Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Handmade Division's Talk about blog - Dec. Edition - Where do you aspire to be in 5 years?

This month's installation of Handmade Division's talk about blog is:
Where do you aspire to be in 5 years?

Which is a very interesting question... I used to have very specific goals and long term plans and maybe it is just the mood I am in today (been working on my yoga teacher training midterm), but I really have no idea what will be happening in 5 years and I'm not sure if I have any specific goals.

I think I'd like to have moved within the next 5 years to a little bit larger house with a bit more land and have a studio that is climate controlled (oh how nice that would be for my freezing studio that was 24 degrees yesterday morning).

As far as what I will be doing I have no idea! I'm sure I'll still be making jewelry and most likely still doing wedding rings. Maybe teaching yoga as well. I would like to be more organized in 5 years, perhaps with an assistant that does all my paperwork? Maybe gotten to a place that I can take off all of January and February and travel some place warm. And maybe have a small RV and the ability to take several long vacations through the year. That sounds like a good plan to me!

I am happy where I am now, though I know I will be in a different place in 5 years and expect to be happy there too.

Now for the fun of the talk about blog! Please check out the other participating artists to see where they'd like to be in 5 years:

Monday, November 15, 2010

Handmade Division's Talk about blog - Nov. Edition - Talk about one/some teachers/mentors/masters you'd like to study with

photo via david huang

It is time for this month's installation of one of my street team's - Handmade Division - Talk about Blog. It is similar to the EtsyMetal Blog Carnival. Each month a topic is given and we all write about that topic. It is great fun to see all the different variations of the same topic.

This month's topic is:
Talk about one/some teachers/mentors/masters you'd like to study with.

Initially - I almost didn't even sign up for this b/c my first answer was "I have no idea!" I tend to like to work things out on my own, 'learn the hard way', which I know is silly. I just don't often look around at people's work and really delve in to what they do - and then think I'd like to learn from them. I guess I am more drawn to work of people who do things that are quite different from my work. So the idea of studying with one of these people hasn't necessarily ever been a desire. However... I did think of someone - so it makes this topic much easier!!

When I was in school - the semester before I started the program - the chasing and repousse class was taught. And it wasn't taught again until after I was done. So sad! I did make a few chasing tools - but not having a great idea of what I would be doing with them, it felt kind of pointless. At one point, I asked one of my teachers if they would show me how for an indepth project we were given. Sadly - he told me to go find a book and learn on my own. I had a friend in class show me the basics and played with it a little on my own. Since I was young and in school and learning so many techniques all in a short period of time, I never truly learned how to do it. When I started my own studio there were other things I was interested in more, so once again, it has been put on the back burner. When I went to the SNAG conference in Savannah a few years ago I saw David Huang's work in person and was utterly amazed. I honestly remember very few other people's work! So he is one person I could think of that has mastered a technique I would like to learn one day. And I'd love to see his fabulous solar powered studio!

Make sure to check out the other participating members:

Andes Cruz
Nancy Dale
Tosca Teran
Lisa Hopkins Design
Rickson Jewellery
Sand Fibers
Emily Watson
Thomasin Durgin
WATTO Distinctive Metal Wear

Monday, November 8, 2010

EtsyMetal Blog Carnival 11.8.10: Business Success Secrets

It's time for the EtsyMetal Blog Carnival!

Business Success Secrets: What does it mean to you to be "successful" in business as an artist? How do you walk the line between creativity and profitability? What is the best thing you've done for your business?

What a fantastic topic!

When I was just starting out, I felt successful when I started earning enough to completely cover all my bills and quit putting myself further in to debt. Of course, the more successful I have become, the more that definition changes. I felt even more successful when I started earning enough that all of my bills were paid and all of my debt was gone. Being able to have extra money beyond covering the bills was/is huge. Being able to buy something fun with money I have, and being able to save! (oh my goodness, is this what it is to be an adult??)

As far as walking the line between creativity and profitability - I think I am the wrong person to ask at this point. Most of what I sell now are custom wedding rings. Most are designs that I have been making over and over. It feels more fun and creative to actually being making them individually. It keeps me from feeling like a total factory. I do get to be creative with truly custom designs - but for the most part, I think I have been focusing on 'becoming successful'. As my business has grown - the demand from the customers has been wonderful, but it has also, for the most part, kept me in the land of production. At some points, I've felt my artistic creativity has dried up a bit. I am creative in ways of becoming more efficient, trying new tools and new ways of doing things. But new "creative" work has taken a bit of a back seat. I think I am fairly business oriented and enjoy 'running a business' (most days!), but finding that balance can be difficult. There is constant readjustment. But I guess that is true with just about everything.

I do think one of the best, most recent things I've done for my business is to become more focused. Opening up a wedding ring only shop has helped that part of my business grow and helps to keep me a bit more focused. I have let the 'regular jewelry' side of my business rest for awhile, mostly because of time and energy constraints! Though the list of customers can sometimes be overwhelming, it is easier for me to work that way than to have many wholesale and/or consignment accounts, making lost of 'random' jewelry that I hope will sell and creating lots of stock that I have to store. For me, that is less enjoyable than working directly with a customer to create something meaningful.

