Sunday, December 6, 2015

Weird tales from the craft fair: Wainwright House in Rye, NY

Happy Hanukkah to my readers who celebrate! This weekend, I got into the holiday spirit by participating in the Dickens Festival in Rye, NY -- a town in Westchester, about an hour out of NYC. The event was held in the historic Wainwright House:

How amazing is THAT? My mouth fell open when the cab pulled up to the front door. I love old homes and couldn't believe I'd be selling my jewelry in such a gorgeous place. The home was once owned by a wealthy family, who was very influential in local politics and real estate. In 1951, the house was turned into a holistic learning center.

The inside was just as beautiful:

My table was right below the fireplace. My husband was intrigued by the lady in that painting. No one could tell us who she is, or was. But I enjoyed having a set up in such a cool location. Here's a closer look at my Naomi's Designs booth:

There were 30 vendors set up around the mansion. There were also carolers, crafts for kids, a hand bell choir and a live "elf on the shelf" who'd pose for photos. Oh, and there was a large table set up with free coffee and cookies. Lots and lots of cookies. I had a few too many!

This was a beautiful, well-organized event, but the vendors were disappointed in the number of people who came by. Maybe 50 people stopped by my table all day. I was certainly hoping for more. It was also billed as a "Dickens Festival," but there weren't many Victorian touches. There was one older man who wore a old-fashioned top hat, but other than that, no one was in costume. I'm not sure why they didn't just call it a holiday fair.

Still, I did sell a few items and consider any sale a victory. I was especially pleased because two enamel pieces were purchased. A pair of little boys bought one of my enamel pendants for their mom. The price was right in their budget, so they split the cost and each handed me a bill. They were so cute! I wrapped their present in a bright, red box with a matching bow. They were very excited about that bow. Ah, to be young again... Anyway, I hope Mom likes her necklace.

Another customer bought one of my sugar skull necklaces:

I could tell this woman has interesting tastes, because she was already wearing funky, unique jewelry. Her necklace contained a giant lipstick pendant. How fun! After she bought my skull, we had a long discussion about the significance of decorative skulls in Mexican culture. I'm very attached to certain pieces and this was one of them, so I'm glad my skull has found a good home.

Another customer who made an impression on me was the girl who wore a T-shirt with an elephant on it. I'm guessing that she was maybe 13. I told her that my niece, who is a few years younger, loves African elephant and wants to work with them when she's grown up. This girl shared that she also loves elephants and "adopted" one through her school's environmental club. She explained that they sent funds to a sanctuary that rescues orphaned elephant babies. "Maybe your niece can work there," she said. The girl then tried on a bunch of my items and I helped her choose blue wire wrapped daisy earrings. "All of your stuff is sooooo cuuuuute!" she exclaimed. I think that's the ultimate compliment coming from a young teen, right?

Overall, it was a nice day, even if business was slow. We did get to look out at this view:

Jon watched my booth for a while so I could take a walk around the neighborhood. I'd never been to Rye before, and it's gorgeous! The mansion is right by the water and all of the other old homes in the area are stately. People in Rye ain't poor, that's for sure.

That evening's weather was pleasant, so Jon and I walked the 3 1/2 miles into neighboring Harrison so we could have dinner at a little Peruvian restaurant called Quenas. Jon had beef heart kabobs and I ordered the aji de gallina, which is a chicken stew made with a creamy sauce. The food was delicious and capped off a long, but good day. Jon says that it would've been worth going to Rye even without the sale, but I appreciate him tagging along to help me.

I don't think I'll do this event again, unless it's better advertised and they can get more people. However, I'm glad I got to discover a different neighborhood and will certainly visit Rye again. It'll be even more enjoyable if we can walk around without my bags!

Check out my handmade enamel and wire wrapped jewellery at Naomi's Designs and MayaGirl Creations.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Silver wire wrapped abstract necklace with spirals, squares and clovers

This past week, a customer made a really exciting and interesting request: he asked if I could make a replica of his girlfriend's lost necklace, which he'd originally purchased in Nicaragua.

He's not the first customer who's asked me to design a piece similar to a lost item, but this was, so far, the most complex and detailed "copycat" jewelry I've made to date. I love a challenge, though, and was happy to try my best!

He sent me the photo of the necklace on his girlfriend, while my version is on the mannequin:

While they're not exactly alike, I really tried to capture the spirit of the design. The original jewelry maker created smaller squares and tighter spirals, while mine are chunkier. I really wish I had the name of the specific person who came up with this pattern because it's a beautiful piece. I was just the cook here, but not the chef, so to speak.

I've been making wire wrapped jewellery for over five years, but am still amazed at how many different things can be made with wire. The possibilities are endless. I enjoyed following someone else's vision, but I much prefer coming up with my own creations.

Check out my jewelry at Naomi's Designs and MayaGirl Creations.