Monday, April 28, 2008

Mini Portraits

Lots of people have heard of cloisonne; this technique is a related one called champleve.   The difference is that the walls of each color section are formed differently.  In cloisonne the walls are built up or added in, for champleve I create the walls by etching into a solid piece of metal until each section is the proper depth.

I mix my own colors and add them in drop by drop using a toothpick, adding patina to create age and depth.  I love the vibrancy of the colors and especially the sense that I'm wearing a miniature portrait.



Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Blood, sweat, and happy tears!

The letter opener is finally done, and here are the results.  The picture doesn't capture the detail the way I'd like, but you can still see quite a lot.  I ended up adding in a sterling back plate for strength and stability, and then oxidized it to
 create a dramatic back drop.  I love how it turned out!!

I have just had a wonderful week since I last posted!  Good news seems to come in bunches, and despite getting another rejection letter, I was pleasantly surprised to get an acceptance letter to a holiday show in Pittsburgh.  On the heels of that I've been invited to show at an exhibition near Toledo that runs next month.  It's small, but nice. :)  ...And a trunk show I had this weekend did terrific and added to my list of folks who want show updates to see new pieces.  

It's been good to be this busy with orders and creating new work - I'm going to really have to step it up so that I have enough to display at my next art show (and then the gallery meeting).  That's why it's been so long since my last post.  I've been working full speed ahead and balancing my home life; going to bed exhausted only to start again in the morning.  But I'm so happy!

During my long hours this last week I also managed to run the drill through my finger not once, but twice.  The second time it happened, the thin bit broke off and stuck out near the nail - hope you're not squeamish!  I've never done anything quite like this before.  I think it's important to expand horizons and try new things (snicker, snicker!).  No stitches, thank goodness, but I'm wondering should I charge a little extra for the actual shedding of blood during the creative process?


Monday, April 14, 2008

There is no whine before it's time!

So glad I whined the other day!  I'm glad it's out of my system, although I don't want to diminish the real concerns about the difficulty I'm having getting into higher end shows.  Of course, it's easier to say this after what happened the very day after I posted...

Almost a year ago I visited an upscale and trendy-ish gallery in a fairly large city.  Impressed by the flood of sales they were having (on a Monday or Tuesday nowhere near a holiday), I asked to speak to the person in charge of purchasing to see if they would be interested in carrying my work.  After speaking with her over the next several months I was able to send in a portfolio sampling.  I tell ya, the waiting was like pins and needles up and down my legs!!!  I waited as long as I felt I possibly could in polite society, called to see what they thought, and then found they hadn't viewed anything yet.  (oh gosh. must not have made much of an impression?)  

A week after that I got the most beautiful call in the world.  I screamed!  I laughed!  I was near giddy hysterics!!  An appointment with both gallery owners along with the instructions to bring either pieces for immediate purchase or samples with order sheets.  What a change from the other day (I guess I should crab more often if this is what happens)!

As for getting into the shows, it dawned on me while I was working in my studio - totally out of the blue -  that it wasn't my work that was the problem.  I never took pics of my booth display last year, so I hastily set up inside my house for a quick photo.  Probably the worst choice I've made yet.  The light was yellowed, the background not professional enough, and it was slightly out of focus.  It didn't seem to be a big deal in the moment, but it's proven fatal for my applications.  I'm just glad I finally figured out what was going wrong.  I won't make the mistake a second time, so I'll use the time off this year to prepare for all guns blasting in 2009 - watch for me!

Oh yeah!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Good and bad...

This year I've committed to submitting to better shows, more calls for artists, and contests.  As an emerging artist I still haven't settled on a single look; I'd rather explore different techniques and materials.  That doesn't always work well when applying to the higher level fine art/craft shows.  I've heard they prefer a strong, cohesive body which may not come through in my photos.  For me that's translated into waitlists and rejections that I was not prepared for.  Yes, the jewelry category spot is one of the most fiercely fought for, but that doesn't make me feel any less sore!  My work is well-liked locally, and I've done great at the shows I've attended in the past.  It gives pause for me to reflect...

On a happier note, one of the boutiques I wholesale with just purchased a huge order yesterday.  I feel a bit redeemed!  They've consistently sold my work with a steady increase in sales - they've more than doubled since this time last year, even in the light of the current economy.  So how does it work?  I do well in retail but struggle to get past jurors and into the better shows.  Is it I'm out of step with the cutting edge trends or need a more cohesive look? Is it just not my year for shows, or will there be acceptance letters for the remainder still out there?