at the markets today was talking to a glass bead maker. Bev Butler
who make the most beautiful beads and gives me the rejects that crack
in the firing process so I have a half bead to set in silver. The
colours are amazing green or blue with gold accents. Having worked
at Beadco I thought I had seen beads but this lady makes the best I
have seen. And I have seen the commercial trade's best Venice, Japan
Anyway the point is we were talking about Newbie and his piercing,
impressed by his dedication, patience and quality we were.Common
consensus was "I would not do that it would drive me crazy!" Also
there is an air of excitement when a newbie appears. More hand made
less imported rubbish.
He had a stall next to glass bead lady. We looked over and he was
piercing on his market bench. Back hunched bench pin too low. Went
straight over and said your bench pin needs raising or you will hurt
your back. His bench at home is the right height he told me but this
one was just made in haste. And he said he needs a cushion as his
chair is a bit hard on the bum.
Great to see a newbie learning from their own experience and happy
to take advice.
He can't believe how supportive we are of him and how we give him
advice for free.
Also we got him into a big craft market into a prime position in
that market. A market that is full to "the take it out of the bag
and sell it" people.
He is excited by his sales, they are small but we will fix that for
So this newbie has had two glass workers a silversmith and a
milliner give him their support also other hand makers, card makers,
bead workers and candle smiths.
As far as the jewellery trade goes he knows very little as far as
markets goes he knows little. But we will fix that for him. Why?
Because he makes his jewellery, does not pull it out of a packet.
So newbies out there if you are just starting out and you hand make
your product you will find, in Australia at least, many wishing you
the best and giving you the best advice we can.
Also he is doing his own thing not trying to copy others, if he was
trying to copy he would get NO advice as he would be just another
rip off hack worker. Be original, work hard and the hand makers of
the craft world will help you all they can.
It is a joy to help a newbie and to see the response, this guy just
did not expect the support he got.
Of course told him to join Orchid.
Beautiful Autumn weather and a great day on so many levels. And hey
the tourists are back so sold a lot.
Now is this the true spirit of Orchid or what? Furthering the craft
and asking nothing in return.
Personally I feel so proud to be able to enter some one into our
world. This guy will be seriously good in a few years and has what it
takes to get there. He already makes good stuff and has only being
doing it since last Xmas. But we want him to be great and so does he.
In the USA it can happen too at the oddest times. My true love is
carving cameos by hand. I had an improvised dop stick and was at a
cat show. Yes, I show cats point is there are long hours of waiting
perfect for me to draw or carve. I was intently working, but I
noticed someone in close looking over my shoulder for a long time
and looked up an older gentlemen was standing there with a huge
smile on his face. He patted my shoulder and said good job. I am a
retired jeweler and that is very good you keep at it and just like
that he wandered off. It is the best compliment I have ever received
and I will remember it always. Once my studio is rebuilt I intend to
keep at it and keep improving.
Richard, I got your welcoming email, actually to all the newbies. It
seemas I am one of them. I only joins the Orchid, in a need to get
advice when I am really stuck with something where books do not
I have a goldsmithing shop, I have set it up on the barn, a separate
building on our property. I love my shop, it has everything what I
want. I am fabricating sterling silver(mainly) and gold jewellery. I
use my own design, my inspiration is nature with all it's
fascinating beauty, and modern streamline.
I buy the sterling silver in sheet or wire, but with the rolling
mill and draw plate I customize as my designs is requiring.
I incorporate semi precious or precious stones, but I have lots of
pieces ofsilver only.
For the last year I was working on my inventory, but this year I
have applied for some juried shows, and I got accepted. Very
exiting, but now I have the jitters about customer acceptance, and
The funny thing is that I know I have to sale, but each piece is
like my baby, hard to let it go. A big conundrum for me.
Nice to talk to you, Monica
Richard, this is great! I know I have received incredible support
so fortunate to meet the most talented and giving people. Orchid is
an extenuation of that experience. I am honored to be a part of this
beautiful industry with such beautiful spirits. (Yes, I know they are
not all beautiful spirits, but I choose to focus on the ones who are
and ignore the others.)
What I like so much about your posts, is that you tell it like it is.
Your latest is a fine snapshot of a day in your life down under, as
im in the UK and wish i was nearer you.
youve earned a beer on me for every post so far. so please keep them
In a previous post you outlined the girls who were making copper
bracelets from flattened tube.
how are they getting on? as one seemed to have a natural talent for
now theres a whole range of products than can be made this way
without any soldering, ie wrought, and If your interested id be happy
to contribute to their expertise with details in writing to you.
for example, if you can find in your local scrap yard some copper
transformer wire, the heavy stuff ie 1/2in wide by 1/8 to 3/16th in
thick, this, when annealed is good stuff for the following.
