Those new beads I mentioned last time? They’re all done! ….. well, nearly… As ever, I’ve used lots of lovely crackle glazes. Although, they’re only really lovely when the damn things do what they’re meant to do and actually crackle. It’s never guaranteed, especially with some of these glazes, so to improve the chances of a nice net of crackle you really need to leave them some time for the crazing to develop, post-firing, before adding stain. It’s annoying, but in some ways welcome, this time at least, as it means I get to postpone the misery of photographing and listing everything! Instead, I’ve listed some new pieces of jewellery which I’ve been making when I felt the need to have a break from the mud. All the pieces in this post are now available on Etsy.
I realised the other day that it’s been nearly a year since I had my – how do you say? – ‘reassessment’ of what I’m doing making this jewellery stuff. Around the same time I had to stop doing the big, monthly artisan market in my town, as I no longer had the help I needed to do it. It seemed a shame at the time, although part of me was very glad that I had a way out of those early, often cold and wet, Sunday mornings, and the attendant stress and anxiety that built up in the preceding days.
Over time I’ve come to find other advantages to this change. Not only did all my preparation for the market take up an unwarranted amount of time, given the money I was making at the event, but it was having a perhaps not altogether positive effect on what I was making and how I viewed what I did. Too often, I ended up focusing on making things because I thought they would sell at this particular market. I’d be governed by thoughts like: ‘that’s going to be too expensive for the typical market customer’; ‘I need to make things that will have a wide appeal’; ‘I need to make some bracelets – or whatever – in this price range, so I can only use x type of materials’.
All this, along with what I found to be the nature of selling at a market, had me feeling that what I was doing was really just making accessories that would hopefully appeal to a good number of market punters.
As I’ve said before, I never feel comfortable describing my work as ‘art’. But, once I stopped doing the market I was able to focus on making things with which I had a greater connection. I could pursue and develop an aesthetic that really appealed to me, one I felt a deeper connection to, rather than worrying about whether it would appeal to Sunday market shoppers in a Somerset town. Fortunately, I’ve subsequently picked up more online customers who also like this more niche style.
That said, I have had some pricing anxiety recently! I’ve been forcing myself to pull out and use some of the precious artisan beads that I’ve long been hoarding, and telling myself not to be restricted by worrying about the cost of the end product. Just put the things that work together together. Then, of course, once I price it up, I think, ‘oh dear….’.
There are a couple of pairs of asymmetrical earrings in this latest batch. I’m truly sold on asymmetrical earrings. Really, personally, I can’t see why you wouldn’t want to wear them. (I mean asymmetrical earrings generally, not specifically mine!) And yet, of course, lots of people don’t get on with them. But, I’m still compelled to make them, even if they’re not for some (or even many!).
These last two mismatched pairs are amongst my favourites from this latest batch. So are these:
Moving on, I’d really appreciate some thoughts on my necklace predicament. Chances are, if you have read this blog much in the past, you’ll have heard me whinging about the business of photographing necklaces. I’ve developed some tricks lately that work with some designs, but sometimes it’s just impossible to get an acceptable shot that features the whole piece. Some time late last year (I think!) my frustration reached a new height and in my fury I splashed out on a dressmakers dummy. It’s a pretty tattered affair although a bit of spot-healing when editing pics hides the worst of it.
Now on my listings I can include some good and useful pictures of how the necklace looks when worn, and I’m not forced to include pictures of pieces contorted into odd, confusing positions just to show the full item. And yet, I never use them on the first picture as they’ll disrupt the uniform white ground in all my shop photos. Also, I find it can be harder to see details on these pictures with the dummy. Instead, as a first pic, for the necklace above, I have:
Yes, well, now I’ve typed all that, I see it’s a fascinating read, but if you do have an opinion, please comment. I know the comments thing on this blog is a nightmare but if you include the words ‘necklace photos’ in your comment I can search it out from wherever WordPress has hidden it. Right, enough of that!
I mentioned last time about my silversmithing. Well, with my latest batch of beads I also made myself a porcelain ring stand to use for photos, so when I have a few more pieces done I guess I’ll get round to sharing some pictures here. I also need to tell you all about my natty new(-ish) metal-working station which I’ve set up in my airing cupboard!
Now I’ve got these beads made – and when I get them listed – I’m looking forward to getting back in there and working on some new pieces.
I’m still struggling with feeling torn between the ceramics, the metalwork, and my regular jewellery. On a number of occasions recently I’ve felt I’m not at the top of my game with any of these things because I’m having to move from one thing to another. When I finally feel I’m really motoring with something it’s usually time to turn to another pursuit for fear of neglecting that…
Aaaaanyway, I think that’s all my chunter for this post. I’ll be back soon with that beady preview! Bye for now!