Thursday, May 31, 2012

Wire Wrapped Geometric Earrings With Black, Blue And Purple Spirals

Since I have all of these differet colored wires, I decided to make something fun and funky with them. I played with the wire for a bit and came up with these colorful earrings in black, blue and purple.

What surprised me is that the colored wire has a much different texture than the silver or copper. The blue bends and twists pretty easily, but the black is pretty tough. I had to put a lot of force into it to get that little spiral. I guess the plating adds some weight to the wire, making it heavier to work with.

I'm tempted to buy some more colors, but I'm holding back. I already have these, plus all of that anodized aluminum. What I really need to do is make something that combines the metal and wire. Talk about being colorful!

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

Enameling And Precious Metal Clay Class, Part II: Works In Progress

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I'm not the best at metalsmithing, but I'm loving my enameling and precious metal clay classes. Both are so much fun and the time flies by.

Making enameled jewelry is a lot like painting with water colors. This week, our teacher showed us how to wet pack the powdered glass so we could paint it onto a test strip. You add a drop of water to the glass and it turns it into a paint-like substance; you then use a brush to dab it onto the surface you intend to enamel.

In our case, we're currently working on copper test strips. We cut a piece of copper and covered part with clear flux and part with white enamel. We then painted glass colors on top to see how each colors looks against the various backgrounds. The colors pop against the white, but are more subdued against the copper. By using the test strip we can see how the colors appear so that we can make a more informed choice when we actually start a true enameling project.

Even though this is just a test strip, I still think this is really pretty!

The shiny flakes are pure silver foil. It's so fine that you can add a little water, take a brush and just stick it to the strip. I definitely want to find a way to include some foil as an accent. As for the test strip itself, I really want to do something with it -- maybe turn it into a pin.

While enameled jewelry involves painting, working with PMC involves sculpting. We finally got to play with the clay in our last class and I got so involved in my work, I completely zoned out. The teacher was even like, "Wow, you're so quiet!" But I made an organic-looking pendant into which I carved a little spiral design, and also made little round earrings. The earrings are still with my teacher, but we had time to fire up the pendant. It's not yet finished as it needs to be oxidized and polished; right now it looks like a gray lump. But here's a preview:

Since it took so much work to make a little ring in my first metalsmithing class, it's nice to take a class where you can get results pretty quickly. Not that I mind working hard, but sometimes it's nice to get some instant gratification! I'm definitely repeating these classes in the fall because I'm having such a good time. But for now, I'm glad I'm at least getting an introduction.

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

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Colorful Wire Wrapped Ring Designs

I recently got some wire in electric blue, purple and black. It's really cool! So I made some of my favorite funky designs, only this time they're in technicolor:

Here are infinity rings in blue, purple and black:

Here's a black daisy flower ring:

And here are blue and purple double spiral rings:

I've made all of these designs before (you're probably sick of seeing the infinity symbol rings), but it's amazing to see what a little color can do! I'm brainstorming some more intricate designs that incorporate these colors. Sometimes it's just fun to play.

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

Metalsmithing Meltdown

My issues with soldering really got to me today in class. I ended up having a little meltdown.

It started yesterday when someone expressed some doubts about me taking this time to work on my jewelry business. That person wondered why I don't go back to a 9-5 job and just keep jewelry as my hobby. That person doesn't really understand my plans.

The thing is, I've always been an ambitious, but cautious, person. I never persued music as a career because there are a million talented flute players out there and it seemed like too big a risk. Instead, I became a journalist, which I LOVED. But this was my way of doing something creative -- writing -- only doing in a "safe" form.

And I succeeded. I was at the magazine for 14 years and had many other writing jobs prior to that. But there were a lot of things I didn't like about being in an office environment. Now that I have this time, I'd really like to see just how successful I can make my jewelry/freelance writing businesses. I'm fortuate that I'm able to do this and what's funny is that I'm working harder than I ever did at the office! I was at the mag from about 9:30-5:30, but now I usually start in the mornings and end late at night. But it's worth it if I can do well and be my own boss.

Anyway, this person's doubts made ME doubt myself and it affected my performance in class today. We were continuing work on our stacking rings and when I went to solder my silver ring, the ring just melted. It was awful. When I told the teacher, she just laughed and said, "Oops," but my mind went to a place, "You suck. You can't do this. You'll never succeed as a jewelry designer." I ran to the bathroom and began bawling. It was pretty humiliating.

Fortunately, I was able to collect myself and returned to class. I'm not sure if anyone knew how upset I was -- I hope not! But the teacher showed me what I was doing wrong and soldered my next ring with me. I then tried one on my own and I got it!!!!

I think I need to not put so much pressure on myself. I have a bad habit of wanting to get things right away, and that almost never happens. I need to just enjoy the process and stop letting others' opinions influence my work.

