Monday, June 29, 2015

My Show Philosophy

Group shot of recent jewelry I've made!
Shows are so funny... everything can be perfect -- good venue, good booth location, bakery goods handy and lovely weather... and the show tanks for no reason you can phantom.

And yet other shows seem to be a disaster from the get go and yet you do famously !    Jerry and I have pretty much given up guessing anymore, because it just doesn't pay.

The only real factor you can compute,  (I wouldn't call it an absolute factor!) is that really cold weather or really hot humid weather will usually kill a good sales show.

If it's sooo cold they are wearing mittens... they won't try jewelry on and I won't sell much.

And if it's so hot and sticky that no one is comfy, again, they won't try it on, so I won't sell it.  There seems to be a range of 70ish to 90ish that works well.

Even rain won't adversely effect a show as much as too cold or too hot.  Well, OK, driving rain isn't good, but seriously Jerry and I have made a profit with crappy rain, where if it's 100 out we won't.

So if it's a good show, we enjoy it and worry about having enough inventory for the next show.. and if it's a "bad" show we try to enjoy that as well... it might mean visiting other artists at the show more than we can at a busy show, or maybe I pull out and play with parts ( I always have a stash with me just in case!! ) .  Or maybe one of us jumps in the car and visits local antique shops while the other mans the booth.

Whatever, if it's slow, we try to make it a positive experience in ways other than profit.  

So I guess what I'm saying is a bad show is really a show where Jerry and I are in bad moods... cause any other mood we can find something to be happy about! 

Sunday, June 28, 2015


Just after painting, sanding and sealing my butterflies
finished pendants... riveted to partial pocket watches

I love butterflies, who doesn't?   but I like to give them my special Mechanical Romance twist.... I have them settling on pocket watch parts like they would a flower.

These butterflies start out a brass stampings without holes... I paint, sand, and seal them, punch holes in them and rivet and wire wrap them to the pocket watches. 

Cuffs Part II -- sneaky cuffs

 A couple of weeks ago I got busy making cuffs.  I wanted to make something different this time... so I used vintage lockets as the centerpiece to the cuffs.  
 That way you can put pictures or secret treasures in you cuff and have them with you always....

Let me know what you think!!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Cuffs Part 1

Wednesday when I took the day off to work on jewelry, I got into a cuff mood... I only had 2 left in inventory, so it seemed like a good time to make more.  Here are 4 of them, I'll show the last 2 next post. 

The brass cuff stamping starts out flat, and I bend it into cuff shape.  The challenging part is bending the front piece to match the bottom cuff piece... sometimes if you rivet first then bend it puts stress on the rivets and they pop or loosen up... the holes don't always line up either.  I tend to pend the bottom and top pieces then drill and rivet.  It's more challenging to do it this way, but I feel it's a better, sturdier bracelet as a result. 

most of the cuffs and front pieces have such lovely finishes on them, but the lovely Art Nouveau lady in this pieces was in raw brass.  I think it turned out stunning!

Here is another Art Nouveau style lady, she looks like Alphonse Mucha! 

I'll next  be at The Other Art Show this coming weekend (June 27 & 28) .  Actually the official name is "Artfest Midwest" but everyone calls it the other art show, as it's the same weekend as the big downtown one -- the nationally known and ranked one on the streets of downtown Des Moines.  

Jerry and I always have fun at it, and of course we get cookies serviced pipping hot in coffee cups!  (If you are not familiar with the Iowa State Fair-- Barksdale is the vendor in the varied industry building and they are famous for mini-cookies by the cup and bucket.  

Any art show where I get bakery goods, is well, good!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Farmer's Market went fantastic!

Had a fantastic day at downtown Des Moines farmers market-- had a different spot than before down on the south side of 4th street.  It was really close to the science center.

Strangely we had no neighbors on either side of us.  Now in a normal venue, blank space is  bad.  It's like people's eyes glaze over and they just visually "skip" you.  We have been In past shows where we just watched virtually everyone pass us as if we were Invisible.   

Add in we had the 3rd to last booth and well, people just sort of get close to end of of the street and decide it's too much effort to walk to the end, so they skip it and turn around.  

So first thing this morning I was looking at our position and feeling glum.

But there just doesn't seem to be a bad spot at farmers's market!  Yes some folks probably skipped the end, and we probably had some walk past and not even realize we were in the middle of the "dead spot".  Doesn't matter-- the rest of the customers more than made up for it.

Now next week is the other art show at the Iowa state fairgrounds, so I need to be laser focused on getting inventory done the rest of the weekend and week...  

I'm making a list of top priorities tonight and hopefully tomorrow I'll run down my hit list.  I hope tomorrow goes like last Wednesday where I made 15 items.

Here is one of the cuffs I made Wednesday -- I used a new patina color called sky sapphire.

I love the deep multi-toned look this patina has!   

