Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Abstract silver necklace with Swarovski crystals

Sometimes I feel as if I have a secret identity. While I haven't hidden the fact that I make jewelry from anyone at work, I don't really go around talking about it either. A few people know about my outside interest -- I did make my boss some earrings for her birthday -- but I don't bring it up that often. That said, a bunch of my colleagues were surprised today when I clued them into my Facebook page for Naomi's Designs.

I hadn't planned on mentioning it, but the woman next to me wanted me to "Like" her FB page. I replied that I would if she liked mine (which she did). She and the woman across were surprised to hear of my new venture and had a lot of questions about it.

It's kind of cool having a bunch of different "personalities." There's Work Naomi, who writes for a TV magazine, and Writer Naomi, who keeps several blogs. Then there's Musician Naomi and now Jewelry Maker Naomi. Sometimes they cross over -- as in this blog -- but mainly, I keep them pretty separate. Though when I play flute at my friend's wedding this summer I'll probably wear my own jewelry, so I guess those two aspects of myself will meet up.

I think that everyone needs some different personalities. If you do the same thing all the time or are only known for one thing, life can get pretty boring. So I encourage anyone reading this to try a new skill, whether it be a sport or gardening or making jewelry. You just never know if you'll like something until you try.

Now that you've met my mulitple personalities, here's a fitting necklace for the day: my abstract silver necklace with Swarovski crystals. To make this, I basically played around with wire, bending it into all different kinds of shapes. I then added multi-colored crystals. I was trying to make a Picasso-looking item, but well, it's hard to mimic Picasso. Still, I like it and have decided to call my art, "Naomism." Not sure what that says about my personalities, but I'm confident that it's positive!

To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs or Naomi's Studio.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Silver and brass braided bangle bracelets

It's less than two weeks until my first craft fair and I can't wait! Slowly, everything is coming together. I ordered a professionally made sign, as well as some cool-looking display items. I think my jewelry is pretty; hopefully, others will, too, and will actually buy my items.

One of the items I'll be selling are these twin bangle bracelets. I'm always trying to learn new techniques and practiced braiding wire. I haven't braided anything in ages; in fact, I think the last braid I made was in my Barbie's hair back when I was a kid. Plus, wire isn't really soft like hair. Still, the braiding came back to me and I successfully made these silver and brass bracelets. Each is very thin and delicate on its own, so I think they work better as a pair. You can even wear two brass or two silver, or multiples of each, but I like the silver/brass combo.

Though the show is coming up soon, I haven't made a lot of new items. I have over 100 pieces, though, a nice inventory. I just wish it would be time for my grand opening already....

To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs or Naomi's Studio.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Gold square pendant on silk, black cord

Sometimes simple is best. That's the case with this gold square pendant. I was looking to make something fun, but elegant and a little abstract. So I let my wire do the talking and ended up with this cool square spiral shape.

People often ask where I get my ideas for my jewelry pieces. This blog is a long, drawn out answer to that question, but a lot of times, I'm inspired by a pattern or by nature. I like clean, geometric shapes, which is why so much of my work consists of spirals or loops or triangles or squares. And I like modern art, which is why a lot of my work is kind of abstract.

When it comes to handling tough 14 gauge wire -- as this pendant is -- usually I'll start to twist it and see where it ends up. It's kind of fun not having a plan and letting the wire take me on an "adventure." It's a little like sculpting; I still marvel at the fact that I can turn an ordinary piece of wire into this attractive finished product.

In other jewelry news, my booth umbrella arrived today. I thought that this thing was going to be light and compact and well, it's not. It's huge! I had it delivered to my office and our mail guy brought over this box that was literally as tall as me. He was like, "Uh, what do you want me to do with this?" and I was like, "Ummmmmmm....." I ended up removing it from its box and placing it on the side of my cubicle, but honestly, I don't think we're going to be able to carry this thing with us. Guess I'll have to function without shade. It shouldn't be too hot in April, anyway.

