Saturday, October 30, 2010

returning bird

I forgot to mention the other day- I was in such a hurry!- but I'm having a clearance sale over at the Etsy shop. Anything that's still there in 2 weeks will be removed and dealt with! And I don't mean given a new home. I mean a date with the pliers, the dye bucket, the of torture transformation. :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

emergency vacation

Just popping in to tell everyone that I'm away for 3 days, I'll be back shortly!

London Loves...

They've arrived! Lovely postcards available either individually or in sets. I've not listed all of them just yet, and there's a delay on the prints (they were sent to my old house! D'oh!) but they'll be up by the end of the week- I hope!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Shop update

Three new glories, fresh-faced and ready on Big Cartel...

The Golden Bough - salvage industrial romantic necklace with vintage jewelry

Ishtar - salvage tribal earrings with Czech glass beads

Miss Christie- salvage necklace with vintage pen nib and black tourmaline

Monday, October 25, 2010

Yay! (post titles don't have to be clever)

Good news! I have a new house!

It was the news I couldn't tell you until today, as we were waiting for the agent to contact us. Sure enough she did. For those who believe there are no co-incidences, we received the phone call at 1:30pm today. On this day 15 years ago my grandmother passed away. At 1:30pm.

Nana has always been in charge of my housing prayers. She's come through every time I've asked her to, whether or not she's known what trouble/challenges I would have in that house who knows! Every path in life is an adventure that we learn from. Hardship is the sh!t that fertilises the lotus.

I was disappointed when we didn't get sage farm, but I believe that things happen for a reason, and this is perfect example. My friends who should've rented sage farm with me were just the other day accepted for a property themselves- a grade II listed artist's house in the green hills just 5 minutes drive from where they live now. It's a house we've long admired, and they not only have permission to rent, but are in talks to buy it.

So now I have a house move and a shop move in my life. I feel the old dead layers peeling away, a new dawn has come. And the sun came out just as I wrote that.


Another door opens

In the midst of Coralgate and on top of so many other issues I have with the way Etsy is run, I have been wondering - do I really need Etsy?

China Sun - the last Etsy update, forever?

I need an online selling venue, that much is certain. And I'm grateful to Etsy for what they have allowed me to do. But as I'm getting ready to re-launch my art and photography shop and pump massive amounts of inventory into my supply and jewelry shops, I'm wondering if I'm better off going somewhere else. I'm wondering if I've outgrown them.

I've looked around and decided to move my shop to Big Cartel. Visually speaking it's fully customisable enabling me greater application of my brand concept. It's clean, easy to use and above all, their full service would cost me less than half as much as etsy does, because when I'm doing well my Etsy bill is roughly 30-50 a month. And I expect it to be higher after I re-launch the photography shop.

I have a solid enough presence now online that I can be comfortable making this move. I have a good readership here (if my google stats are right!) and my Flickr and Facebook are both healthy. I also have an audience on Tumblr and Livejournal, though I don't spend a lot of time there (and constantly mean to).

So from now on, all my new work will be on the Big Cartel site- and this includes my photography! I'll still be selling supplies on Etsy for as long as I have the stock, but once I'm finished listing all my de-stash (hopefully in a few weeks) it will be gone too.

It's time to step up the ladder.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

triple treats

It's been a long hard road but finally I've ordered some postcard sets to go in my shop. I'm expecting the photo prints at any day now, and the postcards will probably take 2 weeks.

I don't think anyone really understands how tricky it can be doing a photography shop- not only the work of shooting, but the post-processing, the tiny tweaks that you have to do in order for the print to lay right -which can mean anything from Photoshop trickery right down to a total re-shoot of the image! (which is tricky if it's in another country.)

Then there's the ordering- and because the whole idea of this gig is to actually make money, there's very little I can spend on set-up, so then I have to decide which ones go to print now, and which ones wait until fruits have fruited. So I've only ordered 3 sets in the postcards to begin with, of what I hope will be popular subjects. They're the images you see here.

There's 2 more new arrivals in the shop too---

rose queen

milky way

--- and hopefully more tonight!

And one more thing, which I shouldn't really tell you about because I might jinx it, but then if I choose not to believe in the jinx...I can work up enough guts to show you one picture.

Can't tell you any more till Tuesday.

Oh! And I was featured in S and O Productions lovely blog- well, I say I was featured, I was in a treasury they liked. But it still counts!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

New darlings in the shop

I've just realised there are so many lovely new things in the shop that I haven't shown you! 5 of them are freshly listed, so I haven't been too remiss. :)

I received news that my prints have been shipped and are on their way to me, so I should have them available to offer in the shop by the weekend! I'm very excited, but I want them to come first and inspect the quality before I list. I want all my work in stock and available at the time of listing.