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

Friday, May 25, 2012

Silver wire wrapped infinity ring with rainbow Swarovski crystals

Part of running a good business, I'm learning, is to provide the customers with what they want. My customers seem to love infinity rings. I've sold dozens and they're really popular with teen girls.

That said, I'm trying to expand my repertoire and do some variations on them. This way, I can satisfy the customers, run a business that actually makes money and satisfy my own desires to be creative and keep making new items. Everybody wins!

This afternoon, I designed a colorful version of my classic silver infinity ring. This is a silver infinity symbol ring that's been wire wrapped with rainbow Swarovski crystals.

I'd initially tried wire wrapping the ring with larger crystals, but felt that it compromised the integrity of the infinity symbol design. But these crystals are so small that they don't get in the way. They add to the design rather than obscure it. It's also still comfortable to wear, which I believe is really important when it comes to jewelry.

We'll see how this infinity ring does on the market. Meantime, I had fun creating a new twist on a classic piece.

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

Silver Wire Wrapped Necklace With Blue Crystals

This silver wire wrapped necklace with blue crystals is one of my older designs. I made it when I was first learning to make wire wrapped jewelry patterns and used 20 gauge wire for the project.

I like certain parts of it -- like the different color blues that I used for the crystals. I also like the general concept of the piece and that the wire wrapped design is in a "frame." But I'm trying to think of a way to create this idea and make it a bit more structurally sound.

I think what I need to do is use a thicker wire -- maybe 16 gauge -- and then attach the crystals separately. I initially used the 20 gauge because it's thin enough to string the crystals right onto the wire. However, I feel like the piece is kind of flimsy. While I'm all for delicate jewelry, I don't want to make jewelry that falls apart, either!

This is what I'm talking about when I say that I have a lot of unfinished projects. I'm always tweaking and improving my creations so that I can put the best jewelry out there. I don't believe that you can every get too good at something. Perfection is overrated, anyway!

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

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Precious Metal Clay Class, Part I

I had my third class today, which was precious metal clay. I think I'm in love! I used to enjoy working with clay as a child, so I feel as if I'm getting to play.

What's nice about working with PMC is that there's so much freedom. You can create almost anything, it seems. The teacher was showing us all of the molds and textures that we can work with, and it was almost overwhelming to realize all of the possibilities. The instructor showed us how to make our own molds or textured designs and shared stories about projects that her other students had completed. One covered a beetle in slurry and clay, fired it up ... and had a silver beetle. Interesting, but I think I'll skip that one!

The only downside to PMC is that it's expensive! It is silver, after all, and a few ounces of it costs $57 USD. Crazy! I have some at home -- I purchased a kit a few years ago and never opened it -- so I finally took out the clay. I couldn't believe how little an amount there is. You can make maybe one or two things with it.

Still, what's great is that if you mess up, you can roll the clay back up and start over. If the clay dries out, you can add water and make it soft again. I like being able to do a trial run on designs without having to waste metal or wire.

I practiced making some piece, but I still need to get the hang of making my own mold. As always, I want to make as much as I can so I'd rather design my own textures than use ready-made ones. So I carved an intricate design into a bar of soap and rolled the clay on top. Unfortunately, I carved a little too deeply so the clay got stuck in the crevices. I tried again by just lightly scratching a design on the surface, and this time it worked -- I got a nice textured pattern onto the clay.

I don't think I like working with soap, though. She said that she likes Ivory soap because it's flat, but it's really not; plus, it has "Ivory" carved into it, which takes up a lot of space. I'm going to try some other surfaces, maybe a piece of wax, to see what works best.

Our teacher said that a lot of jewelry designers look down on metal clay because they think it's too "arts and crafts-y." I think that's ridiculous. Every medium has its place and if you're making beautiful creations, that's what really matters.

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

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Enameling Class, Part I

I think I'm going to love enameling. It seems like such a cool craft to know and there's the potential to make some beautiful jewelry.

I've always loved stained glass and cloisonne, and this is a way to bring that to jewelry. We didn't do much today, but I can tell already that I'm going to want to go as far as I can with this skill.

So far, we learned very, very basic enameling skills and made half a test strip. Before creating an enameled piece, you need to test the colors because the powdered glass ends up looking different on silver and copper, and on a white, clear or colored background. One type of blue can end up looking like five different shades. So you make a test strip to see how the shades turn out and then you can pick which combo (glass color, background and metal) you like the best. I actually think the test strips, which are covered with stripes of colors, look pretty! I told this to my teacher and she laughed and agreed.

Today we learned how to coat the back of the test strip. With enameling, you need to cover both sides of the piece. With most pieces, the underside is a neutral color, like brown or black glass, so for test strip, we're doing a brown underside. We practiced sifting the grains onto the copper and then got to heat the piece in the kiln. Damn, is that thing HOT! It's 1500 degrees farenheit, and while I logically knew this, it was another thing to feel the heat -- which felt as if I stuck my hand into Hell -- coming out of it. You use this thing that, appropriately enough, resembles a pitch fork to stick the piece in the oven, and during the five seconds that the door was open, I could feel the heat burning into my hand.

