Friday, February 5, 2016

Inside the Studio with Mary Harding

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 prize each week to encourage you to use that keyboard and tell us what you think. The following week a winner is chosen at random from all eligible entries. And here are the results from last week!

This week's winner is Janet Loomis of Anvil Artifacts. Congratulations! You have won a  MYSTERY BUNDLE OF BEADS from Claire Lockwood of Something To Do Beads.  Please contact Claire to claim your prize!!

I want to start off today by thanking you all for your wonderful, informative and supportive comments about Studio Tours on my last Inside the Studio post.( November 27. 2015)  It was so great to get  your take on them.  I really appreciate the time and enthusiasm you put into those comments.

                                           Bracelet Bars by Mary Harding

It has been quite a while since my last Inside the Studio post and I have been struggling with which of the many things I have been doing to tell you about today.  I have finally decided to go with the most recent which is preparing for an update to my Etsy Shop.  That is a topic that often plagues me.  I always think I will put lots of pieces on and have an update, but usually, I get excited when I make something new and put it on right away, so I never get to the point that I have a quantity of new work to show all at once.  But knowing for quite awhile that I would be writing this post for today, I decided to give it a try.
  And I am going to be somewhat successful.  I will be adding about 30-35 new pieces at 2:00PM today--I am still working on listing some and finishing others. I say somewhat since that is not a very large number of pieces, but I am beginning to get the  idea of  how to do this.  I have put all the pieces I have ready so far on Draft so that I can quickly download them to my shop at the given time.
In the process of telling you a bit about what I will be adding to the shop, I will also be letting you know what I have been doing.

First off, I have spent the last 2 days making new Poetic Grunge style toggle clasps.  I have truly enjoyed making these and bringing them from a dirty grungy mess to their finished state:  Here are a few:
Poetic Grunge series Toggle Clasps by MaryHardingJewelry

I have spent quite a bit of time in the last month experimenting with iron oxide and just love what it can do.  You will be seeing quite a bit of it already in my shop and some new tries as well. I also have written several blog posts lately about using it.  You can find them in a series beginning HERE
I began by doing some experiments.

                       Using iron oxide stain on earthenware ceramic clay  different results

I have working with different clays:  earthenware, porcelain, and stoneware.  My new love is a slightly buffer than buff stoneware clay.  It is wonderful to hand form with as it is very elastic and retains its moisture a long time by clay standards which makes if lots of fun for making beads and birds with.  And best of all it takes glazes and that oxide stain in just a heavenly fashion.
These pieces are too new for me to sell just yet but they will be coming out soon.  Truthfully, I love them so much I just can't part with them--and I rationalize, I am using them as a test pieces to reference the effects of the stain and glaze on the clay.  So here are few of the pieces I am using to record and test the clay with glazes and the iron stain.

                           Test beads for glazes and clay color

                                 More test beads for glaze and clay color at cone 5

Some of my pieces in the update are in porcelain and they too handle that iron oxide and glaze wonderfully.  I have been firing them to cone 5 in my new kiln that is so fun to use since it is so reliable and does a great firing job.  It has been a long time since I have had such a kiln.  My deepest gratitude to Don Seymour of ClayScapes in Syracuse New York for guiding me on this matter.

                             Porcelain pendants and Toggle Clasp by  MaryHardingJewelry

I love this time of year and this year especially because we are having such a mild winter.  This is the season that I like to explore and experiment.  Getting to my studio is easy since there are no outdoor garden and upkeep tasks and a sunny deck and river calling me away.   So I am feeling very productive. Here are some more of my new pieces in my shop/update.
Lilacs in Bud by MaryHardingJewelry

Three Ceramic Bracelet Bars by Mary Harding Jewelry

Barn Wood Toggle  Clasp Porcelain by MaryHardingJewelry

Heart Pendant by MaryHardingJewelry

Toggle Clasp by MaryHardingJewelry

Now for the Question:
Today I am offering a surprise package of pieces from my new favorite buff stoneware clay.  Not the ones you just saw but ones that I will be making especially for this occasion.  Here is my question:  What do you think of shop updates?  Like?  Dislike? Find them helpful or frustrating?  or a better idea like auctions, Facebook group sales?  Leave a comment below and you will be automatically entered .  A winner will be picked by the random number generator next week and announced in that Inside the  Studio post.
I so look forward to reading what you have to say.
Thanks so  much for stopping by today.


