Thursday, December 17, 2009
Last week though I had a strange experience. A couple came over to me and asked if Iworked for another person. (Dave?? I can't remember). No, I make all my own stuff all by myself. Sometimes the cat keeps me company but mostly its me & parts.
"But your jewelry is a lot like his!"
"Well, not really. Your work is very nice."
"We should tell Dave(?) to come and see your stuff. He's going to be Furious. He'll be soooo angry! We should tell him to come see your stuff!"
um... no really. Perhaps you should NOT send Dave(?)-the-Enraged-Jeweler to come see my stuff. I really don't want to meet him anymore.
"Oh it will be FUN! He'll be really upset but he'll get over it!"
This coming Sunday I'll be at the TRANZAC - a little space just south of Bloor Street, at 292 Brunswick Ave. I'm going to have a bunch of new work there. I love the vibe at these craft shows - its always amazing to meet other crafts people.
Somehow though I'm not sure I'm looking forward to meeting Dave(?) though. If you hear about an incident at a craft show.. think of me.
Friday, December 4, 2009
Most people think of tags as descriptions - and in Etsy's case they have some general rules around tagging. Certainly the right tags will get your product found - when you search for something on etsy after all you will notice the various categories. Mis-tagging can get you in trouble sometimes... listing something as vintage when it isn't... but general mistagging can just get your work buried.
If you ever browse the categories (and really - you should! Not only is it a good way to stumble over a great gift but its a great way to see how others are tagging their items) sometimes you'll find some piece of jewelry (or whatever) that is completely mis-tagged. Perhaps it is a newly created necklace that has somehow ended up in the "Supplies" category. These mistakes often go unnoticed by the seller - and what will happen is that your work will be buried in the zillions of supplies.
General rules - lets call these the Basics:
1. CATEGORIES - not all my work goes into the Geekery Category though certainly some of it does. The JEWELRY section is hundreds of pages deep but if that's where your item goes... thats where it should be.
2. SPELLING: is of course critical. One thing to consider though is that American vs British spellings can make it difficult to find some items. Since the majority of buyers are from the USA - consider your options carefully and I would suggest that if the majority of your customers are from the USA - then certainly appeal to them.
3. APPROPRIATE: its really critical that the tag you use is appropriate. You do yourself no favors by marking something with an inappropriate tag. No one wants to look for shoes and find your piece of jewelry made with a doll that happens to be wearing shoes. They won't click on it - and you have wasted one of your Limited number of tags. When I search for supplies it irks the crap out of me to search for steampunk and end up with teddy bear material. My reaction is WTF followed by annoyance. I immediately know someone is trying to take advantage of the popularity of steampunk............. or they just don't know what they are doing. I will NOT buy from someone who can't be bothered to find out about Steampunk Jewelry, or what is a good tag to use for their product.
There are only 14 tags on etsy so use them wisely!
Create a list of possible TAGS. Have a close look at what other people are using for their tags - it might not be the best choice but when you are trying to brainstorm some appropriate tags it can be easy to overlook some.
Now to the nitty-gritty of your Tags...
Tags help the buyers find your work, but with 45,000 tennis bracelets what will help them find you???
This is where a little site called CRAFTWEASEL will really come in handy. Here's the description of their Tag Finder tool: "Tag finder helps you choose the best set of tags for your items" - and pretty much it does what it says.
So lets have a look how this works - and I can give you an example. Since I'm fairly familiar with the term Steampunk... lets go with another tag that sometimes applies to my jewelry: GOTHIC.
Craftweasel tells me were 1100 items or so listed with this term - and the prices - the Mean/Median price. Right away I can see that most of my items will be out of the Mean And the Median price range. (google up the terms for an explanation). Immediately I know that this might not be a good tag for my products. Why? Because my price range is higher so if someone searches and lists "low to high" price my work will be buried...
Does this mean I should not use the tag "gothic"? Not necessarily... so lets look a bit deeper into the stats provided.
Personally the 2nd chart I look at is the graph: "Graph of related tags with most views/day"
Under the term "gothic" I find that jewelry is very low in this list - clothing related items being HIGH. It would be a great term if I made gothic clothing. Alas, its already dropping in my list of Possible tags.