Though I haven't quite made it there yet - I'm hoping that by focusing my business in that one direction, I can start to let me artistic creativity come out in fun ways on random jewelry projects. We'll see! :)

Make sure to check out all the other participating bloggers this month!


victoria takahashi / experimetal
Nina Gibson

Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Sale - you should buy stuff.

So a couple weeks ago, I started a sale. I had every intention of photographing and listing a whole bunch of new stuff when I started it, however, that didn't happen. Today! Finally! I am getting things photographed and listed - I'm up to 11 new things - all of which are on sale and all of which are things I would really like to sell. So far, just lots of fun little earrings - those kinds that are easy to thrown in as you walk out the door realizing you've forgotten to put ANY jewelry on. All are under $35, most are $20 and under. A lot are $10 off or more. I'll be listing some bigger and more expensive pieces as well as the day goes on. The sale, though not indefinite, does not have a definitive end. "Get while the gettin' is good!" Here's a direct link to the SALE section.

Here are a few things of my favorites I've just gotten listed (pieces I'd almost just kept myself)

ALSO - and this was one of the main reasons for having the sale (besides my annual birthday sale!) is that EtsyMetal is turning 4! And we've been having big promotions and loads of other etsymetal members have been having sales too! You can check out the etsymetal blog for more info.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Handmade Division's Talk about blog - Oct Edition - How did you get to where you are now with your skills?

This month's edition of Handmade Division's talk about blog is: How did you get to where you are now with your skills?

For me, this one is pretty easy!! It somewhat had to do with my skills, but also to do with tools. I particularly loved casting in school and after I got the set up to do my own casting - it all kind of grew from there! Now the majority of my work is cast - all unique castings (no molds) and my entire line of wedding rings is now all cast! so my entire wedding shop is based on that one small decision to get the equipment to be able to cast on my own. The skill was there with the wax and the knowledge of being able to do the casting - and with the right tools it was all possible!!

I guess that was a pretty boring and simple answer - a couple years ago the answer would have been different - but now, it is such a clear and easy answer!

Make sure to check out everyone else's answers to see how they've got skills too! :)

Andes Cruz
Tess Norberg
Jaime Pickering
Nancy Dale
Jewelry by Natsuko
Sand Fibers
Alice Istanbul
Thomasin Durgin
Susan Moloney
Emily Watson
Tosca Teran
Lisa Hopkins
Tamra Gentry
JJ Papke
Alisa Miller
Mary Spencer

Monday, October 4, 2010

EtsyMetal Blog Carnival 10.4.10

This month's blog carnival for EtsyMetal is in celebration of our 4th anniversary.
EtsyMetal and Me
When/Why did you join? Is it what you expected? What does it mean to you to be a part of the team?

I was one of the first members of EtsyMetal - way before there was a jury. I think there were 12 of us to begin, or 13... I remember making a treasury with featuring everyone in the group and no one was left out! how tiny is that?! I'm pretty sure I didn't include myself, but maybe included someone twice. And if I remember correctly, I think it made the front page! I wish I had a screen shot of that! It was the first street team I was on and I really had no idea what it would turn in to - but it is definitely fabulous!

It is quite amazing how 4 years have really changed the group as well as my own business. Being in the group since the beginning makes it a little difficult to say how I might have evolved on my own vs how the group has helped me to evolve. I know that being in EtsyMetal has been life changing. The emotional and business support of other amazing metalsmiths has definitely helped me through some rough times as well as celebrate at wonderful victories. I've constantly been amazed at the camaraderie, openness and willingness to share knowledge and information without batting an eyelash. With such a huge field (jewelry) particularly on Etsy - it seems that we've been able to band together instead of become competitive with each other. The success of others have inspired me to work harder and try new things. I don't know where I'd be without EtsyMetal, but I do know I wouldn't be where I am.

I really think I could keep writing for pages of how much I love this group, but this pretty much sums it up without getting too boring to read!

Make sure to check out the other participating members blogs on this topic:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Handmade Division "Talk About" September Edition


Every month, Handmade Division has a 'talk about' group blog event. (it's like a blog carnival if you're familiar with that)

This month's topic is:

Where do you draw your inspirations for creating from?

It's a pretty broad questions, and I guess I have to give a pretty broad answer! Like most artists, I draw inspiration from the world around me, mostly nature based though. I love trees and plants in particular. I also really like insects and have some ideas of insect projects I'd like to do.

I love the cosmos, the stars, nebulas (nebulae?), galaxies, outer space! I find it all really fascinating and easily translatable in to metal.

I've always been slightly interested in the human body, but since starting my yoga teacher training, have become more and more interested and inspired and have some ideas concerning internal systems.

