Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reflections From 2011

My father passed on the 6th of January. Leaving me in charge of well, everything. I was rudely thrust into the world of being a responsible, bill paying home and business owner. Not to mention Personal Representative for probate. Which I still am working on
It has been an extremely busy, hectic and sometimes stressful year learning how to juggle my time and money. I have my paper carrier job that is paying the bills and allows me the days to run the family business and my jewelry business. The downside is long days and sometimes what seems like never enough sleep!

I went from having all the time in the world to well, little or none. This job and lifestyle doesn't allow much time for friends and family outside of the shop. Thanks to all my good plurk friends and my real life BFF's and my aunty I'm managing.

In hindsight I've managed to keep my head above the proverbial waters and I haven't done too bad. I like to think 2011 was about learning what I can do. I've learned I CAN make it on my own and support myself and my son. This is something I never thought I could do. I've also learned what I can't do and what I can improve on.

I've also found myself terribly lonely at times. Running da shop by myself is hard and I am grateful that Mike (my ex) has been here to help. Honestly running a small business like this is a job for two people not one. There are times one needs to get OUT and then there are things like appointments (or illness) that are almost impossible to schedule on Mondays all the time.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Winds Of Change Are Blowing, Part Two

I have struggled with the words to describe my "new" jewelry style. So instead I put together this slideshow for your enjoyment. I had originally chosen a different theme, but I liked this one better. The winter scene and the quote make me think of clean slates and new beginnings. And in a sense new beginnings is what I am doing with my jewelry and my store. This is the kind of jewelry I will be making from now on and what I will be keeping in my Willow Walker Designs store on Artfire. After viewing this slideshow I have to admit I even impressed myself. I look at it and still can hardly believe such beautiful and amazing work came from my little ole' hands!

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After watching this slideshow you may be asking yourself why am I still calling this a "new" style? I started finding my style in late August of 2010. Unfortunately most of 2011 was spent dealing with life altering changes after the loss of my father. Probate, inheriting the family stained glass business and all sorts of little day to day tasks took up most of my time.
That and learning how to juggle all these demands on me and my time.

Just for fun what would you call this style? Romantic, elegant, tribal? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Winds Of Change Are Blowing, art One

The Winds Of Change are officially here and blowing out the old as they blow in the new.

I have started moving items to my Glass Goddess shop on Artfire. I am moving out old stuff that I feel doesn't represent the style or quality of jewelry I desire to have in my Willow Walker Designs shop nor does it reflect what I am doing now. This mainly consists of pendants and some matching earrings. These are all older pieces and styles that I am tired of looking at and packing around to shows. I will be selling them as handmade supplies. The pendants and earrings will be listed separately. I will be leaving them at the current prices. I have dropped the prices on these items down to the cost of the materials and I have to have that back. I can kill my labor costs, but not the cost of the materials.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

I just wanted to take a quick moment and wish everyone a very Merry Christmas to all my wonderful friends and fans! So


Thursday, December 15, 2011

First Wire Woven Bead Cap!

Finished this bead cap last night right before I went to sleep. Can I just say that I LOVE it? It is a very well written tutorial with excellent pictures. I had no trouble at all understanding and following the instructions. I already have a pair of earrings in mind where I'll use these lovely bead caps on a pair of yummy pearl drops! Now I just have to decide on the metal color for them. I'm thinking of doing them in 14K gold filled wire to go with a gorgeous pair of gold vermeil headpins.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

New Tutorials To Learn New Skills With!

I have several new tutorials I am excited to try out! One is Iza Malczyk's Wire Woven Bead Cap Tutorial. My fingers are literally itching to give this one a whirl. First I have to go to the bead store and get some wire to learn this with!

The other is Mary Tucker's Twining With Wire Lesson Tutorial. I've been wanting to apply basketry techniques to my wire wrapping skills for a while. This tutorial should give me a great foundation to get started. I took a basketry workshop 18 years ago and enjoyed myself. (Wowsa, it's really been that long ago?)

These tutorials are the first techniques I'm adding to my repertoire of wire wrapping skills! Also going to learn to solder silver wire into frames, practice headpin making....

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Online/Jewelry Design Changes Two

Probably the other biggest change is to how I view my work and myself. I've been calling myself an "artist" for a while and I'm not as comfortable with it as I once was. I think the term "craftsman" is more appropriate, both in my stained glass and my jewelry.

I have touted my jewelry as glass first and wire second. I have decided that my jewelry is about the wire first then the glass and the gems. "Wire, dichroic glass and gems"

I look forward to exploring and learning more wire wrapping, weaving, twining, braiding, coiling, etc; in 2012. The more I learn the more I can do. I forsee a lot more wirework in base metals like copper and bronze.

The picture above is a pair of earrings I made quite a while ago playing with gemstone clusters. This is another idea I look forward to playing more with!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

"Harvest" Round Stained Glass Panel & Online Shop Plan One

Finished this lovely piece just over a week ago. I never really used to be into fall colors. Then one of my best friend's mentioned her favorite color is orange...Since then I have found myself drawn to a lot more orange. I chose the dark amber jewel in the center and built my colors around it. Unable to find a fifth color that I liked I hit upon the unlikely use of pink-and it worked perfectly!

You've heard me talk about some things I want to do with my on-line jewelry stores. One of the first, biggest and most important change I have planned is the removal of ALL the pieces that I feel do not suit the design style I have settled upon. These are different dichroic techniques and styles I have tried my hand at in my dichroic journey and have decided are not what I want to do. I will be removing the current post earrings, all etched design pieces and the simple wire wrapped bail pendants and all the other pieces that don't suit. These will be moved over to my Glass Goddess shop and sold as supplies until they are gone.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Red Earrings & Ideas For 2012

Here is a pair of my new earring design done in reds and golds.

I have been working on ideas for next year. Where I plan to go with my jewelry, how to improve my blogging and such.

I need to get back on the regular blogging bandwagon and make it a habit again. I am thinking of doing four weekly features. I can research a different gem for one week, two different jewelry design challenges would fill another two weeks and I'm thinking a stained glass challenge for the fourth week. I can show the design sketches, creation along with the finished project.

I have definitely decided to concentrate on making the intricate wire wrapped jewelry designs that I so love doing. I want to challenge myself and setting myself weekly theme challenges would really help with that. I'm thinking one for every month of the year and still debating the other. I was thinking of a "name" challenge, but am not sure.

I miss writing a short sci-fi-fantasy story for my jewelry using my alter ego Willow and am thinking about doing that again. We'll see.

I need to sit back and evaluate how things went at the end of each month. Figure out what is working and what is not.

And I really need to get serious about doing some fancier, higher end shows with my jewelry. I think my stuff is to fancy for a lot of the shows I have been doing. I seem to end up at the window shopping ones anymore courtesy of this lovely economy.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

New Earring Design

I have a new earring design made! I made this pair in rich deep blues with blue crystal dangles! I also think these would look nice without dangles too.

I am debating whether or not to list these new designs now or after the holidays. If you are interested please don't hesitate to let me know!

Friday, December 2, 2011

New Necklace, Sneak Peek!

Here is my newest piece, "Harvest Moon".
I've taken an older piece and reset it. It is wire wrapped in 14K gold filled wire with Hessonite Garnet briolettes. Suspended from a 14k gold filled chain connected with Hessonite links.