Is that it? No.. Dig around look at the "RELATED TAGS". This is actually a fantastic bit of information. I always sort it by "Average Views per Day". What are the top few average views that are related to what YOU sell? Are any of those tags related to what you sell? What is the average price? Is there any YOU can use...
keep building your list of the best tags for your work you can find. It is how people FIND you on etsy. Check back periodically and see what getting more hits using CraftWeasel. Ask some friends - "if you were looking on google what terms would you use to find my work?".
And one final tip..........
every so often tag your shop name (or your personal name) in with the tags. You might also list your city or town. Not everyone knows to use the "shop local" option - and that only shows 100 shops anyway - so put your city down as a tag... not on every item but at least on one or two in your shop.
Did you find anything interesting in this post? Please let me know!
Monday, November 23, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
Alrighty! I don't have the biggest esty store, nor the most sales, nor am I the premier of steampunk jewelry designers. (heh). But I did 8 years of web-hosting server-side support for UUNet/worldcom/mci/verizon - and a lot of that involved Stats. And sites. And marketing. So I picked up a few things, and spent a lot of hours talking to web-designers and marketers. Maybe You can find a few tips here in this article about how to become a bit more successful - or at least give it a try! :D As a person who's worked for a company more than some change their socks, I've seen Names come and Go..... so...
MACRO TIP #1: WHAT'S IN A NAME?
Have you googled your personal name lately? What kind of results do you get?
Are there 10,000 similar names, or just a few pages?
One of the most important things you can do when you are choosing a shop name is to come up with something memorable - and unique. If you have gone by a standard default *myname1234* or something along the lines of DebbieDoesEarrings - chances are you might be doing your shop a disservice. Someone will find your shop - but will they remember it two weeks from now? Or will they think, "hmm.. debbie. earrings." and use that as a search and get 5 million pages - with your shop name buried somewhere 108 pages into the results?
You want something unique - and perhaps reflective of what you do. I chose clockwork = because its memorable and reflects the materials. Zero was my old Nickname. Google up "clockworkZero" and you'll notice the first 10 pages or so all link back to me - and thus to etsy. When I first started out all the results led to someone else who had a similar name who has now vanished under my tagging.
Is it too late to rebrand? Not really. If you realize your old name was/is a poor choice - there's a few things to do. Contact your old customers and let them know you've changed your shop name - use it as an opportunity to create hype! "I'm relaunching - just an FYI! Come see what is new!" etc. It gives you a great excuse to send a simple email to friends, family and customers - without banging them on the head begging for sales.
Include your old shop name in your etsy tags for a while - this will give people the chance to search and find you - so add your OLD name to all your current listings...
BUT My cards .... My Marketing ! All the time/money/ideas I've already put into Debbie74832x!
Ask some tough questions: 1. is it working? 2. can it work better? If someone doesn't have your business card In Their Hand - do they remember you?
Luckily you can still have your old shop - BUT - redirect the customers over to your New Shop Name! Use up those business cards (though personally, I've never minded someone crossing out old info - for enviromental reasons - and printing in the new name/tel #).
1. Add your shop name to you signature as well - everywhere you can.
2. Add your shop name to your tags on etsy. It doesn't have to be in every listing but put it in a few. People don't often realize when they go to etsy that they need to define their searches by shop name.
3. Use your old name in tags in your blogs etc. Some places will allow name changes but you might need to pay a fee. It can be worth it. If they can't do it ... start planning the name change and announce it where ever you can. "I'm moving my blog to..."
Brainstorm with friends or hold a contest for a new name. Create hype. Get excited about your relaunch and people will get excited with you.
IS IT WORKING?
How do you check to see if it is working? Obsessively google your name?
Too much work. You might do it for a few days but 3 weeks into it you will forget.
There is an easy solution: Google gives you tools.
1. STATS. If you haven't set up stats on your esty page.. hie thee hence and find out how. There is a ton of info on the etsy forums. Stats are your friends. View are lovely - but 80% of visitors will only look at your main page you need to know if your Old name and New name is working. Stats will be a critical critical ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY tool. kinda like fingers. really.
2. ALERTS. Every time someone mentions ClockworkZero and the word Steampunk (and a few other things) I get an email from google. I want to know who mentions me, why, where and when. Its a great tool to see how often your current name is getting mentioned. When you've rebranded with your new shiny name... see the difference. Set up your own google alerts here: http://www.google.com/alerts and then see what happens.
And if you are Debbie74832x - you can rebrand. DebbieDoesEarrings is currently available. ;)
And do let me know what you think about this article. Want more tips? should i bother?
