Friday, 28 June 2013

Holmfirth Art Market: The Rundown

So, here is the post I promised - details of my first (but hopefully not my last!) Holmfirth Art Market. I think it's always good to go through these things afterwards and reevaluate them, especially the first time around. I've interspersed this post with photos of a few of the things that sold. As usual, I didn't have photos taken of quite a few of the new pieces that I designed with the fair in mind. Some of them are now in my etsy shop, but quite a few others have gone off to new homes in Yorkshire! 

So, the market started on Saturday night, 8-10pm. Initially, I thought this was a little strange - a bit late for a Saturday night, and although it was *kind* of a preview night, it still seemed a little unusual to start a market in this way. 

However, the organisers (unsurprisingly!) knew more than I. Not only did we have an extra 2 hour window for making sales, meeting customers, tweaking our stands, but it allowed us to come along to the market on the Sunday morning, with the stalls all set up and ready to go. We started at 10am on the Sunday, and so it was really nice to turn up at 9.30 - no desperately early morning start, no panicking to get it all set up before customers arrive. And on the Saturday evening, I had decided that I wasn't happy with my selection of earrings - restocking two bricks and mortar shops and a big FB earring sale with do that for you! - and so I had stayed up late on the Saturday night cranking out some new designs. So I both had the time to do that, and also had the time to go in and do a little rearranging. 

This photo - the only one I took of my stand, unfortunately! - was taken just before we opened on the Saturday evening. (When I say we, I mean me and Helen - I was very lucky and had her to help the whole weekend! What would I do without her; I really don't know :-)). The pale blue 'walls' you can see are the boards I showed in this post. On the second day, we took down the back board. We felt it was blocking the light a little, and not really adding much to the stand. With hindsight, we didn't really need such heavy duty boards. Perhaps next time, we would use fabric, or just make a simple, half-level corner piece. We'll see. It's all a learning curve, isn't it!

At the end of the weekend - which was just fantastic; pretty busy, made lots of sales, made even more contacts with customers and other artists alike, and handed out loads of business cards - I thought about the new set up. The space I had chosen in Holmfirth was a lot smaller than the space I had been luxuriating in at recent markets, but it is almost exactly the same as the space I will have at an Edinburgh fair in August (more details on this to follow). A good first run, and I think I did a not bad job! There are a few things I noticed though. The earrings on the stand to the right barely got noticed. And the large palette on the RH side isn't ideal either - we did sell a few things from it, certainly, but there was definitely an element of having to peer round the corner to see 'in' to it. 

In Edinburgh, I think that I will be able to sit around the front, as the booths are all separate from one another, rather than joined as they were in Holmfirth. So I won't be blocking anyone round at the front. This will allow me to use the space on the back left, which is were I was standing in Holmfirth. But, we'll see! You never know with these things until you turn up. 

I would love to hear any thoughts you have, in looking at my stand - even in just the one picture, and not a great one at that! Where does your eye go first? Do you want to look at those earrings to the RH side; what would you put in their place? I'm thinking another bust, perhaps. Putting the chain-necklace palette to the back left, and then maybe some more earrings on the RH side, perhaps with something else so it doesn't look too empty. I've a shutter I used to use, which I might give a bit of a makeover and put it in the palette's place. Less bulky, and easier to angle so that it's facing never know until you try though! 

 As a market, Holmfirth was one of the best thought out and most organised that I have exhibited at. I was one of those very annoying people who sent a million emails beforehand, as I just couldn't envisage the set up of the stand, and as I'm a bit of a worrier, I was panicking a little that I was going to turn up and get it all wrong!

