Thursday, January 22, 2015

Build A Line Challenge from B'sue Boutiques, Kat of Midnight Kat Productions, Part One

Trying to figure out what I am going to make for the Build-A-Line challenge

I've been struggling with my project for Build a Line Challenge sponsored by B'sue Boutiques

Let me back up a few steps.  For those new to me, Hi!  My name is Kat BarronMiller, and I'm a jewelry artist From Iowa.  My Company Name is Midnight Kat Productions, and I make steampunk inspired jewelry that I call Mechanical Romance.  I can't just call it steampunk because while there are gears, cogs and watch parts, there are also bits and pieces of vintage typewriters, sewing machines and cash registers.  I don't always put things together in a steampunk way either, I adore taking vintage bits and making a modern statement with my jewelry.

I really wanted to participate in this challenge, because I think it will help me face up to a fear I have - that if every piece I make isn't OOAK, I'm not a real artist.  

I know that's a silly fear, but like anything that involves feelings, you can't just talk it away.
but maybe I can do it away... the whole idea of this Build A Line challenge is creating a line of reproducible jewelry.  I don't have to stop making OOAK pieces, this is just adding to the mix.
Now that I've decided what to do, it's time to do it.  I've cut out the heart from a cookie tin, embossed it and now I'm sanding it so the relief pops out.

I've been making jewelry since 1996.  For many many years I made this one design over and over, using hematite rings.  It was by far my best seller... and I made them until I was ready to vomit.  I was so happy when I decided to stop making them, even if they made me money.  

I don't ever want to feel like that again.  like I only make things that I think will sell, without any heart and soul.  

I need to make items that are sellable of course, but I don't have to sell my soul in the process. 

Matching up watch faces to backgrounds and hearts
Part of the challenge is to pick a theme for your line of jewelry.  Honestly the last few weeks have been very rough on me emotionally, as several family members are battling illness.  This reminds me that time is short, and love is precious and you never know when you will loose someone you love.  I decided on a line of broaches, and each broach had to have a heart to represent love and love ones and a vintage watch face for the time element.  In additional I wanted teardrops involved... for all the bittersweet memories that come up when you lose someone.  And I want incorporate chain, because we are all connected.

I have been playing around with design ideas for the last couple of weeks, but it was only last night that I came up with the winner.  The problem was the heart.  Honestly,  I'm not a heart gal, so using hearts as such a central part of the design, it threw me.  I decided I needed to make the hearts myself.  
Probably my favorite part! Riveting everything together.  Do you know I hated riveting at one point a couple of years ago? Now it's the Bomb!

Each heart is cut out of old cookie tins, then I emboss them.  I also like this because I can cut each heart from a different tin, which will make each piece alike but oh so different with minimal cost and effort.  

I'm pretty pleased with the first broach.. I use a B'sue bezel for the background.. I love the border on this one, and I've turned it 90 degrees so I can use the bail for the chain.  I found some great vintage teardrop pearls that I used on this one.  

So what do you think of the prototype?

This is the first one, all done!
Be sure to visit all the members of the challenge -- and the next blog hop is February 20th!

