Marie Antoinette and I will be going to Corsica to gather more sea glass and to recharge. Corsica is Marie’s native home and she is looking for renewed inspiration from the sea, the mountains, and the fresh air.
This photo was a finalist in Landscape Photography Magazine’s Picture Of The Month competition.
I always enjoy going to take more beautiful photographs of this rustic island. I will journal my photography trips as time permits over on my fine art photography website in my first post called Discovering the UN-Familiar. Follow along and subscribe.
Mare Antoinette has been making a lot of changes to her jewelry designs over the years. Like her jewelry, her website has also been evolving so I felt it was time for another update. The blog and static website are now using one contiguous design and it is now mobile friendly. This should provide you, her wonderful customers and visitors, a better user experience no matter what type of device you are using.
The website now uses WordPress in its’ entirety but that doesn’t mean it took any less time to develop. Many people think that if they have a WordPress site, it is just a simple task to put up and you’re done but once they get into it, they realize that web pages need to be optimized so they can be found, menus need to be in certain order, plugins need to selected and tested (and tested again), images and graphics created etc. In fact, while the main architecture may be completed in an instant by selecting a new theme, it doesn’t really save any time because you end up putting more effort in to other aspects.
I think that any creative process works that way; where we once struggled to create a technique becomes automated, we then see the problems that were once hidden by it and we end up fixing them manually until they become automated and we see another problem. I see this all the time as someone who uses Photoshop. I buy books, take webinars and learn how to do a special technique and then Adobe or a third party plug-in developer makes a filter that does the same thing in a click. Then that frees me up to find other problems I hadn’t seen.
Do you have this issue as well? As long as it makes it better in the end, whatever “it” is, that’s all that matters. Enjoy.
I thought I would write about a recent necklace my wife made but it’s more to it than just that—it’s also the story of a relationship between CorseCrafts and a new client and how together we all took ownership of the creation of something beautiful. Throughout the article you will see photos, click to see an enlargement.
It started in the middle of May; we received a phone call from a pleasant sounding lady who had a grey freshwater pearl necklace that someone else had made and it had come apart. This wasn’t the first time it had come apart either. After the first time, she had it restrung in a way that made some of the beads look like they were floating; illusion-like and she really had a passion for this affect. So, the necklace came apart again and she needed some help with it so I told Marie Antoinette about the voice-mail that the lady, who I will refer to as Mrs. H, left and Marie said she would be happy to help her.
You might think that it’s just an easy fix to put the beads back on the necklace but we really had no idea what Mrs. H had to work with. As it turns out, she wanted to remove all the beads and restring it so I wrote her back and told her we were interested and she sent me some photos she had along with a sketch of what she wanted the final piece to look like.
After reviewing the photographs, we decided it would be a good project to work on. We gave Mrs. H a rough estimate but it really depended on the condition of the necklace and its parts. Mrs. H sent us all the pieces and Marie Antoinette began to review everything more closely. All the beads were glued to the wire which was brittle. Some of the beads came off easily and others were not going to budge.
We looked at the first sketch that was sent to us but had some concern with there being enough usable beads to construct it—then she sent us a second sketch which was a bit more complex, had even more beads on it but it did make the piece start to come to more of a “fuller looking” design but we were still concerned with having enough beads because they were so difficult to remove. Mrs. H mentioned that she had some white freshwater pearls on an older necklace that we could add to it and mailed them to us as well.
Mrs. H was completely open to whatever ideas Marie Antoinette had and understood that the estimate could change based on all of the different ideas “we” came up with. I say “we” because this was really a joint project between Marie Antoinette, myself and Mrs. H. I wanted to see this necklace come back to life based on the ideas the two of them had trying to keep the main design looking like what Mrs. H wanted but also keeping her aware that the ideas they came up with could vary the final price but I thought it would be worth it.
Marie Antoinette had a very difficult time with removing the beads from the wire. Some of them just would not budge. Luckily she was able to remove most all of them but there were still a few left over. The photo below shows a nice little bowl of all the usable beads that came off the wire.
We received the white freshwater pearls and Marie Antoinette made a sketch of her own that added one more strand to the design using up all the white and most of the grey fresh water pearls. Marie Antoinette began to lay out the beads on a board. This was an important step because we had several discussions with Mrs. H at this point and it was time to show the life that was developing in her “new” custom necklace.
My background is in professional photography. I didn’t want to send Mrs. H a camera phone photo of her custom necklace that was being made for her. I think she deserved better than that. I took a photo directly over top the bead board which I color balanced and sharpened before sending it to her. This was turning out to be a magnificent necklace and it’s creation needed to be documented with care. A photo taken with a mobile phone can only give someone an “idea” of what is happening, a true photograph makes it alive to them.
Mrs. H liked what she was seeing. I told her what a difficult time Marie Antoinette was having with some of the beads and that there would probably be some left over. This opened a door of opportunity to make something else from the remaining beads.
