Thursday, February 19, 2015

Part 2 of B'Sue Build a Line Challenge

Blog Post 2 / Cat 2 (Tigger)
Hello there!  This is my second blog post for the B'Sue Build a Line Challenge.  The third/last post and blog hop will be on 3/20/2015. The photo is of Tigger, who is technically my daughter's cat.  But he prefers me so here he lives.  A moody and crochety man, he is nonetheless very affectionate (when in the mood) and my second favorite of our three kittehs.

I've been working on pieces for this challenge almost every week night after work, and almost every weekend day.  I work slowly and life happens.  Here is me working hard, looking old.  Messy, I know.

I've completed two necklaces and two pair of earrings. There's another, simple necklace waiting to be constructed, and two bracelets to finish.  If I had time I'd make another pair of earrings and one more necklace.  I absolutely adore this color, opally greenish aqua (what IS the real name?).  Here is a shot of the earrings (not a good photo, sorry), the focal for a necklace that probably won't get finished by the last blog hop, (bottom left) and some of the common components I'm using . Keys, crosses, and birds; three of my favorites.  Also fiber and buttons.

The main work in this challenge has been mental.  I do not replicate pieces; therefore, there are no economies of scale and my pieces (theoretically) cost more.  With the exception of earrings my pieces aren't simple or quick to make.  They're not bottom of the pyramid.  In the past I've made lots of necklaces that average $20-$30, but they don't sell well.  What I sell best are pieces that are obviously one of a kind and handmade, time consuming and thoughtful.  They often tell a story.  That suits me fine, since that's what I prefer to make.  I typically have undercharged for those pieces, but that's my problem and is being corrected this year.  One of the things I'm doing in 2015 is focus on better show venues, and I plan to expand/improve my online presence.  I do sell a lot of $10-$20 earrings at shows, btw. Bread and butter, as Brenda Sue says.

I've felt like a round peg trying to fit into a square hole during this challenge in terms of (1) price, and (2) ability to replicate pieces.  I had an AHA hour a week ago Saturday, when I realized that what I do is OK.  Its what makes me happy and what sells.  I made a list of my favorite jewelry designers, and they all make one of a kind pieces that are in a higher price range. Some support themselves that way, not all.  Fortunately, I don't depend on jewelry sales to support the 3.5 of us (or we'd starve.)  I wish I could, by selling what I want to make rather than simplifying my designs.  Maybe someday, way down the line.  My favorite designers have been at this a lot longer than me; I have a lot to learn and do.  Brenda Sue has done a good job of stressing that lower prices don't mean lower quality.  I think we're all still noodling on that.

Those who buy from me repeatedly are repeat customers because my pieces are one of a kind.  No idea why I struggled with the square peg thing. I went into this challenge knowing these differences existed, but Brenda Sue let me join, anyway. I'm grateful because I've learned a lot.
Posted on my desk; business or art?

I also struggled with the definition of Hobbyist.  I sell at shows, I do commission work, I have deadlines and I stress about my little business,so I'm a semi-pro, right?  I realized that based on Brenda Sue's definition I AM a Hobbyist, and that's Ok.  (I'm also a part-time designer.)  I don't do this for a living.  I do take classes (being a relative newbie and passionate about learning).  I Do pay attention to style and color trends.  I don't make trendy jewelry; many of my pieces are vintage inspired, but I'm influenced by trends and colors.  To my mind that's just being professional.

Sorry this is so long.  A year ago I resisted the idea of building a line.  Eventually I realized that it makes sense on a professional level, then read that show judges like lines in jury shots.  So I enrolled in this challenge to develop discipline, and learned a wonderful thing. Focusing on a line is Freeing and Inspiring!  Too many times I've gotten bogged down by too many choices (design-wise and in components.)  Limiting the choice of components (by using some common components) has simplified the design process, increasing my creativity.  The surprising thing is that I'm not bored.  (Typically before I finish constructing a piece my mind has designed at least four others.)  Maybe I'm still engaged because there's lots of individuality in each line piece.  Having said that, I am also working on a line of boho bracelets (which I Adore) and a line of Marsala colored jewelry.  At the same time as this challenge, cuz I'm dumb that way.

Here are the two necklaces I've completed.  I hope to finish one bottom of the pyramid piece.  Would love to complete the one with dangles hanging from the key (photographed above), too.  Its going to be painful to sell these pieces, because they've been part of this terrific experience. Thank you, B'Sue!

Thanks for hanging out and reading.  Don't forget to check out the other participants in the challenge.  Everyone has worked really hard (and not every post is this long.)  There is so much talent in this group!  Its SO worth your time!

Brenda Sue LansdowneB'sue Boutiques
Marcia Tuzzolino
Aurora Designs
Jann Tague
Clever Designs by Jann
Judy King
Apt to Wander Studio
Linzi Alford
Magpie in the Sky, Spoil Heap Tales
Cynthia Wainscott
Exotic Peru
Carole Carlson
Lynn Stinten
Marica Zammit
Bead Lovelies
Catherine Shattuck
Michaele Collie
The Vintage Gem
Mary Craig
Jewelry Alchemy
Lee Koopman
Strega Jewelry
Erin Whitacre
Shattered Time Jewelry
Monica Casady
MJCasady Copper Works
Leila West
Leila Nicole Designs
Cindy Peterson
Howling Dog Jewelry
Leila Belcher
Leila Bee Designs
Gloria Allen
Wings and Beads
Pamela Anger
Novegatti Designs
Tammy Adams
Paisley Lizard
Lynda O'Mara
LOmara Creative
Elizabeth Hildreth
Dana Hickey
Wind Dancer Studios
Janet Calardo
Jan Lea Designs
Maria Clark
Sweet Willow Designs
Lori Beekman
B. Accessorized
Jennifer Kroeger
Relic Charm
Amy Jorgensen
Hoarder's Corner
Robin Reed
Artistry: Handcrafted Bead Designs
Ingrid Anderson
Lilis Gems
Louise O'Shields
Desire Divine Jewels
Susan Killam
Killam Creative
Mary Katherine Deis
The Rose Sword: Artisan and Vintage Collectible Jewelry
Nike Bottalico
Nike Bottalico
Susan Bowerman
Woodside Wireworks
Kristy Le
Kristy Le Trendy Jewelry Designs
Jan Peters
Stylized Vintage
Gina Hockett
Freestyle Elements
Linda Anderson
From the Bead Board
Alexandra Sefton
Imaginary Jewelry and Altered Art
Melida Boman
The Journey of Pens and Things
Teresa Shurter
TreeZ's Treasurs
Melissa Latimer
Smithed Up
Renee Hong
Fine and Dandy Jewelry and Art
Nadine Edris
Moondance Jewelry
Lori Meyer
Parisienne Girl
Jennifer Merrill Williams
Artists of All Stripes
Denise Lussier Poirier
Jewelry by Denise
Renee Allen
Small Stuff Design
Autumn Adams
Autumn Dawns
Elizabeth Owens
1996 Shabby Lane
Kat BarronMiller
Midnight Kat Productions Art Jewelry
Sandra Ballard
Mama San's Mojo
Coral Law