Thursday, February 25, 2010
Taking A New Direction
In the world of the ethernet and online shopping, the genre of handmade jewelry, whether beaded, precious metal, gemstone, or any other kind, is inundated with sellers and shops. If you shop only on Etsy, you can be overwhelmed quite easily with jewelry shops. There are just thousands of makers and sellers out there. So for a long time, I have been considering phasing out that area of my Etsy shop and concentrating on selling paintings. I've thought, perhaps I'll continue to list my small medicine bags and a few photographs and of course, my music CDs, but my jewelry just gets lost in the crowd.
The other side of me says, Well, you've made most of your sales with jewelry... so why not keep that in the shop? But the time it takes to create pieces, which no doubt is a relaxing and meditative process for me, and then to photograph all those creations and list and promote them... well, it's a lot of time, energy, and effort. One wants to see that process come to fruition.
I could also simply phase out the jewelry on Etsy and send folks to my website if they want to purchase earrings or necklaces. That seems like a logical idea.
But while working through these thoughts to come to a decision, I have taken a new step out and want to share that with you. My husband helped a friend of ours dismantle an old piano she no longer had room for in her house, and he very carefully removed all the old ivory keys. His plan was to make use of these somehow in his custom-made knives. I've had my eye on them for awhile, and finally asked him to share a few with me. He was very gracious... one of the reasons I married him and kept him in my life! Yesterday I sat down with a few tools and some sanding paper and got to work. Each key must be sanded smooth to remove all the grime and oils and rough surface. After sanding, I sketched out my design and when satisfied, I placed on my head a rather cumbersome magnifying tool which allowed me to see up close and get the details in the etching. A very sharp-edged tool is used to scratch the surface of the ivory, enabling the design to take shape. Then I inked in the design, sanded again to remove the excess ink, and voila... etching on ivory.
What I like about this process is that it recycles these old ivory piano keys, with an occasional chipped edge and all, to create a lovely little ivory pendant with an original etching. As with my other jewelry, I'd like to keep this as one-of-a-kind affair. I have plans for earrings as well.
Some of the keys will have a simple design on the back as well, and this will be the case with the earrings since they will dangle and twirl, and all will be initialed. This is the back side of the pendant with thistles and leaves. The back side is a little trickier, as you can see, because it's the side that's been glued down and so the surface is much harder to clean and get smooth. A little more sanding and arm power is required.
So all that's needed now is to drill a small hole at the top and then these pendants can be placed on sterling silver chain with bail and they'll be ready to go. I know that my workmanship will improve with each piece, but I'm excited about them. They're a little different from much of the jewelry that's listed on Etsy, and they will be a delight to create as custom orders as well.
What say you?