And then on the total flip size, I love architecture and architectural elements. When I have the time to just play around, I am often inspired window shapes, buttresses, brackets, turrets, whatever interesting bits that seem to translate well in to a current stone or metal shape I'm working with... not that I've had the time to do much of that recently.

so the very easy answer - Nature! :)

make sure to check out the other participating members this month!

Andes Cruz
Susan Moloney
Alice Istanbul
Rebekah Meddles (Lunasa Designs Jewelry)
Jewelry by Natsuko
Bella-Bijou Jewellery
ArtJewel Designs
Lisa Hopkins Design
Thomasin Durgin
Abhaya Fibers

Friday, September 10, 2010

Ring Engraving!

I am very pleased to announce that I will now be doing my own engraving! I am super excited to have gotten an inside ring engraver. And that it is SO fun to use.

This is for in the inside of rings only, not the outside or on a flat surface. Standard engraving cost is $18 for one ring or $30 for a pair. If the engraving very simple, like just the date or initials (all one case, less than 8 characters total), it is $10/ring. The number of letters/words that can be engraved depend on the size of the ring and a little on which font is chosen. The block styles do take up a little bit more space. On average, I would say most ring sizes could handle at least 25 - 30 character spaces (counting the letters and spaces in between words) Larger rings closer to 40 - 45, maybe more. Makers mark and alloy stamps will be included if the engraving is very short and there is adequate space. If it doesn't seem to fit w/ the engraving, it may be left off. If you have a preference, please let me know.

I have 5 different fonts available. So far I've just been practicing on some cheap brass rings, so the samples are just really generic. As I do real rings, I'll photograph them and add them in so you can see different words/letter combos and numbers.

The dial it came with has 2 block styles - a larger, slightly italic upper case font - this one had been available before. I'm going to just call it simply Large Block Style And a smaller and more blocky all upper case font that reminds me slightly of Copperplate if you're familiar w/ that font - I'm going to just call it Small Block Style.

Large Block Style

Sample on 6mm wide ring

Small Block Style

Samples on 4mm width ring

The next block style is called Modern Block - and it includes lower case letters! Which I am very excited about. It kind of reminds me a little bit of Comic Sans, minus a little comic :)

Modern Block

Samples on 4mm ring

And then there are two different Script Styles - one is similar if not exactly the same as one I offered before. The other one is totally new.

Fancy Script

Samples on 4mm ring

Modern Script

Sample on 4mm ring

modern script

and that concludes my engraving overview!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Blog Carnival 09.05.10 "Back to School"

atlantis group photo
My final body of work from UGA

This month's installment of EtsyMetal's Blog Carnival is:

Back To School
Where did you go to school? Are you still a student? What kind of student were/are you? If you had the opportunity to go back to school, would you? Where and what would you study?

Hm... not sure how far back we're supposed to go with this question.... I went to elementary and middle school in Alabama - and moved to GA at the beginning of 8th grade. Went to high school at Lakeview-Ft.Oglethorpe Comprehensive High School (it has the longest name ever which I find hilarious, so I like to write it all out for humor value - LFO for short) I was a really good student. Then college came. I went to the University of GA and majored in Jewelry and Metalworking. I wasn't as good of a student in college - plenty of grades below an A - b/c I discovered what having a life outside of studying was like! And I also decided it was more important for me to learn what I needed to and not worry so much about getting a good grade. And being able to have so many art classes made me put my energy somewhere else than studying out of a book. Looking back now - it makes me think that college students between 18 and 19 should maybe just take the first year off of classes!

I guess one thing that I did love about particularly being in art school, is that I had the time and was supposed to make time, to just make something. I guess that is what I miss most is that I don't have as much time to do that now. I've become so business oriented, and since business is good, I make what my customers want me to make. At some point, I'll either have the time or make the time to get back to those creative roots I had in school where I was all about making something big and spectacular for no particular reason other than to make it!

Would I go back to school? Hm... I don't know, probably not. I love not having a structure of being required to be somewhere at a certain time every day all week long. Sometimes I do miss the learning aspect. I do learn really well as a student in a classroom environment. I learn better from a teacher than just reading something out of a book. The few anatomy classes I had during my yoga teacher training reminded me of that. But with such a more relaxed environment of lounging on a floor with a notebook in a yurt is much more fun than a sterile classroom in a desk. Some day I may change my mind, but I don't see it happening any time soon.

To take advantage of the fun of the blog carnival - make sure to check out everyone else's posts:
victoria takahashi - experimetal
caitlyn davey- discomedusa
Thomasin Durgin - metalriot
Danielle Miller
stacey - wildflowerdesigns
Ann Hartley
Konstanze - Nodeform
Jenny Baughman
Kathryn Cole

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cuff Links!

I hadn't made cuff links before - and had a custom order for some. I am so happy with how these turned out! And I've totally fallen in love with the format of a cuff link. I'd been hesitant about making any as I've never worn them, nor do I know any men that wear them - I guess I'm sheltered?! But now that I have, I'm totally looking forward to making some more.

