Thursday, March 19, 2015

Build A Line Challenge from B'sue Boutiques, Kat of Midnight Kat Productions, The last bit!

well here we are, at the end of the road. This is the third and final part of the Build A Line Challenge run by Brenda Sue of B'sue Boutiques.  You can see my first post here, and my second here..

I really want to thank Brenda Sue for leading us all on this journey. It was incredibly generous to offer to lead this class on her own time and for no cost. I'm very glad I decided to go ahead and join in. I really debated up front because I wasn't really sure I wanted to do jewelry in this manner. I didn't want to lose my creative voice and I wasn't sure if I'm at a point in my life where I can really expand on my jewelry output.

I am mostly wrong on count one, and mostly right on count two.. but first let's look at the last few pieces of my line.

When I left off last month, I was trying to get my time on each pin broach down so I could charge no more than $25 and make what I need to make.
Laying out the last 2 designs.
 Unfortunately I just couldn't get my time down, and make a decent, sturdy broach.

So I made the last 2 pieces necklaces, and it saved time because I don't need to attach the pin back.

After factoring everything in (including increased costs of necklace chain), I still ended up with a cost of $35 minimum each piece.

I think I"ll price the pins at $32, and the pendants $40 and see what happens.

I've also kicked around ideas for more expensive pieces to be at the high end of my line. I sketched out a couple of ideas, which I might get to eventually.

I ran into a real roadblock at this point.

sketches of larger, more expensive pieces

While these pieces had meaning while I designed them, I've said what I wanted to say. 

And I'm tired of hearts. I"m tired of doing pieces with hearts in them. 

I think I mentioned in the first blog hop back in January I'm not normally a heart gal. I'm still not a heart gal, and I've reached my limits, for the moment at least, on working with hearts. I really had to force myself to finish the last 2 pieces, though I have to say I love how the bird heart piece turned out.

I guess you could think maybe I just need to pick a different project to work on to develop a line around... but the truth is I'm gonna hit this wall regardless of what I'm making. I like being to hop around materials and themes and not have to make the same thing or work with the same materials day in and day out.
You can hardly tell the bird is a heart.. maybe that's why I like it so much...

Even when I'm working with stuff I love to work with, even if I'm enjoying my design... I can only work on that for so long.

There is also the time factor. I work full-time at my day job, plus I have a house and family to maintain, and I need to sleep and heck, I occasionally like to do something for myself like read a book... There really is a limit to how much time I get to spend working on jewelry or working on my business as it is.

Even though the business right now is an important contributor to my family 's overall financial health, I can't spend more than a hour here and a hour there on it during the weekdays. Every hour I spend in the studio is probably an hour I should be washing dishes or something... right now as I type this it's almost midnight I should be in bed, not writing my blog.

And the other necklace done!
Of course I would love to make more money, to make my jewelry business my only job, it's just not practical right now when I"m the only one bringing in the income. I hope ( I HOPE!!) that in a few years, maybe I can look at this idea seriously.

In the mean time, this adventure has reinforced that it's OK if I make "mini" lines. I was afraid If I applied some basic production line thinking to my jewelry making I was somehow loosing my creativity. That was was "cheapening" my jewelry because I repeated a few designs.

I look at my line of heart and watch faces, and while they are the same in concept, each one is very different. It's OK as an artist to explore an idea in several pieces.. I'm not a fraud for doing so. I can honestly call each pin or necklace OOAK and not be lying or hypocritical.

crappy pic of the whole line, 6 pieces in all.
 That is majoring freeing!! I've played with this already ( See my Big eye monster or my key to time series ) However I really started to think this way when B'Sue announced doing this class.   This gives me the validation I needed to move in this direction... small run, limited collections.

Going forward I will be doing more of these. I enjoy it, I get 6-8 pieces done in the time I might have gotten 3-4 before, and I can be happy and confident that I'm doing good, original work.   I can really set out and explore a concept in my brain, instead of doing 1 piece of it and think, wow, I need to do more.. and never get around to it.