Once I took it out, though (it's so hot, it only takes about a minute to heat), I had glass! The brown enameling isn't the most attractive, but it's smooth and shiny, and it's cool that I made that.

Though most of us are first-time enamelers, there are -- as in my metalsmithing class -- some very skilled artists. The young woman who's the class's assistant developed her own technique for stamping designs onto the enamel. The only guy in the class was enameling a Japanese pattern onto a copper vase that he crafted himself. Pretty amazing stuff.

The summer classes are only six sessions and I then have to wait until September to take the next round. But I'm definitely returning to enameling.

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

Intermediate Metalsmithing, Part I

Today kicked off my next semester of jewelry making classes, and the first was Jewelry II, a.k.a. intermediate metalsmithing. The good news is, I already love this instructor. My last teacher wasn't evil or anything -- she knew her stuff and I learned a lot from her. She taught me well and I'm grateful to her for that. But she was kind of icy and tended to get impatient and was also very OCD about things. Everything had to be precise and perfect from our projects to the clean up at the end of class. She came right when it was time to start and had us leave right when class ended. I almost felt as if I were getting graded for her subject when it was supposed to be a FUN art class.

My new teacher, on the other hand is funny, warm and Earth mother-y. She always has a smile and jokes and laughs as she teaches us. And though she acknowledges that things need to be measured out and ends need to be even, she's not OBSESSED with precision. She wears a smudged apron and seems to get that art is sometimes going to be messy, especially when you're dealing with goopy substances. I have her for my enameling class, too, and just really enjoyed my six hours of classes with her.

I'm the least advanced person in this particular class. Many students take Jewelry II over and over again so they can do different projects and work with the same instructors. So there were a lot of really skilled jewelry designers there. But everyone was friendly and no one judged me, including the teacher. The bad news is, I still suck at soldering, but I didn't feel like an idiot when I asked for help. She didn't glare at me or talk in a harried tone. She smiled and helped me, and promised that I'd get it with practice.

Right now, we're working on creating a series of little stacked rings. I'm going to do a series of four or five using different types of metal. Today, I made two small copper rings in which I twisted the wire using a vise. My first attempt went a little awry because I didn't flatten out the wire enough before cranking the handle. However, my teacher simply shrugged and showed me how to correct my problem. She then laughed and joked, "Oh well, you'll just put your own *twist* on it." This is what I mean about her not being obsessed with precision.

My next attempt went well and I got a nice, tightly-twisted wire. It looks really cool. I tried to solder both and failed, but my teacher quickly determined what I was doing wrong and gave me a little lesson to help out. She didn't seem put out by this at all. Once I get my rings all made, I'm going to add bezel set stones to a couple to finish off the series.

This teacher is very big on making everything from scratch so I learned a lot just by watching the more advanced students work on their projects. One melted gold into a ball and then put it through the roller so she could have a gold disc. Another crafted handmade wire. Meanwhile, the teacher said that she'd show us how to make bezel wire from scratch. I love the idea of starting from the beginning. I already try to make all of my jumprings and ear wires, and this is taking it to the next level.

I'm still nervous about soldering; part of me fears that I'll never master this basic skill. I need to relax and not worry about it so much, and then maybe I'll finally get it. Who knows -- with this instuctor in charge, I might end up actually learning to LIKE soldering!

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

Monday, May 21, 2012

Playful Wire Wrapped Coil Ring Designs

I was in a playful mood today so I came up with some ideas for some fun, whimsical jewelry. I ended up designing wire wrapped coil rings that have silly shapes.

First, I made an abstract heart ring:

I then made a kitty cat ring:

Next, I made a daisy ring:

Finally, I made this cute swimming fish ring:

I had a good time making these! Just designing them put me in a good mood. That's the thing about doing a craft like painting or playing an instrument, or making jewelry -- it should be FUN. I need to remind myself of this more often.

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

Mixed metal jewelry designs

After having such a good experience at the craft fair this weekend, I decided to go ahead and finish the jewelry projects that I'd started in class. I could wait until I begin advanced metalsmithing tomorrow and work on my pieces at the school, but I'd rather put them behind me and work on something new. Besides, I'm happy with the way my stuff turned out. My last teacher would probably say that they're not shiny enough and would criticize me for not soldering the jumprings, but I think they're pretty and would proudly wear them.

I made an abstract copper pendant with a silver bezel and blue glass cabochon:

And then made a pair of abstract copper earrings with silver earring hooks:

The earrings are actually made of material that was leftover from the pendant. I spent over an hour hammering a sheet of copper to get that textured design and had a lot left over after sawing out the disc. I didn't want the rest to go to waste and had just enough to make a cute pair of earrings.