If any cuff link wearers have any tips for things they like or don't like - I'd love some opinions!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Handmade Division "Talk About" August Edition

This month's installment of the talk about blog for Handmade Division "Talk about something you'd like to create, that you maybe don't have the skills or technology to do currently? "

One of the many dreams I have is to design formal evening gowns and jewelry together - a fabulous necklace and designing the neckline around the necklace, that sort of thing. My sewing skills are pretty limited - and well, no sewing machine! ha ha! In theory, teaming up with a clothing designer would work too, but then time becomes more of the constraint. I love the idea of creating really ornate and non-traditional 'fine' jewelry with more of a focus on the metalwork and not so much on using as many diamonds as possible!

I'd also love to forge out an entire bustier of sterling silver, completely contoured to custom fit someone's body. how fun would that be! My skills are a bit on the rusty side of forging and raising, and I'd definitely need some new tools!

Make sure to check out all the other participating members!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Blog Carnival 08.02.10 - "Food for Thought: What do you eat? "

(image - c/o the coconut bliss website)

This month's Blog Carnival for EtsyMetal is:
Food for Thought:
What do you eat? What won't you eat? Do you suggest any interesting pairings? What is your favorite studio snack?

What a fun topic! And quite interesting for me. My first inclination is to say 'everything!' but that is quite far from the truth! I'm vegan, so I don't eat any animal products (no meat, no dairy, etc) Fruits and vegetables are some of my favorite things to eat so it doesn't feel like I avoid anything. and honestly, if it's vegan, there isn't much that I won't eat. I love ethnic food and am particularly fond of Thai and Indian food... and Mexican and Italian and Mediterranean and Chinese. My husband and I cook a lot, though I have to admit he does a bit more than I do :) I like to be creative and sometimes make things that he doesn't think are so great - I think he just has a more discerning palate than I do :)

Oh, actually I did just think of this weird fungi thing at an Asian vegetarian restaurant in San Francisco that was not so great and was kind of like chewing on a rubber band - so after trying it, I left the others on my plate.

What is my favorite studio snack... hmmm...That's tough. I guess it kind of depends what mood I'm in. I think my snacks run to full gambit of healthy to junky. Today I had an apple. Sometimes it's crackers (I do love a triscuit) or a bite of leftovers (the other day it was spicy basil tofu and eggplant) and sometimes it's a cookie. Or if I feel particularly stressed, hot or overwhelmed - it's a few bites of ice cream. Now I know you are thinking "But you're vegan" Yes, yes I know. I remember loving real ice cream until it started not loving me and I actually quit eating ice cream before I became a full fledged vegan. In the years since then, there has become a demand for dairy alternative ice creams. And coconut milk ice cream is one of the most amazing creations ever. I had some soy ice creams now and then when the craving would hit - but it was good, but coconut milk ice cream is in a category all of it's own. I do love coconut, so that helps, though many of the flavors don't have a particularly definitive coconut flavor. I also really like that they aren't made w/ sugar, but agave nectar instead ( do try to stay away from sugar). There are usually only a few ingredients - which is also a huge bonus (can't say the same for the soy ice creams) and so far every one I have had is incredibly yummy. And it likes me too. My particular current favorite is Luna and Larry's Organic Coconut Bliss Cherry Amaretto. It is truly amazing.

I have experimented w/ making my own and so far coconut w/ lime is a real winner. I have yet to try using guar gum to make the right consistency, though eating it right away is just fine - one day when I have all that time on my hands...

As far as recipes to possibly share... hm... I don't do recipes much - kind of like most of my jewelry, I just wing it. We do have a lot of great vegan cookbooks that we sometimes look at for ideas, but we usually just adapt them to whatever we feel like that is similar.

Any interesting pairings... hm... i love apple and peanut butter sandwiches. I think that's probably the oddest thing I make. I wasn't so much on banana and peanut butter - too much mush. But a thinly sliced apple w/ layers of peanut - yummy!

Make sure to check out the other participating EtsyMetal members (some may not have posted yet, but check back for updated links)


vic - experimetal


tomi - metalriot

ann hartley

cynthia del guidice


Inbar Bareket

Lauren/Creative Dexterity

Maria/Fluxplay Jewellery

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Blog Carnival 07.08.10 - If you couldn't make jewelry, what would you do instead?

This month's EtsyMetal Blog Carnival topic is "If you couldn't make jewelry, what would you do instead?"

Its kind of funny that I came up with this topic and that now I'm thinking of all kinds of qualifications! Can I not make jewelry b/c there is something wrong with my hands, or b/c I've suddenly become allergic to metal or a freak accident and all the creativity was sucked out of me? Haha! So... I've decided I'll pick a few different things.... depending, you know, on what the reason is for not being able to make jewelry.

My first easy answer is painting. Its one thing that because I make jewelry, I don't really seem to have time or make time for it anymore. I really miss it. So if I had to get rid of all my jewelry tools/equipment and use my studio for something else, it would be painting!