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Studio time

You know how sometimes you are wondering if your husband is really listing to you ?  So this morning I told him that bats were wearing frilly yellow aprons while playing with the chickens.  

This started a conversation about how halfling farmers (think hobbits) fight in this computer game of his by throwing chickens.

I told him they must be pretty pissed off to throw 2nd breakfast at someone without cooking it first.  

I love my hubby.

I also love making jewelry, but my artistic mojo has been off lately.  So when I woke up this morning and I felt, for the first time in ages like I could actually make something -- I decided to take a day of vacation.  A quick check with work and here I am in my studio, working on a cuff bracelet.  I'm planning to spend the whole day here.

I'm calling it a creative health break.  I feel healthier already!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I'm so proud of my daughter!!!!!!

This is my daughter's book, she spend over a year writing it and it's now self-published on Amazon, and soon several other retailers. 

If you want to see more about her and her first book ( she's already writing book 2) check out her page on Amazon!

Actually I'm hoping some folks will feel motivated to write reviews on Amazon, something that as her mom I can't really do.

Assuming you can trust a mom's opinion, it's actually pretty good.... it's got all kinds of supernatural critters and the main characters are engaging and I was surprised by some of the plot twists. 

While I think it's an entertaining read for all ages, I think teenagers will enjoy it the most.

The cover art is by my very talented brother, Kirk Barron, so this book is really a family production!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Finding my way again.............

This past weekend was a really good weekend for me.  Artistically I've felt lost the last couple of months -- I think it's just all the thing that have been piled on my plate, and now that things are calmer I have time to reflect and even just ..... Breathe.  Heck, I think I've just felt lost in general.  I use my art to help ground myself, to help guide myself in difficult times.  But it's hard to create when you can't breath isn't it?  It's hard to pick the right path when you have lost your sense of direction.  Or the self doubt that you have ever had one.   So to people who sometimes loose your way (and everyone does). Just remember -- your heart always points true north.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Catch up, final prom pic, grad pictures, and weekend plans.....

OK, I've been lax on blog posting, mostly a time issue.  I've also haven't felt very, well, creative and artsy lately, which could also be blamed on time issues.  

Now that May is over, graduations are done and the show schedule is lighter the rest of the summer.. I'm hoping I'll be a better blogger again.

So how about a quick catch up? 

The Main thing, Jerry and Jesscera both graduated and we had a large and I think, fun party to celebrate a couple of weeks ago.  I wish I had a good picture of her getting her diploma but I don't.  I have however a great picture of Jer & Jess in our doorway just beforehand.... Love the expressions on their faces.. and it's hard to catch Jerry on camera with a smile!  And yes, I made her put on her fancy shoes before Jerry ran her to Knapp Center to graduate.


We cleaned the house, hung up crepe paper streamers and cute little paper grad hats, had soup and cake and invited just about everyone we knew.  After the official hours of the reception we had a game day.  

Now for something cute!  Jesscera's date for prom realized after the fact  that the guy buys the lady a corsage.  He felt horrible about this, so the next Monday after prom, when Jesscera got to the class they share, he had these flowers on her desk for her.  awwwwww!
the belated prom flowers.. He did a good job!
 SO... I have a couple of weeks before my next round of shows.

This is more or less unplanned.  Normally we have shows pretty much every weekend from the start of May to the end of September.  For a variety of reasons that hasn't happened this year.  I could probably still fill in blanks but I really don't want to.  I think I'm getting old.  I think I might be getting burnt out on doing a heavy show schedule.  I think, as long as we can afford it, slowing down wouldn't be a bad thing.  We still have 2-3 shows every month til October.  I can always add a few in the fall if it seems like we need the income, but hopefully Jerry will be working full time again by then.  I think to stay sane and healthy, I need to slow down and take a breath once in a while.

While Jerry and I enjoy doing the shows, when you throw in all the life events we have had this year, I could really use some down time. I look forward to puttering around the studio.. which currently looks like a tornado hit it with a sledge hammer while backing up and dumping a full garage truck load in it. ugh.

It's to the point where It's hard to create because everything is buried and I have no clean surfaces to lay
projects out and what's the point of laying it out if I can't find everything I need to make it???
I've been itching to do some resin as well, and that takes table space to lay it out and let it dry.

I've also bought some materials and haven't gotten them sorted out and put away...
in short, I wish to do nothing as much as to clean - thoroughly!! - and straighten up the studio so maybe I could actually design something worth designing.

I've already started to clean up the studio last night, and this morning I woke up thinking about jewelry designs, so it's already working!

I'm also trying to work out a quickie girl's weekend to see my bestest buddies... keeping fingers crossed.  Not sure it's gonna pan out, but it's worth a try.

And I'm going to get back on regular, 2-3 times a week blogging.  I think it helps me focus on making things.