Carving out the designs with a jeweler's saw was a challenge, but I'm getting the hang out it. The hardest part, believe it or not, was sawing out the circle for the pendant. I was so careful with it because I wanted to keep it round and not accidentally saw into the space, so it took me forever to finish it.

I'm happy with my work, though. I may not be the best metalsmith -- yet -- but I like how my stuff came out. And really, that's all I can ask for, right?

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

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Craft Fair Success!

Good news! Yesterday's event, the Lexington Craft Fair at the Lexington School For The Deaf, went really well -- better than I'd hoped for, actually.

I had plenty of people coming up to my stand and sold enough items to come home with a nice profit. There was a mother and daughter who purchased four things from me. The daughter was ready to buy out my entire store, but her mom had to put a stop to her. I even managed to negotiate a sale in very basic American Sign Languge!

What's interesting is that many more people at this fair seemed interested in my craftmanship. I got many questions about how I actually made the items and they seemed to really appreciate that my stuff was handmade. At some of the other fairs I've sold at, the people are more interested in the materials and whether an item will match ther outfits. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it's nice to have my work and effort appreciated.

Later that night, I had my friends' drag queen fundraiser, but I only sold a few items there. I don't think it's because people disliked my jewelry; I think it just wasn't a good set-up for a vendor. I had my stuff on display in their kitchen and while some people came by to look, most people -- including myself -- just wanted to hang out and party. Most were outside on the deck, eating dinner and drinking, and then later, the guys put on a drag show. So people weren't really in a position to take the time to start trying on jewelry. That's okay, though, because I made some money for the AIDS walk, which is what the point of the fundraiser was for, anyway.

The Lexington Craft Fair didn't have much traffic -- maybe a few hundred people throughout the day, so I'm trying to figure out what it was about this fair that made so many people buy from me. I mean, there were several other jewelry stands there so I had plenty of competition. And, as usual, the food stalls got most of the traffic. Still, if I figure out what I did RIGHT, I can do it again at the next event.

I think that part of it had to do with my stand's appearance. Since we rented a table from the school, I got to use a much bigger table than I usually do. It ws 10X10, whereas the portable table I own is only about six feet long. This meant that I had more room to spread out my goods so the table looked more organized and less smushed. Also, more of my jewelry was visible. With the smaller table, I had to cram things behind one another to make room; here, everything was out front.

The simple solution would be, "Buy a bigger table," but it isn't that easy since we don't have a car and carry everything ourselves. But I've suggested to Jon that I purchase another little portable table. This will fit into our cart and I can then set up the tables adjacent to one another.

My husband also believes that the location made a difference. The Lexington School For The Deaf is in Jackson Heights, Queens, whereas my last fair was on Long Islsnd. He thinks that people from the city just have different taste and appreciate my jewelry more. He's encouraging me to participate in more craft fairs in Manhattan. I don't know if this is true; Great Neck is maybe a half hour from Jackson Heights, but I guess it can't hurt to experiment and do a craft fair that's actually in the city. I've avoided them because they tend to have high registration fees, but there are a few cheaper ones.

I'm happy with how things went, though, especially after my disastrous last metalsmithing class. Here are a few of the items that I sold yesterday:

Now that my two May fairs are offer, I need to get back to making some new jewelry! To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Upcoming Craft Fair: Lexington Craft Fair In Jackson Heights, NY

I'm set to do another craft fair tomorrow. I'll be selling Naomi's Designs at the Lexington Craft Fair. The event is from 10-5 at 25th Avenue between 73rd and 75th St in Jackson Heights, NY. Admission benefits the Lexington School For The Deaf.

I participated in this fair and it was a lot of fun. There are raffles, food trucks and the event has a very family-friendly feel. It's supposed to be a nice May day in New York tomorrow, so if you're in the area of Jackson Heights, Queens, come check it out.

I'm then supposed to sell my jewelry at my friends' fundraising party. I told them that I'd have to see if I feel up to coming after working all day, but Scott is insisting that I be there. He's like, "If you're tired, you can just sleep on Sunday." I'm not thrilled about pulling a double shift, but at the party, I'm going to give $5 of every purchase made to the cause, which is a walk to benefit AIDS research. So tomorrow is going to be all about charity!

Right now, I'm feeling a little down on my abilities as a jewelry designer. I think that part of it is because I'm putting more pressure on myself so that I can make this business more of a full-time thing. I need to remember that making jewelry is supposed to be fun. Getting involved in these two charity events should help me find myself again.

