Friday, August 31, 2012

Hurricane Isaac & Henri 2, Paw de Deux

I have been preoccupied with Hurricane Isaac and haven't been writing posts or making jewelry.  We came through the storm just fine over in NW Florida but Mississippi and Louisiana were not as lucky.  I'm grateful that friends and family survived.  So many have been affected by this storm and it isn't yet known whether all the people in flooded areas have been rescued.  Please keep those people in your thoughts.  

Gulf coast residents are a tough lot and rather resilient but people are weary and getting storm-fatigue.  I keep hearing that people want to laugh--regardless of all that has happened so, I thought of this adorable video:

Henri 2, Paw de Deux 
2012 Internet Cat Video Film Festival:  Best In Show

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Making Custom Etched Jewelry Tags

I ordered a custom metal clay stamp from and have really enjoyed using it for my Cicada Silver jewelry.  I use my .999 FS clay stamp for the items that will be all fine silver and I use my metal .925 stamp to mark the fired tags that are to be used on the items that must be marked sterling silver.

Cicada Silver .925 tag
Cicada Silver Tag (Marked Sterling Silver)

That got me thinking about tags that I could use to mark the items for my other brand, Libellula Jewelry.  I knew that I needed tags that would be simple to make and not take too much time per tag, and would be inexpensive, and feature my dragonfly logo.  I decided that I would etch small, circular tags with a scaled down dragonfly from my banner.  A simple design that can be expressed in black & white is required for etching--no gray scale.  I chose to make the design round so that the tags could be cut out using my disc cutter which would save a lot of time.  I definitely did not want to choose a shape that required that I cut them out using my jeweler's saw.  Time is money and these should not be as complex or heavy as charms or pendants.  These should be simple, lightweight tags that don't take a lot of time or materials.

I prefer electrolytic etching because it is environmentally friendly.  You can etch copper, brass, bronze, and nickel silver using that method.

Grid of Etched Tags (drilled)
 Grid of Tags (Etched & Drilled)

finished etched copper tags
Finished Etched Copper Tags

Custom Etched Tags Tutorial

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Newly Listed on Etsy

My husband and I finally got around to photographing these items.  I hate to admit how long items must sometimes wait before they are photographed!  Let's just say that the necklace has been finished for about a year...

wire wrapped copper circle earrings with beads
wire wrapped copper circle earrings with beads
Wire Wrapped Copper Circle Earrings With Beads

hammered copper double circle link earrings
hammered copper double circle link earrings
Hammered Copper Double Circle Link Earrings

Don't you just love the new jewelry bowl?  Mari of made it.  It's taller than my other bowl and gives me another option when I need to photograph longer earrings.

etched copper & raku necklace
 Etched Copper & Handmade Raku Necklace

The beautiful etched copper bead was made by Alison Lesniak of and the lovely raku beads were made by  

Next to the clasp, you'll see one of my handmade etched copper dragonfly logo charms.  I have just started adding them to my existing stock of necklaces and I'll be etching some more soon.  They were so easy to make and cost only pennies each!  If anyone is interested, I'll post an informal tutorial on how I made them.  The method that I use works on copper, brass, and nickel silver.

Updated to add:
Ginger wrote the kindest post on her blog!  It really makes my day when my work can bring someone joy :)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Lampwork Bead & Silver Necklace

fine silver & lampwork bead necklace
Necklace is 28.5 inches (72.4 cm) long

I had been hoarding these beautiful swirled lampwork glass beads made by  I've had them well over a year but it took me a while to decide how I should use them.  The beads are a lovely sediment gray swirled with ivory and have fine silver dotting the surface.  The fine silver was what inspired me to make fused & hammered fine silver links.  I like the geometric look that the links give the necklace--a little mod but still decidedly rustic. All the other silver is sterling and there is a slight difference in how the two silvers reacted to the liver of sulphur.  It adds a little bit more interest.

I think that this necklace could be worn with a winter white suit, a charcoal alpaca sweater with jeans--actually a wide variety of clothes from casual to dressy.  I love to make pieces of jewelry that are multi-purpose.

The necklace is already listed in Cicada Silver.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Made My First Sale Today in Cicada Silver!

Cicada Silver Banner

It's been almost three months since I opened Cicada Silver on Etsy.  The summer has been so slow on Etsy that I hadn't even bothered to properly stock my silver shop but despite that, I finally made my first sale!  This shop got off to a much slower start than Libellula Jewelry on Etsy.  Slow start or not, it feels good!

Now, I need to figure out how to get that first sale at Libellula Jewelry on Big Cartel...

Wholesale & Consignment?

I have some items on consignment at a museum gift shop and I'm working on items that I'll be consigning at another museum shop in time for the holidays.  The buyer from another museum gift shop has said that they usually buy the products at wholesale with the right to exchange items that do not sell for other items from a collection.  My work is typically one of a kind or limited to a few pieces that are similar so, I don't really do "collections".  I thought that automatically excluded me but she wants to see my work in early October.  ~Fingers are crossed!~

I would like some advice and anecdotes about your experiences selling wholesale or consigning items--especially to museum gift shops, etc.  This is very new to me and I think it helps to know how the process has worked for others.

A question for those who sell on Etsy:  Have you had a problem with wholesale buyers expecting a full 50% off your Etsy prices?  Etsy prices are so depressed that a 50% price cut would actually take away all profit and fail to even cover supplies on many of my silver items--especially those items that are more labor intensive.  I know that the solution is to raise prices but I have my items competitively priced.  Those of us who sell on Etsy know the point at which upping the prices will elicit laughter rather than buyers making purchases.

I'm especially interested in hearing about local pricing across the country.  I have a very good friend in Indiana who always tells me that my prices are too low and her friend in California has said the same.  From what I can tell, jewelry designers & metalsmiths can set much higher prices in those two areas than we can along the upper Gulf coast.

What are your best venues for sales?  Do you prefer gift shops, museum shops, farmers' markets, art markets, trunk shows, displays in hair salons, online only?  It's clear that I need to further diversify and I think that collecting everyone's experiences here could help those of us who are in need of more info and that extra little push.

I look forward to reading your comments!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Carpal Tunnel Issues

I've not been terribly productive lately because I've been experiencing a carpal tunnel flare-up.  I'm very careful that I don't cause myself more injury through improper tool usage.  I have old injuries that are unrelated to metalsmithing and an occasional bad habit of sleeping with my wrists curled in like I'm comatose.  When I wake up with numbness, I know that I need to start wearing my wrist braces at night.

I'm a stickler on reminding everyone to let hammers do the work.  Bill Fretz hammers are my favorite because I love the shapes of the handles and how they are weighted. Annealing your metal will save your tools and your wrists and on projects that require a lot hammering, it will keep your metal from cracking or splitting from over work hardening.  So, be sure to re-anneal as necessary while you're working.

So, take care of those precious wrists!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

And The Winner Is...

Ginger Bishop!

I'll be emailing you for your address.  Thanks so much for entering the earring giveaway!

hammered copper & Czech glass earrings