And if you're in Philly this weekend, you can still catch me at Art Star! (I can't wait to see so many of my crafty friends tomorrow!)
Friday, May 30, 2008
There always seems to be discussion when it comes to web 2.0 about whether or not the web will destroy conventional retail. So, I wanted to share this quote I read on Dooce today: "...yes, shopping online is convenient, but being able to walk into a store and finding what you want? Not having to wait for it to be delivered? How genius is that?"
Lately, I've been an information junkie. I've lost all desire to be entertained, and instead have been devouring non-fiction and swapping music for audiobooks in the studio.
But somehow, I've been living under a rock, because this week was the first time I watched Big Ideas for a Small Planet. Perhaps its because on my cable box, Sundance is channel 165 and I rarely surf above channel 72. But I finally stumbled onto this series while doing research for another project, and now I might be addicted. Oh well, better late than never, I suppose.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
I just finished reading Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future by Bill McKibben. The premise is that we need to stop focusing on the accumulation of more wealth (because its not making us happier) and focus on building stronger communities. In some ways, its shares themes from The Small-Mart Revolution (with a bit of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle thrown in). In more ways, it positions itself as the antithesis (one of my favorite words) to The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman.
I appreciate this counterpoint to The World is Flat, because when I was reading that last summer, mostly I thought, "I don't agree." Unfortunately, what I really got from both Deep Economy and The World is Flat is that we, in America, are screwed. Either we've become lazy and complacent (TWIF) and everyone in China and India is waiting to take our jobs and or we've well outlived our means (DE) and we need a serious shift in attitude before we destroy the world (which frankly I'm hard-pressed to believe will happen for a majority of Americans).
I don't consider myself a fatalist, or even a pessimist. (In fact, I've always considered myself someone who says, "well, the glass is half empty, but here's how we're going to fill it." Which, according to a cartoon I just saw, would probably make me an activist.) Unfortunately, despite what McKibben claims is meant to be a mostly hopeful tone, I ended Deep Economy feeling discouraged. Deep Economy really made me question what I'm doing with my life. By making jewelry, am I really contributing in a useful way, or am I just feeding consumerism and American's unending desire for more?
Endnote: I would just like to say, that if you're trying to choose between reading The Small-Mart Revolution or Deep Economy - go with The Small-Revolution. You'll feel more empowered, and less likely to curl up into a ball under your bench and cry.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
I've been blown away by some of the landscapes I've seen in my travels lately, so its nice to be reminded that I've got some pretty stunning views close to home as well.
We saw this waterfall yesterday while mountain biking. (Oh, and speaking of biking - I just have to share - I completed my first triathlon on Saturday. A 500 yard swim, 14.8 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run in an hour and 48 minutes!)
While I was at Patina Gallery, I got to see the work coming in for an exhibition of jewelry chosen by Charon Kransen. It was great to be able to see (and touch) the work in person. It was also nice to see work in person that I had only seen online. (Like this brooch by my friend Sharon Massey.)
You can see more of the work from this upcoming exhibition on Patina's newly launched Flickr site. (I'm so proud!)
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
It seems like I'm trying to read about 12 books right now. But I finally finished Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies in preparation for my trip to Patina Gallery tomorrow. (Yep, I'm off to Santa Fe tomorrow - I'm so excited!)
Groundswell was a really interesting book. While geared more towards larger companies, I still found lots of useful insights about using social technologies to grow my business. I'd definitely recommend it.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Thanks to everyone who commented on my post the other day. Its wonderful to know that even though I'm no longer in school, I can still be connected to other artists willing to help me out with a problem. THANK YOU! I'm experimenting with some of the suggestions - I'll be sure to keep everyone posted on the results.
Still working on prep for my next craft show - the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival in Reston on Saturday - including drying out my tent, which was very wet from last weekend.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
I'm having a small problem that I thought I'd share here in the hopes that someone can help me find a solution. When I make my fine silver on steel pieces, I use a process called fusing to adhere the silver to the steel. (For all you non-metalsmiths, this means I heat the metal with a torch and melt it together.) The nature of the process is that some of the drops are permanently affixed, and some, well, aren't.
I then go through a number of steps to knock off the loose drops before I sell them. I bang the pieces around on the table before I put them in the pickle. After the pickle, I tumble them. Then, when I'm doing the final finishing by hand, I try and knock off any that still seem loose.
But even with all that, it seems like I'm having a number of pieces sent back lately because the drops are falling off, particularly rings. What should I do? I don't want to stop making the line, because its very popular (and I really like it as well) but I can't have pieces coming back all the time. Should I tumble longer? Should I tumble with a harder material? (Right now I'm using plastic media because I want a matte finish - perhaps I should use steel shot.) I considered throwing a few rocks in with the media, to give the pieces something heavier to bang around with. (This will probably be my next attempt.) But I would love any other suggestions. Help!
Monday, May 12, 2008
Well, the show in Bethesda this weekend was a bit of a bust. The weather didn't help - though compared to today it was downright gorgeous. The bright side is that I've finally got a retail/outdoor show display I'm happy with. My new tables combine the plastic shelving I was using last year with the wooden table tops Joe made me for New York Gift. The result - a nice surface with lots of hidden storage. And the secret to keeping the paper rolls from blowing away - wrap them around tin cans and drop in a few rocks. Oh, and those curtains in the background - Ikea designed them especially for me. (Or at least that's what I like to think!)
Here's little sneak peek behind the scenes.
And one of my favorite craft show pastimes - dog watching!
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Sunday, May 4, 2008
I finally got around to the second part of my shop update. Some of my favorite additions - my small and medium silver on steel earrings now available with sterling silver posts. They make the perfect everyday earrings - and they are available now in the shop!
And as a special treat for my faithful blog readers - I'm offering free shipping from now until June 15. Just enter the code JUNE08 in the notes to seller, and I'll send you a revised invoice for free shipping.
Saturday, May 3, 2008
I'm such a nerd when it comes to promo materials - so I was totally excited to get these new postcards in the mail yesterday. One step closer to being ready for summer shows.
I also did an inventory of all my stock last night. Its been a long time since I've done that. I'm in better shape than I thought - but still have a lot of stuff to make. I'm trying to get ahead for once.
The promised shop update is still on its way - my computer is being so slow that I couldn't deal with processing images. I really need to clean it out.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Unfortunately, I didn't get the new fine silver and steel pieces in the shop yesterday like I was hoping to do. Time got away from me!
I can't believe its May already. How did that happen? I've got so much to do - wholesale orders, prepping for shows, etc... On deck for May - 3 craft shows, a trip to Santa Fe, and a triathlon. Perhaps I'll relax in June. (Oh, wait - June - 4 craft shows.... perhaps July?)
Oh well, off to be a little production machine.