Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Art of Business or the Business of Art

There's a discussion on returns happening as I write this in one of my groups on FaceBook. One of the ladies has made a purchase and it arrived broken in half. She had contacted the shop owner who insisted she return before issuing a replacement. Somewhat frazzled as this was a gift she asked opinions on how we would handle it.

The majority stood behind the seller and her return policy.

I personally would be mortified if something I made had arrived broken in half. It's a reflection of me and the quality of my work. I stand behind what I make, while I have had pieces survive being driven over, I can't actually guarantee they will - but they sure shouldn't fall apart in transit or even before wearing.

wind dancer studios hand woven copper cross,
I made a similar Cross (available in my shop) for my son.
The purchased clasp failed and he lost it between the bus stop and our house.
We finally found it sticking out of the dirt road in front of the neighbors house,
months later. It had been driven over countless times with only a single bead lost. 

I was all set to explain even the big boys will replace without question. My customer service has got to be at least to par on that. Then it struck me. Of course they will, it's all machine made, factory mass produced, costing pennies to dollars and it's cheaper to send another than to waste wages on man hours dickering over it.  It's cost effective to just send another.

It really isn't cost effective for the individual artisan, though it is good customer service. If something is broken, replace it. If it's damaged in transit, it may be time to reconsider your packaging. What some call fluff others call protecting the good stuff.  I'd rather protect with fluff than have it arrive damaged. Some might consider it wasteful, but is it?

A protected item takes less packaging than a broken one.

A broken item costs: the original packaging, the return packaging, the replacement packaging. Man hours discussing the problem, offering solutions, and follow through. Not to mention the added stress on both buyer and seller.

Broken items just aren't cost effective to the artisan no matter how you look at it.

So there's your peek into my brain for the day...... the kiddo is learning all this in her final semester of college.
They've written their Artist Statements, created their wares, priced them, curated the exhibit, promoted it and are critiquing their accomplishments today.

She worked well past midnight every night all DURING spring break to prepare for her Senior Exhibit opening today. Kiddo had a minor melt down Sunday when the kiln gods decided to grace her pottery with a different color than her test tiles had shown the glaze to fire at and with only a mere few hours left there was no time to regroup.

So we focused on display and showing things to their best advantage. We pulled some of her older pieces to fill if she needed them and once she set up her display, she realized it wasn't as bad as she thought. She didn't need the older work at all, just a good cry and someone or four to believe in her and tell her it would be OK. Don't we all need that from time to time?

Rtistic Impressions on Etsy, Exhibit @ ATU Arts Center
The Kiddos Cup centered under exhibit :) 

The Kiddo's work can be seen on display at ATU's Arts Center. It is available for purchase and what doesn't sell from the exhibit will be offered again at the Art Sale benefitting the Art Department and from there it will move into her Etsy shop.

I'm proud of her. This last four years has just flown by and I'm not sure I'm ready to have one of my babies graduating from college. But ready or not it's happening.

Hoping your days are stress free!
See ya next time!

Friday, March 20, 2015

B’Sue’s Build a Line Challenge Hop 3 of 3 The Reveal!

The day has finally come. I’ve worked on this line of mine for the past few months. Designing, sketching, refining and creating. I’ve enjoyed myself immensely and finally let go of others imposing philosophies and allowed myself to just play. Creating from the heart has always been what I do best and it was about time I got back to it.

I believe jewelry is meant to be loved, to be made with love,  given with love, and received with love. 
It is my honor and joy to present to you from my heart and hands Mucha’s Musings.  
  ~ A muse as you all know is the whisper in your ear full of joyful inspiration and Mucha’s Muse definitely had some things to say!

