Friday, March 26, 2010

Indie Junction

I am writing this short post to tell you about a wonderful site called Indie Junction. This is a great place for indie artists and crafters to come together, discuss their work, share their ideas on promotion and creative expression and just to support each other in a friendly and helpful atmosphere.

If you are new to online selling, as I am, or have been doing it for a while, you know that it can be a frustrating and time consuming experience. Having a vibrant on line artist community is wonderful .

If you are interested you can visit this site at: or visit their fan page on facebook at

At the top of this article you can see some of the beautiful work from various Indie Junction artists.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Featured Seller - Silver Drops

I hope that more people are reading my blog. The featured artists that I am writing about certainly deserve to have their work noticed and appreciated by as many people as possible.

The next artisan, Michael Johnson, is someone I met on through his online shop "Silver Drops". I have always had a love for handmade silver jewelry and a great admiration for the very talented people who make it. Now it's time for me to let Michael tell you about his craft in his own words.

"I have been making jewelry for 9 years, although I took 3 years off while I was living in China".

The techniques I use are sawing, soldering, grinding, filing, bezel setting, forming and texturing. As for training I took classes as adjuncts during college and took a a few full time classes then also. After college I moved to China for two and a half years and travelled extensively. When I moved back to the States I started to take metals class again in Chicago. Currently I live in Bloomington Indiana and am getting my Masters in Library Science. I have a small studio set up in my apartment.

My inspiration comes from many sources. The main drive is the idea of an asymmetrical piece that is designed in a way that the mind completes the symmetry. I always love playing with abstract designs that play with the mind. This can be seen in my cutouts that I do in some of my pendants or behind the stone settings. I am a big believer that all sides of a piece should be used, including the back side. The inspiration for my pieces and designs come from the natural world, fascination with different cultures and the general feeling I have at the time. "

Please check out the SilverDrops shop on etsy to see more of Michael's great work. The shop site is:

Friday, March 12, 2010

Why Do Crafters and Artists Do This?

I could have called this Rant #4. Well I think I'm up to #4 or is it #3, but who's counting? But I am hoping to not be totally incomprehensible, as my son calls those my "incomprehensible rants". Therefore, I am hoping this won't fall into that category.

The other day while searching facebook for new fans for my facebook page, I came across another crafter, who shall remain nameless. I have now been thinking about this for two days and figured writing it down would make me feel better. This person was making handmade jewelry and had some fringe necklaces that looked hand sewn. They were not as elaborate as the ones that I've been doing or as others that I've seen. She didn't use as many beads or, obviously, take as many hours to make it. But still, she was selling a handmade necklace for $10.00. How much was she paying herself, maybe, $2.00 an hour. Is that all her labor is worth? Is that all mine is worth, or any other person who is making handcrafted items?

Never mind just the labor of making the item, how about the time and money spent to sell it? She was obviously on facebook looking for fans for her page. She has a shop on Etsy, so she has to pay a listing fee, and a percentage when she sells it. The monetary amount may not be much, but it takes time and effort to promote and sell.

Why should crafters or artists (I have known some who do the same thing) feel they should be willing to just give their work away? I understand times are rough, but they are rough for all of us. Until the right buyer comes along, I'll keep what I make. It's ok. I value my efforts a little bit higher than zero. Does this person think she will be able to sell more by keeping her prices down? Well maybe she can, but what's the point.

In all fairness to this unnamed person, she is not the only one doing this. I'm just using her as an example. Most crafters underprice. As far as I'm concerned, I'd rather see someone overprice their work than underprice it. And, I'd rather see that overpriced item sell. At least, it makes a statement that someone's work for any handmade item or painting or drawing is worth something. I think right now it's backwards. The public seems to think if it's mass produced it's valuable and that one of a kind, unique work should be sold on the cheap. And, I think, that as crafters, we are fostering this kind of thinking. Hell, maybe we're completely responsible for it.

If I followed her example, I'd sell my necklace that I'm posting here for $40 and lose money. I refuse to do it. I've told other artisans to raise their prices when I see them selling items for less than they are worth. Maybe not everyone loves what we do and won't pay our prices, but there will be someone that will.
Well I think I'm almost done, errrr, ranting. Maybe. If anyone out there happens to read this, please let me know what you think. You can disagree with me, I won't get upset....much. Maybe I'm totally out of line, but I really don't think so. I think this can, at times, be a dull, ugly, unhappy world and maybe, just maybe, when someone makes something that another person thinks is beautiful, it makes things ever so slightly less dull, ugly and unhappy. I think that is certainly worth something.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Me Being a Good Mommy - Just Call Me Mommy Dearest

I am writing this post to promote my son's blog. Of course, you would think he would do the same for his poor, unappreciated, wonderful mother (me) but what can a mother do.