Beyond that, I would be a yoga teacher! It IS one thing that I continue to make time for, so if I couldn't make jewelry or have a studio, I would teach yoga. Though at some point in the future, I'll probably be doing that as well as jewelry, so I'm not sure if that counts for a proper answer....

And then I have all these other ideas of things I would like to do. Combined with yoga, I've become extra fascinated with anatomy, health, and nutrition. And I really love plants - the idea of being an herbalist or botanist or some sort of scientist is really appealing.

I think I could go on and on if I had to think about alternate lives I could have led if jewelry weren't what I'm totally in to. But maybe that is too far off topic!

Make sure to check out all the other participants for this month's blog carnival:
Victoria - experimetal
Tomi - metal riot
Ann - hartleystudio
Brooke Medlin
Maria - fluxplay
stacey - wildflowerdesigns
Inbar Bareket

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Starting to get caught up!

Starting.... but not quite there yet. There are still lots of orders to fill, but after getting most of the batch all mailed out, I don't feel behind anymore. Depending on how much I get done this week, I just might start to feel ahead! wooohooo! Course, for me, I don't feel ahead unless I get orders mailed out two weeks early. Mailing something out on time seems to be late. I'm hoping I can let go of that feeling and realize that on time IS on time! I'd hoped to get some new designs made and listed soon, but it might be August before they're up! We'll see.

On the yoga front - I'm pleased to say I have successfully been able to do some aspect of my practice every day since the teacher training ended, whether its a busy day and all I did was a quick hatha practice, or a relaxing Sunday where all I did was meditate! My first practice class teaching session is coming up on Monday the 16th. I hope I'm ready by then! Luckily the 'students' are my fellow trainees. Great for feedback!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Back in the Saddle...

during one of our many practice teaching sessions

Not that I was entirely out of any saddle... just side saddle maybe! But I am back to work on the jewelry front. The first two weeks of yoga teacher training were amazing. Despite the excessive heat through about half of it (heat indexes over 100) - it was fantastic. It was definitely one of those life changing experiences and wonderful to share it with so many fabulous people who are now very much like family.

Over the next 6 months we'll continue to practice teaching, do some studying and a few other homework tidbits, then in January we'll have the second two weeks.

The ring business isn't quite as jumpin' in January, so I think it'll be a little bit easier in that aspect. Though I'm quite pleased that I was successfully able to take the two weeks this summer and come out of it not stressed at all. I guess 2 weeks of yoga helps with that, regardless of how intense it was!

I've got a new batch of waxes full in the kiln this morning and am headed off in just a few minutes to cast again for the first time in almost 3 weeks!

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Before and Afters

Just a quick post! Hair officially shortened! I absolutely love it. My dear friend Maranda did an amazing job - if you are in the Chattanooga/Ft. Oglethorpe area - you should check her out at Serenity Salon! She caught me mid laugh on the befores - the shot before was even goofier! And it all got donated to Locks of Love. Its the third time I've donated. I kind of feel like if I'm going to get it cut - do it all at once and donate!

And I washed it this morning - what a HUGE difference. I'll save tons in hair conditioner!! ha ha!

and ps - the shirt is one of my fabulous new pieces by my friend Gaby - who is not only a talented jeweler - but is a goddess as far as I am concerned in making clothing that is amazing. You should check out her shop InnerEvolution. I got several pieces from her and LOVE them all.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Where I've been and Where I'm going....

So this title sounds a bit more 'deep thinking' than its really meant to be, but it might be fitting!

I've been really busy that last two weeks wrapping up all the custom orders for any June/early July weddings. I will be taking two weeks away from the studio for a yoga teacher training course starting on June 5th. I will be back in the studio on June 21st - but during that time, I will not be making any jewelry! I'm pretty excited on many levels.

The photos are all the rings I made in the last week and a half - it was a HUGE push - which is why I haven't been around here much! I wanted to make sure everything got done that needed to be done. I got them all finished and then some. There are a few more rings I'll be finishing up today that aren't in the photos - though I think they may deserve their own photo finishes. :)

I'm also really excited to be embarking on my yoga teacher training journey. The first session is 2 weeks this summer. The second session will be in January of 2011. I haven't been this excited about something in a long time... well, I don't know about that. I'm a pretty excitable person. But this does feel different in terms of it being a major life changing experience. I'm debating blogging about it over the next two weeks. If not during, I definitely will after it is all over.

I'm very interested to see how it affects my jewelry as well. I haven't taken a two week break, well, since I started my business full time in 2006.

Oh, and I'm getting my hair all chopped off. Big Changes! I'll post some before and after photos :)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Handmade Division "Talk About" May Edition

Our snow leopard team is now Handmade Division!

This month's topic is:
What item do you most treasure made by another artist? ( if there is one) If not, how about what would you *like* to have?