Without further ado,  Mucha’s Musings

the Mother Nature Collection:

mucha's musings:  mother nature collection, hand crafted jewelry by Wind Dancer Studios on Etsy
Mucha's Musings: Mother Nature Collection
This collection revolves around the bronzed bust of nature. 
It features a resined pendant of Nature herself with a sterling silver crown bezeling. ($45.oo)
Lever back earrings inspired by the pair she wears, available in three colors and two finishes, brass ox and silver ($19.oo ea).
A matching sterling silver crown ring ($19.oo), a brass open filigree ring with vintage faux pearl ($15.oo), and a brass filigreed band with rhinestone ($18.oo). 
Also in this collection a layered gemstone pendant in mixed metals ($55.oo), a gorgeous statement cuff featuring another vintage faux pearl ($55.oo)and stud earrings in a beautiful lacey filigree complimenting the cuff and rings($19.oo).

the Champagne Collection in Pink:

mucha's musings:  Pink Champagne collection, hand crafted jewelry by Wind Dancer Studios on Etsy
Mucha's Musings: Champagne Collection in Pink
This collection centers around the champagne ad for Moet & Chandon, pulling its soft colors and florals throughout. 
Featuring a resined pendant of the ad in mixed metals on a fine patterned ball chain.($45.oo)
Copper stacking rings with pink crystal accents ($35.oo).
Rose ox copper flower earrings with matching crystals. ($15.oo)
gorgeous layered brooch featuring a large vintage faux pearl and crystal pearl drop with a floral porcelain bead in pinks and browns. ($40.oo)
A pink cameo in brass ox with a sweet faux pearl drop. ($40.oo)
Two bracelets, one in silver plate layers featuring a gorgeous vintage faux pearl($39.oo), the other a layered stacker in a mix of glass, crystal and crystal pearls in shades of pink and cream with silver plated accents.($28.oo)
Finally a pair of long swingy earrings in silver plate featuring more of those beautiful pink crystals and pearls for loads of delicate sparkle ($29.oo).

the Champagne Collection in Brown:

mucha's musings: Champagne collection in Brown, hand crafted jewelry by Wind Dancer Studios on Etsy
Mucha's Musings:  Champagne Collection in Brown

While technically not Mucha I couldn't not be inspired by this champagne ad as well! Again pulling form and color from the ad this collection features the chocolate browns, diamonds and rounds, flourishes and florals.
The mixed metal cameo was given a softly aged artisan patina and features the same vintage faux pearl you've seen repeated in the other collections. ($40.oo)
A second layered pendant features a glass focal and drop. ($48.oo)
The stackable bracelet echoes the color of the glass and softens it with crystal pearls and copper accents. ($25.oo)
Two pair of earrings, one pair of big bold statement earrings in a beautiful rusty black finish that shows of the curves of the flourish beautifully. ($35.oo)
The second pair of earrings are a simple pair of Iris in the same gorgeous finish. ($15.oo)

the Chocolate Collection:

mucha's musings: Chocolate Collection, hand crafted jewelry by Wind Dancer Studios on Etsy
Mucha's Musings: the Chocolate Collection
This wonderful ad for Mexican Chocolates was the inspirational focus of this collection.
It features a mixed metal pendant that is a layered and resined copy of the ad itself. ($48.oo)
A layered bolo tie for him ($42.oo) and a long feather pendant for her ($38.oo) both in silver plate and on rich chocolate brown leather.
A second necklace in gorgeous jaspers dyed in the softest sea greens and turquoise, paired with leather, wood and copper, just gorgeous with that rusty black finish on the leaves. ($55.oo)
A pair of earrings in the perfect blend of sea green and turquoise chalcedony, all dressed up in brass ox. ($30.oo)
Finally a pair of ear vines in silver plate showing off blooms of vintage faux pearl and turquoise colored beads, hand wrapped and secured in place.($28.oo) Vines feature studs with stability discs and may be gently formed to your ear for a perfect fit. 
This collection is still whispering sweet nothings in my ear, don't be surprised if you see it expand in the future!

the Arts Collection; Music:

mucha's musings: the Arts Collection: Music, hand crafted jewelry by Wind Dancer Studios on Etsy
Mucha's Musings: The Arts Collection; Music

Based on the Four Arts series by Mucha, this collection focuses on Music. 
Featuring my favorite pendant of the line, a mixed metal layered beauty hung from a beautiful leather cording. ($55.oo)
A sweet heart  of a bangle in copper, completely stackable (25.oo)!
A pair of gorgeous filigree hoop earrings. ($24.oo)
A set of stacked copper rings ($35.oo).
And finally a hand forged clef note lapel pin in copper. ($24.oo)
Admittedly the smallest of my collections it too is still whispering sweet nothings in my ear. Music it seems would like me to recreate several of my sold pieces to round out the collection - so as with the Chocolate Collection do not be surprised if she gets her way! 