Claire Lockwood said...

I want to win! So beautiful things here, Mary. I can never decide what the best way to get my beads out there...

Dawn of LaTouchables said...

Oh--beautiful! I like shop updates, because I stopped FB, which was eating my time...but I realize FB is lucrative for artists doing auctions, the tension is so high, and people are likely to grab something before someone else gets it. Either way, love your bits and pieces.

Divya N said...

As a buyer I like seeing shop updates on facebook group pages and I follow it to the individual brand page and look through the supplies available leisurely. I personally dont prefer time bound auctions or First come first serve sales.
PS: I am in love with your clasps and off to check them out

Honey from the Bee said...

I actually prefer shop updates. I am not fond of auctions nor really FB sales since you can easily miss them. Auctions seem to get out of hand sometimes, especially for someone that's making jewelry for profit sale. Love love love your new pieces!

Carols place said...

Beautiful work as always...
Love the 4 pieces in the frame, Mary
and your bracelet bars are terrific.

Susan Marling said...

I like the etsy updates - I'm not a big fan of the auctions. I can't always get in on them while working and just don't really like them. I do love your work though.

baymoondesign said...

I love the bracelet bars! I have a weakness for them. Your are tempting me!

Personally, I don't like facebook sales and auctions even less. I really don't like auctions. They are very frustrating for me. I see something I really like and someone else has it all ready. They seem to work great for the seller, but I feel that they are invading my facebook space that I would prefer for friends and fun rather than selling and buying. I would rather go to an Etsy page when I want to shop so I would have to say that I like shop updates.

I would love to hear from the sellers what they like! I think it is probably Facebook sales and auctions.

Alice said...

Wow What beautiful pieces. i'm good with shop updates but i don't like to buy on FACEBOOK

Elizabeth said...

I don't particularly favor one type of shopping over another. I go with whatever strikes my fancy. My poor neglected Etsy shop needs a major overhaul, in my head and then online.

Have fun everyone. Good Luck.


Heather said...

I really love the beautiful pendants you make, Mary. As for which way do I like re buying?? An auction with a day or two to bid. I don't like sales where you have to be the first to say "mine" and don't even attempt to buy at them. I guess I am a) not fast enough or b) like to have time to think about what I want. I like seeing what folks are in the process of designing...I find that quite interesting. Keep up the beautiful work, it!!

Leona said...

Wow, I like the new buff and iron oxide combo, which to me has an ancient vibe to it.
Hmm - As a purchaser, I think I like Shop updates since one can't always be on the computer. As a seller (who needs to get back on that horse), I admire those beadmakers who can hold facebook group sales because they have the following to do so. Ultimately, I think that any online presence must have many facets. But I am re-beginning my journey and still have tons to learn.

Kristen said...

As a shop owner, I can understand why shop updates could be a good idea. You try to generate excitement among your loyal buyers and hope you will get quick sales. I have a bunch of new enameled clasps I'm working on and I plan on doing a shop update to see how it works. But as a buyer, I don't always like them. I like to think about what I buy and I unusually just give up when the items I'm interested in sell so quickly. Thanks for the giveaway and I hope your update goes well!

Terri Del Signore said...

Goergous beads Mary!! I am going to attempt my first actual "update" later in the month. I really dislike the listing process (photography etc.) And promoting myself. So for me I don't list things all that often - but then I'm not getting a great deal of studio time either. Love the oxides!!!

Karen Z said...

I love shop updates; so much easier for me, as a buyer, to make wise choices. Too many shops to pick and choose one piece at a time. But lately, I'm finding FB auctions even better for collecting/hoarding beads. I tend to snap them up more quickly from one or two auction sites. Since I've done a lot of that lately, I'm off to organize my bead stash into do-able projects right now; but for sure there's always room for your unique beads!!

Ann Schroeder said...