When I read this topic I was really stumped. I've got quite a few pieces that I feel all serve a different purpose and I'm not sure I have ONE that totally stands out. So I decided to pick my most recent acquisition - a fabulous ring from Bill Martin of purifiedart. It was one of those cases where I saw a few he had done on flickr and just totally fell in love. So he made one special in my size and I put it on before I got out of the parking lot of the post office. (picture above) Its utterly fantastic. I think of it as a futuristic or alien artifact. I'm not usually very flashy when it comes to wearing rings, but I do love wearing this one. It totally makes me feel special :) So right now, thats my favorite!

Make sure to check out everyone else's posts!

Andes Cruz -
Jewelry by Natsuko -
Tosca -
Susan Moloney -
Ceeb Wassermann -
Rickson -
Tamra Gentry -
Purified Art -
Sandfibers - SandFibers –
ArtJewel Designs -
Kerin Rose -
Abhaya Fibers -

HandMade Division Blog -

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Good Morning!

I was up early this morning - its 7:00 and I'm done with all my computer stuff, which for me is cause for major celebration. So I thought I'd take a few minutes to do a pointless blog :)

I woke up with this song in my head this morning and listening to it has put me in a lovely mood and much more awake than I was an hour ago! I'm off to finish my tea, do a bit of a morning yoga practice, and start on all those waxes I need to be working on.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

(oh and ps - though i rarely watch the full videos - i watched most of this one - wait for the girls w/ the boomerangs... what?! makes me giggle though.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Blog Carnival 05.03.10 - "What motivates you to create"?

What motivates you to create? In a down market when things are not selling well? When you are tired? When life makes you busy?

This is a pretty interesting topic - especially since it is similar to what inspires you to create. Though to me, there are some distinct differences.
The automatic answer is "I have to" but that is on so many different levels. I feel an internal compulsion most of the time to create.

Though now that it really is a business - I'd say that my customers are my biggest factor. I feel responsible to everyone that orders a piece and pays for it. Once the order is made, I write it down on my desk calendar and on my erase board calendar. I feel an obligation to get it done as soon as I can. Because this is my job, it's what I do every day (well, weekday. I do take most weekends off). I do have days where I feel less than motivated to work on a specific piece - but if that is the case, I just delay it by working on something else! So I'm still always getting work done.

I also think that 'being successful' is a motivation for me. I've always disliked the idea of the 'starving artist' and wanted to instead be a successful artist! Hm... and maybe now that I'm thinking about it, this might be my biggest motivation. Even growing up, I wanted to be successful in whatever I was doing, whether it was getting all A's or working really hard on a drawing. (apparently learning to play the guitar didn't fall in to that category, playing the clarinet did though!)

I guess in the end, a really short summary would be that I am very driven and motivated naturally - and on days when I may rather sit and read a book or watch tv, I rely on the expectations of those around me to make me feel responsible and keep going.

1. - Nina Gibson
2. - stacey hansen
3. - Danielle Miller-Gilliam
4. - Victoria Takahashi / Experimetal
5. - Maria Whetman
6. - Ann Hartley / hartleystudio
7. - Brooke Medlin
8. - 2Roses

Friday, April 30, 2010

New Website!

My dear friend Kate (of jetkatdesigns) redesigned a webpage for me. My last whole site was very much out of date and though I don't have the time or energy in to getting a whole site redone, I needed at least a new page. Though, in total, way more went in to it than just what you see.

It all started because I got a new fax machine... and was running out of business cards.
I need a new phone number and the fact that I was almost out of my business cards was perfect. So I got a new phone number for calling purposes, while my old number stayed with the fax machine. But the phone number on the old site (which was pretty much inaccessible) was wrong and if you had seen it recently, you'd have known how out of date the whole thing was.
Now, its just a landing pad for the most important of my sites - my two etsy shops, blog, flickr, and my artfire site. And has all the current contact info. It's clean and simple and I love it. The old email platform (is that the right word??) was horrid and I hated it - now w/ the same email address - its set up through google. And all of my email addresses come to one location. Its almost so organized I don't know what to do!
I have my new business cards, new web page, new email, new phone number and I also got new ring boxes that are pretty great. Now that I think about it, its no wonder I've been so overwhelmed! I'm one of those people that likes change. I really embrace new things and love that every day is different. Sometimes if too much is going on, its like my brain capacity can't handle it. But now I feel like its all falling back in to place.

In the future - may it be 6 months or several years - I'll get around to having a whole site set up that will have its own gallery of images, shopping cart, etc. Right now, that's way more organizing than I can deal with - b/c afterall, I do have rings to make!

Make sure to check out Kate - she is an amazing artist, designer, photographer and new mother... her website and etsy.

