Monday, 31 August 2009

Artsmix at Castle Howard

Well we got the weather I was hoping for. Yesterday was quite cold but dry and today was lovely and sunny. Castle Howard is an amazing place so I felt sure that if the weather was right, the sales would be great. I'm afraid that was not the case, don't get me wrong I did alright, made a decent profit but I was hoping for more, hoping to be one step closer to giving up work.

In actual fact I am a giant leap, several thousand steps and a 27 hour bus ride from giving up work.

I think that one big problem I face is the sheer volume of jewellers out there. There were probably 7 jewellers there today and a further 5 people selling jewellery in an amongst their other products. That's out of 20 odd stalls. The other problem is that everyone sold lovely jewellery. If it had been crap then I wouldn't mind but it was all great stuff! ;)

The only thing that I can do is work my bum off and continue to gain new skills and hone the ones I have.

I'm also toying with the idea of giving up plated metal. I'm thinking of working exclusively with silver, gold, gemstones, pearls, crystals and lamp work. It's a tough decision to make as this weekend it was my plated work that sold. People generally prefer the silver but can't resist the £5 price tag on my plated bracelets or £2 earrings. Problem is, from an artsy farty point I don't like making the cheap stuff, I don't feel that it represents my skills and I know that unlike silver when plated metal tarnishes, that's it, you can't polish it up so it has a much more limited lifespan. When I sell a piece of jewellery I want the wearer to keep it forever, I want them to know that it's one of a kind and that it was carefully designed and produced.I want them to look at it and feel a little happier, the way I did when I completed it.

As I have said before not everyone appreciates the artistry at craft fairs, many people just want a bargain. Yesterday a lady picked up a pair of £2 earrings made with lamp work beads and Swarovski crystals and said "are these sterling" I replied that they weren't and informed her of the quality of bead and she slammed them straight back down and said if it's not silver she didn't want it. I pointed out my silver earrings and told her that they are £10. Open mouthed and wide eyed she stared at me and said "£10 for earrings?" and walked off. So folks if you're looking for a bargain look else where.
I'd love your thoughts on this. Plated metal, should it stay of should it go?

Pictures from top
  1. Rose quartz, quartz and amazonite
  2. Quartz and amazonite
  3. Quartz and amazonite
  4. Rainbow flourite and amethyst
  5. Amethyst and Quartz
All pieces on sterling silver.

Saturday, 29 August 2009


I'm back at Castle Howard tomorrow for the Artsmix market and I'm really looking forward to it. Last month the market there was good but the rain meant that it wasn't great. Hopefully we'll get good weather. It is hard to run a business that is so dependant on the weather!

Green fingers pt. 2

Phew, who'd thought digging up turf was such hard work? Actually that phew is James'. He did it all, well i dug up a bit but it was too hard so I had a cup of tea instead. Definitely more me! I did however bag most of it up this morning as I wanted to contribute. Then about 10am I got a call from work, we'd had system problems this week and we have a backlog to clear. So I went in for an hour or so to help out and when I got home it was done.

Now you have to imagine that the gravel was knee high grass and around it was a border with overgrow unloved rosemary and lavender. I hadn't really ever cut them back properly and they were leggy and beyond saving.

My folks very kindly gave us the table and chairs and James' folks bought us the gravel and death to weeds membrane beneath it for a very early Christmas present so the whole thing cost us some bin bags and sweat. Not bad! I realise that at the moment it looks a little bare but we are going to get some nice pots and plants and soften it up a bit and I'm going to scub the flags and get them brighter. The ones to the left are York stone so they'll look great. the pots will have to wait until we have a little more money though. We live in a backwards terrace so essentially the kitchen over looks the road and the living room over looks the garden and allotments which I love. The only downside is that there is a path through the gardens for access so my garden is cut in two, so patio one side large border the other.

I think it's a rather pretty view to have from your bedroom window. It's even better now that I'm not ashamed of my garden. I'm not the street scruff now! Well, I won't be once I've got the weeds out of my gutter!

Monday, 24 August 2009

Green fingers pt. 1

My garden is currently a total embarrasment. James and I would like to pave it and although it's a small garden it's still an expensive job. This week we will endeavor to dig up the straggly weed infested lawn and cover it with Gravel. Preferably slate chippings as they are much more attractive. I'm not known for physical labour so watch this space!

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Not many people who visit my stalls ask me what my favourite colour is for two reasons
  1. It would be an unusual question to ask some random girl at a stall

  2. At least of half of everything on my stall is turquoise.

Black Agate, Turquoise and Sterling Silver.

Okay so half is a big ole exaggeration but I am really drawn to the colour and it always takes centre stage on the stalls. Thanks to my dad, centre stage is much more impressive than it used to be as he very kindly made me some shiny black shelves to raise my display busts at the back. I'm putting my recent success down to my improved displays. Even in the good old British summer rain at Castle Howard a few weeks ago I still managed a healthy profit.

Black Agate, Turquoise and Sterling silver, again!

I'm still no David Bailey but I do believe my photography (ahem) skills are improving. I'm using slightly more rustic backgrounds rather than aiming for the nigh on impossible perfect white.

Chrysocola, Swarovski Crystal and Sterling Silver.

I'm still really crap at keeping up to my blog, (obviously) twitter and facebook etc but .......

Chrysocola, Black Agate and Sterling silver.

James and I have just had almost two weeks off work and it's been great. I'm dreading going back on Monday like you wouldn't believe which in the short term is a bad thing but it's spurring me on. I guess that's why I'm here tonight, finally motivated. I must come on here more, I actually love blogging it's just that I feel so guilty spending all this time upstairs and totally abandoning James. It's fine on a Saturday but on a week night you get home, cook dinner, eat dinner, load the dishwasher, spend a couple of hours online doing all the things that you "should" be doing and before you know it it's bed time and that's your evening done! Once I get my laptop I can do all those things downstairs in the living room not up here in the spare (junk) room

That being said I'm going to try to make sure I get on every other day to blog and tweet. I have to go online everyday anyway to check my emails and etsy so I should just spend ten minutes saying hi.

Smokey Quartz, Swarovski Crystal and Sterling Silver

We have had a great couple of weeks actually, we spent four days at the seaside on the Yorkshire coast. I always say I'd love to live in the US, Canada or Australia but you know, the UK is a really beautiful place especially Flamborough.

August in England!

Oh and more beach huts!

Related Posts with Thumbnails