Sunday, October 30, 2005
Check this out....this is a scan of the article in this weeks Jackson Today newspaper. There's an article about the Breast Cancer Awareness luncheon, and yours truly is mentioned for the piece of fine art jewelry I donated which was given away! To see the piece of jewelry which they are referring to, please visit my webpage here. It's right next to the article in that gallery.
I make a pendant with all colors of the rainbow! We had several cold days with gray skies this week - YUCK. The only way I know to brighten then up is to look at colorful things. So I made this vibrant Trumpet Flower pendant, and I used many colors, giving it a rainbow look. It's very "jewel toned", don't you think?
Friday, October 28, 2005
Thursday, October 27, 2005
I also have a very close up and personal view of the center of a purple iris I am going to make as a pendant as well. That's tomorrow's project though. I'm exhausted...it's been a very long day here, so I'm calling it a night.
Yep, I completed 7 more pieces in this new series yesterday - how FUN! Here's an example of one. Go here to see them all. I made up all different colors. I haven't gotten anything in greens done yet, and I meant to do that. Today I am in "purple flower mode" however, so I'll be working on some other pieces. And over the weekend I'd love to work on another serenity maiden pendant, as I have several more ideas for that series.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
First of all, I have started another new series. These pendants are faster to make - there is no "thought" beyond what colors to place on the piece. Therefore they take less time, and I can charge less for these. I figured these pieces would be a good way to introduce people to my work. Take a look here.
My brother lives down in Broward County (Coral Springs) Florida. His county - like a good portion of the lower part of FL - was hit hard by hurricane Wilma. He called today and said it would be around November 8 before power would be restored. He's thinking of MOVING.....gee, I wonder WHY? LOL! They've only been hit by 16 (?) hurricanes this year. Unfortunately his work is down there. And do you know, his company is going to count this time off AGAINST HIM! Isn't that NUTS!? The company doesn't have power either. No one could come in, even if they wanted to. But I heard today, they will pay them for this time off, but it will count as their vacation. SOME VACATION. For a company that has millions sitting in the bank and helps all the OTHER VICTIMS around the world to NOT help their own employees during this time the offices are closed is ridiculous! I guess it's not a tax write off though if you "help your own".
See why I like being in business for myself? It's the same reason I'd rather deal with small businesses than this big mega-corporations. (This is coming from a person who CHOOSES to shop at my small local grocery stores over Wal-Mart) Once the business becomes so big, it's all about the money, and not enough about the real PEOPLE behind that money. At least that's my little opinion on the matter.
West TN has turned COLD. BRRRRR. I'm staying in and making jewels. That's the plan for me! :)
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Thursday, October 20, 2005
I proceeded to take on this daunting task, and yes it was daunting as I was actually sitting there in fear, afraid of what would come out...afraid it would be something ugly and hideous. I was quite surprised when I completed this first piece...and I think you will be too. Take a look:
Click this photo to see the larger image. My goal when sitting
down was to complete a piece with the following subjects:
A woman's face
Something floral or foliage
And a little gold leaf for accent
Needless to say, I was shocked this came out.
And I am pleased. Now I'm going to do an entire series of these! I am calling them "Serenity Maidens" and will have this piece as well as some others on my website soon. Each will feature a woman, a creature, some flowers/foliate/trees/berries, and a little gold leaf.
They will all be about 2" long, and have a different mechanism at the top than my other pieces. As you can see in the photo, it's a triangle shaped hook with two rings attached. This mini work of art can be hung using the rings as a pendant. OR, the rings can be removed and these also serve as miniature works of art which can be hung via the embedded hook.
I plan to complete one in the series each week, in addition to everything else I am doing. And.....I have an ADDED surprise with these...I have teamed up with Zazzle.Com so my art can be produced as fine art prints (framed and matted if desired!), greeting/note cards, and STAMPS! How cool is that! Go here to check it out:
JAI Art International - <--- Click Link to order fine art prints, greeting/note cards, and stamps with this artwork. Prints are available on a variety of paper stock, with unique framing and matting options. Have a unique, framed art print delivered right to your door and ready to hang.