Monday, April 26, 2010

new business card possibilities

so i've been working on a slightly new business card, not too different from the last one, but it needed some updates... i can't decide which orientation i like better.... i've had them horizontal and so i feel more drawn to that one, but i'm not sure if its just what i'm used to or that i do like it better. oh and imagine them w/ rounded corners.

which do you like better??

edited horizontal version:

Friday, April 23, 2010

Dandelion Rings and Tea Tab Quote of the Day

I had a custom order for the men's band and finally got photos of a set taken of the gold dandelion wish bands. I think they turned out so lovely and with the giant crop of dandelions everywhere, its the perfect ring to post for today! Doing them in yellow gold seems so natural. Love them!

and there was a new tea tab quote today! The past few days have all been repeats. This one may be from a long time ago... but I don't think I have posted it before.

True wealth is the ability to let go of your possessions.

have a great day!!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

one of my favorite trees

I am sure many of you are aware that not only do I love nature in general, I love trees in particular.

So for Earth Day, I decided to do a couple of things.

1. Give the gift of trees through This is something I've done before and a group I like to support. Its not just planting trees, its helping people, the economy, and well, the world, through trees! If you'd like to give a full gift of trees you can, or you can donate a small portion that will go towards the full gift. You can check it out here.

2. Make a donation to the Sierra Club and Sponsor the Giant Sequoia National Monument. I have yet to make it there, and hopefully my small donation will aid in its being there by the time I can make it! If you'd like to sponsor a wild place, you can check out Sierra Club's full list here.

and yes, i do live in a garden paradise

I know everyone can't donate financially, but I hope that everyone can at least stop for a minute and think about their actions and think about how beautiful and amazing our earth is. And then turn those actions in to something positive. Plant a tree, plant a flower, donate your time (or money of you have more of that than time!), use re-usable bags, recycle, eat local, eat a veggie instead of a burger, tell a friend to not throw their cigarette butt on the ground, walk, bike, carpool, buy a hybrid!, buy organic, or don't buy and grow your own, every little bit helps. Happy Earth Day!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Engraving pt 2

I recently posted a photo of the script style, but didn't have a photo of the Block style of engraving available. Here it is! This style is all upper case only, a little bigger and a little easier to read.

check out the script style here.

Gold Nature Collection.... sort of

This little collection just happened to all be ordered and cast/cleaned up at the same time and I loved how they all looked together!! So I thought I'd share since I've been quite delinquent in posting recently.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tea Tab Quote of the Day and studio update

so, apparently, with a new box comes new quotes! fantastic!

Travel light, live light, spread the light, be the light.

(and the photo is from my castings this week - only a rush order sent out, but I got a lot done and will work on getting these all finished up the next few days. Some really lovely pieces in there!!! 11 individuals or couples are represented here - look at all that love!!!)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Snow Leopard Network Team "Talk About" April Edition

I'm on another street team - the Snow Leopard Network - and we're having a monthly blog "carnival" as well - where many of the members will all blog about the same topic and link to each other so readers can get a wide range of viewpoints all on the same topic.

This month's topic is:

How do you view the topic of "copying"? What does it mean to you? I.E. - is it a concrete thing of an exact duplicate of your work, or do you consider design elements and style? Have you felt you have been copied by other artists? And, how do you deal with this?

*** disclaimer: this is a really long post and in order to go ahead and get it posted, I didn't go back and edit/proofread, so... i'm sure there are some random run-on sentences, horrible grammatical errors and the like... ***

This is a very interesting topic and one that I'm not quite sure about anymore. I think in the days before the internet, it may have been easier... then again, maybe not.

When I was in school, we had a "multiples" project. I created a little rose, molded it and cast a dozen roses, created stems for them all and had a sweet little bunch. Maybe not the most original idea - a dozen roses are everywhere, though I hadn't personally seen it done in metal like that. A few weeks later in class a girl said she was going to make a rose. I completely called her out and said, "NO! You can't do that, thats copying." and probably a few more words as well... We were in class together! I was utterly appalled A. that she would think it, B. she would say it and C. had no problem at all about planning on doing it.

In an enclosed setting like a class - for one person to see your work in a critique and then start to do the same exact thing, to me, isn't open for debate on whether or not it was copying.

Now in the age of the internet... the lines are much fuzzier. There are many pieces I've created that the online community hasn't seen. I may have felt it was a totally original idea and then I happen to see some one else has created something nearly identical. With no way of seeing my design, it gets chalked up to "great minds think alike". Others will say "there are no new ideas" (which i don't agree w/, but thats a whole other topic)

But then you move in to the realm of work that is created and put out there. Visually in an online gallery or something like flickr, or for sale on any of the many websites available.

Or take two artists that create something similar around the same time and start posting images nearly simultaneously. Artist A. is more popular, has more fans, more followers etc. Artist B. is more obscure, tinkers on the weekend and has sketchbooks filled with ideas going back years. Artist B. recently started creating one of the ideas they had had years before because they lost their job and now have more time to actually create. Though specific designs are not duplicated down to a minute detail - the ideas are remarkably identical. A fan of Artist A may stumble upon the work of Artist B and scream copy cat... but how can it be proved. Since my case is purely hypothetical - I can say clearly that neither copied the other, however, it would blatantly look like it. The popular artist is presumably the one that was copied! There were is out there more, more available, more seen, more open for the taking, surely they were being copied b/c no one else could create something like theirs right? Or maybe the popular artist A got popular by capitalizing on stealing designs of lesser known artists and being able to mass produce them and market them in a way that makes them seem special and talented.

