Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mixed Metal Jewels in Sacramento

Our yearly jaunt to the Sacramento Art Festival is almost upon us and we are busy finishing jewels getting ready for the trip and the sale.
Weather is incredibly beautiful here on the Mendocino coast so sometimes it's hard to stay inside. October is often one of the most pleasing months here weather wise. We are happy though that we have been getting some rain and are actually ahead in rainfall totals from last year, that's a good thing. It's been interesting watching brown and dried up looking lawns get green really fast with the gift of water.

We're still enjoying making jewelry and are certainly enjoying doing so many fewer shows, down to 6 out of town shows and for the first time in 37 years we are not doing a show on Thanksgiving weekend. I organized the show that we did for about 30 of those years, here in Mendocino and before that up in Nevada City. I make jewelry about 24 hours a week and Carlie a little less than that. Next year I plan to cut back a little more to 20 hours a week.

We had a wonderfully relaxing trip to the southern Oregon coast a few weeks ago and I'll be putting some pictures of the trip up on my photo blog in the not too distant future. Hope to see you at the Sacramento show, it is truly the highest quality art show that happens in the Sacramento area.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

After Kings Mountain

I thought I would get this collage of jewelry images posted sooner than now but that proved not to be true. These are all pieces that we displayed for the first time at the recent Kings Mountain Art Fair on Labor Day Weekend. About half of them were purchased there and have found new homes. The show was very successful for us , it is certainly now our best fair each year, and last year, it's 50th anniversary turned out to be our best show in the over 45 years we have been doing fairs. It's encouraging that we can still break those kinds of records.

Back when we started doing fairs, we were living in Berkeley at the time, I was wholesaling jewels to shops all over the bay area and sometimes in southern California, I really didn't know what a craft fair was, but one day a friend mentioned that there was a craft fair the coming weekend in Live Oak Park in north Berkeley. I went and checked it out on Saturday and met a ceramic pipe maker who agreed to share his space with me on Sunday. I returned then and, not having a display of any kind, just spread an Indian bedspread out on the ground and put out what jewelry I had. I think I sold $3-$400 dollars of work that afternoon, which doesn't sound like very much now, but, at the time, was a significant sum to me. The next week I started checking out other fairs in the bay area and heard about the Kings Mountain Fair, applied and got accepted. My display the first time I did the Kings Mountain fair was an old piece of plywood I found out in the redwood forest there, set up on rocks, making it about a foot high, and then covered with the same Indian bedspread from Berkeley. Well, the experience I had there changed the direction of my life and here I am, still making a living selling my work at art fairs. I don't remember actually how much money I made then but I do remember basically selling just about every single piece that I displayed (this was before Carlie became a creator of jewelry). I also remember that the most expensive piece I had at the time was less than $50. As our jewelry making and selling career gradually winds down, Kings Mountain will be the last show that we let go of I expect. Not only because of the money making, although that's important, but because of the other aspects of our experience there, seeing artist friends that we only get to see once a year, getting to spend a wonderful weekend up in that beautiful redwood forest and the first rate job that the fair organizers and volunteers do to make the weekend fun, easy and successful.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Mixed Metal Jewelry

It's actually fairly amazing that I still like making jewelry after having done it for almost 5 decades.
Part of the enjoyment is the game like play that I make it, always searching for new ideas, tricks, variations, techniques and so forth. I saw early on that if I didn't make it into something that was enjoyable in an ongoing way that I would not be able to do it for a long time. Also continuing to make different forms lets longtime customers find something to acquire that is different from the pieces that they have already purchased. Such a high percentage of our sales at shows are to people that have bought before.

I am certainly enjoying being semi retired, it is very relaxing. Only 4 more fairs for the rest of the year. That's a big change for us.

I still have another picture collage I'm working on of our most recent work just finished in the last few days. I'll get it posted in a few days, some interesting pieces.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Home Making MIxed Metal Jewels

Our two spring fairs are done and were both very successful for us as well as pleasant and easy. A big thank you to both Chico and Los Altos. We've taken some time off from making jewelry as I was getting ready for one of my book sales in Caspar as well as organizing the annual flea market at the community center there. All went well but I'm glad my life is a little simpler now. We started working in the jewelry studio again tonight and will be focusing on making jewels in the upcoming weeks before our two summer shows in Mendocino in July. I hope to be making bracelets soon as I have a number of people interested in them. You might think that I'm in charge of what I make but that's not exactly the way it is for me. I sit down at my bench and it sort of happens to me as much as me deciding what to make. So far this year it has been mostly pendants with a few rings but I think I feel bracelets coming. I've found that if I try to force things to happen the work doesn't go as well. If I just sit down and let my hands start making what they want I find that I make better pieces, I'm happier, I'm healthier and I make more money. Well, that seems like a winning combination of factors to me. It's also true that I can always sit down and make beautiful jewels that sell well but I'm not always creative, which is trying new things and jumping into new and uncharted territory. Creativity is not something I can turn off and on with a switch, I can only try to be ready for it when it comes and practice certain things that help it arrive. When it comes it's kind of electric and exciting and ignites my passion and sometimes leads me into really interesting new areas of work.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Mixed Metal Jewels from our New Studio

