Wednesday, January 22, 2014

On Pins and Needles

I applied to two spring craft shows this morning, and now I wait until the end of the month to find out if I got in or not.  Not breaking news, I know, but I'm on pins and needles until I get word.  I've never before worried about getting into shows, I'd never been rejected - until last fall.  I'd done this same show for the previous ten years in a row and never not been accepted, so it came as a body blow when I was rejected for last year.  I'm one of the few jewelry vendors there that consistently had a line out of the booth for most of the day on Saturday, the peak time.  I have product that is completely different than anyone else.  My sales figures were huge, considering the price point on my jewelry.  I was floored, how could they not want me?

So I contacted them and asked, why was I rejected?  They said it was because they had too many applications for 'strung jewelry.'  Huh?  I don't do strung jewelry anymore because there are too many people doing it.  I have no idea why they lumped me into that category.  But then I went back and looked at my application photos.  I had taken new photos, showing several pieces in each shot.  Lo and behold, there in two of the photos were strung pieces that I'd thrown in just to show my versatility.  Not really strung per se, as they were hand knotted.  To someone who doesn't really know much about jewelry, they wouldn't know the significance of something being hand knotted rather than just strung on jewelry wire.   

Not to belittle anyone doing strung jewelry, not at all, I know it isn't as easy as most people assume it is.  I've taught many people how to string over the years.  I have boxes and boxes of beads from my earlier years, when all I did was string.  But I don't use stone beads as much these days, so they just sit there, waiting.  So it turns out it was my own fault that I didn't get in.  All winter I have worked on my photography skills, and I hope that it pays off with acceptances into shows. 

In the meantime, I'm in the studio playing with some new techniques and materials.  I've had this package of Tyvek sitting in a drawer for two years at least, and I never knew what to do with it.  I saw some beads on Pinterest the other day and just loved them.  Doing a little digging, I found out they were made with Tyvek.  So I fire up You Tube, watch a few videos, and I'm ready to play.  Oh what fun!  But to make some really nice beads, I need supplies - I need Lumiere paint to give them that sparkle that those beads on Pinterest have.  So I'm off to the craft store this afternoon to see if they carry it.  I can get it online of course, but that means I have to wait.  No!  I don't want to wait!  LOL  But I'll share with you my first attempt at these beads, please don't laugh.  I had just plain acrylic paint, I don't use paint much so I didn't have anything in the studio to really work with.

  The one in the front is just plain Tyvek and paint.  The other beads had fibers wrapped around them and the heat gun melted the fibers along with the Tyvek, which gave them interesting texture.  Not too shabby for my first attempt, eh?  I said don't laugh!  I made a few more yesterday that turned out better, but I didn't bother to take pics of those.  Now to figure out how to use them in my jewelry, once I get the hang of making them, that is. 

There is one art show I have always wanted to do, but they are extremely particular about their jewelry vendors and you have to make everything that goes into your pieces, no stone or crystal beads allowed unless you made the beads yourself - and who does that?  I've been playing with a loom weaving technique, but it's so time consuming that you would have to ask a small fortune for the pieces and the shows I do you'd never be able to sell one.  This particular show caters to the well off and most vendors sell extremely expensive art.  So, I think these beads would really shine in a woven bib necklace, with a price tag of three figures - not something I normally make.  I see some weaving in my future... 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

One New Year's Resolution kept

Like most people, I make resolutions on New Year's - and then within a few weeks it's gone by the wayside.  But this year I actually kept one!  I wanted to organize and clean my studio.  I had boxes of this and that stuck in corners, few things were labeled correctly, and my desk was a complete mess.  Now I have to admit that I am an organization nut, I love to have things sorted out, in their right place and labeled.  Does that make me weird?  Umm, probably!  I wish the rest of my house was as tidy and organized as this room.  Wanna see some pictures?  Of course you do!

This is my main desk area.  I know, a glass desk is not the most ideal work surface, especially since I use a heat gun alot, but it was all I had when I first put together my studio.  I keep the surface clean with a teflon non stick craft sheet, I love those things!  My tools are in the caddies to the right, my Friendly Plastic is in the drawers front and center, and the caddies in the corner hold my patina solutions, alcohol inks, paints, etc.  The little white cabinet is one that my grandpa made when I was a little girl.  This one was my younger sister's cabinet, it's half the size of mine.  My cabinet is in the guest bedroom, acting as a night table.  I remember us keeping our plastic tea party dishes in this cabinet. 

The left side of my desk holds my griddle, one of my most important tools when using Friendly Plastic.  Behind that is my nail polish collection, somewhere north of 100 bottles now.  Yikes!  Above that are my ribbon holders, which apparently no one ever tested in the real world because once it's hung on the wall, it's impossible to add a spool without everything falling out.  I have cussed a good many times over those things!  The drawers hold my tape, resin supplies, wire, and other assorted stuff. Below the desk are shelves with my Cricut machine, embossing machine, baking sheets, heat gun, and other odds and ends that I need to have near at hand. 

The cabinet on the right has all my findings - metal beads, filigree, clasps, jump rings, etc.  The baker's rack holds my scrap booking supplies, oversize ribbon spools, leather scraps, kumihimo, weaving, and silk fusion supplies.  An extra griddle, my electric skillet, and a small over for polymer clay stay out of the way near the closet.  Which is the next project, it's worse than the studio was!  I keep all my craft show supplies in there, it's crammed full.  Ugh!

Last, but not least, are my well organized beading supplies - all done by color.  For each color, there's a shoebox for mixed media (scraps of this and that and found objects) and a shoebox for yarn.  There is a bead box for pearls, one for pendants, another for crystal, and sometimes several boxes for the beads themselves, a mixture of stone and glass.  The little bins hold beads too big to fit in boxes or projects waiting for me to get to them (some have been waiting a looong time). 

I also have a little wooden rolling work bench/cart that my Dad made that he used for working on circuit boards, but it's in my bedroom right now acting as a table for my photography. It's so handy, it has an outlet built into it so I can use it an an extra workspace for a second griddle,a heat gun, an iron or my sewing machine.  When I'm not using it, I just roll it into the corner out of the way.

So there you have it, a quick tour of my 10' x 11' studio space.  I don't have any decorations up on the wall yet but that's coming.  When we move in a couple of years, I will have a studio space twice this size, hopefully, with lots of natural light, better ventilation, enough electric outlets - and no litter box!  Oh and a work surface that I don't have to worry about cracking.  Hope you enjoyed the tour.  This weekend I'll post something fun that I've been playing with - Tyvek beads! 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

What will 2014 bring?

A happy New Year to everyone!  Where did last year go?  It seemed to crawl at times, and at others to fly by at lightning speed.  I had big plans for last year, but life has a way of changing our plans, doesn't it?  So no plans for this year, I am going to take it a day at a time, savor every moment, and try not to let things get to me.  How many of you sweat the small stuff?  Let stupid things get to you?  *raises hand*  No more. 

The last year has taught me that things can change in an instant.  What you thought was going to always be there can disappear literally in a heart beat.  The holidays were so hard this year, the first without both my parents.  I was floundering, looking to find a middle ground, a way to keep the old traditions alive.  The family always met at Mom and Dad's, opened gifts and then feasted on Mom's great food. Now what?  Does my house become the destination of choice for my kids?  My older daughter ended up attending 5 different celebrations over 3 days this year - with just a quick breakfast at our house. My mother in law said this is her last year to host Christmas dinner.  Maybe this is the chance everyone has to start their own tradition of dinner in their own home.  I miss the Christmases of my childhood, where we spent the day together, not running from one house to another.  But then I didn't have any relatives that lived close by, so that could be the reason for that.  Everything always seemed so much simpler in your childhood, didn't it?

I hope that whatever the traditions are in your house that you had a great holiday with your loved ones.  To start off this new year with a bang, I'm offering a flash sale on my etsy store, Wolf Creek Designs.  Receive 25% off your entire purchase with the coupon code Newyear2014.   Hope the new year brings you much happiness, joy, and good fortune!