Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Arrange whatever pieces come your way.
Virginia Woolf

Okay.  I'm sure that Virginia Woolf wasn't thinking of art show props when she said the above, but it's front and center on my mind right now.  

I love an eclectic look for the jewelry booth.  Lots of layers and textures.  Funky displays.  I'm going for that bohemian look.  It's an expression of who I am - as a person and as an artist.

So I spent an afternoon exploring the local thrift stores and scored, big time.  The wooden display with the shelves will be great for bead embroidery bracelets and brooches.  It turns.  I think I'll either leave it plain or maybe add some gold and purple layers, to spice it up.  I'm thinking the red basket and the silver basket will work well for earring displays.  Bonus - I need a new wastebasket and the silver one is the perfect size.  
The wooden shelf in the front of the picture will be a great necklace display.  Might need to mark a few notches so that jewelry doesn't slide down, but I like the simplicity of using these.  Plus, there were tons of these shelves in the thrift store, most under $2.  The wooden jewelry box is also pretty cool.  Instead of drawers pulling out, they swivel to the side.  Another great display option for bracelets.  I'm thinking I'll put my pearl bracelets here.

The wire racks add some height.  Not sure I'll use these.  A bit modern for my taste, actually.  But I like having them around for an option.  Or to use at a second show.  I have three wire mannequins that I will most likely use.  Love them and they fit well with my current display.
Best of all, the business has a new banner.  So excited to display this.  It's a wonderful mix of my work and Jaynee's.  I think it illustrates what we create wonderfully.
What do you use for props?  Any ideas I can steal/borrow?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sequintastic Craft Fair Blog Hop

Save the date!  November 24th.

Sarah, of Saturday Sequins, is hosting an online Craft Fair Blog Hop.  For the list of contributors, check out her blog.

Sarah does beautiful work with sequins and beads!  (She even shares well.  :)  She and I swapped sequins and cabs.  Just wait 'til you see what we do with these lovelies.)
Some of Sarah's gorgeous work.  Love the mix of texture here.  And the colors.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Artisan Whimsy Cyber Holiday Event

Why buy at the Big Box stores when you can support small businesses and handcrafted artists?  
Here's an opportunity to shop the finest Jewelry Designers of the Holiday season, from home!

As a member of both Etsy and Artisan's Whimsy, I am happy to be involved in the largest Artisan shopping event of the 2012 Holiday season.  Below, you'll find the link for other artists: some are offering discounts in their Etsy shops or online stores, some are offering a give-away of a special item.  (Winners will be chosen individually by blog/shop owners.)

In addition, there are three exciting giveaways placed in shops throughout the participants.  When you find these, follow the directions to claim your prize.

I am offering a 15% discount in my Etsy shop, through December 15th.  Just use coupon code
when you check out.  I'm also including a special gift with every purchase.

On Etsy, search for AWHOLIDAY to find other artists involved in the sale.  Let's make this a huge success - a win for customers, a wind for artists.  After all, artists are some hard-working people!  And wouldn't it be great if art was supported by the community?

AND! Bookmark for Future Artisan Jewelry Shopping Opportunities!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Giving Thanks

Today is the only day I cook.  Really cook, as in the whole meal - the turkey, sage and sausage stuffing, potatoes, veggie (corn or beans), and pies.  A couple of pies.  Aunt Grace's chocolate pie, pumpkin and peach or apple.  Jaynee makes the cranberry goop, 'cause cranberries = yuck.  And she makes the deviled eggs, 'cause Oh My Goodness = delicious.  Oh, and she makes the gravy, too, so I really don't do the WHOLE meal.  (Leave me with my delusions, please.)  So I'm thankful for the oven.  And cooking turkey bags.  And the dressing.  And the pie.  And that I no longer do dishes for 45 people, ala childhood.

Of course, Thanksgiving is about more than the food.  And the football.  It's the day when being grateful takes the forefront for everyone.  (Why does this happen only one day a year?)

This year, I'm grateful for lots. I'm employed at a job I love.  Teaching.  I have two great classes of students, who always teach me while I'm teaching them.  I'm grateful that I'm in a PhD program that will give me the chance to continue teaching.  And really grateful that I have wonderfully supportive advisors (as this is not always the case!).  Next year, I get to teach a history class for the first time. And continue teaching Women's Studies at another college.  Very grateful for the extra income this will bring!

I'm grateful for my family - Jaynee and the cats and Heather, aka the stinky dog, too.  We have a tiny house that's stuffed with lots of beads and books and dust, but most of all, love.  I'm grateful for my blood family and my chosen family.  Looking forward to spending part of this weekend with P & T, visiting from Vegas.  Missing V-squared and Aadi in Dallas, and the C-bus cohort, but comforted by happy T-day memories.

I'm grateful for time to write and bead and study and think (though doing so at 3 a.m. is not optimal to the rest of my day).  I'm glad that I can be creative in all areas of my life.  Whew.  Can't imagine doing work that did not value that.

I'm grateful for you, my readers.  While I'd probably keep on writing and posting without you (cause it's too big a part of my soul not to), I'm so happy for your presence and so honored by your comments and feedback and support.

But, apparently, the thing I am most grateful for in this post is parentheses.  (!)  That said, have a happy day!  Enjoy your life.