I am VERY excited about this new series and look forward to developing a lot of unique imagery for others to enjoy.
As for my online show, I have 2 pieces left to complete, and several descriptions to enter. But I WILL BE ready by Sunday! :)
Sunday, October 16, 2005
"Fusillade" is a word I discovered when looking in the thesaurus for "eruption". The center of my newest pendant (above, left) is "erupting" with the gold leaf. When I was creating this baby, I was thinking of "emotions" and how they erupt from within. While some emotions may not be good when they come out, the act of getting them out IS good, and leaves behind a "golden afterglow". I didn't want to call the piece "eruption" so I began looking for a word which sounded a little better and I discovered that word in my search - it tied in to what I was trying to say with the design nicely. Being this pendant is full of deep red, it can indicate two things I was thinking of when I was designing it...one would be anger, the other passion. I guess you could say I was "passionate with anger" at the time. :) Adding the gold leaf in the center was a type of release for me...it helped to bring back the golden glow I like to maintain in my life.
The second pendant above came afterwards, as did this intense craving for CHOCOLATE. :) Appropriately named Chocolate Mint Swirl, it gave me that delicious, emotional, sweet "high" without the calories.
Click on either to see them up close and personal.
Today I'll be working in the studio on finishing the pendants for my upcoming fall show, to be held online next weekend. However, I am thinking about tossing another "Fusillade" pendant in the mix on my site. This one in BLACK, with the gold leaf. That pendant would signify (to me) the leaving behind of negativity.
Now this is a subject close to my heart...dealing with negativity. We've all had to deal with it - and it's never pleasant. And as we get older, we can pick up on the energy of negativity much more quickly than we used to. My question to myself and others is WHY do we "stick around it"? If we can sense it, even if it's only subtly apparent, why not take 2 steps and move away from it?
Yes, sometimes it will follow us. Like an irritating mosquito, it will follow a person around, nipping at them, constantly trying infuse itself into ones life. Picture this - you're at a picnic enjoying yourself, and suddenly a swarm of mosquitos appear. What do you do? Most people either 1) leave the area or 2) get out the bug spray.
It's amazing to me how when we're being nipped at by negativity, we tend to just SIT THERE and take it. When in truth, life will be SO MUCH BETTER and more comfortable for us if we simply MOVE......or get out the bug spray!
So I've had some negativity come at me this week. It's not like I didn't feel it ahead of time...I did...I can always sense it. But sometimes I get so wrapped up in my creative world, I don't pay attention to the instincts and those little voices inside. And every time I finally get away from the negativity, I feel that emotional release and the tightness in my shoulders and back disappears, and I wonder.....why wasn't I smart enough to get away from this situation before? And I tell myself I'll be smarter next time.
Will I be smarter next time? Probably. But I'm keeping a can of bug spray nearby, just in case I forget and start thinking that because I'm a nice and decent human being, the mosquitos won't come after me...when in reality, that's who they like to chew on the best.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
I can't believe tomorrow is Friday already. I am WAY behind on my goals for the week, and am hoping tomorrow after I go eat my Friday Mexican lunch, I'll get reinspired. I always get inspired when I go there. I don't know if it's the hot and spicy food, the buzz of other customers, or looking at the vibrant colored artwork they have hanging all around. It's such a COOL place. I've been eating there for about 13 years now. I used to eat there every day during the week when I worked at the firm. Now I just go on Fridays. It's my one thing I can look forward to each week - and boy do I!
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
"Never explain. Your friends don't require it. Your enemies won't believe it."
Good advice when facing adversity. Also, this came up to me this morning...
"Sometimes being creative is a rough road to travel, and I would tell those who want to develop their artistic talents to be persistent in developing their art, and most of all to be courageous, especially in the face of adversity, whether it is their own self-doubt or the jealousy of their peers." From An Interview with Christen Douglass - Artist, Jewelry Maker, and Photographer
I agree with both!
