Thursday, 20 September 2012

Baby steps ...

Just had a tidy up in my studio and so thought I would post these pics to prove (to myself mostly) that I do have the capacity to have things neat, tidy and in some sort of vague order.  It wont last of course.  I use vintage tins or divided containers to keep the majority of my supplies in, but I tend to forget what I have in my stash if I can't easily see it, so I have put a selection in clear plastic tubs from the $2 shop - a thrifty but not terribly pretty solution.

I see that lots of you are enduring poor etsy sales.  On the one hand I'm pleased it's not just me, but now I feel bad for all of us.  Being realistic though, in times of uncertainty people really aren't going to go jewelry shopping which is completely understandable.  Other than a couple of galleries etsy is my primary vehicle for selling my stuff and I sometimes worry about this.  I read an interesting blog from a seller whose shop was closed by etsy, because of some minor infringement or other, and overnight she lost her entire business.  She recommended against having a total reliance on a third party like etsy which, ultimately, you have no control over.  All very well and good but I'm not sure what the alternatives are particularly when you live in rural Australia!!  All this talk is spectacularly dull and makes me sound as though I'm fixated on sales and money.  Not the case I promise.

I'm still on a bangle binge - singles rather than stacks though.  In addition to the copper ones I've also made a couple of assemblages using vintage brass stampings and other bits and pieces.  Stylistically, these two types are completely different from each other.  Not sure which are more 'me' but I guess they are both an expression of my artistic voice (that sounds horribly pretentious, so sorry).

From bangles it's a fairly short hop to chokers, especially since I found a metal lined ice bucket in the thrift store which has proved to be an ideal choker mandrel:

Both chokers are wrapped in silk (salvaged from head scarves or clothes), metallic vintage trim and then wire wrapped.

I'm participating in one of Deryn Mentock's online courses at the moment and this necklace was in response to the symmetrical design challenge she posed us.  One of the reasons I'm doing the course is that it  includes bead stringing which is something I have always shied away from.  I am completely paranoid that the beading wire will break and I hate using crimping pliers.  I do think developing confidence around stringing as opposed to just wire wrapping beads will open up my design palette, so I've invested in some softlex and a bead buddy (one step crimper).

This necklace is mostly wire wrapped apart from the small beaded section at the back - baby steps.


  1. I love your chokers and the last two necklaces are awesome, well I feel the same about bead stringing...

  2. Ditto with Lucie on all three counts. And I would have loved to have seen those same tables before the cleanup! Love your photos.

    I have a friend who is a visual merchandiser by trade and more than a little OCD by inclination who is doing wonders with sorting out my market table and now she is helping me here at home. I, too, should have taken before photos, because the table still looks like a disaster, but at least I can actually see that there is indeed a table now.

    I'm very interested in your comments about having avoided stringing. I did the same. I thought I was just weird for my reasons for avoiding it, so it's nice to finally know I have company, but I'm also convinced that not stringing at all for a few years and only using wire has made a huge difference in the way I assemble my jewellery now that I have begun to incorporate some stringing. I know my way of stringing beads isn't like other people's "normal" or "acceptable" stringing because it's been commented on. I'm convinced you will find the same to be true.

    I do have a few tips on stringing if you want them that you won't find in the magazines. Email me.

    As for shopping in times of uncertainty, according to some Blah-di-Blah Fashion/Marketing Council -- whatever it's called -- a couple of years ago after crunching numbers they discovered, contrary to entrenched beliefs, that the one growth sector in the whole fashion industry during a recession was/is jewellery. People (especially who work in the public or the professions, unlike us work-from-homies who live in leggings and raggedy t-shirts most of the time) have to update their looks constantly, and that, particularly over shoes which was the big surprise, jewellery was the one area where women felt they got the biggest bang for their buck, and even more surprising was the finding that they would actually spend proportionally more on better jewellery in a recession than they would ever have spent on clothes in the good times.

    To that, I found this insane blogger, Jean Poh Contestabile, who recently photographed herself in the same Vivienne Westwood dress 27 times and accessorised it with jewellery and other things to make it look completely different. Good marketing idea -- grab a friend, a t-shirt, a pile of jewellery and a camera -- to show how different looks can totally change an LBD or LBTS (little black t-shirt).

    As for Etsy, sales and money, how else are we to buy more beads if we don't/can't sell stuff? Etsy, I dunno, at least here, my sales suck. I'm getting more sales off my blog and deviantart queries, but that's not saying much, and way more selling in person (regularly at a weekly farmer's market versus intermittent craft shows which are a complete and total bust for me -- too many vendors selling jewellery, 50%+) and through stores. I just wish that the stores would stop closing. Sheesh.


  3. I find it so fascinating that so many assemblage type jewelry people have the same feelings about stringing/crimping. I blogged about it a bit, and in reading others' responses and then considering it more, I came to realize it seemed somehow 'untrustworthy' more than anything. That's not really an accurate word, but it's the best I can articulate. Crimping at once seems very kindergarten/unsophisticated *and* complex/high maintenance/skillful/over my head. It's paradoxical. I had really strong negative feelings about it and was super resistant, but now I LOOOOVE it.

    I love the color combo of your symmetrical necklace--especially love that grey cab/stone. I don't know what the challenge terms were, but I think you accomplished a sense of balance and symmetry within a more organic and unforced vibe.

  4. It's great work and I think the necklaces are expressing your beautiful thoughts.