Art Moment: Melanie West

I have been a *huge* fan of Melanie West’s art for years.  Her work reflects her unique vision of Nature.  Here are just a few samples of her happy, whimsical and awesomely unique jewellery. Please visit her website to learn more about Melanie, her jewellery and her classes.  http://www.ravensclay.com

Plasma and Cells BioBangle

Hand formed, carved and laminated polymer and epoxy. Features Melanie’s signature polymer cane work.

Magenta and CellsHand formed, carved and laminated polymer and epoxy. Features Melanie’s signature polymer cane work.

River Rock Bead Necklace in neutral colorsHollow form beads with hand pigmented translucent polymer cane work.

polymers, silicon, neoprene, magnets

Torque Necklace #2Hand formed, carved and laminated polymer and rubber with magnet clasp. Features Melanie’s signature polymer cane work.

The Art of Possibility- Inspiration for Creative People

The Art of Possibility-Inspiration for Creative People is a new chapter on Creative Fire.  Some people collect rocks, others mugs. I collect quotes. I love my secret stash of inspiration and encouragement…and I thought I should share it. Every week I’ll add a new quote or image. I hope they speak to you, offer inspiration and from time to time make you smile. ~Jeannette

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Art Moment: Nora Fok

Nora Fok  is intrigued by the world around her; she also asks questions and tries to find answers to them. She is fascinated by different aspects of nature, structure, systems and order, and the mysteries and magic which she sets out to capture in her work.

Images from: https://www.artpeoplegallery.com/hand-knit-jewelry-is-inspired-by-nature-and-science/?fbclid=IwAR3YHEMGG6PFQHQh6z0u6y1njvuzDPGTJYB09fr7veLDgD9DBleGX6-CBXw

 

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Art Moment is a snippet of an artist’s portfolio to introduce our readers to new artists. Please follow links to see artists work. If you would like to suggest an artist please email the editor at cre8tivefire (@) gmail.com.

Artist Profile – Tracey Spurgin by Julia Rai

 

I’ve known UK based metal clay artist and tutor Tracey Spurgin for many years, so long in fact that I can’t remember when we first met! Tracey lives in the small village of Walkington in the East Riding of Yorkshire which is in the north of England. Tracey and her husband Steve were regulars at the US conferences that ran every year and which a group of us from the UK used to attend. I last saw them at the You Can Make It conference in the UK in March 2018 and it was good to have a catch up then.

I thought it would be interesting to interview Tracey to find out about her background, so I started by asking her about her family. “I have two adult boys, both in their twenties and engaged to be married,” she began. “They’re both very settled in their careers and have homes of their own. The eldest lives in Edinburgh and the other in Manchester.” Continue reading…

Organization & Storage Tips for Jewelers: How to Keep Your Creative Space Tidy by Roxy Burg

Sourcing beads and jewelry making supplies can be highly addictive. You start with a small collection of seed beads, and then before you know it, you have hundreds of thousands of beads cluttering your design space and getting in the way of your creative process.

Decluttering your space is the first step to a more creative and productive jewelry making operation, whether you design as a hobby or for a living. While you could simply throw all your beads in a jar, you need storage solutions and organization strategies that complement the way you design, allowing you to easily view, select and access your materials. So here are some handy tips on how to keep your creative space tidy. Continue reading…

Feeling Funky? by Jeannette Froese LeBlanc

Every winter many artists in my area fall into a creative funk. The days are short so those with seasonal affective disorder feel the lack of sun first.  Then there are those who feel “let down” after the hustle of shows and sales before the winter holidays. Some artists have pushed so hard to create lines and new work and once the shows are over, they are depleted.  Starting over is sometimes hard.  Others just fall into a creative funk seasonally.

Every February I’d beat myself up for not creating.  Spring shows would be coming up and I’d look at empty shelves with no desire to make.  One year I was talking to a local potter and he said he once charted his funky moods and found that if he didn’t give into them, he was even less productive.  So when they came, he did what he felt like doing–if it was reading–he read.  If it was the desire to take a dance class–he did.  Eventually he learned that by giving into these “unproductive times” he was ultimately more productive. I think of him every February and wonder what crazy creative thing he is giving into and then I wonder why I’m fighting my own creative funk.  This year I feel very, very far from my studio.  I’m working a regular teaching gig.  A painting teacher at the school invited me to sit in on his class…so I’ve dug out my paint brushes.  I haven’t taken a painting class since 1993.  It’s good.  I’m starting to dream of colour combinations and to look at light and clouds creatively and not just with the sigh of an artist in a funk. Continue reading…

Preparing to Teach From Your Home Studio by Jeannette Froese LeBlanc

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SHARING YOUR KNOWLEDGE IS A GIFT.

