Saturday, November 17, 2012

What's Your Story??

This week 8 of us met with the intention of presenting our work to the group for feedback. It was inspired by the need to have a 'story' which is both personal and marketable, in order to better focus our work and move it into a direction that's both satisfying personally and professionally. So, this week's post is a collage of each participant's reaction to the get-together, with an emphasis on what each got out of the meeting in terms of feedback. So first we start with Caroline:

 An earlier pic of Caroline's work in progress, above, and some stones, below, she wants to encorporate into her work.

From Caroline: "Fabulous meeting regarding each jeweler’s body of work. It was a non-judgmental combination of quick impressions, thoughtful evaluations. and brainstorming ideas of how to move off stumbling blocks in our work process, find our own niche, connect with potential buyers, and create ways to present our work. The end result for me was seeing a path I want to be on this year. Before going, I wondered if I would be a bit down after seeing the progress everyone had made in the last year or so. It did the opposite and I’m now raring to get going again – hello hollow boxes. Thank you everyone. The cupcakes were worth the trip—extra special thanks to  Ellen."

Bodil's work:
 Bodil's sea glass bracelet (in progress) above, and custom gold bangle, below.

 Bodil's jellyfish pendants, above, and silver nugget bracelet, below.

 Bodil's sea glass earrings, above, and sand necklace, below.

From Bodil: "I brought about 30 photos and found that the pieces that I adore is what people associate with me. Basically I have two main styles.  Heart (emotion) three dimensional pieces using naturally occurring shapes. And head (intellect) a more symmetrical flat style.  Similar look but as much feeling.  

I create small works of art to wear from what is found, and my style is also expressed in the materials used

Rather than use seed beads for my framed bezels I will try using crushed shells and tiny pebbles - again found materials to create small mosaics"

The 3 pendants below are all by Lucia:

From Lucia: "Our meeting today was most helpful in many ways.....providing us with ideas on identity, image,  definition or clarification of our goals, promotion, presentation etc. Hearing how each member reacted to my work was both reassuring and productive. I was very grateful for the input about the photography on my website...I actually had not really considered whether or not it could be improved or in what way. Hearing the constructive criticism of each members' work made me reflect on my own and question how well I was handling the same aspect. Time management suggestions were also very helpful as we all struggle to use our creative time to the best advantage. I look forward to more group critiques because they provide a terrific way to gauge how our customers and clients may be reacting to what we offer. Let's continue this type of meeting....perhaps twice a year so we can track our improvements and discoveries. "

 Sharon's work:
 Sharon's tin/button ring, above, and assorted pieces, below.

From Sharon: "I thought I had a good idea of my style, brand and story before our meeting.  But the Ladies helped me solidify the idea of tying my old career path -- journalism -- into my new one.  Using newspaper or print in my packaging, describing my spare design in terms like "edited" and "concise," and maintaining a line of black & white pieces are just a few of the ways I can keep this theme running through my work.  Time to get these ideas into circulation!"

Ellen's work:

From Ellen: "I learned how really important it is to have a cohesive look, and to listen to my "vision" for my work - not to people who may not like or appreciate it. I was not surprised to hear that my influences are Celtic/moorish/Middle Eastern. I need to build confidence in my price points, and believe that the right customers are out there. Now, to find them :)!"

Karen's work:

Karen's Thoughts:

1. Go to that awesome GF bakery and Get. More. Cupcakes. (GF= Gluten Free)

2. repeat 1.
3. then, Get In My Studio!!!!
4. What I got out of today:It was LOVELY to see bodies of work from our other members- How lovely to get a better idea of what they work on, struggle with, have questions about! And- being relatively new to the Metalsmithing arena, to know that what I thought were "beginner questions" aren't really all that beginner after all. ;) My work: first, refer to number 3. ;) More working will help me define better what I like, how I like to work, and also important (!) what I can sustain.  Finding a theme that will hold my attention is important. I made a few pages of sketches of "potential future jewelry lines" and... while some were interesting, some were less so as I kept drawing. huh! I had figured the more I kept working on a theme, and the more potential I saw in it, the more interesting it would become? Maybe not so oddly- the themes I haven't "finished" are the ones I'm most interested in playing with first... Is there a lesson there about burning out before you begin? belaboring a point? or... is the sheer (potential!) volume of work ahead the wall that stops even my first step? (resistance! ahhh run!!)

One great question asked on me today after I showed my pile of (seemingly) disparate printouts, photos, design stuff, printed cards and whatnot, "What would you MOST want to work on Right Now, if you could go work on your jewelry?"
At the moment I said- ooh the etched copper cuffs. And I have one in the start-up phase already (hooray!) and- items with a story- historical, mythical, personal...

Now that I've had a moment- ask me now? CHAINS! love em. love love love love em.

That was a lovely clarifier. I need to remember that question more often. 

My goals? Make More Stuff. Sell It. Make More Stuff. Bask in the Awesomeness!
What Am I best at? So far the design concept part. Still building skillsets. (10,000 hours, here I come!)
How can I stand out? By making sure I use MY brain in MY creations. Only I have this brain and this combination of experiences. Only -I- can show these. Anyone else trying to do it for me or like me will just get it wrong. 
I am a talented thinker. I can (I can! I can!) come up with interesting ideas, that aren't Just Like what is already out there. I consciously make that part of my directive.

Dana's work:
 Boxed-out/hollow pieces, above, and chased/repousee pieces, below.

 Granulated pieces, above, and keum-boo pieces, below.

From Dana: "I was struggling with the feeling I should focus in more with my work- for example, right now I'm doing Argentium granulation, mostly with opals. Should I focus on doing that and only that? Should I combine techniques in order to be different and stand out? The ladies thought my work was pretty uniform in style and thought I should instead focus on my background in architecture and improve my PR. "Houses for stones" is what one lady said. The suggestion was to change my lapidary shop (on Etsy) from StoneCabCrazy to StoneAddict, and change my jewelry shop (also on Etsy) from StoneAddict to something more like StoneMason or Homes for Stones, etc... something that accentuates my architecture background- that I'm building structures for my stones. Also, big suggestion was to build my own website for credibility, visibility, etc... and have a 'Shop' button that leads to my Etsy shop. So, I'm very excited and have a lot to think about and a lot of work ahead of me!"

The comments/blurbs above were only a small portion of the discussions we had. Not only was it valuable for each participant, it was a great way to help train ourselves to 'talk' about our work and art in general- that's hard to do for some of us. Looking forward to doing this twice a year- was a great help to all!!

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