Friday, August 28, 2009

Progress Report

Over the last month, I came into a bit of freelance money, and since I give myself half of that money to put into buying supplies, that meant that I was able to go a little crazy with new components. So weeks regularly felt like holidays for all the packages that I received. And suffice it to say, I'm excited about all the new components, although I still have more to buy as the money gradually comes in.

Once I finished my last freelance gig and let my hands rest from carpal tunnel syndrome and muscle strain (typing injuries are not fun), I got started on new jewelry pieces. As of now, most of my pieces are only partially constructed as components come trickling in. But I'm ecstatic about my fall and winter designs. I tend to make jewelry that's more appropriate for the colder seasons anyway - it's simply my preferred aesthetic. However, there's a sort of rush that you get when you're making something new, when you deviate from some of your old styles. I get to really experiment with layering, gluing, and wire-wrapping in a way that I haven't really done before. It's rough, raw, and occasionally frustrating, but I have quite a few products that just keep getting lovelier and lovelier.

A few things I'm trying, aside from using glue for cabochons:

- I've come up with a new series to stimulate some activity on my first shop. There is not much more that I can do regarding ice cream sundae flavors (except get more expensive components and making them appeal to a different subset of the population, which I'm considering), and the soda roses are incredibly time-consuming for something that really hasn't taken off. So be on the look-out for "Fruit Salad," brightly colored glass and acrylic jewelry that practically glows. They look awesome.

- Layering brass filigree and glass components. Gluing in general is new to me, but gluing filigree requires a little finesse in order to keep the glue from being seen or felt.

- Some of my necklaces are not going to be as minimalistic in my second shop as they have been. I want to dive into more fanciful and fantastic items that draw on the imagination. Keep an eye on my second shop for the new series "Elysia."

What I love about both of my shops is that they don't tie me down to just one or two styles. I can go pretty nuts, limited only by my ability. And in that respect, I'm still learning. My wire-wrapping is getting a little better, which is good because it's probably one of the more frustrating disciplines for me since I go through wire that I don't want to waste.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sharing My Favorites

As a jewelry seller, I sell a respectable amount of items, although not nearly as much as I would like. Each one of my sales are special РI have not yet reached a point of being blas̩ about sales. Each one is unexpected; each one gives me that frisson of excitement. However, it is an extraordinary pleasure when my favorites (and everyone has favorites) are selected. Recently, two of my favorite necklaces were sold to different people, and it was a genuine pleasure to send them off, knowing that someone else would love them as much as I did.

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My dark red carnelian beaded necklace “A Cordial Greeting” was my first necklace I made with more expensive supplies, and I fell in love with it the minute it was finished. I had been wanting to make something inspired by my love of the Dracula story for a while, and this was my first attempt at the gothic. Naturally, it inspired me to make an entire series based on it. Just a week or two ago, the necklace went off. I may or may not replace this one in my shop – I’m not sure whether I have enough carnelian. But I shall certainly try.

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Just a few days later (when it rains, it pours), “Crystal Vial” was sold to a woman in Greece! It was my first international order, and “Crystal Vial” was easily my favorite necklace in my entire collection. It was also my first creation specifically for the new shop. I had bought the chandelier drops months ahead, knowing that I desperately wanted to use them for gothic pendants once I knew how to wrap wire. First I made a necklace for the shop, and then I finally made one for myself. I wear it a few times every week, and it’s such a strange but lovely feeling to know that someone halfway across the world will love it as much as I do. In her feedback, she said it was her dream necklace, and I’m so glad that she agrees with me. It’s what you might call my shop’s signature necklace, and I hope I can make another one in the month ahead while I’m creating for fall.

Suffice to say, it is not the excitement of commerce that really gets me creating. At best, my sales comp a small percentage of my supplies that I buy. However, I get excited knowing that other people have the same aesthetic taste as I do and can enjoy the things I create in their daily life.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009

Monday, August 3, 2009

Featured in Lady in Red Treasury

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My "Imposter" gothic romance Bountiful Winepress necklace is featured in the Lady in Red Etsy Treasury here: http://www.etsy.com/treasury_list.php?room_id=74095

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Etsy Suppliers

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Amethystine earrings


Short of getting a sale and maybe finishing a good jewelry piece, there is nothing more exciting for me in the jewelry-making process than buying jewelry components and getting them in the mail. I go nuts over new ear wires. I cheer over new beads. I have to go like a little girl and show my mom all the pretty new things I have to work with.

Since my beginning with Etsy, I've been building up a supplier base. Some suppliers I can only dream about buying from them. Others, I buy from all the time. Others, I've been saving them for such a time as this when I'm about to get a respectable influx of spending money to invest.

While my Etsy selling forays are never as successful as I hope, I continue to provide business to Etsy suppliers, since they have to make a living, too. I feel glad that I have the opportunity to develop a working relationship with them. I love finally being able to buy from sellers who I hearted months ago. I love it when I find new suppliers with beautiful new or vintage items, just the unique components that I'm looking for. My aesthetic isn't unique, per se, but it is particular.

I also don't tend to buy in bulk, although I know that many Etsians recommend it. Hell, even I recommend it. However, most of the time I can't afford bulk buys. I have to purchase components one bit at a time. For instance, right now, I'm mostly able to work in oxidized and antiqued brass, but that's about it. I would love to work in silver, but it's much more expensive than brass. Even working in copper would be difficult, cheap as it is, since I would have to develop a whole new range of jewelry findings and components. I intend to work on that in the future, but for now I work with what I have. And there are plenty of gorgeous components in brass anyway, so I don't complain too loudly. It was so enjoyable to find the right suppliers for my needs when I first started to go into oxidized brass. Now I'm a loyal customer to many of these suppliers.

I don't hide my suppliers, although I don't automatically reveal them either - part of it is that whole "nothing new under the sun" idea. If anyone wanted to look where I get all my supplies, they could find them easily. But I urge everyone to find their own way, discover their own suppliers. I'm one of those people who isn't bothered by the imprecise Etsy search. Sometimes I don't find what I'm looking for, but I usually discover something I didn't even know I wanted.