Thursday, June 29, 2006


So yesterday was our first Farmer's Market of the year. It was raining (which it has done since the begining of May with only a couple dry days) and we were offered the chance to back out. About half the vendors decided to brave the rain and the muddy field. We confidently went off to the market with our brand new EZ-UP. Last year we had a tent made up of approximately 1 million little poles about 2 feet long. It took about 20 minutes to set up, which is an eternity if it's raining. So we set up our EZ-UP and start arranging tables under it and then we see drips. Hmmm...maybe we need to treat the seams? Ten minutes later it is obvious that it's not the seams. No water is collecting on the tent, 100% of it is coming through the top. Boy were we unhappy. One call to the EZ-UP warrentee dept later, a new top is on it's way to us, hopefully it will arrive before our next market. So, if you bought an EZ-UP from BJs wholesale club in March or April, you might want to test it with a garden hose before you end up in the rain with it. They seem to have had a bad batch, and didn't ask us to send in the receipt or anything, just asked where and when we bought it, and what address we wanted the new top sent to.

In other news, we added a counter a couple months ago and are now up to 1000 hits. That's 1000 separate page loads, not 1000 visitors, but it's a neat milestone anyway. I just wish we'd put it on in January when we started!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Shopping update

An update on Saturday's shopping trip...we spent more than we hoped but much much less than we feared. So it's all good.

My haul, apparently I really like hematite. What I really love is the matte hematite (the rounds in the bottom center of the pic). Lots-o-sterling, for putting things together (I ended up with all the headpins as things got split up...not sure how that happened). Some mother of pearl and FWP.

Fans and misc findings, and some 4mm for EP, which we are holding hostage until she backs up the master spreadsheet somewhere safe and then comes to visit us again.

EK has already run off with her share. Her share is probably the largest since she didn't come with EP and I to shop in Mass. (And even though it looks pretty big here, EP's share of this is probably the smallest since she didn't come this time).


Sunday, June 25, 2006

Thoughts to Ponder: Artists and Crafters could use a degree in consumer psychology

I'm reading "Crafts and Craft Shows: How to Make Money" by Philip Kadubec. I avoided this one for a while since the cover is cheaply done and cheesy, but the old saying about judging the book by it's cover still holds true. Anyway, it's a great book. Again, since we're on the high end of craft stuff and the low end of art, there are sections of this book that don't completely apply. He does have good advice about choosing shows and booth design.

From a section on loss leaders (an item priced at or below cost to draw people in, like cheap milk at a convienience store):

"As with everything else in the crafts business, there is an exception. An artist friend of ours, who worked in oils, taught me this. In front of his booth he always had a very large painting that he priced at $5,000. That may seem like an unusual price for a loss leader, but in this case the goal was different. He knew, just as well as I, that virtually no one goes to a craft show to buy a $5,000 painting. If they are going to spend that much money, they'll go to a reputable, established art galler. He never did sell that painting at a craft show, but he sure sold a lot of small paintings and prints. Customers looked at and admired the $5,000 painting; somehow the price established his credentials as an artist. Then they thought they were getting a bargin on anything that they did purchase. "

We've noticed that our most expensive piece never sells as well are our second most expensive piece. And you do have to choose what to bring based on your the farmer's market we bring some of our less expensive stuff, while we're taking all the good stuff to Boston.


Saturday, June 24, 2006

Fun times!!

EA and I are off to Gemstar to do a massive shopping trip for our superfabulous Christmas show in Boston*!! I bet y'all can just imagine the two of us rubbing our hands together and grinning widely - "kid in a candy store" doesn't even begin to describe this. . . . .

*that would be the 20th Annual Christmas Festival at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston - November 3-5, 2006.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

RnT Bead Show

Wow. We went to the Rings n Things traveling bead show yesterday. All I can say is "wow." We spent about four hundred dollars, which seems like a lot, but here's what I brought home (half of the stuff stayed with EP, so imagine more stuff like this). And these are bad low-light pics, sorry.

Corner drilled cubes, about six mm per side, blue goldstone, tiger eye, sodalite, rhodonite, rose quartz, Australian green jasper:

Black silverleaf, cape amethyst, poppy jasper, rose quartz hexagons, blue goldstone faceted diamonds:

Mother of pearl:

Um, this one is upside down, how did I do that? (In my defense it was late). Labradorite (shines like opal or moonstone, oooh...sparkly), sugilite (also sparkly), citrine, ruby zoisite:

More Australian green jasper, tiger eye, and some silver:

And the last few bits (also upside down), tiger eye, citrine, pearls the color of garnet:

It was totally overwhelming, there was soooo much stuff at good prices (plus lots of stuff that was "good prices" but still way out of our league). Far too many people, although the staff was very good at checking people out and the line moved pretty well. The lighting was not the best, RnT had some of their own lights plus the room lighting, but it was still dim in the corners. We piled lots of stuff onto our trays and then sat on the floor and sorted through it all. We did stay relatively close to our list, or at least we justified all our purchases to ourselves!


Friday, June 16, 2006


Our cooperative gallery has started their classes. They begin in July and are held in places like Canaan, Lebanon, Enfield, etc. Check them out on the CMAA site, third link down on the left.