I will have to admit, as much as I hate doing it, he is a decent writer. His blog is very often funny and thought provoking and he would love it if you would give him a good argument. I don't know where he gets the argumentative streak. Must be from his father.

If nothing else he is never dull.

I am also posting some of his photographs. He does that pretty well too. Hey, a mother is always allowed bragging rights.

Ok son - Mommy Dearest is signing off now.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Featured Seller - Jessica Wagner

I have to say, that in the short time that I have been involved with selling online, I have been amazed at the talented artists that are out there. Just so many gifted people, who are not getting the rewards that they deserve. If writing these articles helps in any way, than it's well worth it. Besides, I like writing and obviously don't have a problem with speaking my mind.

This next seller does chainmaille jewelry. In the past I have not been a huge fan of chainmaille, well not until I saw Jessica's work. Than I fell in love with it.

Incredibly, Jessica has only been doing chainmaille since last August. Her doctor had recommended a hobby, so she went on Amazon and bought a book on jewelry making. To her surprise this book was not about basic jewelry making, but instead entirely about chainmaille. She loved it and decided to give it a try. Jessica is a self-taught jewelry maker, teaching herself entirely from books. When she had enough practice, she put her own spin on her projects and experimented with different weaves. The results are, well, you can see for yourself, beautiful.

Even more amazing is that Jessica suffers from Myasthenia Gravis, an auto immune disease that causes muscle weakness. It makes repetetive tasks (like chainmaille) difficult to do. When you look at the beautiful work that she is creating it is truly inspirational knowing that she has worked through this disability to do something she loves.

For those people who read this blog and love things that are beautifully made by a talented and creative craftsperson, please go to these sites to see more of Jessica's work:

Thursday, March 4, 2010

No Guns in Starbucks or Rant #2

Hi to all my latte drinking friends. By the way, I am one of those latte drinking people - I love lattes, especially the chocolate mocha kind.

So some Starbucks customers don't want other customers to carry guns into Starbucks, even if the other customer is legally carrying that gun. They are putting pressure on Starbucks to ban guns in their stores. I guess the threat is to not drink their latte or cappucino or iced coffee, even though we all know this is a filthy lie and an empty threat. The latte addiction is just too great. I know this to be true. I too am a latte addict. I suppose, they're afraid that some madness might overtake the said gun carrier and the urge to shoot the latte cups off the shelf might become too strong to resist.

However, this pressure is not against those non latte drinking gun carriers who may, in fact, be going into Starbucks, not for the latte, but possibly for the cash register. Oh yes, I'll bet their guns aren't even legal. I'm just guessing here.

To all of you Starbucks customers who want this ban, I have one recommendation. Get a life. And I'll say this, as long as we have latte drinking, gun toting customers in Starbucks, the latte cups will remain safe and unharmed along with the cash register.

Featured Seller - FlowersFromFatima

FlowersFromFatima is an artist who creates decorative headbands, floral hair clips and floral corsages.

I am going to keep my comments regarding this very talented craftsperson to a minimum, since the bulk of this article was written by Fatima herself, and there is no way that I could improve on it in any way. I just want to say, this is a lady that I first noticed on Etsy. Her shop is beautiful, her headbands and clips are lovely, and I think after reading what she has to say you'll understand why.

"FlowersFromFatima is still a fairly new business, founded in December."

"My older brother came up with the idea to name my business FlowersFromFatima and he was the one who really encouraged me to begin a business."

"I have been inspired by hope, positive energy, and love for nature."

"When I was younger my father began a community beautification program. With him, my family planted flowers throughout the neighborhood. We transformed our low-income neighborhood into a paradise . We attracted exotic butterflies and beautiful birds. I never imagined that such beauty existed here in Cincinnati. And NO ONE ever expected to see such beauty in the "inner-city ghetto..."Where there were flowers, there was life."

"My father passed away shortly before I began my business, but his dream still lives on through my own flowers.

"I hope that I can pursue my business full-time after I graduate. I love designing floral accessories and my heart is truly in each piece. It would be a blessing to bloom with Flowers From Fatima.

Please go to Fatima's shop on etsy. She is currently having a spring break sale until March 8th.

The link is: