Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Handmade Wire Chandelier Earrings

What a horrible day I've had. Somehow while adjusting the shutter settings on my digital camera I accidentally changed something else that I shouldn't have! And all my great shots look like crap. I can't find the manual for my Canon Powershot A550. I just must get more organized.

Anyhow, I've been working on more handmade wire chandelier styles.

I just love these 14k gold fill celtic knots from which dangle gracefully two different cuts of rhodolite garnet.

This simplistic earring is very elegant and I'll create other styles from this template.

Within the artisan jewelry niche I'm seeing a disturbing trend, namely the overuse of elaborate commercially produced chandelier findings to produce over the top gemstone chandeliers that are by definition well outside the budget of the average consumer.

Now the dazzling commercially produced chandeliers laden with gemstones are fab for the hollywood set, but let's get real. I create jewelry for real women to wear -- not only for evening, bridal & formal wear but heck even for everyday use.

I ask you, shouldn't the terms 'artisan' and 'handcrafted' rightly define genuinely handforged items like these? I'd like to see a return to actual craftsmanship in 'artisan handcrafted jewelry'.

I also created the sterling silver chandelier shown to the right by hand. This chandelier is basic yet it has lots of dazzle and we really like the authentic artisan style.

Remember to Buy Handmade and don't forget to take the handmade pledge at http://www.buyhandmade.org/.

Oh, and thanks for supporting an independent artisan!

Hone your craft

Although I used to be a self help junky, I'm not much of a fan of jewelry tutorials. Most of them seem to be a cash grab with very little fresh and new information to put forth. But the other day I purchased my second jewelry tutorial. My first one was authored by the intrepid Eni Oken whose intricate wrapping techniques caught my eye a few years ago.

Anyhow I just purchased on Etsy from deCor's Handmades and found their Pipa chinese love knot earring tutorial to be very easy to follow. I just love the first pair of earrings that I made following this system.

I used sterling silver wire, mystic topaz onion centres surrounded by a ring of burnt orange coloured tundra sapphires and an outside ring of claret toned tundra sapphires. Eventually I will tweak this method to suit my own style. For this first attempt I actually wanted to surround the mystic topaz with a ring of very fine faceted glimmering black diamonds, but I didn't leave quite enough room for them! Oh well, live and learn...

You can purchase this nice tutorial at the decors blog link above or at their etsy store called deCor's Handemades!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Another new etsy store, is it really necessary?

In a word, yes! My sketchbook is crammed with fresh new ideas that will appeal to girls, teens, or simply the young at heart. At our new store called SassyDLite we've already begun to introduce deals on gemstone jewelry wardrobe essentials. Here's how the shop currently looks:

Check back often for more sleek and urban gemstone delights as well as rustic and casual pieces all made with the same attention to detail and quality materials for which Gahooletree, our flagship etsy store is famous.

In an artistic rut lately?

Lately I found myself feeling down about my jewellery business. I wasn't blogging, or uploading pics to flickr or my social shopping sites. My web sites had fallen out of date. In fact, I haven't even been creating much new work. It might sound moody, but like many artists, if I'm not at peace I can't create.

Anyhow I've been stuck in an artistic rut. The problem is that I wanted to develop and display new jewellery designs and styles, but nothing I'm envisioning and desirous of creating will mesh well with my current Etsy storefront (which has become somewhat unthemed, messy and confusing since my personal taste in jewelry is all over the map).

A few days ago I read a great article on Etsy "Shop Makeover Series: Pimp Your Shop for 2008" about growing your online business. One main point on marketing strategy that somehow I had overlooked was that it's very hard to market your shop if it doesn't appeal to a particular target market/niche. Now I'm supposed to be a marketing expert, but this obvious foundational pillar of my overall strategy somehow got laid by the wayside....

Okay, so I've opened a second Etsy storefront targeted at girls, teens or simply the young at heart. Soon SassyDLite will be filled with fun, fresh and flirty jewelry for the sassy woman. The beauty of segmenting my products thus, is that now I now have a venue for incorporating all of the basic beads, rustic stones and contemporary findings that I started collecting a decade ago into more simplistic and casual designs at lower price points. I had amassed a large stash of copper, brass, gunmetal etc. even gold plate and silver plate findings that are not consistent with the Gahooletree theme. SassyDLite, my newest venue, grants us access to the huge teen, twentysomething and thirtysomething grassroots crowd of value conscious shoppers. But the true bonus for me in all this is personal - I'm creating again!!!!

I'm now able to clean up (aka Pimp My Shop) my flagship storefront, Gahooletree, that offers luxe, evening and bridal pieces made of mostly precious and semiprecious gemstones on gold or sterling silver. As inappropriate items expire in this store, I can discount them and move them to SassyDLite, the new venue.

I decided to begin work on developing a third venue in order to move in yet another new themed direction. More on this to follow. So if you're feeling out of sorts about your jewelry business, maybe you haven't lost your artistic touch or motivation. You just might be in need of a new way to express your creativity.