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Thursday, June 23, 2011


The new Reef pieces are now in my etsy shop!  Yay!

Annnnnnnnnd... I just found out that I got accepted to have a booth at the Watermelon Festival here in Richmond in August.  Oh my, slight bit of panic there since I had applied back in April and still hadn't heard anything (and technically I still haven't - I just saw that my check had been cashed so I emailed the people and they said nothing had been sent out yet, but yes, if my check went through then I was in) and I had assumed that it was a no-go.  Way to go with that, guys.  She also said it was a new system they were trying this year, and it had some major kinks, so hopefully I can chalk it up to that and hope that the whole thing isn't a disorganized mess.  A friend did tell me, after I had applied for this by the way, that she would highly recommend doing only juried shows, which I will probably agree with.  But as my first outdoor festival, I'll be happy if I make the booth fee and setups costs back.  So here we go.  I have so much to do, and I'm a little overwhelmed right now.  But I will get on a schedule and make it happ'n cap'n! 

I found some info about setting up for festivals which I will share right here:

So let me know if you have any suggestions or resources.  And I will share what I learn in this whole process.  I'm sure it will be crazy.  But hopefully in a good way.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Sneak Peek

Here's just a li'l sneak peek at something I've got going on - new coral reef inspired enamel jewelry!  Stay tuned for more to come!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Seattle, Just for Fun

I'm always inspired by shapes and colors and things I see around me, so when I'm in a new or interesting place, I generally have my camera in tow.  Now that I've finally gotten most of the business stuff from the SNAG Conference out of the way, I just wanted to post a few fun photos that I took while I was in Seattle.

Seattle in a very cool city with a lot of great things to look at.  I did spend a lot of time at the conference, but I stayed at the home of my friends Ben and Annie (Annie, unfortunately, was out of town that weekend.)  But Ben took me around and showed me some great Seattle sites I might not have seen otherwise.  Thanks, dude!

Here are a few from Pike Place Market (the market of fish-tossing fame).  I was digging the colors inside:


This was in a neat artsy section of town called Ballard:

Love the troll under the bridge!  That is a real VW Bug he's crushing.

This was a lovely rocky beach called Golden Gardens Beach right on the Puget Sound:

And of course, I had to get in a couple Space Needle shots:

All in all, a pretty fine trip!  It's great to be around so many talented people in such a beautiful, inspiring city!

SNAG Conference (Part 3) - Photography Tips & Tricks

As promised (though a mite delayed), here are some photography tips and tricks I gathered at the Professional Development Seminar at the SNAG conference in Seattle this year.  There were several great speakers, so to properly give credit to everyone, I will divide the info into sections by speaker.

Doug Yaple - Photographer
- when doing product photography for art, the artwork itself drives the decision on how to represent the work. (i.e. if you have natural organic inspired work, you may want to photograph it in that sort of setting, displayed on dirt or stones, or hang a necklace over a branch, etc. - this applies to advertising, not photographing work for exhibitions, etc.)
- it is critical to position the work so that it tells the story.  (highlight the most important aspect of the work)
- bring out important textures
- background is very important to showcase the piece
   - it must highlight the piece but not distract from it
   - body forms can work to display jewelry and wearable art
   - creating shadows can emphasize certain elements
- take several shots and explore from different angles (you might be surprised what looks good in a photo vs. what looks normal in person)
- don't overlook getting in tight to access something critical.  (details are great!)

Christopher Conrad - Product Photographer
- work with good light - natural is the best
   - a room with large picture windows is perfect
   - do not mix different kinds of light
   - no flourescent or incandescent lights
- build a softbox for direct light (frame with pvc, cover with thin vellum or ripstop nylon
- always use a tripod
   - this allows for slower shutter speeds and/or smaller apertures (smaller apertures = greater depth of field)
- don't use a high ISO - lower ISO's reduce "noise"
- be optically square to flat geometric objects
- don't fill the frame, crop images later
- for knockouts (isolating images), adding a drop shadow in photoshop adds a ground to the object and eliminates the "floating" look.

