Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Even Newer Felt Flowers

I got the courage up to try wet felting some flowers! I love the result. I decided to use semi-precious gems and silver headpins in the centers to make them a tad more elegant. I like the dichotomy between the soft and friendly wool and the shiny gems and silver.

We had gone to a show at the Paradise Rock Club; Sparklehorse with Jesse Sykes. The music was beautiful and creative, I found myself picturing the whole process of making the flowers while I listened. I had about five other ideas too, I'll let you know if I follow through on those :)

Monday, February 26, 2007

New Felt Flowers

I received new merino wool from Village Spin and Weave. Their website is a nightmare to buy from, but the product is so lovely, I remain a customer.

I also went on a button binge, I'm suddenly smitten with vintage buttons. I have gotten used to falling in love with items that previously held no interest for me, so I'm not completely surprised. I still remember boldly stating "I will never be interested in beads." What?? Anyway, I'm excited to be adding these very cool vintage buttons to my needle felted flower pins.

I also started learning to wet felt, which is a whole other craft from how I make the flowers. These earrings are assembled with little wool egg beads I made by using the wet felting technique and light blue pearls.

Friday, February 23, 2007

PCAGOE Challenge

Another group I am involved with is the Polymer Clay Artist Guild of Etsy. We are all working in the same medium, yet our styles vary wildly. Seeing everyone's work highlights the range of possibilites in polymer clay - it's quite remarkable. Visit the PCAGOE blog at the link on the right hand side of this page, or look at our Flickr group of photos here

The first thing we did was donate pendants for charity.

Then some members created letters to spell out our guild name.

The latest activity is a creative challenge that folks will vote on. One of the voters will win a prize and the challenge winner will too. The theme for the first challenge is "Romance" in keeping with February's holiday. Here is my entry which is titled "Spring Romance Cha Cha Bracelet". It incorporates 32 handmade polymer clay beads, lime-colored freshwater pearls, ruby-colored crystal rondelles, and tiny lime green crystals, all handwrapped with sterling silver.

Even though I've been making bracelets like this one for awhile, it was hard to come up with the idea. I had a few pieces I tried that didn't work out, but I am really pleased with the final product! I'll let you know what happens and where to go to view the other entries.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Etsy Traveling Journal

I've signed up to be part of something very cool. The Etsy Traveling Journal Project. Here's the blog

We each get a two page spread to create whatever we like and then pass it on to the next person. I have no idea what I'll be doing, but I hope when I get the book (in a few months) I will be inspired by the previous artists, also they said they'd put a list of ideas in there.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Studio Space

So I'm currently waiting on a studio space to become available in a renovated mill a mile and a half from my apartment (which is in a renovated shoe factory circa 1909). I've been on a waiting list since October. These neat people took over a building in a cruddy part of town and converted it into artists' studios starting on floor five and working their way down to the third floor. From what I understand, they are doing it at very little gain for themselves and they don't charge much rent. It was a huge hit and filled in right away, long before I understood I HAD to have a space there.

I realized, after MUCH research into the matter, that though I had dreamed and schemed for years, opening a storefront in downtown Lowell was a bad idea right now. We moved here in 2000 when there was a lot of optimism about the kind of city Lowell was about to become. It's had a "lot of potential" for going on 7 years now, and a lot of the steps forward have now slid backward. Shops are closing and the spaces are remaining empty. The city is crowing about the dozens of high-end lofts being developed down here, but there just isn't enough foot traffic to keep small retail afloat. Very sad.

So a studio became the clear answer to my need to start this business of making and selling what I make. They have open studio days once a month, more at holidays, and I can get all my art supplies out of our tiny living space. I can have an address to meet clients and a place to go every day where I can run my business and be surrounded by a group of like-minded artistic folk.

I decided that my business would have three elements:
1) An online presence; my shop at Etsy, this blog, perhaps a third main webpage
2) Traveling to participate in craft shows
3) The Studio.

So far I have really enjoyed setting up the Etsy part of this plan, and I have so much more I want to add to the shop. But I'm eager to start the studio portion of the business now! I'll let you know what happens.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Delightful Interaction

I recently completed a wonderful special order for a bride. She saw these
in my Etsy store and wanted six pairs for her bridesmaids! Isn't that lovely? She has a very thoughtful bridesmaid that contacted me about the custom order and when I said "Sure!" she further wondered could I make matching bracelets? "You bet!"

Since they were local, I was able to meet the bride and her bridesmaid for lunch so I could show them the jewelry in person. What a fun time we had swapping stories (such as how we met our other halves) and just visiting with nice people.

When D and I met, he was working as a wedding videographer and I was making custom wedding invitations for Jansson. And don't forget his love for, and my subsequent conversion to loving The Wedding Present (brilliant kachangy Brit Pop band). It was inevitable that we would wed, non? I still love all things wedding and am looking forward to completing the custom designed invitation I am creating for my amazing nephew and his equally amazing fiancee.

Here's what our wedding invite looked like back in 2002, I based it on a personal ad because we met through Yahoo personals. The grayed out ads on top and bottom refer to our parents, both sets of which have been married over fifty years.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

My Etsy shop is open

I am up and running on Etsy. I have over 60 items listed, but there are so many more I will be putting on, and when I have a studio space, so many more types of items I will be making. I have all the Print Gocco tools to get silk-screening right away. Right now I am selling earrings, felted flowers, polymer clay eggs, and mom's watercolors made into cards.

We have over 70 of her designs ready for cards, but since I got the new printer, I have to reconfigure each image so it's taking a while to get them listed.

The studio is what's obsessing me now, I have a fantasy where all my art supplies are up on shelves in clearly marked containers, all in the same room which is not my living room. Even when I get into a studio, it will be a month before I am up and running with all the set-up that will be necessary. But I'm looking forward to every minute.

Meanwhile, enjoy the lull, right?