Sunday, January 29, 2012

Something Pretty On My Wrist

                       I wanted to do a quick blog on my latest design and what I was thinking during the design of it. I often dream of writing blogs that break down the design concept in an interesting way, but the truth is, it's really more of an organic, unplanned process most of the time for me.  This bracelet was a bit different though, because I did have a bit of a broad concept and picture in my mind when I set out to make it. It's a shame my arms are so hairy, because I'd love to be able to get photos of it as well as others on my wrist, because they just look so amazing. Unfortunately all I see is my arm hair when I try to get a picture, so I won't be sharing any of those photos with you today.  I'll try to search for a hairless model in the future, but in the meantime, the normal laid out photo will have to do.
                       This bracelet is a fun one that is basically inspired by my young teen years, back when I was obsessed with Drew Barrymore and similar movie stars of her up and coming time. She did that one movie where she played a rebellious and spirited yet troubled girl who was obsessed with a way, her character was kind of my muse when designing this bracelet. It is all about purples and has a vibrant purple altered arte metal butterfly as a unique focal point, although its got enough curvature you could wear it on the side or even back/bottom of wrist if you prefer another side showing more or need comfort. For example, I'm typing so I've swished the bracelet around so the butterfly is on the bottom side, because it is more comfortable to have my wrist rest on it than the larger beads. Making the focal is actually fairly simple. First paint the arte metal white to provide a base. If you use the ink just over the metal, it doesn't really show up very bright. After paint dries, use the ranger ink tools to apply your choice of ink colors to the piece. Try to dab as little as possible, because it will wipe the paint away, even after it dries if you are rubbing on it too much. Let ink dry and add a few more layers, mix up the colors if you like. After it all dries spray with acrylic sealant, then curve the tabs to make connectors or remove them and punch holes. The beads are g-g-gorgeous with lots of sparkle. My grandmother had made this incredibly huge cocktail ring that I dismantled and used some of the very gorgeous, retro, ab crystals in the dangles, as well as assorted crystal and glass beads in multiple shades of purple. I used 24mm wire to make fun little wire wrapped links to hang the sparkly beads from because these always remind me of either a spiraling flight or swim, so I often incorporate wire links and drops into nautical and or nature/bug/butterfly/dragonfly themed jewelry. Since I had this spiral idea in mind, I used a spiral clasp to complete the design. I'm pretty happy with this one, so much so that I may have to do a few more in different colors. I pretty much stick to green, blue, and purple in most of my designs, so I just might get crazy and go with a different least one of these days!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Injured Foot, Injured Spirit, Still Nice Jewelry

             My last post feels like a century ago, and I apologize for my inability to post timely blogs. My only excuse is that I fell on Christmas Eve and fractured my foot and ankle in 2 different places, as well as severely spraining it. It was a major injury that has me, 35 days later, still in pain with less than 50% mobility, stuck at home with a boot on my right foot, leaving me unable to drive. This means I have been having extreme bead store withdraw symptoms, this being the reason I finally satiated my urges with a $80 beadaholique purchase (hey I got 20% off!) and a $30 handmade lampwork glass bead purchase (hey.... they are handmade and I had the money in paypal from an etsy sale of my jewelry!)  I was accustomed to making the 30 minute drive into Cleveland at least once a week to hit up either Michaels craft store or Hobby Lobby, whichever was having the better sale for the supplies I was craving that week, but alas, I have been stricken to the woes of internet shopping, where I am constantly buying things I do not need and end up needing more things to finish projects. Oh and I also am anxiously awaiting my tax documents to be able to file my taxes and get my return, because there's at least a $500 order for vintaj that must be placed. Yikes! This means I really need to sell some jewelry stat, which means I need to get some shows booked asap! I also have to get something made to donate to two different charities, one for auction and the other for The Global Genes Project, 7000 bracelets for hope campaign. That's a lot of stuff I need to get on top of... the problem is, I'm kind of a gimp right now. Oh and also I've been kind of depressed and not feeling very creative. Part of this is due to the fact that I feel like I've hit this sort of plateau in my goals, and I am not sure I can get to the place I want to, ever. That's a depressing thought. To work so hard, make so little, and pour every ounce of your heart into something that doesn't pan out...its scary. Then on top of that I've been stuck here, in the house, half mobile and feeling pretty worthless, so its all compounding to just a heap of yuck and more yuck. I somehow managed to design a few things lately I like and am proud of, but I need to do a lot more than I feel like I have the energy for, and I'm not sure how I'm going to find it. I still have my "day job," which is also a working from home job, and I am reaching a point where I really wish I could just choose one or the other. The past year I've thought that the path I'd ultimately choose would be jewelry, but its so uncertain in terms of profit, because you just never know. My etsy sales have averaged to 2 a month. That isn't a lot, considering how often I relist. I basically don't profit much of anything on there at this point. I honestly don't know what the issue is. Is it my tags? My designs? My prices? My photos? Then as far as local shows go, most have been successful, but then again, a few were not so much, so I'm not sure of which ones I should devote my time and energy to. Ultimately I have a lot to figure out, because if I don't start getting sales soon, then all of the praise, the attention, the just doesn't amount to much. Its incredible, but its not enough to keep a business running. If the business can't run, then why keep pouring my money, my heart, and my energy into it? We have even been talking about turning the screen porch into a studio for me, but why on earth would we do that if I can't sell more jewelry than my expense to make it? I honestly have a lot of decisions to make. It breaks my heart to even consider not designing jewelry, but I don't want to be naive and hurt my family financially in order to make something happen that just may not be possible for me. If I do continue trying to make a go of the business, I am definitely going to have to get ahold of my beading addiction, and be more selective in my supply purchases. In the meantime, I will keep you posted on my ankle. I should find out a week from Monday if I need surgery on it, and hopefully that is a NO and I will be in normal shoes within another few weeks.
To send you off here are a few photos, taken with my new background, the tile we used for our kitchen floors!

                                 A vintaj bracelet I made. I've made 3 of these in the last few weeks.

                The necklace I made myself for Christmas, inspired by a necklace by Jess Italia Lincon.

                               The necklace I designed for the vintaj design challenge, which is mixed metals. I had to use all 3 of their metals. I hand painted the patina look on the pendant, which is arte metal (black) originally.

                      The necklace I made with the beautiful glass cab made by a local artist.

A not so great photo of my computer screen of my first magazine publication in Feb 2012 Bead Trends. I haven't received the hard copies in the mail yet, but I'm super excited!! I'll get my necklace back too, yay!