Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pieces for Week 26: Leafs, Twirls, Roses and not quite matching earrings

I actually have a whole new set of ideas that I am going to work on...eventually - until then I am "practicing" my ideas on these pieces...some seem to be more of the same, when in reality I am trying new and different techniques.

One of my leaves...more layers of hand fabricated silver and copper wire. Tried to place some silver granulation on it...didn't work very well. Photo really does not capture the detail. I'm not going to paint this leaf...leaving it all silver shimmery.

Another leaf. Again, detail is missing. I used a piece of copper scrap to make the large swirl on top. This one has a bail in the back. This may be one of my favorites!

More use of copper scrap to make little roses. I was so pleased with how this came out that I made...

a crescent moon...with a single rose and silver swirls. The rose kinda fell apart when I got the torch going...but I learned from my mistake, and...

This is the result. A single rose made from a thick gauge of copper scrap...silver twirls...I LOVE this piece.

Love this piece so much I put it on...will wear it today while out and about in the world!

Attempt at earrings using this same technique. It is SO VERY DIFFICULT to get earrings to match. I thought that maybe I would just turn these into little pendants, but Josh insisted, "No...they are earrings!"
While I am excited about heading off to Tahoe for a 17-day art and craft show, I am bummed about not having studio time for half a month. That part bugs me... I DID realize that I can take some copper scrap, tools and shears with me to sit and form some shapes...this is a good thing.

Have a fantastic 4th of July! Peace!

Monday, June 27, 2011

I Met Her...

In early June I posted a picture of one of my pieces:

and wrote "This next "dress up" was unexpected. I found myself drawn to the flat abstract painted disc and these big re-purposed beads! I could almost SEE the customer in my head. I will let you know how that goes!"

Yesterday this was the first piece of this series to be sold.

The woman who choose it lost everything she owned in last September's San Bruno explosion.

Lost everything.

She was out and about with a group of her friends, and was having a great time choosing new fun pieces to rebuild her jewelry collection.

I knew who I "saw in my head" was a fun-loving adventurous woman. I would say...this woman fit the bill. She also picked up some earrings and an chainmaille anklet....

Her infectious excitement over finding our work...lead another friend to purchase some pieces.

And then they all went for drinks.

It was a great lesson in perspective. You can loose it all...and have a lot of fun in re-building.
I was really glad I went with my instincts to create that piece. It knew it belonged to someone special.

Apparently Posting On Facebook Status Lines Speaks To The Universe

What was all this broo-ha ha all about?

The McCollum Studios Tahoe Show is going to do a 17-day run July 1 through July 17. Those that commit to the 17 days get the prime locations.

Kewish Designs really needs a prime location.

Because we have been only doing Saturdays and Sundays, the organizer gives us the best he can do spots...We do the best we can do. We have a stunning booth and great art jewelry. But...but...we are just not making our numbers. At all. It is surprising us, the organizer and fellow vendors.

I woke up Sunday morning with the clear thought/image of: I am the CEO of a huge artisan company, and am sitting in my corner office overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge...I have this little art jewelry business that I really believe in...I can see all the potential, but was it really bringing in the numbers that I would like? No. Not all all. This business is costing more than it is bringing in. The galleries and stores are doing fine for this time of year. Online sales have come to a screeching halt, but the overhead is minimal. But these street shows are just not cutting it. The decision needs to be made. I have to cut out the Tahoe shows. I think about that while the fog covers the Bridge. I feel sad.

Yet...the street shows are my personal favorite thing. I have a soft spot in my heart for them. It satisfies the gypsy that makes up the core of my being. I love the grit and dirt, the drama and the friendships. But I needed to go completely hard-core business minded in order to meet my numbers.

The street shows have to go.

Or do they?

I'll skip a lot of the day here...but then the show organizer asked us about the 17 day run.

Here are the "challenges":

1) Where would I stay? (Since Josh works during the week, I would be carrying the show solo.) We can not afford a hotel room...we have friends there that have said we can always crash at their place. Great...except...their place is, while walkable, difficult to comprehend walking back and forth while lugging product and a cash box. I could drive back and forth...however...Josh would not have a car. How would he get back up to Tahoe to give me some days off?

So needed: a place to stay for next to free...and a vehicle.

2) No studio time. Josh can get 3 to 4 hours in the studio after work...but I would have no time. I have been putting in 10-12 hours a day...this is a huge loss...

however, the show organizer pointed out: "That is the BEST problem to sell OUT..."

Good point.

We do have a couple store spaces that we can take work out of...

