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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Shoot I Shot The Shot

I know, the title made you groan!  Well, guess how I feel right now.  I just finished hours of photographing jewelry.  Then I went to my laptop to edit the pictures.  I kept looking at this pendant.  Maybe because I really love it, but really I was looking at the details.  I was bummed because it looked like I hadn't quite made the curl on the end of one of the tendrils the way I'd like.  I looked closer.  Then closer.  Drat!  The good news it's not an error with my hands and tools.  The bad news is there is a piece of shot stuck in the curl.  Well, I thought, I moved this pendant while shooting, perhaps it fell out and some of the pictures could be saved. HA!  No such luck.  I'm tired.  It's late.  I'll re-shoot this pendant, less the shot tomorrow morning.

For those of you who might be new to jewelry making this piece of shot is a tiny piece of steel.  There are thousands of pieces of various shapes that are inside my tumbler.  The tumbler removes all those rough edges on the wire and makes it feel oh so smooth.  Plus it gives the wire a nice polish.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Display Setup

This morning I looked at this box and thought 'I hope everything is in there'.  This box seemed so small considering I had my inventory in here for my display at WV Highlands Gallery.

I was scheduled to meet John and Titi Ferguson at 10 AM to help setup the glass displays that would be housing my jewelry.   They have graciously offered to lend me these displays until my budget permits me to purchase my own. I'm thinking I'll have my own display furniture in less than 2 months.    So John assembled and moved furniture and got it ready for my jewelry.  I then had to tag each piece and decide how I wanted each item displayed.  I'll be going back next week because there are a few more shelf displays and some more jewelry that need to be added.  Here are a some pictures of the shelves at what I'd consider 85% completed.  Just in time for the 4th of July shoppers.

This view is from the front looking toward the back of the gallery.  There's Donall McCoy a watercolor artist behind the counter.
Right now I'm using a round display and a cube tower.  My permanent display will be 4 cubes wide and 4 cubes high, plus I'll have a black pedestal to the side that will have an earring rack.

This view is from the back toward the front of the gallery.  There are a few customers shopping (happy dance).

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Combining Copper and Silver Wire

This is just a brief post.  I made a complete set of jewelry with copper and silver wire combination.  The core of each link is heavy copper wire and the same wire extends from the end of each silver coil to form links.  I started out with the idea of making just a bracelet, but my OCD kicked in and I kept making links.  Before long I had enough for earrings, bracelet and a necklace.  These pieces will be placed in the WV Highland Gallery tomorrow.  On a personal note, I'm tired.  Getting ready for a show or a new display takes a lot of work and I have a new level of respect for all my friends out there that have lead the way.  But I wouldn't trade it for any other type of career.  Tired I might be, but it's also fun and rewarding.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Jury Process Experience For WV Highlands Art Gallery

I am a contributing writer for Create Tucker here in West Virginia.  I recently began a series of articles on getting juried into galleries, based on my personal experience.  Since these topics relate to this blog, I'm going to reprint them here.  I hope they will be of value to someone.  Here you go...

As promised in a previous post (on Create Tucker) this is one of several articles on having your art work juried into a gallery. I have had the pleasure of being accepted into some of Tucker Counties, WV finest art galleries. Each location has its own process. I encourage you to take your art and get it out there into the galleries. The experience is exhilarating.

WV Highlands Art Gallery
Today I’ll discuss my experience with WW Artisan Gallery in Davis, WV. The first step for me was to confront my fear of rejection. Every negative thought that my imagination could muster up reared its ugly head and did its best to discourage me. But, being the stubborn, errr determined person that I am, I confronted my fears head on.

Okay, so step one was checked off my list – squash the fear monster – done

The next step was to download and complete the forms that WV Highlands Artisans Gallery provided – done
Write the small processing check – done
Take excellent pictures of the pieces that were being submitted for the jury process. Yikes! I’m not a photographer. Well there are a few ways to get this accomplished. The smart way would be to find a professional to take the photographs. In my house that means finding the money to pay the photographer. Okay, that’s an option, but I don’t like sharing my money. It’s better spent on art supplies. So what was my other option? Take them myself. I refer you to the earlier sentence “I’m not a photographer.” So this is how I managed to get my pictures. I took dozens of pictures. Yes, dozens, because, I have more time than money. I then uploaded the pictures onto my computer, went into the photo editing software and proceeded to learn the software. Then I looked at the dozens of edited photos and began the process of deleting, deleting, and deleting. Finally, I was left with pictures that I was happy with. I should warn you that during this step there was a lot of frustration and cartoon language symbols forming around my head for the “expressive thoughts” I was experiencing. So whatever path you take, get good pictures of your work. (Hiring someone might be easier than my chosen path.) – done

