Saturday, May 7, 2011

On open houses.

Twice a year I'm invited to sell my jewelry at an open house (literally, at their house) of a wonderful jewelry-making couple in town. It's been an incredible opportunity and I'm so grateful for the chance to show my jewelry there. I have learned so much from the both of them - about selling, about gem-buying, bench tips and tricks, about the great jewelry world outside of my little etsy bubble. (Etsy, despite its size, is really a little bubble...and one that I feel I'm outgrowing a bit).

This spring's open house came at a bit of an odd time. I took a month or so off from making jewelry, as you know. The stress of a job change and other things going on consumed me, and the last thing I wanted to do was sit at my bench. Gradually, the desire to do these things came back, and I started making again. But I wasn't in "open house" mode, that is making things I know will work well with the crowd. Like earrings. These past few months I haven't much felt like making earrings, so I haven't.

I brought a metric ton of necklaces with me, though! And most of them came back with me, too. But that's ok. Some things found homes and I had a fantastic time. I'm feeling especially renewed and refreshed and excited about jewelry after the last 2 days. I want to take classes and I want to make rings until my fingers bleed and I get it just right and I want to learn more stone settings and improve all of my technical skills and learn a whole book's worth of new ones.

It's a good place to be in.

Because, no matter where this goes, it's something that I really enjoy doing. And I think it's good to be good at the things you enjoy, even if they don't make you rich or even pay your bills. Cholula certainly isn't paying any of my bills (more like creating half of them), but I work really hard to be a better rider and overall equestrian. It's important to me to be knowledgeable and have the ability to teach horses things. It is also important to me to make jewelry.

So! Onto the next phase. I am currently looking into branching galleries. It's a really scary step, especially with having a full time job that is completely separate from my jewelry endeavors. But I think it's really time. I've been frustrated with etsy and my lack of time lately...I can't spend forever on social networking, online marketing, etc. Look at this neglected blog! I've had wonderful reception on etsy, and decent enough sales, but if I ever want to do this as my's not enough. I also think that now is a really good time for me to spend just creating what I want to create. Etsy has limited me, in a way. It's the nature of the beast. I want to allow myself to not be influenced by etsy: what I think will sell, what I absorb from that being my main source of jewelry sales, etc.

At this point, I'm not planning on leaving etsy completely, but I'm not relying on it as I have for the past few years.

And on that rambling note, have some jewelry! These are the last pieces I completed before the show:

Chubby bird necklace:
Is this not the most adorable necklace ever? It sold. I would have been ok if it stuck around for awhile though, because it's SO CUTE! I'll be making another in the near future, I'm pretty sure.

Cocoon Earrings
I had a little fun with heat-treating copper one night, obviously. I LOVE how it turned out on these! Also sold.

A little collage:
A wee sterling collage with a wee wire-wrapped green tourmaline.

Coral Ring:
I really need a better photo of this as I'm cringing at the quality (damn you, broken camera). This one is filled to the brim with TEXTURE.

Dew necklace:
Remember those earrings from the previous post? I thought I'd try and do a set. The earrings sold, this did not. This necklace is a reminder to never buy opal beads ever again, because they break.

Pinwheel necklace with carnelian:
The cost of silver prices has made me open up my eyes to all of the scrap laying around my bench. That little pinwheel charm? That's been hanging out for awhile, and I haven't been sure of how to use it. Obviously this necklace was the answer.

Retro Kitchen necklace:
To match the fab (sold) earrings, of course. I ADORE these serpentine beads!

Sneetch necklace:
This may look familiar, as it was one of those "pick your size" things I tried once upon a time (and didn't give much of a chance to). I opted to make this into a necklace, had to do a really fun and weird bail for it, and am overall really happy with how it turned out. Doesn't hurt that the slice of imperial jasper is dreamy.

Spring Pea necklace:

I got this mystery agate from the local lapidary and I'm super thrilled with how this turned out. It sold too!

On, as a size reference:

Tree Rings necklace:
This cab of chrysocolla is amazing. For a blue that vibrant to exist naturally? Oh my. This was from last year's trip to Tucson and I've been holding onto it for sometime.


That's all for now...hope to be back here before June!