This is the sort of thing I think about. I often give everyone the benefit of the doubt, because without concrete proof, it can be so difficult to say. If you've had friends on either side of being the accuser or the accused (or you yourself been there) the feelings of conviction are there regardless of proof. When you put your heart in to something, it feels like it is yours. And to see it appear somewhere else is heart-wrenching.

So when can something be considered copying? I was actually having a brief discussion w/ a customer who happens to be a law professor at UGA and teaches copyright and trademark law. For actual designs he said, it is really difficult to be able to prove anything. Where a line can be better distinguished is in the entire presentation.

Take Etsy for example.... (since we're all on etsy) Some one has a "copier". They start creating a product that is nearly identical to someone elses, but they don't stop there. They copy the whole description (hey, if the design is the same, why not just use their description too!) and then take photos that are really similar and then market them to the same blogs, etc. This IS the sort of thing that will appear more blatant as far as any law is concerned.

Or repeatedly coping design after design, even through slight style changes and stone choices...

But what if a copier loved... lets say... caterpillars. They were looking around to buy a caterpillar photograph and happened to see... a cute brooch of a caterpillar chewing lines through a leaf that spelled out someone's name. how cute would that be? I haven't seen anything like that before, though it is entirely possible someone has had that idea and portrayed it in some manner (sounds like a kids book doesn't it?) But the copier loves it so much they think, Oh, I'm going to make one of those, but just for myself. But then some friends see it and want ones made for them w/ their kids names on them, etc etc. So the copier starts to sell them. They market them towards moms, kids blogs, do an entirely different photography style. Fast forward and the original artist finds out/ sees it etc... and feels certain they were copied. They would in fact be right (b/c this is my hypothetical story, so I know), but the copier denies it. etc etc... Still, it is a blatant copy. The original started creating the design a few years earlier and has plenty of documentation to prove they'd been selling it ahead of time.

What if the copier was a painter. And they thought, oh what a great idea. I'm going to start doing custom paintings of the same caterpillar chewing on a leaf w/ the names of kids, market it towards parents, and on and on... I still consider this copying. I don't consider it "making it their own" or "being inspired". Maybe its a whole other market and they aren't competing for jewelry sales, but the integrity of the person copying, to me, is lacking. Making it their own would have been painting ants tunneling through the underground to spell out a kids name - well, much more creative - and honestly not too far of a stretch from Charlotte writing out words for Wilbur. I mean, we all know insects have extraordinary abilities :)

I've been witness to many accusations of copying. In most cases, I find it difficult to say. Though its nice to side with friends, I'm finding myself to be more and more objective. Maybe its that I've had friends on both sides and been able to see both sides of being accused and being the accuser. And after having seen the accused and knowing that they were in fact NOT copying, well, it makes you see the whole debate in a new angle. I've seen designs that I think are possible "copies" and sure my little feelings get hurt. But I'm going to keep creating new designs and keep pushing myself to be the best that I can in both creativity and techniques. I hope that no one creates a blantant ripoff and I also hope I don't inadvertently step on someone else's toes and have them accuse me of copying them.

Since this is turning out incredibly long, I guess I'll sum it up by saying - I do think copying is wrong. I do considered "it" to be copying based on the intent of the copier. Whether it is specific designs down to the very detail or whether it is a general idea. But how can you prove the intent of someone? Most of the time, you can't. And honestly, I think its a waste of time to get sucked in to the drama of it. And just because two people have similar ideas, it doesn't mean one copied the other. With no intent, I don't think it can be considered copying. It is all very nebulous.

I'm sure I could keep writing on and on about this, but you should check out what others have written too!

ArtJewel designs-
Andes Cruz -
Jewelry by Natsuko -
Tosca Teran -
Tamra Gentry -
Mary Spencer -
Thomasin Durgin -
Susan Moloney -
Rosy Revolver -

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tea Tab Quote of the Day and studio update

Yay for springtime!

Well, my tea tab quotes may be a bit on the way out. I think they must have one for each of the tea bags in the box, but I am starting to have more and more repeats. Today's was a new one though!

Serve humanity so that people feel we are kind to them.


Things here in the studio are quite busy. And by "quite" I mean, the busiest I've ever been. Its very good and very exciting, and I'm doing much better about prioritizing, which means my computer time is being cut short so I can stay on top of the incoming orders. This means my blogging time is one of the first to go, especially w/ repeated quotes coming in! I've been trying to take photos of the week's groupings, though I often mail out a few during the week, but this is one shot from last week:

and from the weekend's batch (I normally take most of the weekend off, but this was a little bit of a work weekend)

(These are also counting as my ring-a-days #90 - 104!)