Sunday, October 24, 2010

It's been another one of those weeks.  I had my first Etsy sale.  They bought the two best items in my shop, so I've been scrambling all week to replace them.  I don't think I've mentioned previously, but I'm still a student, currently attending 3/4 time (taking 10 hrs this quarter).  So between class and various forms of homework, I only get about 3 days a week in my own studio making things to sell, and things end up taking longer overall. I ended up making 4 new pendants, 2 planets and 2 moons.  One of each is now listed on Etsy, and the others have gone into a "Miniatures" display case that the Art Group at school is putting together for a few weeks.  At least this way more folks will see my stuff.  I'm also going to have quite a few entries in the silent auction at the end of November.

Anyway, back to what I've been up to:
I'm continuing to play around with engineering.  I'm bezel-setting everything right now, and it doesn't look quite as bad as I thought it would, though I'd prefer to go without the frames if I could.  The pieces for the moon-phase bracelet turned out to be scaled wrong, so that one's gong to be a choker/collar instead.  I completely forgot to take an in-process picture yesterday, but I should be able to do so tomorrow or Tuesday and then add it to this post.  I'll probably scale everything down and attempt a more bracelet-sized piece in a couple of weeks.

Business problems I *REALLY* need to work out soon:
What's next after Different Worlds?
What can I do at lower price points?

ETA 10/25/10:
The moon-phase choker in progress.  Hopefully it will be done tomorrow.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Collectors, engineering, and other things

Quote of the week:
"I wouldn't do that today, but at the time, I did, and now it's there."--Klaus Burgel on adding sapphires to a ring.

Firstly, apologies for the late post.  It was a ridiculously busy weekend, what with Seattle Metals Guild Symposium, working in the studio, and trying to not completely lose all contact with friends and acquaintances.

Symposium was interesting, but also a lot more about theory than practice.  An interesting question has been raised about art jewelry collectors and why there don't seem to have been many new ones since the boomer generation.  The discussion included suggestions that there's a current perception that "art"="expensive" and "kept behind glass to show off," so the folks who are collecting (and maybe they're at the $35 earrings stage, rather than the $2000 ring stage, and that's ok) don't think of themselves as collectors, and many of the folks who could start being collectors never go into galleries on the assumption that it will be all $2000 rings and no $35 earrings.  Also, the Boomers still control quite a lot of the money. 

It's been an interesting week in the studio.  I'm working on an 8-piece moon phase enamel bracelet, the linkages on which have been giving me fits.  I think I'm just going to have to suck it up and bezel-set the pieces.  I also made my first Etsy sale!  There are inquiries about clip-back earrings and brooches in the Different Worlds enamels, which brings up thorny technical/engineering problems having to do with moving parts on the backs of these enamels.  The answer here may also end up being "bezel-setting," but I'd really like to avoid the frame if at all possible.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Design and Engineering

So I was catching up on some of the older things I have recorded on the DVR (like, old from last spring).  I tend to record a lot of odd things, and a particular lot of odd things from Ovation, the arts channel.  I was watching a show about trying to re-design the coach-class airline seat, and one of the design team, when inspecting the current state-of-the-art popped out with this line:

"It doesn't seem to have been Designed at all, just Engineered"

I intuitively got what they were saying, and I think it's a great line, but I think it's probably not giving engineers quite enough credit.  Yes, designers come up with concepts an aesthetics, and functions, but engineers are the ones who make the moving parts actually move.  They take your concepts, apply physics, and come up with an actual object.   These are the folks that do the math that brings your sketch into the real world.  Most design professions have some sort of related/associated engineering-type profession to bridge the gap between idea and reality.  Architects have civil engineers, product and industrial designers have materials and mechanical engineers, game designers have software engineers and programmers, and fashion designers have pattern-drafters.

How does this apply to Jewelry?  Well, usually jewelers are designers to some extent, but it seems that when that's ALL someone is the term used is "Jewelry Designer" rather than"Jeweler".  I think that being a "Jeweler" means that you have enough engineering ability to take that fantastic sketch, whether yours or someone else's, and figure out how to make it work in real metal/glass/stones/etc.
The practical upshot is that in small shops the jeweler is both designer and engineer, because really, all the fantastic ideas in the world are not going to do anyone any good if you can't figure out how to implement them.  So appreciate your engineer, or that part of you that does the engineering, because making truly awesome stuff requires both of you.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

I guess Sunday night will be my regular posting time.  It seems to work.

It has been a singularly unproductive week.  I was ill for quite a lot of it, and the change to cloudy weather always takes some getting used to.  So, I only have 3 pieces to show, and a certain amount of trepidation about the business part of the business, which I have to get started on this week.
Silver, garnet, pearl
 Another set of earrings.

Silver and pearl
I'm really liking that sort of lily-type flower shape.  This was based on a set of earrings that I made the week before last.

Silver, iolite
Yet *another* set of earrings, this one in a more contemporary style.

So, I've been making things.  What I haven't been doing is selling them.  I've got a shop on Etsy, and I'm about to launch on ArtFire, but I think what will really help is getting off my butt and shopping my stuff around to local boutiques.  Hopefully some kind owner will take pity on me and tell me whether it's just that I need to tweak what I'm doing a bit, or if my design sense is barking up the wrong tree entirely.

On the up-side, I just listed Entwined on Etsy.  We'll see how that goes.