Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Something new.... perhaps

I've had an idea buzzing around in the back of my head for several weeks, and today I had the time and space to actually make a few prototypes. Two people have seen it so far - one loved them and one said 'I don't do novelty jewellery'. My sister is always so honest. What do you think? I'd love further feedback... below or on FB is you prefer.

Sorry about low quality photos!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Funny names!

If you've read my blog before, you'll know that I'm busy making loads of name necklaces, and a few have come up more than once - Sarah, Ellie Olivia - and I've had a couple of more original ones - Mrs.O, MrsBowles (I like to think that's Camilla), RoRo (LOVE this as it's what my children call my sister Rosie!), but over the weekend I received a more unusual one. Er.... or odd. Well, I thought so at least, but it turns out I'm just old. The name I've been asked to do is Spaz. Uh huh, you read that right. Well, after much uhmming and ahhing, I rang notonthehighstreet. Was I over-reacting I asked? It turns out I am apparently, as it's a nickname from Anna. Anna Spanner, shortened to Spaz. Really? Oh well. Clearly it's a generational thing.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Panic Planning - dontcha just love it?

Today I had a mild panic. Or was it really that mild? The North Bristol Art Trail is just a month away and am I ready? Am I hell. So once I'd got all my parcels to the Post Office (and bought a delicious coffee to fortify myself) I made a list. A very long list.

This year I'm showing at my friend Kate's house, rather than at fig. I've exhibited at fig two years running and I've never shown in someone's house, so it seemed a good idea to try it out. Naturally, I didn't think of the ramifications - like the fact that I might be ridiculously busy with notonthehighstreet work, now, when I would normally be making stock, or that I might still want a small amount of work at fig. So now the reality has dawned, I realise I need to have extra stock so that I have cabinet of goodies at fig, along with some stock to top up anything that sells, plus full collections, and stock at Kate's. That's a lot of pieces.

So tonight I have bitten the silver bullet, so to speak, and ordered nearly £500 worth of silver - argh! That's a lot of silver, or pieces of eight maybe. Then there's the cost of packaging yet to be ordered, paying for a mobile card payment terminal, paying people to look after my cabinet at fig.... gulp. Oh boy.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Thoughts on customers...

I'm really, truly lucky, blessed even, to have a bunch of loyal customers. They are supportive, interesting, they set me fascinating challenges/commissions and it genuinely cheers my day to see them walk through the door of fig. And then there's some others. And we are lucky that they are few in number, but this week I have been chasing one such customer. Over two months ago she ordered one of my name necklaces. She was friendly and we chatted in the shop before she decided to order the necklace and we measured to get the right length, and discussed whether to have a capital first letter. Such was our pleasant conversation, I (foolishly) decided not to ask for a deposit. Since I finished her personalised necklace six weeks ago, I have texted her, emailed and called her mobile. I can only assume she's changed her mind, but why not call me? It's not an expensive item in the grand scheme of things, and she knew the cost before she ordered it. And she knows I've carried out the work, and that I can't just sell it on like an item that's not personalised.

Anyway, I will end my rant with a photo of a commission from last summer, for one of my polite, friendly and interesting band of commissioners - and I thank you lovely peeps from the bottom of my heart!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Names, names, names....

Talk about busy! I've been making non stop names all last week, and the stream of orders has yet to abate - there's another four today following the seven over the weekend! I think my piercing and cutting is speeding up slightly but the designing of them is what can take the time. Who would have thought that a capital T would be my nemesis? Try joining any letter to a capital T - go on, give it a go! It's quite hard not to make it look like a backwards J, or an F. You can see several tries here, and the final one is upside down, top right.

Some interesting Irish names ordered today, which I'm looking forward to - lots of lovely vowels together. I love doing 'o's in particular!

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Some of the new collection

As I'm deep, deep, deep in name necklaces (another 3 today to add to the other 6) I thought I'd show off a few pieces form the new collection which are proving fairly popular. I've sold one of each of the top two (they're two of the most expensive pieces) and lots of the others. Can't wait to get making them again, once the name necklace tide goes out!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Look at us!

I have to make a brief mention of our GLORIOUS window this month. Jane and Chitra screen printed directly on to the glass to create the swirling leaves - amazing. They show up better in real life (come and have a look!) and in the evening rather than first thing this morning.