With the weather halfway decent I could finally take some photos. Thats the problem with a Natural Light obsession. Cloudy dark days don't do it for me. Bright sun also has its own problems. Today looks like another good day - bright and flat skys.
What does this all mean? Basically I've been working like a fiend to get new designs up to Etsy. I do not know if the Shopping Holiday craze has decended or the sporadic marketing attempts I've been doing.
In the past week I've almost had 30 items up on etsy. For me that is a HUGE number. I custom make all my designs... so its just me sitting there in my little crowded room, trying not to drop tiny gears on the floor where they'll get lost in the cracks. This should be easy but it isn't. :D I work a few hours every day for my brother - doing that driveway thing - but when its done - in theory I've got a few hours to make some steampunk earrings, some necklaces and work on some weirdo sculptures.
5 hrs for my brother: 9-2pm. or so
1 hr for: lunch, minor cleaning: 30 min. shower, dressing, more minor cleaning: 30.
Suddenly it will be 3pm.. emails. Posting stuff. Shopping. Making dinner.
Wait! the light is great.. take those photos!
Wait, another email from someone re: steampunk jewelry!
Wait.. wait.. wait..
Next thing I know it will be 5:30 and I've CREATED NOTHING... but dinner.
So to get 28 pieces of jewelry up on etsy is an accomplishment. I don't know how other people manage to list 50 or 100 or 200 things. omg. They prob work full time at it. Or have a co-op or something. Listing 28 pieces is for me an EXPLOSION of jewelry.
But now .. I've had sales. The last 2 weeks have been almost as busy for my store as the time that I had the article about my work and etsy in WIRED Magazine. I'm tripping over myself to make sure the work gets sent out promptly and well packaged. and now i've gotta plan for 3 craft shows in Dec!
rains it pours. make hay while the sunshines. It will likely be very quiet in January!
Monday, November 16, 2009
So a few days ago I said I'd post some photos up. So far I've been slacking. Actually I've been painfully busy. There was the most fantastic party this weekend - great people and music - and OMG models. Models wearing my jewelry. it was an EVENT! :D
anyway, it seems of late I've got a lot of insects around my etsy shop. I love bugs, beetles, bees and spiders. Suddenly I realize I've got a LOT of steampunk insect themes. Maybe there is an entomologist hidden in my soul yearing to create? I would love to study insects but I think I'll have to beg off for a few years while I'm fixated on the steampunk jewelry. So, here's a few of my steampunk insect themed jewelry. Maybe I have the same facination with insects that the Victorian's had? To be honest they make me jump but I do like them.
So Above in this post: Beetle Wing Necklace: Made from real insect wings :) Scary but true - they are this incredible chrome green colour.
Image 2: this fantastic Steampunk Bee necklace. Not the best photo I know... there are more photos on my
http://www.clockworkzero.etsy.com/ - this is a really elegant creation. I searched for months to find matching small gears for this piece - they flank the wings and there are matching watch gears too. The only little element that is not an exact match is the fact that one side has a brass coloured gear while the other is silver. Oh well. :D I could have removed them but then it would lose such a nice element of this piece. More photos of it and a longer description are over on my little site.
Then we have another bee. this is much more "fun" then the queen bee here - an interesting combination of a new "vintage" designed pressing and a light bulb! :D
This piece was a nightmare to photograph. The bulb was so difficult to get right and the light has been terrible of late.
It came out fairly well but looks much better in person. Thebrass gear in the centre is really quite fantastic. I wrote a bit about it... Its called (i feel appropriately): The Mystery of Bees
Now lets see what else I've got up on etsy that will go into this post.
Basically this was the piece that started the "Clockwork Insect" post.... I finally finished it last week and got some time to take photos. I'm so pleased with it. It is just FANTASTIC really... I Love it. Sure someone else will love it too... but I just hope whomever buys it will like it as much as me. lol. Does anyone else have that problem?
I photographed it with natural light but had to remove a lot of colour from the wood in this shot via photoshop. The wings reflected all the colour... you can still see a bit of warmth to it.
There is a great description of this unique piece of steampunk jewelry... while its still for sale. I am suspecting someone will buy it. Wouldn't it be great against black? Stunning!
And you know..
just to through a Monkey into the mix...