As I noted in hop number two all my collections were designed with mix and match in mind. The ability to mix and match with each other and with my existing inventory at Wind Dancer Studios. I'm thrilled to be able to introduce this line to my shop in the coming days. Please look for it soon!

Until then I've uploaded all the pics to my Flick'r if you'd like to see them individually.

Brenda has assembled 55 of us for this Challenge. She’s worked hard keeping us on track and on task. Reminding us of what is important and what is not so much. I could go on and on but this is a Hop and hop we must. I do thank you for stopping by and celebrating my new line with me! And I thank Brenda for pushing me back out of my comfort zone and reminding me what art is all about. Now, lets go see what the others have created. The past two hops have hinted at some wonderful lines and I can’t wait to see them myself!

Our Tireless Hostess 
Brenda Sue Lansdowne, B'sue Boutiques
Jewelry Making Outside the Box

Marcia Tuzzolino
Aurora Designs

Jann Tague
Clever Designs by Jann

Judy King
Apt to Wander Studio

Linzi Alford
Magpie in the Sky, Spoil Heap Tales

Cynthia Wainscott
Exotic Peru

Carole Carlson

Lynn Stinten

Marica Zammit
Bead Lovelies

Catherine Shattuck

Michaele Collie
The Vintage Gem

Mary Craig
Jewelry Alchemy

Lee Koopman
Strega Jewelry

Erin Whitacre
Shattered Time Jewelry

Monica Casady
MJCasady Copper Works

Leila West
Leila Nicole Designs

Cindy Peterson
Howling Dog Jewelry    

Leila Belcher
Leila Bee Designs

Gloria Allen
Wings and Beads

Pamela Anger
Novegatti Designs

Tammy Adams
Paisley Lizard

Lynda O'Mara
LOmara Creative

Elizabeth Hildreth

~*~*~*~*YOU ARE HERE!!~*~*~*~*
Dana Hickey  waves HI!!
Wind Dancer Studios


Janet Calardo
Jan Lea Designs

Maria Clark
Sweet Willow Designs

Lori Beekman
B. Accessorized

Jennifer Kroeger
Relic Charm

Amy Jorgensen
Hoarder's Corner

Robin Reed
Artistry: Handcrafted Bead Designs

Ingrid Anderson
Lilis Gems

Louise O'Shields
Desire Divine Jewels

Susan Killam
Killam Creative

Mary Katherine Deis
The Rose Sword: Artisan and Vintage Collectible Jewelry

Nike Bottalico
Nike Bottalico

Susan Bowerman
Woodside Wireworks

Kristy Le
Kristy Le Trendy Jewelry Designs

Jan Peters
Stylized Vintage

Mitzie Crider
Needful Luxuries Occasional Blog

Gina Hockett
Freestyle Elements

Linda Anderson
From the Bead Board

Alexandra Sefton
Imaginary Jewelry and Altered Art

Melida Boman
The Journey of Pens and Things

Teresa Shurter
TreeZ's Treasurs

Melissa Latimer
Smithed Up

Renee Hong
Fine and Dandy Jewelry and Art

Nadine Edris
Moondance Jewelry

Lori Meyer
Parisienne Girl

Jennifer Merrill Williams
Artists of All Stripes

Denise Lussier Poirier
Jewelry by Denise

Renee Allen
Small Stuff Design 

Autumn Adams
Autumn Dawns

Elizabeth Owens
1996 Shabby Lane

Kat BarronMiller
Midnight Kat Productions Art Jewelry

Sandra Ballard
Mama San's Mojo

Coral Law

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Prepping For Fridays Post!

