Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Why the #10 means so much to me.

This is a bit of a stressful time of year for me.  I have not participated in an arts and crafts show since mid December which means I have been monetarily running on fumes for the last few weeks.  In this "slow time" of year I have been honing my skills as a jewelry artist, learning new skills, creating MANY new products and applying to what feels like a billion craft shows for this year.

The acceptance letters for art shows have been rolling in slowly. I have applied to over 25 craft shows and so far have been accepted into 10 of them.  That might not seem like a lot, but to me it is a cause for a major celebration!!

See, with that 10th show I have crossed the line from worrying about being able to live off of my art, to knowing that I will able to make it through another year self employed.  I might be living meagerly, but there is nothing as priceless as being your own boss. And with each new acceptance (that I will hopefully receive) the living will get a little easier. 

So I just wanted to thank the Art Show Acceptance Gods for bestowing on me another year of being able to live my dream.  THANK YOU!! 

and now i can breathe....

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Truth Behind The Booth

I decided to write this blog post because of the fact that before I became a full time artist, I never put any thought into what it takes to BE a full time artist.  All I saw was rows of white tents on a grassy lawn filled with beautiful wears and what-nots, which turns out to be the finished product of a LOT of hard work.

As I write this, I am actually taking a break from hours worth of filling out art show applications. I say applications, but what I really mean is application, singular...I have been filling out a grueling application for a show on Ohio for the last 3 hours. 

A picture of me working with a picture of me working

This is just a glimpse of the kind of work that goes on behind the scenes of that lovely summer weekend stroll through the art show. This is the 25th application I've filled out since the new year. 

My hope now, is that I am actually accepted into at least HALF of the shows I apply for. (Oh, and did I mention that most shows charges anywhere from a $5-$50 application fee. No, this is not the booth fee, those run from $65-$500 for a 10x10 spot, this it the fee charged by the show for the honor of just getting your application in front of the jury!) 

Actual denial for Park Ave fest 2012. In 2013 it was one of my best shows! 

Now hopefully I do get accepted into enough shows to support myself for the year. But that's not where the anxiety ends. Next its all about LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION.  

It's rarely a good thing to be put in on the pointing side of a sign like this. Not only that, but being a newbie to a show, occasionally you get placed in a dark corner down a hall past the troll guarded bridge. Its a wonderful thing to get accepted to a show and even BETTER when you get a decent booth spot but the end factor that affects everyone is glorious Mother Nature. 

A windy day or rain storm can ruin even your best show.  I have had the experience of making TWICE as much on a sunny weekend in the same booth location as the year before when it was a rainy mess. (and don't even get me started on damage to goods and equipment from things being knocked over in the wind and soaked by the rain) 

My first year, first day vending All Good Music Fest, 2012
And when the stars align, and you get the perfect trifecta of acceptance into a show, decent booth location AND perfect weather, there is NOTHING more exhilarating or fun in the world than to be slingin' the wears that you made with love and chatting it up with the folks that came to be a part of the experience. 

My friend Krystal's booth, today. She took a leap of faith
and traveled to sunny Florida to vend over the winter. Looks
like she gambled well! 

Moral of the story is that for me, even though today 
It is SOOOOOOoooooo worth all of the time and frustration spent filling out those applications for the opportunity to make a living off of the thing I love doing the most.  I actually feel so blessed to be where I am today and thankful for all of the hardships that I have learned from to get me to this moment.  

Do you have any questions about what goes on behind the scenes of a craft show? Comment below and I would be happy to answer them for you! 

Are you are an artist or self employed?  I would love to hear your biggest pet peeves and your favorite parts about being your own boss and doing what you love. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Waste Not Want Not

I am so proud to announce a new line of jewelry to my repertoire. Watch bezel watercolor pendants! 

The inspiration for these pieces comes from my longtime admiration for watercolor paintings. 
A few years back, at an arts and crafts show, I was placed next to the most talented watercolor artist in Rochester (IMHO), Kate Cragg. I just could not leave without this painting, and now framed, it hangs above the couch in my living room.

See her other stunning work here:

So after years of admiring watercolor, I decided to take a class during my "slow season" and create some art of my own. 

Here are a few examples of my watercolor beginnings: 

Week 5 

Week 3

As I am learning watercolor, I am also still working on new jewelry for the coming art show year.  I have been collecting used watches and refurbishing them to use with my new Leather cuffs. 

Click here for more leather cuff options

Some watches I have harvested, were beyond repair and went into the "what the heck should I do with this" pile. then one day as I was painting, the idea for these necklaces just popped into my brain. I have to say, I am LOVING the process and the little paintings just keep getting better and better. 

This one is my absolute FAVORITE so far...

Right now they are only being offered through my Facebook fanpage.  As I post new ones, I am offering FREE SHIPPING for the first five days after the post.  I just ask that you e-mail or message me with any purchase inquiries that you may have. 

Here are a few more of the little beauties that I have made over the last few weeks: 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Just a little bit further than I've gone before

I love following fellow artist's on Facebook, especially this time of year when so many fresh ideas are blossoming.

Recently, my friend Justin (ILL Jewelry) has really stepped it up a notch going from his beautiful wire wrapped gems to his new bezeled and soldered silver jewelry. It's pretty amazing. 