I'll be putting up my Monkey soon to my etsy site. Sort of a monkey wrench into the works of this post ;)
Friday, November 13, 2009
Craftcult has a widget and you can find out if you've been featured on the front Page on etsy. What I hadn't realized was that the Mini Telescope was featured there once before!!
I had been speaking with my husband about "things we want" and a telescope was one of them. An amazing telescope... but here in the city its hard to see the stars. Anyway that compelled me to find someone who had a few for sale and I got them all. They were in pretty rough condition (some of them) - with lose glass - dirty glass (an actual fingerprint!) and some terrible goop. I disassembled them and voila! I found an awesome chain that is a great match and added some vintage charms.
I suspect it is the photo. It was a real trick taking it but I use an old Canon G6 with a flip out screen and a macro lens attachment.
and it seems.. alas.. i can't show you the photos of it. sigh. I'll try and figure something out!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
well its close to being an explosion. For the first time ever I've managed to get up more than 20 items on etsy. Sure took long enough. A year and a half! lol. But not just that.. there is a crazy bunch of jewelry everywhere - piling up and waiting to be finished - every.where. Steampunk jewelry, cyberpunk jewelry, geek jewelry... gears cogs wheels wood, bits and bobs, glass.. a fair amount of glass bits... fragments and EPROMS and vacuum tubes and switches and so MUCH stuff... its spilling out.
I'd show you all a photo of my work space but I'm too embarassed.
I'll be putting up some new photos very soon.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
I got to read an Advanced Readers copy of Leviathan... which is really a fabulous Steampunk novel. I suspect it is YA - but as an adult I found it fantastic. Good solid story, interesting concept (mechanical vs a "natural machine"), and well.. I'm going to buy another copy (so i have the new cover). It allowed me to get a feel for the design - and to get the measurements as well so the book cover could be easily removed if the winner wants.
It features a really nice leather and faux-suede cover. I chose to use the faux since it is actually a lot sturdier than real suede and has an awesome feel to it. The "artwork" on it is set on a leather background - a dark near-black chocolate leather.
The main part of the book covering has a pocket watch - Swiss - dated pre-1920. I chose that particular watch face because it is around the date of the book was set. There is a bit of an abstract selection of gears at the very center. Below that a few gears flow down into a large selection of gears taken from a few different pocket watches. The larger gears are winding wheels - the nicest of which has a machined patterning called Damaskeening in it that makes it shine. That particular gear is surrounded by a Date Wheel... that is taken though from a men's wrist watch. I created a "Frame" around the leather with these wonderful brass corners that have been carefully aged to give it the look of green patina as if it were copper. The green was matched to compliment the hue of the suede.
The nicest touch that I'm quite happy with is a Steampunk Bee near the bottom of the design. This silver-plated bee has had some added elements - little bits of gears that were added to the wings, and a few extra details. I plan on making a few steampunk necklaces based around this design that will go up on my ClockworkZero site. I've only though got a very, very few of the bees though so it looks like it will be another limited edition. sigh.
I found it quite interesting the role that bees played in the book - and actually they are one of my favorite elements as well. Bees and Gears and STeampunk jewelry oh my! The illustrations by Keith Thompson are really amazing. The one with the pocketwatch was part of my inspiration. I'm currently working on 2 different bee necklaces.
Its too bad I couldn't give you all a better Heads Up on the contest. Sorry about that! I'm going to advertise the contest now...
but even if you don't win do buy the book!
I know I'll be anxiously waiting for the next one.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
I had a lady approach me to ask if I could design some jewelry for a "cyberpunk" styled TV Commercial! oh yes. yes i can :D Could I get it to LA by Thursday? Could I do it on a budget? Hella yeah! Lucky for me I like a challenge - and getting a deadline done. I had 2 necklaces (and a bracelet) completed in 24hrs.. and shipped. Shipping though was expensive - but thank gods I got the cash back. $50+ but it was there in Thursday morning (shipped Tuesday pm).
Whats the commerical about??? ... I am sworn to keep it a secret! Something cyberpunk.
Evidently the commerical is a Big Deal. Of course, who knows - it might not even show on the final cut, or it might just be itty-bitty on a person in the background. but... Does it matter? Not really.
I know my work will look so good as costuming. Seriously. I can picture someone with a few layers of it on. The Vacuum Tubes hanging down - some of the bigger ones that are very sexual, very odd and Full of Mysterious things. Those look fantastic on men. Maybe some of the smaller ones for a woman. The funny thing is that no one really recognizes them much any more. They look like capsules.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
That's the secret of a good photo. I'm not even close to achieving that.. but I learned a lot of tricks Even when i take a great and interesting photo - I still get emails from customers saying: Oh is so much better in Real life!
