Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Launch Day!

I'm excited, nervous, thrilled and 100% exhausted.
I've been working really hard for the last month or so ready to add a new section to my Etsy shop where I will be selling collages as well as the jewellery that I have sold in the past.
I guess a lot of people knew that I was going to be doing this because I have been talking people's ears off about it for weeks. The one downside to having a job that you completely love is that you want to tell everyone about it, even if they don't want to listen. My very talented friend, Anna and I have recently been talking about how different it is discussing your job when it's something so personal and creative.

I am still super busy tracking down suppliers (one of mine recently vanished), working on new pieces and trying to tell as many people as possible about the exciting new artwork side to my shop. Just in case that wasn't blunt enough - please, pretty please tell anyone that you think might be interested in having a look at the shop either for the jewellery or the collages. I would be very grateful. And I do generally show my gratitude with cookies or cakes...

A final thank you to everyone who has been keeping me sane either in person or over the net while I have been working on this venture. Fingers crossed now!


Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Collage Papers

I have been making jewellery for about seven years now and have been selling it on Etsy as well as in shops and markets. I love Etsy, as I've previously said, but I am not sure about my shop. After spending time talking to other Etsy sellers, friends and family I am thinking of expanding the shop.
My Current Etsy Products
My latest plan is to put some print collages that I have made into my Etsy shop. This is something that I have been considering for a while. And by ‘a while’  I mean roughly a week. It was a spur of the moment decision that has had meant I’ve had no sleep since I thought of it. 
Collage in a Pine Coloured Frame
I declared myself self-employed around about six months ago now and once I had made that commitment there were few decisions I took lightly. I had a little savings and very generous parents but when you’re serious about trying to make your own business work everything seems like a life-or-death decision. Which is of course, completely untrue but it’s very easy to lose perspective. One of the perils of working alone is that there is no-one to talk you down off the ledge when you start to go into headless-chicken-panic-mode.
How the Collage looks in a coloured frame
I am not going to be stopping selling, or making jewellery but instead I am hoping that collage will add another string to my bow, hopefully work well on Etsy and give me an increased chance of making this my profession as well as my passion.
I want to put a good range of collages online and also have options for custom items as well as being able to personalise (with names, dates etc.) pre-made items. They will be presented in a pine coloured frame but I'll also have an option for different coloured frames for those who want it.
I began making collages while I was in my final year at university as a way of presenting the poetry I was writing at the time. I never meant to do anything more with them and they were just wall decorations as a source of inspiration for me. As a side note, I do have those first poetry collages on my walls while I am making my current collages for Etsy!
The inspiration for most of the pieces that I am making nowadays come from some form of literature, I will do a post later on about where ideas come from. For now, I will say that most good books and poetry collections that I read make me want to create a new collage, as do occasional pieces of music.
Now, I need help if anyone out there is willing to give me some suggestions. I've got a couple of questions that I will be asking people via email, on etsy, facebook and twitter as well as here.
1. If I have a new section of my shop for collages, should I put all of my jewellery back into one section, rather than having the bracelets, necklaces and kits separate as they are at the moment?
2. Do you prefer descriptive titles (Purple Print Collage) or more decorative ones (Collage of Farmhouse Lilacs in Bloom)?
3. Does anyone have any insight into copyright issues? I have done a lot of research into this because I do not want to get into legal hot water, and more than that I do not want to be taking work from artists. I should say that people on Etsy have been really helpful on this as well. I have tried very hard to make sure that all of the collages are my own work and not recognisably from others but also they are a commentary on existing art and images so I would love input on this issue.
4. If you think this is a huge mistake, please do tell me, I will be grateful for all your thoughts!
If you want to help out please leave a comment or drop me an email!

I've already had a couple of people helping me out on this and I know they read this blog and so thank you very much!
I'll finish with a couple of pictures of my work area. I tidied it for the pictures, there are normally mugs with tea or coffee in them, a laptop and a pile of reading books as well!

My Workspace with all of my inspiration pieces on the walls

Me, working.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

This Week

This week I have mostly been eating:

Triple chocolate death cookies. Adapted from a Nigella recipe, with more chocolate added, different flour and varied cooking times.

Homemade bread. I enjoy using my parents' bread machine when I am at 'home' but I don't like the way that it cooks the bread so I make the dough in the machine and then hand shape it before baking it in the oven.

Salted butter caramel which was a complete disaster. Well, maybe not complete. It tastes great but there is an awful lot of it and it refuses to set so I have no idea what to do with it. I am going to try making some chocolates with caramel in, otherwise I'll be eating it all with a spoon. Healthy, right? I've also finally tried making a ribollita which was gorgeous and I will certainly be making that again. There's no picture - I ate it before I remembered to take one. Because of the cold weather I've been at home quite a bit which has allowed for lots of slow cooking, mainly roasting. Luckily walking around everywhere has burnt a fair bit of all this naughty food away.  

