This blog hop is sponsored by B'sue Boutiques
***All posts will appear in full on FRIDAY, JANUARY 23, 2015.***
I am Brenda Sue Lansdowne, guide for the class and hostess for this blog hop.
In this blog hop you will have the privilege of meeting the 57 amazing women who bravely accepted this challenge and entered this class.
What do we hope to achieve in this class?
As admin of the B'sue Boutiques Creative Group at Facebook
I've for some time noticed that we have member-artists who have richly enjoyed tackling every new technique and idea that came down the mixed media pike for jewelry making!
Many were very good at each new concept and the work was GREAT!
As we went along, I noticed that only SOME settled in on a design field. Those who did, built on a look that was singular, a style that was solid, identifiable, and in a number of price ranges. Their work was also SELLING.
One example I can show you, would be my pal Beanzie of The Vintage Heart:
Beanz' style is identifiable as she mixes old with new vintage, loves guilloche enamels....and when she can't get enough of THEM, she paints her own look in tole strokes:
Her branding is the watermark that appears on all her photos when the items are for sale (The Vintage Heart), a lovely script logo.....and the gorgeous, muted staging of the photos she takes of the items for sale.
Her look has a twist of Shabby Chic and she gravitates to sweet, pleasant pastel color palettes.
We two are good friends and go back quite some time. I kept trying to get Beanzie to try some new concepts, but she's always been a bit resistant. Finally, I stopped cajoling her. It wasn't necessary!! She HAD her look. It was cohesive, identifiable, and it looked like the same person made all the pieces. She could take the skills she already had and kick them up a notch when necessary (as when she began to paint on B'sue Boutiques spoon findings, or vintage skeleton keys she had collected)......or work in theme, when asked to do so.
This bracelet has a poodle theme. She's done cats, horses, pretty ladies, cameos and others.
Even though her pieces tend to be one of a kind, you always know they are The Vintage Heart. The theme aspect of hearts and flowers is one that will never go out of style. Charm bracelets are her specialty.
Charm bracelets are TIMELESS. The bracelets go for a pretty penny, but Beanz also has pieces for 12-25.00 in her offerings, as well. She's got it covered.
Another artist who shares with us at the B'sue Boutiques Creative Group at Facebook is Janet Wilson of ChickieGirl Designs at Etsy. She has a style that is uniquely her own.
This is a line of earrings that Janet made in limited edition. They are all different colors, yet all the same, using the same paint technique.
Those funky brass swirls, by the way, are from B'sue Boutiques
Many of Janet's pieces have messages:
She often uses Spectra Beads
and sometimes filigree from B'sue Boutiques which she manipulates around a bit of decoupaged polymer clay or wood that she has painted in her signature style. Sometimes, she will layer the brass pieces, and each layer will have a different color that all co-ordinates.
When I see Janet's pieces.....I don't even need to see the logo. I know they are ChickieGirl by Janet Wilson!
Once upon a time, I, too, had a very cohesive line of many pieces of jewelry. Myself and seven artisan helpers produced a gift line of eventually 300 pieces!---which was sold back in the 90's to about 500 store accounts. As a gift line, our clientele consisted mostly of small boutiques, florists, hospital gift shoppes, small theme catalogues (Burpee Seed Catalogue, Parker Button Company) military PX's, and tourist gift shops. We also sold to a few small department stores that were local to their respective areas. Our work was also photographed and featured in magazines like COUNTRY LIVING.
Most of the pieces were simple charm styles that didn't take a lot of effort to put together....but our best-seller was a crowd-pleaser that could be custom engraved many different ways. We had Grandma, Mom, Sister, Secret Pal, Friends Forever, Teacher, Nurse....I could go on and on.
I haven't made a piece of that line since about the time this last catalog (shown) was published, and the last show I did with it was in 2001. I grew tired of it, I guess. The gift industry had changed. It still sold like hotcakes at retail shows, but I was ready to move on into the world of one of a kind's!
