Lampwork...Color! What I've been up to...and the art jewelry buyer

Yep, I've been at the torch for hours...and enjoying myself as well.  The beady piles are growing so I do need to get some listed on Etsy.   I've had some requests for necklace sets but, in today's economy, price point is a big deal. Anyway, I've been designing sets that have a kewl focal and affordable accent beads.  An example of one is below.  I've been doing mostly custom sets but, I'm thinking that I will get some made for Etsy as well. 

I've also been doing a large amount of research when it comes to doing bead shows.  I've done lots of art shows...geez, one year Bob and I did 34 of the suckers.  Never again, will we do that many in one year.  The thing is, bead/trade shows are different.  They are almost always inside, which appeals to me greatly.  They are low stress and also help me with increasing my beady customer base.  I also have an entire bead show set up...lots of custom displays, lights, and the fu-fu that goes with it.  The only things that I need to pick up is banners and and a few more interesting displays...whatever shows off a current series that I'm working on. 

My current customer base has certain prefs...mostly ones that I enjoy accommodating like brights, nuggets, barrels, and some organics.  Most of it comes to price points.  The thing is that I'm getting a bit bored...I like more complex bead sets and focals.  I really like silvered glass.  Where as silvered glass could be sold online, it's a bitch to photograph and not worth my time because of my photo skills. 

So if you have any comments, hints, suggestions, or opinions on bead or trade shows...send me an email. I would be interested. 

I guess I'm also tired to staring at a computer screen or a torch flame. :-)  Interaction also charges my inspiraton too.

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve gotten some questions regarding lampwork, natural stones, and art jewelry.  This is a blog…and I’m always looking for interesting topics to write about…plus it’s interesting what folks think of art jewelry, either as a buyer or a jewelry designer. I think it’s one of the best ways to stay in touch with one’s customers in some ways too.

Anyway…one of the questions intrigued me:
What to look for in art jewelry when I’m looking at a piece to buy? I always say, buy what appeals to you. If pressed, I also add…look for jewelry that has high grade raw materials, that is well put together, and wears well. There’s a huge selection to choose from and from all different price points. The thing is, if it doesn’t hang correct or the style doesn’t look good on you…even if it’s on sale, why buy it? If the piece is made from either base metals like brass or copper, and you have issues with either one of the metals, it’s not like you are going to be able to wear it for any length of time. There are a lot of people who can…but many of my customers can’t tolerate base metals. They are precious metal people.

I’ve also been doing a bit of education when it comes to lampwork as well. The thing is, if someone is in the market for art jewelry and it’s not a impulse buy or ‘oh this is so pretty’ type of buyer…the customer knows what the price is for that strand of pearls or blue kyanite or fire opal. They even know that prasiolite is green amethyst. The different grades and types of turquoise is more than most customers know unless Southwestern pieces are their primo interest. It’s the same way with lampwork.

One of the most interesting things that one of my customers mention is…she can’t figure out why designers mixed lampwork with brass or base metals. After chatting about the kewlness of mixed metals (like adding copper or bronze with sterling), she kinda understood but she doubted she would buy the pieces. I just let it pass…mostly because I’m not designing jewelry right now.

The point to this post is to bring about the concept…that the internet has brought many changes. It has opened up the art jewelry venues to sell online and it keeps costs down so the average person can afford to buy these pieces. It has also opened the eyes to many buyers. They have huge amounts of information at their finger tips. The average art jewelry buyer is becoming more and more sophisticated.  There's more to this line of thinking but this is turning into a novel.

Later Gators...I'm off to the torch!!!