Saturday, July 30, 2005

Everything happens for a reason

Wow - this has been one incredible week. Lot's of miracles happening in my life, it seems. As I said in my previous post, the right studio certainly makes a difference. I now spend more time down in the studio than sitting here at this computer. And I've learned through a few things this week, everything happens for a reason.

As I spent more time in my studio this week, I began to think about where I'm going with my work. I shared some of my thoughts this week with one of my online lists, and I've made some decisions.

Okay, here's the scoop. I'm not having sales. The last sale I had was the first of May during the trunk a regular customer, and she got 50% off everything she bought. After that, I lowered most of my prices, and put a ton of items on sale. I've advertised that in May and June and now July. NOT ONE SALE of my on sale merchandise. I know this is happening for a reason, and I finally started asking for some kind of guidance. Perhaps the direction(s) I've been going are not where I'm supposed to go - perhaps I've been thinking too small on what I am capable of?

I've pondered what to do and where to go with the jewelry/beads. The carved beads and pendants are really, really neat. I like those, and think they are unique and different from what anyone else is doing. The rest of my site looks sort of like a "mish mash" to me - so many styles of work I've done are represented. I think I need to focus on the one area of work I've discovered is different and unique (creating the miniature carved art), and expand into higher quality, more artistic finished pieces, including pendants, bracelets, necklaces and earrings. I'm thinking a more high-end, gallery, designer look, where there are certain similarities through all pieces, so anyone viewing my work recognizes it is mine, and I develope a definite style. This will, of course, take longer time, and each piece will have more invested in it, therefore increasing the prices.

I figure since I'm not selling any of the "small stuff" as I have up on the site now - why not? If I'm spending 100 hours on 10 different small pieces, I can in turn spend that much time on ONE larger, more detailed, finished piece of work, which I could price basically the same as 10 separate smaller pieces or components.

In other words, instead of making one bead here, another there, etc...why not plan out and make an entire bold, artistic necklace of carved beads? Using a "theme" idea, I can do a necklace (or bracelet, or earrings, or all of it as a set) with a conglomeration of floral beads. Each carved bead would be the same size, but would have a different flower as the art. Then combine ALL the flower beads together using high quality findings (I like gold filled, but am also thinking of 14K gold as well) and create a finished piece or set. That piece (or set) would be called "Summer Garden" or something, for instance. Then perhaps I could do one featuring a variety of song birds...another with tropical birds, another with wildcats, another with fish (just naming off some of my favorite things here).

So instead of trying to sell each carved bead individually, they would be made into a very artistic, finished piece of work, which would be priced accordingly.

I also thought of pendants and sectional jewelry...these are not beads...these are flat pieces to which singly can work as a pendant and multiple ones can create a "scene" for a bracelet or necklace.

I've set up a separate gallery page on my regular site ( for these and these will be my higher end items. The first pendant is done, and I pulled a few more items I've made in a similar method into the gallery as well, mainly to see how my page set up looks.

In creating the Sunflower Goddess pendant earlier this week, I discovered doing such a small portrait using the dry chalk was becoming difficult. While I was striving for an ethnic look to the woman on the pendant, I still think she - and really the entire pendant - turned out a bit darker than I would like. I still think it's a good piece of work, but the blending of skin tones was frustrating me.

All night after I put her online, I was up and down, trying different experiments in the stuido - mixing various materials with the chalk to get a bit better control over application in order to blend the skin tones better. And when midnight hit and I finally laid down to sleep, I was still frustrated. I prayed for an answer to this problem right before I went to bed.

Sure enough, the next morning, the right idea presented itself, and in my stash of materials, I found exactly what I needed to liquify my chalk and make blending easier when necessary. My second pendant - which will be going on the gallery page later today - used this new mix of material and in my opinion, the colors are brighter and more vibrant. The skin tones also turned out perfectly.

Now I am jotting down ideas for my next pendants and some sectional themed pieces. And I'll also be working on finished carved bead pieces, as I mentioned above, also with themes to them. I'm still trying to decide on my first themed carved bead piece, so I'm going to jot down ideas for those as well.

Eventually, all pieces will be placed in my online gallery, and as the gallery expands, my store will change over to host gallery items only. I don't see any reason to take down all the current pieces in the store, as they ARE good pieces of jewelry and unusual and interesting beads as well. And they still might sell. But when I have enough gallery pieces online and in order, I will remove the store inventory.

In the midst of all of this experimentation and creativity, I saw I was running low on the translucent clay I use to my carved pieces. So I stopped at Hobby Lobby to pick some up. Now I was in the store last Friday to pick up some 2 ounce bars. I bought the last 3 and told the manager up front they needed to order more as I was buying the last they had and would be back next week to get some more. I felt sure they would have received some in by this week, but once again, the slots looked just like they had a week ago, and the translucent was still depleted. I purchased some other items, and once again, upfront, I told the cashier about ordering some more of that product.

She told me I could place a special order with the person in charge of that department. I thought about that a second and thought, NO, I shouldn't have to do that, as I informed the manager (or maybe an assistant...I'm not sure if this was THE manager or another overseer) last week they were out of this product, and they still didn't have it in. I figure, if I'm going to special order something, I'll do it myself on the internet and have it sent to my house (meaning I don't have to drive across town to pick up the clay). Still, it was frustrating, especially since I told them specifically last week the product was being depleted with my purchase of the last 3 bars.

This morning I thought about the clay, and I went to where I had ordered a one pound block of this clay recently. I didn't have any problems at all with the order - it went very smoothly. So here I was, clicking around looking for the link to order the one pound block of Sculpey III translucent. And I see they are having a SALE! Bars which I paid $14.50 for on my last order are discounted to $9.60! Shipping is a flat rate, too. So, by Hobby Lobby being out of the product again, I was encouraged to go online and find this deal. I will save almost $5 per block of clay - amazing. See, everything happens for a reason! :)

In other news....I now weigh 146.50. And I'm finally looking like something other than a "blob in clothes", and can wear smaller sizes, which opens up the avenue for more stylish bargain deals. Ever notice the good clearance items are like for size 1-3-5? Around here that's the deal, it seems. And I would find all kind of cute stuff on sale in these small sizes, but alas, in my larger size, I was outta luck. I'm still not down to a 5, and maybe never will be - but hey, I got a pair of size 10's at the Goodwill store (a great place to shop when you are losing weight!) this week! I'd love to get back to wearing 7's and 9's, which is what I wore "pre-kids". It's time. It's time for my body to return to normal!

Oh well, off to check my glaze on the latest pendant. Check my site later tonight if you want to see it -



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