Bracelet:  Bronze wire
Put everything in an envelope and mail it. – done

To my delight I received a notice that I had been accepted for the second phase of the jury process. Yes, there is another step. Now I was invited to meet the jurors in person and bring my physical work to show them.
I collected all the pieces I wanted to submit in person. These did not need to be the same as those in the earlier photographs. Then I drove up Wild Maggie (very steep and winding mountain road) on Rt. #19. Of course I managed to time my drive so I would behind a series of tractor trailers. The 30 minute drive at 55 MPH became 50 minutes at 30 MPH. Some people would call this karma, others might say I somehow created it out of that fear of rejection issue I have. Never the less, I made it.

Once inside the gallery I met with three lovely ladies. There was an informal question and answer session where I was asked to describe my process and materials. I was asked how I anneal my wire and I blanked out. What’s annealing? DAH! It’s the process for changing the wire temper. How could I blank that out? How inexperienced did I sound?
I was asked to step outside for about five minutes while they discussed me and my work. When I returned I was delighted to find out that I had been accepted. They provided me with the details of the gallery and the rules and regulations that they required and asked if I agreed. I then signed the document of agreement to their terms. Happy dance!

Source:  http://www.pinterst.com/
I drove home, down Wild Maggie (very steep and winding mountain road) with a smile on my face and magically not a truck in sight! Go figure!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Master Mind Group ~ So We Would Like To Believe

Since March 11, 2011 I have been a member of a group that meets once a week for an hour on a telephone conference call.  I thought I'd write a bit about these meetings because they have helped to motivate me with my growing jewelry business.  Perhaps one of my readers would find my experience useful.

Don Sinish (my ex-husband) created this group originally with 4 members.  It has since settled into 3 members, DonJanet Carlton and myself.  This seems to be the perfect amount of folks, at least for our purposes.  We aim to keep our meeting to one hour, giving each member 20 minutes of discussion time.  Sometimes our meeting extends for another 20 minutes when we are on a roll.

Don Sinish is an artist and wants our Mastermind Group to help him find ways to sell more of his art.
Janet Carlton is a personal coach and wants our Mastermind Group to help her increase her clientele.
Me, I make jewelry and want our Mastermind Group to help me to increase the galleries and shops that sell my jewelry.

So you can see we are a diverse group.  I think this is of value since our backgrounds and businesses are so unique.  Some of our ideas and suggestions will not be of use to everyone, however most of the time each of us will have a profound comment that is exactly the right words needed to motivate someone to create.

The concept of the Mastermind Group was formally introduced by Napoleon Hill in the early 1900's. In his classic, "Think And Grow Rich".  I've attached a link that goes into detail about a mastermind group.  I'm certain each group that is formed will have it's own personality and design. But here's how we three have formed and operate our group.  We meet weekly for an hour by telephone (we use Free Conference Call) to discuss our personal business; the landmarks, the hurdles, and the roadblocks.  We encourage each other.  We take suggestions from each other. We keep each other honest.  We let each other know what we are hearing, which might be different from what the speaker thinks is being said.  This is the keeping each other honest part.  I would encourage anyone that is thinking of joining or creating a Mastermind Group to keep in mind that your friends or business relationships are there to help and sometimes to bring our personal fears and roadblocks to our awareness.

A little bit about today's meeting:  We each experienced a frustrated, bizarre and confused week.  We all had successes, yet we seemed to have a bit of frustration in our awareness.  We blamed it on the recent full moon and decided to have a better week.  Who knows the truth behind three sensible people all having bummer weeks at the same time, but the full moon just made sense in a not so sensible week.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Homemade Art & Craft Tent Weights

Yesterday was a new experience for me at the Elkins Farmers Market in several ways. First I needed to set my tent up in a different location and this required me to flip my design from left to right to right to left.  Plus, I used the new corner cabinet for the first time.  The corner cabinet really worked to attract people and have them take a peak inside the little suitcase where I sell inexpensive earrings.

