Saturday, October 15, 2011

Studio Saturday - Production Work

Welcome to Studio Saturday! Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you'll leave comments! As an incentive we offer a free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard. The following week we choose a random winner.

This week's winner is Lori Bowring Michaud.
 You won a Simple Truths owlet pendant from Erin Prais-Hintz!  Just email Erin by clicking here and she'll get that right out to you!  

Hello and welcome to the Humblebeads Studio today.  Since we've last visited I have relocated to Michigan and have been loving the change of seasons.  Fall is way more amazing than I remembered!  And I'm way more excited about the holidays than I have been in a long time.

(The view outside my studio window)

Along with my move has come some hustle as I plan out my holiday selling season.  Most of my sales will be online over the next few weeks.  I plan to list new jewelry weekly in my Etsy shop and offer some upgrades to have beads made into pendants.  And then earrings, oh so many earrings - they are the bread and butter of the jewelry world.  'Tis the show season!

I'm doing one big show this year at the art center here in town and I've signed up for several trunk shows where I send in work but don't have to be there.  Which can be nice, but I have to say I sell way more jewelry when I'm there to talk about my work.  Also displaying my work the best way possible does make the jewelry more appealing.  So we'll see how those trunk shows go!

When I do shows I try to balance out production work with one-of-kind pieces.  Some of them may have been published in magazines through the year or were samples from blog projects.  Others are special pieces using art beads from my line and paired up with beads from my favorite artists.

The nice thing about production work is that you can build up your inventory quickly making the same thing or with slight variations.  And it's saves space on the display table as you only need to set up one at a time.  I've found two many choices makes it's hard to shop.  Working on a line of jewelry that has a theme and coordinating pieces helps streamline the shopping experience and helps upsale matching pieces.  My overall themes this season will be trees, birds, and nests - very woodlandy.

Do you make collections of jewelry or sets - or is each piece a stand alone creation?  

What seems to be your most popular motifs/symbols at the moment or ones you keep revisiting?

Let me know and we'll pick one random winner next week to receive one of my fall leaf pendants pictured above.


Alice said...

Gorgeous!!!!! There's only one necklace that I make as a production piece, and change the colors of the crystal beads. It's affordable for those who don't have much to spend, but want to buy something. Also, they go with any outfit.

I don't make sets any more. They never seemed to seel as a set so now I just make pieces that stand alone.

Right now I keep going back to things that relate to water.

coffeeaddict said...

I make a lot of sets but I also do stand alone pieces always keeping in mind that the smaller ones like earrings need to be compatible with other stand alone pieces like bracelets.
I'm continually fascinated with colour combinations and materials that immediately evoke a recognition of a certain season, like browns and oranges for autumn or bright turquoise and coral for summer.
Currently I'm exploring options of evolving these established schemes and introducing new surprising combinations.

Beadroe said...

I seem to work in themes. I get on a kick of polka dots and wear it out. Then I get bored and change to something out like cupcakes. I think I have adult adhd. But this why I love this medium it gives me the freedom to not get bored.

Sweet Willow Designs said...

Heather, I enjoyed your article and found it motivating. I have been considering production work for a few weeks now. I've really been puttering and not focused on selling although I do have an Etsy shop. I'm planning bead sets as my first foray into production work. Leaves are my favorites and I keep coming back to them again and again using all different techniques. Also looking at making components versus finished pieces. We'll see how that goes...

Elaine said...

I make a lot of "production" jewellery and then a smaller amount of unique work. The production work usually uses my line beads in my regular colour ways for earrings, bracelets and simple necklaces in straight forward designs.

The unique pieces tend to be big bracelets with the option to convert them to necklaces. They tend to be more collaged, with collected beads, danglies and other items mixed in with my own.

I still work in one primary motif - florals. The ones that do best, particularly when I get the chance to talk it up, are the ones based on local wildflowers and local colours: prairie lilies, crocus, wild rose, violet, columbine, dogwood and then all the muted, wonderful colours you get under the big sky.

Erin S said...

I do tend to make more than one piece in a given style when I find a material or component that excites me. I don't like the repetition of making the same thing over and over again, though. Lately for me, its all about vintage keys and sari silk ribbon.

LisaS said...

Hello, great article! Sounds like you are well on your way to getting settled in to the new location... I make sets of matching earrings, bracelet and necklace on occasion but more typically do one of a kind pieces. The closest I have come to production type work includes a line of give-aways I am currently putting together for the holidays. -The earwires will all be made the same ;)

Kristi said...

I do not currently make sets, though I have thought about it.

Sharyl said...

First, really love your creations! Regarding my own work, each piece is different, no two are alike. Just part of my personal mantra. I can certainly see advantages to making more than one alike.

There can be some similarities in pieces I make though. I may be making pendants and some of the beads get used in more than one, or a similar style in different colors takes shape. I don't make earrings that exactly match necklaces or bracelets anymore either, but do make a variety that would "go" with one another piece if someone chose to wear them together.

