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Friday, May 30, 2014

A New Bracelet Design From My Studio

I am in the process of restocking my Etsy shop.  These past two months have been a whirl wind and my Etsy shop has taken a place on the back burner.

For the past several days I have been busy making this bracelet for my Etsy shop, along with 26 pairs of earrings.  The earrings aren't ready to be listed yet.  There are just so many hours in a day. Plus, my fingers need a rest from the pliers.

This bracelet is listed for $52 plus postage fees.

Here's the listing description.

I have hand cut 55 pieces of heavy wire to make this bracelet.  I then formed each piece of wire into exact shapes.  Once the pieces were cut and shaped I used a cold connect technique to form the pieces into a bracelet that flows and moves easily on your wrist.  This bracelet feels wonderful against your skin.

After the bracelet was formed I used an antique process that originally turned the bracelet very dark.  Then I polished and buffed each piece to a light color to bring out the warm antique finish.  This process is very time intensive, but the results are fantastic.

The adjustable hand made chain with the spiral charm allows for this bracelet to be adjustable from 7 1/4" to 8 1/2".  After attached, any remaining chain and the charm adds a unique decorative element.

Measuring and flush cutting many pieces of heavy gauge wire.

Assembling the pieces.  Yes, I am wearing PJs.

The bracelet in it's raw copper color.

I darken the copper wire and then buff with steel wool to give it the final warm antique look.  This is a messy, dirty and time intensive process.

Here it is in it's glamour shot.  

I love this bracelet so much, that I made a second one just for me.

Thank you for reading along with me.  Have a joy filled and creative day.


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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Lost River Cooperative Fully Stocked (edited with extra pictures added)

Today was absolutely perfect.  The weather was blissful to take a long ride into the mountains and I had my good friend Brenda along for some fun chatter.  She also served as my cheerleader, as I white knuckled it driving across my lest favorite bridge.  It's long, curvy, way up high, and let's not mention how it is on a windy day.  Yes, I am a scaredy cat on certain bridges and absolutely turn into an anxiety filled mess!  But, today I had my brave friend and no wind.  Life is good!

Lost River Artisans Cooperative is in an unlikely place 9 miles down a country road.  The road is in a beautiful valley with high mountains on one side and flat fields near the road.  Cows and pastures speckle the landscape and a few buildings.  Then there is a small cluster of buildings and homes that are at the most 1/2 mile long.  Here you will find a large historic barn that is the home of many artist and artisans works.  So who on earth would be the shoppers?  Well, this road is well traveled to the Lost River State Park and there are tiny villages tucked away in the hillsides.  But, it's mostly the travelers to the state park that stop in and shop.

I feel like such a grown up.  I uploaded my first two videos to Youtube and then linked them to my blog. Oh, how techie I feel.  The first is a compilation of several pictures.  And later in this blog is an actual video. These are tests and I'm hopeful that they will play automatically when you open my blog from when it shows up in your e-mail or when you read it from www.artyzenstudio.blogspot.com.

A very cool display box.  My favorite!

Update:  Videos won't show up on blog posts that go directly
to your e-mail.  To see the display videos, please go to www.artyzenstudio.blogspot and open this post.  Lesson learned.

Update: I've posted regular pictures throughout this post for those of you who can not view the videos.

Last month I was juried into the cooperative and left them with a few pieces of jewelry.  Doug the manager displayed them for me.  He used a wonderful wooden box with a glass lid.  I love how he set things up for me and really love the wooden box and the layers on the table. During this past month I've been busy with a long list of priorities and I took a wonderful vacation to Florida with my dear friends.  So, today I finally made it to the cooperative to complete my display area with more displays and stocked it with jewelry.

In the past few weeks I have attended a spring festival, plus found another venue for my jewelry.  I'll be blogging about these events in the very near future.

Thank you for visiting with me today.  And a special thank you for being patient with my photo and video experiments.

Have a joy filled and creative day!

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Wired On Vacation

My very dear friends invited me to go on vacation with them.  What a gift!  I am truly grateful.  We drove from Warrenton, Virginia to Destin, Florida and were blessed with perfect weather, (except 1 day on the way home, but by then 'who cares?'.   Being the mad wire woman that I am, I did a bit of wire work, too. Here are some pictures of my vacation, along with some of the wire work I completed.

Before leaving I (at my desk) needed to leave a message on my e-mail.

This was a funny sight, just as we entered South Carolina.  It's huge and taller than the trees.  From our driving angle it looked less like a peach and more like....well...you know.

Outside of Atlanta I found my morning coffee.

Approaching the Emerald Grande, aka heaven on earth.

I took this immediately on arrival from the patio outside my bedroom. That's a pirate ship heading for the bridge.  I looked for Johnnie Depp, but no luck!

A selfie from the patio on the 10th floor.  Yes, the water is that awesome and the sand is white (from the quartz).

Sunset from the patio.

One morning we ventured to the Donut Hole.  Check out the 'Diet' Plate!

My friend Brenda snapped a picture of me on the beach.  Proof that I can and do chill out.  The Emerald Grande has a private beach that you can only get to by a 15 minute boat trip.  It's in a large cove or channel about a mile from the Gulf of Mexico. Once at the beach there are lots of umbrellas, chairs and of course the beverage dude.  And we were blessed with a breeze.