In the future, if my situation or inclination changes,  I now have the basic outline on how to take my business to the next step. 

Ultimately it's about what makes me happy and what makes sense for my situation at this time.

Be sure to see how my classmates have learned during this 3 month adventure!

Brenda Sue Lansdowne, B'sue Boutiques (Teacher and leader )

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  <<<< ME !

Midnight Kat Productions Art Jewelry
Sandra Ballard
Mama San's Mojo
Coral Law


Marica Zammit said...

Kat I LOVE your line. I think that it's got great potential.

And it seems to me that even if you don't continue making hearts, you've already got a solid voice and look. And that is just awesome.

You did (and you're doing) a wonderful job!

Like you say, the timing might not be right at the moment, but with this class you will have a more solid idea what you need to do, if you ever want to go down that route.

All the best with your future endevours!

Cynthia Wainscott said...

Congratulations on your finish line! You did a great job I think your design are lovely and very clever , I too understand what is to have a family and have to take care little children and try to make time to make my business grow, it can be hard to find the balance but eventually we get there, I wish you luck with your business and your beautiful line!

WindDancerStudios said...

" instead of doing 1 piece of it and think, wow, I need to do more.. and never get around to it."

I so get that! I've done it a LOT and I really wish I hadn't. But now we have permission not to!! hugs We made it! You did wonderful!

Cynthia Wainscott said...

Really fun pieces! You did a great job my favorite is the one with with the purple heart and the dangling pearls :) have a great day! Cynthia Wainscott

MadScientistsDesigns said...

Very pretty, Kat. Thanks for sharing. :-) ~Elizabeth

Mitzie Crider said...

Its good to know I'm not the only one who felt limited, at first. Your pieces are very creative, and quite varied in design. yet, they are cohesive. I think you nailed it. (I just wish your blog were easier to read. White print that's very small is hard!)

Lynda O'Mara said...

Kat--I like the pieces you completed and I think your pricing is good. Glad you stuck it out and learned what works for you.

Anonymous said...

Great job on your line Kat. Your pieces are unique and wonderful. Great job.

Anonymous said...

Love your line Kat. You have done a fantastic job. Your pieces are unique and wonderful. Great job!!

B'sue said...

Excellent post, Kat. I am glad you found important things that relate to you in the challenge, things that work and increase your creativity. It is extremely hard to juggle a full time job, a home and do a jewelry business on the side and hope that it grows....oh how I know, because I did it. But I was MUCH MUCH younger then. Now that I understand how hard it was, can't say I could ever do it at that level again. I want to do my own line again but it will probably be much the same way as you are approaching it.....combining the concepts of trend, color and artistic generosity in the mix. You're fine like this! And I like very much what you have done. Keep on keepin' on!

Anonymous said...

The pieces you created are creative and though they follow the same theme they are quite different. I feel you have learned a lot not only about business but about yourself. And that is what is most important to take away from the class. At least it was for me.

Anonymous said...

Great job on your line I think it works well together

Chiron Sky said...

Very clever designs! Nicely done!

DragonzWench said...

Let your business grow as you can manage, don't push it or yourself past what you can manage(afford) for now. it will all happen in it's own time.

Cindy Peterson said...

You should feel good you made it this far. You learned more about yourself and what you can accomplish. Your ideas are great and someday when your ready you will find the time to make it all happen on your terms.

Unlimited Inspiration For You Too! said...

Wooo Hooo Kat what a fantastic line. You did an awesoem job and what's even better is that you are please for sure. Sending you best wishes in all that you do. ~ Louise

Sue Shade said...

Congratulations on making a line with your limited time. Great job!

Sweet Willow Designs said...

It's so difficult to juggle so much but look what you've accomplished! A really nice line. I get you in that sticking with the same theme or materials is hard for me too but it was a good learning experience to see how simplifying and standardizing (not quite the right word) materials helps build a line. Wishing you all the best.