I try not to spend too much time ditzing around with photos. If I spend 4 hours playing with photos - and i still pay myself - my jewelry would be Much More Expensive. And to be honest I feel its not fair. A customer isn't buying a photo. So I try and limit my "ditzing around time" to about 30 min. Less if I can. Usually I have 2 shots I might spend more time with. As well I try and use all 5 photos. Photos help sell the work.
After having sold nearly 140+ pieces - this equals about 700 photos just to etsy. Thats about 350 hours of photo time. If I was working a 40 hour week that would be over 8 wks. 2 months of work. And that won't count all the didn't-make-it photos. The ones with the hairs and dust and omg-is-that-a-fly?? on the shots.
You really want to get as close to a good photo right from the start. As important as it is to take a good photo there are a few BASICS. This little article won't help much for someone who has no idea about photography. You'll have to check some other sites to help with that.
BASIC THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN TAKING YOUR PHOTOS FOR ETSY:
- 1. Exposure. If your photo is over-exposed there is not a lot you can do to correct it if all the highlights are blown out. For me personally its easier to correct under-exposure. The more over-exposed the photo is the harder it gets to correct.
- 2. Centered - for Etsy and similar sites its really vital that your product is centered. Oh sure it can be artistically placed to one side. It can come at a slant. But if you are cutting off a section of your work or say the really pretty beads aren't show then your customer won't see them. You've got just a few chances to grab their attention - so if part of your photo is missing - chances are good they won't click to find it.
- 3. Large as Possible - You want to fill up at least one of your photos with the product. You might not get in all of it - but get the bulk of whatever it is - in the center and Large!
- 4. Focus. - in focus not blurry. Did you use a tripod?
- 5. Minimal Shadows - yes. sure daylight is great - but direct sunlight causes shadows. Shadows create distortion. In the tiny thumbnails people review the shadows will look like part of your work. Use a bounce. (another photo term for you to look up). A bounce will help minimize the darkness. I have used: pie plates, pot lids, pieces of paper - as well as a store-bought Bounce. The paper works fine.
- 6. WHITE. Anything in your photo that is white should be white. Are your whites white? If your white beads look GRAY or Yellow.. you need to get a photoshop-type program and adjust them. This is critical. If your customer thinks the beads are yellow and gets white beads they won't be pleased. I won't click on any photo of anything where the product looks gray. Brighten it up.
- 7. Straight... this depends on the shot but a good example is the huge number of shots we use to reject because the horizon was crooked. I like things that are straight in the photo - especially if I suspect the person was trying to make it straight.
- 8. Background. I prefer neutral backgrounds. Not too fancy. If i have to spend 40 minutes dicking around with "composing a background" - say one of lace and a pretty book etc. That is 40 minutes I could spend writing, making new jewelry, sleeping. Because these are product shots you want a good, interesting background - but not one that distracts from your work. As well if I create a photo with a book, some lace, pretty flowers - I will make sure I use that in several product shots. But here's the catch - I don't want all my pieces to have the same look. Thats why I will often use layers.
1. underexposed. I was being lazy and didn't set up a tripod. Hand-held at 1/30 F2.8 ISO50
2. crooked - I should have spent a bit more time laying it out. sigh.
3. strong shadows. Not terrible - but I didn't use a bounce - see above: lazy. grey.
4. bland background - bland but one of my fav's. it has a lot of black spots but I knew i'd be correcting and adding in a layer.
AFTER: time - 22 min
1. exposure fixed. used - brightness & contrast.
2. straightened (still not perfect but not bad. It is straight and cropped square. My only nitpick would be that the chain is more exposed on the left. shrug).
3. shadows minimized. Cloned out most of the strong ones and dodge out others.
4. background was okay but I added a layer of texture. I did this because I use that textured paper a lot and want something different. Plus - this is a "mechanical" piece. The original background was subtle and organic. I wanted something a bit more textured. In a larger version - clickclick on it - the On-Off switch looks 3d. It does stand a bit forward of the chain so thats okay.