Brenda Sue Lansdowne, B'sue Boutiques
Jewelry Making Outside the Box
Marcia Tuzzolino
Aurora Designs
Jann Tague
Clever Designs by Jann
Judy King
Apt to Wander Studio
Linzi Alford
Magpie in the Sky, Spoil Heap Tales
Cynthia Wainscott
Exotic Peru
Carole Carlson
Lynn Stinten
Marica Zammit
Bead Lovelies
Catherine Shattuck
Michaele Collie
The Vintage Gem
Mary Craig
Jewelry Alchemy
Lee Koopman
Strega Jewelry
Erin Whitacre
Shattered Time Jewelry
Monica Casady
MJCasady Copper Works
Leila West
Leila Nicole Designs
Cindy Peterson
Howling Dog Jewelry
Leila Belcher
Leila Bee Designs
Gloria Allen
Wings and Beads
Pamela Anger
Novegatti Designs
Tammy Adams
Paisley Lizard
Lynda O'Mara
LOmara Creative
Elizabeth Hildreth
Dana Hickey
Wind Dancer Studios
Janet Calardo
Jan Lea Designs
Maria Clark
Sweet Willow Designs
Lori Beekman
B. Accessorized
Jennifer Kroeger
Relic Charm
Amy Jorgensen
Hoarder's Corner
Robin Reed
Artistry: Handcrafted Bead Designs
Ingrid Anderson
Lilis Gems
Louise O'Shields
Desire Divine Jewels
Susan Killam
Killam Creative
Mary Katherine Deis
The Rose Sword: Artisan and Vintage Collectible Jewelry
Nike Bottalico
Nike Bottalico
Susan Bowerman
Woodside Wireworks
Kristy Le
Kristy Le Trendy Jewelry Designs
Jan Peters
Stylized Vintage
Mitzie Crider
Needful Luxuries Occasional Blog
Gina Hockett
Freestyle Elements
Linda Anderson
From the Bead Board
Alexandra Sefton
Imaginary Jewelry and Altered Art
Melida Boman
The Journey of Pens and Things
Teresa Shurter
TreeZ's Treasurs
Melissa Latimer
Smithed Up
Renee Hong
Fine and Dandy Jewelry and Art
Nadine Edris
Moondance Jewelry
Lori Meyer
Parisienne Girl
Jennifer Merrill Williams
Artists of All Stripes
Denise Lussier Poirier
Jewelry by Denise
Renee Allen
Small Stuff Design
Autumn Adams
Autumn Dawns
Elizabeth Owens
1996 Shabby Lane
Kat BarronMiller
Midnight Kat Productions Art Jewelry
Sandra Ballard
Mama San's Mojo
Coral Law


Sandra Ballard said...

Adore your concept! Go Gettem Girl!

vrbrose032 said...

Very nice write up, Kat!

WilyWolverine said...

So glad you didn't vomit and went for heart and soul instead! I really like your first piece with the time and heart--it speaks to me even if I didn't know about the tears and chain connections. Beautiful! :)

DragonzWench said...

Hi Midnight Kat,
lovely presentation.
Cookie tins what a great idea.

Marica Zammit said...

Wow I LOVE that brooch!

I believe that with this challenge we're going to find the perfect balance.

And that brooch definitely has soul in it. Way to go! I'm loving your theme already.

Robin Reed said...

Your post almost made me cry...LOL I just lost my dad and I understand completely what you are doing [not trying to do...doing] with your theme!! I absolutely love it! Be Blessed!

Michelle Mach said...

Using tins is a great way to add that unique touch to each piece! I think that will make it really special to customers who want something unique but may not be able to afford a totally custom piece.

Melissa said...

You have a really beautiful theme going here. I love it.

Susan Bowerman, Woodside WireWorks said...

Kat, what a wonderful post and that first piece is lovely. I think you theme is wonderful and you described it beautifully. I'm really excited to see where this journey has taken you so far. Kudos for a job well done!

gloria allen said...

I love how hearts are at the center of both are lines, yet so utterly different interpretations. The Brooch is fabulos

Pamela said...

Your theme idea is great, Kat ... love hearts, and love how you put your special touch on them! I can't wait to see your whole line! ;)

WindDancerStudios said...

I love the thought process behind your line. I think it will resonate really well with your customer base. Great thinking and I can't wait to see the rest of your line.

Chiron Sky said...

I love your story and your concept! I can't wait to see your creations! Hugs!!!

Chiron Sky said...

Love your blog! Your concept is going to be fabulous, can't wait to see your creations! Hugs!!

Jann Tague said...

Love your blog and your upcoming design line .. Jann

Jewely by Denise said...

I really like your blog!

Mary Craig said...

The explanation of the thinking that went into your concept was really moving. It made me stop and feel. Bravo!

Nadine Edris said...

Kat, I love your handmade hearts and the whole concept! Very inspired. Can't wait to see more!

stregajewellry said...

Absolutely LOVE your prototype! That heart is awesome! What a beautiful theme!

Autumn said...

