Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Broad Ripple Festival Report

I just got home yesterday from the Broad Ripple Art Fair, in Indianapolis. And now I'm prepping for the Decatur Arts Festival this coming weekend. I have two (2.5, if I really push it) days to make some new pieces...

Fortunately I'm sharing a booth in Decatur and won't have a full display to fill (because as usual, I'm low on inventory). So I'm not feeling too pressured, but still....you know me, I like to have a lot of options available,even if they're not all on display at once. :)

So how was Broad Ripple? I KNOW you are wondering, right?? Well, results are mixed.

It was an easy show to do (aside from 8+ hours driving either way). I loved my space - which normally, since this is usually a warm-weather event - would be nicely shaded. It was still shaded this year, of course, but with weather in the 50s, I could have used a bit more sun. Sales were solid on Saturday and virtually nonexistent on Sunday. So I am divided on the shoppers. Those who did stop, chat, and purchase, seemed very knowledgeable about jewelry and other arts, maybe because we showed on the grounds of the Indinapolis Arts Center, which offers arts classes.

Those who came on Sunday seemed to be a very different crowd. As in, mostly not interested in art jewelry or art in general, just hanging at the event to entertain themselves. Nothing wrong with that...but if not enough people purchase art, not enough artists come back. And a show starts to die. Or at least slide downhill....that's never good.

Here's a booth shot:

Home away from home for two days. It's dark because of the shade, but I was happy with this setup. I didn't actually have a corner but there were two feet and a median next to me so I made a corner out of it. I like to use the extra space whenever possible.  :)

And this show has a big "gate fee" or entrance fee, of $15. I think that's a tad pricey for Indianapolis. I mean, I live in the Atlanta metro and we only have one art festival that charges (as far as I know), which is the ACC (American Craft Council) show. We're a much bigger city than Indy and though I thought that the art around me was excellent for the most part, I don't know that $15 to get in isn't kind of a turn-off to the customers...

But. I got a lot of love overall, and sold some wonderful one of a kind gem designs to discerning customers with good taste. :)

And there was this bonus:

Lilacs...one of my favorite flowers ever. And we can't really grow them here in Georgia. But there were HUGE bushes of them all around my space at the festival, and they smelled so lovely. Happiness in flower form. :) 

And now, on to the Decatur prep! Hoping to have some new goodies to share later this week!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Breathe. Breathe...BREATHE!!

The last "breathe" is more like, "Breathe, dammit!" which sort of ruins the ohm-ness of the mantra. Breathing (and meditating, and being all Zen) is NOT part of the routine lately. I'm leaving tomorrow for a big drive to Indianapolis, for the Broad Ripple Art Fair. It's a two day show but I'll be gone for five (drive day, setup day, show days, drive day) and then just a few days later I'll be at the Decatur Arts Festival here in Georgia. Not a lot of downtime lurking in my near future...

HOWEVER. And yes, that's in all caps because I'm quite pleased that today, the day before I leave for my next festival, I am making *no* jewelry whatsoever. Oh, I'm photographing, writing listings, posting new items on Facebook and Instagram and Pinterest as fast as I can...but I'm not making. And that in itself is a huge accomplishment. Especially when - in the midst of building up inventory of my current designs, I took a two-day window to work on some new designs:

Like these turquoises...

You may want to sit back now (or alternatively *come* back, as I'm going to tell a story...) because here's how the magic sometimes works:

I had these circles. From...2008-ish? Anyway. I was learning fabrication. And I'd made a bunch of these circles, in various sizes. And I - God knows why - decided I wanted to cast them. Well, I do know why. Making these circles was HARD. (now is the point at which the seasoned metall-ers will bust a gut laughing, because making circles is pretty much one of the EASIEST things to do). But I was a remedial fabricator, and it wasn't easy then. So I had them cast. And I used them in a bunch of designs. I oxidized them, hung them on leather, added beads to them, soldered some of them together...you name it, I did it with these. And they sold moderately well....but I had a fair amount left over from the caster once I'd moved on with newer designs.

So they have sat around the studio for a while, and last week I got a wild hair and fabricated gem settings for them. I'd been thinking about doing *something*with them for some time, but the what was eluding me. I'd ALSO bought all these organic, funky-shaped cabs...(also a while ago) which I wasn't using, because I tend to like more symmetrically cut gems. So I started pulling out cabs from my stash, but the symmetrical cuts didn't look right with these circles...but oh, the funky ones DID. I laid out about twenty pieces and started making the back plates and bezels. Then I realized that I wouldn't get twenty done - and still get all the other work done I needed to before heading to Indy - and I stopped at ten. Just enough to make a nice showing in the festival booth.

Peruvian opals.

I wanted to keep these designs simple and very modern, using asymmetry and negative space for impact, heightening the contrast of the gems' smooth texture against the rustic circles. They came together quickly and were great fun to work on, almost like a breath (see what I did there) of fresh air. I've been trying for so long to learn to do more, and more, and more, make the jewelry more complex, more difficult to make...and these were just easy to play with. Sometimes you don't even know that you have what you need, but when you find it, and you put it all together...magic.

Now, of course, I want to make more...and I'm starting to feel like my whole creative mojo (which was kind of dormant for most of this spring) is coming back in a BIG way. Yahoooo!

But first...back to pricing, uploading, and packing up the jewelry. And packing up the truck for the drive. And packing up me and all my show needs....and maybe having a moment to BREATHE. I guess that's what I'll be doing on the eight hour drive tomorrow.  :)