Sunday, 27 March 2011

ETSY Favourites of the Week

For those of you who follow my Facebook page, you know that every day I post an Etsy Favourite of the Day--one item from Etsy's jewelry section that I particularly like or find interesting or unique.  Well, I've decided that there are too many talented artists on Etsy to limit my favourites to just a single day or to jewelry.  So here on the blog I'm going to do an Etsy Favourites of the Week, and feature some of my favourites from other categories as well.  Considering my own interests, the focus will probably be on jewelry, glass and pottery, but once in a while I come across something outside of my usual Etsy haunts that I really like.  Which means you never know what you'll find here.

So now, I present to you, in no particular order, my favourites of the week.

Mixed Media Stained Glass Mosaic Art Mirror, $145

LowBridgeArtworks has long been a favourite shop of mine.  The mirror you see above was just listed last night, apparently, and when it showed up in my "newly listed from favourite shops" it caught my attention immediately.  I love the symmetry, the tiniest attention to detail, the colours.  Among the mosaic work in her shop are mirrors, plaques, wall hangings, and some jewelry.  I especially love the mixed media tree plaques, in which she uses round bits of upcycled tin (a staple in a lot of her work).

Mixed Media Mosaic Art Plaque Polka Dot Tree, $57

In addition to stained glass and upcyled tin, she also incorporates ceramic tiles, mirror glass, and jewelry components--as she says in her profile, "whatever else makes a perfect addition."  This is my kind of recycling.  I suspect she's got a stash of broken plates and busted mirrors--things that that other less creative types have thrown away--and turned them into something amazing.  (The things some people throw away, honestly.)  While I'd hate to see the state her attic must be in (if it's anything like mine, anyway), I can't get enough of her artwork.


Art Deco Czech Pink Star Sapphire Silver Necklace Vintage 1920s Jewelry, $145

I've been a fan of boylerpf's shop from way back in my eBay days.  Every now and again when I needed inspiration for my own work, or just wanted to marvel in the intricacy of the workmanship of olden days, I'd look at her auctions.  I was never disappointed.  Some of the best of the best of vintage jewelry can be found in this shop, and I turn an envious green every time I visit.

Art Deco Sterling Carnelian Marcasite Necklace Vintage 1920s Jewelry, $145

I think what I like most about her shop is that she focuses on the things I like best about vintage jewelry--not necessarily the big designers like Haskell (though she has a fair share of vintage designers as well), with a particular focus on Czechoslovakian, Bohemian, and Art Deco era pieces, art glass and filigree.  Her taste is exquisite; the pieces she has are never over-the-top gaudy, but always feature those elements in vintage jewelry that captivated me in the first place.  To me, these pieces are the perfect example of functional art--true art pieces with which you can do something besides just hang on the wall.   I love the attention to detail, the rustic feel to the components--nothing here has been stamped out of a factory.  They just don't make them like this anymore, though some of us aspire to try.


Having worked with ceramic clay for over a decade now (to think I'm old enough to have been doing anything for over a decade is frightening enough), I was beyond thrilled when precious metal clay hit the market.  The idea of being able to create my own components, pendants, beads and clasps out of real silver or gold using clay was ideal for me, since the learning curve would be much less steep than other techniques like wax casting or silversmithing.  A 20-gram package of fine silver clay, however, doesn't go very far, and I have yet to decide on what to do with the little bugger, despite my sketchbook full of ideas.

Then the other night, I came across this:

Tiffany Style Fine Silver Oval Pendant with Gemstones, $45(!)

I was immediately inspired to create an Etsy treasury which I aptly named Splendour in Silver, in which this piece was prominently featured.  In response, I received a lovely message from its creator, Lynnette (of MuseDesignsByLynnette), in which she confessed something: because of the sluggish sales on Etsy of late, she'd been thinking of hanging up the clay work.  Thankfully, being featured in the treasury had restored her creative energy; sales are one thing, she told me, "but being recognized by a fellow artist is even better!"  I have to confess, I was humbled by that statement--I only aspire to create something like this.

Bohemian Princess Fine Silver Pendant Necklace with Gemstone Beading, $50(!!)

You may have noticed, if you tore your eyes away for one moment from the exquisite detail in these pendants, that I've added one or two exclamation points after the prices on these.  That's because she has priced her items ridiculously low.  If you're looking for an Etsy bargain, this is it, kids.  The price of sterling silver has more than doubled in this past year, after doubling once before a year earlier; the cost of the precious metal clay alone is around $30 for a very small amount (I would suspect that she probably used an entire pack of clay on a single pendant).  These pieces, in fact all of the items in her shop, are created with precious metal clay and/or sterling silver components and genuine stones, not to mention the amount of work and love that are so obviously a part of them.  They are true Etsy steals, and I suggest you snap them up before it's too late.  Because once she gets discovered, there will be no turning back.  (Lynnette has very kindly offered to mentor me once I work up the courage to tear that package of clay open, an offer which I fully intend to accept!)