Nadine Edris said...

Kat, I love your design and the idea of a limited collection seems like the perfect fit for where you are now in your life. I've been debating a lot of the same issues myself and have come to a very similar place. I want a business that I can manage with all the rest of the stuff in my life without getting too crazy!
Love, love, love your pieces!

Tammy Adams said...

You did a wonderful job. I'm not a hearts person either, so I probably would have been "over it" before I finished. But, hearts are popular and your line is unique so you should have good luck with what you've created. Beautifully done.

Judith Farhat said...

I think you've created a really cohesive line in that grouping in the last photo. They're whimsical and fun. In spite of your limited time, like you've said, you're laying the groundwork for future designs. Good luck to you as you develop your creativity!

Jeanette Belmont said...

Your candor is refreshing.

Jeanette Belmont said...

And your jewelry is beautiful, I can relate to burning out on a concept that I enjoy as well.

Anonymous said...

Your pieces are wonderful. They are OOAK yet one can tell they are made by the same person. Ingrid

coral said...

It's not easy to get the balance. Cheer up. You did a great job. It's the end of the class but it's the beginning of this line.

Aurora Designs said...

I like your creations and that you were able to figure out how to increase your productivity in the process, Kat.

Melissa Lopez said...

I love it! ~ Melissa

Susan Bowerman, Woodside WireWorks said...

Kat, I love what you created. I think every piece is wonderful. I am a big fan of your work and totally get where you are coming from. I don't want to see another piece of silver and rose ox for awhile myself! Time to let that combination rest for awhile. Thank you for sharing your insights with us, and your beautiful art. I look forward to seeing more of your pieces. I truly love them! Great job.

Nike E. Bottalico said...

I love what you do! Whether or not you make multiples is up to you! Your work (I call collage art jewelry) is of off or OOAK if that is what feeds your artistic soul-- do it. I found I needed to be more broad with the concepts. I took a lot from the class but I need to be true to me! As you do!!!

Jann Tague said...

Kat .. congratulation on you fine design .. looking forward to seeing more in the future

gloria allen said...

I love the whimsy of your line and it is cohesive even though different designs.Congrats we made it.

Kristy Le Trendy Jewelry said...

What an awesome steampunk design you created here and I've always been a fan of your pieces. Job well my friend despite all else that you had to do.

Kristy Le Trendy Jewelry said...

Kat i loved your steampunk design it was clever as is all of your piece and i think you did and awesome job despite all the other busy thing you have going on at home.

Pamela said...

Great pieces, Kat! I understand that day to day life comes first, and hope that someday you'll be able to spend more time in your jewelry business. In the meanwhile, it looks like you've gotten some good ideas from the class to keep making unique pieces within a smaller line. Great job!

Lori said...

Very fun pieces! said...

Great start on your line. Love the compnents you used. Hope you find more time to create.

jan peters said...

A little steampunk is always fun! And even if your hearts wander away, the possibilities are endless! Have fun with it and keep creating!

Janet Calardo said...

Great line of jewelry started. Like the idea of doing small limited runs...have to work on that one myself. Love your designs.

Teresa Schurter said...

Your line is wonderful, no matter how big or small, it's truly unique and each piece is very special.
Your customers will be very happy that you take the time to get the pieces right. Your wise to take your time jumping into another business, you have more than two full time jobs as it is, counting your job as mom and taking care of yourself it really important.

Monica Casady said...

I'm not a heart person either, but I really like how you incorporated them into your pieces. Very pretty, great job with your line!

WilyWolverine said...

Love your line and how you incorporated clocks, pearls, flowers and so on! This is a really nice line--I hope you continue it and like what you said about each being different so that they
re still one of a kind! Hard to pick a fave cuz I like them all for different reasons! :):)

Renee Hong said...

You have a very identifiable look for your line, unique and appealing! Great job!