Friday 28 October 2011

Another missed deadline and a nice surprise...

Between ongoing show preparation and entertaining guests I haven't been able to make anything for this months Art Bead Scene challenge, which is a shame because I bought some lovely ceramic beads and had in mind to combine them with some bronze clay charms to make a bracelet. Alas - not to be this month.

But when I had a quick catch up with online happenings over coffee this morning, I was delighted to see this lovely creation from virtual beady pal Cilla Watkins pop-up:

Not only is it  lovely interpretation of the inspiration piece but Cilla has also used one of my bronze clay charms to great effect. I love it and I don't feel so bad about not getting anything in myself now. I really like the autumnal feel of this painting so once I have a bit more time I might make mine anyway.

You can find out more about Cilla's design process on her blog.

Have a great weekend all.


Thursday 20 October 2011

Never too busy for bead shopping...

Well it's all systems go here with show preparations although, I don't seem to have finished much head is full of ideas, I just need to bring them to fruition! I'm just about to start on a huge bronze clay session. The majority of exhibitors at my first show seem to work mainly in silver and precious metal so I decided to go for something completely different in the hopes of standing out a bit. Of course I'll be taking some bead work with me too. On a positive note, I've been lent some professional jewellery display equipment which is a really a big help and I'll be able to concentrate more on stock without that at the back of my mind.

It doesn't matter how busy things get though, it never seems to stop me finding time for little retail bead therapy. You have to just sit down with a cup of tea or coffee now and then and of course, that  means the laptop comes out - we girls do like to multi-task. Anyway, I know how you all like a bit of vicarious shopping so here are a few of my recent bead acquisitions...

A stunning lampwork set from Kaz Baildon in really rich tones and fun designs . This is a big set so I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it yet but watch this space...

I have a lot of quite elaborate beads in my stash and sometimes I get the need for something plain and simple as a foil. I love these jewel bright etched lampwork beads by Sue Doran and the colours are perfect for autumn.

How cute is this set by Josephine Wadman? It has more of a summery feel to it but it was on sale and a bargain so how's a girl to resist? These will probably go in the stash until next year.

And finally I've made some additions to my ceramic bead stash too...

These beauties were made by Caroline Dewison at Blueberri Beads and I've been coveting that moth focal for a while now. I've missed the last couple of Art Bead Scene monthly challenges and despite everything that's going on, I'm hoping to get something made for the current challenge using some of these beads. Sometimes a change is as good as a rest as they say...

Well I hope that's whetted your appetite a little...? That's me for today but I'll be back with a progress report soon.


Friday 14 October 2011

Pink with a purpose - October is Breast Cancer awareness month

I know I've mentioned more than once that I'm not a big fan of pink but there are times when you have to make an exception and this is one of them. 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and the 'Etsy UK and Norther Ireland Sellers Support Team' are creating treasuries dedicated to the cause to help spread the word. This is a snapshot of my treasury and if you would like to show your support, please click the link and leave a comment or add the treasury to your Etsy favourites.

Thanks for your support.


Monday 10 October 2011

No time to stop and stare...

Well it seems that summer is well and truly over now... the weather is cooler, the nights are drawing in and life suddenly seems to have got a whole lot more hectic! Lazy hazy days have turned into busy, whizzy days (sorry - no lyricist me!) and I seem to be fully occupied from dawn to dusk with as yet, little to show for it, but hopefully the fruits of my labours will become apparent soon.

I have two shows coming up in November and December - the first I've ever done so naturally I'm quite nervous. I've done some promotional work in the course of my working life but putting yourself in front of people to sell something you've personally put your heart and soul into is a whole different thing and quite scary, so I need to be mentally prepared. Then there's all the administration and hoops you need to jump through just to get there on the day. Last week I spend best part of two days just trying to research and organise payment processes (following the sad demise of cheque guarantee cards) most of which turned out to be futile. The first lesson in stress management - take a deep breathe and stand back - there's always another option.

Then of course there is stock to consider. The two fairs I'm doing are somewhat different - the first is a Contemporary Jewellery Fair with everything from high-end Goldsmiths down to, well me really, and the second is a general craft fair. So the merchandise will be a little different for each but fortunately there is a long enough gap between the two for me to worry about the second one later - and worry I will!

Oh and let's not forget my table display and I have to admit, this is probably what troubles me most right now as I have no idea how I'm going to do it! Now, I know myself well enough to know that if I let things brew in my head I can get them out of all proportion so I've reached back to my working career and put together a little project plan for these events to cover the next four weeks. That means I don't have to worry about the display because it's not yet looming as a milestone and I can concentrate on designing and making. Well, that's the theory anyway - I did find myself having a little scout round the Internet for display ideas last night...

Another thing that's been creating a lot of work for me of late is my Etsy shop. It's always quite hard work keeping on top of this and the activity required to market it but it really is full on right now. The shop's been up and running for about 7 months now which means a lot of the items that have been there from the first few months need re-listing. Whilst doing this I've been amazed at just how much I've changed and developed during that time. My product photography for instance has improved no end but this does mean that I now have to re-shoot all the early items and I do find it quite laborious. But it's so key to the success of the shop it has to be done.

Next, factor in the changes Etsy has made to the whole selling process, changing their search criteria from 'recency' to 'relevancy' and there's more work to do. This means that when buyers search they no longer see the items that have been most recently listed but those most relevant to their search terms. Sounds logical doesn't it... and it's how most platforms like Google already work but, it's created no end of debate and discussion amongst sellers who've had to rework all their product information and have seen their sales affected.

I decided that I wasn't going to kill myself trying to change everything at once so I concentrated on optimising my new and expiring listings and have gradually been working through the rest of the shop. It has been a lot of work and I still haven't finished but I'm getting there...slow and steady as they say.

And now, as well as show stock I need to be making new stock to keep the shop fresh especially with the holiday season looming and along with that comes all the marketing... Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, the ever growing plethora of social media sites and the bit I really enjoy - the blogging. Actually I've not got around to tweeting anything yet but it's on the to do list, the long, long to do list...

So, now add to that a concerted effort to make sure I keep up with the non-work elements of life with family and friends and it's a busy few weeks ahead for me but to be honest, I love it. No time to get bored and I work better under a certain amount of pressure... please keep your fingers crossed that it all works out for me!

What's on the horizon for you - are you going at full pelt too? If anyone has any tips for shows please feel free to share - all help gratefully received here!


Thursday 6 October 2011

Coming soon to a beach near you...

Well maybe, if you're dutch...

I just had to share this video of some amazing and strangely beautiful Kinetic Sculpture - take a look it's well worth it...

Pretty neat huh? I'd love to see one those wandering across my local beach!


Saturday 1 October 2011