 Victoria, one of the organisers, was extremely patient with my tirade of emails, and I got there in the end! She and her team did a really amazing job, and there were lots of little touches that made all the difference. All designer/makers had our own name badges so we could be easily identified by the general public, there was a lunch service for stall-holders on the Sunday, and on the Saturday evening, the cellar of a local bar had been booked out for us, complete with delicious nibbles, and half-price drinks vouchers. This was a lovely occasions on which to meet the other makers, and chat in a relaxed environment. I so appreciated it! Being relatively new to the craft market scene, and naturally shy, it was a nice, low-key way to chat with others over a glass of wine. 
All in all, it's one of the best markets I've taken part in! They hold Art Markets in November/December and I really hope I will be accepted next time around! I know that they like to mix things up and keep them fresh, so it's no guarantee. I need to make sure I send in some damn good photos with my application!

Phew, I've spent an hour writing this post, so I'd better get off now and get on with some making. I have a bunch of copper findings overdue for Curious, so I need to get cracking the whip on myself! 

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Some new jewellery! (What a surprise....;-))

Some new jewellery. I know, I owe you a post with DETAILS about this past weekend's fabulous Art Market in Holmfirth, but this week has been filled with....well, I'm not quite sure exactly.....*stuff*. I'm not quite sure why it has felt busy, but it certainly has! And it's full steam ahead until the end of we go......

This first necklace was completed especially for the Holmfirth Art Market. It was quite possibly the most tried on item in my booth, but it's still with me! It is quite a statement piece and some people are sometimes afraid that they can't carry it off.....I say, if you want to carry it off, you can! A real seaside palette here. I love the little Green Girl Studio clasp too! Whimsical - a piece of jewellery to take you on a journey....

This next necklace is a recreation of a design I created a few months ago. Love it in these vibrant and punchy colours! Featuring another stunning pendant from Heather Millican of Swoondimples.....

Here's a necklace I designed a couple of months back, as well. My Gardenia collection seems to be a slightly longer term project than I had thought - life and craft fairs are slowing me down! I'm still at it though.....

 And here, another Gardenia piece. Part of what I envisage as a bridal collection.....crystal quartz rounds, and one of my new 'Deco Rose' clasps in antiqued copper....just lovely, if I do say so myself!

It's amazing just how different my 'original' Gardenia palette looks with these amethyst rounds, as opposed to the greens I usually pair them with. Warm and lush! Hence the title.....

And here is my original Gardenia palette, with one of my new Deco Roses. They have a simple hook behind, which links to a hoop. Nice and secure, and not too fiddly! 

I'm thinking of new collections too.....ways to link my eclectic and yet not too disparate designs I here are two bracelets from my Fauna range.....
It's Oh So Quiet.....

So next post, I PROMISE, will have more details of the Art can hold me to it.....

Sunday, 23 June 2013

The Art Market, Holmfirth

Evening all! A very quick stop in to share a pic of my stand before The Art Market, Holmfirth opened yesterday. Full details of how it went to follow later this week!

Very much more bijoux than the space I've had at recent fairs, so it involved a complete rethink. A couple of tweaks to go here and there, but essentially, I'm pleased with how it looks! I've another fair over the summer in Edinburgh, which is a very similar size and space, so this weekend was a good first run at it.
Right, I'm off to write up my Art Bead Scene post. See you later!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, 22 June 2013

More Art Market Preparations....

Another peek at our Holmfirth Art Market preparations. Helen's been painting these mdf panels - she's is pretty handy with a paint brush! - adorning them with what is her signature swirly tree. Kind of tree of life-esque, now I think about it! My little bit of musical decoupaging will be adding on-site. 

You can't really tell from this photo, but these are actually two panels, the RH one is upside down. It'll be turned around (obviously!) and will form the back of my booth. The LH (in the photo) panel will form the RH wall of the booth, as you approach it. So a tree across the corner of the booth, me standing on the other side of the back. . Let's hope you can actually see the thing! I have a feeling we may have to reverse our plans for how we stack our crates, in order that the tree is visible.....don't want Helen's handiwork to go to waste.

