Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Sherri Stokey's Summer Starfish Shindig

I have been a massive fan of Sherri Stokey's fabulous macrame work for years - I will never understand how she manages to tie so many perfect little knots!.  Her blog was one of the first I started following way back when I first discovered the art jewellery community.

Sherri has a wonderful colour-sense which is evident throughout her work, so when she announced a wee colour based challenge on the Love My Art Jewelry blog I was eager to participate.  Her chosen palette is one perfect for summer - a seascape of colours representing sun, sand and see.  Here is the inspiration photo she provided, don't you love those wee fish beads?

And here is what I have created for the challenge:

Apologies for the slightly cruddy photography - I snapped these in a very rushed 5 minutes this morning!
I had so much fun with this one!  The pendant is supposed to be vaguely reminiscent of a fish - can you see it?  The body is made up of a wonderful rustic lampwork oval by Judith Billig which I have been hoarding for a long ole time!  It is joined by a wonderful crusty bicone from Josephine Wadman, an aged bone disc and a funky triangular bead by Julie Burgard of Outwest for the tail.  Such a wonderful selection from some very talented ladies!

I pulled out a selection of tiny beads to match Sherri's colour palette - Czech glass, wee metal spacers and a selection of wood, bone and shell beads I have recently scavenged from charity shop finds (one of my favourite activities).  These little treasures got knotted up into a long and variegated tassel - the larger beads in the center include more Czech glass, copper, scavenged bone and a pretty agate drop bead that was a right pain to get the cords through!

I think this will be staying with me - I just can't bear to part with that bead of Judith's - it's been with me for such a long time!  I will certainly be making more pendants like though - knotting is my new love :)

I really enjoyed creating for this challenge - I hope you have equally enjoyed joining me here to read about it!

Don't forget to visit Sherri and Love My Art Jewelry to check out more wonderful creations from the other participants :)

Monday, 13 June 2016

Well why does it have to be so dang fancy?

Dear Muse,

Thank you, so much, for all the inspiration you give me.  My life would be a dismal thing if I wasn't blessed with your gift of creativity.  You song flows into my ears and through my veins and out of my fingers to create objects of beauty that have brought myself and others much joy.

But I have to ask, dear Muse, why does it have to be so dang fancy?

Seriously, the ideas you inspire me with are full of colour and movement and grace.  They are beautiful and tactile and they just take too much blooming time to make.  I mean seriously:

Do you know how long it took me to make this darn thing?  Like, seven hours, that's right, seven. whole. hours.  And yes, it was an enjoyable seven hours, though I got to sleep at two in the morning and had to get up a seven (what have I told you about school nights Muse?).  And yes, I am very pleased with the resulting necklace.

But my potential customers aren't going to be impressed with the final price, my dear.  All those hours add up to a lot of pennies, and not everyone wants to fork out a fortune on a whim!  You're giving me some difficult price points here my dear!

So please, next time I ask you for a simple pendant, a nice, humble and unpretentious recipe I can make quickly and price reasonably, don't give me a three layered fancy confection that costs more than a fortnights worth of food!


Perhaps a couple of nice, low priced, sell-able earring designs would be possible?  Or perhaps some simple, affordable  bracelets??  I'm sure your awesome creative powers must stretch that far - just strip away several dozen unnecessary steps and you'll be right on track.

You know I adore you, and I do truly appreciate all of your gifts, but reign it in a little will you?

With much love and respect,

Your Beleaguered Artist Jess

Do you ever have this kind of issue with your work?  Every time I sit down to create something I seem to come up with big fancy pieces - generally necklaces - which come out of the pricing machine with pretty steep price tags.

Now I do love creating this kind of work - it's good to have a piece you think has the 'wow' factor - but the truth is that most buyers don't want to fork out large sums.  I think my shop and sales are suffering due to the lack of more affordable items.  Earrings and especially bracelets, smaller items that are likely to cost much less, don't come all that easily to me, and if I try and force it my fickle Muse often deserts me all together.

But this is something I have to get over - if I want to have a successful jewellery business, then I need to provide goods that will appeal to people with sensible budgeting skills.  £80 or more is a lot to shell out - especially when the seller isn't very well established, like me.

So I have an aim for the next few weeks - to eschew the usual big fancy necklaces and focus on making a number of smaller pendants that can be hung from leather cord or a simple chain.  Maybe some earrings too, maybe even a bracelet - if I can get my head around bracelet sizes and the weighting or durability issues I always seem to run into.

As part of this effort I've ordered myself a spool of Irish waxed linen cord.  I've been pretty baffled by it so far - all my attempts to use it (about three) have been a bit disastrous.  However wire-wrapping does take a lot of time, which pushes up prices.  I love the wrapped look but I think knotting may give me a good way to cut costs - and I really rate a lot of the jewellery I see made this way.  That necklace above?  Totally doable on cord instead and it would probably take half the time!

So I'm gonna do it folks, I'm gonna fill that lower price bracket!

Wish me luck and watch this space!

Peace y'all ;)