To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs or Naomi's Studio.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Silver wire dangling triangle earrings

This morning, I ordered supplies for my upcoming craft fairs. It's amazing what types of things you can get just to display jewelry. They sell necklace displays that look like disembodied heads and bracelet racks that resemble disembodied hands. I haven't made anklets for this show, but I suppose they have foot-shaped displays, as well. If you want, you can create a creepy Dali-esque set-up comprised of various body parts.

I settled for earring and bracelet trees, as well as some necklace displays (that don't look like heads). I also ordered a tent to provide some shade and make my booth look more like a store. I'm pretty excited about the whole set-up. I'm proud of the jewelry that I've made and am looking forward to showing it to the world.

One of the pairs of earrings I'll be displaying are these fun triangle earrings. I like them because they're elegant and modern, and look like they could be in the MoMA. They're long so they're a little out-there, but aren't completely over-the-top.

To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs or Naomi's Studio.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Silver wire earrings with yellow Swarovski crystals

One of the great things about jewelry is that it's not only beautiful, but often has a memory attached. I'm sure most of us can recall the first piece of jewelry we received or the first that we gave someone. That's what I hope my jewelry does for people. I want to know that my pieces are bringing a positive experience to the wearer and that they'll be able to associate my bracelets or necklaces with an event like say, a friend's wedding or a baby's Christening.

This has got me thinking of some of my favorite jewelry memories. I've never been gung ho about getting expensive jewelry, even when it came to my engagement ring. But I've still always had a liking for fun, creative pieces and do have a few items that are very important in my life.

1. My double heart necklace. This was the very first present I ever received from a boy. I was in the second grade and had a crush on a boy in my class, Chris. Well, I was shocked when he handed me a small package at our class Christmas party. It was wrapped in holiday paper, but since I'm Jewish, he wrote in "Chanukah" wherever it said Christmas. I then opened it and there was a necklace inside. It had a silver chain and a double heart charm that was made out of some kind of shell, I think. I loved it. He put it on for me and for a short time after that was my boyfriend. I've since lost touch with Chris, but I still have that necklace!

2. My Ling Ling necklace. When I was about 3 or 4, my parents took me to see the pandas in the Washington, D.C. soon. I loved them and they bought me a necklace made in the likeness of the panda, Ling Ling. I wore it everywhere. Then one day, I was playing on the monkey bars and lost it -- and I was devastated. I think my father found it -- I do remember him looking for it -- but while I can't recall every fact, I remember the panda charm, clear as day.

3. My Strawberry Shortcake ring. Around the time I was 8, I was obsessed with Strawberry Shortcake. One time, I was on a camping trip with my parents and we were taking a hike through the woods. I saw a shiny object on the ground -- and it was a little ring with Strawberry Shortcake on it! I couldn't believe my luck and pocketed it before anyone else could get their hands on this valuable merchandise.

4. My black "Cleopatra" necklace. When I was 10, my parents took me to Egypt (we traveled a lot because my parents were teachers who had summers off). While we were there, we took a cruise down the Nile and on the last night, the boat threw a costume party. I dressed up as Cleopatra in this blue, filmy genie costume and a crown, and my mom even let me wear my very long hair down (she usually made me keep it in braids). Each of us had to get up and show off our costumes. When it was my turn, I did the whole "Walk Like An Egyptian" dance (it was 1984!) and everyone was impressed. I ended up winning the costume contest and they gave me a choice of prizes; I chose this black beaded necklace that had multi-colored beads woven through it.

5. My engagement ring. Choosing a ring was probably difficult for my husband, Jon, because I'm not wild about diamonds. A lot of people believe that the bigger the diamond, the more he loves you, but at the time, I wanted us to save up money for a home. During out talks about the possibility of marriage, I'd hinted to Jon about what kind of ring I wanted - something with a colorful stone, like an emerald. On the day he proposed, February 14, 1999, he ended up giving me exactly what I wanted: a ring that had a circle of emeralds with a small diamond in the middle. A lot of people, even to this day, think it's a weird engagement ring, but it fits my personality to a T.

So there you have it, so of my own memories about jewelry. My piece for today are my silver earrings with yellow Swarovski crystals. I'd originally made a pair of these for a friend who loves pink and wove in pink crystals. I wanted to make a similar pair with something that looked a little like yellow diamonds.

