Saturday, December 31, 2011
I wanted to create items that appear to be in a collection, so I chose beads in a color family. Since I was inspired by Noreena Jasper which has grays, maroon reds and orange golds, I collected beads in those colors. I also try to create items which have a variety of price points to appeal to all pocketbooks, which can be a challenge in this economy. The jury will be viewing items in winter which my customers will see in the summer to early fall, so I chose neutral darker colors over pastels which may not appeal to the jury. There is no metal on any of the items.
My lowest price point is an all seed bead bracelet made in ladder stitch which is embellished with seed beads with a toggle closure.
My second item is a bracelet in tubular right angle weave which is embellished with Czech glass rounds, again with a toggle closure.
Using a Noreena Jasper bead as a pendant, I created a necklace with a spiral weave chain and toggle closure, using free form brick stitch around the jasper bead, attaching the pendant to the chain with loops of seed beads and ending with an asymmetrical fringe.
Using the Noreena Jasper, I created a bracelet around a large flat bead in free form brick stitch with a button and loop closure. It has lots of embellishment.
In case you are wondering where the Swarovski is, the maroon pearls are made by Swarovski and the button is Swarovski crystal.
Since I display my jewelry in shadow box cases by color, I will be adding earrings, more bracelets, and maybe a necklace or pins to the collection before show time. The jasper red has fire energy and is grounding. It is mined in western Australia.
Monday, November 28, 2011
A relatively new feature (mid July as far as I can tell) at etsy.com for shopkeepers is etsy stats. It is a fairly straightforward listing for the current date and "yesterday" (there are other time period choices as well) by hour the number of shop views, listing views,and additions to the shop such as renewals or new items. It also lists where the views are coming from, key words used, and items by name of what was viewed. I have two other applications which gather this data which I am keeping until 12/31/11 because of the history going back to when I opened my shop.
I have been tracking the time of day my viewers are likely to be looking at my shop. I am somewhat surprised at what they are looking at which is mostly my unique designs with high price points. The key words used also tell me that my viewers are knowledgeable about beadweaving because they use technical search terms. When I talk to visitors at my Art Fairs, I use technical language such as stitch names which causes confusion and I need to explain what I mean. This makes me wonder if most of my viewers on etsy really are potential customers. I started my etsy shop by joining the etsy beadweavers team where I made some friends who do the same/similar things that I do but none are customers and I am not theirs either. I have not been a member of this team for at least 6 months.
I set up a facebook page as well as my personal page. I have transferred all of my promotions to KRDesigns11 on FB so as not to spam family and friends on my personal page. I have been having a SEASON OF GIVING promotion on my facebook KRDesigns11 page which is not being viewed. So my reality is not the same as the movie Field of Dreams because I built the page, but they are not coming.... Just sharing my personal observations so you, dear reader, can learn from my mistakes. I do have one loyal friend who almost without exception, likes my entries; I do the same for her as a way of returning the favor and encouraging her to keep on trying.
I plan to focus more efforts on learning about Google ad words. I know that I need to bring people in from outside etsy to purchase my items. I will also be creating more elaborate peyote pattern bracelets, dutch spiral necklaces and listing more of my cellini spiral bracelets which are a great source of repetitive stress and boredom to me to create (they take at least 16 hours of one bead at a time). A lot of my Swarovski crystal and pearl items were made for the Illinois Artisan Shop market which has changed significantly under new shop management and the economic situation in Chicago and Illinois government.
I also plan to do in process progress photos of my designs. Sorry there are no pictures in this one, but I'm off to take some cellini spiral ones and my current project photos for next time.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
I plan to add to my favorite links list. I also have a facebook business page, KRDesigns11, which has room for more "liked" pages. Let me know if you would like to be considered for some free publicity.
Monday, October 31, 2011
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Monday, October 10, 2011
My favorite Art Fair was run by a local Art League--all volunteer--and has become a tradition for over 50 years. The patrons were well educated, interested, had above average incomes, and understood the need to purchase from the artists to allow the continued creation of art. I would love to return next year and I am already thinking of what I will create for my jury photos because invitations to participate are by jury decision every year.
When I choose locations for next year's Art Fair applications, I will consider the financial health of the facility where the event is held, the statistics on local resident's income, home value and unemployment, ease of loading/unloading by being able to drive up to my space or needing to dolly everything in/out, the number of accepted artists, and the values of the women who would be attending. I have met women who leave their wallets at home or those who confuse their husband's by not purchasing a desired item. Sacrificing for others by not treating themselves is more common than I thought. In this economy, most will not purchase Christmas presents in the summer. It is also hard to highlight items a person might like if they are not present. Not wanting to touch items (try on for size) or allow me to assist them is a sure sign I won't likely make a sale.
