Wednesday, February 27, 2008

FINALLY... (New work)

Wow, it seriously feels like it has taken me forever to finish some new work. (I highly recommend NOT getting sick in the middle of a project.)

This pendant was a lot of fun to create. It may not be drastically different from my previous work, but it definitely helped break me out of my routine. I've been working in squares and rectangles a lot in the past. They're easy to cut, easy to file, etc. And, although I've been able to work in some fun squiggles, I've gotten bored with the forms I'd worked with before and I've been itching to break out of the boundaries of square.

I was also working on another piece (the cloud shape with the green leaves) that I had planned to finish up and post here as well. But, after wearing it out the other night, I began to feel that it fell a bit flat from what I had wanted to create. And since I'm trying to nail down the pieces that will go in my catalog, I wanted to give myself the opportunity to tweak it as needed before posting it online.

But, the pendant above I am very happy with. And definitely plan to include in my catalog (which I hope to finish up in March).

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Crafts Report

Over the last several years, I have picked up the occassional issue of The Crafts Report on newstands. It's a great magazine for the field that I'm in and I appreciate the way they pass on knowledge from the more experienced folks.

A few weeks ago, I finally ponied up for a subscription - and I'm really glad I did. I got my first issue yesterday. I was hoping my subscription would start with the February issue, since the cover story is about selling wholesale and this is a big consideration for me right now. But, the subscription started with the March issue, so I just ordered a back copy of the February issue.

I'm hoping that it'll give me some good insight and really help me move forward in being a "real" business.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Taking another look back...

Between a never-ending cold and working like crazy for an event for my day job (that was last night), I haven't even touched any jewelry work. It's amazing how time just disappears sometimes. So, I thought I'd post another pic of some work I did when I was taking metalsmithing classes. The project was to make a belt buckle. But, as with most art classes, that could be interpreted however we chose. I chose to look at the tension between nature and modern civilization.

The quote is from one of my favorite books, a sort of collection of philosophical essays about nature and our connection with it. The sun is made out of an old brass gear from a clock.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Piecing it together

After the soldering and the filing and the sanding... after drilling holes and adding the patina... I finally get to sit down for the really fun part... adding in the natural materials.

It's sort of controlled chaos. I start with big piles of leaves and twigs and whatever it is that I want to incorporate. And I slowly start breaking the big pieces into littler, more usable pieces... which I can then start piecing into the pendant, in my own sort of collage style.

When they're all pieced together and I'm happy with the way they look, I'll let them sit for several hours, until the glue dries, before adding the shellac and sealing everything in place. Then there'll be just a few final touches before they're done and ready to be worn.

Friday, February 15, 2008


Muddling through my least favorite part of owning my own business... taxes.

But, seeing as how I've been fighting a cold and can't focus on what I want to focus on, I'm getting it over with.

This is definitely the last year I do my taxes myself.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Breaking in a new tool...

Today, I was inspired to light up my torch and test out my new soldering tripod. I've been soldering over just a lowly little brick for the past year or so - and it just isn't cutting it anymore. (I came to this conclusion a month or so ago when I accidentally dropped the piece I was working on while trying to move it enough to get the flame underneath - and scorched a hole in the linoleum floor.) So, I finally splurged and dropped the $16.30 for the tripod. Below, my new soldering set-up.

The tripod is definitely an improvement. Since I'm soldering on a bathroom counter, the tripod creates enough height that I don't have to hunch over anymore. Hooray! (And no more running the risk of dropping hot pieces of metal on the floor.) Below, a close-up of the piece I'm working on. I love the way the flux turns such bright and interesting colors the more you heat it.

I have a few new pieces that I'm experimenting with that I hope to finish up this week. Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Wholesale vs. Consignment vs. Direct to Buyer

This is one of the big questions that's haunting me right now... Do I set myself up to sell my jewelry wholesale to a shop owner? Do I continue to accept consignment opportunities? Or do I forego all this messiness and decide that I will sell only direct to buyer?

The wholesale and consignment options obviously allow me wider selling opportunities. I'm not going to run out in the next few months and open my own brick-and-mortar store. So, offering my jewelry on wholesale and/or consignment terms means that I can have my jewelry in shops (potentially) around the world. It also means that I need to take a long, hard look at my prices. If I price a piece of jewelry at $100 retail, I better be able to make said piece in under an hour to make any profit. Of everything that I'm currently making, nothing meets that requirement.

Selling direct to buyer is a lovely, romantic idea. Being out on the road selling at different markets, cutting out the middle man (or woman), having the direct contact with the person who will be wearing or gifting my handiwork. I love this idea. I also love that I would get to keep 100% of the retail price. But, it cuts out a fair number of selling opportunities and possibilities. Which might make it harder to make a decent, full-time living as a jewelry maker. Not to mention that I'd have to start hustling a LOT more.

Unfortunately, there's nothing cut-and-dry about this decision. I don't necessarily have to choose one or the other, but I do think that I need to know which way I'm leaning before I just blindly wander into something. How would you decide?

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Images of a Productive Saturday

Since I also hold down a full-time job during the week, Saturday is my day to focus solely on my jewelry and all those other little things that make life interesting. And today proved to be an especially productive working day...

Plus, I hit the jackpot in finding piles of beautiful branches that had blown down recently (although I had to fight a squirrel for the seed pods)...

Friday, February 1, 2008

Taking a look back...

Since I'm not moving as quickly as I'd hoped in getting new work posted here, I thought I'd post a photo of one of my favorite pieces from a few years ago...

Happy weekend.