Friday, December 31, 2010

it's almost 2011? Do you know where your resolutions are?

New years seems to = resolutions that fizzle within 3 weeks. In an effort to avoid this, I'm trying to set reasonable and OBTAINABLE ones, with extra time to complete them..

I won't bore you with my personal goals, they involve better health.

I already shared one of my business resolutions -- new items each week in my Artfire studio. I've already picked out 5 items to list .. My normal plan is to list each Monday evening, but I'm so excited about some of my new pieces I might just do it this weekend. As part of that goal, and sort of a goal of it's own I want to keep my blog fresh and updated. I'm very pleased how well I did blogging in 2010, so I guess this is a "maintenance" sort of goal. At least I know I can do it since I've done it before!!

I'm cleaning out my picture file from 2010, so my blog will be "new" stuff.

First on top is a pendant I made in November using a mix of Vintaj and non Vintaj brass stampings and one of the Bronze clay pieces I did early last year. I love the plume stamping.. I got a measly dozen of them, I predict I'll get more in the future. I bought more bronze clay, it's something I definitely want to play with more. I also purchased bronze wire for wrapping, and if you haven't notice the trend here in the blog, I'm having great fun with brass stampings and predict that will continue in 2011.

Here is another Vintaj brass item, with a steampunk vibe. These earrings sold at the first show I had them at.

This wire wrapped watch is in sterling wire. I was quite pleased when I made it, back in May! I kept meaning to do a long blog on it, never got around to it, so the pics have sat in the file all this time. The watch sold months ago. (however like always, I'm happy to take a commission to make something similar just for you!)

this pendant is in sterling silver, I've made versions of this before, I just love the look of a tear drop frame around a tear drop stone! The stone swings in the frame, which just adds to the charm. I love movement in my pieces.

Happy New Years everyone!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

New pics of the kittens! and the steps to listing jewelry in my store.

Well I've got everything wrapped that I have on hand, still waiting on a couple of boxes to arrive (hurry US mail!) but I am feeling pretty good about being ready for Christmas! I have a client coming over tomorrow to pick out Christmas gifts for her family, so I'm cleaning the studio up. I am leaving my wrapping out, but it's all NEATLY in a pile out of the way in the corner now. I hate to have to dig it back out for those last few items winging their way to my house.

Here are new pics of the kittens, though I guess at nearly 7 months, they aren't rightly kittens anymore! Here is Kass looking straight at the camera and not moving, which is a minor miracle.

As you can see, not true to Kya! This pic is slightly blurry, but it's still one of the best ones I've gotten of her face. She's absolutely enthralled with water, and every morning after my bath, she jumps in the tub to check it out. I am dreading the day she doesn't wait for me to get out!!

This pendant is from the summer. I love the large dramatic spiral I put on front. I have just a few pics left in my photo file -- so I better get cracking and make new stuff and get pics up for you.

I'm very please with myself.. I said a couple of posts ago that one of my goals for 2011 will be adding to my offerings on Artfire weekly. I am hoping by the end of 2011 I'll have 250-300 items in my shop at all times. I posted a few more today, and now I have 75 total in my store! Right now I am offering free shipping, which is good through the end of the year.

I'm planning on listing 3-5 items every Monday. That sounds like a modest goal, but it really entails more work than you might realize.

Each listing involves hard work, and it sucks time like you wouldn't believe!!

1. pick items- measure them, write notes, price if I haven't already.

2. take good quality pics of items.. at least 3-6 of each piece. since you can't touch items online, it's important to have good photos that really show you the beauty of a piece. Since I'm still working on my photography, I often take 10-15 pics, and pick out the best of the lot. I now have a spot in my studio set aside for photography permanently, so at least I shouldn't have to set up and take down every week like I used to.

3. edit pics

4. write the listing. This is an area where I really need some work. I need to research SEO more, and also writing cute, entertaining and ultimately SELLING descriptions of my jewelry. In person I'm pretty good at talking about my art, but somehow it's harder to type it out.

5. actual listing, including title, category, tag words, and SEO.

Since I have a day job, I'm hoping to do the picture taking and editing before Monday, otherwise I probably won't have enough time in the evening to get the listings up and running.