I used to not be a huge fan of yellow, but I'm finding that I really like the color in jewelry. Yellow stands out and makes things pop. Plus, it looks good with many other colors.

So what are some of your favorite jewelry memories?

To purchase my jewelry (and create some memories for yourself or a loved one), head to Naomi's Designs or Naomi's Studio.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Etsy Mini Shop

Etsy has a cool widget where sellers can preview their shops on a blog. So I'm trying it out. Here's a peek at my Etsy items:

Silver wire bracelet with square turquoise crystals

Any creative person, whether you're a writer, artist, musician or jewelry maker has to expect criticism at some point. I've gotten it in pretty much every venue I've been involved in. In college, I told a music professor to eff off because he didn't think I took playing the flute seriously enough (his argument was that I was a journalism major instead of a music major). And when I attempted to get a novel published a few years ago, I was forced to develop my thickest skin ever. Of course, there are people who don't like my jewelry, which is understandable; everyone's tastes varies.

However, my biggest critic so far is ... my cat, Maya. Maya is very lucky because we never dress her in sill costumes or make her wear a collar since she's strictly an indoor cat. But when I began making bracelets, I realized that they could double as cat tiaras. I put one on Maya's sweet little head and she looked absolutely adorable, just like the princess she is. This is our Maya:

Anyway, Maya looked up at me and narrowed her eyes. She then shook her head, tossing the bracelet onto the floor with a "Mraow!" of disgust. I grabbed another bracelet and put it on her head; same thing. I got it; she did not like my jewelry!

Later that day, I put my jewelry down so I could take some photos and as soon as I was about to snap the picture, she jumped into the frame. This happened two more times. She then knocked the jewelry onto the floor. Guess she didn't want me to be able to photograph it for Etsy.

Even though she doesn't like my work, I'm happy with how this bracelet with turquoise blue crystals came out. I love this color blue because it reminds me of tropical waters, like the blue we saw when we were in Hawaii or Puerto Rico. I also like the square crystals and the way that they pick up the light.

I know that I won't be able to please everyone, but hopefully, I'll be able to win my cat's approval sometime soon. Perhaps if I made her a blinged-out collar...?

To purchase my jewelry (which I'll bet your cat or mom or friend would love!), head to Naomi's Designs or Naomi's Studio.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Silver Triangle Necklace With Pink Swarovski Crystals

How do I know that I've gotten way too immersed in making jewelry? I've been dreaming about designs. I'm not kidding. I'll often fall asleep thinking of new ideas for necklaces or bracelets, or of different types of beads and crystals. I think that if doctors were to examine my brain, it would be covered with bling.

I'll also see everyday objects and wonder how they could work as jewelry. For instance, I recently found myself staring at power lines and wondering what gauge wire they were, and if I could make a spiral out of them. Pathetic, huh?

Don't worry, though, I'm not about to make necklaces out of any telephone cords. Today's featured piece was made from regular 14 gauge sterling silver wire.

This is what I've nicknamed my Hershey's Kiss necklace. I'd attempted to bend the wire into a triangle, but the corners came out slightly rounded. I then had this idea to string a band of Swarovski crystals across is, but the only way they'd stay is if I did it at an angle. Because of the not-quite-a-triangle shape and the way the beads were strung, it turned out looking like a Hershey's Kiss with a wrapper.

I still think it's pretty cute, though. It would make a sweet gift for a girlfriend, for example; you could give her this along with real Hershey's Kisses (Mmmm..... chocolate). Or it could be a nice piece of jewelry for a fan of the color pink.

Well, it's almost time for bed over here .... let's see what designs I dream of tonight!

To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs or Naomi's Studio.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Funky brass triangle earrings with Swarovski crystals

My grandmother is 94 years old, which means that we don't see eye-to-eye on a lot of things. While I admire her, especially as a talented knitter, one bit of advice she's always giving me is to "not kill yourself," "do the best you can," "whatever will be will be." She has very middle-of-the-road expectations for me; she wants me to do well and is proud of me, but doesn't care if I'm the best or the most successful.