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Yesterday I was still in "bird mode" and I made this Greenwing Macaw Pendant. Oh he turned out beautiful! I named him "Giorgio". I love painting birds. I need to do some wild birds as well. I do have a bluebird I'll be doing for my fall show.
Today I got up early and have been already working. I've already completed an abstract lion design which I'll share later. I love lions too, and this one is based on a really neat photo from a carnival. Now I'm working on a peacock feather piece. After that, I might do another cat pendant pet...or...whatever comes to mind. I'm not sure if I'm ready to switch over to a cat after doing the birds, but I am thinking seriously about it.
Monday, October 10, 2005
I wanted to share the newest work...I had the most fun with a series of 3 DIVA pendants I created...here's a photo of one.
Go here to see the others as well as three more pieces I completed in my Fun and Fashionables gallery.
Flaming Mai Tai was quite challenging, and Cherry Bee turned out really cool, too!
But the Diva's...I just think they are the NEATEST! There's one in blue and one in red too. Each has a bit of gold leaf added to the dress for extra sparkle. I used a black and blue flocked background so these can easily be worn with blue jeans or out on the dance floor with that fancy dress!
Well, off to the studio...have a GREAT day!
Saturday, October 08, 2005
I managed to get 2 pieces completed today, as well as get my yard mowed! (hey...it's a 3 mile walk to push mow this yard...that's something to me! LOL)
The first piece you are viewing is a Hyacinth Macaw. He's one of my pendant pets, and I have named him "Blue Boy". He loves waltz music and he's an elegant, serene fellow.
I guess I did something right with him because my 11 year old son LOVES him and wants one in green, made as a miniature painting and framed for his room. I tried to tell him this bird is supposed to be BLUE, but he wants GREEN, so what the heck...he'll get green! LOL
The second piece you are viewing is a custom design for the owner of the stables where my daughter takes her lessons. If she likes this piece, I'll be making *12*! I can do the horse in different colors, too with this design I've created. Since these will be given to young girls, I've kept with a whimsical design. The pendant swivels easily, revealing a blue champion ribbon on the backside. It can also be used as an ornament.
Let me know your thoughts! Just click on the comments line below to do so!
Thanks for stopping in....
So I'm sitting here thinking - what DO people want? I get wonderful comments on my work...so it's apparent the work is well executed and appeals visually. But what is it that would make you say "I HAVE TO have that pendant!"? What do you desire? Tell me! Look up at the top of this page - you can see a representation of my work in the images above...I can do it all, from impressionistic to realistic and everything in between. Certain patterns? Certain colors? Let me know. Challenge me! Leave a comment below...list your wants! Just click the comments line below to do so.
I can tell you right now, I am in "bird mode" today. I have this beautiful photo of a Hyacinth Macaw on my worktable and it is calling me to create an image of this stunning creature. So that's what I'll be working on while you tell me what YOU want. Unless you tell me, I can't know! So please...leave me a comment and share your desires for that perfect piece of art jewelry to hang around your neck.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
The necklace is complete! Check out the photo...click on it for a larger view. I'd love to hear your thoughts on how it turned out! You can leave comments below...just click on the comments line to let me know what you think.
P.S. I just uploaded a photo to my site of this piece and it's a better photo than the blogger one puts up here, so click here to see the higher quality image.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and here in Jackson, there is a week long event called "Puttin' on the Pink" October 17-21. Read more here. Yesterday when I dropped my jewelry off at the gallery, I spoke with Rachel about creating a special breast cancer awareness necklace to be given away in a drawing at the end of the week. She loved the idea, so I've worked out a sketch of my pendant design. As you can tell from the jewelry on http://www.michelejanine.com, I base a lot of my work on an "inspiration photo". In this case, my pendant design will be made from this sketch as my inspiration. I thought I'd go ahead and share the sketch with you here...I'll be actually creating the pendant today and will share that later when it's complete.