Once the listings are up, I need to promote them.. writing them up in this blog, posting on face and twitter.. and anything else I can think of to get my store out there and noticed. Ideas are welcomed!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

And how much wrapping paper is on your floor?

I'm really getting in the mood to make jewelry... I even got upstairs to the studio last night.. and spent my time wrapping Christmas gifts! LOL First I had to clean up the studio -- I had tail end projects, commission stuff, unwrapped presents and a school project left overs all over my day bed and floor. I had to clean my studio just to find all the presents I need to wrap! I got about half of the presents wrapped.. but we have a couple more boxes scheduled to show up in the next few days. Maybe by this weekend I can work on something I want to work on! At least now my studio is picked up ( if not clean) and I can find the bows again. My day bed is covered again, but in an orderly fashion with neat piles of wrapping paper & bows and bags, and the remaining presents to wrap are lined up (and covered with a blanket -- no peeking in my house!)

Right now I'm seriously into brass stampings mixed in with a sprinkle of vintage jewelry. My brain keeps designing things, and I'm sketching like a mad woman.. Since I can't "play" here are close up of some of the earrings I made a couple of weeks ago. Brass stampings from B'Sue.

This necklace the feathery plume is from B'Sue, the back circle is Vintaj and I'm happy to brag the star circle is one of my own Bronze clay pieces. The star is from a vintage button I made a mold of for clay.

sign.. that gives me another idea, where did I put my sketchbook?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Goals for Next Year.. and a sneak peak at soon to be listed Artfire items!

I know, the new year is 3 weeks away, I've not even gotten through Christmas!! And here I am thinking of next years' business goals. I can't help myself... like any artist that does art shows, I'm already knee deep in the application process for next year. Most of the good shows that jury artists in need to have your application in 6-8 months in advance. I actually missed a deadline for a show for May!

Deciding on shows naturally leads to goals for next year. This year we really wanted to concentrate on the local Des Moines art scene, mostly to save on costs in a down economy. Fortunately the local art scene is really heating up in Iowa, Des Moines especially! One of my favorite venues now is Market Day. East Village Sunday Bazaar was great fun, and all sorts of new galleries have opened! I only did 5 out of Polk county shows this year. The downside is smaller, quicker shows you don't have the opportunity to make as much money as a 2 day show in a bigger market.. but then again, if you get rained out you can really loose your shirt. The costs for doing a 2 day show out of town include gas, hotel, and food and can really add up! Larger shows have larger show fees to boot. Don't get me wrong, making money isn't my main focus, but if I don't make a profit I can't upgrade my tools or materials to make more jewelry. I can't explore new mediums without profit. This is a business, and someday, in the way to distant future, it would be nice to make this a business that supported my family, not just the business itself!
The question is do we still want to avoid bigger, farther away ( and more expensive and potentially risky) shows next year? I'm leaning towards doing at least a few more larger shows this year, but still mulling over how many and where...

But I have determined a few goals. A big one is doing everything I can to make my online Artfire studio successful. I've been using social media like Facebook and twitter (and this blog!) but I need to do more. I am also planning on listing 3-5 new items EVERY WEEK next year. I'm convinced that if I can get 150-200 pieces listed I will do well on artfire. To get off to a good start, I'm starting this week.. The pics you see throughout this blog are items that I will have listed by the end of today, tomorrow at the latest! I'll share more goals as I settle on them.. I have a tendency to bite off more than I can chew, so I'm trying to "hone" my goals down to 3-5 obtainable ones.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Working on Commissions this weekend..

and what a great weekend to do that! I don't know what's it like in your neck of the woods, but it's a blizzard in Des Moines as I type this. I can't show the commissions as they are Christmas gifts for folks, so here is a pendant I made this summer. It's a vintage crystal woven inside a sterling wire bead. It felt very vintage to me, and I sold it on the first show I had it out! As with any of my items, if you see something you like just ask.. I make something similar but customized just for you if' it's sold already. I love to do commissions, and if you order something now, I should be able to get it done and shipped to you in time for Christmas!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Recent items

I decided to finish the follow your bliss by just making it a pendant.
Another vintaj project, started with a big old blue chandelier glass piece, and built it around it. Added pearls, I think it has that great vintage feel while still having a modern touch! Earrings too.