Catching Up

Hello! This week has been quite adventure-filled and full of blessings though, so I’m a happy lady.

My first adventure this week was cleaning up my workspace. Here’s how it started:

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And here’s how it ended:

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The room seems significantly larger now. Hopefully, this will make it more pleasant to work in.

The next adventure was in signage. I have two signs: a large one to hang on my canopy and a small one to sit on a table. Both of them had outdated logos and information.

I created a new small one myself:

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This had my old logo and information on it, and was easily updated with the help of Modge Podge.

The big sign was a different adventure. I’ve been using a vinyl banner for several years. Instead of investing in a new one every few years, I decided to go to a professional sign company. I now have a light-weight metal sign that should last many years:

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The last adventure for this week is still in process. I’m preparing for my first show of the year, the Lancaster ArtWalk. Traditionally, this show has primarily been a tour of the art galleries in downtown Lancaster, PA. This year one of the buildings on the tour will be hosting 20 local artisans/crafters. This area is called the Lancaster Made Arts Market. I have seen the work of the other artisans who will be with me and there is no doubt I will be surrounded by some serious talent. I’m thrilled!

Hopefully, I’ll be able to get some photos of the show to share with you next week! For now, I hope you have a beautiful night!

Thanks for stopping by!

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Building My Theme

In my last post I mentioned that my new layout is going to have a 1920s flair to it. While my jewelry doesn’t necessarily fit the 1920s style, I think it will all blend together quite well.

If you have been following me for awhile or have been to any of my shows, you might be familiar with Pearl:

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When I started making jewelry, I wanted something in my display that would get people talking. I thought a mannequin would add a little color, a little texture, and a little “oh that’s different” to the booth. Then I found Pearl and I knew she could get people talking. She has since gone on and become my logo:

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Pearl is designed to look like a 1920s flapper, so I decided to build on that. The 1920s were a time of prosperity in the United States thanks to some national and global changes that occurred as a result of World War I. A number of these changes helped women to redefine their role in United States. Women always had natural beauty and an internal drive to succeed, but now they were allowed to show it off.

This is where Gretchen Smith Jewelry comes in. Each piece is one of a kind, just like every woman and it is designed to accent a woman’s natural beauty. There is an elegant simplicity about my style that allows a woman to show off a little, just like the ladies of the 1920s. Because of this, I felt it was only appropriate to tie my display into this time period when women were making a name for themselves.

So go out and have a little fun. And if you think your outfit needs a little spark beyond your natural beauty, Pearl might be able to assist you.

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My Portable Shop

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am redesigning my craft show booth (otherwise known as my portable shop) this year. It’s quite exciting, really.

I decided to ask my husband for his assistance with this task because he has a graphic design background. He is much better at designing visual layouts for things than I am.

I wanted something vintage-y and wind-resistant. With those ideas, my husband suggested I go with a 1920s general store look using wood boxes and crates. My jewelry displays can go in the wood boxes so they are protected from the wind and the boxes would double for storage and transportation. Yup, that would be perfect!

I already had a few crates I’ve been using, but I didn’t have any legitimately old boxes or crates, so we went out in search of some. This is what we found:

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As an added bonus, I found a little tin to keep my business cards in:

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This is a rough layout I put together in preparation for my first show:

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I’m sure I’ll have photos to share with you after my first show so you can see how it worked out. I’m already looking forward to the first show!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thanks for stopping by!

A little bit of metal goes a long way

Hello! I just realized I changed things around in here a bit. Please bear with me. I decided it was time for a change, so I will be updating things over the next few weeks!

Besides playing around with the layout I had the opportunity to have some jewelry-making fun today and I just have to share it with you.

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I had some small pieces of metal (wire and silver sheet) that I wasn’t sure how to use. After a little experimentation, these earrings are the results. What do you think? I especially love the first two, but the last one is pretty fun as well!

I think I still owe you a post about the redesign on my show booth. I will get to that soon! For now, thanks for stopping by!

2015 Show Schedule

I don’t know about where you live, but where I live it was a long, cold winter. This provided for much time inside and much time to think about this jewelry business of mine.

I took a break from the jewelry last year for some personal reasons, but when the Lititz Artisans’ Porchwalk rolled around I realized how much I missed working on the jewelry. This winter I took time to reevaluate the jewelry business and figure out how I can do more with it. The first thing I decided to do was participate in more shows. Some of the shows I decided upon I have participated in before and some of them are totally new for me. One show is even a show I didn’t think I was good enough to get into in the past! (Guess what, I’m in it!)

I’m not going too show crazy this year because I also want to focus on redesigning my booth (more about that in the next post!). However, I think I have a good mix and I’m very exited about each of them.

The schedule is as follows:

May 2nd – Lancaster Made Art Market. Part of the Lancaster ArtWalk in downtown Lancaster, PA. I will be located in the Candy Factory Warehouse D along Queen St.

June 13th – Lititz Ambucs Craft Show in Lititz Springs Park, Lititz, PA.

June 27th – Columbia Antique, Art, & Craft Show in Columbia, PA.

September 26th – Harvest of the Arts in Carlisle, PA. (This is the show I didn’t think I would get into!)

October 2nd-3rd – Lititz Artisans’ Porchwalk in Lititz, PA. I just love this show and if you haven’t been to it, I highly suggest you mark your calendar now and plan to attend.

If you plan to attend, please let me know in advance! I love to meet new people and see old friends at shows.

Thanks for stopping by!

Developing A Design

When I first started this jewelry business I tried to focus on color…lots of color. I used a lot of large gemstone beads such as amazonite, amethyst, agate, quartz, and even wood. However, as time went on I found that this wasn’t me. To be honest, I have never loved large chunky jewelry for more than an accent piece here and there. I like simple lines and refined styling. With this in mind, I started to create metal jewelry. These pieces were and are primarily sterling silver and/or copper and are occasionally accented by gemstone beads.

The one difference between the metal jewelry and the beaded jewelry is that the metal jewelry can progress. When I made a beaded piece, I would lay out the beads, put them together and called it “done.” The metal pieces generally don’t work that way and I have grown to love that aspect of them. I often have an idea for a shape that would look good in a piece and I create it not knowing what the finished piece will actually look like. Sometimes I don’t even know whether it will be a necklace or a pair of earrings. After I create it, I start playing with it in different designs to figure out how I want to use it. More components are added and eventually I end up with the final piece of jewelry.

I did this recently and really surprised myself. I wanted to create a simple cuff bracelet, so I took some heavy gauged wire and formed it into the bracelet. After it was “complete,” it felt as though something was missing. I kept the bracelet on my desk for several days, looking at it every day trying to think of what it needed. After about a week, it hit me. I had one random large jasper bead I thought would look perfect on the bracelet. Because of the bracelet’s design, I was able to easily add components to it. I wrapped the jasper bead onto the bracelet and then it was complete. The bead added just a little “pop” to the bracelet while keeping it simple and elegant.

Here is the bracelet to start:

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Here it is with the addition of one bead:

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What do you think? I think the bead really changed the bracelet and added some life to it. This hasn’t been listed on my Etsy site yet, but if you are interested in it I can make that happen.

Do you create? Have you ever created something you thought was almost perfect only to add details to it later to make it truly perfect?

Thanks for stopping by!