Most of my sales were of conservative designs in conservative, neutral colors. They were planned purchases of jewelry to wear with something or something they had been looking for. When I analyzed customer's home address versus location of the show, I found they frequently did not live nearby. The reputation/advertising of the show is important.
A thumbs up to using Square, a tiny device that attaches to a smart phone (I used my husband's android phone) to process credit cards with a swipe and deposit the funds in your bank account (on Tuesday from a weekend show). www.squareup.com for details. If you want contact information from customers, you need to record it manually; the system does not record any personal customer data. The only cost is 2.75% of the amount; no annual, monthly or per transaction fee if you swipe their card. Even the device is free.
I have other comments I could make about the lessons I learned but decided it was bad enough I experienced them. Live and learn. I will say that doing outdoor Art Fairs is a hard way to earn money.
Applications for Art Fairs are due right after January 1, 2012. I will share my jury photos in a future blog post and start to list the events I will be participating in spring.
I am currently planning items for the holidays, and feel like celebrating so they will be GLAM items with hopefully lower price points. I have decided to use metals, at least as accents. However, my Muse tends to guide me to more elaborate projects.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
On Sunday I took photos of my booth at Art Fair on the Square. My booth faced east, it was a beautiful sunny day with a breeze. Since the show opened at 11 am, I decided to take photos around 10 a.m. This gave me an area of bright light in front and some shadows. My bridal white case was relocated so that it did not appear to be a case of glare. Additions this year are the three photos of my work hanging across the back wall and using plate hangers to stand up the trays on the table. My new mirror on the grid wall produced reflections of my jewelry in two shots, the man across the streets stool, and the photographer! Other obstacles were familiar to me from last year's photos. I found taking pictures after the show left the booth too dark, and this show ended at 6 pm which made for a very long day since I was out of bed at 4 am and we had a 1.5 hour drive to/from home.
Friday, August 26, 2011
My pink ring is featured in the weekly Great Finds blog. Please visit and check out Pretty in Pink and take advantage of the voting to support your favorite handmade item. There are quite a few to look at. You can get to the site by clicking on the badge at the top of this post. Enjoy!
Saturday, August 20, 2011
I joined a group on Facebook to help me promote my bead work. I quickly found that I have a lot to learn about groups that really are into promotion.
My first lesson was that it takes time, regularly scheduled time. The group I joined has at least three events a week. Some are just for daylight hours on one day. I need to allow at least two hours early in the morning for that one. These require creating themed treasuries from members shops. It sounds like great fun, but during Art Fair time, I just couldn't fit it in. I am going to make an extra effort to participate the next two weeks, since making treasuries is FUN!
Some activities are on going for a week, but your work may not fit what is being featured. Others, you can just post a new listing and find new people. Never any lack of new posts to read. Problem I have is finding my friends posts that are a few hours old...
I was contacted that one of my items was chosen for a themed week long voting event on a members blog. My job is to promote it and hope people will vote for my creation. So here I am, blogging to ask you to check out this blog. It is pure promotion as far as I can see, but that's not a bad thing. There are a variety of items, the pictures are large enough to see, there isn't much that's flashing at you, and you just might find someone who does something you want. Also, you can purchase an ad on the site for just $5 a month, which seems very reasonable since these events are every week. I paid a lot more money per view at my very rainy Art Fair in my muddy on a decline booth.
The member has also placed my items in a few treasuries, so she might be someone you would like to get to know if you have a shop. As treasuries go, hers are well above average in creativity and beauty. Remember this group's purpose is promotion, so they want to be on the FRONT PAGE. This group is not just for beadweavers either.
Thanks for clicking on the badge at the top of this post. And since I'm asking for favors, please "LIKE" my facebook page, "KRDesigns11". I only need a few more to get a separate url for it. Thanks! You can find out who is promoting me on this page because I've posted my treasuries here.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
I set up a Facebook page for my beadweaving jewelry business. The photo above is of the bracelet I used as my avatar on the page. I have been posting new and renewed listings on Etsy (only one per day) and will post that I have a new blog post, too. I have allowed people to write on my page, so you can comment without the review system that I have here on blogspot.