It is an opportunity not only to pass on important information about your techniques and your chosen media to your students but also to educate them about important topics such as safe working practices and artistic ethics.

(Bright and airy teaching studio of Ann Robinson Davis in Virgina, USA)

LEARN FROM THE BEST
If you are new to teaching, it’s a really good idea to learn from a more experienced teacher whom you admire. Try to find one (or more) who might be willing to let you be their “teacher’s aide” in a few classes. Even if you’re just setting up, tidying and breaking down the classroom, you’ll have an opportunity to give your full attention to observing his or her teaching style and techniques for keeping the class on time, on track and engaged, and for dealing with disruptions or needy students. Then try tandem teaching with another experienced teacher. Guild meetings also are a great place to learn and to share teaching tips and methods. Continue reading…

A hard look at the data behind your slow Etsy sales 2017 by Genevieve Tucci

why are my etsy sales down

Breathe. I know it’s been hard. The bottom dropped out in 2016 and things haven’t gotten much better with the same slow Etsy sales in 2017. You’ve probably seen the same mantra over & over again in forums or on “expert blogs”:

“Better Keywords, Better Photos, More Listings”

That’s not the full story.

slow etsy sales 2017

What?!
A different angle on why my Etsy sales may be down & actual data to back it up?!
Yes.
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Did you make it to You Can Make It? by Joy Funnell

Petra and Stuart – our wonderful hosts

“Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, the best weekend ever” “I’ve been to lots of metal clay conferences but this one stood out for me for the warmth and enthusiasm of the delegates” “It was just magical, everyone was so welcoming and friendly” “When I left I felt like I’d walked back through the door from Narnia” “I learnt so much and made so many new friends, and was still buzzing when I got home”

These are just a few of the comments from the attendees of the inaugural ‘You can make it’ event, who left at the end of the weekend feeling inspired, happy and with lots of new friends!

The YCMI Conference Tutors

You Can Make It 2017 took place in Wareham, Dorset, UK on the 24th – 26th March 2017. It was the brainchild of Petra Cameron Wennberg and was organised by her company Metal Clay Ltd. When Petra first approached me in 2016 to see if I might be interested in teaching at it I jumped at the chance. There hadn’t been any kind of large metal clay gathering in the UK for quite a few years and we were long overdue one. Petra was quite clear. She wanted to organise an event, but to be sure they could make the pricing viable they were asking if the tutors would be prepared to give their time for free – of course I said yes, and so did everyone else! We certainly weren’t going to miss out on it. Continue reading…

“Can I make a living doing this?” by Jeannette Froese LeBlanc

A few months ago we ran a survey for our readers and there was a reoccurring question about whether one could make a living being a jewellery artist.  Some people asked specific questions wanting me to talk to a certain artist and find out what they made in sales vs how much they spent on materials.  Other readers were not as specific but there was an overall hope that there was some magic path to follow to full-time employment at a jewellery artist.

The answer to the question is, Yes, you can make a living as a jewellery designer.  But be careful how you define living!  Many people have a vision that a full time jewellery artist designs jewellery and people buy it.  But the path is more complicated than that.

Being self-employed is tricky as you wear many hats.  Artists have to be able to handle marketing, business accounting, sales, shipping and receiving, customer service, inventory control, as well as design and manufacturing of your jewellery. When your desire is to create, stopping to look after marketing and accounting seems like it is taking you away from what you love.  But it is those exact things that are keeping you working in your studio!

A jewellery artist needs to be able to self-promote on social media and have a web-site to show off their portfolios of work. Networking events are opportunities to meet new collectors and to show off your work. I personally find this part hard.  I’ve worked for years promoting other artists, but always fall short when showing and talking about my own work.

But, all that said, many artists ALSO have jobs outside of their studio.  Many work freelance jobs, taking on teaching and some have full-time employment. Most artists need to be good at budgeting as self-employed artists do not have pensions, medical plans or sick leave.

Another thing about being a self-employed artist–there is no time off.  It is hard to balance home life and work life.  I try to take advantage of blocks of time and get a task done from my to-do list. I keep a notebook and write down items as they come up. (I know there are fancy apps you can use on your phone.) I’m hoping I’m more productive by knocking off something from my to-do list here and therefore creating time off to be with my family.  But shutting off the list and being present is something I’m working on!

In conclusion, yes, you can make a living as a jewellery artist just don’t lose sight of making a life while you make a living.

Jeannette Froese LeBlanc is a studio artist living in rural Ontario.  She walks the fine line being making a life and making a living–trying to balance life as an artist and a mother.  Currently she is working on a new line of jewellery using metal clay and mixed media. To see more of her work please follow her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sassyandstella/