As you normally do, cut to length, anneal drop in old battery acid
to pickle, then clean up, for the girls and get them to bend round as
they have done before.
Ie a heavier weight than the thin copper tube ones, and a step in
the right direction. The other copper size is lightnig conductor,
that 1in wide by 1/8 in thick, also very good for bracelets.
now the interesting bit and the next step, See if you can find say 10
off 4 to 6 in long small cold chisels or center punches. anneal the
get your girls to file the ends down a bit, then with a small
hacksaw, needle files drill bit cut into the chisel end for example a
star, or moon or sun or zig zag, a water sign, let them experiment.
Youll need to harden and temper them when done.
Then, get them to hammer the designs into the copper strip, making
up a pictogram? Now, ive made some 50 punches like this and decorate
metal to suit the customer while they wait!!.
Then when the girls are good at it let them have a go on some silver
as a special treat.
Let us know what you think.
This is a beautiful story. Looking through the eyes of a creative
newbie andremembering how that felt is a gift.
the newbie I was writing about was coin cutting and piercing spoons.
Coin cutting is very good practise for accuracy and patience. I used
to coin cut but not for me. There is a lot of confusion at to the
legalities of coin cutting. One reason I stopped, the coin I like to
cut the most was legal tender, oops. Not Australian
I also cut kangaroos out of pennies as did my engineer father when
in the middle east in the RAF in WWII but there are only so many of
them you can do in one life. If I was to get back into it I would
take a mold/mould of the legal tender coins and cast red resin into
it and cut the resin casting as no coin would have been destroyed.
Then send it to the casters. Actually I should do that with the
kangaroos the tourists would love a silver kangaroo. And can cut the
penny as they are not legal tender. I like the newbies sense of
humour as he leaves a bit of "extra metal" on some Kangaroos so he
has a male and female. I know a master engraver who adds something
"extra" to male animals on coats of arms.
Someone asked about doming before piercing. Try a spoon and you have
a handle to hold. Also pierce 2 handles and you have earrings. I would
use stainless steel spoons, not expensive and polish up really well
with stainless steel polish.
All the best
Great story from a great giver. We receive much more when we give
freely of our hearts and souls and sharingour jewelry advice is from
our hearts and souls. It fills us with joy and happiness and refuels
us to make more so we can share. Thanks for your posts.
Dear Monica: I feel the same way, then realized that I make each
piece for a specific person, it is only a matter of time before that
person arrives. Many times the night before a big bazaar I will have
an inspiration for a really great necklace or bracelet, and sure as
the inspiration, that is the first piece sold. This only confirms my
theory. I come to Orchid before I go any place else. There is so much
inspiration in the individual stories, the tried and true artists who
have stood the test of time, and the interesting threads that come
out. On my own I wander about from project to project (I am
hyperactive). Orchid keeps my Smithing desires in the forefront.
Blessings pat In Alaska where it is a brilliant spring day, the swans
have arrived on the lake, the bears are out and the eagles are
fishing beside the lake ice where smart fish go before the lake ice
drops. Makes me glad to be alive.
Monica It's hard for me to sell my work. After 30 years in the
jewelry/metals field, you think I would have toughen up, but no, my
work is too personal. I find I have to have booth assistants to
interact with the customers, do the talking up. I'm fine answering
technical questions and doing ring sizing. I'm also deaf, so it is
hard for me to put myself out there and sell. I have to look at this
as a paycheck, no matter how much I love my work, once it leaves, I
don't want to see it again. Teaching, on the other hand, is easy.
Get me in front of a group of people, and I'll open my month and sell
you the technique and how to do a particular skill. I have not been
able to switch over from teaching mode to selling mode. Selling is
very different, and you have to have passion for the product, why
someone must buy this, so forth. Good luck andhope you do well. Joy
Ive read you post several times and find that your skills and ways
of making are so similar to mine.
However I use these in a different way, like you could, if you wernt
so far away, I love to have you on my booth and show you how you
could make that small step to success.
all you need is an example! to follow.
Take just one thing, being personal, is what the public really
appreciate, all you have to be is yourself, as your work will always
speak for itself. Like all skills you do need to practice regulary!!
youll get better with regular practice as to not seeing your work
again, I dont understand that, as I love to see my work after 1 5 10
and 20. yrs!!, I recognise it anywhere even if the person who bought
it has changed beyond my memory.
And selling is not as you describe, ie talking up the customers is
not the way to go. Just interact with them, and describe how you
thought of the design and how long it took to turn into the item etc.
If you love making things it will show in every thing you do and say.
that is what will sells the item. Now any pushing or talking up.
In a few words its not selling at all, its helping the customer to
So after 46 yrs ive not found any better way to market my work.
Ive always worked on the personal level, one to one with the
They have my undevided attention.