Anyways, you know what I'm going to say now - if you're in the area, I'd still love to see you at The Art Market in Holmfirth! 8-10pm this evening, then 10-4 tomorrow, at the Holmfirth Indoor Market. Full details here. It looks like a really fab event with loads of amazing art - pop along and take a peek! We'd love to see you. 

And if you're not in the area, look out for a big shop update this coming week. I also have new Bo Hulley/Curious clasps coming up in The Curious Bead Shop! Look out.....

Friday, 21 June 2013

Holmfirth Art Market

What in the world am I up to......can you guess?! Quite possibly not......

Tomorrow will see me debuting at the Holmfirth Art Market, 8-10pm, followed by 10-4pm on Sunday. We're at the Holmfirth indoor market - take a peek at my Forthcoming Songbead Events in the tabs above for further details!

This market is a little different from those I have done before, as it involves us having to essentially build our own booth. We are on what's referred to as a half framework stand, and we have to make, paint and hang two side walls and a back to create a booth feel. Thank goodness I have Helen to help me with this - well, do the bulk of it in fact! Not my forte. I'll stick to making the jewellery! However, the picture you see above it a little taste of the stand's decor....and it's the bit I've made.....can you guess what it is going to be?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Happiness: Reader Appreciation Offer!

Hello all! I come to you today with a Blog Reader Appreciation Offer :-) To say thank you to all me wonderful readers. I so appreciate every single one of you. You are the best!

This bracelet,

Happiness (now Sold, with thanks :-)):

featuring Swoondimples clasp.... 

 ....gorgeous wooden rondelles and handmade ceramic round.....

....czech glass including a gorgeous wee elephant, and a sweet antiqued copper leaf......

Was £48 but here, until 23.06.13, half price at £24. Free UK postage, and £2 RoW :-)
{That's about $37 or 27, plus p+p} 

                                                 SOLD, with thanks! x x x

(aren't double-strand bracelets a bugger to photograph?! hehe!)

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Introducing.....Claire of Something to do with your hands

Today, I thought I would introduce you to a great British bead maker and jewellery designer, and someone that I am lucky enough to call a friend - Claire Lockwood of Something to do and Something to do beads. Like me, she is from the UK, and not only makes the most incredible and inspiring art jewellery, full of texture, colour and of course, art beads, but also makes her own polymer beads. She is one of those people who I know that when I tune into her blog, on her facebook feed, I will find something unexpected and lovely to inspire me.(This interview is also over on Art Bead Scene today, by the way, but we've a bonus question and picture or two for you here!)

The wonderful thing about polymer clay is just how different it can become, depending upon the hands in which it is in. Claire has her own unique style within her art beads, and last year began selling them on etsy, so that we can all enjoy working with them. I asked her a few questions about her creative process. 

Q1.How long have you been creating, and what led you to begin?

A1.  As a child and into my teens and early twenties I was very creative.  I was always drawing as a kid and this continued and I actually did two years of a Fine Art degree at Chelsea.  I’ve had health problems throughout my adult life and they first reached a head when I was at art college.  I took a year out and couldn’t face returning, so I took up studying Literature instead.  I’ve always felt a bit of a loss when I remembered all I got out of drawing and painting – and creating, in general.  I spent a long time avoiding thinking about what I’d given up.  Then, some years ago now, I developed an interest in vintage jewellery - all jewellery, really - and I eventually decided to try making jewellery myself.  So, I am now, finally, getting some chance to pick up the kind of interests I gave up.

Fox on the Lawn

Q2.What do you find inspiring?

A2. Sometimes I can just be thinking about something and it will occur to me that it might be translated into jewellery or beads.  Other times, I’ll see some neat thing and I think, ‘Ah! I could make a bead along those lines’.  I often work around a particular bead or material and take guidance from that.  I also love trawling the internet, and Pinterest in particular – it’s a wonderful source of ideas and inspiration.

Q3. Describe your workspace – are you lucky enough to have a studio set up, or are you like me and work in odd corners of your house?