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

Metalsmithing Class Part XI: What A Disaster

Well, my last Jewelry I class was last night and it didn't go well at all. I was hoping to finish my bezel pendant ... and didn't. I was hoping to finish my earrings ... and didn't And I completely SUCK at soldering. I attempted to make a jumpring to attach to my pendant. Usually, I don't bother to solder jumprings as they stay intact on their own. But my teacher insisted and I know I need the practice. I made the jumpring itself without any problems, but then the usual issues came up. The ends weren't filed flat enough to solder. I tried to file them correctly. I made them worse. I think that part of the problem is that I a) have fat fingers and b) have pretty unsteady hands. I just find it hard to hold an itty bitty jumpring still and file the ends completely flat without moving it or moving the file out of whack. My teacher has delicate, little hands so, of course, it's easy for her. I don't know what happened -- maybe because I haven't been sleeping well -- but I just SNAPPED. I seriously began to cry, but ran to the bathroom before anyone could see me. I was just so frustrated. I mean, soldering is a very basic skill and if I can't even use a file correctly, how in the hell am I supposed to make more intricate jewelry? I think the teacher could tell how upset I was getting because she told me that it was close and I should go ahead and solder it. Now I had to deal with placing itty bitty pieces of solder on the seam. Again, this is me dealing with little pieces and an unsteady hand ... and the task seemed impossible. I went to heat the piece and the solder wouldn't melt. I then put more heat on it ... and I melted the entire jumpring off. Sigh. I'm so sick of looking at this stupid, now burned pendant that I'm about ready to toss the entire thing into the fire and just start a new project. I really, really don't like soldering and it's makiing me question whether I want to continue as a metalsmith. I'm also wondering if I'd do better with another teacher. I guess I'll find out when I start my classes next week.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Gold abstract pendant wire wrapped with Swarovski crystals

Most of the pieces shown on this blog are ones that I'm proud of, things that I'd wear myself. But for every attractive piece of jewelry I make, I design something hideous. This gold wire wrapped pendant falls into that category, in my opinion:
I think the problem is that there's just too much gold, too many crystals ... too much, in general. There's that old adage about wearing accessories and you should always remove on thing. The same goes for designing jewelry. There does come a point when you can add too many beads or crystals, or other elements. Decide which element of the piece is the main focus and then let it shine without obscuring it. I think if I had just left this as a simple gold pendant, it would've been a nice piece. Then again, a few friends have liked it. One called it a Jershey Shore necklace. Um... I guess? Hey, each to their own. But if Snooki wants to buy it, by all means, I won't stop her! To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs. To read about my travel adventures, head to Naomi The Traveler.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Silver wire wrapped rings Native American style with turquoise and red Swarovski crystals

Though I've traveled around the world, one of my favorite places to visit is the Southwestern United States. I've taken several road trips through that area over the years and just love the wide, open spaces and natural beauty. It's about as different from New York City as you can get! I also love the Native American jewelry with its bold shapes and bright red and turquoise stones. In honor of this jewelry, I've designed two modern rings which refect that traditional Native American design. I didn't model these geometric rings after any particular Native American symbol or designs or a certain tribe, but more on my impressions of visiting that area. For instance, the bold geometric shapes were inspired by the shapes used in sand paintings. The combination of silver, red and turquoise was inspired by the color combination which is used in much Native American jewelry. The ring itself is made of 18 gauge silver plated wire, which I wire wrapped with turquoise beads and garnet red Swarovski crystals. I love the way the colors look together, which is part of the reason why I was drawn to Native American jewelry in the first place.
To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs. To read about my travel adventures, head to Naomi The Traveler.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Metalsmithing Class, Part X

Last night was our next to last metalsmithing class at the 92nd Street Y. I can't believe how quickly the time has gone! I remember that when I first started this class in February, I was pretty anxious about using tools I'd never used before like a blow torch, jeweler's saw and drill. Now I feel like an old expert with them. Well, not quite, but I at least feel comfortable using them. I still haven't quite gotten the hang of soldering, but I think I'll get that with practice. My teacher noted that my bezel wasn't soldered 100 percent; there was still a small gap in the piece, so I attempted to solder that section. However, it just wasn't happening. The solder pieces kept moving or just weren't melting. Finally, the teacher had to help out and explained that I wasn't heating the entire piece as I was supposed to. She assisted me and I think we finally got this thing. My poor pendant was getting pretty burned, though. I mean, it went under the fire about five times. I didn't have time to thoroughly submerge it in the pickle solution (which cleans the metal) so it was still smoldering as I left the class and I could smell the burnt metal all the way home. Yuck. I'll submerge it first thing next week so it'll have time to be cleaned. Then I'll add the stone and hopefully, it'll be finished. I'd also planned to solder a jumpring but am not sure that I'll have the time. That's OK, because I can either do that in my more advanced class which begins on May 22 or just make a jumpring with a cold connection. Meantime, I've been working on a pair of funky copper abstract earrings in class. They're going to look really cool and I'm amazed by how skilled I've gotten at sawing and filing. They have an intricate design in the center which required me to saw out small, squiggly lines, but it wasn't so hard to do. I remember when I was first making my silver ring that it was SO hard for me to even saw a straight line. Next week we're supposed to do a "show and tell" of our projects. My last two probably won't be completely finished, but it seems like no one else's is either -- and that makes me feel a lot better. But I'm looking forward to making more things during the summer semester.
To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs. To read about my travel adventures, head to Naomi The Traveler.

