Monday, October 3, 2016

Selling handmade jewelry: More weird tales from the craft fair, some interesting opportunities and working with precut glass shapes!

Last week was one of the busiest weeks I've had in a while. I had the art fair on Sunday, rehearsal on Monday and Wednesday, and then a combo vendor sale/concert at the Atria on Thursday. Whew! Happily, all went well and it's on to the next projects.

I didn't really make anything new for the Atria sale, figuring I'd just sell my leftover pieces from the art fair. I'm constantly making new items, so I always have a full inventory on hand. Unfortunately, I quickly learned that the seniors wanted less expensive jewelry. Most of my stuff is priced between $15-35, but many people asked if I had $5 items. Fortunately, I always bring wire with me so I can work on projects, so I churned out a bunch of cute wire pendants, selling 2 for $10. Those were popular and I made some sales! I also sold a few glass pieces, as well, but I know to have very inexpensive options for the next event.

I've mentioned my friend Judith on this blog before. She's my music partner, one of the biggest supporters of my jewelry venture and has also decided that she's my "agent." I'm very lucky to have met her and am so glad I called the Atria to see if they needed a flutist. Anyway, Judith hooked me up with two interesting jewelry gigs: I'm going to be doing another vendor sale at the senior home where she used to work and in April, I'm going to be selling my pieces at a four-day tarot card readers' convention.

Full disclosure: I know NOTHING about tarot. I've never seen a psychic or had a reading, or anything like that. I'm open-minded to learning, though, and the Readers Studio is a very popular event that has an artists' market and attracts hundreds of tarot practitioners from around the world. I can't guarantee that my jewelry will sell -- I never can be sure -- but I am certain I'll meet some interesting people!

To prepare for these craft fairs and now this tarot show, I've been trying to make some more commercial designs. When working with enamel, I sometimes use "blanks," which are pre-cut copper shapes. I like to draw and cut my own pieces when I can, but this saves time.

You can also get pre-cut glass shapes. Glass is a lot harder to cut into exact shapes like thin sheet metal, so I've ordered pre-cut hearts, butterflies, Stars Of David, Christmas Trees, etc. I'm still learning how to design my own glass cut-outs, but in the meantime, I can play with some ready-made objects. I've been using them as a base for these cool mosaic designs:

I have over six months to prepare for the tarot event, but I do want to make jewelry that fits the theme. I'm planning to get some more stars and other celestial shapes. I'm also playing around with decals, which you can fire right onto the glass. Eventually, I'd like to learn how to etch my own designs using etching cream. I haven't even been making glass for a year, so I have a lot to learn!

Another opportunity coming up is I'm going to be teaching a workshop at a historical cemetery near me called Maple Grove. They have a cultural center, where they have performances and offer workshops such as Victorian hat making. The woman in charge came to the Atria for a lecture and noticed Judith's glass necklace, which was one of my creations. She and I got in touch and I'm going to be giving a glass workshop sometime early next year. I want to make it fit into Victorian times, so I'm going to explain how decorative glass became popular during that era.

My jewelry is taking me on some unusual, but exciting paths. I'm eager to see where I go next! You can check out my collections at Naomi's Designs, MayaGirl Creations and Glass By Naomi.

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