Yesterday was my daughter’s 6th birthday and just after we returned from a wild trip to Chili’s (by request) for her birthday dinner, I found a peculiar email in my inbox. The title read “Casting –Macy’s Million Dollar Makeover.” Of course, this piqued my curiosity and on I read. It was from a casting producer who came upon my jewelry at Homegrown Decatur and evidently appreciated it enough to reach out to me and invite me to apply for the Macy’s Million Dollar Makeover. How freakin cool is that?! As much as I’d like to convince myself that I could do without a makeover, the sad fact is, I could really, and I mean REALLY, use one. Scraggly hair in need of a cut, an extra 15 L-to tha-Bs that I could stand to lose, a pedicure, a new wardrobe…..oooooh, a new wardrobe….. What I really can’t do without though is the chance to win a MILLION DOLLARS. What?! A MILLION DOLLARS! I filled out their application via facebook and was told to email the casting producer once I did so. This was done last night at 9:30pm. And since then I have been twiddling my impatient little thumbs waiting for what comes next. Zzzzing! I’m excited. Ahh, the magic of Macy’s.
Today I’m spending the day with my kids, outside in the backyard with the warmth of autumn sunshine on my face. While they’re busy getting dirty and creating memories, I thought I’d share a bit of business news with all of you. Just yesterday I discovered that my work is now featured on the website for Atelier Gallery in Charleston! The lovely Gabrielle Egan, owner of Atelier in both Charleston and Asheville as well as a handmade jewelry boutique called Gabriella’s (also in Asheville), contacted me several weeks ago about featuring my work. It’s wonderful to finally see it on her gorgeous site. Come have a peek!
It’s so exciting to wake up in the morning, check your inbox and find a lovely note from a total stranger saying they have featured something you made on their super cool blog. It’s the type of thing that can make a person’s day. So, I decided to share this awesome design blog by Jeannette Gibson with all of you! She’s got a fresh writing style and the blog itself is very visually appealing. Hope you all enjoy it as much as I do! Here’s a picture of the earrings that she featured:
So I’ve been working on my etsy shop for several months now, and have begun aggressively promoting via etsy teams, treasuries, facebook and well, not so much via blogging. Not because I don’t like blogging. More because I can’t seem to find the dern time. My oldest just started kindergarten a few weeks back, and the younger two are still home with me. I’m able to squeeze in a bit of time here and there to create new pieces (which I promise I’ll post more on in the near future), and to list them on etsy and then of course, promote them. But as I’m doing all of this, I’m seeing that I’m making just as much in sales at the gallery as I am off Etsy and the percentage that each takes from my profits is quite different. So, I guess my question is… is Etsy really worthwhile for the jewelry artist? or is the market just too saturated? or, and this is totally plausible as well, am I just too impatient? I have no idea how long it takes for sales to pick up and gain momentum. I’ve done quite well this past month, but the sales I’ve made are to people that I already know and have ‘friended’ me on Facebook. My end of summer sale has generated good business, but how do I maintain this momentum? I have yet to see a single ‘organic’ etsy sale despite having lots of people ‘favorite’ my items and add me to circles. What does this activity indicate? Will sales follow? Or is it all just a big game? Is everyone just running around the etsy-sphere adding items as favorites, crafting beautiful and sometimes not so beautiful treasuries, circling people, just to put their own items out there? I have yet to determine the answer to that one. If anyone else has any input, I’d love to hear it!
I’ve decided that while I do enjoy working in sterling, I feel as though it’s hard to differentiate your work from the next persons. Sure you can get really unique stones, and come up with unique designs…. But the metal itself can only be finished in so many ways. Along comes copper….. It behaves in a similar fashion, but you can manipulate the finishes on it in SO many ways. I’m really becoming a fan of the gorgeous iridescent patina the arises from applying heat. I’m including a how-to below for anyone else who’s interested in experimenting.
1. Start out with a clean piece of copper. The metal can be cleaned with simple soap and water, and I’ve also read that lemon juice does the trick but have yet to try that myself.
2. I use an air-acetylene torch in my workshop, as I also work in sterling silver and find it most useful for those endeavors. Using your torch, apply heat directly to the metal until you begin to see it change to a slightly more orange hue. Once this happens, the rainbow of iridescent colors will soon follow.
3. Various temperatures produce various degrees of color. You will see the following spectrum in order: gold, orange, hot pink, purple, dark blue, light blue/white and, finally, black. The colors change very quickly as the piece heats up, so be prepared with a game plan for your particular design. Consider where you want a particular pattern or color prior to starting, or simply play with the torch to ‘tease’ the colors out across the metal.
4. Quench the piece in cold water once you have achieve the desired level of color. This preserves the vibrant colors.
5. Apply a clear lacquer over the entire piece. This will dull the colors slightly, but will protect them from wear and natural oxidation and will also protect the wearer.
I have to say, I love the freedom and fluidity of the heat patina on copper. I hope you get to experiment with this awesome form of metalwork! Please feel free to leave your comments!