Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tiny shop update

I've been able to upload pictures on this library beastie using my flash drive, so there's a tiny shop update to tide you over:

Dawali - gypsy pink hoops with czech beads in orange and red

Bad Blood- sexy vampire style with a savage elegant edge- and garnet chips!
There's much more to come very soon! I'll be online officially in 2 more days, and my world will be right again. Thank you universe! Hope all my dearies in the US have had a peaceful and joyous thanksgiving, we all have so much to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

uphill battles

My nerves are about shot right now! It used to be libraries were quiet places, but with the overly loud cell phone conversation opposite, the noisy gum chewer next to me and the kids fighting over the playstation unit, things aren't exactly silent as the grave. Which makes it hard to concentrate on things!

I still don't have online access at home due to the phone company and their endlessly charming ways, so it's making running a business almost impossible as I fight to pack in as much as I can on my library internet hours, and I'm surrpised to find there's not much you can do in an hour!

I'll be back online as soon as I can- I've just discovered I can upload images from my portable drive on these library computers so I might be able to list a few new things in the next couple of days- in those spare moments bewteen doing everything else I've managed to unpack enough studio to get some work done. Things are stlill very much in boxes as we battle each day and each new problem- blocked bathroom pipes, broken AC units, completely defunct television reception, still-connected utilities from the last people...

These are times to test us. And baby I'm being tested! I did plant up the veggie garden yesterday though, so that's something.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The mind wanders while the hands are bound

As we wind down the moving house saga (4 days to go!) I am starting to feel the withdrawal of not being able to cross the room, sit down and make something. As small as it was, my space was there, and now it's not, and I feel marooned between two islands.

In the meantime I've been listing my photographic prints on Etsy to keep things afloat (trying hard not to get caught up in the expensive paranoia of constant renewal) and dreaming of what I'll be able to do in a week or two. Flickr feeds my frenzied mind:

1. Maya - copper earrings, 2. pox, 3. very old, 4. IMG_8597, 5. RAD #140 6/15/10 Manly Ring, 6. Keiko's works -- mino shino, 7. Anillo Metal Naïf Drusa, 8. Ethnic to Ethnic Mixed Media Necklace, 9. old chest

Carving, soldering, casting, drilling, hammering, inlay, enamel, painting...such a mess I can make, such a wonderful discovering experimental mess.

These earrings are go go up soon- the centre beads were a commission from DivineConsciousness - who did a fantastic job. I love to commission pieces, but not being able to make things myself means I miss out on the process of accidental discovery, and all creative people from painters to scientists know how important a factor that is!

These wood blocks are driving me crazy- I can't afford to spend any money right now, but just think how they could be used- not just in mark making, but in actually cutting them up for focal pieces.

Arg! The frustration. 4 days to go.

Friday, November 12, 2010

fancy footwork

Our Valiant hero - 5 by 7 print

I've been working like a Trojan these past few days, trying to keep the business afloat and move house- which has been a chore to say the least, as the past tenants were a little lax on the housecleaning front, which means spending valuable hours steam cleaning carpets, washing down heavily marked doors and generally making the place liveable.

Poseidon wakes - 5 by 7 print

I've also started a sort of putting my eggs into more than one basket. I have the Big Cartel shop (a little neglected right now) and the Artfire shop, but this week when I went to de-activate the Etsy shop, I found I couldn't. I realised that not only am I attached to my little Etsy patch, there are things about Etsy as a site that over-ride their problems, things I can't find anywhere else. Not least of all the wonderful shop I've built from scratch, all that feedback and a hug gallery of sold orders so custom clients can get a feel for what I do.

design for a Christmas card- might be too late on these!

Then there's the design. Artfire people are very sensitive about the look of their site, claiming that seller tool development is higher on the schedule than rearranging the furniture. Which I totally agree with, but their tools are already so highly developed I think they could do with spending a few days giving themselves a make-over, especially now as they plan to step up to a huge marketing campaign.

shiny prints yay!

Anyway- back on track. I've not de-activated the Etsy shop. I've reactivated all the listings that I imported into Artfire and updated it with my most recent work, so now all my work is available on both sites. I've still a little tinkering to do so the listings aren't identical (Google doesn't like duplicates) and there's some shipping details to clean up, but apart from that it's all there. My photography work all goes into my Artfire shop, but on Etsy it stays in my little brown sparrow shop, where it will hopefully soon be joined by my original illustrations.

Christmas card design - next year I think.

My main reason for this is simple- more eggs in more baskets. After a month or two I shall collate the data, determine which venue is best and concentrate my efforts on that one. Big Cartel will be streamlined into more of a showcase site, where my best work gets featured. I'm very happy with the design over there but I don't know if I'll keep it forever, I have yet to analyse the data and I know it's suffered this week with me juggling several projects at once.

The Melody Sweet - 5 by 7 print

I guess some people who chide me for being so picky on design, but to me it's vitally important. Not just that I've always been a visual person, but that I sell body decor, which is purely visual in design. There are very wide boundaries in jewelry, and though you are hampered somewhat by form follows function you really can do anything, making it a blank canvas. It's important to me that my shop reflect my unique brand (as much as I'm uncomfortable about that word) and I feel Etsy's pared back simple design allows me the freedom to showcase my intensely textured imagery without looking cluttered or over the top.