And ice cream is delivered by a dude in a boat.  I think I want his job.

We took a walk along the beach until we got to the Gulf of Mexico.  The water is a beautiful emerald green color.  A walk in the sand is a bit challenging, but putting my feet into the Gulf made it all worth while.

I took this picture from the boat that was taking us back from the beach.  The board walk is crammed pack full of things to do.

Still on the boat, here's the entire Emerald Grande.  The water and sky looked like this the entire time.

I decided to do some work from the patio.

My resort studio.

Since I have an art and artisan fair coming up I needed (wanted) to get a few things started.  I love making wire jewelry, but it's even better from a resort

I hope you have enjoyed the trip with me.  Thank you for reading along.

Have a joy filled and creative day.


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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Milestone Report - Fauquier County Tourism Publication and Web-site

A quick milestone post!  I'm going to be included in the Fauquier County Agri-Artisan brochure and website!  Holly Cow!

Last week, I received an e-mail from the Tourism Coordinator for the Fauquier County Department of Economic Development.  The Tourism Coordinator found my web-site.  Yeah!  For the web-site!

She wrote: "We are working in cooperation with Culpeper, Orange and Madison Counties on a regional Agri-Artisan trail for our region of the Piedmont. In researching Fauquier's Artisans, I came across your website. I wanted to make sure that you are currently selling your jewelry, and if so, whether your jewelry is sold anywhere locally? "

Here are links to the two web-sites she coordinates.  I'll let you know, as soon as my information is included in the web-site(s) and published in the brochure.



Now I need to get back to the actual business of making things.  The Warrenton Spring Festival is this Saturday and I need to get busy putting earrings on cards and hang tags on everything.  I'll write you all next week with the details.

Thank you for stopping by and reading along.

Have a joy filled and creative day!

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Juried Into NVHG

I am excited!  Last night my jewelry passed the jury process for NVHG, the Northern Virginia Handcrafters Guild.  I have been anticipating this process for several months and as it neared I became increasingly more tense and stressed.

NVHG is a well respected organization that was established in 1972.  I joined in January of this year, but the weather, aka snow and ice, kept me from driving the hour trip to any meetings.  Last month was my first meeting and I loved it.  They are so well organized and offer a wealth of information.  Ever member is expected to participate in the organization, either with volunteering time for the business of running the organization and/or helping with the many non-profit community service activities.  You can check out their web site for the details, but in brief, they support; 1) Alternative House, a shelter, 2) Meals on Wheels, 3) scholarships to high schools students, and 4) an organization to support children in need (sorry, I don't have that name).  The internal business volunteer areas include, 1) being an active member of the board, 2) marketing and advertising, 3) chairing and support for the 3 art and artisan fairs that NVHG sponsors, 4) member of the the Standards committee, 5) Hospitality committee and the list goes on.  I think you get the picture.

One of the bracelets submitted for jury and SOLD to a jury member

I originally joined to be able to participate in their art and artisan fairs.  I have found out that it is a long, and detailed process, that includes, 1) being a juried member, and 2) how much work and time a member donates to NVGH and then the vendor spots are by seniority.  Which means, I might not be eligible to participate this year in any of the 2014 fairs. (I have submitted my vendor payments and applications and I'll let you know later if I have been accepted this year.  Fingers crossed!) However, now that I have attended 2 meetings I am hooked on all of the wonderful members and the support.  The meeting takes place monthly in Falls Church, VA and that means I need to drive over an hour in rush hour.  That part is a real pain, but the drive home has little traffic, so it's about an hour and a whole lot easier without all of those folks wanted to get home from work.

One of the pair of earrings submitted for jury

The jury process is well run, with many mandates.  All of the protocols are on their web page.  I won't bore you with those details, but the short version is as an artist or artisan you need to have your act together.  For a jeweler they require a lot more pieces of completed work., as a result I took my rolling jewelry cart, with several trays of completed pieces, 6 earrings, 7 gemstone pendants, 7 bracelets and 6 full necklaces.

One of the pendants submitted for jury

I have participated in several juried shows, but I must say that NVHG is the most detailed and true juries that I have participated in so far.  I arrived and took a seat and waited to be called.  In the jury room I was greeted by the 5 member team of the NVHG Standards committee.  I presented my work and was asked to talk about my process.  All the while the members were picking up and examined my work.  I was thrilled by the wonderful comments.  I do believe I was blushing.  Then I was asked to leave the room while they discussed my jewelry in private.  After a few minutes I was called back into the room and told that I had passed and I was even given a copy of the review paperwork.  So doggone professional.  Love it!  To  top it off one of the members actually bought a bracelet right there!  Go figure!  I didn't know how to react.  I usually have my act together, but I became very flustered and the Standards Chairman said 'Do you take credit cards?"  So out came my smart phone and a bracelet was sold.  And yes, I did apply a discount. Then another member of the Standards committee has commissioned a sterling silver bracelet from me. Blush!
All in all, the stress was unnecessary, as most stress is.

One of the necklaces submitted to jury

In the very near future, I will be adding the NVHG juried member logo to my web page and to my blog page.

Thank you for sticking with this blog post, as it's a tad long.

Have a joy filled and creative day!

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