5. cropped - this will be the main photo in when I upload the photo. I look at the photos reduced to 30%. If they look interesting when they are tiny .. thats great. Sites like etsy want squares. Since I was a bit lazy I added some of the background to the right side of the photo. Really I should add a bit more to the bottom so it is centered - but I've hit my 20 min time limit. This will be the main photo in the Etsy upload.
one thing I did that isn't the best is along the left side of the switch it is a wee bit blurry. Thats an editing issue I will correct. later. maybe. but because there will be 4 other photos I won't worry too much. This recycled necklace is made out of different electronic elements. Steampunk jewelry 0r cyberpunk jewelry or maybe just some real geek jewelry. And yeah, the switch does work. :D
Do let me know if you liked this article!
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
I spent a part of yesterday drilling out beelte wings. They really look fantastic. Plus.. i love drilling things - funny but true. I even made myself a version of this necklace ::GASP:: = something I rarely do.
The colours are really stunning. I never thought I would wear chrome green.. lol. its GREEN but how amazing really. Depending on the light there is hints of yellow as well as hints of an incredible blue.
I have been really busy this weekend. I even got a fanpage up on Facebook - shocking but true! so far a few of my friends/ ex-coworkers have joined which is kind of fun.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
"Here there be Monsters" is an unusual themed piece of steampunk jewelry full of detail and charm. It is part of an old pocket watch that has a wave pattern around the base that was the inspiration.It is very detailed piece that has a beautifully engraved balance. The hairspring on it is intact and the balance wheel spins easily as it gets touched by a finger. The engraving is also on part of the movement plate - and the fine patterning on metal is also called Damaskeening. Often the older watch pieces get damaged - especially the hairsprings - but this one is wonderful and should be carefully spun.
So I'm making up some of the more rare and unusual pieces - and obtaining dates where I can. Getting dates on some pieces is a royal PITA. Why? Well - Waltham pieces for example - have serial numbers but there isn't a easy way to go through them. What needs to be done involves going to the Waltham site - and manually looking through the records. The records are actually just photos of the serial numbers someone wrote down a hundred years ago or so.
Its cool but tiresome. I have one beautiful movement (partial) and it appears to be serial 9006663 - which was made sometime in Sept-October of 1874. hows that for cool?!
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Well, turns out that the guy had gone on vacation for a few weeks. I am so relieved!
He bought the 2nd Clockwork Insect I made - and I'm posting it off now.
In the meantime I was feeling quite geeky. Must be missing the old tech support job or something. So I was playing with EPROMS. I'm making a series: Dancing Cybermen - of brooches. Not just brooches but Super Geek Robot brooches - and turning those old EPROMs into jacket pins. They are just........................so uberly geeky.
They kind of dance too = jiggly legs and arms. So you know - an EPROM is a Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory, is a type of computer memory chip that retains its data when its power supply gets turned off.
And this one is an intel made in 1982!
Friday, July 31, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Ages ago I bought some Jewel Beetle wings - which is kind of gross - but still very very cool. They've been used for hundreds of years to make jewelry and in ... embroidery. They are this insanely beautiful chrome-green colour, and they are hard as heck too. I actually have to drill through them.
Anyway, I keep getting New Ideas as I was making them. There will be 2.... One will be a commission and because I really want these things to come out perfectly, there was nothing to do but take them apart and redrill wings, tinker and tailor and redo them.
Friday, July 24, 2009
I've been swamped lately and then had a sudden burst of creativity. It happens - I don't know if other artists feel the same way - but all of a sudden everything started coming together. I created 3 or 4 new necklaces... all steampunk. :D
I love making steampunk jewelry - and combining new and very old materials. I lucked out and found a few very nice pieces.
I've been absolutely stunned at some of the prices work is going for these days - some is quite cheap (but then you get cheap looking stuff). But MY GODS - some of it is so very overpriced that I almost fell over when I saw the Cheap Looking Stuff that was so very over rated. It was stunning.
I'm sure I'm opening myself up to some possible flames... but holy gee some of it looks....... terrible. But then I guess it is just my tastes aren't that common. I'm sure there will be some people who think my own work looks like crap too. :) heh.
maybe this is how old jewelers felt when they saw knockoffs and chrome and plated materials? Did they think, "omg who would buy that?" and "are you joking?" Come to think of it: my dad gave me the same look when I showed him my work. :D
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
I've chosen two materials - and likely will go with the first one... Its a nice faux-suede, a bit heavier than the other colour. There's a camel-brown (not really beige - but sorta!) and a green. The green - sort of an olive military green - is quite nice but a bit lighter. I had cut the patterns out - and drawn lines where I needed to sew.... but since i've no machine - I had to go to my friend's place to do it.
