Stitches: A Fiber Show

22 02 2011

I think of my jewelry as falling into the “metal arts” category – silver, copper, hammers, and torches – yep, that’s metal arts! I sometimes use beads and gemstones, but most of the time, they are the accents, not the focus.

I have 2 major exceptions to this, which I call my “soft” side – my bead crochet, which uses seed beads, and my kumihimo, which uses colored cords and fibers. And this past weekend, I indulged a bit in my soft side, and I attended Stitches.

Stitches is a convention of all things fiber: spinning, knitting, weaving, crocheting – it is a huge meeting of the soft and fluffy yarns, the new wool blends, the natural fibers, and the hand-dyed… it is the opposite of a bead show, where all the materials are stone and glass and gems.

Aisles at Stitches (click photo for close-up)

Look at all the vivid colors – what you can’t see is the textures and the different yarns – the silks, the wools, the cashmeres, the soys, the cottons – absolutely wonderful to take in. I really love the weaving – it looks like something I could get into in the future, although I don’t know what I’d do with the fabric once woven! There were also gorgeous sweaters, jackets, socks, and blankets – available in patterns and kits… if only I was fiber-friendly!

Marion Jewels in Fiber Booth (click photo for close-up)

I spent one day roaming the floor, and checking out the goods… I bought some great ribbon style yarn, which I’m using for some kumihimo projects (I’ll do that in a later post), and I spent a day doing demo’s at a friends booth – Marion Jewels in Fiber. Marion has a great online store, where she carries an extraodinary selection of silk threads, as well as the full line of C-Lon cording. Also, she sells kumihimo kits, micro-macrame materials, tools, and my StudioDax Bead Crochet Jig.

My StudioDax Bead Crochet Jig - Demo Kit

After doing demos for a year or so now, I’ve pretty much got it down – my demo kit includes a couple of projects in different stages: the multi-purple bracelet is almost done (see the cords threaded thru the endcaps and focal bead), the solid green size 8 beads, and the 3 color spiral size 6 beads (peach, white, and bronze) are bracelets in progress, and the solid black teardrop beads that are still on the jig. The other pieces show how to remove the jig from the crochet rope (the multi-color stripes on the jig), as well as some examples of using the jig to make ropes with smaller delicas and size 11 beads. And I always have a sample of what it looks like to start a bead rope without the jig – you can see it on the right in the photo, below the awl – it looks a little like a knot of beads!

I appreciate all my customers that buy from my StudioDax shop , and I love when they leave me feedback letting me know how much they enjoy using the jig, but it’s great fun doing demos to show how easy it is to use, and having people buy the jig on the spot… instant gratification!!

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First Show of the Season

13 11 2010

Please excuse this blog interruption for a brief advertising announcement!

I love meeting people and talking about my work and my teaching – the best place to do that is at shows, because part of the reason people come to shows is to meet the artist/artisan. On the other hand…. I absolutely HATE setting up and tearing down the booth, so I only do a few shows every year. Tomorrow, I’m doing a new show that is only a few miles from my house – I hope to introduce my classes to some potential new students, and make a few sales too!

Holiday Boutique - Sunday 11/14/10

If you’re local, I’d love for you to stop by and say hi!! Since I have now pulled all my consignment from shops, I’ll have quite a full stock of items out!





Everything Changes the Same…

31 08 2010

Well…. I’ve been really busy, and I feel great guilt at not posting all week. So I’m just gonna write a bit about a few things that have kept me from posting!

First, I found out that one of my two favorite bead shops is closing. I really love Beaded Bliss (in Danville, CA) – the owner is just wonderful, and has a great knowledge of beads and the beading business… it’s terribly sad that after 19 years in 2 different locations, she just has to let it go. This shop is 45+ miles from me, but I enjoy the customers and staff so much, that I have made the trip to teach classes for the past year. So I’ve got a few more classes before she closes… please come by if you are in the area.

A Last New Class...

My students have been asking me to create a Viking Knit project that has a “touch of Randi” in it, so I had to come up with an appropriate piece that also used some heavier wire. I love the result, and I really hope that my regulars are happy with this bracelet!!

I’ve also been getting prepared for my Hooked On Wire (HOW) class – I’ve just been told that the evening classes are open to folks even if they don’t sign up for the HOW retreat – I’m thrilled! HOW is Sept 10-12, and my “FANtastic Pendant” class will be the evening of the 10th.

Formed and Folded, Fan Pendant w/Crysta

This is a quick class – just 2 hours, and I’ll be showing some of the other fun things you can create with a microbrake/corrugating tool… I look forward to seeing my regulars, and hope to see some new faces too!

Then I participated in a small Boutique show, which was a real flop for me. I ignored all the rules… the entry was low, the table was being provided (I hate to lug the tables!), and the person putting on the show was very personable, so I just figured I’d do it and hope for the best!  The show was promoted as a Boutique and Rummage Sale, and the audience was definitely leaning toward the Rummage Sale end! I sold a few items, but I like to think that my time is worth more than $5 hour!

Although my teaching calendar is now scheduled, I’m still working up my handouts for new classes…. one of the new classes I created for The Beading Frenzy (in San Mateo) is a great donut project:

A Pearl, A Donut and Some Wire went to a bar....

