Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
I'll be adding some of these pieces to my Etsy shop later today.
Monday, July 21, 2008
When my coffee kicks in, I have a long list of projects to do. What's worse - using dangerous metalworking tools when I'm groggy or when I'm overcaffeinated?
Friday, July 11, 2008
At least she got me up and moving...I have a show to prepare for (Somerville ArtBeat on July 19) and I need to get to the bench!
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Stone Soup Jewelry
I'm thrilled with this site so far. I purchased it through BluDomain. Blu is a small company that offers dozens of funky templates and hosting. Their sites were originally designed for professional photographers, so they work well for visual artists, offering galleries and a few external links. There is a shopping cart available in some templates, though it's not the best for work other than photography. But I understand that there are some new designs coming out on July 25 with different shopping cart formats.
The people at Blu have been friendly, responsive and helpful. And I think my site's looking pretty good, if I do say so myself.
Monday, July 7, 2008
In order to take advantage of the shipping special, you'll need to select "Store Pickup" as your shipping choice at checkout - even though I will be sending your package via US Mail. Blog readers will get a little bonus with each purchase, as well. :)
If you have any questions, please leave a comment here and I'll respond.
You see my handmade jewelry findings at Stone Soup Jewelry Supplies.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
I've been working on a new portfolio web site for my jewelry, and I'm thrilled with the way it's turning out, but now I've reached the stage where I have to wait for propagation (basically, I have to wait for servers all over the place to pick up and recognize my DNS changes, and this takes at least a day or two).
Unable to blather on about my work for now, I'll tell you about my latest foodie excitement. I posted a little while ago about the gorgeous produce we're getting from The Food Project CSA, and now on top of that we've joined a terrific meat CSA through Chestnut Farms. I'd been growing increasingly ambivalent about eating meat - while I do eat meat, I don't much like the livestock farming practices I read about. I don't think it's reasonable for humans to treat other living things as a commodity, exclusive of any other value. Yes, animals in the wild eat other animals, and being a carnivore is not inherently evil. But forcing a cow to stand in feces, or a breeding sow to live in a 2 foot wide gestation crate where she can't turn around or stand up straight, is just cruel. I've seen photos of these farms, even ones that are otherwise clean and well run, and it makes me sick. Knowing that the animals at Chestnut Farms have room to move around, interact with each other, and get attention from humans is a big deal to me. I will admit that the thought of adorable piglets turning into dinner is something that I still can't quite think about.
I spend a lot of time, and undoubtedly a bit more money, trying to buy food for my family that comes from sources we can feel good about. It was getting harder and harder for me to believe that the meat we bought was safe for us (no hormones, no additives) and came from animals that were humanely raised. So when I read about the family who owns Chestnut Farms, and how committed they are to their animals, to the quality of the food they produce, and to sustaining the land on which they farm, I was thrilled. These are people who get it - and who work really, really hard to make a difference - and I feel privileged to help support that work.
Of course, it's still pretty easy to be on the consumer end of all this. All I have to do is buy the food - the farmers here do all the really demanding work. But it's a start, and for now my kids are young enough that I can't really get them involved in the hands-on volunteer work at places like the Food Project. So for now, I take them to the farm to collect our produce (and pick some of it ourselves), and to the pickups for the meat, and I talk about why we're doing this, and hope that they're learning something important.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Today's suggestion, for artists looking for simple web sites with some ecommerce options, is Zhibit.org. Pronounced like the last part of the word "exhibit," Zhibit provides an easy interface for artists to sell their work. The advantages?
- Low cost (the most expensive plan tops out at $139/year, and there's a simple plan for $3/month)
- Good features for the money. The "Gold" plan, at $9/month or $89/year, offers 500 product listings with photos, a guestbook (which will generate a mailing list for you), site stats through Google Analytics or SiteMeter, integration with PayPal, help with SEO, and full domain aliasing (which means you can point your own domain name directly to your Zhibit shop).
Is it perfect? No, but it offers quite a bit for the price, and it's a great solution for someone who wants to be able to set up a site quickly and with little or no HTML knowledge.
I've just opened my jewelry supply shop through Zhibit, and I'm quite pleased. There are other services at a similar price point (BigCartel, or even eCrater for free), and some others that are more expensive and sophisticated (Shopify, NetworkSolutions), and I'll talk about those. But for a simple way to sell your artwork online, Zhibit gets my vote.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
First of all, my new handmade jewelry findings shop is open and running (click here and see)! It's not fully stocked yet - still need to add more copper ear wires and a few new designs - but it's a start. If you have suggestions for the links/tutorials page, please let me know.
Next order of business - I've made more progress in my workroom.
This is another IKEA purchase (a Fredrik computer desk). I ended up choosing this because it had a nice big work surface, and the table height is adjustable, so I can put it up high enough to make saw piercing and wire work comfortable. I've been hunched over a table for far too long, and my old back couldn't take it. I chose this instead of a more traditional jeweler's bench because I wanted a wider, deeper table surface. I may invest in a different organizer for the back of the table, but for now this works nicely.
I've made a couple of purchases on Etsy to add some color to the room, including a beautiful little wall quilt and some button/textile art - so more photos to come when I finish the bench and get the walls dressed up a bit more!
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
I'm not finished yet, but I did manage to reorganize the bench I use for measuring/cutting wire and packing items to ship. This is why I love IKEA. I put this together using the base from an office cabinet (Effektiv), the frame and internal drawers from a wardrobe (Pax/Komplement), and a hanging wall rack from their laundry room storage series (Antonius).
The Antonius wall rack is exactly what I've been looking for - gets the wire up out of the way, but easily accessible. And it comes with little boxes, clips and hooks, so I can keep all kinds of supplies up there, within reach.
The top drawer is the Komplement jewelry drawer with dividers, and it's perfect for working on orders from my supply shop - I use the small compartments to separate invoices and fill them with small bags of findings as I complete each part of the order. The second drawer has packing materials, and the tray on top has my tissue paper and labels, so I can put everything together. And using the Effektiv base meant I could raise the height of the unit up over 36 inches, which makes it comfortable for me to stand there and work without hunching over.
I'm thinking everyone else isn't likely to be as interested in my workshop reorganization as I am, but I also know that I love to look around people's workspaces, and seeing the tools and systems they've used is really helpful.
Just wait until you see what I'm doing with my workbench. The IKEA obsession is getting a little creepy - but it just works so well. Oh, and the artwork on the walls is courtesy of my 6 year old daughter, but I'm busily buying art from some other places to further decorate the space.