Have Beads Will Travel

Posted by Rebecca Stone on June 23, 2010
Jun 232010

Bits of fluff from cottonwood trees drift on the breeze in between cloudbursts as I trudge up the gravel drive from the barn. I am at my sister’s house in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, horse sitting and looking after cats (both tame and wild), while she and her husband are in Washington, D.C. (the jetsetters!). They just bought this house, and, thanks to a few upgrades, the place — though built in the ’20s — seems quite new. Heck, it’s almost like staying at a fancy country vacation rental. A nice escape from L.A. for me.

I'm loving composing smaller crystals and stones (like the tourmalinated quartz on the top tier) into dangly pendants. It's fun to layer them and wear three — or more — at a time.

I'm loving composing smaller crystals and stones (like the tourmalinated quartz on the top tier above and the aragonite and amazonite rounds to the right) into dangly pendants. It's fun to layer them and wear three — or more — at a time.

It’s also a great place to make jewelry. I must have hauled about 20 pounds of beads along with me. With the house to myself, I can spread out all my beads, wire and findings, and not have to put anything away. Of course, I cover everything at night to keep curious cats from using the rondelles as hockey pucks, but aside from that it’s fairly turnkey. I come down in the morning, pour a cup of coffee and pick right up where I left off the night before. So handy. Not only that, but walks in the woods (aside from providing much needed exercise) yield all kinds of design ideas in the form of assorted wildflowers, weeds, butterflies and dragonflies. The lavender farms that seem to blanket the landscape around this area are another source of inspiration (and they just smell so damn good).

While I work, I have a great view of the valley as a backdrop for the horses grazing in the daisy-dotted pasture, and the neighbors’ two peacocks pay frequent visits to the back deck. It’s a little startling as I’m bending wire to look up and find them staring at me through the glass door (or are they looking at their reflections?). At any rate, they’re fun to watch, especially when they spread their tail feathers. Impressive. Added bonus: My sister left me a stash of movies, which I’ve started to look forward to later in the day while bending wire and sipping local wine. It’s just all so civilized!

A mix of Chinese and Swarovski crystals coexist peacefully with sterling silver.

A mix of Chinese and Swarovski crystals coexist peacefully with sterling silver.

I’m expanding on my “Gardenware” (working title) designs. Little sparklies that I’m creating. I have them hanging all over my jade bushes at home and here they are now decorating my sister’s maple tree. Not much sun to set off the sparkle and rainbows I get in L.A., but they still twinkle in the lower light.

I’m also expanding on my latest obession involving crystals. More on this next time.

By then I hope to unravel the mysteries of the various types of crystals that are out on the market. Stay tuned.crystals6p

Becky's Big Adventure

Posted by Rebecca Stone on June 7, 2010
Jun 072010

Well, we got to the show (the Hollywoodland Annual Flea Market and Art Fair) yesterday around 6 am. Setup was a snap — it was hauling everything back down the stairs from our house to load in the car that was a pain, in so many ways. I had a box for each table, containing all the pieces that went with each one. This really speeded up prep time. I also had drawn a diagram of where everything went, which came in handy during periodic brain freezes. I had designed a poster in Adobe Illustrator to reflect the look of my business cards. Oz was able to round up a frame to fit it, and wired it to the front of my entrance-adjacent table. It looked fabulous. If you ever need a poster fast and at a reasonable rate, check out PosterBrain.com. I highly recommend them.

My first show experience was enjoyable. My booth looked wonderful, if not a little dressy for the event, with all the black velvet coverings (custom made by my friend Marysol) and props over burgundy tablecloths. Neighborhood friends stopped by to chat and check out my stuff. Another friend drove all the way from Santa Monica to keep me company for a couple of hours. We had a beautiful (though slightly warm) day and great music. Best of all, people looked at my pieces and, well, liked them. No one scowled, scoffed or burst out laughing. While I sat in the shade behind my tables and worked on some unfinished pieces I’d brought along, descriptors like delicate, pretty and unique floated on the breeze as visitors to my booth browsed. And…. I actually sold some things. Not a ton, mind you, but I recovered my entry fee and then some, even with the flea market situated right next to my tent.

I also met some of the other artists, and that is always nice. The only other full-out jewelry designer there was singer/songwriter Gina Venturini. I enjoyed comparing notes with her and visiting her booth. She uses many of the same materials that I do, but her style is very different — bold and super colorful. Check out her site: ginaventurinidesigns.com.

Today my feet hurt and I’m pretty tired. But, overall, it was a great learning experience. I got to try out some different marketing strategies, and now I understand the disadvantages of combining handcrafted arts and flea markets. Most people there came for the bargains and freebies (In fact, one of my favorite memories about the show was when someone approached me, asking if my bouquet of flowers was for sale — or the vase they were in — or the led lamp that was lighting up one of my displays — totally ignoring my jewelry — that WAS for sale). You can’t blame people for seeking out killer deals, but flea market stickers reflect price points that most handcrafters can’t afford. Lesson learned. Onward….

Up and Down She Wandered...

Posted by Rebecca Stone on June 5, 2010
Jun 052010

My recent activities remind me of the lyrics in a song I used to sing back in the day, when I could hit the high notes as a soprano in a madrigal group. I have been preparing for my first art fair, where actual people will see my pieces. We live at the top of a HUGE set of stairs (it’s called a stair street in the Hollywood Hills). In order to practice my set up and plan my booth design, I’ve had to bring all my newly purchased props, tables and tents included, up the stairs from the car and down the steps into the front yard, only to have to cart it back up and down again to transport to the show. Oh well, it’s good for the old waistline.

I think I’m ready, well almost. I think my booth looks good, but still plenty to do today, loose ends and all. The fair is right up the street — the Hollywoodland Flea Market/Bake Sale/Art Fair. No idea what to expect, but it seems like a good way to get my feet wet.

Hoping to catch up with my much-neglected Etsy store (still need to work on driving traffic to it) and to blog next week about my show experiences and a couple of other things I’ve had simmering. Please stay tuned to find out what happened in Becky’s Big Adventure.

Thanks for reading.

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