Friday, October 31, 2008

LouisianArtisans Meet & Greet

I'm a member of the LouisianArtisans team on Etsy. Our team comprises 172 Etsy shops whose owners reside in the great state of Louisiana. Some Etsy artisans have more than one shop.

Our Louisiana team has local subgroups that will hold meet & greets, pair up for craft shows, etc.

I attended my first Meet & Greet on Tuesday. The turnout was small but we're a lively group. We exchanged business cards, exchanged ideas and tip, and - my favorite - showed samples of our work.

Here we are - click on the links to visit their shops:

From left to right: The Watermelon Tree, Lisa Raspino (me) , Tu2Cute, and Cheese and Chocolate.

Conversation flowed for two hours before it was time to head our separate ways. It was a great opportunity to put 'faces' with the names we see on Etsy, in the Portal, on Flickr....
If you'd like to visit all of the LouisianArtisans shops, click here: LArtisans Team Favorites.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

What Inspires Me - Part II

Yesterday, I blogged about how I might get an idea for a particular jewelry design. Most frequently, though, it's this - which can be summed up in two word:

Woo Pretty!

Yep, that's the highly analytical, scientific method I use.

It works like this. I enter a bead supply store "just to browse." That's the key. If I plan to buy something, I usually can not find what I'm looking for. If I plan *not* to purchase anything, the ideas often come like a speeding freight train.

If it makes me say, "Woo Pretty!" I buy it. It it makes me say, "Ooooh!" it's a 'maybe' (one to be strongly considered).

The challenge comes later, at home, when I have all these very pretty beads, findings, etc. and still no idea how I'll use them. Sometimes the inspiration will strike quickly. Other times, the beads will sit in my nicely organized box for weeks, months - and in a couple of instances, years - before I finally have that AHA! moment.

But I have faith in the process. You know the old like from the movie Field of Dreams - "if you build it, they will come." ? Well, that's kind of how this works.

"If I buy it, the idea will come."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What Inspires Me - Part I

I was asked the following by one of the five people who actually read my blog (I prefer to think of them as a small but elite group who, naturally, have excellent taste, but I digress.....)

What inspires me when it comes to creating my jewelry?

Occasionally I might see a certain style of jewelry that I like, but I make it a point to not look too closely. No cutting pictures from catalogs or magazines, no browsing websites or other jewelry shops. I certainly don't want to copy what someone else has done. Instead I simply make a mental note about what struck me. Case in point is this necklace, which I created:

The item that provided the inspiration for this nepherite jade and glass bead tassle was actually a pair of earrings. The earrings had a large faceted black opaque bead, about the diameter of a dime. Suspected from the bead were small black bicone Swarovskri crystals strung on either beading wire, or thread. I thought a tassle might be an interesting idea.

My interpretation is different, however. Rather than string the two-tone green/black Czech glass beads on flexible beading wire or thread, I took the more labor intensive approach of wire-wrapping each bead (using sterling wire to create the chain "links").

It didn't take too long for my fingers to cramp (the beads are pretty small) and to become a little tired of the whole thing. So out with earrings, hello focal point of a necklace.

So in a nutshell, if I come across an ingenious idea, I may mull it over in my mind for a long time (usually long enough to forget the original source of the idea). Once at work, though, it may morph into something completely different than I intended. Inspiration, for me, is continually evolving.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

SOLD: Rose Quartz Nugget Necklace

It was such a pleasant surprise to log on to my Etsy page today and discover that one of my pieces sold! It's an irregularly faceted rose quartz nugget that I wire-wrapped, added a freshwater cultured pearl and put on a chain (all metal components are sterling silver).

I have a similar piece in my own personal collection. I made one for myself and was wearing it to be sure it was comfortable and I received several compliments so I made a second one (even better, in my opinion) to list in my Etsy shop.

I was so excited that I immediately took it to the package store near my house so I could sent it off today. Rude awakening, though. I charge close-to-actual shipping and like to send my items in a 4 inch cube box via First Class mail with Delivery Confirmation.

I explicitly requested peanuts for my box, First Class with Delivery Confirmation. The woman at the shop adds the peanuts, seals the box, prints the label and tells me the total - which is quite a bit higher than usual. I look at the form and see that she circled Priority Mail with Delivery Confirmation. I ask her about that and she replied that they "don't do" First Class with Delivery Confirmation anymore. Lovely.

But wouldn't the time to have mentioned that have been as soon as I made my request (which not incidentally was before she added peanuts and sealed the box)? Grrrr. I could've opened the box, suggested an alternate use for the peanuts, taken my package and left. On principle, I should have. However, I wanted to ship it today (I wouldn't be able to drive to the post office today). Plus I was determined not to let it spoil my "Seller's High."

I did write a letter to the owner of the packing store letting him know that I didn't appreciate my experience today and that I'm highly unlikely to return (I'm sure he'll be heartbroken).

As a side note, when it comes to small parcels, Priority Mail isn't always any speedier than First Class. Next, I'm going to invest in an electronic postal scale for my home. Delivery Confirmation is much less expensive ($0.18 versus $0.85-.95) when you print your postage online - which you can do via PayPal.

But back to happy thoughts: a sale! Woo Hoo!

By the way, the Lampworking Supply Kit (Never Used) is still available. Click the link at the right (below my photo slideshow) for details.