Wednesday, April 12, 2017

New Mixed Metal Jewelry

I'm starting to take pictures of new work as we finish pieces in preparation for our upcoming fair in Los Altos in May. I've always been drawn to working in a circular motif, sometimes I make myself  work in other forms, squares, triangles, odd shapes and asymmetrical pieces but I've always done lots of circles because I like them. It doesn't hurt that they sell very well either. These are relatively small, 1 1/8 inches in diameter. In my 50 year career I've made circle pendants like these in sizes as big as 4 and 5 inches in diameter. At this point in time though the jewelry market is in a small phase and the large pieces don't sell as well. The mandala form on the left is silver overlaid over copper, joined by copper rivets and set with a fresh water button pearl. It is $235. The mandala form has always held a fascination for me, I've drawn and painted dozens if not hundreds of them over the years, even before I started making jewelry. I once painted one 10 feet in diameter on the side of a building in Ventura, California back in the late 1960's. On the right is a variation in a series I call Circle/Waves, a series that has been developing for close to 30 years. A  mixture of silver, copper and gold, set with abalone shell and a grey moonstone. It is $210. I'll be taking some pictures of Carlie's newest earring designs in the next few days and posting some of them. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Abalone Wings

I've just finished this necklace. Although I do very few special orders any more, I took this one on because it was one of the most striking pieces of abalone I've ever seen. The abalone was acquired by a customer some time ago in a very inexpensive pendant. I've seen a lot of abalone over the years and have boxes and boxes of it that I've found at the ocean on the Mendocino coast in the last 20 years. This piece was special. I captured some of it's color in the image but some escaped. I'll be putting up more images of our new work soon, we are gradually building up a good stock of new pieces for our first show of the year in Los Altos in a little over two months.      -Jima-

Monday, January 2, 2017

Starting to make Mixed Metal Jewelry in 2017

 I've taken some time off from making jewelry since our last fair of 2016 in Chico. It's sometimes good to take a break, it lets me begin the next phase of jewel making with a fresh mind and new ideas. Making new styles and playing with new ideas is what keeps jewelry making interesting to me after 50 years of doing it. These two collages of images are ones that I put together at the end of last year but we still have most of these pieces.

In my move to become more semi retired, I reduce my weekly quota of hours devoted to any aspect of the jewelry business by two hours each year. I started this in 2015 and the quota for that year was 20 hours a week. I ended up actually working about 23-24 hours. I must confess to being somewhat of an obsessive record keeper and keep track of every minute of work time. This past year my weekly quota was 18 hours a week and I just last night added things up and discovered that I actually did 19.6. That's progress. This year my quota is 16 hours a week. As you can see, it goes down 2 hours a year. I know it's crazy but it works
for me. We are also doing fewer shows each year and are analyzing which will be our next show to drop from our schedule. We will put our known schedule on the blog pretty soon. It's nice to have a few months off from shows now to have time to play and be more creative, take vacations, and sometimes do nothing which is by far the most challenging thing for me.

This year I'm planning to find a way to incorporate well shaped little beach stones into some jewelry pieces, collect and shape and polish more abalone pieces from the beaches around Mendocino and start using up more of the 50 year collection of gemstones that I have accumulated. I hope also to work on new designs featuring creatures of various kinds. Top of my list is to make a great many
bracelets this year, I have sold out of them at several fairs this years so that is sign I should make more.

I hope to see you at one of our shows this year. I'll be posting pictures here on the blog periodically as new items get finished, if anything interests you, send me an email at jica@mcn.org  and I'd be happy to tell you more about it. I've sold an increasing number of jewels
like that in the last few years. HAVE A VERY HAPPY AND HEALTHY 2017.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

We're coming to Chico early this year.

We will be selling our work at 
The Christmas Faire of Chico
at the 
Silver Dollar Fairgrounds
Friday-Sunday   Dec. 2-4
Fri. 12-7, Sat. 10-6, Sun. 10-5
Free admission & Free Parking
Festival Food 
Live entertainment by local musicians
We'll have a lot of new Mixed Metal Jewels to show
Hope to see you!
Happy Holidays

For the last 37 years or so we've been traveling to Chico, CA to sell our jewelry at an event called the Bah! Humbug Arts & Crafts Festival. The first BH was up in Paradise at a school gym, then for 10 years or so it was at the old Montgomery Wards store on 2nd street in Chico across from the downtown parking lot where the farmer's market takes place. After that it floated around and settled in whatever building the organizer, Steve Rooney of Cyrcle Productions could find. Sometimes in the same location 2 years in a row but usually in a different building each year. Usually the BH took place for the two weeks before Christmas, we participated for 6 to 11 days depending on how much energy we had, what our stock of jewels was like and how the weekends fell. For a number of years though we have been in Chico selling our mixed metal jewels right up until about 3pm or so on Christmas Eve, an annual ritual. 