Personally I'd love to take the silversmithing class, but the Farmer's market is the same day and runs too late. Oh well, maybe in the fall.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

How the Heck?

How does one go about deciding how many things to make for a show with 31,000 attendees last year? It boggles the mind, and a 25% mistake could lead to a lot of extra inventory (or an empty booth by the end). I'm sure in a couple of years we'll look back on this and laugh, but right now it seems like an impossible guess.

No real info, so here's another pic from our trip. This is the church in Vico Equense near where we stayed:

Friday, June 09, 2006

Book Report: How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist

I think it's about time for a book report. Today's book is: How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist: Selling Yourself Without Selling Your Soul by Caroll Michels.

This book is very oriented towards visual artists, especially those who intend to make a career out of selling art. Therefore, for us as crafty/jewelry people who are planning on staying part-time for about the next five years, some of the advice isn't all that relevant. However there are a lot of interesting things in the book, and a lot that will be useful to us now and in the future.

She talks about pricing your work (always a hard thing when you're starting out, and sometimes for longer than that), dealing with dealers, presentation and marketing and generating income. Her main point is that the business side of art is important, and the talking points boil down to:
Don't let a dealer take advantage of you: She gives helpful tips for dealing with dealers, which can also be applied to consignment stores. She outlines what is normal in an artist-dealer relationship, which is helpful for new people in the field who might not know what to expect. Without artists making art, art dealers would have nothing to don't let dealers walk all over you.
Don't assume you need another job on the side to support yourself: Pricing and marketing can help your art bring in enough to support you. There are other other options including illustration, book cover design, fabric design, graphic design, licensing art, printmaking, etc. She discusses the pros and cons of teaching art while launching an art career, and what to look for when choosing a second job outside the art world.
Don't ignore marketing: Don't assume the gallery is going to do the marketing correctly. Plan out your promotion, advertising and publicity, following the enclosed timeline.

The second half of the book is a listing of resources (books, software, websites, organizations, etc) that is pretty useful and can give you an idea of what is out there and what to look for even if the exact group she lists doesn't work out for you.

How can you dislike a book with chapter titles like "10. Rationalization, Paranoia, Competition, and Rejection"?


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Christmas trees in June??

she's crazy, you may think. What's up with "Christmas trees in June?"

That would be me getting ready for our November show - excited much?? So much so that I made a bunch of christmas tree earrings that look a little something like this. . .

And they're not so much earrings as they are tree shapes awaiting ear hooks. . .

But I'm accepting the fact that I'm not leaving this until October 31st as a personal victory =)

Opportunity Knocks

We've have some exciting developments leading to exciting upcoming events. First and largest in the excitement/terror department, we've been accepted into the Christmas Festival in Boston. 350 vendors, 31,000 attendees last year. Now we just need to figure out how much stuff to make and take. The worst thing that could happen is to run out of stuff, and the second worst is to take home 600 unsold necklaces, since we don't move inventory all that fast (hopefully that will be changing).

Second development is the brand new co-operative gallery that we're a part of has opened, and during the opening night reception EP sold both of her pieces in the show! EK and I each have one piece (neither sold yet, though I'm not sure we expected them to...). This gallery (CMAA) has had their lottery for exhibitors for the rest of the year (4-8 person group shows), and EP and I are part of the September group show, and EK is part of the October show. For directions/hours see this post.

Third development is the upcoming opening of a consignment craft shop in our collective hometown, Enfield NH. This is good for us (we've been asked to provide some things) and also for the town. The town is quite small and the main street shopping area has been pretty empty for years. A new bakery has opened up recently, a couple other business have moved into that building, and now this shop opening up next door approx August 5th. It's all moving forward nicely and the town is doing better.

Last but not least, we are heading into the opening of our yearly Farmer's Market. June 28th is the first market, so I need to get my act together and make sure I'm free Wed afternoons. Of course we bought a nice, new, spiffy EZ-UP that doesn't fit into my tiny car. So, either I have to buy a new vehicle large enough to hold it before June 28 (I think I have $2.63 that I found behind all the couch cushions, but other than that no money) or I have to start borrowing other people's cars. EK lives nearby but her car is, if anything, smaller than mine. It feels really odd at my age to call up my dad and ask to borrow the car...

So all-in-all, this is going to be a year with a lot of opportunity. I guess I had assumed I'd be further along with the house (and maybe have all the repairs done and it on the market by this summer) before things started getting this hectic.


Monday, June 05, 2006

I Love Carnelian!

Okay, so we took a business trip to Gemstar this weekend, and I got a couple of strands of the most fabulous carnelian nuggets. I made this 'bracelet', the only problem is that it is (at least for me) a little too large as a bracelet. I've found that it fits well on my ankle, however. The beads are on 18g sterling silver wire and I made the clasp the end of my last bead wire. The pic is a little blurry and we don't have any decent lighting where I'm photoing (is that a word?).


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Beach Totes-to-be

Found some really fabulous fabric on sale this weekend. The weather was nice so the store wasn't too crowded even with the sales. Anyway, this is regular cotton fabric so it will need some stiff interfacing for large totes. I'm thinking about 17 inches wide and maybe 15 inches tall with 6 or seven across the flat bottom. Not sure really, will that be big enough for two towels, sunscreen, a book, etc? Anyway, here are the two color choices I bought: