Friday, June 13, 2008

Bead Star

It's been a while since I've posted. I've kind of been overwhelmed by trying to keep my shops going, work, create and do shows every weekend! Today, however I have some exciting news. Yesterday I found out that I am a finalist in the metals category of the Bead Star contest. First prize is a trip to a bead show in Sante Fe and a $1500 bead shopping spree from Fire Mountain. The top five entries in each of the nine categories will also be featured in Bead Star magazine to be published in December of this year.
Star of India
Please take a trip over to Beading Daily's Bead Star and cast your vote. I'm number 17 in the metals category. You get to vote for your favourite in each of the nine categories. Come on and send me to Santa Fe, Mama needs a new pair of beaded shoes!

Monday, April 21, 2008

So Many Ideas...So Little Time

It's been crazy busy lately. Either that or it's just taking me an awfully long time to get anything done. Actually I think it's a combination of the two. My chronic fatigue has kicked up big time in the last couple of weeks. I'm trying to scale back and conserve energy but, in the words of Oklahoma's Ado Annie, "I'm just a girl who can't say no!" Well, I'm working on it...getting better at it, but still a work in progress.

One good side effect of working on conserving energy is that I've been able to make a few pieces of jewelry I really like. The process just takes me to another, more peaceful, place. I know that when I'm feeling overwhelmed, I just need to pick up some beads or clay and I'll feel better. Here are my latest creations:

Barnacles Bangles and Necklace

Aztec Bracelet

One very exciting thing happened for me last week. I logged in to my email and checked out the latest edition of Beading Daily and, lo and behold, there I was! A while ago I had sent in a response to a request for music inspired jewelry pieces. My friend Mary and I had designed and made pendants for the 60+ members of our choir. She had shown me her design for a treble clef pin and I had the idea of attaching two treble clefs, reversing the orientation, and then we had SS for our phenomenal women's choir, Shout Sister. We are led by the very talented Juno award winner Georgette Fry. The selection of music is quite meaningful and special, and when our voices come together we seem to transcend the daily grind and all things seem possible. Here is an example of the pendant and earrings I made myself:

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

401 Thinktank

This is a pretty busy week, so I probably won't get a chance to create much. Of course, now that I have my computer back, I am also spending far too much time on it.

I have a few ideas clanking around in my head. On the weekend I couldn't sleep one night, so I got up and sketched out some ideas for polymer toggles. I conditioned the clay, so now I just need to set aside some time to try them out.

My best ideas, however, seem to come while flying along on the 401. It was a beautiful drive back from Kingston today. The sun was shining, some Spanish guitar was playing on the car stereo, and visions of polymer clay danced in my head. I have a cheap watch that I really like. It is a cuff style made of engraved coppery colour rectangles. Every time I look at it I think about making a polymer clay tile bracelet in a similar style. Well the rest of the idea has gelled, so I best get a sketch made up before I lose it.

The latest idea this evening came from an alchemy bid on some dangly circle earrings I was preparing for ETSY. By the time I had completed the sketch to send with my bid, the bid had closed. I got a good idea out of it anyhow. I'm finding that happens a lot. I prepare a bid for someone's request and, whether or not my bid is successful, the potential customer has inspired a new idea. I hadn't anticipated that side benefit.

I happened upon a new artisan show in Ottawa next month. On Sunday I just found it by chance, and the deadline for applications is Thursday. Thankfully I already had some photos prepared from other applications so I was able to express it yesterday. If I get in that will be my first show. I'm looking forward to finding out if people who are in the market for artisan jewelry will actually buy mine. On Etsy and Icraft finding me is like finding a needle in a haystack so, like many, I have had very few sales there. I have made some sales to friends and acquaintances, but not enough to be confident that I can really make a go of this. I get a great many admirers, but not so many buyers. Are they just being polite, or will they actually remember me and make a purchase when they are looking for a gift or accessory? I figure the craft and art shows should give me a better idea of what I am doing right and what I need to improve.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

I'm Back!

Well, all doubt has been removed. I am truly addicted to the computer! She went in for surgery on Tuesday and I picked her up on Saturday morning. I just didn't know what to do with myself being so out of touch and short on information for a few days. She was really infested with viruses. I knew there was one I was unable to get rid of, but suspected there were more. I always run with my Sympatico virus, spyware and firewall protection on. I scanned using Symantec as well and she came up clean. I suspected internet explorer was the backdoor they were using, as I had been getting a lot of errors and it would not let me upgrade to version 7. I'm now using Firefox, on the advice of my rescuer Roxie.