So I'm asking you to visit my page and "LIKE" it if you do. I need to have 25 people "LIKE" my page before it gets its own URL. I'd post a link here, but since it doesn't have its own URL, it won't work. Maybe searching for "KRDesigns11" would be easiest; the category is "Artist". www.facebook.com/pages/KRDesigns11/180040212060403
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
I did make two pins before I started researching using my personal library of books to learn how the pros bead with cabochons. I will include photos here, but know that the beading techniques are mine, and not those used in the books. I attached one row to the backing material and then beaded into those beads rather than the backing material. The pins are small with only a few rows of beadwork, so they appear to be adequately supported.
I determined I would do earrings going "by the book". First I didn't have the right size/color beads. Received the beads, finished the beadwork, looked for the ultra suede, realized I didn't have an appropriate color (no dark blue or black)so I waited for another order. (Order arrived out of stock of one color ultra suede and with the wrong color beads for the edging on the lapis earrings, so there is an order from another vendor in process. There will be two pairs of lapis earrings, which I'd need to order gold tone pin backs if they were to be pins.
While waiting for supplies, I beaded a herringbone rope (20 hours without the clasp) for a polymer clay bead as the pendant. I was pleased with the rope and felt a sense of accomplishment. After designing the bail/connection, redoing it twice and still not finding the right colors, I realized the rope is pastel summer shades while the pendant bead is fall shades. So I'm thinking I need a fall colored rope but don't feel like another 20 hours to create it right now. I put pictures of this on Facebook.
Wednesday night I put together a flat spiral bracelet with luster peridot green Czech glass beads and felt like I accomplished something. I used light lime metallic size 13 charlottes as some of the connector beads which gave a nice sparkle to the glass. It was just something I put together from what I had on hand. So easy!
I went back to the cabochon project Thursday, but discovered the method didn't work for the cab with a high dome, so will use the stack method if I have the right beads! I did complete a pair of earrings with blue lace agate cabs as I have lots of white beads and had light blue ultra suede on hand anticipating doing bead embroidery someday.
Friday I finished an oval pair of lapis earrings using hematite colored beads since I haven't received the color I wanted. I used pliers to pull the needle through on the edging, so I will try to figure out something different when I work on the round lapis earrings. This was not fun!
I will be taking a break from bead embroidery to relax with beading I enjoy and to prepare for an Art Spree in two weeks.
I do not wonder why I have unfinished objects.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
The next cabochon is an agate I purchased from another beader who was wire wrapping stones her friend inherited. I carefully chose 3 from the large sack she was rapidly wire wrapping while we watched in amazement how easily she accomplished it. I really like the picture nature made in the stone. The cab is captured using the Gourd on the Ground (peyote) method which is the most common method I've seen. You can see that I embellished these in my favorite lacy style.
This last cab is a vintage Swarovski crystal round in emerald which is captured using the Lace Cage method. This was my first and only cuff bead embroidered and glued to a metal form. Besides using too much glue on the ultrasuede (messy), I would not use crystals that stick out from the other beadwork except near the cab. I used size 15 charlottes (no longer being made)for some of the beadwork. Tiny!
I used all three methods of capturing the cab which I found useful based on the shape of the cab. The other book I owned when I created these items is Beaded Embellishment by Amy C. Clarke & Robin Atkins. Both are excellent books with lots of inspirational photos; both books are artists who create in fabric rather than jewelry makers. In the past year, I have acquired The Art of Bead Embroidery by Heidi Kummli and Sherry Serafini and Beading with Cabochons by Jamie Cloud Eakin. When I started looking at the details in these books, I realized each contradicted the others, so I set them aside to explore what works for me. I will share that in my next post.
I have two pins that are about halfway completed...waiting for gluing...and a dozen or so more for earrings and pins. I have a lot of beads, but seldom the ones I need. My goal for making pins and earrings is to get lower price point items in my inventory.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Spending time with an authority figure from my childhood often leaves me stuck in regards to my creative work. As an adult, I realize that although I do not want to live my life this way or pass these values on to the next generation, it still effects my daily life. So I need to learn to live my values, those that say personal expression is important, that I am important.
The Chapter in Marry Your Muse by Jan Phillips titled Mom's Advice has an Action of writing five distractions from your life that keep you from attaining a more peaceful state of being. It suggests that if the distractions were eliminated, you would have more time to do the things you truly desire. It asks what truly prevents me from doing what I want to do. I know that I will be going through the motions at first in order to change this value in my daily life actions. But this is a change I want to create.
Recently I have been accummulating things needed to do bead embroidery, but have not been able to actually start it. I want to paint the Lacy's Stiff Stuff so I don't have the possibility of the white background showing through. So I am going to glue some cabochons on unpainted and paint another sheet in a dark blue/green which are the colors of most of my cabs. Then I will be one step closer to actually doing the bead embroidery that I want to do.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Liked the colors so much I did my first tubular right angle weave necklace which took a while since I knotted each embellishing bead. I've made cuff bracelets embellished completely with Swarovski crystals (more than 500), so it's not my longest project. The colors are ones I like to wear; the colors seem to get softer as I get older and grayer.
