Thursday, April 30, 2015

Finishing Mixed Metal Jewels for Chico

I just spent the last two hours taking pictures of jewels that we have finished in the last couple of weeks, many of them just having the final touches put on them today. To the left is a collage of a few of the pieces that I found interesting. It amazing that we still enjoy the process of making jewelry after doing it for so many years. We do though. I must admit however that I'm happy to be doing very few art shows any more, we've kept only the very good ones in areas where we have 30-40 years of customers. We'll be leaving for our first show of the year in Chico midday tomorrow. Hope to see some of you there.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

More New Mixed Metal Jewels

We're still working steadily getting ready for our May shows in Chico and Los Altos. Here are a few more pictures of pieces we finished this week. Lots more to come. I'll try to get another collage of new jewels posted before we leave for the Chico show.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Mixed Metal Jewels First Fairs of the Year

Our first shows of the year are coming up starting in a few weeks and we have been productive in our little jewelry studio in Ft. Bragg. In the collage to the right are a few of the recently finished pieces that I just took pictures of. We are both making a lot of earring designs. Carlie usually does that but I'm making an unusually high number for me. At the end of the year last year when we did a show just before Christmas in Chico I had more jewelry to display than Carlie but she had a lot more earrings and because of that she made almost as much money as I did. So, guess what, I'm making more earrings. I'll be putting more pictures on the blog in the next week or two, we are starting to finish a lot of jewels at this point. I'm really happy to have the space to create a space for taking jewelry pictures that I can leave functional all the time in our new more spacious dwelling, makes taking pictures easier and easier to get good images.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

First Day at the Chico Bah Humbug Festival of Crafts for 2014

For the 35th time we are selling our work at the Bah! Humbug Festival of Crafts in Chico. This year it is located in the building at 355 East 20th Street just off of Park. If you are coming from downtown out Park towards the fairgrounds, take a left on 20th and the fair is about a block on the right. There are signs out front and parking adjacent and on the street. There are a few more vendors than last year's Bah! Humbug at the Senator Theater and the building is warmer and much bigger. We had a good first day as a number of our Chico customers came to see us and some bought pieces of our work. Most of the work in the collage to the left is new and most of it we still have but we expect to sell many of these pieces at the show. We will be there starting at 10am each day, til 7 most days except Sunday we close at 5 and Christmas Eve at 3 or 4.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Getting Ready for The Davis Art Center Holiday Fair

 We wish we had more time to work getting ready for the Davis Art Center's Holiday Fair but we've been pretty productive in the time that we have had. For several years the Sacramento Art Festival was at the beginning of October which gave us a couple of months to work before the Davis show but for the last couple of years (and next year too) the Sacramento show has been the first week in November cutting our work time in half. For the first time in 37 years though we didn't do a show on Thanksgiving weekend so that relaxed us and gave us additional time to create jewels. We will have a good selection at Davis and look forward to a good show and a good time visiting with friends and customers.
After Davis we will have 8 days to work getting ready for our annual visit to the Bah! Humbug Festival of Crafts in Chico and that will be all she wrote for creating jewelry for the year 2014. As I do every year about this time I am starting to sketch and think about what I want to create in the world of jewelry during the next year. I always look forward to the 4 1/2 months of no shows after Christmas to take the time to play and be more creative and come up with new ideas as well as build stock of popular types of jewel items for our May shows.  
As well as making jewelry we are planning other interesting things to do with our semi-retired selves next year, going to more theatrical plays and live concerts, taking train trips, going to Hawaii and playing around at home here on the Mendocino coast. Our move to Ft. Bragg at the beginning of the year has worked out excellently and we enjoy our new home and location very much. It's unusual for this time of year, so many plants are starting to bloom again, thinking that it must be spring, we've not had any temperatures that have even come close to freezing. Flocks of robins and other small birds are present in our neighborhood in amazing numbers, it sounds as if we live in an aviary when we walk outside. And the good rains are a blessing, triple the amount of rainfall that we had experienced last year at this time. Life is good.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mixed Metal Jewels in Sacramento

Our yearly jaunt to the Sacramento Art Festival is almost upon us and we are busy finishing jewels getting ready for the trip and the sale.
Weather is incredibly beautiful here on the Mendocino coast so sometimes it's hard to stay inside. October is often one of the most pleasing months here weather wise. We are happy though that we have been getting some rain and are actually ahead in rainfall totals from last year, that's a good thing. It's been interesting watching brown and dried up looking lawns get green really fast with the gift of water.