One good thing to come out of it all is that, with no computer to update my stores and blog or shop or browse, I had more time for creating new jewelry. Here are some pics of this week's crop:

Tuesday night I attended a marketing workshop put on by the Thousand Islands Art Guild. Lindsey Fair was the guest speaker and, having heard her speak before, I wasn't disappointed. I have applied to the guild, so it was nice to meet a few of the members as well. I have to be juried in, and they indicated that they are trying to raise the price point on their studio tours, so I'll have to come up with some more intricate and artsy pieces of I want to participate. I've seen other artists online here charging quite a bit more for pieces that are similar to mine in terms of craftsmanship and overall design, but then I've also seen some advertised for much less. What to do, what to do? In my Etsy and Icraft store the above pieces are going for $70 for the necklaces and $30 for the rings and earrings. I'd appreciate some feedback in terms of price point if you would like to leave a comment.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

These Things Will Never Catch On!

Years ago, when I first subscribed to the internet, my husband always said that it was just a passing fad and that, regarding computers, "These things will never catch on!" Well to begin with, he forgets that I "caught" him when we worked at the same plant, by teaching him how to use email. Here we are, 18 years later, and not only have they caught on, but we (including Mr. pessimistic) have a difficult time getting by without them.

I have been fighting a battle, and losing, with a virus that has rudely infected my oh so well protected computer. It has eaten up a huge amount of time over the last week, as it really@#$$%^$ me off that I can't find and fix the problem myself! I just keep trying one more thing, that leads to one more thing.... Yesterday as I was trying to update this blog, it froze my computer yet again. Well, I finally had to call in the big guns, and the baby goes to the computer hospital later today. I hope she doesn't catch an anti-virus resistent infection while she is there!

So since I last wrote on Friday, I completed the Swarovski ring for my colleague. I actually made two, as I thought the first one was too wide, so I wanted to give her a choice. She ended up picking the narrower one. That would have been my pick. She was quite pleased and, although she originally ordered it to give to her daughter, she's thinking now that she'll keep it herself.

My chronic fatigue seems to have the best of me these days. I don't have enough energy to start many new jewelry projects lately. This disease is a tough one for we recovering type A's. Everything in me says: "work harder", "do more", " if you aren't doing more than you did yesterday then you're just selfish and lazy" and on and on. I'm getting much better at not getting sucked in by these messages, and I'm learning to listen to my body, but damn I wish I could turn off that relentless tape that keeps playing in my head.

Well, off to plan some April Fools pranks!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Things Are Looking Up

I got a little more business this week.

One of my colleagues had an amethyst ring she had inherited from her Grandmother and knew she would never wear. She asked me to make her a pendant from the stone. The ring also contained six little diamonds. The diamonds were too small for me to wrap, so I made a polymer clay pendant and embedded them in that. The wrap for the amethyst is the most challenging I have done so far, the design is from Mavis Llewellyn. I'm pleased with the result. It is slightly off center, but I think it looks pretty good.

Another colleague admired one of my rings this week and has ordered one in, coincidently, Swarovski amethyst for her daughter. This one was my original design, so I'm quite happy with that sale.

My chronic fatigue has gotten the best of me this week, so I've been taking it pretty easy. I don't have anything planned for the weekend, so resting and jewelry making are foremost on my agenda. I also got some a new set of pearlex that I can't wait to get into. I used some on the diamond pendant yesterday, but I think I'll enjoy doing some experimenting over the weekend.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

Yesterday I was bemoaning the fact that as yet I had not made any online sales, with the exception of my very supportive sister. I just felt that as an artist I needed a little validation. Well, I logged into my Etsy account last night, and lo and behold I had made an honest to goodness sale! I am sooo grateful. That really gave me a boost.

I spent the majority of last night working on updating the Clayamies website. I'm a real newbie in the webpage design business so it's taking a while for this old brain to figure it all out!

On the personal side, having had a pretty rough couple of days, my New Years resolution to swear off sugar took a beating. Of course there was dessert and chocolate to be had at Easter dinner. Normally abstaining has not been a problem for me, but I had a little what the hell come over me and scarfed down quite a bit of chocolate! I hadn't had so much as a crystal of sugar since December. Oh well, as they say, one day at a time. I really do believe that, like alcohol, sugar is real poison to me.

Today I'm off to see a movie with the girls, and then it's back to the books to get ready for my classes this week.

Here's to asking and receiving!