I love the symbolism in your line. I've been looking for pearls like that too. Could you tell me where you found them?

Marcia Tuzzolino said...

Kat, loved hearing your story and the reason you chose your theme. Your prototype is very lovely.

MadScientistsDesigns said...

Love your theme. You are right time is too short. The prototype is very pretty. Can't wait to see more finished pieces. :-) ~Elizabeth

Melida said...

Can't wait to see the rest. Like the idea for the hearts.

Lori said...

Way to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Very inspiring. =)

Carole said...

Kat, I love your brooch. It was a good idea to make the hearts yourself.

ParisienneGirl said...

Kat, your emotional tie to your line will surely propel you to success. Sending my best wishes for healing for your family members.

Tammy Adams said...

Lovely idea for your theme and brilliant to make your own hearts. And you are definitely not alone in your sentiments about doing one of a kind art jewelry versus "soulless" production pieces. I too am hoping to find my way to the middle ground. Looking forward to seeing your line.

Micheale Collie said...

Our stories are remarkably similar! I've really struggled, too and will be here to support and cheer you on! Love the prototype and how you use cookie tins :)

lilisgems said...

I can so relate to your fear of creating things that are not one of a kind! Your idea is a wonderful way of facing that! Love the first brooch.

Lynda O'Mara said...

Kat--What an innovative idea to cut the hearts out yourself! I love your philosophy and know it will come through your pieces.

Nike E. Bottalico said...

adore what your are designing!!

Nike E. Bottalico said...

Adore what you're designing! I cannot wait to see!

Teresa Schurter said...

Mechanical Romance is such an evocative idea! How you're connecting all the pieces together is marvelous. Great workmanship too!

Monica Casady said...

I have a pile of tins just waiting to be turned into jewelry! Loved reading your first post, exciting to see you challenge yourself by going out of your comfort zone with the hearts. The prototype is wonderful, looking forward to the rest.

Janet Calardo said...

This is a really great blog. I love the theme you chose. It has a lot of emotion and is well thought out. Can't wait to see the line you create.

Amy J said...

Great blog - I can't wait to see your finished line! I know what you mean about never wanting to make something again. I used to make wine glass charms for charitable auctions - and I was good at it, but one I realized I hated making them - I haven't made another one since! :)

Miss Swish said...

Looking forward to seeing more of your brooch line :) Linzi

Susan ~ Killam Creative said...

As a die-hard brooch wearer, I say well done! The story and inspiration behind your line is compelling. I'm absolutely not a heart girl either, and I really appreciate that you made it your own. I will watch your new line with great interest Kat.


Kristy Le Trendy Jewelry said...

What a heartfelt concept for the challenge and I hope that your loved one's who are having illness and struggles will find some happiness in your created pieces. I've always loved your work and look forward to another fabulous piece from you, loved the proto type piece well done.

La Jen said...

Thank you for sharing your process. The meaning of each element is so important and together your line holds an important message of life. Regarding the design, my strongest impression is that the light color of the tin stands out against the gold tones of the rest. As I gaze at the design it seems to ask for one more central element, maybe try one prototpe with the clock in the center and two other elements, one on either side of the clock?

coral said...

I like using scraps or waste for my jewelry too. May I know how did you make the tin flat? I put it in heavy book and even after embrossing through cuttlebug, it still curves to one side.

vrbrose said...

Love your concept, Kat! Prototype is fabulous! ;)
~ Catherine of

vrbrose said...

Love your concept, Kat! Prototype is fabulous! ;)
~ Catherine of

Renee Hong said...

Brooches are a great idea. I hope I can learn The Bomb riveting, LOL! Your handmade hearts, and the story behind the elements in your line is great.

Elizabeth Owens said...

Hi Kat!
Love the name for your style of jewelry that you create-Excellent descriptive.I have had other prior commitments during the hop so I am late getting to the party LOL... finishing up this week. I love how you use the guts of typewriters, sewing machines etc... in your work-very cool I llok forward to seeing your finished line!
PS> hope you had a successful day of sales @ the Fleas!
See you in class!
xo Liz