A3. My workspace - if you can call it that - is one third(-ish) of my living room.  I have a large, cluttered table on which I make jewellery and beads and do whatever else requires a table (including eating, etc.).  Basically my workspace works around my living space and my living space works around my workspace.  I’d love to have a studio.  There are so many things I really want to do (have a kiln, do lampwork and metalwork - it’s a long list!) that just can’t be done in the space I have.  

Claire's creative space
Q5.What are your favourite materials to work with and why?

A5. Well, I make polymer clay beads and I’ve just starting using a new system that allows you to give beads a metal coat on which you can develop a patina that you can also dye, so I’m loving that at the moment.  I can see so much potential in it.  When, it comes to making jewellery, I do like using art beads, in all sorts of media, and also vintage beads and components - I think they’d be top of my desert-island-beads list.

Q6 If you were to draw attention to a favourite designer or artist, who would it be and why?

A6  I’m really struggling to think of one individual, especially when it comes to jewellery.  My taste is really quite eclectic and diverse.   Rather than draw attention to any one person, it seems more accurate to say a wee thank you to all the many artists and designers from whom I’ve learnt some small, vital or very useful thing.  Some are people I’ve got to know via the internet, but there are many that I couldn’t name now, as I’ve just stumbled upon their work online. So, three cheers for the internet!

Violet Rocks
Q7 What drew you to art beads, and in turn to your specific medium of polymer clay?

A7 I think it was the case that I’d been beading for some time when I became aware of this ‘other type’ of bead that was out there, partly through seeing them being used in other people’s designs, and partly through seeing them for sale occasionally.  At the time I had no real idea of the vast realm of bead sourcing that is Etsy!  At around the same time, I saw a polymer clay demonstration.  I was immediately drawn to it and thought I’d give it a go.  I did ceramics for several years when I was younger so I figured it was something I might be able to do.  In time I discovered that, not only could I make beads to use myself, I could also make beads that other people might like to own too.

Penny Button

Q. 8 Can you describe a little (without giving away any trade secrets!) of your bead making process?

A. 8 On the whole, in the past, I think I’ve often started out with the idea of the bead I want to make in my mind before I start, rather than playing around with the clay to see where that takes me.  I don’t tend to use lots of the traditional polymer techniques, unless they will allow me to achieve the look of the bead I’ve imagined.  I frequently use the clay to create a sculpted base that I paint once baked.  One reason why I like this new patina system I’ve been using is that it’s given me the opportunity to experiment and develop my ideas whilst making.   It’s a different approach and I’m really enjoying it.

Q.9 Which art bead artists do you find inspiring?

A.9 Where to start?! I try to avoid taking too much inspiration from other people’s beads.  But, of course, when you see something you admire, you can’t help but be influenced by it – well that’s how I see it, anyway!  As with jewellery designers, I can’t really pick out one or two bead makers as predominate influences, but I can certainly offer a list of folk who just keep producing things I really love – although some of them are bead artists who create beads I love to use, rather than being an inspiration for my beads.  Oddly, none of them are polymer artists: Scorched EarthSlate Studios SupplyMooginGrey Bird StudioJubileeHappyFallout.  Of course, that list could be several times the length but you have to stop somewhere.


Bonus Songbead Blog Question!

Q10. Do you have a favourite bead or supplies shop you could share with us?

A10.  There are two main supply shops that I order from most regularly.  The first is Big BeadLittle Bead. They have one of the largest selections of vintage beads and components in the UK (that I know of!).  They also have lots of czech glass and they stock a good range of all the other bits and pieces that you always need to stock up on periodically, along with a wide range of artist made beads.  The second shop is Smitten Beads, where you can get gorgeous czech glass, pearls, ribbon, waxed linen, wood, and more.  I’m forever happening upon new and beautiful things on the Smitten site. Beside these two, I also like the OldBicycle Shop, where there’s a nice selection of vintage beads (and a number of Golem Studio beads, which I’ve been quietly buying up!).  And, of course, I’m a fan of your Curious Bead Shop. I must also mention my local bricks-and-mortar store, Beads Bazaar in Frome.  It’s recently changed hands and the new owner, Kathryn, has yet to get to work on the website, but she’s been getting in some great stuff. I do feel rather lucky to have a bead shop five minutes walk from my flat.  I can be walking the dog, then – whoops a daisy! – I’ve found myself in a bead shop.


