Sunday, December 7, 2014

Long weekend of VA shows!

Just came off a long weekend of shows in Northern VA - my favorite place! :D

Friday-Saturday was the Rossyln Holiday Market in Arlington:

We had pretty ugly weather outside, so attendance was a little lower than we'd hoped, but it was still worth it to come out.  Definitely will keep this in mind for next year and hope for better weather!  The attendees, staff, and vendors were all so friendly, which just makes those shows so much more enjoyable! Made a friend with Judy next door, who makes homemade natural dog treats: Fuzzy Paws Barkery.  Great products and a great person! :)

Sunday I was at the Charles Houston Rec Center in Alexandria for The Women's Commission of Alexandria's Holiday Market where we donated 20% of our proceeds to their domestic violence and sexual assault programs.



Had to squish onto one table, so the table was a bit busier than I usually like, but as usual I was the only one who seemed to mind that! :)
Met more lovely people from the Del Ray neighborhood I love so much from the Art on the Avenue show I do every year.  This one will be on my list too for next year.

Also found some fantastic food while staying in the Arlington/Alexandria area again.  Cheesetique on Mt. Vernon was delicious and we took some extra cheese to go!  Heavy Seas Tavern was yummy too!!  I always love going to shows around here because I not only know the area is a big advocate for the arts, but the FOOD I get to eat is exceptional!

Thanks to Walter, my right-hand man for sticking it out most of the weekend with me!  Thanks to Rob, MY man (heh), for coming down for a while even though you were working all weekend!!  And thanks to my dad for coming through on Friday when I was in a tough spot!!

Now I begin on a few custom piece orders for Christmas, restocking, and applying for Spring shows!!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Fresh off the Bench! Website is UP!!

My new website is UP!  I had to register for a new domain name since I'm having so much trouble with Blu, but I managed to divert traffic.  New site is: www.thesilverswann.com  (which is what my domain should have been all along anyways, right?)

I would really appreciate feedback on my site.  Just click on the "feedback" tab at the bottom and let me know what you think!

Other than getting the site up, I worked hard at my bench this weekend!!  Here are some new in the works pieces:




Saturday, November 15, 2014

Light at the end of a 6 month long tunnel!

I am very pleased to say that I will switching my web service over to a new company.  BluDomain has been less and less helpful and their sites, which I pay quite a bit for each year, look unprofessional and they are very glitchy!  When I ask for support, I'm told "We'll look into it" and then nothing happens...

I will be using wix.com, which has already been a dream compared to Blu!  It's a MUCH smarter site - creating each page doesn't take me DAYS to do, it's updated with their social media and search engine connections (SEO, site booster...), and it's much more user-friendly!  Now I just have to deal with Blu dragging their feet and not answering my emails about switching over and cancelling my account with them!

The site is almost ready to go live, I am just waiting to get my domain transferred.  So excited!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Completed Custom piece and Upcoming Shows!

I will be vending at Rosslyn's Holiday Market in Arlington, VA December 5th and 6th.  It's a new show (only it's second year), but they have rented a large raw space and are bringing a design team in to transform it into a winter wonderland holiday marketplace.  Friday night, they are doing a lighting ceremony with holiday festivities.  Be sure to come out! 

The following day, I am participating in  the 17th Annual Women, Art & Shopping Holiday Market which is a fundraiser for the nonprofit group Alexandria Commission for Women.  The venue will be Alexandria's Charles Houston Center, 901 Wythe Street in Old Town, from 1:00 until 5 p.m. on Sunday December 7. The money raised supports Alexandria's domestic violence and sexual assault programs, the City's battered women's shelter, teen pregnancy prevention, and similar activities.
Refreshments are provided to all attendees and participants free of charge!  Come out, have some fun, and support a good cause!!


In other news, I have been designing some new pieces around geodes and druzy stones.  The first piece is below:




After seeing the design, I got a commission to create a similar necklace with an opal.  This piece has a common opal ( a LOT more wallet friendly) that I found - reminds me of the moon a bit.  It's pale peach and white.  I was very pleased how it turned out!





Sunday, October 12, 2014

Catoctin Colorfest

Just came back from Thurmont's Catoctin Colorfest - what a BIG show!  Thank you for your support and your interest!  I met some great people, artists, and fellow metalsmiths.  Sales were pretty decent, no thanks to the ugly weather on Saturday!

A few of you asked if I would teach classes on what I do.  I would be happy to discuss private lessons if you are interested - I am based near Baltimore.  Check my esty page if you wish to purchase something - my website is being weird....  My other information is listed and viewable on the site - just purchasing sections that are under construction.