I can see that the love for what he does, pushed him to a whole new level and it gave me inspiration to do the same. I decided to take on a challenge of my own. I wanted to create an intricate cut out spoon piece that would be the piece de resistance of my collection. So here is it's progression: 

First I flattened the spoon, then the fun begins

see how tiny the blade is?

really starting to take shape now! 

you can see all of my relief holes. I thread one end of the
 blade in then reattach it to the frame and begin cutting

Time for the tumbler. The tumbler is a machine that
 will smooth all of the angry little burrs (it will also
shine the piece up really nicely) 


giving 75 year old spoons a new life since 2008

What a beautiful statement piece

This was a one-of-a-kind, one-off statement piece created in tribute to a pattern I found in an old book. This was more work than I have EVER put into a pendant. If you would like to own this special piece, it will be available for a short time on my web site. Clicking here to take you to the item in my shop. It comes with a 24 inch silver plated chain with a lobster clasp closure. I am also offering FREE SHIPPING on this piece for the short time it will be available online. 

Thank you for coming along with me on my journey to push myself through the limits of my expertise. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Tutorial: Pine Cone and Acorn adornment

How cute are these?!

And with this easy peasy tutorial, you can make a collection of your own little adornments. These can be hung up anywhere in the house to add a little whimsy, or decorate next year's Christmas tree with handmade charm.

What you need:

Pine cones
Thread or string
Sewing needle
Drill with small bit
Acrylic paints and paintbrush
Elmers type glue
E-6000 glue

Pick a beautiful sunny autumnish day and take a walk outside. Keep an eye out for acorns with their tops and any pine cones. Its OK if the pine cones are closed, we will open them later...

After your nice stroll, empty your pocket full of gritty treasures into a colander and rinse that dirt off. Then set  the oven for 200 and place your haul on a cookie sheet and "bake" until the pine cones open. (careful to not burn them!) This should not take more than 15 min.

Detach the top of an acorn and paint the nut any color you like. I use acrylic paints. 

While that's drying, Drill two small holes through the top of the acorn "hat" 

one more to go...

Now thread your needle with whatever string or floss you want to use. Note: make sure that the hole you just drilled is big enough for the fiber and needle to fit through. 

Tie a knot at the end of your string and feed it through the first hole until it stops at the knot.  Tie another knot in the middle of the string leaving enough play to hang your decoration then cut the string. 

Fill the cavety of your acorn top halfway with E-6000 glue and place it back on your painted acorn. Let it sit for a few hours to harden. 

I used this clamp as a platform so that the acorn had a place to sit upright. 

Once sturdy, I sealed the paint with some Elmer's type glue.

 Don't forget to wash out your gluey brush before it dries! 

Once dried, you are ready to hang your acorn anywhere! 

Oh wait!! You thought I forgot about the pine cone, didn't you! I saved the easiest for last. 

Just paint the tips of your acorn any combination of your favorite colors. Then drill a hole in two of the top tips. (not the tippy top tip though)  and repeat the same string and needle steps as the acorns....voila! 

Where will your baubles find their new home? 

Don't have the time to make these on your own?  No problem! You can buy them here on my web site: for just $3 each! 

Are you working on any fun projects to get over the winter blahs? Please feel free to share them here! 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

NYE: an intimate evening spent with 17,000 of my closest friends.

You would think that after one hell of a crazy vending year, I'd want to have a mellow New Year's eve and reflect on months gone by.  um, NO THANKS! This year went out with a BANG!

Craig and I headed down to the city the never sleeps for a wild 4 day ride. It just so happened that one of our favorite bands was scheduled to play four sold out shows at Madison Square Garden on the days leading up to New Years. This being the bands 30th anniversary, we knew it was going to be special.

We ate 99 cent pizza slices while walking Times Square after midnight,  Hung out with friends from all over the country (Phish brings us all to one place a few times a year), had some fine dining (and not so fine dining) experiences, checked out the ice rink and Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center and went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (which was a total THRILL for me!) Each night ending up at MSG dancing to some fine, fine music. 

a bit chilly after the show at MSG, especially if someone
accidentally spills beer all over the arm of your hoodie.

Vegan seitan yummyness. One of
the best meals all week! 

the ice rink is A LOT smaller than what it looks like
on TV.  Grand Central Station too, for that matter.

30 Rock looking beautiful in the winter fog

You literally need at LEAST 5 visits at 8 hours
each to see all the the Met has to offer

prettiest spoon at the Met. You know I was in love...

Yes, this happened

3...2...1...Happy New Year! 

Now as I sit here on this quiet winter eve, I finally get to reflect on months gone by. I am so very grateful for all of you that have propelled me through this whirlwind of a year. I am thankful to all of the friends and family who have supported my dream and for Craig who always dealt with my moments of stress with nothing but love, kindness and a helping hand.

I would love to know what your New Years Eve was like.  Did you stay in and watch the ball drop? Party till the wee hours? Fall asleep early? 

What big things are you planning in the year to come? 

Here at Sunshyne Silverwear the creative juices are flowing and inspiration is seeping in from everywhere. I have lots of new ideas ready to be born, so stay tuned....

Feel free to comment below.