Thanks Claire, for sharing your thoughts with me today. 

And lucky for us, Claire is having a sale in both of her shops, through til the 26th June. 

Friday, 14 June 2013

New Issue of Beads and Beyond!

The new issue of my favourite beading magazine is out now! 

In your favourite newsagents and bead shops now. You will be able to pick it up shortly, here at Smitten Beads.

Check out my project, which is featured on the cover:

My set this month is called Noughts and Crosses, and features a handmade pendant from American artist Barbara Bechtel of Second Surf.

It's a great magazine, so if you haven't tried it before, pick up a copy this month! There is an interview with Caroline of Blueberri Beads, a silversmithing project from Jo Tinley and even a quick make project taken from Lorelei Eurto and Erin Seigel's book, Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry. Loads of inspiration all round!

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Some new pretties in les shops!

Quickly stopping by with some new pieces in the shops......

 Brave Love

 Life is a Rose

 Blue Wisdom

The Missing Piece 


 Willow Blossoms

 Peach Melbas

 Mod Like You

Printer's Drawer

My etsy shop.
My folksy shop.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

A sneak peek.....

A sneak peek at some new designs I worked on over the weekend.....featuring Round Rabbit, Swoondimples, Green Girl Studio and me......

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, 10 June 2013

A new app....

Playing around with a new iPhone app.....A Beautiful Mess. I'm sure I read about it on someone else's blog, but can't remember who's.....thank you, whoever you are! It's a sweet way to jazz up simple photos. My favourite type of app! Here's a pendant I made on my train from Inverness to Edinburgh yesterday.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Flash Jewellery Sale!

I am off to the beautiful Isle of Skye today to meet a brand new wee person :-) To celebrate, I'm having a FLASH Sale in my Songbead etsy shop! Don't miss out - today only, take 20% off by using coupon code JUNEBUG at check out. If you're not sure how to use coupon codes, shoot me a message here or on etsy. Loads of pretties to be snagged! Take a peek, here

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Spot the Bead Artist Giveaway Winners!

So, the other day, I asked how many of the bead artists in this pic could you spot? And I offered a secret prize as a wee incentive.....well, here's my reveal! 

That button I added to Kylie Parry's pendant was the one that threw people off's actually a button I picked up in a lovely wee shop in St Ives, Cornwall last year, whilst holiday-ing. I did look up the Co. who made the button at the time, but I have of course forgotten since then, who the creator(s) was/were. Apologies, button makers of the South West peninsula.

Here are the shops - check out these talented folks' artistry!

Suzie Q (sorry for typo in the picture above!)

And the winner? Well, it's a tricky one. Technically, Sammy Jay got all of the artists! Pretty good. But she kind of writing down all of the bead artists she knew I loved......! Good work for knowing that though, you definitely deserve a prize for your research!! So, Sammy Jay is getting a 20% off voucher to one my shops, her choice. Then Ellen and Lorelei both got six out of the eight artists, and they did it just using the picture! So I figure they both deserve prizes too. So they get 20% off vouchers too. Message me guys, and I will get your codes out to you! 

Thanks everyone who played along - and good work, winners :-)

More new jewellery!

I really do have so much unphotographed jewellery. Here is some more that I managed to snap yesterday! They'll be hitting my etsy shop later.....

Button It

Ice Tea



Fly East

Highland Fling

On Top




Sea Drift


Two Little Birds



Fly Away Home

Wing Borne

Home Sweet Home






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