It took us longer than anticipated to get our new studio workshop set up and running in our new house in Ft. Bragg. It's been so long since we had moved that we forgot what a substantial effort was required to do it. Now we are comfortably working in the studio and enjoying our new living place and being in town for a change.
Our spring show schedule has a very big change in that we are taking a year off from the Whole Earth Festival this year after having participated for the last 37 years consecutively. We enjoy Whole Earth and usually do well there but it's a very energy intensive event to do, so, after all the work of the move and setting up the new studio we decided to take a vacation from it for this year. We will be back in Davis at the art center holiday fair in December and in Sacramento in November. More details coming on our show schedule page.

We've been walking a lot in Ft. Bragg and have been exploring the alleys of which there are many. I've been taking pictures of things I find interesting and have posted some on my picture blog at Another nice thing about having a larger space in this house is that I have a permanent space set up for taking jewelry pictures so I hope to post more of those in the near future.

Friday, March 7, 2014

In Our New Home

 I haven't posted in a while because after living in the same house in Caspar for 17 years, we have moved about 10 miles north into the coastal town of Ft. Bragg. Quite a change in some ways but mostly ones that we like. We have a lot more space in the new house, so if I can resist the temptation to fill it up with stuff, it's good. I was amazed at how much stuff I had collected in 17 years in the Caspar house. WOW. And I had to move it all. Thinning out though, as part of the process, 20 boxes of stuff have gone to the thrift store or the dump. We like being able to
walk to things we had to drive to before, the post office, hardware store, yoga class, food stores, movie theater AND the ocean. I took these pictures today at glass beach which is about a 12 minute walk. It was so pleasant sitting in the sun. A harbor seal crawled out of the ocean to the rocks just to the right of Carlie and a giant V of 60 or so geese flew by overhead while we were there. Crabs, sea gulls, cormorants in abundance of course. I got our new jewelry studio set up and functioning

a few days ago and we are starting the process of making new mixed metal jewels. I'll be posting pictures of some of them soon. We don't start doing art shows until May this year so have a little time to play and be creative. We'll see what comes from our hands and minds. I'm excited also because I have a very large room upstairs that I'm setting up for a drawing/painting/collage work studio as well as a book sorting/working room for that side of my life. Will post our upcoming show schedule soon.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Mixed Metal Jewels in Chico

For the 34th year we are in Chico for our annual selling visit to the Bah! Humbug Festival of Crafts. This year we are at the Senator Theater on Main Street. The last time we were at this location was in the year 2000 and we had a very successful show that year. We probably have the best selection of mixed metal jewels that we have ever had at this show, that's what happens when you cut way back on the number of shows that you do but keep making the same amount of jewelry. We are happy to report that we had a good first day at the fair, a number of our regular longtime customers came to see us and many left the fair with a new mixed metal jewel to enjoy.
We are looking forward to day two and the rest of the fair.

Over the many years we have participated in the Bah! Humbug Festival it has been in many different locations in Chico but because of our almost 40 years of satisfied customers in the area we have always done very well. A great number of our jewels are being worn and enjoyed in Chico.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Our Newest Mixed Metal Jewels

 This is recent work, most of which we will have at the Mendocino Art Center's fair on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. A couple of these pieces were sold at the Sacramento Arts Festival.
I just finished taking pictures of all of the pieces to the right here a couple of hours ago. We will have all of these new pieces and more at the Mendocino fair. As you can see, we have been setting a lot of pieces of abalone, probably more than we ever have. It is such a special material. We are enjoying finding other stones that go with it in jewels. The multi colored iridescense in the abalone shell has a multitude of colors in it that blends with other stone colors.

Friday, November 1, 2013

After Day One of the Sacramento Arts Festival

We've just finished the first day of the Sacramento Arts Festival and had a successful and full day.
Lots of people who appreciate our work came to visit and a goodly number of them took new jewels home to enjoy. The show opened at 10am and by 10:04 we had a small crowd around our booth. A couple of fellow artists told me that there were more people there than in the rest of the show at that time. I can understand wanting to come early to see all of our new stuff because pieces start finding homes pretty fast. That is why at many of our shows the first day is often our best day. We're at our motel now, winding down, hoping to get a good night's sleep so we can be ready to do it again tomorrow.