Monday, November 17, 2008

It's not just a hobby anymore...

Well, this summer just flew by. I can't believe it's almost Thanksgiving!

I feel like I learned a lot this summer. I decided to try my hand at the Farmers' Market and craft show venues in the area, and have to say, it was quite an education.

The first thing I learned: using a leftover bug tent from a bachelor party does not work when doing an outdoor farmers' market at a windy field. I spent most of my first day there in the blinding heat and the whipping wind holding on to the tent so that we did not end up in the middle of Kansas. We went out and bought a real tent, and the difference was amazing. It worked great. It is now, thankfully, in storage for the winter, because you can only put that damn thing up every weekend for so long without getting really sick of it.

The second thing I learned: there are lots and lots of wonderful craft show venues within a 45-minute drive of my town. There are even a few that are literally right down the road from me, but unfortunately, they all conflicted with other shows this year, so I did not have the opportunity to roll out of bed and roll down the road to a show. Maybe next summer.

I also learned that there IS a local market for my work. Granted, many of my customers were tourists from out of state or even from out of the country, but wow, it was great to meet so many people who loved my work! I sold pieces to people from Belgium, England, Australia, South Africa, Germany, France and Portugal, just to name a few. I was thrilled when a family from Belgium came to my booth and bought jewelry sets to take home with them as souvenirs from their trip to the Adirondacks.

So, now I am gearing up for my last two holiday shows of the season, and I had an experience two weeks ago that I am going to blog about in a separate post because it is going to be long and it is going to be one of those soap-box posts that I need time to prepare. I hope it makes you think.

I am also working to update my Etsy website and shop in hopes that I can continue to generate income from my work. It was a great feeling to be able to do that over the summer!

I am also working with the wonderful and talented people over at the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, the Northern Adirondack Trading Cooperative, and Stellar Marketing Solutions to give my business a complete makeover! It's a very exciting/terrifying/gratifying experience, and I think that this will be just what I need to be able to make this venture something sustainable over the long-term for me and my family.

So, now that I'm done with the boring stuff, on to the good stuff - the photos of my recent work!

I have started using a few new techniques with my fused glass. The first, and the one that I think I love the most, is using enamels to paint designs and scenes onto fused glass pendants. The design pictured here is white enamel fused to a red glass pendant, and is a traditional henna design. I found that henna designs translate very well to glass jewelry, and I am hoping to have a complete line of these designs available next year, including earrings and bracelets.

The other technique that I am using is including pieces of cut paper to make little scenes, like this underwater "fish tank". (I have always loved fish, and we always had a tank of them when I was a kid!) This involves cutting each little piece out of a piece of special, fusible paper that won't burn away when the glass is fused at 1550 degrees Fahrenheit. The pieces must be layered in between clear glass to prevent discoloration and to allow gasses to escape, so the piece is quite substantial. I think I have figured out a way to make them lighter and use less glass.

I've also been doing some beadweaving, and I'll have pictures of that work later on, too, but for now, I've got to go make some lunch for Colden and me!

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