Saturday, April 28, 2012

Hold the Pickles....

Hold the pickles ,hold the lettuce. Special orders don't upset us...
Remember that commercial ?
This week I am setting  aside my metal coating experiments.
I have several  custom orders pending.
Special orders make me very ,very happy !
At least they do most of the time...every once in a while getting an order just right can be a headache.
But, I love stretching my creative wings .
Making a bead that fits someone else's vision is  great way to
to stretch. Usually when I am making beads , I  have an idea floating around my head . If I don't have a specific design  in mind ,at least I have a  season or theme in my head . When I get a custom order  I have to try to envision someone else's design idea. It might be special color combos or even a different design.  I like my beads to go to good homes. A custom order means the bead is already adopted!
I am always curious to see how my work is incorporated into a design.Often people are gracious enough to send a photo of the finished item, so I can see how everything fit's together. I LOVE that!

I always send photos of custom orders before I list them .
I want to be certain I have the customer's vision correctly executed. Sometimes I do have to do a bit of tweeting. However, usually I have had several discussions with the customer, so I know what they have in mind.
I put a little of myself onto my work .
I believe good jewelry designers do this as well
We all put a little Heart in our Art !
Collaborating with someone to create a custom order is a wonderful connection.This one on one personal touch is the best part of  handcrafted sales venues.
I am thrilled to meet people from all over the world .
I can  create a special a bead that travels half way round the globe to become part of a special piece of jewelry . Then that jewelry may travel again to become someone's special gift.
To me this is truly  Awesome !
The joys of these connections completely overshadow those infrequent orders that do give me a headache.
Special orders are Special indeed !
This week make a  special bead connection
Bead Happy,

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Heavy Metal

This week I've been heavy into metal !
I've been playing around with Christi Friesen's new line of "Swellegant" metal coatings.
I love trying new techniques . This stuff is soooooooo  much fun !
I can actually coat my designs with real metal ,then add awesome real patinas !
I was able to make a flower pendant look like a rusty old piece that had been buried for ages.
This was thrilling to me! My family is less than impressed.
They are fans of my usual colorful clay blends.
They do not understand why worn and  slightly grubby metal shades excite me so much.

One reason is because aged metals are popular in jewelry designs right now . Since I do sell my beads ,I need to keep up with what the designers desire. Currently we are seeing a lot of jewelry  mixing antique with  new. Many people are mixing metal shades and combining unrelated elements. I love this look. I am always attracted to jewelry designs that are interesting little works of art,especially when they have a story to tell.

I admit, I do consider what might sell when  I work with my clay.
However,in the end I create what I love. I make what makes me happy. Playing with new toys always makes me happy ! This week I can not get enough of turning clay into metal ! I feel like I have the Midas touch !
I have been hurrying home from work to rust things!
I admit to rushing through household chores to experiment with verdigris!
I feel like a kid in a candy store ! All week I've had metal finger tips!
I know the directions warn to wear gloves. But, I just never seem to be able to work comfortably in gloves.
Besides, I believe Art requires a bit of mess .
Is your work space always perfectly organized and neat ?
tell the truth......
Also I think Art requires a bit of play time . You should be enjoying what you do. I believe that is what truly sets handmade items a part from manufactured. Artists add love , machines do not .
When you make something, never forget to add the joy of creating to your piece.
this week
take time to play
if you can,try a new toy
Bead Happy !

Friday, April 13, 2012

Photo Frustrations

If you have been following my blog for a while, this picture may seem familiar. It is a picture I took of my daughter trying to photograph the bright wings of the blue morpho butterfly This butterfly has amazing electric blue wings on the front side ,dull  brown on the back.
When they land they seem to always fold their wings shut exposing only the brown pattern ....very frustrating!!!
 It took her a long time to get the shot she was after.

This week I am experiencing some photo frustrations of my own.
First ,Picnik  is closing down on the nineteenth .Despite my own research and my friends good advise, I have yet to find a substitute I feel comfortable with. This probably has more to do with my lack of time ,than with lack of decent photo editing programs. But ,still I am frustrated ! I understand how to do what  I want with Picnik .
I really don't have the  patience to learn a new format!