I love your iron oxide pieces and your new birds! And especially the poetic grunge clasps. I was catching up on blogs this morning and was directed to your shop update from your personal blog. I like both - shop updates and FB auctions or sales groups. Whenever something is brought to my attention either way, I like it. I don't get frustrated if I miss something because artists are continually making and offering new beautiful things. I feel like listing on Facebook is easier for artists (from what I can glean.) I like anything that is easy for the artist because it gives them more time to focus on what they prefer doing - create. I also like that I can interact a little more on FB - etsy lets me write a glowing review, but other sites don't. I like to be able to express my appreciation.

Unknown said...

Hi Mary !
Love your new work as usual you hit the mark!! I like that my favorite artist update their shops and keeping it fresh is a must! I am not in favor of auctions but everyone has there pro and con's about this topic and I hear that a lot of artist feel frustrated having to keep updates on their shops because they are so BUSY!!!!
Good Luck to you on your new quest!

Deb said...

I've been meaning to try shop updates but haven't done so yet so I don't know how well they work. I'm not much of a self promoter which I know I should change. I love your pendants and toggles!

Sarajo Wentling said...

As always, it's a joy to see your new work, Mary! As to your question, I prefer shop updates to FB auctions generally. I agree with other comments that FB auctions can be easy to miss for a variety of reasons, and the prices can get crazy. I don't really care if it's a big shop update or if folks just add when they have things ready. Some artists who do updates are so popular that I can't get anything anyway, so it doesn't really matter how they do things. :/ In the end, I buy things lots of different ways. Sometimes I get lucky and get what I want and some beady goodness always gets away.

Maplegirl said...

You are always trying new things, with beautiful results. I agree with others that Facebook can be time sensitive, and time consuming to be checking everything out. Perhaps it is good exposure for some some artists, but there are sometimes so many bead selling groups, and so many beads listed. Fun to look, but it is time consuming. Andrea

Anonymous said...

Living on the other side of the world, it's tricky, but overall I prefer a shop update to a FB auction as I usually like to buy more than one piece or component to make the postage cost reasonable. And I find some of the FB auctions push the prices right up, which makes it out of my budget - or indeed ability to use the component in a piece at a reasonable price.

Jess Green said...

I love shop updates, but only when I manage to catch them!

As someone who doesn't spend a lot of time glued to social media I often miss the notifications of the updates - and popular shops that stock up all in one go tend to sell out of all the good stuff really quickly, so stragglers like me cab struggle to get hold of components we need :(

Terri said...

Shop updates do it for me! I miss out on Facebook sales even though I have tried to sign up to have access when it does happen. Good question. Now I can only hope this little comment get's randomly picked! (grin)

Julie Wong Sontag said...

I love all the different things you're exploring, Mary! Even across the different media they're all so you! Those new beads you are testing out are really something else! Just lovely!

As a seller I think I've come to accept that no matter what approach you take, it's not possible to make everyone happy all the time. More and more I feel that the MOST important thing is to find a routine that allows you to stay in your happy place and to stay creating. The best way to serve your audience is to keep making new, exciting work. That comfort zone is different for everyone. That said, I try to change it up as much as possible, rotating between larger Etsy updates, Facebook BIN listings, FB auctions and made-to-order. For every different way of holding a sale or update, there will be a group of folks who absolutely love to shop that way. It's a challenge to find a balance sometimes - always a work in progress :)

As a buyer if I see something I love I'll do what it takes to get my hands on it - no matter what the venue. I think sometimes mindset is helpful. There are things I miss out on that I just LOVED. It's sad of course - but I believe that the right things come along at the right time, and if someone's work really resonates with me, guaranteed they'll make something in future that I'll love just as much. I do respect that artists have lives, families, children, full-time jobs that they work around and they need to do what they need to do :) xoxo -- Julie

Denise said...

I do like shop updates and dislike the auction style Facebook sales but I understand why artists/sellers like them. I like to peruse shop updates and add things to my cart ( and sometimes, unfortunately, have to curate my selection when my wants exceed my budget.) With Facebook sales, I think it's harder to see the collection of all new items for sale.

Hippie Girl At Heart said...

I think I prefer random updates because as I see it, if the beautiful beads were meant for me then I would be the one to purchase them. I am not on facebook so I don't know what the auction style facebook is all about.
I appreciate your creative artful beads and however you decide to list them is great, just keep making them :-)