Before the winds came
While I was setting out my jewelry I noticed that the clasps on most of my anklets had developed tarnish.  This happened in one weeks time and while my jewelry was safely stored in a jewelry carrying case.  Each tray has an active piece of anti-tarnish paper.  Since the tarnish was isolated to just these lobster clasps, I'm thinking they are defective.  The good news is the tarnish came right off with tarnish remover.

Toward the later part of the event a big black cloud loomed overhead with a nice gentle breeze.  I loved the breeze and hoped the cloud wouldn't release it's water on the market.  My hope failed.  The droplets began slowly and the gentle breeze transformed into wind.  I mentioned in an earlier post how silly we all look when the wind gusts.  Imagine if you will, all of the vendors with one arm extended into the air so our hands can hold onto our tents to keep it from taking flight.  All awhile we are smiling and chatting to our customers.  How do you express this in professional language on your resume'?  Gone are my days as an accountant and now I play a tent anchor who also sells jewelry.  I did learn from some nice man who appeared entertained by my new talents, how to weigh the tent down.  He said to take empty coffee cans, fill them with Sacrete or Quikete and before it dries insert a large eye bolt into the center.  Then take a rope over the tent frame and attach each end to these weights.  He said to do this at each corner of the tent.  Of course I immediately began to think how I would decorate the cans!

Since my conversation with this kind man I have done a bit of research on line.  I found Art Fair Insiders a great site for artfair folks.  Here's their link with detailed pictures and descriptions to make tent weights.  This site uses pvc pipe instead of coffee cans.  I think the pvc will look more attractive than the coffee cans.  I've heard that the hardware store will cut the pvc pipe to the size you need.

Source:  Art Fair Insiders

Source:  Air Fair Insides

Source:  Art Fair Insiders
Source:  Art Fair Insiders
Source:  Art Fair Insiders

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Booth Setup and Changes

If you have been following along you may have read and noticed how my tent at the Elkins Farmers Market has been changing.  Last week I decided to connect my two tables into one L shaped display counter and I added the tall louver door.  The louver door is secured to my table legs with black bungee cords and the shorter shutter louvers are attached to the wooden crates with plastic electrical ties.

The right corner is the perfect place for my new treasure
I was seeking opinions and ideas and Don suggested that I add a small table to the right front area.  So my mind started to reel and I began a search on line.  But this didn't provide what I wanted.  During my errands I stopped at the local thrift store.  I mentioned to the owner that I was looking for a piece like this....and I pointed to one of her displays.  To my delight she said it was for sale for a whopping $7.  I claimed it immediately and placed my new treasure in the back of my vehicle.  It is the perfect size and just a bit taller than a table, so it's ideal for me to do demos or to use for writing up sales.  On the way home I stopped and bought some black paint so it will match my other displays.  Right now it's outside drying.  I'll take a picture for you as soon as it's complete.  In the meantime I'm sure that your active and creative imaginations can see how it is going to be perfect. 

A few cans of black spray paint will magically transform my find

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Learning To Use The Jewelers Saw

Hoo!  Hoo!  Today, I finally learned to use the jewelers saw.  I've had this saw in my tool cabinet for, hmmm, years.  I've watched many videos on You Tube.  Today, I finally mustered up the nerve to use it.  I needed to make some jump rings for a bronze bracelet that is in production.  In the past I would make my jump rings by cutting them with a flush cutter.  Since this piece is destined for a gallery, I thought I'd step it up a notch.

New blades in the plastic bag on the left, the blade lube to help the blade glide, under the saw are some broken blades that I made during my learning curve and then those beautiful jump rings.
At first there was some frustration.  It was slow going.  I even thought I'd put down the saw and pick up my cutters, because it would be faster.  And quite frankly the cutters do a really good job.  But I kept at it.  I was relentless with my determination to learn.  There were several saw blades that broke in the learning curve.  At one point I thought it just wasn't worth the effort since nothing was cutting.  Turns out there's a right side and a wrong side to the blades. DAH!  Then there's the direction of the teeth on the blades. DAH!  Once I got the presser to use under control to eliminate the breaking of the blades I was on my way.  With each jump ring that was successfully cut I would feel so much success and drive to do more.  I am pretty sure that the process will get faster as my experience improves. The final jump rings look very professional.