My second frustration is aimed at others .
Lately I have been having so much fun with Pinterest . I  have always scouted around ETSY for new ideas, inspirations,gifts and goodies . Now I have a place to store my favorite finds and share them with others .
But, here is my frustration... poor  photos!!!
Sometimes the pictures are clear as can be .But they are dull,dull,dull!
I call these the "e-bay shots" clear straight on shots on plain solid white background.  If I know I want ,for example ,red ribbon, I can see every detail of  this red ribbon. But ,what if I didn't know I " needed "red ribbon ? This type of photo sure certainly would not lure me  in to take a closer look. .It is surprising how many sellers don't include a photo that draws a buyer in . Many people on ETSY don't even use all their listing photos.Worse yet ,some photos are out of focus or taken with no thought to background at all ! My personal preference is to see  a "glamor "shot and then a few really clear photos from different angles.
 I do like props that help enhance the item . However,I must admit certain items look best without props. Too many additions might make a lovey picture,but may make it unclear what is really for sale ! I feel frustrated when I find an item that promises to be something good .
But ,the picture is just too poor for me to "pin" it or want to purchase it.

The more I look outward the more I think I should be looking inward. When I find fault with others could I be learning lessons to use in my own shop? I know I could ! Photos are how we window shop  the internet . I must continue to work on  improving my pictures .
I will have to take the time to settle on a new editing program .
I will have to experiment with new tips,techniques and tricks.
Maybe my photo frustration can lead me to photo fabulous !!!
this week
try some new photography techniques
share your favorites
Bead Happy !


Saturday, April 7, 2012

April ABS Challenge

Evening Breeze

Time for the April ABS challenge !
This month the inspiration painting is "Boreas" by John William Waterhouse, 1903
I love these challenges because everyone looks at the same inspiration , yet each person sees it from a  different perspective .
The entries are always so wondrously varied.
However,it is usually clear where the each idea springs from.
We may choose the colors ,shapes or the subject matter.
Sometimes the artist's life or time may even serve as our design catalyst.
But, where do we find the inspiration for the structure of our designs ?

I  keep a book filled with cutouts,sketches and scraps of ideas that I may someday want to try.They might another artist's design concept.They might be ideas borrowed from other art forms that I believe I can translate into a piece of jewelry
When I copy ideas from another artist, I always try to give credit .
I usually try to tweak the technique to make it my own.

However, I do have ideas that aren't clipped or pasted in any book or journal. These are ideas filed haphazardly in my brain .If I ever knew their source, it is probably long forgotten . Most of the time I have no knowledge of how the idea got into my head in the first place. I always fear I am remembering someone's  design and  reproducing it without realizing that I didn't think it up myself. It's difficult to guard against this when you spend your days visiting blogs ,web sights and now pinterest ! All of these are feasts of delicious design . Sometimes we do "copy" without doing so intentionally. I'm not certain how this can ever be avoided.

For some time now,I've had the idea to use try using a big bead as a slide.I wanted to create a sort of bolo tie with ribbon .I thought if the ribbon fit tightly, the bead would slide. But, it would also stay put when needed. The bead /focal could be as close to my neck as  I wanted.
But, the slide effect would allow me to fit my head through without need of a clasp.
This is one of those wayward ideas that appeared in my head one day...source unknown !
It seemed just right for this month's challenge piece .
I wanted lots of wind blown ribbons in my creation .
A big floral bead was just the  Spring touch I needed for the slide element.I added some tiny pearls to mimic petals blown about in the breeze. Lest the wind seem to blow my creation  away,
I anchored it with a bit of chain and some charms.

At my house,by day, the Spring sun shines warmly .But as evening shadows fall, the breezes blow cool and strong through the blossoming treetops. The Waterhouse painting seems perfect for this time of year.

I do not know where my ideas for the details  of this design  came from.
But,I am very happy the construction of my new necklace.
this week
try a new idea, wherever it may come from...
Bead Happy!