Saturday, November 29, 2008

brain snarl

Hey there,

I have been bombarded by the season of Christmas. Every year at this time I take a deep breath and do not get to come up for air until March 1. I prepare and have my supplies, stones, silver, etc... I make extra pieces in the summer months, and STILL.... anyway what hurt my head was dealing with wholesale and retail. I am a Libra and like things balanced and my scales tipped over; ergo no blogging whilst I righted my ship. It occurred to me that others go through this as well and might have their own take on how to balance.

I had a slow spell retail wise, so I went out to peddle my wares at the local shops in the area. I visited 18 stores and waited. Four days later to my pleasure, two stores decided to purchase outright and I had 4 others that said come back after Thanksgiving. Wonderful. Well, this coming weekend I have a retail show that needs mondo amounts of stock. Great, except I just sold a significant amount of pieces this past week. STILL no problem, I was estatic to be working.

As I sat down to the bench to work, I zoned out making bezels and realized I wanted to expand my wholesale line. I am going to BMAC(Baltimore Market of American Craft) for the first time this February. I have done wholesale before, but this economy makes it a whole new ball game and I want to plan for all scenarios. Remember, I am supposed to be working on making enough new pieces for my show this coming weekend, and not pondering the ether.....

Next thing I know, I have paper and pencil drawing out designs, configuring my booth, making lists of things that need to go to BMAC instead of just making my pieces for the Christmas show. I pulled myself up short and realized what i was doing---procrastinating. Arggghhh I hate it when I don't do the task at hand. I got over myself and grabbed some metal and stones and got cracking.

The moral of this little rant is, "the best made plans of mice and men" don't always make pretty jewelry. I had too many things on my mind and it created mediocre pieces. I made designs I had previously made before instead of pushing for more, and better. I let the economy talk filter into my hands and made cheaper designs. Instead of twisting metal; I twisted my head.

Alright, I leave the floor to all of you. Do you have brain snarls? Do you contemplate things better left to another time while working? What are you solutions?

have a better post turkey day,
the demented jeweler

Friday, November 14, 2008

The bench

This is where I work, play, and live. Notice my furry friend Marcus. He just loves to help...

Anyway, thought i would post the actual spot where i do things. Wish i had more tools, but on the other hand, minimalist tools really help out design wise. I have more freedom to explore the design issue versus the process. I love process driven concepts, but i get bogged down in the business of how i am making "it" instead of the what i am making.

When i get a new tool, I have to do it on my off season in order to have the time to play around and see what it is capable of. It takes me weeks of experimentation. My brain goes into overdrive and i don't sleep well--the gerbils are busy in there.... It takes me quite a while to incorporate new concepts into the stash of tricks to pull on when drawing up the new designs. I need to have the process of using the tool down well enough that i don't have to concentrate on how to use the darn thing so I can work on whatever is at hand to make. I hate being caught in the middle of making something and have to say, now HOW do i get there. For some this is why they make with their hand in the first place. The urge to solve the puzzle is paramount. I make things because i want the object itself and happen to enjoy the process of solving the puzzle as a bi-product of getting my sparkly pretty thing. So here is my question to go with the post:

Are you process driven or object driven?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Is craft dead??

Nah. I have been surfing and reading and looking and scratching my head on this topic. I wholesale and I hear folks from the 80's era saying "it ain't like it used to be". I do Etsy and I hear "Where are the sales. Then I had a sale! " In galleries I sell to it is "business is slower". Well, THAT is a lot of talk about something that is thought of as dead. People have the urge to make with their hands, and this will not disappear. Consumers will still value hand crafted items in this day of tech. Are we making things/items that are used daily for our community and creating sustainable jobs for the economy? Speculative thought. We/artists/crafters are daily supporting the human spirit. That is valuable, and salable to boot. My bank account proves that an intangible emotion can be emulated and given a receipt. Craft/Art evolves and makes itself useful again every generation and the previous life is a shell cast off. It is stimulating to think of what this new group will come up with. How do you feel on this subject or do you care??

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

effective design and the doodle

Every morning I have a to-do list for my bench work. Also, every morning I sit in front of my computer and, well, doodle. I have sketch books full of ideas, I have a catalog of production work, and yet that white computer paper sucks me in. I sip my coffee, surf, and doodle. It is very much like autonimous writing, except it is images instead of words. I design better if my brain is engaged with something else. How many of you out there do the doodle? How do you design the most effectively?