Sunday, November 24, 2013

MJSA Confab

Creating Your Own Niche:
Alex Woo,  Jessica Kagen Cushman, Andrea HillLisa Jenks

This month began with a great day to get out of the studio for a road trip with a fellow artist.  We headed to New York City for the ConFab Event at F.I.T. hosted by MJSA (Manufacturing Jewelry & Silversmiths Association) on Sunday November 3rd.  The inspiring event was designed for jewelry artists to examine their business practices while learning from field experts and networking with fellow designers.  Andrea Hill set the tone of the day by leading the panel discussion: Creating Your Own Niche.  She began the discussion with the statement that "…you do not need all the clients, you just need the right clients…"as she had Alex Woo Jessica Kagen Cushman, and Lisa Jenks share their personal journeys and perspectives.  Andrea challenged those in the audience to really examine who we are as designers, to consider what is both unique and sustainable with in our design language and to really focus on who it matters to.  The take away message was that we must be constantly evolving within the framework of who we are as designers for longterm success.  The day went on to include sessions on:  Subcontracting Made Simple, Sales for the Selling Challenged and Developing a Digital Marketing Plan.  One of my favorite quotes of the day came from the Digital Marketing session.  As examining data was being covered, it was stressed that data analysis must be balanced with judgement calls as Henry Ford was quoted "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses."  It was great to end an uplifting and information filled day on a note of common sense.  I would highly recommend this series of events and MJSA's online resources for designers of all levels.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A Day of Demos...

The MetalClay Artisan Guild in Connecticut kicked off the month with our Annual Fall Show and Sale.  The Friday night reception was a great time, but what was really exciting was filling Saturday with demos for all levels of artists.  From a basic introduction to metal clay techniques to more advanced processes, there really was something for anyone interested or even just passing by.  I shared my organic pasting techniques, from selection of organic materials to preparing metal clay slip to layering and drying techniques.  Lis-el Crowley (lower left image) demonstrated how the new art clay formula lends itself to working with delicate coils and Alexis Crowley (right image) demonstrated how traditional carving techniques for printmaking can be applied to create texture plates for working with metal clay.  The day also included demos in working with base metals, carving in metal clay, working with textures and getting started in metal clay.  A special thanks to Susan Dunne for including us in her Art Smart Blog that week which helped us reach a broader audience for this show!