Most of the time we never become aware of the ramifications of our actions in life.  Every once in a while, though, we're reminded that our actions have consequences, so we should make sure those actions are kind, encouraging, sympathetic, or uplifting.  I had no idea, as I sat at my computer way past my bedtime creating that treasury, that it would have such an impact on another person.  But now that I know, I am so glad that I did.  Because the world without Lynnette's work would be so much less beautiful.

Until next week,

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Testing Etsy's Showcase Feature

Well, I thought I'd try Etsy's Showcase feature and see if it brings some attention to my shop.  I've never done it before, and I don't know anyone who has, so I haven't a clue how this is going to turn out.  And then I thought it might be a good idea to blog about it for the sake of other Etsy sellers, to see if it's worth doing.

The Showcase, basically, puts one item from your shop at the top of a selected category page, hopefully resulting in more views to that item, and perhaps to other items in your shop, and if you're lucky, maybe even a sale.  For example: if you sell jewelry in your shop, you book a slot (you can choose the date depending on how many slots are remaining) in Etsy's Jewelry category.  You can choose one item to be showcased, and if that item sells Etsy will bump your next choice up into the showcase slot.  The idea is to be featured on the first page of that category's search, instead of getting lost in the shuffle of the hundreds of new entries per day; the showcase keeps your item at the top of the page so that people viewing that category can see it at the top, regardless of where it is in the listings.  It sounds like a good way to get buyers' attention, since Etsy is overloaded with new items every day, and it's easy to get overlooked.

So I booked  a showcase for the glass category for today (I chose the snowflake glasses as the featured item), and I'll keep you apprised of the progress.  I'm curious to see whether this results in more hits to my shop (or perhaps items being favourited, convo queries, etc.--any evidence of my item being noticed), and am going to be paying close attention to the numbers.  If even just the view count goes up it will have been a darned good investment for $7.

I'm trying not to get my hopes up, but...well, my hopes are up, lol.  So cross your fingers for me...I'll post about the result when the showcase has expired.

Etsy's Glass section is here, and hopefully my listing will be seen at the top of the page.

Wish me luck folks...I need it. :)


edited at 1:26 PM EST (keeping in mind that most people who are going to be viewing this are in the US):
I've edited the listing so that my glass stars are listed.  On further thought it occurred to me that a) the stars tend to get a lot more attention than anything else in my shop, and b) people might be more willing to look closer at something that's a bit more affordable.   So I switched things around a bit and now the Sunrise Pastels glass star is featured in the showcase.  Now we'll see what happens from here...

Update #2:
edited at 5:40 PM EST:
Well, it's late afternoon/early evening and I've got exactly TWO new views, and one of them is a friend. Does not bode well.  Maybe people will log on in the evening? sigh...

Update #3:
edited on Sunday, 10:04 AM EST:
What a waste.  A waste of time, money, and more importantly, emotional energy.  I didn't get a single hit (the view count for a few of my items went up by exactly one, and it was a Facebook friend checking out my shop).  Very discouraging.  I really thought something would come of it, even just a hit or two...nothing.

I can't explain it--I don't know if Etsy was particularly slow yesterday, if there was something going on in the US (a holiday, particularly nice weather, etc.).  Maybe it was just the luck of the Ides?  Whatever it was, I don't recommend the Showcase feature on Etsy.  At least, it didn't work for me...if anyone else has any luck with it I'd like to know.  For the meantime, at least, I think I'll keep my $7...discouraging.

I'd appreciate hearing about anyone else's experiences with Etsy's Showcase (and Etsy in general).  I must be doing something wrong, I just don't know what it is.

Friday, 18 March 2011

New Blog!

Hi friends,

Now that I've taken about two hours to get the layout right, I can finally say: welcome to my new blog. :)

I'm going to try to be vigilant and be active here; between Facebook and Etsy and photographing and cleaning up photos and making jewelry and painting glass, I'm a bit busy! but I'll certainly make an effort.

You'll find links to the aforementioned Facebook page and Etsy shop to the left and right respectively.  I hope to use this blog for a number of purposes, including promoting my own work as well as the work of other artists, blogging about vintage jewelry, sharing interesting links, sites and shops, and babbling on about whatever may be on my mind at that particular moment.  You have been warned. :)

At any rate, I hope to be active here, in between the insanities of everyday life and business.  If you have any links or sites that you'd like to share with me, please feel free to post or email.

See you soon!

Jenn (Venus Envy Art)