Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Art Bead Scene - June 2016

Art Bead Scene hosts a monthly blog hop showcasing a work of art as the inspiration for jewelry makers.  This month they are featuring work by Louis Rhead; The Century Magazine for June which was created in 1896.  

According to the Smithsonian American Art Museum Rhead designed nearly 100 posters in the 1890's.   In the U.S. he created posters for a variety of magazines, including The Century, St. Nicholas, Harper's, The Bookman, and Scribner's.  He traveled to London, Paris and New York and his work was published in many countries.

I was especially drawn to the the earth tones in this color palette.  It's similar to the color's I used in April's challenge ... what can I say.  Jewelry makers have already begun sharing their work on the Art Bead Scene's Pinterest page.  You can also find blog posts featuring jewelry inspired by this lovely magazine cover, it's always fun so see what jewelry designers make. 

I incorporated beads from my stash.  I've had some beads much too long and after moving my studio a couple of times many things are not labeled.  As a result I am not 100% sure if the black bovine gemstone beads. Are they basalt, hoplite, onyx or what??  My apologies.

I created three strands of various beads using jade, malachite and the black beads.  I also  
included some lovely teal translucent lampwork beads in a matte finish that were made by Francesca De Caire. The brass bead caps are finished in an antique bronze patina from Vintage Brass Bead. 

The focal bead is an ART BEAD that I made in a lampwork bead making class that I took with Julie De Feo at the Sweeney Gallery in Glorieta, NM.  

The lampwork beads compliment the shades of green of the malachite beads and the light green jade.  The color combination of ivory and turquoise in the focal bead blends nicely with the overall color palette.  

Visit the Art Bead Scene blog to learn from artists who push creativity to new heights; beads, jewelry, components & giveaways are at just a click away.  

Keep Creating,

Friday, June 17, 2016

We're All Ears - June Challenge

Today’s reveal day for the We're All Ears  - June challenge!  This month the theme is strawberries which are very interesting fruit.  Stop by Erin’s blog post to see the list of fun facts about strawberries.  You may learn a thing or two. 

I sorted through my beads and couldn't find anything REAL strawberry-ish but I did find some lovely lampwork beads in a red hue that I think work well with these large ceramic beads.
I incorporated antique brass findings and made some earwires to match. 
Lampworked Boro Beads by Suzie Box (ZB-Beads)
Ceramic Beads by Gaea Handmade 
Keep Creating,


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

What Does Quality Mean To YOU?

Producing high quality standards is a major concern for my home based jewelry business.  It is a double edged sword in one respect because I am my toughest critic.  There are times when the components don’t hold up so the product doesn’t meet my quality standards.

R.M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance says quality is neither mind nor matter, but a third entity independent of the two.  Even though quality can’t be defined you know what it is.

Quality means different things to different people and to different industries.  For me quality is being unique and honest, it’s something that you come to recognize through experience.  Have you ever created a beautiful piece of jewelry only to have it fall apart because the crimp bead broke or the clasp didn’t hold up?  Anyone who has a creative outlet or hobby knows that there are some things you just can’t control.  Does that mean you are making an inferior product?  I THINK NOT.  I have found that buying higher quality goods is more expensive and isn’t always a full proof guarantee that something won’t break, crack or bend whether it's tools, beads, wire, etc.

As an artisan I am constantly reminding myself that each consumer has different wants and needs.  The goods that satisfy their desires are looked at as having the highest quality.  This may be a biased view about the quality of goods and services but when sales are involved it makes sense.  Pricing is always a difficult for me because I want to offer great products at affordable prices but again I think often times consumers valuing things in relation to price.  

In a recent review of my work by a juried panel for a local shop I was told that the beads were of poor quality because they were not uniform in shape and size.  Well I purchase and make ART BEADS which are not always uniform in shape, size and color.  These are obviously conflicting views on the quality of certain products.  To me uniformity doesn’t mean superiority and that a product will stand the test of time and wear-ability.  

This feedback sparked my interest in researching what quality means in different aspects of life.  Different cultures, industries and various professions can influence a person's view of what makes a product high-quality. 

Here’s a list of some factors that I use to determine if the components I use in my jewelry making are worthy of being included in a design and if I repurchase the same or like items.  Again, experience weighs heavily on my designs.  It's a very automatic process I choose beads and components based on the following:

1.      Performance
2.      Reliability
3.      Durability
4.      Features
5.      Appearance

While quality can sometimes be measured by a product’s attributes, individual preference plays a role in how we value items.  These different views definitely give me a lot to think about when it comes to familiarizing myself with products and artists.  With the enormous international market readily available at our fingertips finding the “right” product is an enormous undertaking.

Right now I work with a limited number of vendors.  I have found that this provides consistency in my wears and limits my frustration because I'm familiar with their products, return policies, etc.  

The methods you use to determine if an item is of high quality can vary depending on the item you are purchasing, how a particular product makes you feel and if the purchase will satisfy a desire/need.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on how you determine if a product is of high-quality.  What does QuAliTy mean to you?

Keep Creating,