I don't tend to work with a lot of motifs either. Not sure why. In the past I've done a few I referred to (perhaps in a politically incorrect manner) as Asia-inspired. Doing one or two pieces this fall that have leaves, and a couple with bird pendants in the necklaces, but mostly just free-form. I'm open to changing that, just the way things are going now!

Thanks for asking these questions! It's interesting to see the various ways people are working!

Abeille à miel said...

Right now, I've concentrated on individual pieces. I have a few pieces that I've made repeatedly, but mostly individual pieces.

I find myself drawn to work that is imitative of nature (at the moment, for me, it's leaves, branches and trees).

KayzKreationz said...

I tend to make sets, as I like sets personally. I also tend to do Texas theme things, since I love Texas and they seem to sell well. Love your fall view out of your window. We don't get much fall here in Texas and with the drought, nothing is even still blooming/growing. :(

stephanie_mcginley said...

I currently make collections of items, but more often than not, price them separately.

Most of my work right now, are unique items (I rarely repeat a piece of jewelry. However, I have been considering production work...Mainly because I can never seem to get enough pieces together to do a show!

Thanks for the article! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it!


Louise said...

I just love your work!

I don't sell or do jewelry I
just do bottles of hope. I do work sometimes with themes. They pop up I don't really know from where . Sometimes they are inspired by your beads other times by what I have seen or did before.

For My Sweet Daughter said...

I do one ofs but I am thinking that now that I am getting into stores I might do 2-3 of each style to make it less taxing on my to keep coming up with new ideas. I am getting burnt out.
I would love to win that pendant it's beautiful!

Lisa Cone - Inspired Adornments said...

Most of my pieces are unique. Every once in a while, I do a "limited edition production piece". Even then, they are always all different somehow (like the bat bracelets I did for this Halloween). But, doing production work makes me crazy bored, so I try not to do it often.

My theme I always go back to has involved birds for many, many years. Even with Halloween, I went with winged creatures. Adding to that is other forms of nature. Oddly, I rarely do anything involving the sea even thought I live at the beach!

Terri said...

Seems I'm crazy about bracelets with dangley bits. And lately I've been drawn to the sweet treats like cup cakes and and chocolate truffles.
They would fall into the stand alone category. I do try to have matching earrings and some times do sets.

Love your work and I have enjoyed making the wire wrapped nests too.
Seems like I'm all over the place.
Thanks for the chance to win and wear one of your creations.

*Kel* said...

I am loving the nests and eggs! The leaf pendants are just gorgeous, as well. I have made a few custom pieces, usually I do stand alone creations as sets (earrings, necklace, bracelet). I am working on learning the process of creating collections, however. Thanks so much for sharing your talents! Your work is unique and inspiring!

patodat said...

Heather, I know that nature is your art/life theme, and I truly love the little acorns and hedgies, ETc., but for some reason, what I love best is the "sputnik" look, as I refer to it... I love 50-60's space stuff and have made several earrings and necklaces for myself with fat spaceships, sputnik balls, and stars.

Meadowland Designs said...

Hi! I design in sets (necklace, maybe a bracelet, and quite often two pairs of earrings per set...) However, each set is unique. I don't do repeats unless I made something for a particular person and then fell in love with it myself...oops!
My most often used motifs would be leaves and flowers along with everyday jewelry that has no particular theme.
I love your beads, the main problem with them is deciding which I like best!

Attorney Angela Lund-Logan said...

I do collections/sets and individual pieces. Leaves are a motif that inspires me. I like to use copper wire.

Attorney Angela Lund-Logan said...

I would love to win one of your leaves. I just ordered one the other day. Leaves are a motif I return to. I use copper wire frequently as well. I try to make sets/collections.

Cynthia said...

LOVE those nests and eggs. I've been doing similar designs, but yours seem to have more character - something for me to strive for!
I generally make one of kind pieces, but I do have a few "signature" pieces that I will re-produce. I will sometimes make "matching" earring for a necklace, but I price them separately. Most of my earring go with most of my necklaces, because I only work with Vintage Brass (Vintaj), so everything looks good together.

quiltingjewel39 said...

I do a few sets but mainly stand alone pieces. They are varied right now as I am trying to see what my favs are. I love things from nature - that's why I enjoy your things so much. I love copper with a patina and Vintage brass - can't afford much silver!!

indigo heart said...

I do mostly one-offs, but there a couple designs that are so popular that I just change out the colors. My motifs are birds, owls, and mermaids.

Lori Bowring Michaud said...

YAY, thanks so much Heather!

I don't sell my jewelry yet, so I don't really make collections. Most are one of a kind, though I see some similarities in some of my designs. I was recently thinking about whether my jewelry had a distinctive "style" or it was random. I seem to have a mix of both.

I keep coming back to nature and the sea most frequently.