Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Globally Speaking

Blogging, I love it! 24/7/365 you can be in touch with the world. What a concept when you think about it. When I was in grade school they sent us home to see John Glenn orbit the Earth. As a kid you have no concept of the history and the magnitude of some events, thank goodness my Grandfather did (he lived with us). He was globally minded because he was an immigrant. The “big picture” was important to him and how we all fit together or chose not to. Often the country of his origin, Mother Russia, chose not to at the time and it saddened him. It was always a small world to him and I know he’d of marveled at our computer age and the Internet. Today a friend sent me a link to a site that tracks global events. It’s interesting in an alarming sort of way. It brings to mind that we all ought to play by better rules in our world’s sandbox.

When you click on the website link below, a world Map comes up showing what strange & dangerous things are happening right now in every country in the entire world & is updated every five minutes. You can move the map around, zero in on any one area & actually up-load the story of what is going on. It is amazing when you can see the things that are happening in the world, sometimes right in your own state or even your city.

Global Incident Map: There is a lot happening in our world every minute. This 'map' updates every 300 seconds...constantly, 24/7.

Friday, April 25, 2008

A Rose by Any Other Name

I look like an everyday mother of three, grandmother to one. BUT, I think and speak “odd duck”. I come by this naturally. Maybe it was a slight shift in the gravitational pull of the universe when I was born. A paradox, you ponder? Ponder not, I’m heavily right brained. So much so it’s a miracle I don’t walk around in a spiraling right arc. Thinking outside the box; piece of cake, coloring inside the lines…very difficult for me. You get the picture (always a visual reference).

I’ve chosen the name Right Turn ArtWerks to represent my business. It does that very well if you understand “odd duck speak”. Let me explain. My mother was an extremely talented person. She didn’t think so because to her it was just what you learned and did. What she learned and did was to knit, crochet, sew, cook, and keep spit shined floors. And, lah de dah, she raised me. No easy task in the sixties. Later in life she took up painting and driving!!!

Her pride and joy was her first new car. One of the first automatic VW Bugs off the production line. It was baby beige, and cute as a button. She took driving lessons and passed the test with flying colors. Dad, Bubba, and I were so proud of her. Immediately after that driver’s license arrived though she had other ideas. Turning left into the Detroit area traffic is no joke. So, she decided not to do it. Can you imagine that? In fact, from decision day forward, she drove everywhere by turning right. Think about it, you can do it. She pretty much lived her life by doing things right. Be brave in the attempt if not the accomplishment should have been her motto. Do it “right” or don’t do it at all. It was like a familial challenge and an inside joke about Mom, and now it will always be that way.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Beach Memoir

My friend just returned from fun in the sun. She has been creating lampwork sea shells ever since. I make sea shells too but didn’t want to feel like I was copying so I decided to do something different. These are my sea shells! Fresh from a Walmart near you but done in an exciting, bead kind of way. It’s nice when some previous creativity comes a knocking! New to Etsy and more to come…

This necklace is filled with local beach sand and those cute little seashells. It's hung from a silk stand I purchased at Bead and Button last year.

Now I'm just looking for a local sandbox to drag my toes through and pretend I've just had a great vacation. Something in a neighborhood preferably without a cat!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Indiscriminate Sketcher

Do you draw on a regular basis? What do you draw? I'll draw or doodle nearly anything.

I have been drawing or sketching out ideas my entire life. But then, haven’t we all. Since college I have kept sketchbooks of varying kinds and sorts. I admit I have never met a piece of paper I didn’t like and I will draw on anything. I’ve even jotted things on my hand until an authentic piece of paper is available.

Sometimes when I am driving an idea will creep into consciousness and I always think that if I don’t get it down I’ll lose it (a little Einstein-esque!). Since I am frequently in that car and in need of a dinner I usually have a McDonald’s bag handy. No paper, no problem. I rip a hunk off the bag and jot down the idea on the inside. Later, if I still think it’s worthy I’ll use a glue stick and put it into my sketchbook. That’s usually after it has traveled about in my pants and it’s acquired some kind of pocket karma. You know, wrinkled and well loved. I feel it in my pocket as I’m retrieving an ink pen or coin I put in there when I was sans purse. “Yup,” I think to myself, “that’s the idea that’s going to make me a bead star.” They always feel perfect when they’re in the pocket!

This drawing confession comes because today I went to a site I’ve seen listed before but never visited. This artist is far more disciplined than I. The site is called, “A Drawing Per Day Blog”. The artist, John Stewart. If by chance you need a little inspiration….his sketchbook rocks and I don’t think he’s picking any lint off of the drawings.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

An Extraordinary Store for “All Things Handmade”

I realized that I've been talking about Etsy (Right Turn ArtWerks) and maybe some of you haven't heard of it before. The best way to describe Etsy is it’s an online co-op of handmade goods. Each artist creates and maintains their own Esty shop. The place really has its own lingo too and I'm still learning everything. It's fun and very professional. You can shop ‘til you drop using a variety of methods they call Pounce, Time Machine, Treasury, Showcase or in the usual way by categories or keyword searches. They have a forum and chat rooms too. You can find some cool and amazing things there. If there is a trend they will probably have it first. I also added an Etsy Mini to this blog so you can check out my store. Click on any picture and it will take you to an item I have for sale or just click the link above. The cool thing about the Etsy mini is that when I add a new item to my store the mini automatically updates itself.....freaky!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Loosen Up and Squiggle

Every once and awhile you have to shake up the "norm". Here is my new shake, rattle and roll! I made a decision to let the glass dictate what it wanted and took my inspiration from two well known beadmakers, Anastasia and Melanie Moertel. I'm not them but these aren't half bad and have their own style. The one in the center has been posted on my Etsy site and is for sale. The others I think I will hold as examples for awhile. The first picture is one side of the beads and, of course, the other is them flipped....except the little one. It's just plain on the reverse side.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Lost and Found

Lost, an opportunity to show my work. Missed, the Fire and Ice Show in Traverse City due to a conflict with my work schedule (such is life). Found, interesting information via a blogger on the legalities of arts and crafts. This is no philosophical debate on “copying” someone else’s work. What is written is factual information by an attorney who specializes in arts and crafts law. Way cool, huh? It’s fascinating! Check this site out yourself: Arts and Crafts Law. One of the things (I think) I understood from reading it is: I can use or post things that are common/public domain but not new/proprietary.

I think I am safe (common/public) if I list The U.S. Copyright Office, as was done on her blog, you want to check out what Uncle Sam has to say in regards to the proverbial “artistic license.”

Have a great day…and lose nothing of importance.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Slippery Slope of Pricing Your Work

I wish I could say that I always follow this formula, but I ought to. I’ve known how to do this and we have tried to stick with it for my husband’s business (countreetoyshoppe.etsy.com). It’s not easy, but if “art” is truly is your business you should have a formula by which to price your goods. Any pricing formula should include compensation for:
Overhead (Expenses)
Your Time
Aside from these factors, which are the basics, you then have to take into account your intended market. This is where most of us fall flat. It takes some honest self-appraisal.
How easily can I replace the components in this work if I want to create a similar piece?
Was I competent in my work – is it a well made piece of jewelry.
WTMWB – What the market will bear.

One hard rule should prevail. You can not drop the final retail price below the base price formula. If you do, you will be losing money.

Base Price Formula
Base price=
(cost of materials + packaging) X 4
+ your pro-rated hourly labor rate
Then, + 10% of that total for overhead costs.

Figure your pro-rated labor cost.
30 minutes of labor to string a necklace. So, half of my $20. hourly labor rate equals $10. of labor on that necklace.
2 Next, add up the cost of your materials:
$10. of jewelry supplies + $1. packaging = $11. subtotal
3. Multiple your total cost of materials by 4:
$11. X $4. = $44
Then add your pro-rated labor to that:
$44. + $10. = $54.
Add in your overhead, which is 10% of that:
$54. X .10 = $5.40
Finally, add the overhead to your $54 subtotal:
$54 + $5.40 = $59.40
Our base price would be $59.40
(rounded to $59.)

That means we can not price the necklace below $59 without losing money on it. Here is where we can adjust the retail price up a little, or a lot, depending on all of the subjective factors you are going to take into account (the second set of red items). Does that seem like a large markup to you? When you sell beads or your jewelry, you need to be paid for all of the time, effort, and craftsmanship you put in to each piece you create. If you don’t, you won’t be in business long.

Your overhead expenses also include things like your web site, art festival fees, jewelry displays, and business cards. And don’t forget, tools, insurance, bank fees for your business account (including merchant charge fees), digital camera (and all of it’s accessories for photographing your work), trade magazines, workshops, gasoline/ or mileage, and so on.

And, when all is said and done you are hoping to have a little left over to pay yourself. Hobby or business? It’s all up to you.

Adapted from: Home Jewelry Business Tips and 20 years of Sharon’s experience.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Pushing Up Daisies

This pendant is part of a continuing series of beads I am making. The imagery of skulls is something that has always tripped my trigger (so to speak). No, I'm not morbid. It relates back to collecting them since I was little. My parents and relatives started the whole thing, an attempt I'm sure, to get me interested in biology. A subject I simply abhor. No human skulls, really! Just a ton of other naturally deceased critters in a collection I still have stashed away. Good reference material, I tell myself.

I got the inspiration for the pretty girl to the left from a recent post on Lampwork, etc. (a forum I regularily frequent). I posted the other skulls to their gallery area and one of the artists said her teenager (who usually ignores her mother's work - don't they all!) saw them and commented, "Hey, it looks like they're pushing up Daisies." An idea born.

I expect to make more of these so I'm keeping the prototype for myself. I'm still pondering if I want to hang my pendant from a bone bead or all by itself.

Any suggestions for this pendant, or any "skull" ideas will be gratefully accepted...Sharon

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Let The Sun Shine In

See Ya REX! It's sunny here. Not as sunny as it is for my friend Susan Lambert (http://northcarolinasusan.blogspot.com) but it looks great to me.

I've been watching Rex for months now and waiting for the day of his demise. I even thought a bunch of artists could jump the fence he was kept in, build a fire, and dance naked with beautiful ribbons around him. Like a maypole. For a visual person that's a pretty interesting image (especially if you KNOW me). There's no need to mock Rex though. Spring did the "dirty" for us and he's lost his head.

Now, about that BFF Susan. The rat fink is in Florida vacationing and if you get a chance go to her Etsy store
(susanlambert.etsy.com) and click on all her items (buy something too!). It'll drive her that she's not at home to respond. And for me, it's a tiny pay back for her telling me when the plants bloomed in North Carolina!!!

Tag - you're it!

Friday, April 4, 2008

What a Week Off !!!

Photo's from the Gathering Place Studio of Trey Cornette and a selection of his beads.

It was a glorious trip. See those pictures!!! Those are Trey Cornette’s beads and a picture of him making a bead. Trey taught a bucket full of hot shop techniques I’d never seen used for bead making. They made perfect sense. He was generous with his information and resources. What a Lampworker and technician.

I came back from Naperville The Gathering Place Studio (http://thegatheringplacestudio.com/) supercharged, picked up a different set of tools, and headed out for Brighton Beads here in Michigan. Nancy Graber (BB’s owner) has talents and connections with her own set of top notch instructors. The studio space is a little cramped but it’s only because it’s jam packed from ceiling to floor with tools.

I’ve owned a hydraulic press since they came out but never had the proper instruction as to its capabilities. Jiro Masuda (http://jirojmasuda.com/) is a tool junkie’s wet dream of an instructor. That’s probably a crude way to put it but JJ knows tools and does “Art”, with a capital A. Lucky for me he also likes teaching and is a friend of Nancy’s.

Don’t you love it when the stars align in your artistic house of learning?

I learned crease folds, T-folds, pleat folds, fold this way and that way. Forcing metal into sublime submission is more than just a hoot – it’s darn near orgasmic. Following all that folding and hammering came the pressing and annealing. Talk about metal torture. I felt like a Soprano with a snitch. “For getta ‘bout it!”

The pictures posted above are from Jiro Masuda’s class. The first one is of JJ (Jiro) demonstrating for us and the other is some of the forms I made in the class. I also included the pair of copper earrings out of the some of the forms.

I just need to meld some lampworking with some hydraulic work and see what I can create.