Of course going to a friend's place means coffee, lunch and more coffee. We're both photographers so I spent time reviewing her latest work, giving opinions on her jewelry designs (great idea but it will be tricky!) - and talking.
We finally got around to sewing around 4pm. The first, lighter material - was easy. The second one (camel colour) was ................ well. Looks like i need to learn to mark patterns better. After 2 shots we had it done.
I'm a bit nervous. The book covers are pretty exact. Its what they wanted - as far as I can tell. And I detest the idea of them being floppy. So they are snug. How many books will they actually fit? No idea. In my mind they likely won't be used all over the place. Come on, if you won a prize that is covered with silver and gears - how often would you tote it around? Maybe a few times - to show off? How many times would you put in other books? Maybe once or twice.
I think this will look so fantastic that someone will just simply leave it on Leviathan and adore it that way :D
Anyway, the covers got sewn. Now comes the FUN part! For me sewing is Not Fun. but anyway.... i'll be laying out some ideas and sending it to the people at Simon & Shulster Canada and seeing what they think. If it all looks good............. then away I go!
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
I suspect - should all go well today - I make actually start making some new steampunk jewelry.
I'm also going to be testing out some new glues. It looks warm enough to open the windows -- because I certainly don't want lung damage. One of the test glues will be the e6000 product - which looks good in theory though - holy crap it has a number of warnings on it. hm. I'm always reluctant to use things that can end up getting absorbed into the skin.. and you know - cause some weird long term effects.
Anyone want to talk about glue? lol. Its def one of my fav subjects. Getting one thing to stick to another. I've really no great luck on soldering to be honest. Mostly due to the range of materials I use. Soldering steel? arg. soldering copper to brass, brass to steel, steel to aluminum, ... i seriously get nightmares.
Unlike my Dad - who has a lifetime of luck and skill - I just am not a fan of epoxies. Nothing wrong with a good old epoxy. Really expoxies - the 2 part kind - rule the stars. Unfortunately epoxies and I aren't the best of buddies. I dunno. I mix well. Really I do. I suspect it is the measuring. Maybe what I should do is load up 2 syringes with hardner and glue and then squeeze out exactly the correct amount.
I think using epoxies is much baking. Seriously... I'm a cook. I can't bake. Oh sure, once ever 5 years I will bake. In fact I baked up some awesome banana bread last week. But really all that ... measuring. it drives me crazy. 1/4 of a teaspoon? Are you kidding me? What happens if i am making a half batch? I then either wing it or google up "whats a half of a quarter of a teaspoon?".
Evidently my poor broken brain agrees. Measuring epoxy is Just Like Baking. I end up with too much glue or too much hardner, or break the not-to-be-broken rule of "Mix Yer Epoxy for One Solid Minute or Else".
I suspect I don't have the attention span of 60 seconds. sure thing I can spend 45 minutes taking apart a piece of machine, or 2 hrs picking through gears the size of a 1yr old's little toenail, but can i sit there mixing Epoxy for 60 seconds? seems not.
To be fair though - there are some epoxies I've had luck with. Just not a consistant result. I'm going to try out this stuff and will let you all know.
so any one out there love a glue?
ClockworkZero out :)
Thursday, May 28, 2009
I've been working on some new steampunk jewelry - but more and more I've been tinkering with some bone/gear and metal sculptural pieces. Sorta cyberpunk/steampunk, since they are in a way sister genres. I often though wonder if I'm alone in that thought. Is there anyone else out there who is a steampunk/cyberpunk jewelry maker? hm. I'd be happy to get to know you if so.
But there is some Big News:
Last week I was approached by Simon & Schulster Canada to help promote a new YA Steampunk novel by Scott Westerfeld called LEVIATHAN. I just got the wonderful Advanced Reader's Copy. Now my job is to make a book "slip cover"... a fancy-dancy book cover to go over the cover - allowing the reader to take it off to protect another book. Its likely been far too long since I've done leather work to do an amazing job - and not everyone loves leather. I know many people who won't wear leather - so I'm leaning towards a sewable material. I doubt it will be faux-leather, because mostly that stuff doesn't have the right feel. I am thinking though that this will likely end up being more for display vs real use... so likely the front will be quite 3D.