The pendant will come complete with a chain and ready to wear. Everyone coming in to the Dickson Gallery will have the opportunity to register to win this fine art jewel, and it will be given away on Friday, Oct 21.
The design for this special awareness pendant involves a black and white checkboard background. The gallery's sign outside the building has this type of pattern and that's where I came up with the idea to use that as the background on the pendant. The ribbon will of course, be the traditional pink ribbon, representative of this cause. And the tiny heart at the bottom...that actually came from my sweet friend Paula, who has a logo shown on her latest blog with a tiny heart dangling from it. The round looping you see at the top of the sketch is the pendant bail, and the chain I will provide will slide right through there. The lucky winner of this art necklace can always change out the chain as well.
I am very excited about participating in Breast Cancer Awareness month and I'm tickled pink (no pun intended...) that I can use my talents for the benefit of a good cause.
I didn't even know this wonderful gallery existed downtown (just 2 miles from my home!). I know, I know, I don't get out much. Since the tornados wiped out a big part of downtown Jackson several years ago, there has been quite a bit of rebuilding going on and remodeling. I knew that much. I just haven't been down there to explore, because most of the time I have my head buried in making jewelry down in my studio.
So when Rachel Dickson contacted me, I decided to go down and check things out. All I can say is WOW! I knew about another art gallery which opened downtown several years ago...one which does not carry local artists. I didn't know about the Dickson Gallery...which ONLY carries artists from this area. And boy oh boy, is there some WONDERFUL work there! One of my all time favorites from the area...Janice Sumler...has her original florals in the gallery. And another artist whose work I have also seen around and I admire...florals by Harriet Sells. I met Ms. Sells yesterday - what a nice lady - and so very talented!
I am just stunned my jewelry is now in the company of such fine artisans. I feel so blessed this has happened, as the internet sales have been soooooooo slow lately, yet when people see my jewelry IN PERSON they go nuts over it. This arrangement now gives my jewelry the opportunity to be seen in person.
Speaking of my jewels being seen in person, I wore FOCUSED yesterday when I took my daughter to her riding lesson. The stable owner, Sue Jacks at Dogwood Stables here in Jackson, went NUTS over this cat pendant/brooch and she wants me to do some smaller pendants with horses for an awards dinner she is having in November....12 horse pendants! I told her I'd create one before next Tuesday and bring it to her and see if she likes it, then work out details on pricing, etc. Thank goodness I spent most of my youth drawing and sketching horses!
So it's been a busy week here. I have another piece of GRAND news to share, but I'll put that in a separate post as this one is getting rather long.
Saturday, October 01, 2005
1) Your gift of art jewelry tells your recipient you think he or she is interested in the finer things in life.
2) An original art pendant as a gift, unlike a gift of 20-year-old whiskey, will keep on giving pleasure year after year.
3) If your gifts are distributed internationally you can't miss: art is the universal language.
4) Your original art jewelry gift is a refreshing change of pace from the usual presents.
5) You're giving something which is an exclusive, hand-made creation.
6) An original art pendant is a gift which will delight the recipient and ennoble the giver.
7) Original art jewelry is the perfect gift for that special someone - a permanent reminder of the gift, the emotion and the giver.
“This wild, wonderful web! All of the opportunities at our fingertips! Customers galore!”
“They’ll be beating down the server and I’ll have so many orders I won’t know what to do with myself!”
As a business owner, have you ever had those thoughts? Think again. :) While it may be easy-street for a select few, for most, it’s not. So how can you make sure your business is successful?
Try a little E-Mail Courtesy.
Seriously! Many of the businesses who have established themselves on the Internet haven’t the faintest idea of how to address one of the most important issues online: Customer Service.
“Why should customer service matter? My product’s right there, along with my order form.”
It does matter. Shoppers on the net are still wary. They may e-mail you first to see if they receive a response and what the response is like. They may ask questions to see if you express enough knowledge about your own products/services and to gather your enthusiasm about what you’re selling. Businesses come and go on the web, and only those who show true interest and enthusiasm about what they’re selling will survive. If the shopper is another business, they might request to exchange links -- and see how they are treated in their request. Or they may request a free sample. And all of this will most likely be done through e-mail.
