Monthly Archives: July 2015

My first outdoor show (from the vendor side)

Well, Art in the Park came and went last weekend. Gail Speers and I had a lot of fun conceiving, stocking, and selling at, our booth. I had no idea what kind of audience the show would draw, nor the size. As far as sales go, we didn’t do as well as we dreamed (who does?) but we didn’t do that badly. Gail says rule of thumb is that you make 10X the booth cost. Between us, we did about 6X the booth cost. 


People were friendly, browsed, exclaimed about out talent and work, wished us luck, then wandered away. I felt our work fit the overall aesthetic of the show since what we produce is wearable art. We had some expensive pieces but we also had unique pieces priced at $10 and $15 that we had hoped would be nice impulse buys for people. There were fewer impulse buys than we hoped.

It seems to me that people should support local artists instead of spending their money at Big Box stores. The paintings I saw were beautiful and well- priced. I bought a great lino print. The same goes for food too.  Why buy your berries, fruit and veg, or even meat, at the big store when there are so many farmers markets to frequent? I try to buy my produce, free-range eggs and meat at the market, supplementing with non-perishable goods at the big store. I feel the quality is better and I feel good about supporting my “neighbours”. 

I’m grateful for everyone who purchased something from me on the weekend. I hope they love, and wear often, the unique pieces of art they bought and that they feel good for having supported a local artist.

Production line

It’s not really my style — making the same thing over and over again. I just can’t. Maybe it’s because there’s no challenge. Maybe it’s because it feels stale. But I’ve found myself having to do just that to keep my stock current in Craft Arts Market and to create stock for Art in the Park this weekend. 

For the last couple days I’ve been dragging out the creation of 26 twisted forged bronze bangles. On Monday I spent the afternoon on the back deck using the MAP gas torch and pliers to twist the wire, after I’d spent an hour in the morning cutting the 8 and 10 gauge wire into bracelet and torque sized lengths. I decided to create three neck wires to showcase some cool pendants I have. 
Yesterday I spent four hours paddling the ends of each piece of twisted wire, shaping it into a bracelet around the mandrel and work hardening the finished product. Then I went downtown to teach a class, to make a few dollars in the evening. And to have fun. I love sharing my knowledge with other jewellery makers. 

This morning, the bangles will require filing before they go into my homemade pickle to get shiny again. Then they need to be buffed and coated in liver of sulphur patina. Finally I will apply Renaissance wax to preserve the patina. 

All told, I will have spent about 10 hours on these bracelets.  Cost of goods (COGs) to create each one is estimated at $3.00. I’m selling them three for $25 or $10 each and the neck wires for $15 each. So if I sell them all, I make around $250. COGs is a total of $95. That makes my hourly wage around $15. That’s if they all sell. 

No wonder artists have to work a full time job to do their art as a secondary job. No one can live at this wage level. And that’s maximizing my profit by production line techniques. Just imagine how much money I don’t make on my one of a kind designs. Thank goodness I love what I do! And supplement my income with teaching wages. None of this fully pays the bills, though. 

So I urge you all to support local and small batch artisans/ artists. The work they do is worth every cent you pay. Don’t haggle or complain about their prices either. In most instances, they are probably already undercutting themselves. And each piece is imbued with the artist’s love of their work and creative spirit.

See you at Art in the Park here in St Catharines this weekend! Montebello Park both Saturday and Sunday after 10am. 

Art in the Park St. Catharines July 18 – 19

I’ve been busy over the last few weeks making stock for sale at Art in the Park. It will be my first time ever taking part in an outdoor art show (except for the several I actually organized…lol).

The event takes place in Montebello Park, a few blocks from my home, and it’s organized by the St Catharines Art Association. The park is lovely, and was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the designer of NYC’s Central Park.  

I encourage you to come out and see (and buy) work from my booth, which I’m sharing with Gail Speers. I know Cynthia Blanton will be there too. Since it’s my first time in the show, I have no idea what to expect but I know there will be art for sale by local artists as well. 

Make a day of it Saturday! The farmer’s market is a few blocks away, and the local produce and fruit is fabulous right now. Get something to picnic on in the park then do a bit of shopping. 

Pass the word along!

Beaded bags

i love tiny evening purses. I have a collection of vintage bags that are beaded, embroidered and/or lavishly embellished. I also collect and make cigar box bags. 

At the Bead and Button Show in June I kept seeking great beaded bags everywhere. In the display cases of beaded projects entered in the Bead Dreams contest, it seemed that a lot of people have beaded bags on their mind. 

My photography on my phone isn’t the best, but here are the bags I saw there. Maybe you’ll be inspired to create a beautiful beaded bag too. Enjoy!

This last clutch is by Olga Haserodt. I couldn’t get the name tag in the photo.