I Followed My Bliss…Now What?

I have chosen Artfire for my primary selling venue.  They have a wonderful administration, the other Artfire artisans are great for support and just everyday relationships, and promotional tools they offer are outstanding.

The latest promotional tool on Artfire is the Artisan Curated Collections. These collections are made of hand-selected item from an artisan and then published in the Collections section on the website.  My pieces have been featured in a few of the collections.  It is such an honor to be recognized by another peer.  Every time I get a notification that you have been published in a collection, you think “how cool!” and it puts a smile on your face.

I Followed My Bliss Now What? Artfire Collection

The collections on Artfire have been very popular with a lot of the Artisans, to date there are over 1000 collections that have been made.  Many of the Artisans are reporting an extreme jump in their viewing statistics on their studios once they have been featured in a collection and there are many that are selling the items that are listed in the collections.  The collections are a phenomenal promotional tool, and just in time for the start of the fall and holiday season.    And the collections are so fun to make, they are almost addicting.  It gives you such a great opportunity to view some the great talent that can be found on Artfire.   There are a lot of items that I have found when creating a collection that normally I would have never looked for.

I Followed My Bliss Again Artfire Collection

These are a couple of the collections from my Artfire guild, I Followed My Bliss…Not What?.  The guild is a group of Artisans that have chosen to follow their passion but also have full-time careers in addition to their creative passions.

A Look At My Studio

I thought I would share glimpse of my work shop this week.  I thought about cleaning it up first but decided against it.  I cleaned it up about two weeks ago, so it isn’t in too bad of shape yet.  It really isn’t much just a small corner in the garage that my husband was gracious enough to surrender.  I don’t think he ever thought he would have to give up any of his precious space in the garage.   The space I have works for now.

On the left side of the workbench I have my tool chest.  That is the invisible boundary between my space and his space.  The “Less Nessman tape” so to speak. Oh, look now I am dating myself.  My tool chest has a lot of my tools.  files, burnisher,  brushes, screw drivers, pipe benders, and punches.  A lot of the tools were handed down from my grandfather.  He did metalsmithing as a hobby.  I sure wish I would have been more interested in jewelry making when he was alive.

The center of the bench is where I keep my beading board, this is where I do most of my layout work and assembly of my pieces.   Everything is within hands reach from my board.  Beads on the left and finding on the right. 

On the right side I have a narrow bench where I do some of my metal forming and hammering.  On the end of this bend is my baby anvil.  I just love this anvil. It is great for working with small wire and pieces of silver or copper. 

Well, there’s a quick look of my studio.

Red Creek Jasper

Red Creek Jasper Earrings

I had a very productive weekend.  I had several pieces on my agenda for the weekend and I finished them all and then some.  That sure doesn’t seem to be able to happen very often. 

Japser is absolutely one of my favorite stone.  It comes in so many varieties and a vast array of colors.  I found a new one I had not seen before, it is called Red Creek Jasper, there are so many colors and it is just magnficient.  I made a pair of earrings and bracelet with the jasper this weekend. 

Japer Facts:

  • Jasper is one of the birth stones listed for the Sun Sign of Virgo. It is also the Mystical birthstone for the month of October.
  • Jasper is an opaque and fine grained variety of Chalcedony. It is found in all colors including: red, brown, pink, yellow, green, grey/white and shades of blue and purple.
  • It often contains organic material and mineral oxides which give it interesting patterns, bands and colors. Many of these patterns resemble landscapes with mountains and valleys, thus the name “picture” is part of the name of many well know jaspers.
  • Jasper was a favorite gem in ancient times and is referenced in Greek, Hebrew, Assyrian and Latin literature.
  • Found worldwide, a wide variety of named jaspers is found in the western areas of the Unites States; California, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming and Washington.

Gem-Lore:

Jasper is known as the “supreme nurturer,” it sustains and supports during times of stress, and brings tranquility and wholeness.

Red Creek Japser Bracelet

Right Brain Challenge

Oh no! It's Not Time For Bookkeeping Again?!?!

The things that makes all of artist types is the same thing that makes us so terrible at taking care of all the business and bookkeeping tasks.  Our nature is to do things that are creative and are started in the right side of the brain.  Not things like bookkeeping – one of those tasks that is so far on the left side of the brain.  I have been trying to use Quickbooks for all the business record keeping and absolutely detest every minute of it.  My husband, bless his heart, tries to be really patient with me while I am trying to learn all of this but you can only have patience for so long.  The other day he suggested that he do all of the bookkeeping for me.  It’s a really tempting offer – I hope he was serious and just not frusterated with me at the time, but unfortunately is was probably the later.

I know all of this is important, but the right side of my brain would much rather be creating something in my studio!  I know I have to eventually get my hands around all of this.  Maybe someday it wont be so PAINFULL……..

Metal Forming Class

Rio Grande Jewlery Suply

I know it has been so long since I have posted.  First I was busy getting ready for the Artfire Christmas in July sale, then I have been doing daily maintenance for the sale for the past couple of weeks.  The sale runs until Friday, July 23.  Hope you get a chance to stop by.

Now onto today’s post.  For sometime now, I have been wanting to continue learning some new techniques with my jewelry making.  The metalsmithing and metal forging really intrique me .   I have read a lot of books but there is nothing like hands on instruction.  I found a one day workshop at one of the local jewelry supply businesses here in town. I just registered for their metal forming class in August and I am so excited.  Here is a brief synopsis of the class:

Make a sterling silver neckband, bracelet and domed earrings while learning to form wire and sheet into wearable jewelry. Students learn to use professional jeweler’s tools while working at a jeweler’s bench.

Here are the projects that we will work on.  I will post pictures of my actual projects once I have finished the class.  Until next time, have a great evening.

Class Projects

ArtFire Christmas In July Sale

The ArtFire Christmas In July Sale is almost upon us! Beginning on July 12th and running for twelve days many of the fabulously talented artisans at ArtFire will be offering a variety or combination of discounts, free shipping, coupons, free gifts, bogo and other types of promotional incentives. It’s a great time to find fantastic deals on wonderful handmade items.

 The “Christmas In July” trend page will be up and running on the 12th so it will be easy to find the studios that are participating in this exciting sale. Just go to ArtFire’s Home Page and then look in the Trends Section for “Christmas In July”. You will be able to search for specific types of items from that page or just browse through all that is being offered.

The Twisted Stone Designs Studio I will be offering free shipping on all items for the duration of this sale.  I will also be having daily specials sales on specific items, keep an eye on your favorite items.  I hope you will stop in… 🙂

My Quest For The Perfect Photo

I am fairly new at taking photos and creating editing them to post on interent but I’m quickly learning it is one of the most important skills that needs to be developed to effectively sell on the internet.  There is alway the professional phtographer, but that’s a luxury I can’t afford.  I am usually doing good to find cash for jewelry supplies.  I came across an article in one of the Etsy forums called “Make Your Pictures Pop“.  The article talks about adding dynamic range to your photos.  Yeah, I had never heard of dynamic range until I stumbled across this article either.  Dynamic range is the range of tones, from lightest to darkest in a photo.  I tried the tips in the article and OMG! what a difference.Here is a piece I just listed on Artfire the over the weekend.  I took the photos outside on a sunny day and used a piece of stone as the background.  On the left is the original photo and on the right is the edited photo. I used the instructions shown in the article.  Photoshop was used to add dynamic range.  You be the judge. 

Original Photo Before Editing

Photo After Adding Dynamic Range

 

   

  I also found this article on photoshop editing.  I thought I would share.  I haven’t tried any of the tips, but I plan to.  

I will continue my quest for the perfect photo.  Until next time.

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