People ask me, "where is your jewelry?" It's a personal indulgence to
take the time to make things for myself. Sometimes when I teach, I
feel that I am making all the time, helping students to solder a
bezel or make a cool mark in a band ring. I think for me, this is
part of the passion of metalsmithing that I love so much in watching
a newbie come into their own, and having the courage to make a
mistake and recover.
I don't know why I feel so awkward about selling. When it is friends
and long-time customers that come visit me in my booth, I'm fine
chattingwith them and catching up on each other, and showing off new
work. When it comes to people I am not familiar with, who come
browsing, I just feel so awkward, saying hello and welcome to my
booth. I try to keep busy so that I'm not hovering over the
customer, and give customer space tolook. I need to be busy, and
that is what is good about teaching - youare always in need. With
retail, there's long stretches of inactivity, and you are trying to
make a sell, and try as hard as I can, I tend toget tired and
crabby, I cannot tell you how many times my mom has thrown me out of
my booth and tell me to take a walk. I've attended seminars on
selling, effective booth displays, so forth. I guess I don't have
the mentality or patience or the timing of a good sale person. I
know I'm not a great saleperson, but I know better than to sit in
some darkcorner, pecking away at phone. I usually knit wire while in
my booth and it does draw people in, asking what I am doing. I hope
one of these days I'll have a change of attitude and learn to not be
shy about selling. Teaching is easy compared to selling. I'm not
whining, I'm just stating how awkward retail is for me. It's the
same for a lot of artists. Some are just better at selling than
others. It's taken a long time for my shy personality to become
outgoing, and a lot of that was from my cochlear implants, for I
finally could hear more "normally". You did not want to be around me
in the mid 90's when I was so crabby and angry asmy hearing
deteriorated from years of pounding metal. Joy
Joy- Selling is hard work. It's like going on a first date with a
I'm very social and good at flirting so it's easier for me. Selling
is a bit like seduction. Ya gotta "romance the sale".
If you are not comfortable selling hire someone who is so that you
can make enough money to keep making more things and support
Hearing loss is endemic in our trade, just like neck, eyesight, and
hand problems. It gets harder to sell when you can't hear well. I'm
severely deaf and wear hearing aids. Even with them in I still need
to read lips a bit. I got more antisocial and depressed when my loss
progressed. Once I got the hearing aids I had to re-fine tune my
social skills. What a blessing to be able to "hear" again.
By the way Costco has the very best prices on hearing aids. Real
audiologists and the device prices are 1/3rd the cost of going to a
hearing aid store or clinic.
Have fun and make and sell lots of jewelry.
Thank you for the kind words, I really appreciate. What I would like
to add is about jumpiness is that when I am working on onepiece
another idea comes(alway great idea) and then I put down the half
orthree quoter finished piece and start the next one. In this way I
always have half a dozen projects on the go. Sometimes the Gods of
creativity are notwith me, and then I go back and finish the
unfinished pieces. Is all fun, but I would like more hours in the
Hello Joy, this will be my first year that I am going to participate
in juried jewellery shows. The pieces what I sold up to now are not
many, as I was not really advertising. I always said that I have to
build up inventory. Now Ihave inventory, I have to sell. Will be
difficult to part with some pieces. This year will be a learning year
for me, learning how to do shows. If you have any idea about this
matter I would greatly appreciate it.
I can't teach, I have 0 patience with people and I have an accent.
Not very strong, but nevertheless it is there. Monica
Hi Jo Haemer
If Selling is someones forte', then use their services, stay away if
you must. I create & keep my distance in selling. I let my
sales-manager use his experience with his team. I just never 'cross
that line' at his desk.
Moral of this is; "I don't tell him where to sell, & he doesn't tell
me what to create!" plain & simple. Once 'you' understand this rule,
everyone will be much happier & relaxed.
People ask me, "where is your jewelry?"
me too. But how weird is this? I can't stand wearing jewellery I
just find it annoying. I still make things for my self but always end
up selling them. However the kids I teach all wear what they make or
give it away to relatives/friends.
I don't know why I feel so awkward about selling.
I used to feel that way. But friend started bringing mulled wine to
the market that got things going. Not always well.
But I found that training as a school teacher was what let me talk
to people. When you have 30 little darlings to deal with you learn to
I say to the lookers to try it on if you like. And then tell them
how it was made and what the stone is.
No selling just Let them make the choice. I let the
jewellery sell itself.
One sales trick I have is a JCR ionic cleaner, I clean the customers
ring etc. for free while they look at the stock.
They may not buy but the remember my stall.
all the best
Monica - Having an accent is a huge asset. You are officially
Feature it. It will make people remember you and your work. Anytime
you have something you can't fix, feature it - whether it's your
accent, or you are very tall, or whatever - it is something special.
Selling is fun. You get to make more stuff!!