I got the first batch (see below) polished and packed - tomorrow the final p - posted! Hooray! And then the next batch starts. We have Sarah, Georgia, Eleanor, Mrs.O (love it!), Lisa and a couple more I've temporarily forgotten. It'll come to me I'm sure.

The production line gets rolling

Yesterday was considerably more productive, and all the
names were cut-out....

filed, and then attached to their chains....

and finally soldered securely. They are now ready for polishing, packaging and posting.

And then on to the next batch - I'm looking for to making Mrs.O!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Tidy desk, tidy mind?

Hmmm.... well maybe not. Here is a picture of my unreconstructed desk. And this is NOT at it's worst, though it may be close. I MUST tidy up before too long - my name necklace is in the notonthehightstreet catalogue arriving today and tomorrow, and already I had three orders at lunch time, so it might be getting a little busy next week. Or it might not. I wish I knew.

Meanwhile I brought sketch book and tracing paper home so I can at least sketch out names this weekend (after all there's no room on my desk to do it!). So far this week we have Penny, Lucy, Olivia, Chloe, Maye, Ellie and Elen. I'm looking forward to repeated names to save me a bit of time!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

More feathers!

No coincidences today, but more feathers! Isn't it strange how when you are busy the ideas just seem to spill out, with little time to do anything about them, but when you've time on your hands.... Anyway, I thought if I ordered the feathers, and a little bit of time came up, I'd be ready to go. I also ordered some other teeny, tiny items, but no more on that just yet.

I can now upload a photo of the recent commission I had from Ann, a customer who likes to set me interesting commissions - the last one was the word pomegranate! I designed and made a cuff for her using copper and silver, and a stylised pomegranate. Below is a non commissioned piece that her husband bought for her for their 25th wedding anniversary. I loved making it, and must get around to putting it on notonthehighstreet.

It's silver and brass, but because both metals are mat they seem to me to have the appearance of silver and gold. I loved making it!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

oooo - I love a good coincidence!

As anyone who's known me more than 10 minutes knows, my life is a series of mini, and major coincidences. How I met my husband is a good one, but far too long to go into in detail, though I do love the fact that the tiny pub in the middle of nowhere where we met was the scene of my sister and brother-in-law's first meeting too, a few years later.

Meanwhile, yesterday I had a great one, that also meant I spent much for the rest of the say saying 'ain't modern technology great?'. While listening to Radcliffe and Maconie on Radio 6, there was a piece in the pop news about an artist in residence in Manchester's Islington Mills doing a music night with his turntable rigged up in reverse so that all the tunes where played backwards. Then they ran an interview with him, and it turned out to be an illustrator who I had worked with back in my days as an art director in children's publishing. He is a lovely man, who I spent far too many evenings getting a bit merry with, and also dancing wildly (though in forward motion on the whole) resulting in lots of bruises. Since moving to Bristol nearly 10 years ago we had rather lost touch and he had moved to the States.

So there I was listing to the wonderful David Wojtowycz and I thought I'd email him on the
spot. Well why not? Less than half an hour later I had one back from him, all the way from Chicago! Dontcha love it?! Modern technology huh?

Here are some of the books we worked on together, and that my kids adored. I even wrote one of them! Ain't life grand?

Monday, 3 October 2011

Another Figger

Today I finished off the last few pieces for one of my gallery stockist, atelier, in Barnstaple, and boy will I be pleased to get them in the post tomorrow, all 30 of them! I'm dying to get started on a new idea I've got brewing, but I've got a bit of a list of commissions that need to be finished before I can. Also tomorrow the notonthehighstreet catalogue comes out, with my name necklaces featured in it, so perhaps things will be too busy to start anything new soon.

Meanwhile, I thought you'd like to see the work of another of my colleagues. This is the amazing work of Chitra Merchant, which quite simply glows. It's absolutely stunning and we get to look at it every day. I would also like to see the one one the left every evening in my bedroom, and one day I shall! Just got to earn a few more pennies.... In front of her work you can see glass jewels by Robyn Coetzee, and felt mice by Kate Tarling, both of whom I will show you more of soon.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

And the winner is....

nickynackynoo! A fellow folksy shop owner - you can see her shop here.

Thanks so much for all the entries - I shall be running another giveaway very soon as I've enjoyed this and have found some new followers in the process! And thank you too for all the kind words and compliments, it's been a tonic!