Like this piece....which has a certain look reminiscent of the old line...but is over the top:
Yes, those pieces in the center are EARRINGS, not brooches! Rather large, LOL
I recall that this was a custom-built mother of the bride set. I got a nice piece of change for it.....but stuff like this NEVER paid the bills like that little old line of so many diverse pieces done in theme. I actually went back to selling vintage jewelry again, along with my one of a kind pieces, to keep going!
THEN....I decided, hey. I taught those girls to make my line, why couldn't I sell parts and teach people to make jewelry?
In 1997, even before I stopped making this line.....I began to do that very thing on the internet, with the introduction of my very first website.
TODAY, my line looks like this:
BEAUTIFUL components and findings made from historic dies and jewelry tooling here in the United States, with lovely nickel free designer finishes on them! This is Old Rose Ox, which is a departure from the standard dark antique copper finishes and is more of a dark rose gold with a subtle antique and slight shine.
We also have a unique brass ox finish with a black antique to make the design pop!, rusty black patina brass which is a one of a kind interactive finish with a chocolate-black top and fused copper inner layer that can be distressed to a turn...
This piece is from my last You Tube Video
(There are over 140 free instructional videos at the B'sue Boutiques Channel at You Tube)
We also have Silverware Silverplate, which is a lovely FINE SILVER finish, 99.9% pure silver three mils thick over the brass, nickel free. We have Satin Matte Gold, which is 18 karat gold plating in matte, muted, soft. We have aqua copper patina brass which is teal patina over dark antique copper, and we have matte black. YEP, THAT'S MY LINE these days!
So....like many of my fellow artists at the group, I find myself floundering with lots of techniques when I go back to making jewelry....instead of being true to myself, finding my own look, and making pieces that, while true to who I AM, appeal to a broader base of people. I'd like to go back to selling more jewelry along with my brass!
AND THAT is what this challenge is all about....making jewelry is true to the artist and yet! can sell, at least in part, in impulse price ranges. It's about crafting a line of handmade artisan jewelry that goes together, and looks like it was all made by the same hand, reigning in the design techniques and staying specific.
WILL THESE GIFTED LADIES follow their hearts and do what they always have done, and find that it needed no adaptation......or will they combine the styles and techniques that work best for them and give them a slight twist to to include a broader base of possible buyers?
Can they BUILD A LINE of cohesive pieces that go together that speak their own creative voice, yet are affordable and wearable?
Being honest, I really am not entirely sure how I fell upon all the concepts for my 90's line. I DO know it was a process, and not something that happened overnight.
And I do know I still know how to do it:
I made this piece a few weeks ago using many of the same elements I used in the line from the 90's! I was happy to say, I could still make the piece in about fifteen minutes and not be messy about it:
Here are the pieces I began with.....some are still sold at B'sue Boutiques, some I have always kept for myself:
During this series of three blog hops (this being the FIRST) I will be guiding the challenge class and learning how to *teach* the idea of building a line, considering your audience and growing your sales. I know how to do this, I understand all the concepts, pro and con. But I have never TAUGHT others to do develop, or build a line.
That's why this challenge class, although a master class guided by someone who mastered the idea and actually made a living selling her own design line of jewelry for the better part of a decade!....was FREE OF CHARGE.
We are all learning together! I will not be creating a new line with the others. I'll be concentrating on helping them find new potential among their treasure boxes of artistic gifts.
Just as it is so amazing to see what people do with the findings they purchase from us at B'sue Boutiques ....it will be fantastic to see what these 57 artists do with the guidance provided in the class.
Our next hop will be February 20th. Come back for more!
In between, I'll be posting updates on the challenge class, too.
Be sure to to visit each participant's blog and if possible, leave an encouraging comment! All of them have worked so hard! And if you would...
Leave me a comment, too?
HERE ARE THE PARTICIPANTS!
Mary Katherine Deis
Jennifer Merrill Williams
Denise Lussier Poirier