3) Should we risk it?

And then I posted this on Facebook: Such a huge (but not bad) decision to make regarding Tahoe shows...I may write a blog post tonight to empty my brain...if you love me, you will read it and offer up helpful pressure...just sayin... :D

Moments after I posted I had a very clear thought of: "Now is not the time to be half-assed" and "Choice, not circumstances, determines your success." (Don't know who said that but I really like it and it popped into my head.)

I made the choice. "I want to do me out Universe."

I would say...two hours later...the pieces fell into place.

Friends that had the time to help me get to all the stores to pick up stuff...
Another vendor ("I Would Dye For You") ((LOVE their tie-dye bamboo t-shirts!!!)) has a wide open opportunity for me...staying with her at a hotel right next to the show...completely walkable...therefore not needing the extra all.
As far as studio time...I suppose I will be on hiatus from July 1 through July 17.

I'm very very good with selling out...
When that happens I will just order a drink and hang out by Lake Tahoe.
I think at that point I will have truly deserved it!

Re-cap: Basically...all has been provided. And we will sell what we have. Period.

So...I will be temporarily re-locating to Tahoe for July. Josh will still drive up on the week-ends. I pointed out that since the booth will already be set up...he doesn't have to leave home until 8am! This makes him very happy!

We shall see how it goes...I think the organizer is pondering doing a second two week run in August.

And then there is Apple Hill to think about.
But enough for now.

Thanks for listening. I welcome any other ideas or suggestions!

BTW...a couple years ago I did a vision board. I put all kinds of pictures, goals and statements on it. One of the statements was "More time for Tahoe" with a picture of the lake. I MEANT for vacationing...but I wasn't specific enough!!! But I'm good with having "more time for Tahoe" and selling my art.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Pieces for Week 25: of myths and legends...and rebirth

I love old things. Old falling apart buildings, rusty junk, legends, myths and treasure chests.
This week's pieces reflect my love of old...AND have a sense of opening up, tearing away, new growth spiraling out...little seeds tucked away. Because, that's where I'm at in my life.

I just had fun. I either had A Perfect Circle or goth belly dance tunes blaring. I was HOT in the studio this week! (and you can take that in any direction!!!!)

I remembered to take a "before" pic this time! Here are the pieces. All hand fabricated, silver on copper, twisted, bent and fused. 

And then...I hand-painted each of them!

 "Bacchus", or "The Scream"....actually looks more like "Oh!"

"Old Tapes"



"Torn by the Stag King" update: SOLD

"Torn by the Stag King" has already received many ooohs and aaaaahs even before it was completed.
Yes...there will be lots more in this style. I snuck in the studio and made two more this morning (sneeking because I don't usually work in the studio the day before a show...)

I still need to make leather cords for these pieces to hang off of (I am preferring leather over silver chains), but they should be good and ready to be sold this weekend up at Lake Tahoe!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Pieces for Week 24: about 210 in fact

I believe that every artist should take a break from their usual medium and so something completely different.

For example:
Painters should try beading, bead artists take up paper mache, sculptures take up embroidery and metalsmiths take up painting. Or some sort of combination. The point is to step away from your usual tool/creative toy box and do something totally different.

Don't say to me:
OH NO!!!! I could never do that.

Yes, you can. You may choose NOT TO do something different...but you CAN do something different.
It's good for you. Makes you younger, more interesting and sexy.

That being said...last week, at the last minute, I tried something different. After hours in the studio my creative brain, while still very active, needed a break. While wandering around I discovered some interesting components and my very active creative brain screamed "WHAT IF????"

And so I ran with it. I hand painted some acrylic components, put earring findings on them and took the results up to Tahoe...


Every artist who vends has to have that balance between their "art" and the "bread and butter" work. The trick is to find the "bread and butter" work...and still be true to "art." Low materials cost, quick to make, low price point, grab and go, but still quality and hand-made....and holds the attention of the public. More than holds the attention... CHARMS the public. Delights the public. Never seen before and, WOW, it's HAND-PAINTED? For only this much money? (don't worry, materials, time etc...was all factored in...)

I had stumbled across the charm+delight+novel+wow-factor+hand-painted+silly low cost= SELL OUT! formula!

We have a three day weekend up at Tahoe coming up. Three days and a huge carnaval in the parking lot behind us. This type of crowd draw does not lend to people making big purchases, but they WILL make small token/momento purchaes...this is what we are ready for.

We spent $60 in materials and spent ten hours hand painting 210 pieces (all day Monday*). This will make 105 pairs of earrings that we are selling at $10 a pair...the math is good.

