Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wet Wednesday

I still cannot believe the intensity of the rain late yesterday, which came down in buckets.  It has been a long time since I have seen this much rain fall in such a short period of time! There are mounds of mulch in places in my yard that should not have mulch. Apparently, there is more rain to come. Yippee!

In the meantime, I have managed to make just a few things for my shop. I had not yet cleaned up my work bench (which I do almost daily, believe it or not, as I am a complete slob when I am working), so my stamps were still sitting right in front of me when I made these earrings.

I soldered on a teeny tiny sterling flower on the bottom, made from my shot plate, and added some hand cut sterling eyelets.  Talk about slim slivers of silver (say that 3 times fast)! But...look at those most awesome lampwork beads by GlassBeadArt!  They have tiny holes melted into them....if they were not the most excellent eggplant shade of purple, you would swear they just landed on the beach straight form the ocean, or were unearthed from some archaeological dig!  

I made another pair of sterling hoops, and while looking for something to dangle in the center, I happened upon the most glorious strand of rough-cut labradorite! When did I buy these?  Why have I not used them yet?  I am a bead-hog....

Most of the labrasdorite I have been able to get my hands on does not have this much flash! 

I posted a picture of a SOLD bracelet on Facebook, and a very nice woman tagged me and asked if I could make one for her.  Although she has seen the pictures, it was just mailed yesterday...I do hope she likes it!.

But, I made a second one at the same time. "They" say that creating in production is more time efficient. may have been efficient, but it was exhausting! I domed the second copper cabochon so it would create a smaller focal, and I changed up the hand made chain. 

 It's the chain that takes so long to make...but, I do love it!

Lastly, I made this bracelet, which features a gorgeous jade cabochon.

I made the sterling bead from heavy, thick patterned sterling silver wire.  I had to anneal that metal several times to forge it into a round bead, but I think it turned out nicely.  

Another new-to-me handmade chain, too.  The links are made from 16 gauge wire...again...lots of annealing...but the weave is substantial, and it is so fluid!

I am going to completely change the subject.  Earlier this year, I spent a long time setting up my own website via Indiemade ( Etsy now allows mass produced merchandise from "who knows where", and it is just not the "handmade" platform that it once was. I have also heard firsthand from several artists where Etsy simply "closed their shop"...for, according to the artist, no reason.  I am not that comfortable with that control feature that Etsy has maintained.  I opened my website in the hopes of closing my Etsy store.  But, I still get a few sales from Etsy, so for now, I am keeping it.

Although my past working career required me to be computer literate (in addition to writing, I worked with a lot of graphics programs), I feel 2 years old sometimes when it comes to "new-to-me" technology.  Setting up the website was cumbersome to me (a normal person probably would have zero issues setting up their site)! Now that it has been up and running for several months, I wonder why it was difficult! Anyway, the beauty is that my website links to Etsy - in other words, if a purchase is made on my website, the item is immediately noted as sold in Etsy - and vice-versa.  Etsy has fees - fees for listing, fees for selling. The fees for my Indiemade site are only monthly and are basically up to me, based upon the Indiemade Level that I choose. No listing fees, and no percentage-of-sale-fees. It is a good fit for me.  

Amazon is about to launch its Handmade at Amazon site.  I applied - it's a juried entry to ensure items sold are truly handmade - and I was accepted to join. I actually was excited to join.  Then came the "Agreement" via email...the Fine Print, as I call it. For the first year, Amazon is waiving the monthly fee (which is quite high, in my opinion, for my tiny little shop),  The per-sale fee is also too rich for my blood. And, Amazon does not allow "watermarks" on any shop photos - or any props in photos, for that matter.  That means we are now talking about retaking lots of photographs. I don't watermark my images now - a watermark is a faint image that is actually embedded into the photo, usually covering part of your, in my case, jewelry design.  I do, however, add my name and a copyright insignia to each photo.  The images basically become the property of Amazon.  Although I am truly not worried about anyone "copying" anything I make, the fact that the picture IS MINE and represents MY WORK, yet I cannot label it as mine, just kinda rubs me the wrong a Red Flag kind of way.  I cannot put my finger on exactly why the entire Handmade at Amazon process is bothering me, but it is.  

I make jewelry as a creative outlet.  I enjoy it - I do not have to do it. I get an intense feeling of satisfaction when I take raw materials and make something beautiful with it, that I hope, brings just a tiny bit of excitement to the new Owner. I feel for artisans who do this to pay their bills - I could not. I put in hours selecting the supplies, designing the item, making the jewelry, finishing the jewelry (the finishing sometimes takes longer than the making!), photographing the piece, listing the item, and don't even start me on marketing that item!  It takes an inordinate number of hours in a day. All told, I work more hours now, creating jewelry, than I did at my last job. But, my art is for charity - I donate my proceeds to  Miracle Horse Rescue (MHR).  It is a win/win for me - I am kept off the streets and out of trouble, and MHR gets to keep the few bucks I make and put the money to good use.

For anyone reading this that has delved into the Handmade at Amazon market, I commend you, as I know the amount of hours involved in setting up the shops. I sincerely wish you all tons and tons of success!

Thanks for stopping by today ....have a wonderful rest of the week!