trying to stock up a bit. (click on the photo for an amazing close-up!)

Then I made a pile of molds I have been putting off for some time. I am always anxious to have new designs and yet I procrastinate when it comes to making the molds. I don't know why, really, it is so easy and goes quickly. I guess it is too easy. If it requires a code to be cracked, a rocket scientist and keys that need to be turned simultaneously then I am all over it, but give me an easy job and I would rather take a nap. :)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ring around the blackberry brandy - part 2

When I first wrote about these porcelain rings I was newly sick and thinking that it would pass just like all other colds. Well, several weeks have gone by and I am still ill. This isn't just a cold. It is a cold from hell. So, the blackberry brandy is still my friend. My other close friends include my bed, episodes of Upstairs Downstairs (season 1 &2 - I neeeed season 3!), occasional chocolate and blackberry brandy's first cousin, ginger brandy. No, I haven't been drunk for the past three weeks. At least as far as I can remember. ;)

Anyhoo, I have managed to keep working, though not at my usual pace. These three rings are the first I have glazed and I am pretty thrilled with how they turned out. I had to really think about how I was going to glaze them the way I wanted without fusing them to the kiln shelf. I was determined to have them completely covered in glaze, inside and out, so I had to build a custom stilt to set them on, and hooray!, it worked like a dream. They feel awesome - so smooth and having the inside glazed makes them slide over the finger like butter! I glazed three more today and once I make several more stilts I will be able to up the production to my usual high volume. I can't wait!

Saturday at the market

Yesterday was a great day at the Farmers' Market. The weather was marvelous, the produce and plants were beautiful and the overall vibe was up and positive. The warmer months at the market are so much fun it hardly feels like work. And as we are getting to know more and more of the vendors it is taking on a whole new feeling of community.

I spent my time selling my jewelry, snacking on delicious hydroponic microgreens (above) and local NY state cheese curds and visiting with friends and fellow vendors who are back for the Spring season. My new table cloths worked like a dream and gave my set-up a much lighter feel. Setting up for a Farmers' Market is a little different than for a show or festival. The set-up needs to be quick and easy and it is a bit less formal. I made a sage green burlap skirt to run the perimeter of each table that attaches with Velcro and then I threw a natural linen-like fabric on top - a very quick and easy procedure and the jewelry looks great against it.

Friday, April 11, 2008

100 day cough...

I am on day 18 of this 100 day cough. My ribs hurt.

Today my friend Ken and I went to the fabric store and picked out some lovely new fabrics for my display tables. I have been sewing all night in an effort to be ready for the Farmers' Market tomorrow morning. I am done. Well, all but the ironing. I think I will forgo the ironing. I need to wake up at 4:00am. Somehow wrinkly table cloths don't seem to be that important right now.

The silly photo above is from yesterday's Self Portrait Thursday. I am dreaming of a way to bring my Pee-Wee Herman dolls to life. An army of Pee Wees could fight any battle and win.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Fresh Shop Items

I put some new pieces in my Etsy shop today. Nice bright colors in honor of Spring! Jewelry-wearing season is upon us! (I actually uncovered my neck today for the first time since November!)

I am especially excited about this new rabbit bracelet. I made this bunny mold some time ago and never came up with a good design in which to incorporate it but these copper vintage bracelets work perfectly!

Check out the shop and if you make a purchase and mention this blog post I'll give you %15 off your total purchase. Woo-hoo! (just don't pay until I send you a revised invoice)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Vintage Loveliness

I thought today was a good day to look at some beautiful images from the past (don't forget to click for the close-up). Perhaps it is just the romantic in me but it seems that people paid more attention to looking nice in the past. Then again, we are only seeing one moment in their lives. Maybe the rest of the time they laid around in sweatpants and a t-shirt. Hmm... Somehow I doubt that.

I believe that the woman pictured above and below are one and the same. I purchased both photos at the same time and when I got home and had a closer look I realized that they are of the same woman, she is perhaps just a little older in the photo below.

The photo below depicts such an idyllic scene. There are roads not far from where I live that look like this in the Summer. Perhaps it was taken in this part of New York? I guess it could be any number of places but it is fun to imagine that I could look upon the same scene 100 years later.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Cropping color...

Have you ever been in a creative slump only to realize that something new and fresh had been sitting right in front of you all along? This happens to me on a regular basis when it comes to glazing. I tend to stick to the same glaze combinations and colors for several reasons: 1. They are consistent sellers. 2. I like them. 3. They are reliable (in the world of glazing reliable isn't always reliable).

For years I have looked at a glaze called Metallic Black. I have glazed larger pieces with it - not impressed. I have watched my studio mates glaze gorgeous works in this glaze - not impressed. For some reason it seems to fall flat when used alone on larger pieces and that has been the impression that has stayed with me and caused me to avoid using it on my jewelry. Silly me!

As odd as it may sound sometimes I need to "crop" colors in order to see them in a different way. If you have ever taken a drawing class perhaps you have made a "window" out of paper. This window allows you to see only part of a whole and that focus enables you to see details that normally you would never notice. The same can be done with color.

After looking at a tray I had glazed in metallic black I started to notice that certain areas of the piece were really quite beautiful. The nature of the glaze is to vary between shiny and matte. It is this juxtaposition that creates visual texture without necessarily being tactile. In plain English, this is just what I was looking for!

So I glazed a handful of pieces and was thrilled with the results. On a smaller scale the metallic black glaze looked like polished stone. It had the matte and shiny finish I had spotted on the larger piece but it showed a warmer, bronze color breaking through on the edges - something that was never visible on a larger scale.

Contrary to my usual belief of seeing the whole picture this experiment showed me that sometimes it is better to see only a little. :)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Sick day

I have been sick for what feels like 80 years now and it is really starting to get on my nerves. I made myself get out today (more like I had to get out to do some shipping and banking) and now I need a nap.

However, before the nap I thought I would share with you my bag stamping project. As many of you know I sell weekly at a farmers' market and I do larger shows from time to time. One of the many necessities to have on hand is bags and I like to customize mine with some simple rubber stamps.

Uline carries these great, inexpensive paper bags in both white and craft. They provide the perfect backdrop for whatever your creative heart desires. I tend to get bored with a design quickly so I only stamp up a small amount at a time in case I decide I want something different the next time. Fast, inexpensive and personalized - a great low energy sick day project. :)