Saturday, July 31, 2010

Gathering 2010!

Hey there everyone. I just got back from the ISGB Gathering! It was fantastic to meet all those amazing artists. So much of the work I saw on Saturday's Bead Bazaar just blew me away. I wish I could have been there the entire week. Unfortunately, I couldn't get the entire week off. Darn day job.

On Friday I saw a bunch of demonstrations. It started with Margaret Neher's beautiful boro flowers. They were so realistic. She had a table at the bead bazaar and she really does have some amazing work.

Next I shopped for 15 minutes and then back to a presentation about painting with enamels. Bronwen Heilman showed us all how she paints designs using enamels, heats it back up and then fires it. After seeing her presentation and a few other folk's beads in a similar style, I bought a bunch of enamels. I'm looking forward to playing with those.

After some lunch, Leah Fairbanks showed her amazingly detailed floral beads. I don't make a lot of florals, but I drooled over her beads for a long time before I was able to set up my studio. It was even better seeing her beads in person. She demonstrated her florals, but also showed us a bit of coldworking to make facets. If there had been a lap machine available for purchase in the vendor's area, I probably would have bought it.

Next Wesley Fleming showed his tiny detailed soft glass insects. I didn't even know you could sculpt like that in soft glass. I found that presentation very interesting. I wanted to buy one of his spiders at the bead bazaar, but they were so realistic I was a little creeped out.

Last but not least was Eun-Suh Choi. Her sculptures were made entirely of clear boro glass. They were so incredible. It may sound simple since it's all clear and a repeating pattern of branches, but they are amazing. When showing some slides of her other work, she mentioned a piece in the Corning museum that was 13 feet high. I am going to have to look for it when I'm there next.

I think in the end I was sad to go, especially since there was so much more to do on other days, but I was so packed with information I think I might have exploded with much more.

Oh, and I bought a little something for myself. This is a cored and capped big holed bead from Hayley Tsang.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

I've been slacking

Just wanted to give a quick update since it feels like I haven't been able to torch or post in a while. I feel like such a slacker lately, but I do have my excuses. I managed to crash my car and get a nasty cold in the same week. My car has been fixed, but I'm still feeling pretty crummy. Unfortunately that means no torching until I'm feeling a little better. You wouldn't believe how difficult stringer work is when you're sniffling and sneezing every two seconds.

I should be back soon. I miss my torch :(

Friday, July 2, 2010

Interview with TheMayFlower

TheMayFlower is a growing business on Etsy that sells fun and unique clothing and jewelry on Etsy.The first thing that caught my eye when browsing were these adorable little turtle earrings. Too cute!

Check out for more cute jewelry.

How did you first start your craft?

When I entered middle school, I learned the social hierarchy of cliques and how discriminating they could be. You were not considered "cool" unless you dressed a certain way and wore a certain brand. Of course, this infuriated me. I could not be accepted unless I conformed! Instead, I enrolled in weekend class at the Fashion Institute of Technology and learned how to sew and make jewelry. From then, I practiced the skills I learned day after day. I've made a few things that I've worn outside and I received many compliments from my friends and family. They encouraged me to open an Etsy shop and I did so last August.

What was life like before your craft?

I have always been artistic most of my life. At a young age, I started drawing and eventually took lessons. I learned how to use pastels, paint and sketch. It was fun at first, but I eventually got bored of it. I was never passionate about painting or sketching. Art is interesting, don't get me wrong, it just wasn't for me.

What made you take it a step further and sell?

It was my passion for designing and making jewelry that really pushed me to open an Etsy shop. All the compliments from my friends and family and the need for money were factors too, but it was the fact that I loved doing this that convinced me to open shop.

Where do you sell? What are the pros and cons about selling in this venue?

Right now, I only sell on Etsy. I started expanding to MyHandmade and UsTrendy, but I don't know if it will produce sales. The great thing about Etsy is that there are a lot of buyers who love discovering handmade products, but the downside is how many sellers are on Etsy. I'm competing with hundreds of thousands of other shop owners and it takes a lot of effort to get noticed!! The positive about selling on MyHandmade is that I get to choose how much % of sales they receive. The negative is that there aren't as many buyers as Etsy. UsTrendy seems to be more toward my target audience, but again it faces the same problem as MyHandmade; the number of buyers are significantly less.

What is your daily routine?

Oh gosh. I don't have a routine! My life is too crazy to have a schedule! I am a full time college student, so during the school year I am basically limited, but I do not stop crafting at all. I will stay up nights on end thinking of new ideas or sewing a garment or piecing together a necklace. During the breaks, I tend to wake up, exercise, eat breakfast, check emails and Etsy convos, chat in the forums and promote a bit, finish up any orders i have, eat lunch, come up with new ideas, promote some more, take a break (read a book, listen to music, exercise some more, etc) and then execute my new ideas. But I dislike monotony, so I take some days off and babysit, or play ultimate frisbee with my team, go out to lunch with the girls,and other things like that.

How do you define your style?

I think the perfect way to put it is in Leonardo Da Vinci's words: "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."

What are your goals for the future?

My first goal is to create more clothing pieces. I want to expand into shirts, shorts, pants, cardigans and other items. I'm also planning on making printed t-shirts and open a separate Etsy shop for them. In addition, I also want to make more headbands. I started with a few this year, and they were fun to make, so I'm trying to find new ideas! My second is to blog a bit more! I usually don't have enough time, but I'm trying to at least write one post once a week.

Who or what inspires you?

A lot of things inspire me, but my surroundings have the most impact. If you look at my Spring/Summer collection for this year, I was mostly inspired by gardens, clusters of flowers, vines, acorns, etc. that I have seen. A lot of designers inspire me as well. Leanne Marshall and Halston are two of my favorite. Their designs are simple, yet elegant and stylish, and I strive to make my jewelry and clothing pieces the same way.

Do you have any tips of advice for others in your medium and other crafters?

Well, I'm still a newbie, so I don't know if my advice is any good. But one thing you should always do is constantly check Google Analytics. Don't just create an account and ignore it. Use it. It's very helpful. It allows you to determine how many views you get in a day, bounce rate, how many visitors you have each hour in a day, where they're from, what page they landed on when they were searching, what keywords they used to search. It can really help you find the correct tags for your listings, so that you're targeting the correct audience.