Wednesday, April 29, 2009

March Project and Personality Check

Well, I've been a busy little girl lately. I did my Bead Oasis booth. Then I got sick. Then I was out and about with my sister who was on vacation: lots of mall crawls. Then I got sick. I got a doctor's appointment to check out my badly swollen thumb ~ I am in the midst of an arthritis flare up. Then I got sick and missed the lecture downtown to help starving artists with the business end of art. And that more or less brings us to today.

I want you to read what Jean Campbell, yes, the Jean Campbell who co-authored The Beader's Companion, says about our personality and our beads. She offers ideas for our next pieces that should stretch our minds. I got the inspiration for an artisan jewellery commission I have thanks to this article.

Oh, yeah, I've discovered something new about myself: it seems I hibernate over winter. I'll have to work on my dark and quiet months to get my beaded pieces completed. And, I'd like to announce that I've finished my March challenge.

A bride to be married in July will be pulling together the odds and ends associated with her wedding. She has the hall, and the church. She has her dress and lined up the groom's wardrobe. She has done the same for all the wedding party. She has her flowers and the caterers and the makeup/hair and the cake taken care of. And she has ridden shotgun as the 2 mothers vie for dominance over the bridal pair.

This should be a happy time for the bride, but .... Everything has become a job with an incredibly tight time constraint. At least, that's the way it feels. But wait, there remains the gifts for her attendants.

How do I fit in? Aside from 'being there, done that, got the divorce to prove it.' Well, 5 or so years ago ~ how time flies ~ I swapped bead stringing lessons for a consultation from a dietitian. She had special family heirloom beads and strung the necklace and matching earrings for her daughter to wear at a wedding.

Now her daughter, Sarah, has sought me out to make the jewellery for her 9 attendants and herself. Lots of 3strand stuff.

You have to know, too, that Jessie has returned with another well loved necklace she wants to wear at her daughter's wedding. It needs tweaking and a new clasp. Did I mention? Jessie breaks into a rash with all metals save the most expensive. And that means the clasp will have to be beaded. Exactly the same as the clasps of the bridal jewellery. Only different.

And that is my April challenge. Not so much the stringing of a single strand of pearls, but the variety of clasp beads and their associated loops. These buttons are an exotic version of a toggle clasp and without the metal. And these buttons, if made in lots of designs and sizes, can be made into earrings, pendants for a necklace or a bracelet. Even button covers and shoe buckles; you know, the fancy kind of buckles.

So, where are the pix to show you my wonderful March challenge? The bride hasn't seen the jewellery yet so these pix are still on hold. There's no way I want to steal her thunder by letting the wearable art we designed together slip to the outside world without her go ahead. I haven't shown these pieces of artisan jewellery to her mother, even.

And for May? May is going to be a busy month for me. And an expensive one, too. I'm still all a-pearl and beaded beads ~ they fascinate me ~ and 2-hole buttons and my expanded stash.

That happened at the Bead Oasis show. I met Meagan who was de-stashing and who gave me an incredible deal for some of her beads. They still sit in plastic bags but I'll be transferring them to spice jars soon. Imagine the king in his counting house or the dragon protecting her accumulated treasures and that image will fit me right down to the ground.

For now, though, I've gotta run. I'm writing projects for some kits I'm developing.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Notes to Self - April 6 2009 ~ Weekend Goings On

What did you do this past weekend? Did you enjoy doing it? Did it have anything to do with the making of artisan jewellery? Would you rather have my life? Huh??

My sister and I wandered the aisles of Toronto's Spring One of a Kind (OOAK) Show on Sunday. Our wanderings took us 4.5 hours to complete but it was worth it this year. There were some new artisans and different arts/crafts being shown. Some of our favourites, like Roothams, weren't there but this year the Eastern Ontario CFDC (Community Futures Development Corp) rented a huge bit of real estate right in the middle of the show and sponsored artisans from Eastern Ontario. For me as a wanderer, it was a great success. I met artisans who otherwise would be unable to show with OOAK. I had many a chat (that's why it took so long) and got some leads for my business. For example, Alfie Fishgap, and his boothmate Todd Jamieson, told me of a show at Fairy Lake in June.
I found some not so new stuff being used and in wonderful colours, too. Like the crochet wire rings and the crochet wire bracelets. My sister is my model/sales rep and she stepped up in many a booth to point out the artisan jewellery she and I were wearing that I made. Doing that in my friend Alfie Galda's booth (AB Originals) ~ she knits sweaters that are to die for ~ made me a new friend, Gwen. She's an enthusiastic fan of Alfie's and wears a lot of sweaters Alfie has knitted and I'm hoping she will like my artisan jewellery enough to be as enthusiastic about my work.
I found something really annoying. Well, I found 2 things really annoying.
  1. Other jewellers not wanting to talk just as soon as they find out I, too, make artisan jewellery. These jewellers are different in style to me and I present no competition to them. They don't know that because they gave me the stock answer to 'Where did you get this or that part of the jewellery.'
  2. I have picked up several really helpful lists and recipes but the person who gave them to me didn't put on their website or some other contact information. I have no idea who gave me the recipe for cleaning copper. And it isn't Twinkle. BRAND BRAND BRAND~~Put your CONTACT INFO on everything you do: it may bring you business after the show.

There was a booth with items from Uqqurmiut Centre for Arts & Crafts, Pangnirtung, Nunavut. Beautiful things from the First Nations of our True North, Strong and Free. The 2 people in the booth when we visited were wearing their snow goggles. They look almost like goggles you wear in the tanning salon or on swimmers except there is a narrow slit from 1 side to the other to peer through: they keep out the glare of the sun bouncing off the snow.

As I said, some of our favourites were there with newly designed booths, some were there and their booths were wholly recognizeable. One such was Asem Nada, my glass man. His business is La Glasserie. His work with a torch and a cane of glass is marvellous: I have many of his pieces in my home and he covers Easter and Christmas, too. Well, my exciting news about Asem is that he made a leaf pendant for me and brought it to OOAK to show me. I think it's beautiful and I've ordered 20 of them. I can pick them up at Milton in May. Now you have to wait to see them. It's true, they are worth the wait, as all of Asem's glasswork is imaginative and beautiful.

We had a busy day and a wonderful day. And both of us were exhausted when we got home and both of us ended up in bed before our bedtime.

PS: I receive no money or other consideration from the businesses I mentioned in this blog, nor from any other business, unless stated in the blog.