Anyway- blah blah blah. I best get on with my day!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

cotton candy

Three sweet treats in the shop today...

Space Princess - soft hand-dyed antique lace and glass nailheads in a pretty pale grey

Vintage Spring - cute little glass beads in pastel gelati colours

Glories of Spring - a sweet cluster of vintage things, one of my attempts to go minimal. I don't often wear big bulky jewelry, lately I've been making simpler things that I would wear. I don't of course- you get all new revamped vintage here!- but most of my big exciting pieces are too big for my sensibilities, and I thought it was strange that I don't wear the sort of thing I make.

And there's a really big one coming tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Nickleby - antique pen nib earrings

Just the one listing today...I'm so tired! Moving house is a drain...I haven't sewn anything for nearly 2 weeks; I get some spare time and I think 'I should pack something'.

2 more weeks. Then I relax.

Monday, November 8, 2010

3 new creatures

Finally after filling my Artfire shop with listing after listing of existing stock (and I'm not done yet!), I was able to list 3 new things last night...

England's Rose - this necklace is so lovely I almost want to keep it; it's going to be a bittersweet moment for me when it sells! The vintage beads used are called 'end of day', after the process by which glassmakers would use up all the little bits and pieces from the day to make things.

Babylon has fallen- A linked collection of various glass beads picked up in my travels.

Red Star - beautiful tribal crescents rescued from the thrift, teamed with red Czech glass and tiny star charms.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

inspiration - ancient beads

Excuse the silence over here, my life is currently composed of three things- packing house, moving house and cleaning house.

While I am occupied thus, why don't we have some pretty pictures- I've not done an inspiration thread for quite some time. (And I'm too tired for a 'real' post.)

Strand of ancient Amazonite excavated in Nigeria, circa 1000 AD.


Ancient Roman earrings.

So ya you can see I'm still on the ancient bead kick. Hopefully if I squeeze some time in somewhere I can do some experimenting with polymer and wood and what-have-you. I love showing you photos of experimenting. And I have things to list in the sleepy....

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

To London-town

London-town postcard set

For every person there is a place where they truly feel they belong- my place is England. Having been there for a total of no more than 8 weeks in my life, I can confidently say that it is where I am meant to be, and one day will be. London is the crown of England's majesty- a place where history is stacked perilously like wooden blocks. Holes in the road show 300 year old cobbles, trees grow softly in parks where mass plague victims sleep, and ancient china shards clink against blitz rubble on the banks of the Thames. I believe London to be less a city and more an ancient, occult creature, one so easily captured in symbol as in snapshot.

Sales, specials and a new shop

In order to make moving as easy as possible (especially as I'm currently moving house as well!) I'm having a clearance sale in the art shop - all the paper collages have been marked down, and as a special treat for my lovely blog readers, I'm offering 3 collages for $20! The only thing you have to do is write 'goodbye etsy' in the notes to seller, then checkout and pay for the three you like -I shall then refund the cost of one and it's shipping.

I also want to announce that in addition to Big Cartel, I will also be selling on Artfire! Big Cartel is a wonderful space, but there are two things missing- the ability to add things to a favourites/wishlist, and the support of a handmade community. Artfire has both!

grey witch- Big Cartel and Artfire

I've only one item in my shop at the moment but whenever I have a few spare minutes here and there I will be adding more. In a month or 2 I shall decide which website is working for me best.

And finally a reminder that there is a clearance sale in my Etsy shop- many items are gone already! There's only one week to go until those poor unsold babies are pulled offline and sent to the make-over wouldn't want that to happen, would you? ;)

Monday, November 1, 2010

in the future we see the past

I've been thinking lately about my work, and the various levels of daily challenge that goes into making it. 'Make it better' is one of the driving forces behind what I do - I'm always looking for more self-involved ways to produce my work, and the more elements I can make individual, the more pleased I am with the results.

Lately I've become interested in stepping up the level of involvement I have in my ingredients. I've always dyed my fabrics to get the look right and I've experimented with hammered metal and rust patinas, but the new house gives me more space in the studio as well as a backyard, which means I can explore more options. I intend to implement things such as solder work, metalsmithing, woodwork, glass bead making (by studying the video below) and ceramics.

I'm approaching these techniques in a very primitive grass-roots way; I figure if the ancient people of the world were able to make gorgeous things without expensive tools or equipment, I should be able to figure it out! (much like Jeremy Clarkson, I live by the mantra 'how hard can it be'.) i don't intend to buy expensive electric kilns, nor do I intend to work with material that is new- most of the impetus for this in the first place is finding new ways to recycle existing resources.

history of beads (click the pic above to enlarge)

I'm not so much interested in the fine delicate work of Egyptian goldsmiths or the perfect inlays of ancient china. What I'm looking for is that rough tribal dimension- the amateur's techniques that must always be echoed in my work. I hope to eventually achieve a point where 99% of my work is self-made components.