(Hopefully) Earning A Living as a Maker

As you know by now from previous posts, I have my first craft fair – the Whetstone Baptist Church Christmas Fayre – next Saturday. Here are some more makes: etched copper candlestick, beaded candles on individually etched glass plates, a resin encased watch-parts pendant and faux-enamelled jewellery pieces.

It’s been a tricky thing to price up all these items. I can easily work out the material costs. I know how much time each has taken to make. It’s a little harder to work out the time taken in research, and even more tricky to know exactly how much time and energy has gone into the development, trials and failures that are inevitable in making items. Throw into the mix what you think people are likely to be prepared to pay, what they might be able to afford, and what else might be on sale around you… Suffice to say that the marked prices for all the items on the stand will not reflect my time and skill set.

Trouble is, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the making process, designing the packaging, and setting up the stand. But will it pay off? Or the bills? I’ll let you know.

Continue reading

It’s all the presentation: perfect packaging 2

I’m still in making mode ready for my church’s Christmas Fayre at the end of November. I’ve decorated these pre-made metal blanks and made them into brooches by using an epoxy glue to stick on the brooch clasp – details on the decoration are here.

I wanted create a bespoke presentation box to show them off at their best – it just so happened I could use the same size for the peacock and the dragonfly. Designing started with a 3×2″ base. I added ½” sides and tabs. For the lid, I enlarged it slightly, adding the thumb divots in the centre to aid taking the lid off. To raise the base (and create a hidey-hole for my business card), I designed a stage slightly smaller than the base, with ⅛” supports at the side to hold the item off the bottom and the holes with a slit between allows me to press the brooch back through and fix the item in place. Two boxes come from an A4 sheet of card, cut on my Silhouette Cameo. For placement of the holes/slit, I pressed the item down onto a piece of card, and was able to see a dent where the clasp and hinge of the brooch back were. A bit of triangulation later, and the hole placement was perfected. This was ideal as the brooch clasps were in roughly the same position on each item – it would have been much less practical for several different placements.

Continue reading

Paper Bead Jewellery Display (for Jones Crafts)

Complete ProjectThis project for Jones Crafts shows the versatility of scrapbooking papers – why do a 12×12″ layout when you can make wearable art? Combine with Jones’ buttons and perfect jewellery sets can easily be made. Mount your pieces in the Kaisercraft large jewellery organiser and your wearable art becomes a home decor piece in it’s own right. The paper beads are splash proof thanks to the varnish, are tough due to the lamination, but are not water proof and will be damaged if soaked.

Continue reading

When you can’t get leather… try grungepaper!

Hi – this morning has been spent on a commission. I have been asked to wear something I have made using WOW! Embossing Powder when I’m demonstrating at the NEC next week [Hobbycrafts Exhibition, stand M12-15]. Though I didn’t immediately dismiss necklace or earrings, I didn’t think I’d enjoy the ear lobe crushing of a clip on, and necklaces just dangle in the melt pot… So I came up with two ‘man bracelets’:

Both bracelets are made from grungepaper coloured with Vintage Photo and Walnut Stain distress inks, embossed using Tim Holtz texture fades embossing folders, stuck down with Studio matte multi medium. Sewing reinforces the whole thing and the fastening is a Tim Holtz copper hitch. Bracelet 1 features the new WOW! Special Edition Embossing Glitters (Caribbean Jewels) due to be launched at the NEC. Bracelet 2 (The Other Wrist) features the WOW! metallic embossing powders. Grungeboard would work as well, but I didn’t have a size that wrapped round my wrist!

College Term 4 – Jewellery – Week 6 – Part 2

In a previous post you saw my aluminium and perspex necklace, bracelet and earring set. I also designed a second (bonus) piece using the offcuts from the perspex rings, and finished it today:

I’ve added silver wire tangles to the perspex rings. Each of the flowers were hand sawn from sheet aluminium and hammered into shape before being riveted onto the centre offcuts from the laser cut perspex rings. I’m planning to do two more flowers in the session tomorrow to complete a pair of matching earrings.

And I think I’m getting better at product photography! Rather pleased with the serendipitous lighting on this one – early morning in the conservatory with a bit of level tweaking in Photoshop. No artificial lights were used in the production of this image.

College Term 4 – Jewellery – Week 6

We’ve spent the last five weeks learning about the various ways of soldering (butt and sweat), cold joining with rivets, surface design (heat colouring, mill impressions, hammering) and playing with a laser cutter (I want one!). This week over five hours of lesson time, it was our time to make our own design – this is what I came up with:

Each of the metal discs were cut by hand from aluminium sheet, hammered to give texture, and wire brushed to make matte. I designed the acrylic flowers and circles to scale in Adobe Illustrator and these were cut from 3mm acrylic sheet on the laser cutter. They are attached to the aluminium discs using 2mm chenier tube rivets – several had to be done again as I was a little heavy handed at the beginning and cracked the acrylic. Links are commercial jump rings, as is the chain – time pressures didn’t allow me to make my own. Not that I’d know where to start making chain! I’m really pleased with the result, and aside from the laser cutting, all the techniques are feasible in a home studio.

Beaded Wire Coil Necklace

This is a beginner’s kit from Bojangle Beads in Loughborough, which is quite an Aladdin’s Cave if you happen to be in the area. I bought it at Christmas, but it’s been languishing unmade since then, and in a spurt of creativity yesterday I got it done 🙂

The kit contains all you need (apart from pliers) including plenty of beads, and the coil section is ready made. There are instructions included, though these need editing, don’t contain any illustrations, and aren’t all that intuitive for a first timer to follow.

And I’m having fun with my new camera trying out all the different ways to photograph products! Seems shiny things, as I’ve discovered before, can be quite tricky, but dialling down the auto-exposure has helped a lot 🙂