Smells Like Teen Spirit: More Wire Wrapped Ring Designs

Though the Great Neck Street Fair wasn't as profitable as I'd hoped, one thing I did learn is that my wire wrapped coil rings are a bg draw with teens. I had so many young girls coming up to my booth to try on my rings. Unfortunately, they either felt my price was too high or my rings were too big. The good news is, I've had a really good sales week on Etsy so the universe worked itself out a bit. A young woman purchased five infinity rings from me for herself and her friends for their high school graduation. Meanwhile, last month, a woman had purchased one of my infinity rings for her daughter's sweet 16 while a collage age girl bought one of my other wire wrapped coil designs. So I'm definitely getting that younger market. Lesson learned -- make more of these rings and make sure that I have them in teeny tiny teen sizes when I sell at fairs. My next fair is next Saturday. I'll be selling my jewelry at the Lexington Craft Fair in Jackson Heights, Queens, NY. This event benefits the Lexington School For The Deaf so there will definitely be a lot of teens around. The traffic probably won't be as high as it was at the other fair, but at last year's Lexington event, I had my best sale of the year. I think it was because people come there wanting to buy so that they can support the school and because there are fewer vendors. Hopefully, next Saturday will be another beautiful spring day and I'll sell yet more stuff. That said, I'm gearing up for the fair by making yet more coil rings. I'm going to make more infinity rings in sizes five and six, but am also trying to make more interesting designs. Lately, I've been adding some gems to my rings:
I think the one with the Swarovski crystal heart will appeal to teen girls so I'm going to make a bunch of those in smallish sizes. I don't mind the work, though, because these wire wrapped coil rings are fun to make! To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs. To read about my travel adventurs, head to Naomi The Traveler.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


There are some days when I have doubts about this whole jewelry thing. Though I've sold many pieces and have gotten many compliments, I still have hundreds of pieces that I haven't yet sold -- and I'm not nearly at a place where I can call this a lucrative business. Having that not-so-successful craft fair on Sunday reinforced some of these doubts. I've been trying to stay upbeat and positive about the experience, but I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't thinking, "Why didn't they like me more? What did I do wrong?" The answer is that I didn't do anything wrong. I've only been designing jewelry for a year-and-a-half, and I've been involved in the business end of it for even less time. I still have a lot to learn -- which is what I'm trying to do. But I still sometimes find myself spiraling down to that place where I begin to think that I suck and that's it not worth all of the effort. When this happens, I have to remind myself of the ways in which I DON'T suck. For instance, a woman recently purchased an infinity ring from me for her daughter's 16th birthday. This was a big deal to begin with, so I made sure that I packaged the jewelry nicely in a pretty pink bag and threw in a bonus pair of earrings. I then got a thank you note from the mom saying that the daughter loved the gift and cried tears of joy upon seeing it. I'm honored that my jewelry was chosen for this special day and that this girl will enjoy her ring. Meanwhile, people's tastes are very subjective. Just because someone doesn't like a bracelet doesn't mean that it's a bad bracelet; it just means that we have different ideas of what's attractive. I'm not gung ho about Angelina Jolie's engagement ring, but this thing is big news! I have a bad habit of focusing on the negative, but I need to stop doing that. I need to focus on how much I've accomplished and how much more I'll accomplish this year as I learn more things. I'm not sure when I'll be a true success, but I think that it's going to be up to me to decide that and not everyone else. To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs. To read about my travel adventures, head to Naomi The Traveler.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Tales From The Craft Fair

I just got home from the Great Neck Street Fair. Boy, was it a long day! I made a few sales, but I unfortunately didn't do as well as I'd hoped. Still, it was a nice day and I like to think of these events as learning experiences. When we arrived at Great Neck, we discovered that the actual fair was about a two-mile walk from the train station. So we walked all the way there, with me lugging the suitcase with my jewelry and Jon pushing the cart that contained our table and chair. We got a nice workout! Happily, it was a perfect spring day and Great Neck is a beautiful, upscale town so the walk was pleasant. Once at the fair, I tried to sit back and relax and enjoy the experience. We were right across from the food court, which was convenient and our booth neighbors were nice. On the left they were selling handmade wooden bowls, which were unique and beautiful and on the right, homemade paintings and a variety of other things like headbands and junk jewelry. A nice crowd came by today and many more people stopped by my booth than at the last fair. I also got many more teenagers checking in, especially to look at those wire wrapped coil rings. Unfortunately, few people were willing to dip into their pocketbooks. A lot tried on some jewelry pieces and asked questions, but only a handful actually bought. This was pretty discouraging since I was already charging rock bottom prices for my handmade stuff. The guy in the booth next to me said that they experienced the same thing with their jewelry -- that people seemed reluctant to pay $5 for stuff. It's kind of funny because Great Neck is a very wealthy neighborhood, but as Jon said, maybe that's why the people there are wealthy -- because they're also frugal. At one point, our friends Scott and Christopher came by to say hello. I was very glad to see them and was hoping that they'd help with sales, as both are very good-looking guys. But their handsomeness did nothing, LOL. I guess maybe if they'd removed their shirts and danced or offered to kiss the customers or something. But they were useful in that they invited me to sell my jewelry at their upcoming charity party. They're hosting a drag queen event to raise money for an AIDS walk and suggested that I sell pieces there and then donate a portion of the profits. I like this idea because it not only benefits me, but will help them with a great cause. There were some, well, interesting people at the fair. There was one woman who wasn't interested in any of the booths; she just wanted business cards for her business card collection. There was another who came back to my booth three times, but never looked me in the eye, grunted when I spoke to her and did everything with short, quick movements. I wonder if she was stoned? There was one woman who asked me how much things cost in the booth next to me. Then there was the inconsiderate woman who just casually rested her soda can on my display. I was like, "Um... excuse me?" You definitely meet all types at these things. I've decided that I'm no longer going to do these expensive fairs on Long Island. The registration is high enough that I'm losing money since I'm not getting many sales. The traffic is there, but I feel like my booth gets lost in the sea of goods. It also seems like many don't seem to appreciate the fact that my stuff is handmade and that my already very low prices include the cost of the labor I put into them. Maybe my jewelry just sucks and that's why it's not taking off, but I refuse to believe that. I've had enough people purchase my stuff who've really liked it. And I have to have faith in myself. My next fair is in two weeks and then that night, I'm doing the drag queen party. It's going to be a really looooong day, but hopefully something will come of my hard work. To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs. To read about my travel adventures, head to Naomi The Traveler.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Wire wrapped filigree bracelet with multicolored Swarovski crystal hearts

This silver wire wrapped bracelet is an oldie, but goodie. It's one of the first things I made when I was putting together my Etsy store.
To make it, I crafted several squares with my favorite filigree design. As you know, I often use it in my jewelry pieces as a base and it's because that looped design is so versatile. In this case, the linked squares look almost like a mesh piece. It kind of feels like that, too, as the bracelet is soft and springy. I dressed up the design by weaving Swarovski crystal bicones through the filigree. I then attached a Swarovski crystal heart to each link. Looking back, it's probably a bit much, but it's definitely a fun bracelet. I could see a teenage girl liking this. Right now, it's big enough to just slip over your wrist, but I'm thinking of removing a link and added a clasp. It's fun to look back and see how far I've come with techniques. But I'm always going to have a fond place in my heart for my early experiments. To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs. To read about my travel adventures, head to Naomi The Traveler.

Weird Blogger thing

For some reason, Blogger is not separating my paragraphs and is instead publishing my posts in one big blob of words. I apologize if this is difficult to read. I'm checking in to see what the deal is. Please hang in.