Roger Schreiber - Comtemporary Craft Photographer
- ask yourself, "who is your audience?"  this will indicate how you should photograph your work
   - everything that falls within the frame has an effect on the viewer
   - for advertising, use energy in the background
   - for juries, isolate the image
- when you're setting up for photographing work, make sure to allow yourself enough time
   - think about models if you're using them - clothing, hair, make-up
   - make a list of everything you need, props, etc
- think about the photograph even while you're making the piece (if you start the thought process early, you will think about what are the best angles and details, etc. that you want to include in your shots)

Suzanne Ramljak - Editor of Metalsmith Magazine
- make sure you have a shot that establishes your work for what it is
- acknowledge our media-saturated culture - you're in competition with all the other images out there
- remember that reprouctions on the web are never perfect and will look different than the original
   - you have to just accept that and put your best image out there

Marthe Le Van - Editor for Lark Books
- the body is the best surface for photographing jewelry
   - indicates scale and drape
   - gives life to the work - makes it dynamic and dramatic
- traditional American Craft photography has used a gradated background with careful lighting, but now a white background is becoming more and more popular
- Scandinavian images are using and dynamic models, which creates a very striking image
   - this has the effect of presenting the piece as more wearable and more accessible
- remember that on gallery websites and search engines, you often just have one tiny image and your name to grab people's attention and get them to browse through you work.  use something dynamic!
- have a style for all of your photos to follow to make them work together
   - black or white backgrounds tend to grab readers because they make the piece stand out.

So thank you to all of the above artists for all of your great information and tips!  That definitely gives me a lot to think about when photographing my work.  And it points out some mistakes I have been making with lighting, etc, too.  So I hope some readers will find this helpful as well.  Let me know of you have some other tips and tricks!  I'd love to hear from you!  Thanks for reading!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

SNAG Conference - Seattle, WA (Part 2)

At the SNAG (Society of North American Goldsmiths) Conference this year, I attended a professional development seminar that focused on the topics of Niche Marketing and Photographing Your Work.  Just thought I would share a couple of highlights from the seminar here.

Niche Marketing was the part that I was really looking forward to, but while they had good speakers who talked about the niches that they were able to break into, there was not a whole lot of information about how to go about establishing yourself in your niche or really much on marketing at all.

The first presenter was Hilary Pfeifer with her alter ego Bunny with a Toolbelt

I got this image off her etsy page.  Super cute custom cake toppers.  (Plus it made me think more about persuing the wedding niche with my copper cone boutonnieres.)

Then there was Emiko Oye who makes jewelry out of legos!  Also delightful.

She had some good information to share:
- You want good professional quality photos.
- Balance your exhibition work with your production work.  People will see your big exhibition work and maybe can't afford it, but might be inspired to buy something from your production line.  (I thought this was great advice and definitely something to try to remember, because I know I can get so caught up with one or the other depending on my current situation that I will forget entirely about the other for a while.)
- Be accessible.  Be online, but also in galleries - you will get a lot of exposure online, but people also like to touch the work, try it on, and see the craftsmanship with their own eyes - things that you lose on the web.
- Get involved in your community.  You'll make great connections for future opportunities.

Then there was Deb Stoner who found her niche in eyewear.

Her advice was this:

- Teach what you know.  Become the expert in your niche.  (Hers is a great niche because there are only about two other people known for making custom art eyewear, period.)
- Curate a show. (Now this is not really realistic for emerging artists like myself, I think you have to be rather established in your field to even consider this as a possibility, but I could be mistaken.  Please correct me if I'm wrong here, and I'll get in on that!!!)
- In addition to doing work for jobs (for money), make time to do what you love.  It will keep you interested and it will keep your work and your teaching fresh. 

So definitely some good advice from some very interesting and talented artists, but not a whole lot of info on making your work fit into a niche.  So I found this blog posting  4 Ways to Make Your Products More Niche, and I think there's some good information in there as well. 

So check all that out, and I'll be back later on to share some info about photographing your work.  Until then, thanks for reading!