I’ve seen photos of some similar projects, but I figured out the mechanics of it on my own, and tried to give it my own style a bit. I’ve got a few variations that I’m working on to incorporate a center bead, but I really like how this one came out, and hope it’s a hit with students too.

And lastly, I’ve been working on adding some tools to my Etsy Shop – I’ve had the Bad Crochet Starter Jig since the beginning, but have decided to add some items that I can offer, that have some value over what is already available.

"Kumi what?

I loooove kumihimo – it is a style of Japanese braiding using a disk. I wrote up a tutorial, which incorporates all kinds of extra techniques not readily available when you buy the disk. I send it out as a pdf via email to my customers, so now they can get everything they need to get started, all in one place.

It’s a busy time of the year…. and it’s only going to get busier with all the holidays coming up!





It Seemed Like A Good Idea When I Bought It!

21 07 2010

I love interacting with customers, so you’d think that craft shows would be a great venue for me. But as much as I enjoy talking with people at the shows, I discovered that I really hate the process of setting up and tearing down a booth space, so I do very few of them. But I am always on the prowl for different displays that could work.

A few years back I found a great one from a store that was going out of business – I think it was originally used to display watches. It has locking doors, it turns, it holds alot of jewelry, and it looks good.

My Original Display Case

So here’s the display, loaded up with some of my earrings … looks good, right? But in my narrow minded focus, I sorta forgot a few things – like it is HEAVY. Not a little heavy, but real HEAVY. And BIG – not just tall, but wide too. And AWKWARD – the turntable on the bottom has to be taped down before you try to lift it, of it will swing around. And did I mention HEAVY?

I don’t know what I was thinking… this is NOT a good display case for craft shows! I can barely get it in/out of my car. And it takes up alot of space on the table. And when the show is done, and I gotta lift it back into the car, I am tempted to just leave it at the curb, anything so I don’t have to lift it (did I say it’s it HEAVY!?). I’ve since bought a couple of lightweight earring displays, and decided it’s time to sell this big boy on Craigs List…

But really… I thought it was a good idea when I bought it!





Looking Good

1 07 2010

First impressions count. No matter what you sell, the way you package it up is an extension of how your customers see you. Many folks who sell handmade items tend to a little overboard, but that’s not needed –  the wrapping doesn’t need to be expensive, but it should compliment your items and reflect your style.

"Old" Earring Cards

When I first started selling jewelry a few years ago, I liked how my pieces looked on parchment – a classic look, that showed sophistication (I used to put them in coordinated beige organza bags). When I look at the parchment now, it seems very dated, and doesn’t reflect the uniqueness of my jewelry.

Current Packaging

What a difference a little change makes! My jewelry now looks so much more current using vivid colors, and it really pops! At shows it is very visible – people are attracted to the brightness, and come over to take a look. I still use the same style cards and tags, and I still print them myself  (NOTE: my business changed to “StudioDax”), but making this simple change in color totally transforms how they are seen by customers.

Don’t be afraid to change it up every once in a while! Even if you have a strong brand, you can add a small change or a new accent to shake things up and keep your look current.





DIY at Maker Faire

23 05 2010

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon at Maker Faire (see my post last week), a DIY event, focusing on the “build it yourself” mind set, with an eco-friendly emphasis. I was a volunteer at the Metal Art Association of Silicon Valley (MAASV) table – we were there to let folks know what the MAASV was about, and to offer up a simple “make and take” project.

Make & Take Project

Our project was an easy charm/pendant – we provided copper discs and some simple tools, and showed folks how to add texture to metal. It was best a fun kids project, but quite a few adults took the time to make one up too.

Being a “crafty maker” I was interested in all the crafty DIY and vendors – there were informal demos on felting, sewing, knitting, paper crafts, glass bead making, etc. Here’s a few of the crafty vendors I liked:

Sugar Skulls Rock!

Isn’t this adorable? Cute kids and “Day of the Dead” – what a great combo! My favorite items though from the Frogs & Chicks table… the “iPee” caps and “iPoo” onsies!

Knit Geek Pets!

I also liked the “knit geekery” – these knit pets by MisterFunky are perfect for folks who can’t remember to feed or walk the real thing!

Not Your Kids Scooter!

The techno geekery was really amazing – handmade vehicles, rockets, steampunk, musical instruments, electronics projects with lights and sound, and a lot more – something for all, no matter how big (or small) a geek

There were alot of demos and activities for both adults and kids that really give you some different ways of looking at things… if a Maker Fair comes to your neighborhood, I suggest you go and enjoy the day!





It’s Showtime!

12 05 2010

The days are getting longer, the temperature is rising, and the flowers are starting to bloom. We all know what that means – it’s showtime! Noooooo – not the circus, and not the theater, but the summer craft show circuit. I love being outside, and interacting with customers, and I thought it was time for a quick review of what we call “THE CHECKLIST” – the what you absolutely positively, must bring with you when you do craft shows… (NOTE: click on the list to enlarge, then print):

These are the things that anyone doing a craft show should remember, regardless of what they craft. And… if you are a jewelry kinda person like me, than you’ll want to remember a couple of extra items, just to make sure that you’ve got everything covered:


I hope that you find these useful as you start planning your summer craft show schedule. There are plenty of lists all over online, so if these don’t work for you, just do a quick google and I’m sure you’ll find something else.And if I missed something critical – please let me know!