I've got a few ideas for it as well. Perhaps an airplane. Perhaps a bee - since bees are frequently mentioned in the novel. One of the super fancy bees might be nice but perhaps a bit too delicate. Then of course there should be some clockwork looking things right? Maybe a lovely large shiny gear? Or a pretty porcelain pocketwatch face? Some combination?
I'm going to do some metal corners too... perhaps in aged brass, some kind of scroll work.
Now I might need someone to do the sewing unless i can find/borrow/beg a sewing machine. Or i can handsew it. But ideally, I would be able to make a few of these book slip covers. They'd be perfect gifts... but I suspect they will take quite some time to make. Will people be willing to buy them is always the question.
I'm quite thrilled to be given the opportunity to do something outside of my regular steampunk jewelry. Not that i don't love it - but I love getting a challenge. I've seen many a hideous book slipcover - and I've seen some very nice leather ones too - but I am looking forward to designing something original and hopefully stunning. hmhmhmmm.
time to go shopping and see what interesting materials I can find!
Maybe I should write to Scott and see if he has any ideas. what a fun challenge!
Saturday, March 28, 2009
It's Earth Hour - our second - and the city is getting dark. I do hope our neighbours know about it = the lights are a blazing.
Monday, March 2, 2009
Clive Thompson who wrote the article bought one of my steampunk/cyberpunk vacuum tubes last year. Although I'd read his stuff for years I didn't know he was The Clive Thompson. Months and months later he contacted me and said he'd like to mention my work in an article. I was thrilled - but thought it would be a lot less - something minor - and he said in April maybe.
Except it is NOW - LOL omgbbqwtfomg I've had a few sales.. and so much positive little emails from strangers. It's been great. Now i've grabbed somehow a little bit of web fame.
If anyone here DIGGs stuff or Stumbles - can you do me a fav and stumble/digg the article? please? pretty please? shugar?
So chances are good .. i'm quitting my day job.
what do you think of that?! craaaaaaaaazy
Sunday, January 25, 2009
So I'm thinking of quitting my day job. The one that pays the rent and bills, and making this a full(er) time venture. its madness. The economy sucks. The sales are a bit slow. but my well paying job... sucks. i get home so depressed and sad, usually with a headache. Sometimes with a migraine.
Between my husband and I we will... be okay if i quit. They won't give me a leave and there are no other positions in the company now. They are asking us to work longer hours (without pay), dress up in Business clothes (no idea why), do more and more. The end result is some hard misery.
So although it seems madness, I told my supervisor this week I'm going to leave the job in April. I'll be doing some hours for my brother, helping people set up web stats (something i'm really good at), and basically... making steampunk jewelry. crazy but true.In other news!
I finally finished my Steampunk Bee design, and I'm really happy with the elements. My husband suggested the price, but I think its a bit too high. I'll be eventually changing it a bit to something slightly more affordable I hope. I love bees........... i should do more bees! And i will too.
So here's the photo. Let me know what you think. There's a few more photos up on etsy - my clockworkzero.etsy site: steampunk bee
The silver bee has been adorned with some simple gears taken from a vintage watch. She is connected to these absolutely gorgeous pocket watch pieces by faceted iolite set into sterling silver. Iolite is a pretty stone - a blue grey colour. I've also added some tiny iolite beads in between the links.
Now the pocket watch pieces are just incredible. It took a long time to find a nice pair that both had some damaskeening (that is the patterning in the metal) and the elaborate engraving. They aren't quite a matched set - since the engraving is a bit different - but they are almost a perfect match in size. Do have a look at the close ups I've provided - since they really show off the fine quality. As you can see these pocketwatch pieces come from Waltham pocketwatches. Based on a guesstimate and a comment from the watch repairman that I got the orignal watches from they were made around 1900-1920 or so.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
I spent the holidays working on some new designs and finishing some special projects.One of the nice things that happened was that my jewelry got used in a photo shoot. I had no idea what to expect though, so it was rather difficult to get all excited about it. Anyway, I got a few of the photos yesterday. I'm totally amazed. They were a lot better than I expected or hoped for.
there's a bigger version on my Flickr. anyway, its thrilling to see my jewlry being worn :D
Bella (blonde model) http://www.modelmayhem.
Elyse (purple-haired model) http://www.modelmayhem.
Jenni (make-up artist) http://www.
Starkers (wardrobe) http://www.