We're still enjoying making jewelry and are certainly enjoying doing so many fewer shows, down to 6 out of town shows and for the first time in 37 years we are not doing a show on Thanksgiving weekend. I organized the show that we did for about 30 of those years, here in Mendocino and before that up in Nevada City. I make jewelry about 24 hours a week and Carlie a little less than that. Next year I plan to cut back a little more to 20 hours a week.

We had a wonderfully relaxing trip to the southern Oregon coast a few weeks ago and I'll be putting some pictures of the trip up on my photo blog in the not too distant future. Hope to see you at the Sacramento show, it is truly the highest quality art show that happens in the Sacramento area.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

After Kings Mountain

I thought I would get this collage of jewelry images posted sooner than now but that proved not to be true. These are all pieces that we displayed for the first time at the recent Kings Mountain Art Fair on Labor Day Weekend. About half of them were purchased there and have found new homes. The show was very successful for us , it is certainly now our best fair each year, and last year, it's 50th anniversary turned out to be our best show in the over 45 years we have been doing fairs. It's encouraging that we can still break those kinds of records.

Back when we started doing fairs, we were living in Berkeley at the time, I was wholesaling jewels to shops all over the bay area and sometimes in southern California, I really didn't know what a craft fair was, but one day a friend mentioned that there was a craft fair the coming weekend in Live Oak Park in north Berkeley. I went and checked it out on Saturday and met a ceramic pipe maker who agreed to share his space with me on Sunday. I returned then and, not having a display of any kind, just spread an Indian bedspread out on the ground and put out what jewelry I had. I think I sold $3-$400 dollars of work that afternoon, which doesn't sound like very much now, but, at the time, was a significant sum to me. The next week I started checking out other fairs in the bay area and heard about the Kings Mountain Fair, applied and got accepted. My display the first time I did the Kings Mountain fair was an old piece of plywood I found out in the redwood forest there, set up on rocks, making it about a foot high, and then covered with the same Indian bedspread from Berkeley. Well, the experience I had there changed the direction of my life and here I am, still making a living selling my work at art fairs. I don't remember actually how much money I made then but I do remember basically selling just about every single piece that I displayed (this was before Carlie became a creator of jewelry). I also remember that the most expensive piece I had at the time was less than $50. As our jewelry making and selling career gradually winds down, Kings Mountain will be the last show that we let go of I expect. Not only because of the money making, although that's important, but because of the other aspects of our experience there, seeing artist friends that we only get to see once a year, getting to spend a wonderful weekend up in that beautiful redwood forest and the first rate job that the fair organizers and volunteers do to make the weekend fun, easy and successful.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Mixed Metal Jewelry

It's actually fairly amazing that I still like making jewelry after having done it for almost 5 decades.
Part of the enjoyment is the game like play that I make it, always searching for new ideas, tricks, variations, techniques and so forth. I saw early on that if I didn't make it into something that was enjoyable in an ongoing way that I would not be able to do it for a long time. Also continuing to make different forms lets longtime customers find something to acquire that is different from the pieces that they have already purchased. Such a high percentage of our sales at shows are to people that have bought before.

I am certainly enjoying being semi retired, it is very relaxing. Only 4 more fairs for the rest of the year. That's a big change for us.

I still have another picture collage I'm working on of our most recent work just finished in the last few days. I'll get it posted in a few days, some interesting pieces.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Home Making MIxed Metal Jewels

Our two spring fairs are done and were both very successful for us as well as pleasant and easy. A big thank you to both Chico and Los Altos. We've taken some time off from making jewelry as I was getting ready for one of my book sales in Caspar as well as organizing the annual flea market at the community center there. All went well but I'm glad my life is a little simpler now. We started working in the jewelry studio again tonight and will be focusing on making jewels in the upcoming weeks before our two summer shows in Mendocino in July. I hope to be making bracelets soon as I have a number of people interested in them. You might think that I'm in charge of what I make but that's not exactly the way it is for me. I sit down at my bench and it sort of happens to me as much as me deciding what to make. So far this year it has been mostly pendants with a few rings but I think I feel bracelets coming. I've found that if I try to force things to happen the work doesn't go as well. If I just sit down and let my hands start making what they want I find that I make better pieces, I'm happier, I'm healthier and I make more money. Well, that seems like a winning combination of factors to me. It's also true that I can always sit down and make beautiful jewels that sell well but I'm not always creative, which is trying new things and jumping into new and uncharted territory. Creativity is not something I can turn off and on with a switch, I can only try to be ready for it when it comes and practice certain things that help it arrive. When it comes it's kind of electric and exciting and ignites my passion and sometimes leads me into really interesting new areas of work.