Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mother's Day Gift Ideas Part 2

I love Laurel Denise Jewelry. Tiny, romantic, handwritten notes of fancy on little pieces of glass, silver and now leather. How does she manage to write so small and perfectly?? It all came in a dream she says and this remarkably delicate collection began. Check out her mother tag, just in time for Mother's Day. She'll even do custom pieces for you should you have your own sweet sentiments to bestow upon your beloved.

Spring Fever

I've come down with a fever that has a serious side effect of procrastination. As the temperature rises outside, I feel flush from looking out of the window at the bright sunshine and newly leaved trees. It's made me ache to go outside and walk away from this pile of work on my desk. Get on my bike and feel that fresh warm air wash over me with Lady Gaga blasting in my helmet. What's the cure? Pull the blinds and move the studio to the windowless garage?

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in working inside and getting the work done that before you know it, there goes another gorgeous day without stepping out the front door. BUT I have to get this stuff done! And that's where one of my worse symptoms come into play, procrastination. I don't want to do anything. And that's a bad symptom that shouldn't be left to flare up into a full blown take down. When the fever hits, allow it to take it's course. Maybe take a half hour walk outside and enjoy the goodness of the day. Can you take some work and create out on the patio set? Heck! If you have a patio set, go have your lunch outside. I so often forget I have a backyard!

My cure all is to organize. I need my stuff put away and put out of sight. Today I actually organized bags of stones into those clear shoe boxes you get at The Container Store. Take all those stones out of the baggies and pile them in the boxes and on to the shelves. I have an area in my basement dedicated to all the shipping and jewelry supply storage. All neat and put away. It didn't take long to get that in order then came up for lunch, which I had outside on the patio set today. The cloudless sunny day cleared up my fever and refreshed, I was back to work in the studio for the afternoon.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Check out the sweet offerings of Jill Italiano at I love these for Mom, floral pendants done in semi precious stones in 14KT GF. They come in two sizes and then there's matching earrings! How could you resist? And what Mom doesn't love flowers on Mother's Day? Except these will be forever by her heart.....

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Curvy Girl Jewelry Needs Your Feedback

I think this is a great niche in the jewelry world. Mara Nesbitt's story of how she got started by embracing herself, getting involved in the size-acceptance movement, helping others in massage therapy, developing yoga and adapting poses for large people classes. Then she developed jewelry for like minded souls at Curvy Girl Jewelry at Etsy. Bravo, Ms Nesbitt! And if you go to this link, she has a survey and needs feedback to expand her endeavors in helping to reach the masses. You'll also have a chance to win a pair of free earrings!

Curvy Girl Jewelry Needs Your Feedback

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Letting Go Part 2

How about letting go of clutter? Do you have a lot of half finished pieces and components lying about in the studio taking up space while you’re working on a last minute order that just got phoned in? Here’s a nifty idea: Find little storage baskets that nestle into each other. These I got at Walmart. They are made by Mainstay. They come in 4 x 6 (3 pack) and 6 x 9 sizes (2 pack) for a dollar! Then, to keep the precious cargo from sliding all over the place, I got a package of one of those non-slip rug pads. The thin ones, NOT the ones that are thick with the really big holes in them. They come in all sizes, so depending on how many baskets you need, buy accordingly.
  • Use the bottom of basket to trace and cut out a little non-slip pad for the bottom of the basket so your components stay put.
  • Do many pads because you can layer the pads in each basket with each layer holding the piece you’re working on.
  • For example, I have to assemble 8 pieces of style #123. I get my basket, lay a pad, then put the components (beads, stones, clasps, name tag, ect) for one piece of style #123.
  • Before I layer another pad over that, take a scrap piece of paper and write style #123, what order it’s pertaining to (the store’s name), and write “1 piece of 8”.
  • Then layer another pad on top of that, adding that piece of scrap with the info on top of each piece/layer.
Depending on how big the pieces are, layer as much as you need and start another basket. It will end with all your pieces, the top layer having the paper stating style #123, “8 pieces of 8” and the store info. Then these baskets just pile on top of each other and put a copy of your store invoice /order sheet on top of that so that you know that those pile of baskets are filled with all the components of all the jewelry that is needed for store abc. They take up little space and when you need, grab baskets and work on it, peeling layer by layer.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Letting Go Part 1

Jewelry designers are a fierce bunch. Passionate, articulate, intense, talented beyond. I am amazed at the glittering, sparkly fantasies they create. And every single one of them comes up with the most amazing ideas and go for it. And if they’re lucky, they get to sell their jewelry for a living. But a lot of jewelry designers are still working full time and working under the Ott light in their studios till the wee hours because they just have to get this idea out, this idea that’s been in their head since lunchtime, since yesterday, since last week. The idea is born: a necklace, a bracelet, a pair of earrings.

They go and start selling their masterpieces. First at the local craft fairs, street fairs and festivals. They get interest, they get buzz, a blurb in Lucky magazine! They get into the New York Gift Fair! Whew! How will they ever keep up the pace??

At some point, you need to find some help. Find someone who knows where you’re coming from and can meet your needs. It’s very hard to let go. You don’t want anyone stealing your ideas, You don’t want anyone pilfering your designs. You don’t know if anyone could possibly be as good as you in making your creations. You have to find someone you can trust. Someone you can spill your secrets to and they’ll be able to run with it and make your jewelry design business shine under your direction. You are the boss, you are the one who dictates what you want and how you want to execute your work, your aesthetics, your vision. When you find that trusted team and delegate the production, you will just open up to new ideas, new designs, new growth. But how do you find someone you can trust?

Jewelry assembly is a tricky subject. Will my necklaces, bracelets, earrings not be mine if someone else is handcrafting them just like I would? Is it still mine, if not made by my own hand?

Let’s take an example of what hand made, HANDcrafted means in the word, haute couture. It is a protected name in France and what is decided by the Chambre syndicale de la haute couture, is that a dress is made from high quality, expensive fabric and sewn in extreme attention to detail by HAND by the most experienced and capable seamstresses. They use time consuming, exacting techniques that are executed by HAND. THEN the design house must follow these rules:
  • Design made to order for private clients with one or more fittings
  • Have a workshop (atelier) in Paris that employs at least 15 people
  • Produce at least 35 outfits, twice a year for the French press that includes daywear and evening wear.
Does Karl Lagerfeld, Yves St Laurent, Pierre Balmain, Christian Lacroix, Balenciaga, Jean Paul Gaultier, John Galliano, Valentino, et al, hand make 35 dresses twice a year by themselves? No. AND they have AT LEAST 15 people working for THEM. They have the creme de la creme of seamstresses, embroiderers, milliners, pattern cutters all have had their hands on that one dress. Their most trusted team, people that have been with them for years, loyal employees that with the wave of the couturier’s hand, know exactly what he or she wants and away they go to hand sew, hand construct (produce) that collection. With the designer’s name on it.

Find that team for yourself. Find a loyal, trusted team, your own atelier that will work with you and give you the help you need. Start small and build the trust. Please read Letting Go Part 2 and I'll let you know how to let go of studio clutter!