The stores - St.Fagan's folk museum, Wales

I had to go overseas (not literally, un/fortunately) to get the mailers I wanted, because in the UK they have board-back mailers just for sending artwork in. Perfect! And even with international shipping, they were still cheaper than a mailer with an inner board protector. very pleased.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Prints charming

I'm allowed a few cliché post titles now and then...

I've been working on some ideas for prints and cards for the art shop, and I'm finding myself torn in a battle- What sells versus what I want to make. No one's suggesting the two are exclusive- I've proved that what I sell in jewelry does well despite not being the cookie cutter status quo. Apart from a small moment involving a crystal and a bullet shell, I've never caved to just offering 'hipster fodder', despite the doubtless rise in business that would occur.

When I first made the steps toward having a photography shop again I was firm with myself- it holds the same for it as for my jewelry, I wouldn't start peddling the same consumables that so many others do. I would offer work that mirrors my lifestyle, my aesthetic, my jewelry shop. Dark, earthy and bohemian with a touch of Dickens. There would be no polaroid format TTV carnival in Paris.

But there's no denying that when it comes to selling on Etsy, providing for demand is a good way to guarantee sales. Though the over-exposed vintage pinky/green look isn't my exact cup of tea, I do like it. It doesn't fit the core value of my shop, but as proved by many- it's a good seller.

I'm trying to come at it from a compromising point of view. I still see myself as an artist, and as such (annoying as it is) I have integrity. All my processes, ideas and themes from my exhibition days are now funnelled into jewelry. I've had talks with other artists before on the subject and I do not believe it's 'selling out' to offer retail goods rather than exhibition work - I refuse the idea that art is something ethereal and precious to be stuck on the wall and pondered over. Art- if it wants to sell- must be a little aesthetically pleasing. Aesthetics is seems is the last great taboo in 'proper' art.

My work is created by an alter ego in me, a 19th century carnival urchin who picks up trinkets on the road as she wanders, and using the simple tools in her pockets, threads the found glories together. Now instead of making curious little objects to hang on the wall, she makes wearable things.

I explore beauty and decoration from a value/condition point of view- why should a diamond brooch be any less desirable if a stone is missing? Why should an antique dresser be less valued because it's handles have been replaced, or it's legs cut down? Why are chipped china cups unwanted?

When it comes to my photography I explore much the same thing. Though the 2 shots above are clearly meant to fill the market request for Europe-centric images, it's also explored in my own way. The Eiffel tower is dirty and the model bus is in poor condition. It shouldn't make it any less valuable, or beautiful, in the eyes of people like me it only serves to improve it's desirability. To go out and buy a new London bus would remove this personal aspect of my work, leaving nothing but fodder for market demand.

What's the point of all this? Perhaps I am just trying to justify to myself that it's okay to serve up what's popular. A diner can be as independent and different as it likes, but there's no going past the fact that if you want to pay the rent, you'd be crazy not to offer apple pie.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Stubbing toes on stepping stones

Three treasuries made in the last few days...

I'm fixated on pale colours and sweet romantic items. I usually have about 4-5 treasuries on the go, all marked private till I get that perfect set- then I transfer it to a new treasury, so that the time it's created is fresh that moment. Sometimes they slot into place like soldiers, sometimes they take forever- Astercote took 2 hours alone just for the last line!

I've also been making lots of jewelry, some of the updates are shown here. I've more to update when I'm done blogging!

The farmhouse is a bust. Despite being the only ones who applied for it in the month since it became available, and despite having perfect application success, the landlord has still said no. And we waited 2 weeks for him to come to that decision. I'm disappointed, but life goes on. I must admit the difficulty we had in getting him to consider us at all put a seed of dampness in my mind- if he were this hard to get an answer from, what kind of landlord would he be? Would it be necessary to take him to court for simple repairs? Would he ever let us paint, polish the floorboards, restore the wood stove? All these answers are lost, but not to sour grapes. What will be will be. And I get to stay in the country, which is always a bonus.

I'll try and blog again today, I've been working on some photo print ideas I'd like to run by you- also because you're my dear readership and you ought to get first look-see on these things!

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Today hasn't been a five star day. Yesterday was pleasant though- at least these three photos came of it.

I've been on my own for 4 days now- surprisingly I've had a shower in that time and I've even done the dishes. The lounge room looks like an art school exploded. It doesn't take me long to slip into bachelorhood when I'm by myself, all too easy to be lost in creating and forget to be socially fit.

I don't think I should live by myself, I end up making bad choices. Unless a bag of Cheetos is considered a perfectly adequate dinner, in which case I'm doing very well.