Another project was an eggshell/ivory colored dutch spiral necklace; I finished the strung part very early this morning. I like the 4.2 mm gold filled roundels between the beads. Cluster earrings with cream pearls and crystal golden shadow need some pearls on order. I ordered Swarovski light gold pearls and really like them, too, but decided to use the roundels and not add the golden yellow in the pearls. Another project?
Thanks for the inspiration on how to cut and paste my pictures throughout my blog! Right click is my friend!
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Hobby Lobby is a great story/role model for on line entrepreneurs such as Etsy sellers. It was started in the family's living area with a small amount of money, quite a while ago as the founder is now a great grandfather. It is a family business, actually several family businesses, because the product in the stores (over 400 Hobby Lobby stores in 39 states) is made by their own companies. Gives them great control over the quality of the product which is in my opinion, good value. You can also order on line. They are based in Oklahoma and have used some of the best sales promotion features of JoAnn and Walmart, etc. Whole categories of items are on sale at 30 - 50% off frequently, and there is always a 40% off one item with the coupon available in the store. Big difference is that the stores are closed on Sundays as it is a Christian business.
When I visited my local store yesterday to purchase a couple more shadow box frames at 50% off, I noticed the upbeat music which repeated itself fairly often, but it didn't bother me. I had a discussion with my hair stylist earlier about the importance of music in the shop. In Hobby Lobby I realized that the music was familiar but not the usual arrangement. When I found the words to the song were in my head, that I knew the "song", I realized that the music was praising God, because the song was "How Great Thou Art". If you are unfamiliar with it, the song has strong emotional connections. We hear so much noise in the world, this was so pleasant, reaching back to my childhood upbringing, that it was in my head the rest of the day. I even woke up "hearing" it. Of course, I bought more than I might have and spent extra time just looking. I have a couple ideas using items I saw in their store. Just from music that was soothing to me, so I could relax in the store. A positive shopping experience.
As an artist/designer, I use music as I work. I will be paying more attention to what I play both while I work and at Art Fairs. To learn more about Hobby Lobby, follow the link:
Sunday, January 2, 2011
I found myself with a gift card to Borders Books store as a result of a return of a gift book. I knew my local store was sadly depleted of jewelry making books, but didn't realize they also had a poor selection of art and art history books I've used for creative inspiration. I've been criticizing myself for not doing marketing and found a book called The Designer's Guide to Marketing and Pricing....hardly a holiday gift but more about that another time. So I searched my former favorite topic areas and found Fried Why You Burn Out and How to Revive by Joan Borysenko, Ph.D. and knew this was a great book for me. I had collected quite a few of her books because they seemed to resonate with me and Fried described my feelings very well. You can find out more about her work at http://www.joanborysenko.com/ or www.facebook.com/pages/Boulder-CO/Joan-Borysenko/211406562428
So today, as part of my self care, I decided I would finally make the chocolate mousse from Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People by Jennifer Cornbleet. I searched for recipes (mainly desserts because that is what I miss the most...Christmas in my childhood home equals COOKIES) that cater to my food sensitivities and allergies, but did not make any during the holidays because I put my own needs last. Before you write me off as a chocoholic beadweaver wanting a super sugar high, let me tell you it uses avocados, dates, agave syrup and raw cacao powder NOT butter, cream and eggs! It whips up in my Cuisinart quicker than I can clean up the work bowl.
CHOCOLATE MOUSSE: Soak 1/4 cup pitted medjool dates (yummy) in water for 10 to 30 minutes to soften. Drain and place in a food processor fitted with the S blade along with 1/4 cup pure maple syrup or agave nectar and 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (optional) and process until smooth. Add 3/4 cup mashed avocados (1 1/2 avocados) and 1/4 cup plus 2T unsweetened cocoa and process until creamy, scrapping the sides of the bowl occassionally. Add 1/4 cup water and process briefly. Store in a sealed container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator or 2 weeks in the freezer. Serve chilled or at room temperature ( thaw frozen about 15 minutes before serving) Yields 1 cup, 2 servings...I made a double batch and put one in the freezer!
Please check out Jennifer Cornbleet at http://www.learnrawfood.com/ or her book on your favorite site or at your library. She has good recipes for all meals of the day designed for 1 or 2 servings made healthy with raw foods...no cooking! She talks about tools you use so it's great for novice "cooks".