Nature Never Says Adieu
Nature opens its door of blessings
Round the year we receive things of our choice
Without uttering a word of appreciation for the dressing
We only think we have paid the price
And never offer thanks to the farmer who raised the crop
In the fields and trees of fruit in the orchard
Keeping us healthy to jump and hop
Animals and poultry in the farms are fostered
For our choice of food and taste of mouth
Flowers in the garden and above the hills
From east to west and north to south
Colors of nature spread beside the gills
Stones like rubies and diamonds hidden in mountains
And wealth of minerals buried at their fountains
All are countless in content and value
Nature is   bounteous and never utters adieu 

Author -Naushaba Perveen Khan

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Can I Wrap That Up For You?

Why do people buy?  In particular, why do people buy jewelry?

In doing an internet search (of course, the font of all knowledge), I found all sorts of theories.

One website suggests that people are motivated by four goals: to be Happy, Healthy, Wealthy and Sexy.  People are motivated by praise or the need for social acceptance.  One's appearance also comes into play.  Jewelry can be an enhancement, a source of bringing out one's smile or eyes or unique point of style. 
Photo from International Gem & Jewelry Show website.

Another website gave 20 reasons for purchases, acknowledging name recognition, niche identity, and/or following a fad.  Well, honestly, I keep waiting for bead embroidery to become the latest rage, but after twenty years of creating, I'm losing hope.  Even though celebrities are currently wearing large statement jewelry, there hasn't been much of a trickle down effect in my conservative hometown.
Love the layers of this Junk Gypsy style.
Why do I buy jewelry, on the rare occasion that I do?  It's to symbolize my uniqueness, my personality - whether that be my fun side, my spiritual side, my rebellious side.  Or I buy jewelry to mark an event in my life - an achievement, a memory.  If I buy jewelry as a gift (a much more frequent occasion), I do so as a token of affection, of love and appreciation.
More from the IG&J website.
As I head into major jewelry shopping season, I'm working to find ways to transfer "why people shop" into sales.  Sometimes, often, it feels very mystifying.  What prompts a sale?  What turns fondling a necklace, trying it on, into "I'll take it." - is there a secret I'm missing that keeps me from making more sales?  Not that I don't make solid sales.  But let's face it.  I'd love to be the next big thing in jewelry.  Wouldn't we all?
So, why not?  Does it come down to marketing?  To being in the right place at the right time?  I've worked hard at my jewelry business for many years.  Have I just not "worked smart?"

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Flower Power

All the spring bulbs are planted! 

I took advantage of likely the last (gorgeous) warm day of fall.  68 degrees.  Windy, but beautiful.
Brodieia. Planted right outside the back door. Hoping these smell as lovely as they look. 
We have about 2000 bulbs planted in the backyard.  But there's always room for more, especially when it's for a good cause.  The Michigan Women's Center and Hall of Fame offered spring bulbs as their yearly fundraiser.  Since I'm all about the women's history AND flowers, this was a perfect opportunity to support two things I love.
Daffodils.  The happiest flower on the planet.  These are double ruffles!  Double the happy.
The fundraiser is run by Flower Power, who returns 50% of every purchase to the fundraising organization.  Win!  I am really impressed with the simplicity of ordering, their customer service (bulbs arrived exactly when promised) and the quality of the bulbs.  If you or your organization are looking for a great fundraiser, check Flower Power out.
Glory of the Snow.  These will be the first to come up this spring.  And I'm told they spread like crazy.  I think they'll look gorgeous mixed with my Johnny Jump-ups.
While I was planting, I thought about how flowers are like beads.  Always different.  Always beautiful.  Always inspiring.  Always something I want to surround myself with.  Always the reward at the end of the winter (or long day of schoolwork/life).
Sweethearts collection.  Tulips and white daffodils - come with every order.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Mistletoe Market

It's the season, folks.  Political ads have been replaced with holiday commercials and the red buckets are jingling in front of stores.

This holiday season, I've signed up for a couple shows.  Today was the first delivery of product - about 100 pieces to the nearby South Haven (MI) Center of the Arts Mistletoe Market.  Earrings, bracelets, and necklaces - most under $25.  Hoping this is a good price point.
I know.  The building doesn't look very Holiday-like here.  Trust me.  It'll be covered in snow in no time.
It's the 26th year of the Mistletoe Market and it showed in the check-in.  So organized!  Labels pre-made and a comprehensive checklist based on an inventory that I mailed in last week.  I so love it when organization happens!

I haven't done a show like this before, so I'm looking forward to seeing how the sales are.  How 40 vendors will fit in the building.  To seeing the Center decorated for Christmas.  And, I'm excited that my jewelry can be in a venue, on display, while I continue working on other projects.

Have you ever done a cooperative show like this?  How well did it work for you?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Bead Soup Party

It's a party!

In honor of the release of Lori Anderson's new book "Bead Soup," Kalmbach Books connected bead stores throughout the country with beaders.  I received a bead soup from Wicks and Stones in Wyandotte, MI.  Here's my lovely soup:
Don't you just love the colors: a mix of reds and oranges, yellows and turquoise, set off by copper.  And the focal is so simple, yet so funky.  It reminded me of something that would have been dug up from an ancient archeological site.

The same day that I received my soup mix in the mail, I also got an order from Thailand with some clay Goddess figures.  One went perfectly with the soup.  What do you think?
So I went through my stash and pulled out a jasper donut, an ammonite, red jasper cabochon, copper earrings, old coins, and a art glass butterfly from my collection.  I also added copper and amber beads, some 6mm matte czech beads and, of course, seed beads.  For the neckpiece, I used copper beads and some wonderful sandalwood beads, which have a subtle scent that I think will become more pronounced as the necklace is worn. 

Here's the final product, which, I admit, I'm pretty excited and proud of:

That's some good soup!