It's great that she accepts me for who I am and for trying my best, and I love her for looking out for me. But the competitive go-getter in me just isn't like that. I LIKE to succeed. I LIKE pushing myself. I LIKE exceeding my expectations. I'v never been able to just sit back and accept things; whether it comes to music or writing and now jewelry making, I've always attempted to make it to the next level.

Take the craft fairs that I signed up for. It's not even about the money for me; it's about people liking my stuff enough that they'd dare to pay me and then wear it. I don't expect to get rich from making jewelry, but I do hope to get some acknowledgment of my efforts.

My grandmother was surprised when I shared that I've made over 100 pieces so far and was of course like, "Well, don't kill yourself." I found this to be pretty funny coming from the woman who never stops knitting! I'm definitely not killing myself; if anything, making jewelry is relaxing for me, which I why I've made so many pieces in a short time.

I agree with my grandmother in that I shouldn't push myself to a point where I'm no longer happy. But for now, stretching myself as an artist and salesperson is making me feel excited and revved up -- so what can be wrong with that?

Speaking of being creative, the jewelry that I'm going to share today are my brass triangle earrings. Honestly, I'd forgotten that I'd made these -- it was that long ago -- until I found them in the bottom of my jewelry box yesterday. I created these when I was teaching myself how to make basic wire shapes and was very excited when I successfully crafted triangles. I then added three Swaorvski crystals to each earring to give some color. They look a little like stoplights or Christmas trees, but well, I like them! I could see wearing these triangles to a club or a party -- some kind of fun event where eccentric jewelry is welcome.

As the craft fairs approach, I'll have to make more jewelry and try techniques that I haven't yet used. I will have to push myself and well, I can't wait!

To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs or Naomi's Studio.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Silver square bracelet with multi-colored square crystals

I've been thinking a lot about where I get my jewelry making abilities from. Almost everyone in my family is musical, so it's easy to trace back that talent: my mom is a pianist, my dad plays guitar, my grandfather played violin and my great uncle was a jazz composer. However, as far as I know I'm the only jewelry maker.

My married last name -- my husband's -- is Edelstein, which actually means "precious stone." So someone on his side made or sold jewelry. We have no Edelsteins on my side, to my knowledge.

I suppose I get some of my artistry from my grandmother, who's a seriously talented knitter. I told her that it's a shame that sites like Etsy didn't exist in her youth because she would've made a fortune! She mainly knits for family members or friends, but has rarely sold anything commercially.

Meanwhile, my dad also has some artistic talents. For a while, he was making stained glass projects, but hurt his hand and was unable to continue. Still, he's very handy and you can see his work all over my parents' home. He designed a dining room table out of European tiles and put together the brick work in the living room.

I guess it doesn't matter where I got the talent from, just as along as I enjoy what I'm doing -- which I am! Today's featured item is my silver square wire bracelet with multi-colored square crystals. I'd originally made a version of this with blue squares for my friend's sister. I gave it to her for Christmas and she loved it; she put it on right away and then wore it the next day, as well. I wanted to try the same pattern, but with more color, so I chose crystals of blue, purple orange and green. I think it looks really cool -- fun and funky, but the colors aren't overwhelming.

I'd actually forgotten that I'd made this until I dug some stuff out to photograph yesterday. Now I'm debating whether I should sell this or keep it for myself...

To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs or Naomi's Studio.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Silver bracelet with cloisonne beads

The first time I saw cloisonne was when I was in China with my parents. We visited an artist who made cloisonne pens, of all things, and I remember being intrigued as he painted these gorgeous floral designs onto a pen. I purchased one thinking it would be cool to use such a gorgeous writing instrument in school, but ultimately decided not to use it. To this day, I keep it safe in a velvet case.

The next cloisonne item I owned was a cloisonne Star of David necklace that my mom gave me for my birthday. The star was red and again had a floral-type design on it, and again, it was gorgeous.

That said, I have a pretty sentimental association with cloisonne and wanted to make a piece of jewelry that would showcase it. I'm not skilled to make cloisonne jewelry myself, but I did purchase some lovely cloisonne beads; it was just a matter of deciding what to do with them.

