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A Look Back

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I got an interesting surprise in the mail recently. Early in my career as a metal clay artist, I left some pieces on consignment at a local business in Collingswood’ New Jersey. They didn’t sell, and I quickly forgot I even left them there. The amazingly honest owner of the store recently mailed them back to me and it was like delving into a time capsule.
I was such a newbie artist and I had so little understanding of design and even less and understanding of quality control. Many of the pieces we’re very bulky looking and were only worthy of the scrap pile.
Surprisingly enough, there were a few glimmerings of my future jewelry in amongst this pile. Several of the silver earrings were quite pretty, and one of the pieces, with a little redoing, will be quite beautiful.  Linda even claimed a pair as her own, which is high praise.
  

A Blue Day

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Had some quality time in the studio today.  I also finally got a replacement belt for my mini drill press.  Of course that meant I had to play with some sea glass.

Linda and I went to our favorite junk yard yesterday and found more wood to recycle.  I had fun creating this little heron

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with an attitude today. The first picture shows you the beginning of the drawing and the rest are fairly self-explanatory. Enjoy.

Fine Silver and Manmade steel blue pearls.

Fine Silver and Manmade steel blue pearls.

Every once in a while, I overturn a yellow cup that sits on my bench to see what has accumulated over the last few months.  Spare Earrings, salvaged focal pieces, and the occasional pendant find there way into this cup with some frequency.  I could send them to Rio for credit, but I like to first see if I can still make something.  I call these my “Kitchen Sink” necklaces for obvious reasons.  Birds, paw prints, love letters — you name it and it can end up as a charm on these necklaces.  Usually I mix bronze and silver pieces, but here I wanted to use some beautiful steel blue man made pearls I got recently.  The necklace is just beginning, and there are lots of pearls to add as I go along, but I wanted to share the work in process.  Make something today!

My Snow Day

Today,  I had a wonderful snow day in the studio.  Just a quick pic of some of today’s work.My Snow Day

Today’s creations

 

I hate cameras.  They are so much more sure than I am about everything.  ~John Steinbeck

I ran across this wonderfully done picture of a beautiful necklace by Nina Bagley yesterday. http://www.etsy.com/shop/ninabagley?ref=l2-shopheader-name

Simple and artful

Simple and artful

I really enjoyed the subtle photography of this work.  For those of you too young to remember, the necklace is placed on an empty photo album page from a very old photo album that was originally meant to hold tintype photographs from the late 1800s.  The placement of the necklace carefully frames the necklace and emphasizes the dangling accent without taking the viewers mind away from the beauty of the piece itself. Good photography is always a concern to artists.  We all know how to take the standard picture against a black (or white) background, and it is always important to have at least one pic of this type for every piece if you plan to submit to professional magazines, etc.  But for the majority of us, who sell on Etsy and send photos off to juried art shows, we need pictures that showcase our work without boring our audience.  An Etsy site made up of purely silver jewelry on plain black background will not keep a potential buyer looking for long.  The secret is to find a good compromise between classic black, and a background which is too distracting.  Here are some examples of what I think are good and bad choices for backgrounds.

Lovely necklace, but the model is a bit distracting.

Lovely necklace, but the model is a bit distracting.

By all means use a model, but don't show a face - too distracting

By all means use a model, but don’t show a face – too distracting

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You can barely see the earrings for the sea shells.

Same theme, but now the emphasis is on the earrings.

Same theme, but now the emphasis is on the earrings.

Hanging jewelry from the side is a vase is usually effective, but crystal offers too much reflection, and you see too much of this vase.

Hanging jewelry from the side is a vase is usually effective, but crystal offers too much reflection, and you see too much of this vase.

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Closer in, and no distracting reflections from the crystal, make this a much better shot.

I love rock backgrounds, but there is way too much going on here and it takes away from this amazing necklace.

I love rock backgrounds, but there is way too much going on here and it takes away from this amazing necklace.

Perfect

Perfect

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And finally, my least favorite way to see jewelry presented – the hand!  We are not hand models folks, and even if we were, there are simply better ways to photograph our piece. 959ac819066e7ccd71133dea602008a4 This is by far one of the more beautiful pair of earring I have seen, but instead of looking at the earrings, I am checking out the hand and wondering how the artist keeps her hands so much nicer than mine when we are both metalsmiths!

Not only is this blog the best inspiration I’ve seen in a while, I also learned I had no idea how to actually spell “prairie”!  Take some time to wander through her blog and hope, like me, that some of her style and photographic skills rub off.

http://www.wildprairiesilver.com/

Sterling 14K Gold Organic Band RingDesert Druzy Autumn BlazeDSC_0014

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