Quickie post today. I've been snapping pics of most the new pieces I've gotten made for this weekends reveal and impending launch of my new line! Most because my batteries died ..... thankfully I keep some rechargeables on hand just in case! They're charging as I type this and I thought I'd round up some pics for todays post in the mean time. Yes I know I'm late....

Gorgeous Copper Gifts, Wind Dancer Studios
Count Your Lucky Stars
Corky pulled together this gorgeous treasury for team LACWE today

Brass & Aquamarine Earrings by Wind Dancer Studios on Etsy
Week 10 - Year of Jewelry  Aquamarine

Silver and Crystal Pearl Earrings by Wind Dancer Studios
Week 11 - Year of Jewelry  Hinged

I've had my nose to the grindstone all day and it's time for some family time, NetFlix and Hawaii 5 0. Last week I found the original show on NetFlix and watched an episode with my son. I'm pretty sure he thinks the new Kono is much cuter lol   Don't forget! Next weeks post will be early === Friday!!

Thanks for stopping by!
We'll see you on Friday!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

My handmade vs your handmade again….

tools of the trade, studio desk, bend it, torch it, forge it, make it
Tools of the Trade

It seems to be that time of year again. Applications are being submitted and juried requirements posted.
Handmade must have raw materials that have been hand manipulated  and physically altered by the applicant.  
That’s the legal FTC definition and the one many juried shows and guilds stand by. 
Artists everywhere get their feelings bent out of shape by it, but my art IS hand made by me, I made it. 

I’ve given this some very serious thought lately. I worked very hard to get to a point where I can begin by legal definition to call some of my pieces hand made. This is not my hand made is better than your hand made, I’ve seen some stunning works created by new jewelers still oblivious to the “rules” and some hideous pieces by respected bench jewelers. This is I worked very hard to gain these skills to earn my niche in handmade. Although I personally prefer the term artisan or hand crafted.

Art Comes From Your Soul
Found on FB after I wrote this post and I think it captures
perfectly what I'm trying to convey in todays post!

Creating jewelry is Art. It doesn’t matter which skill sets you possess, when you are making, you are creating. Some sculpt, some chisel, some play with fire. Some string, some glue and some tie knots. The end results are a piece of beauty that is worn around the neck, wrist, or on fingers and ears and many other body parts to boot. (Pun intended, I think boot bracelets are a fun accessory.) Materials vary and the degree of difficulty in manipulating them varies as well. But they are all art, even to the point of design aesthetics, some like this style and some like that style.

Tell you what…...Let’s stop trying to compare my hand made to your hand made shall we. The only thing it creates is hurts feelings.

Hand sewn Halloween Teddy costume, hand crafted is art no matter the medium
Hand Crafted Bath Towel Teddy Costume

For the first very large portion of my life, creating was art. Didn’t matter if I sketched out the design, drafted a pattern and made a teddy costume out of brown bath towels for the wee one, or if it was a mural on the wall for the oldest. It didn’t matter if my medium was cloth, paper, beads or metal. What mattered was the act of creation. It wasn’t until I joined a few groups on FB that I had even heard of my hand made is better than yours. Oh I had always recognized varying degrees of difficulty, but better? This was new, and little by little it had crept into my own head. You may haveread the posts I’ve written, A grade C grade doesn’t matter so long as it fits my vision of the end design.

The thing is, and what I recently had to remind myself of, is there’s a pyramid to making not just pricing.  Anvil, saw and fire are at the top of the pyramid. My pride was fine with that but until I heard my own words, that inner dialogue, that I took a step back and realized, different skill sets demand different  price points, there’s nothing wrong with having or not having a skill set it just puts you in different shows, guilds and sometimes a different place on the pyramid.

It doesn’t mean your art is less nor does it mean mine is. It just means we're all different kind of artists with different skill sets.