Ultimately, I kept things simple and designed this bracelet that alternates sterling silver wire squiggles with the cloisonne beads. I handmade the squiggles and tried to make each link about the same size of the beads; this way, they wouldn't overshadow the cloisonne. It turned out to be a very slender, but elegant piece of jewelry. Hopefully, whoever ends up buying this will appreciate it as much as I appreciated my cloisonne pieces.

To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs or Naomi's Studio.

Friday, March 4, 2011

My New Business Cards!

Below, I'll share a preview of the business cards I ordered. I feel so "official" now. Before jewelry making was just a hobby, but this makes it a business. It's a bit surreal.

When choosing the design for my card, I tried to go with something that reflects my designs: elegant, chic and fun. I liked the rich, earthy brown colors, which is why I picked them for the background, but there are some swrirly designs on there that remind me of the spirals I often make in my jewelry pieces.

Turning a hobby into a business isn't so easy, I'm discovering. There is a lot to learn. On one hand, the Internet and sites like Etsy make it easy for artists to show off and sell their items. On the other hand, the accessibility means that there's so much competition. I think my pieces are unique, but I still have a lot to improve on in terms of being a salesperson. I feel confident with my skills as a jewelry maker, but not so much as an online entrepreneur.

Still, I'm determined to get there and am sure that I will succeed. Meantime, here's my business card:

To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs or Naomi's Studio.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Brass Mondrian Earrings With Swarovski Crystals

I have to admit, I'm getting a little impatient because I still haven't made a lot of sales on Etsy. I realize that it'll take time, but it's frustrating to get many views and "hearts" on items -- and then not make any money from it. I'm trying to do everything that I've been advised to do to get buyers' attention, but I guess I still need to do more work.

Hopefully, I'll do better with craft fairs. I'm excited because I ordered new business cards today with my shop name on it! They look really nice, at least on screen, and I can't wait to get them. I also ordered Naomi's Designs stickers and magnets. I considered getting T-shirts, but felt that that was going a little overboard. But I can give the stickers and magnets out to customers as a cute way for them to remember me. As soon as the cards arrive, I'll include a photo of one.

As for my item du jour, these are what I call my Mondrian earrings. I'm a big fan of modern art, especially artists like Picasso, Dali, Pollock and Mondrian. If you're not familiar with his work, he's known for painting squares with splashes of primary colors:

I love how his paintings look so simple at first, but as you look at them, you realize how complex they are. I'm no Mondrian, but I decided to make earrings based on his designs. I used brass wire to create a series of squares and rectangles and then wove in red, yellow and blue Swarovski crystal bicones. I don't know how many people will recognize that they were inspired by Mondrian, but they look really cool, anyway. They have a unique shape and would look great with a simple black top. I don't know if they'd go so well with a dressy outfit, but they work as statement earrings.

I'd love to do Picasso-inspired earrings, but I don't know how well I can represent Cubism with wire. Might be a fun challenge, though!

To purchase my jewelry (and you know you want to), head to Naomi's Designs or Naomi's Studio.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Silver and gold mixed metal mesh bracelet

I've written many times about using the lattice pattern in my jewerly designs. This bracelet was the perfect way for me to feature it.

I'd ordered gunmetal wire online and wasn't sure what to do with it. Honestly, I just liked the name. I mean, "gunmetal" -- what's not cool about that? Turns out, gunmetal is a very pretty brownish color and looks great with gold and silver. When I saw all three together, I was inspired to do something that incorporated this trio of warm, metallic colors. It's a little like my own "Naomi Olympics," with gold, silver and bronze!

Anyway, I wove nine-loop lattice links with each color and then alternated them to create the bracelet. What's really cool is that when it was all put together, it ended up looking like one continuous band of lace. It reminded me a little of tiles or perhaps, squares in a quilt.

I have some other mixed metal designs in mind. When making jewelry, don't be afraid to play with colors because you never know what combination will work.

To see or purchase more of my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs or Naomi's Studio.