Sadly, I was robbed today during the show.  Two of my pieces were taken right off my table when my booth got crowded.  I posted photographs below.  If you live in the Thurmont/Fredrick area and you know anything, please contact me.  The police have taken the information and given me a case number.  I'm always saddened to realize just how untrustworthy sellers have to be to protect their hard work.  And what upsets me more is that they probably have no appreciation for how much work I had to put into making those pieces they so easily slipped into their possession.  I hope it comes back to bite them hard.

Lost, but never forgotten:

 
 




Saturday, October 4, 2014

Art on the Avenue

Art on the Avenue went great today!  (Minus a dog peeing on my tablecloth near the end of the show...)  It was great to see so many people out there - it's still my favorite show! 

Despite the crazy amount of jewelry vendors this year (almost double every other category), it didn't seem to hurt my sales too much. 

I'm very happy to get feedback on my work - I strive to create unique pieces with personality and sophistication. :D

 
Look for me next weekend in Thurmont, MD for their 51st Annual Catoctin Colorfest!!  We will be sharing booth 164 with talented painter, Maddy Lawrence!







Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Fresh off the bench

Some work fresh off the bench. My new adjustable stone rings - druzy stones, one beautiful Parrot Wing Jasper, and a small amethyst cab. The rings are all asymmetrical and the adjustable piece on this set is a spiraling ring base.
 
 
 
Made quite a few bangles including two that have jade set into them. There are also several Plume agate bangles as well now!
 
 
 
 
 The necklace is a pair of rainbow calsilica set on a lacy hand-cut silver piece with a satin matte finish. Very light weight despite it's size!  Many more pieces have been made - this is just from the last two nights!  :)
 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Upcoming shows!

Art on the Avenue is approaching and once again, The Silver Swann will be there!  Excited for the 5th year in a row!!  Mark your calendars - this Saturday, October 4th 10am-6pm.  I will be featuring my new ring lines, featuring the stackable rings and my new Druzy crystal rings (adjustable sizes!) as well.

This year, however, I will also be doing a show the weekend AFTER as well! 
Saturday, October 11 - Sunday, October 12 The Silver Swann will be at Colorfest in Thurmont MD!!!  I will be sharing a booth with Turquoise Heron Artist Maddy Lawrence!  Her paintings are breath-taking: you won't be able to miss us!

I'm hoping to have a nice day to take some photographs of my new work - hopefully I will get a chance to post them before the show!!

Friday, July 11, 2014

First Sundays Arts Festivals

Participated in the July First Sundays Arts Fesitvals and it has gotten worse if that is possible.  From the view of a patron, it can be a fun experience, but from a vendor stand point, it's a terrible risk!! 

That is most likely the reason that the majority of the booths are full of merchandise that is not truly handcrafted by the artist (barely handmade at all in some cases).  People who spend that much time devoted to their craft, don't want to waste it on a show where they get treated the way First Sundays treats their artists.

Poorly run show!  If you are an artist that is considering this show DON'T SIGN UP FOR THIS FESTIVAL!  You have no say where they put you, they deceptively tell you if you pay more money, you can be on the main street BUT THAT IS NOT TRUE!  They clearly have little regard for the vendors! You could be wasting your money!  The contract you sign says you agree that your money is non-refundable and they are now ignoring my attempts to contact them and ask for my money back for the next show or compensation for what they did to a bunch of the vendors at the last show!

As a vendor who paid good money to be on the main street, I was pretty upset when I found out the morning of the show that I was in an alleyway off the street.  There were a bunch of other artists that thought they were on the street they paid to be on as well and we got very few people back our way. In addition,  they set up a performance troupe and band directly in the middle of the entrance to the alleyway. It was in the middle of the street blocking a bunch of vendors on West street as well - also making it very difficult to communicate with the customers that did step in front of the amps blasted right into the unfortunate booths across from them. 

We were sent the map below. I was assigned booth 3 on the main street.  I, along with 10 other vendors, were actually placed INSIDE the yellow square (yellow for music performances) alley titled Stan & Joes where it is shown that NO vendors are placed right next to the music - which can be very detrimental to your sales.  The music was instead place in the MIDDLE on the street, blocking the alley and all the booths surrounding.



When these issues were brought by multiple vendors to the attention of the people in charge (multiple times), we got half-hearted responses to resolve it which amounted to nothing and we were told it will be the same next time!  They have no plans to change what was wrong with the show, even though all the vendors were unhappy.