K? Nuff said! No more hurt feelers. Let’s all just make what we love, and allow ourselves to love making it!

Time for me to get back into the studio…..I have a new line/collections with a deadline looming and several almost finished pieces, several half done pieces and several still in sketch. I know…. all the snow and grey skies, I’ve been slacking.

till next time!
Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Copy Rights vs Ethics vs Originality

It's an ongoing discussion in the groups I belong to on FB that revolve around the ethics of using the same techniques. One discussion that stands out in my mind was very civil, everyone held strong opinions but remained calm and rational, it was REALLY a nice discussion, rare for this topic. A recent discussion reminded me of it and I thought I might take a moment to talk about it here.

At the heart of the discussion was a question about building a sellable product line. In noticing the products of other artisans in this persons home town she began to wonder if she was missing the boat in her own product line and posed the question should she add this technique to her line, and if she did, was it in fact ethical to do so.

The general consensus as always was: don’t copy the other artists work but develop your line within your style and if this technique works use it.  Some people though, felt very strongly that even using the technique was an ethical violation. To use the technique was the equivalent of copying.

That stance really got the gears grinding and it made me wonder just where do we draw the line as to mine mine mine. 

I’ve been copied, it hurts, I would never recommend you copy another artists work solely to build your sales.

Technique however, is not copy rightable. How you use that technique, as it relates to design, is. If I use my own handwriting in a design, the hand written aspect is technique, but the font, the way it is used, is design. Does that mean if I use handwriting in one of my designs, you shouldn’t? No I don’t think the idea of a written design is novel, but my personal hand writing is. It is so novel the courts preside over forgery cases. Je t’aime written across a pendant, not original enough to claim copy right. Je t’aime with a rose and a crystal and hand written in my personal font is. 

If you want to make a pendant that says Ti amo in your handwriting using a daisy and a pearl, go for it. While I may know exactly where you got the idea, you took it in your own direction. Italian vs French, different flower, different stone, different writing. I have absolutely no right to get mad because you used hand writing…….. the rest is still considered derivative. You changed enough to be legal but not enough that the influence isn’t recognizable. See what I mean?  I can gripe about the design if I want to but have no leg to stand on if the only thing I’m mad about is the handwriting.

However, if you hand engrave Ti amo in your handwriting across a bracelet bar,  that’s all yours. I have no rights to be angry, and you have a new product in your line.

The stance that two jewelers can’t use the same techniques without violating ethics is terribly flawed. 
ethical |ˈeTHikəl| adjective
of or relating to moral principles or the branch of knowledge dealing with these
• morally good or correct
• avoiding activities or organizations that do harm to people or the environment

I live in a small town. SMALL less than 1000 people small town. I know of three other people that make jewelry. If I string am I being unethical? No

If they wire wrap are they being unethical? No

If they see that I use leather and hand made chain for my pendants, and they decide to use leather and hand made chain are they being unethical? No

If they see my dragon and make an exact replica? Yes highly unethical and is also copy right infringement.

If it is unethical to use a technique that another jeweler is already using, we are ALL in a world of trouble. Not one of us uses a technique that no one else has ever used or isn’t using as I type this. I’m pretty sure most of us are using these techniques without any thoughts of malice.

As I wrote above I explained exactly how two artists can use the same technique without undermining each other.

Peoples tastes are vastly varied making room for many artists using different, similar and even the same techniques…… bezel set stones anyone?

Life’s too short not to learn new and fun things, it’s too short to spend it angry or worried that someone else might want to make beautiful things. Can there really ever be too many beautiful things in the world?

Go forth, make beautiful things!
I’ll be here, making some of my own.
Thanks for stoppin by!
We’ll see ya next time!

PS This was a blog topic I had tucked away for later use. The bones of it were written months ago and I freshened the writing a little.  I currently do not have any jewelry like this in my product line, it is just an example pulled from thin air. Although I do know people who have similar pieces in their lines now, this was written before I had knowledge of it and in no way means I think they copied anyone - just great minds and all that good stuff.