We only recently found out that the Bah! Humbug is not going to happen this year. We're not sure about it's long term future. We were able to find another venue though, The Christmas Faire of Chico at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds which has actually been going on for longer than the Bah! Humbug, since 1974. We started doing the Christmas Faire in 1976 and did it for a number of years, and did it and the BH both for some time, but at some point switched to doing only the BH, we could only do one Chico show because of fairs in other areas and it worked better for us. 
In some ways we are sad to see it go, it was a different and slower pace than most fairs that we do and we enjoyed having the time to spend talking with a lot of our Chico customers, many of whom are also friends. We could also each take time to go out into Chico and meet friends for lunch, shop and explore Bidwell park and other places because one of us could stay and handle the business. At some fairs that we do we have so many people at our booth that even with both of us there it is sometimes hard to handle. 
CHANGE. We are not unhappy about only doing 3 days in Chico this year instead of 6 or 8, it will certainly be easier on my old body. We are also happy that after the Christmas Faire we will have over 5 months before our next show, the Los Altos Rotary Art Show on May 20 & 21. That is the longest stretch of time between shows since we first started doing them in 1971. My gosh, maybe we'll take a vacation. 









Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Mixed Metal Jewels in Sacramento



The first two collages of images are pieces that have just been finished, I took pictures of them this morning and just finished putting the collages together a few minutes ago. We will have all of these jewels at the Sacramento Arts Festival which starts on Friday morning. A  couple of pieces in the bottom collage have already found homes but most will also be at the Sacramento Fair. We are looking forward to our annual selling visit to the Sacramento convention center. We've been very happy about the very rainy October we've been having here on the coast but are glad it will pause for this weekend, looking like nice weather. Hope many of our area customers get to stop by and look at our new work and say hi. Looking forward to a great show despite the crazy election stuff that is happening.












Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Art Festival in Sacramento is Coming Up Soon

We showed and sold our work at the Kings Mountain Art fair over Labor Day Weekend. It was a very successful show for us as it always is. It's consistently our best fair for sales. We are busy making jewels now, getting ready for the upcoming Sacramento Arts Festival, our 2nd best show each year. When we are down to two shows sometime in the next few years it will be Kings Mountain and Sacramento.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Off to Sell in Salem, Oregon soon





















We last did the Salem Art Fair & Festival in 2012 and before that, the first time was in 2009. We apply each year but only get selected every once in a while. Competition, especially in the category of jewelry, is quite stiff.  It's a great fair and we are looking forward to being there and also to the vacation time we have rewarded ourselves with afterwards, in Portland and then in Bandon on the southern Oregon coast. We have been working quite steadily and will have a great selection of our mixed metal jewels. Hoping for good weather and lots of visitors to the fair.


Thursday, May 12, 2016

New Mixed Metal Jewels for Los Altos

Have been working hard finishing new jewels for the show in Los Altos this weekend. Not going to take much time to write but wanted to get a collage of images up before we left tomorrow morning. Will try to upload another collage of more new work.during our time in the bay area. Hope to see some of you in the park in Los Altos.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Asymmetrical Earrings

We are getting ready for our first art fair of the year in Los Altos on the 14th & 15th of May. We are looking forward to being there and showing our new work to all of our Bay Area customers.

For quite a few years we have periodically made asymmetrical earrings, a few pair a year. But in the last couple of years we have started creating many more pairs. Carlie always makes more earrings than Jima does and all of these designs in the picture to the left are her creations. We have been getting a great response  to the asymmetrical sets from people who like our jewelry. Not everyone can relate but many do and they have been selling very well and we have been enjoying the process of creating them and developing new ideas.

A lot of the designs are based on symmetrical sets we have made in past. We have to find a way to make each earring different but in some way have a balanced relationship. A fun game to play. Some of the earrings in the picture have been sold but some will be at the Los Altos show along with others we will make in the almost 5 weeks we have left to work before the show. I plan to post pictures of new work twice more before we come to Los Altos, once in about two weeks and once just before we leave for the fair of the best of the last pieces that we finish just before leaving.