Saturday, 27 August 2011

What I sent

I just realised I didn't post the bead soup I sent out to the lovely Saskia.

Here it is, autumn-y, forest-y mix. Red and Green - many of these were the Red and Green beads that I bought back at the Rock and Gem show last year that inspired my Etsy Shop name - RedGreenQueen. The Glass lampwork bead is from Dizzy Di and the clasp is Vintaj Bronze. Can't wait to see what Saskia does with it.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Craft-y fair-y tips

Had a really good time last week at my first proper craft fair. It went ok, I felt quite well prepared but I thought I'd document a few pointers here, to remind me and assist others!

I don't know if this craft fair was representative of ALL craft fairs but I noted the following:

- When you are putting your float together think about your prices. I had quite a lot of items at £12 and £18 and this meant I needed quite a few 1 and 2 pound coins. And my 50p bargain basket took a few 50ps too!

- the 50p basket was really popular and good at attracting people to the stall. Maybe a £1 basket next time though.

- Set up your packaging for easy access. I had intended to wrap things in tissue paper but it was a bit of a faff with limited space. Packaging will get really important for gifts near Christmas though.

- If you can take anything to custom make while you are there, do so! I could have sold many more wire-wrapped rings if I took my mandrel, some wire and some stones.

- Offer discounts on more than one item.

- Have business cards with your web address if you have one. Vistaprint do free business cards.

- if someone is not sure about a piece, ask them what they are not sure about and offer to custom-make exactly what they want and post it. Take a deposit that covers materials and list the finished item on Etsy or take payment in advance.

- I had everything on one level, but in future I will take some boxes to raise some items. It adds interest, draws people in and stops people having to stoop to see things.

- I found that people loved to talk about gemstones, origins, variations, folklore, etc. Show off what you know!

- Next time I hope I'm not next to the pro-salesman who was very good at attracting nearby people!! ;-)

And finally, HAVE FUN! I loved talking about jewellery and gemstones all day, and people were lovely, both other stallholders and attendees. I'm really looking forward to the next one!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Sea Soup

My bead soup partner is the lovely Saskia from Germany and look at the lovely sea soup she sent me. How sweet is the teeny sea-horse! I love the wrappings the beads came in too, all swirly gothic German text. Love it. I can read a few words, but my German is not up to a full translation.

Inspired by Saskia's lovely photos and creations on her blog I am going to try to be a bit different with these and do something very organic. I love blues and taking inspiration from water but I have never actually used natural shells and little sea animals before, so this should be fun!

Sunday, 14 August 2011


I have been desperate to see some old medieval metalwork lately. I think it has been fuelled by some recent TV series I have been watching. Camelot in particular, probably Game of Thrones too. We planned to go and see the Staffordshire hoard last weekend, the biggest anglo-saxon gold find ever, found in a field in Staffordshire by a lucky chappie with a metal detector in 2009. It is currently on a bit of a mini-tour of the Midlands. I hoped to catch it last week at Lichfield Cathedral, but I didn't realise that you had to book a 20 minute(!) slot in advance. And when I tried, it was fully booked every single day whilst it is in Lichfield. It moves to Tamworth Castle at the end of August, but the only weekend slot available was in September. Rather popular! It is free though, but quite a long drive from here. Anyways, that's to look forward to and I've ordered a book to drool at photos in the meantime!

So as consolation, yesterday we had a day out to the Royal Armouries in Leeds. Metalwork heaven. I got all kinds of inspiration. I didn't see much early medieval / celtic metalwork, but metalwork on the armour from 16th / 17th century Europe was amazing. Wow. I wish I could have an apprenticeship in an armoury!

So elaborate, in this chainmail, every single link is rivetted!

The oriental section was fab too, very different. Some of the turkish arms were so elaborately decorated.

My favourite 'piece' of the whole day though was the elephant armour (large and close ups pictured). Just wow! I have some ideas for this...

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Making my mark

Oooh how exciting. Just got my first items back from the assay office and now I can (almost) see my makers mark on jewellery. Sorry, it's not a very good photo, the mark is teeny tiny, even viewed through my 10x eye loupe. That made me laugh because I made a point of choosing the London assay office because of their panther mark. It looks like a blob at this size though, or maybe a panda / teddy bear if you squint! The marks shown are - the sponsor's mark (my initials in triangles), the lion (traditional sterling silver symbol), 925 for sterling silver, the London panther head and the letter M which denotes the year 2011.

I don't think I chose the most economical way to do this, sending 4 items cost £31 including postage both ways (postage was about half of the cost), yikes. As if silver isn't expensive enough. I really wanted to test the process though (it was really fast 4 days all-in) and now I can display/sell these items as silver as opposed to precious white metal. But I think I may need to do chunky pieces in copper or silver plate and take commissions for silver versions in future!

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Craft Fair

Really looking forward to the craft fair at Stockport Town Hall on Saturday 20th August. Just off to get some new table covers today. If you're passing by...

Friday, 5 August 2011

Photo fun

Well, not really fun. I am one of those jewellery makers who hates taking photos. I just find it so time consuming when I'd rather be playing with shiny things. And my photos are never as good as the real thing.

Over time I've been picking up tips. I read an article a while back with some really useful tips on camera setup and got some useful info on the macro and AWB settings and getting a tripod. So far I have resisted buying light tents and special lighting. I don't have much storage space and I just felt that they would take ages to setup.

But on reading The Beading Gem's fab articles on the Modahaus tabletop backdrop recently, I felt the need to try it. It arrived today and I am really pleased with it. I can finally stop blue-tacking bits of white paper everywhere. Well, I will be able to when I figure out the angles. This is one of my first photos.

I can't say I enjoy photographing my pieces yet, but it's getting slowly easier to get better results I think...

(BTW if you are interested there's 10% discount code for the Modahaus thingy on The Beading Gem's blog).

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Taking the plunge...

...into the bead soup. I've watched this now for a year or so and been really impressed by all the creativity. Just hope I'm a match for it. Registrations are 1-3 August. Jump in.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Oh, errr, umm...

... has it been that long, really??

Hmmm, I could make excuses, but I'll just promise to try a little harder in future.

Here's a few pics of what I have been up to...

Labradorite and amazonite bezel set necklace.

My first foray into forging chandaliers, turquoise, amazonite, hematite and jet.

Black spinel and baroque pearl set.

Carved pyrite bead ring.

More soon!