So how can you and your online business show courtesy through e-mail? Here are 10 tips to get you started:
1) Answer your e-mail and answer it promptly. The Internet is FAST. It gives people information in a much shorter amount of time than having to go through a more traditional route of finding what they want. Customers expect FAST replies. An appropriate response time in my opinion should be 48 hours. No longer. If you wait a month to answer a request from a customer - forget it. They are GONE.
2) In addition to regular inquiries, answer your customer *complaints* immediately. Within 24 hours. Nothing irritates a consumer more than to order from you, receive a product with a problem, then have to wait over a week for your reply as to how they should handle the situation. If you wait longer than one day to respond to a customer with a complaint, you might as well kiss future sales to that person goodbye. Even if you don’t know what the customer and/or you can do to rectify the problem, at least make contact with the customer. Assure them you are working on it, and then DO IT. There aren’t too many *easy* sales on the net - you have to work for them, and this is one way you can accomplish your objective.
3) Address letters to your customer or potential customer in a business-like manner. Dear “Mr./Mrs. So & So” will suffice. When addressing other businesses on the net and you don’t know the name of a contact person, try something like “ATTN: Director of Marketing”.
4) If you offer something FREE for the client, whether it be information or a sample product, be sure to send it. If it is to be sent via e-mail, send it the SAME DAY. If you are not able to send information daily as it is requested, use an autoresponder. Don’t wait two weeks until the potential customer forgets they’ve ever heard of you. If you are sending a free sample, send it the SAME WEEK. Customers would expect a snail-mail package or product to arrive slower than e-mail, but no longer than a week.
5) When sending an unsolicited marketing pitch to a potential customer via e-mail, keep it short. I learned this the hard way. :)) Now, my pitch goes something like this -- “If you’d like to consider a unique, personal, and colorful advertisement for your company -- and at a reasonable price compared to traditional online advertisers -- please e-mail me or visit my web site for more information.” If the prospect is interested, the pitch isn’t forced on them before they’re ready. They can look at their leisure. Which is what you want them to do, so they’ll have the proper time to consider your offer. And of course, it doesn’t hurt to comment positively on their web site and give your impressions. :) It also will help if you buy one of the company’s products while you are visiting.
6) If someone mails you a pitch -or a request- and you’re not interested in the product or service, don’t blast them will a slew of obscenities. Don't accuse them of things. Don't "assume" things you don't know, and definitely don't put yourself on a pedestal, telling them how "professional" you are when your tone in your email indicates completely otherwise.
7) If someone gives you an award, recognition, or other form of positive communication, THANK THEM. And do so promptly. That person giving that award or special mention of your company name didn’t *have* to take the time to do it. You can assure great future relations if you immediately zip them off an e-mail expressing your thanks. After all, how long does it take? Three seconds to type “thank you” and hit “send”.
8) Follow through. If you are corresponding with a customer via e-mail on a situation, be sure to keep the contact going until the situation is resolved. The customer will appreciate your attentiveness to both them and whatever the situation might be.
9) Never, ever, ever address the customer by the *wrong name*. Always look at their letter, observe the spelling of their name, and get it right. A person’s name is an individual trait, specific to them. When addressed by the wrong name, or misspelled name, people tend to feel they don’t mean much to you, or you are showing lack of attention to detail -- not a good trait for an online vendor to display.
10) Always remember...the way in which you deal with people online - either within e-mail, on mailing lists or newsgroups -- will reflect back to you. If you make negative comments about another online vendor, the customer could lose respect for you as a business person. After all, who’s to say the next negative remark won’t be made about *that customer*?
You’ve heard “The customer is always right” and “The customer always comes first”. Both of those statements should be adhered to online, just as they would be if you were face to face with them in your off-line place of business. Because for every business online, new ones are popping up daily to provide competition. And who will be the winners? Those who are courteous and respectful of everyone online.