This week I've been working on:

Making Etsy treasuries. I've never done this before but they are addictive and I'll be making more very soon I feel.

Adding a page on Facebook. It's not that I didn't think of using Facebook before, but up until recently they allowed you to have an Etsy tab within your profile, so now that this has gone away I've made a page for the business.

I've also been joining groups, adding people to circles and favourite as well as just generally trying to improve my profile online. This was spurred by the snow-blockade of last weekend when I was stuck and couldn't get to my favourite craft show of the year so I decided to make the most of the extra time.

This week I've been interneting here:

The very lovely Adele and her super-hero team have put up the first edition of Un:Bound Video Editions which manages to be both informative and fun at the same time. Go and check it out, there's no 'or else...' but you will be missing out!

I've forgotten which of my friends popped this online but it's brilliant. (Possibly Emma Jane who has a real knack for finding amazing things on the web so I usually assume she found all the best links.) It reminds me of being on the beach when I was very young and went on holiday with my cousins. While we didn't manage anything like this, my genius of a cousin (not exaggerating - he's the smartest person I know) used to build sandcastles that had foundations and were structurally sound. I added the shells.

St. Kilda Football Club Luckily for me, and unfortunately for everyone who talks to me, things are kicking off over in the AFL again. This means I will be getting excited about drafts, rookies, games, analysis and how amazing these guys are. Again. Apologies.

This week I've been reading:

*The Library of the Dead - Glenn Cooper. I'm not sure who recommended this to me but it's not one I would pass on. Stock characters and too many different time zones that jumped around a lot. It's a shame because the basic idea was original, clever and gripping.
*Hush, Hush - Becca Fitzpatrick. Another one I wouldn't pass one. This time the idea was unoriginal, unconvincing and dull.
*Selected Poems - Lawrence Durrell. I've lost count of how many times I've read this but it never gets any less perfect.
*The Summoning & The Awakening - Kelley Armstrong. Enjoyed this one but an awful lot of it feels like set-ups for the next book. I love the idea and the plot keeps getting better. My main niggle with it was that the main character, who wants to be a film director, keeps stating how she would film the events if she was making a movie. Very irritating but easy enough to skim over.
*Succubus Blues - Richelle Mead. A good mix of characters and some interesting twists (you could see most of them coming but they were still intriguing and well worked out). Definitely going to keep going with the series.
I'm not putting links for the books because these aren't real reviews - I've not written this week's batch yet!

And now the snow has finally started melting so hopefully a warmer, more mobile week to come. Happy weekends to all.


Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Crazy for Etsy

I love selling on Etsy, it's easy, safe and there is a great community spirit. I've been spending a lot of time on their website recently, updating my shop and finally adding some necklaces as well. The busiest time of the year for jewellery makers, and I suspect a lot of other crafters as well is the run-up to Christmas. There are a lot of markets, craft fairs and fetes about as well as people looking for interesting gifts for friends and family. Many shoppers at the moment are looking for handmade, local and individual crafts to give as gifts this Christmas which is great news for those of us who make just such products! The online Etsy community has been given a boost with the addition of 'Circles' which now appear when you sign into the website. You can add your favourite shops and sellers into your own circle and then keep updated on what they are doing and see what they recommend as well. This has taken up many hours of my time already as I click from one shop to the next playing a crafty sort of six degrees of separation. The best thing about this new way of connecting people is finding some shops that you would never have spotted before. I spend a lot of time (and money, obviously) shopping online and it is refreshing to look at sellers statistics and see 100% positive feedback all of the time. I can say with my hand on my heart that I have yet to encounter a seller, or buyer on Etsy who does not have a perfect feedback rating. This is a credit to everyone working at Etsy and everyone selling or buying there as well. I am about to re-list some old favourites as well as some exciting new jewellery pieces in my shop and I am going to be promoting them on Twitter and anywhere else I can manage over the next week or so. I've also got a couple of new Treasury ideas up my sleeve which I'll be popping online some time in the near future. The pictures in this blog are largely of pieces you can expect to see very soon - a sneak preview, if you will! Pounce allows you to look at new sellers or shops which have just made a sale. There are so many ways of finding just what you are looking for on Etsy that I cannot recommend it highly enough for people looking for gifts this holiday season. I spent several happy hours the other day looking at all of the snow-related items that came up on pounce and created this little Treasury to show them. And if you are looking for individual, local jewellery then you can always have a peek at my shop as well! Vick. @vclinde