Sunday 27 April 2008

Studio 61

Last Thursday I went to a preview evening at Studio 61 - a gallery in the picturesque Peak District of Derbyshire, run by talented artist Karina Goodman. I have some of my work for sale in the craft shop and gallery and it has recently undergone a major refurbishment following a flood, so it was very interesting to see the new layout and meet some of the other artists who have their work displayed there. I went with my good friend Alison of BeaDangles Jewellery, who also has her work for sale there. Karina was keen to see a copy of the April issue of Bead & Button with my Foxglove Trio on the cover and I left a copy with her - I think she is going to display it alongside the Foxglove necklace she has in one of her display cabinets as people have apparently been asking if it is by me!

The new gallery/craft shop is connected to the Art Cafe, which is a wonderful spacious area of low leather chairs and tables. It has a very warm and relaxed feel, a great menu and a further display of art and crafts on the walls and in glass cabinets around the room - all laid out with wine and 'nibbles' for the preview evening!

Karina, Alison and I also discussed plans for a Jewellery Festival later in the year. This should be a fantastic two day event, when myself, Alison and others will give demonstrations of our work. Visitors will be able to browse around the gallery and craft shop, watch demonstrations, chat to the various artists and enjoy the Art Cafe, restaurant or ice cream parlour - and all in a beautiful rural setting ... sounds like a perfect day out!

Saturday 19 April 2008

Experimenting with photos!

So, I've had my Etsy shop for just over a week now and I can hardly leave it alone! I started out with all white backgrounds on my photos - there's a school of thought that says this is the 'best' way to do it as it lets the product stand out and also apparently you have more chance of being picked for a 'treasury' (a kind of showcase) if you have white background photos. But, as my shop started to fill up, I began to think it was looking a bit stark and sterile and so I've retaken some shots with coloured backgrounds and props.

I've spent hours this week experimenting with photos and I've even crammed some of Simon's trousers, shirts and ties into my little light-tent in an effort to create a more masculine theme for some of the gents cufflinks. I've also gone back to some of my favourite backgrounds of hand-made paper and a fresh lily flower for some of the more feminine pieces. The shop currently has a mix of some white and some coloured backgrounds - personally I am happy with it and I think it gives the shop a bit more 'character' - what do you think ... coloured or plain?

Tuesday 15 April 2008

An Etsy shop and a new look blog.

I keep hearing mixed reports about Etsy. Some people seem to find it a good showcase for their work and others feel as though it's easy to just get lost in there. It certainly is a massive 'place' - within minutes of me listing an item, I noticed that another 100 items had been listed for sale, so I think it will take lots of hard work to keep afloat. On the other hand, it's a brilliant opportunity which already has a huge following so it has to be worth a try.

If there is anyone out there who isn't familiar with Etsy (Is that possible? Even Mum is asking "How many items have you got listed on Etsy rhymes with Betsy now?") it is billed as "an online marketplace for buying and selling all things handmade" - that means I qualify right?

So, I've opened an Etsy shop (see link in the side bar!) and the first thing I wanted to do was get 'the look' right, which meant a new banner. I loved my old black and red banner, but it just wasn't working with Etsy's orange heading so I had to come up with something new and I wanted it to incorporate a piece of my work. After several hours of experimenting, taking pictures, cutting, pasting, layering, rejigging and general faffing I have come up with something I am happy with for the time being. Up until 3 months ago, I had never done anything like this, so I am pretty pleased with the result, but this leads on from my last post - another example of a time consuming activity that is not beading but is necessary for the success of the beadwork business ... well in my opinion anyway, or is it just that I kind of like playing on the pc?

Anyway, as I ended up with 3 different banners, one for my website, one for my blog and one for my Etsy shop, I thought I should simplify things a little and have therefore changed the look of the blog to reflect the Etsy shop - see;- new banner and orange text! What do you think?
For now, I think it will just be a mixture of smaller pieces such as Ladies and Gents cufflinks for sale in the shop, together with the odd 'bigger' piece such as the original Supernova Choker and Foxglove Trio. I'll see how it goes before I make any other decisions.
The only trouble now is, every time I post a picture either on here or Etsy, I feel unsettled if it doesn't match my new orange and grey theme - could I be taking things a little too seriously lol? I don't think it really warrants me only using orange and grey beads in future though - that may be a step too far!

Tuesday 8 April 2008

Supernova Choker!

Hmmmm - another week gone by and still no new work to show you! I was warned that once you take beading from hobby level to a business level, you get hardly any time for actual beading. When you hear this you tend to think "Yeah, yeah - it won't be that way for me!" .... but it's so true! I used to spend hours and hours just idly beading, dreaming up new designs and contently experimenting - bliss. Nowadays it's more like 30% beading and the rest of my time is spent writing up and testing projects, drawing diagrams, doing paperwork (like the dreaded tax return that popped through my letterbox this morning!) networking, website maintenance, blogging, photography etc. etc. - although I'm sure I could be a little bit more efficient with my time if I really tried ;-)

So, seeing as we really need a picture on today's post to brighten things up a bit, here's a picture of my Supernova Choker. It's in April's issue of Beadwork magazine, which has been out in America for just over a week I think, and is due in the UK shops any day now. It's a netted band with an off-centre circular brick stitch 'starburst', which the editor describes as "Out of this world". I've made several of these in various colour combinations and I find them surprisingly comfortable to wear and they certainly seem to get noticed!