One man in charge of the music even told a few of us "tough luck, deal with it!"  Even though we paid the same amount of money as vendors on the main street!

There are plenty of other shows that are worth your time and money - this is NOT one of them.  The people that are in the show aren't even all artists - there were vendors selling mass-produced items piecemealed together for dirt cheap prices, making it impossible for real artists to compete with! 

I want to ask my artist friends: PLEASE spread the word - this show is not for artists!  The worst show I have participated in!  It is now on the top of my "NEVER AGAIN" show list.
#First Sundays Arts Festivals

Monday, June 16, 2014

Textured Bangles

 

Textured bangles are now for sale on my etsy site that go along with my textured stackable rings!
I'll be listing the stackable rings in the next few days.  Hopefully tomorrow.








The rings got quite a bit of attention at Old Town Arts and Crafts Fair, but the show itself was a bit of a disappointment.  I got some amazing feedback...but not the sales I was anticipating. 

It was a decent show, but a disorganized start....they put my booth directly in front of an amplifier across from the stage.... which is awful for sales...and when I got to my marked off area.... there was a giant iron light post with two side hanging planters RIGHT in front of my tent.  No one would be able to walk by my booth!  I did appreciate that as soon as I got the attention of the woman running it she apologized, admitting it was her oversight and it would not do. So she gave me a front spot on the other side of the square and I wasn't even directly next to another booth (meaning I could use multiple sides instead of just one).  And most happily FAR away from the live music stage!

None of the patrons seemed to know that it was going on despite the fact that it's been going on for 36 years and it was advertised on the radio and in the flyers and electronically to thousands.  They seemed to think it was new or that it was part of the Farmers Market. 

I think by next year I will be in a better financial situation to try for the Columbia Arts Festival instead.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Stackable silver rings

New stackable silver rings will be for sale for the first time this weekend at my upcoming show in Alexandria VA!
June 14th 3pm-8pm: Old Town Arts and Crafts Fair on King Street!!
Textured stackable silver rings are $15 each. Buy a set of 3 or more for 10% off!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

New improved image!

I have begun my summer makeover on the image of The Silver Swann!
 
Tonight I fiddled around making earring cards after taking a trip to Hobby Lobby's paperstock section :) They are on chalkboard painted cards and hand stamped and glued to a neutral brown paper background. I plan on placing the prices either in the back with stamps or the front with white charcoal pencil (on the black chalkboard area). Any opinions?
 


 
I am planning on creating a new cohesive look in my photographs and at shows. Once my June 14th show is complete, I plan on taking the earnings to purchase new show banners, materials for packaging and wrapping, as well as designing free giveaways - pens and totes - with large purchases.  And the usual: buying more metal to make more pieces of course!
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I'm so energized I don't want to sleep! I still have 11 days of the school year left... almost home free.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Bowtie Necktie Necklaces!

New necklaces for sale on my etsy shop!  Dress up in whatever clothes you're wearing :)  Pick from different mixed metals and choose from a striped tie or polka dot bowtie!  Currently working on simple pendant bowtie to go along with the simple pendant necktie as well as earrings!
 
Click on the photograph to transport to the listing!
 
 
 

 
 

 
 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

New series in progress!

A new series is in progress featuring Mojave turquoise and fossilized coral in a variety of colors.  These stones have webbings of bronze running through the design, giving it a unique and stunning effect when combined with the brilliant colors of the stone.  Here are the first two completed in the series.

The first piece has a blue Mojave turquoise set with fine silver on a pendant made from a combination of sterling silver and bronze.  It hangs on a handmade silver chain.
The second piece below is a Fossilized Apple Coral stone set on a brass and bronze pendant with fine silver.
 
 
More blue turquoise is on the way along with purple and bright green.  The apple red fossilized coral pictured above is the only one I have, so once this piece sells, there's currently no more of this stone available for design at the moment.
 
These two are currently for sale on my etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheSilverSwann

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Cuffs

Creating a series of cuffs along with a few other items using my newly purchased stones!











I am currently working on earring sets that match the blue-backed snowflake agate cuff pictured above.

 

Friday, April 11, 2014

New show dates!

Spring cleaning is here!! The jewelry is coming back out from winter hibernation :) New designs will be posted in the coming month. Show dates pending: Old Town Arts Festival in Alexandria VA Saturday June 14th Arts on the Avenue in Alexandria VA Saturday October 4th Catoction Colorfest in Thurmont, Maryland Saturday-Sunday October 11th-12th