With Mrs. H’s approval, Marie Antoinette began to string the beads into place but not permanently. She just wanted to get them to a final stage before “tying the knot” so to speak.
“This necklace is amazing! Yes, yes, please finish it up! I can’t wait to get it back!”
And so Marie Antoinette finished the necklace and I photographed it. Below are photos I took of the final completed necklace. Click for an enlargment.
So here it is, the middle of July, two months later and the necklace is finished. I’m really proud of the work that Marie Antoinette did and the relationship we built with Mrs. H throughout the construction process. She didn’t just give us something that was broken and ask us to simply fix it; she opened up to the possibility that it could become something better. Mrs. H had a hand in it’s design when she gave us sketches of what she would like to have; this gave her part ownership in it’s creation.
I only wish Marie Antoinette could have been with me the day I hand delivered the necklace to Mrs. H. I think the photo tells it all.
To sum it all up, CorseCrafts was able to bring a broken valuable to life with a new look; working with the client in a professional manner we were able to create a new piece, at a price the client expected but was comfortable with but more than that, a new relationship was forged as well.
Calling all crafters.
Do you accept credit cards?
We have been using 1st National Processing but it costs $40 + per month and a per-item fee. We are re-evaluating if we should continue to use their service or not. Because of the high cost of processing and the low volume we do, selling my wife’s lovely handmade bead jewelry has become more of a labor of love than anything remotely close to being profitable (the word unsustainable comes to mind for some reason).
That said, I’m sure that many of you have had days at craft shows where you could not make a sale simply because you did not accept credit cards—we had several of those in the past which is why we are accepting credit cards, but how much does one have to pay to be able to get your name out there? My understanding is, if I purchased the card reader, my monthly charge would go down and I would own the reader instead of renting it. I have considered getting a “square” for iPhone because there is only a small percentage charge per item but I have yet to jump into the smart phone arena because I don’t want to pay so much for phone service + international calling + data.
UPDATE: July 2012
I was able to get the price down to $11 a month plus transaction fees by becoming PCI compliant. Then I received a call from a company called Securus which offered even more bells and whistles for about the same pricing, I moved to them but my price has gone up. Not sure what happened, it’s looking like a he-said she-said issue. I’m thinking of changing back to 1st National Processing.
Night time photo capturing the wind through the trees after a snow storm.
It looks like Punxsutawney Phil was right, Spring is nearly hear. In fact, we enjoyed temperatures in the mid 70’s just a few days ago but alas, we’re suppose to get eight inches of snow tonight. But all this weird weather hasn’t kept Marie Antoinette from making new bead necklaces, earrings and bracelets though. We just did a photo shoot of her latest offerings in February and they are now available for immediate purchase right on this website.
I installed PayPal buttons so now you don’t have to swim through the sea of temptations on Etsy. All jewelry I photograph will appear on our website for about a month (or until it is sold) or so before it is moved to the full catalog on Etsy. This gives you an opportunity to snatch-up something before it goes into our Etsy shoppe.
Leaf pendant made from shell rest on a sheathed wire for a simple, elegant design.
Marie Antoinette has added a number of new necklace creations this month that feature natural shells. Two of them utilize a “double-strand” which makes them look like there is a lot to the necklace—It’s like hanging two of the same necklace around your neck at different lengths. She also made a series of very simple, clean designed chokers. These chokers feature a heavy gage wire that she has inserted into a black rubber-like sheath and attached a 2″ extension to with a beautiful pendant as it’s prime focus. There is also one that has a glass heart with metal beads attached to the necklace.
Brass washers combined with chrome metal rings and a charm.
For a bit of fun, Marie Antoinette took a bunch of brass washers and linked them together with chrome plated metal rings to make a bracelet. It is truly unique and features a charm that you could probably take somewhere to have something engraved into it.
Craft Shows Spring Up Slowly
On the craft show horizon, things are moving a little slower on all fronts. We’re researching new events to participate in and some of the one’s we have applied to have not made final judging or are not ready to post full details. I have a feeling it is going to be a last minute rush this year but stay tuned. I’ll have all the dates listed on the website and will start talking them up in the blog just as soon as we get word of which one’s we will be attending. Please follow us on Twitter of Friend us on Facebook for the latest news and blog updates.
One of my other passions is books, especially jewelry books. I feel that I have a very good collection; about 160 books and not one book is the duplicated (CONTENT EDIT BY HUSBAND: She didn’t tell you how may magazines she has! She must have a thousand or so the fill an entire 6′ book case). I have books on how to make clay beads, wire jewelry, simple instruction, crystal and more. In the future I would like to publish a book with only designs—it will give inspiration to experienced artisans and novices.
Do you have any favorite jewelry books?
Have you ever published a book of your work?