CBC did an eye opening marketplace report on the cheap, imported costume jewelry sold in chains such as Ardene’s and Aldo. You won’t believe what they found!
Last year I set up a table at a flea market type event with my handmade mixed metals jewelry. (I have since learned that those markets are not the place for my work, but nevertheless, that’s where I was.)
The metals I use for most of my work are sterling silver, pure copper, and professional quality brass and bronze from Rio Grande, which are copper/zinc and copper/tin alloys. NO LEAD, and NO CADMIUM. Nickel free as well, which is important for people sensitive to nickel since that is the metal that usually makes people itchy.
I overheard a woman muttering to her friend that they could buy the same rings for five dollars at a table across from us. No, actually… not the same whatsoever. That five dollar bargain ring could very well have been full of toxic chemicals, and if not, it was most likely made by a child in terrible working conditions. Fake “stones” and beads made of glass or plastic are another big difference in product quality.
Yes, my work will cost a little bit more than the imported, mass produced items found in flea markets, but it will be a truly unique and one of a kind piece, made in a state of complete joy.
This past weekend I attended the 3 day Abbotsford Gem Show and brought home a few small treasures each day. One of those finds was this singing bowl.
There were a few to choose from on this vendor’s table in different sizes and with different motifs, this one being the largest and with the most pleasing tone to my ears.
It was made in Nepal out of bronze, has 5 figures inside the bowl in different meditative poses,and six letters or words around the outside. One symbol I recognize as OM, so I believe it may be the mantra Om Mani Padme Hum. It doesn’t translate well into one or two sentences in English but appears to be roughly the “jewel in the lotus” and imply developing character, spiritual growth and the path to enlightenment.
It measures roughly between 495 and 500 hz, making it a B note. This note apparently is for the crown chakra. I am not entirely convinced yet about the existence of these spinning discs that need constant alignment, but it’s interesting reading nonetheless.
After some research I have determined that by playing it I am not invoking any deity or demon, casting spells, worshipping false gods or doing any other potentially dangerous thing even though they have nepalese/tibetan/indian origins and an association with buddhist and hindu religions. In fact, some christian churches use a bowl to signal the beginning and ending of prayer or during periods of quiet reflection.
Copper is the oldest metal ore, mined by prehistoric man and later used by the Egyptians to create alloys. (copper + tin =bronze, copper + zinc = brass) The more copper a person owned, the greater their social status within society. Being a soft and malleable metal, it was used to create jewelry for royalty and high officials and was used for religious ceremonies and medical procedures.
Copper is an Essential Mineral:
Our bodies use copper for proper bone, nervous system, joint, and circulatory system health. Many people are deficient in this mineral because their diet lacks food containing copper such as shellfish, certain nuts, chocolate, liver, or red wine. Oral supplements can overload the body, so some people find it beneficial to wear copper jewelry for the purpose of having a small amount of copper absorbed through the skin. For this enzymatic reaction to occur, the copper must come into contact with the body’s skin oils and acids, so coated copper will not work.
Some wearers of copper jewelry find it relieves the symptoms of arthritis and circulation problems.
Copper has historically been considered a grounding metal for the human body and spirit. (Silver is the metal of the spirit, and gold is the metal of the mind.)
Spiritually, copper is also considered a metal capable of storing healing properties holistically, as well as having protective properties. This is why it was used in ancient times for totems and talismans.
February is the season for all things heart shaped, and here I am, long after Valentine’s Day, still making heart shaped jewelry!
Earlier in the month I made several different styles and sizes of hammered copper hearts for a craft market. Many of these items weren’t completed before my deadline and I am still busy creating one of a kind items with them for future market events and my Etsy Shop.
Necklaces, Earrings and Keychains are currently in stock or underway, and I hope to also have some additional products such as hair sticks, bookmarks and shawl pins with heart shapes eventually.
2017 is going to be an incredible year!
According to numerology, I am poised to have the happiest and most abundant year ever! I don’t necessarily follow numbers or horoscopes or the like, but that sounds pretty good to me and I’ll take it!
I had a wonderful and relaxing holiday break, and I am eager to get back into the swing of things!
For me, January means doing the yearend paperwork for my husband’s business, and that does take priority over my jewelry. However, my shop is still open with many ready to ship items and I will complete any special made to order sales within my usual timeframe.
Whew! I did it!
My first craft market was this past Sunday!
I am the short one. My oldest daughter and husband were a great help for setup and takedown.
It was not very well attended but I did make a few sales to cover my table fee and other expenses, handed out a few business cards, met a few really nice vendors and received several compliments on my products and display.
The best part for me was the opportunity to test my stands, checkout area and packaging, lights etc and learn firsthand what the market environment is like. It also forced me to blast right out of my comfort zone, and talk to people about my jewelry.
I am super sensitive and an introvert so I sometimes I find it emotionally exhausting to be around so many people. It was much, much easier than I anticipated and it will only get easier from here. #passiontrumpsfear
My Square payment swiper worked perfectly, and I used it for 75% of my sales. I am so thankful to myself that I took care of ordering it months ago!
All in all, a great experience, and I just registered for another show that other vendors mentioned.
That one is in just 2 days so I’d better get cracking!
I have just three short days left to prepare for my first craft market!
This is how my mock up table is coming along so far.
I have learned that individual price tags and labelling stones and ring sizes is VERY time consuming. So I have been doing a small number of them each night after taking care of other things on the to do list.
Also, even though cash is king, the ability to process credit cards is a necessity these days.
I tested my Square reader out last night and it works perfectly! I did a manually entered transaction and a magstripe swipe, and both completed flawlessly. I received a statement of activity email and the money was deposited in my account the next morning. Now I can accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover credit cards! Debit service is not yet available in Canada, and neither is the chip reader, but I am quite pleased to have the credit card acceptance ability at least.
Process $1,000 without fees when you activate with my invite link: https://squareup.com/i/quirkysues
My husband has been very helpful this past week, making wood display pieces for my upcoming craft markets!
These units will add some height and create levels which lifts items closer to eye level making it easier and more comfortable for shoppers, rather than staring down at a flat display.
He also made me some necklace holders! Each one can hold three of my electroformed necklaces, or two if they are larger pieces.
It was a sad, sad day this past Saturday when I was notified that the handmade craft fair I was to be a part of had been cancelled. Apparently many of the vendors who had participated in previous years had other commitments that weekend.
So, I did a little bit of sleuthing and found a few other markets running that day. I am filling out the paperwork today for the one closest to home, and ramping up production for a much larger display area.
Bigger and better things are in store, my friends.
All things happen for a reason as they say, and perhaps I am meant to take a big, giant leap into the market vendor arena rather than the tiny baby steps that I had originally planned.
My workspace is always evolving.
When I was starting out with jewelrymaking doing beadwork and wirewrapping, my studio was my livingroom, the coffee table was my bench, and my supplies were kept in a sewing basket.
Then I had a rickety table with wobbly legs in a spare bedroom when I progressed to soldering. That didn’t last long and I soon bought a pine rolltop desk to use. After this photo was taken my husband raised it and added little arms so I could attach a vise.
This is my current set up, and I am quite pleased with it.
A solid oak rolltop desk with a nice, high center section for torch soldering. I have all my silversmithing tools and materials in or on this desk.
I am keeping my original rolltop desk too for electroforming and possibly etching. The drawers hold my brass and copper wire, tube and sheet.
I usually stand right now while working as it is easier to go back and forth between the two desks and my power outlet situation needs tweaking.
I have been making rings and earrings the last couple of days so it is a little bit messier!