The pictures I took are purposefully not the best. These must be seen in person...with light shining through them...but I at least wanted to document this week's "Pieces."

And's only Tuesday. I'm gonna take Wednesday and Thursday OFF, and then Friday at 5am we are off to Tahoe!

the smaller painted pieces with have beads and chain incorporated

*Yesterday I was all poised and primed to take myself out on an adventure, but was so excited about making these, that I cut the date with myself short, came home and started painting. This is what PASSION is about.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Pieces for Week 23: Just a whole lotta....creativity

It has been a very busy week. So busy, that self-care (work-outs) fell off the schedule. I am going to get back on that wagon next week...

In the meantime - here is a re-cap of the work that is flowing out of the studio...all of this is ready for Tahoe this weekend!

First I did a batch of hearts! I did five and two are already up at Journey Spiritual Center's gift store. Here are the "Tahoe Three." Silver on copper...all hand formed with a nice big bail at the top to be able to put them on a favorite string of beads, a chain...whatever suits the client! :)

Next up were the mermaids. The mermaid on the right has this wonderful copper and silver wave at her She got LOTS of attention on Facebook! Thank you all! And no...I have not seen the new "Pirates" movie with the is on my list though!

And now for something completely different. I had the need to channel my Inner-Painter! A little alcohol ink on copper! These are the "advanced" versions of the pieces I did a couple years ago. A bit bolder. And yes...a mermaid. I used my pattern for my silver mermaids as a stencil!

Here's the mermaid all dressed up!


This next "dress up" was unexpected. I found myself drawn to the flat abstract painted disc and these big re-purposed beads! I could almost SEE the customer in my head. I will let you know how that goes!


Last weekend I saw some girls wearing some big funky crosses. It gave me's my version.

A quick shot of my assembly line...I make my own leather cords...

AND... Josh did another gorgeous commission piece...this ring was for of the women who works at the Fire and Rain Gallery. She wanted something special for her Alaskan cruise! :) She handed Josh a blue topaz and other than a couple ideas...just wanted him to do what he does. It is a beautiful piece!

Whew...a busy week. I should be in bed...getting up at 3:30am to head up to Tahoe! Creative energy has me bright eyed and spinning! :D

Friday, June 3, 2011

Pieces for Week 22....

I decided that too many pieces were being overlooked with my "Piece A Week" I have decided to do "Pieces for Week......"

This week I really only had Thursday to work on pieces. Monday we were up in Tahoe, I don't remember Tuesday (!), Wednesday I spent the day up at Journey Spiritual Center (LOVE it there, I highly recommend going there if you need some meditation/energy work time) Thursday is when it all happened. I fiddled with a couple pieces today - but I am DONE. I need to get ready for this weekend's Tahoe adventure.

My main focus this week was on a piece that I have had in my head for several weeks now. I think to really do this piece like I envision it, I would need to have it cast. On the other hand...I challenged myself to see what I could do with fabricating the piece. The idea was a mermaid sitting on a crescent moon...her tail hanging over the edge...all flowy.

Before I share the pics with you...she was a royal annoyance. The EASY part was sawing out the shape...except I sawed out too much leaving the shape weak, with no reinforcement. So I had to change my plan...decided to fuse a full moon behind the mermaid, thus giving her some "support"...except my moon reticulated nicely with the just withered up....some choice words...then I decided to turn my withered full moon into a crescent moon. I also wanted to have some silver "bubbles" around I made a bunch of silver granulation balls...all fell off of her but two. (no, I am not going to make a comment like, "My mermaid lost her balls....") At the end...somewhat success...but it was so "silvery" bugged me. Anyway - here is the shot of the silvery mermaid...rather difficult to make out:

Mermaid on a crescent moon...difficult to make out the details...
I really wanted some I decided to rough up the silver a bit and add in some alcohol ink.

Mermaid in color!
Again, not a great shot - but I like how she looks. Her tail now looks like abalone shell! Anyway, this is one that looks better in person! She is going up to Tahoe...she needs a name...any ideas? I really like this style and will be working more with this.

I also made these yesterday and finished them up today:

Basic silver on copper dragonfly

This dragonfly was actually a "scrap"...I used the cut out dragonfly on another piece. The cut out was in silver. I took the silver and fused it on copper. Then added some alcohol ink for some color.

 Silver dragonfly. I felt artsy so this shot is in black and white!
Next week I have five full days to work on pieces. I have some ideas for rings and may focus in on that!