Metalsmthing Class, Part IX: Works In Progress

Big news! At my metalsmithing class last night, I managed to solder by myself with no assistance. Woo hoo! I finally got around to attaching my bezel (the border wire that surrounds a stone and holds it into place) to my copper pendant. It was NOT easy, let me tell you. Because of the way my pendant is styled -- it's a copper disc with a carved out radial triangle pattern, sort of like a sand dollar -- the bezel had to be centered exactly. I figured this wouldn't be so hard because there was so much space to work with. I was wrong. For one thing, my bezel ring is pretty big, so I needed a lot of solder for it. I put pieces of solder in each corner, but my teacher said to use more. That's when things started to go wrong. Every time, I added a piece of solder and tried to push it up against the wall of the bezel, the bezel would move out of place. Then when I tried to move the bezel back into the center, the solder would move out of place. It seemed like a no-win situation. I finally solved the problem by adding more flux paste. The solder pieces stuck, but now I had a huge blob of flux in the middle of the piece. This wasn't that big of a deal because it could eventually be removed, but I knew it would take more time to clean the pendant later on. Soldering this piece was odd because you had to fire it from below, but it was really cool to watch. The bezel needed so much heat, the flame turned turquoise and the copper began to cracke, bubble and turned black. It felt a little as if I were rosting a marshmallow. The teacher assured me that the black would wash away, though, and it did when I put it in the pickle solution (though I had to keep it in for about a half hour). After all of this, though, she suggested that I add more solder because the bezel wasn't secure enough. This was my cue to take what I'd learned and do it myself. And I did! I think I added a little too much solder because there are big solder blobs on the pendant, but the bezel is centered and attached, and the stone fits into it like a glove. Now all I have to do is sand away the excess solder and polish the copper to even out the color. By next week, it *should* be finished, so I'll post a photo. I had a lot of time leftover in this class, especially when the pendant was sitting in the pickle, so I started a new pair of copper earrings. I have so much leftover hammered copper that I figured I might as well use it, right? I was pleased to see how much easier sawing them was for me. All of that practice paid off! I'm almost finished with one earring and will work on the other at home. Then I can solder the jumprings at the studio. I don't usually solder my ear wires, but I want to get the practice and this is a good skill to have. I can't believe that there are only two more Jewelry I classes left! Then it's on to my next three. There were times when this class really frustrated me. I'm such a klutz and having to work with small, very precise things isn't the easiest task for me. But I'm doing it. I made a nice ring, am pleased with the way the pendant is turning out and think these earrings will be really cool. I also learned how to saw, drill, file, texture, roll and solder metal. Pretty sweet! I may be clumsy, but I'm getting more and more confident each time I do these things. While I'm proud of my work, I'm more proud that I stuck with this class, despite having some doubts at first. I was really out of comfort zone, but forced myself to learn some new things. I don't think that my teacher had a lot of faith in my abilities, but she now sees how handworking I am, even if I'm not the best or the most skilled. The class has dwindled; we only had TWO students there last night. I think it's because this isn't really a "fun" class. Every project you make requires a ton of work and patience. I think it's worth the time, though, because I'm leaving a better designer -- and a more enriched person.
To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs. And to check out my travel blog, head to Naomi The Traveler.

Infinity Symbol Earrings With Swarovski Crystal Hearts

Lately, I've been on an infinity symbol kick. I think it's a cool symbol; it means forever and it looks really funky when it's in jewelry form:
Because of the show Revenge, it seems like everyone else is getting into infinity symbol jewelry, as well. On Etsy, I get more views and "likes" on my infnity jewelry than anything else. Part of me is thinking, "Why?" Let's be honest here; some of my other pieces are much more unique and well, artistic, than a pair of infinity earrings. But then again, there's something to be said about simplicity. Not everyone likes to wear big, complicated pieces of jewelry; some appreciate the beauty that's found in a minimalist style. And when it comes to an infinity symbol, everyone knows what it means. If you give someone an infinity necklace, it says a lot about your relationship or friendship. A necklace with a million beads on it just might not mean as much in this case. So I get it. I get why infinity symbols are so popular and made the above trio of infinity symbol earrings ot of 18 gauge silver plated wire. But I had to add an extra *something* to them just to give them a "Naomi touch" so I attached the Swarovski crystal hearts. I figured that love and forever go together perfectly! I need to keep reminding myself that the time I spend on a project doesn't necessarily reflect its value to the person wearing it. It's more about the completed vision and how each piece makes a person feel. To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs On Etsy. And to check out my travel blog, head to Naomi The Traveler.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Rainbow heart charm bracelet anodized aluminum with adjustable silver chain

This cute, little bracelet took sooo long to make. Working with anodized aluminum is fun, but actually constructing the pieces is very time consuming.

Perhaps it would help if I had proper tools. For the past few weeks, I've been using a center punch (a took that you punch to make a little dent, marking where you'll drill) AS a drill. It worked... for the most part, though I'd have to punch about a million times to carve a hole through copper and silver. Punching through the aluminum was easier, but still took quite a bit of effort.

Then today my punch broke. I'd noticed that it was getting less, well, "punchy" so I took it apart to see if I could fix the spring ... and everything fell out. Once I put it back together, it was no longer doing its job. But it wasn't me, I swear! I think it just got worn down since I was overusing and misusing it.

I managed to finish my heart bracelet by hammering a sharp file into the metal to create the hole, but that's not really the way to do it either. So I ordered a little hand drill and we'll see how that works out. I'm looking forward to being able to create a hole in a matter of seconds and to not getting my hands blistered while doing so.

Meanwhile, I'm happy that I finished this bracelet. I have an idea for a whole line of colorful bracelets and I'd like to get a bunch finished by this weekend so I have them for the craft fair. I think their rainbow colors wll attract customers -- which is what I want.

I'm becoming such a geek about jewelry tools and supplies. How weird is it that I'm so excited about a DRILL?

To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs on Etsy.

Check Out My New Travel Blog!

One of the things that I think is really cool about this jewelry blog is that I'm getting a very international audience. I think it's great that in this day and age, I can communicate -- and get my words read by -- people in Europe, Asia and Africa.

I've mentioned many times in this blog that I'm an avid traveler and have been all over the world; many times, this is what inspires my jewelry designs.

That said, I've started a new blog called Naomi The Traveler , where I chronicle my travel adventures from my childhood and adult years. There are interesting stories, photos and travel tips. So please check in!