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.

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