Getting near my computer these days is tricky, what with GCSE revision and all that entails… So here’s just a snapshot of last weekend in Cornwall, and the idea that summer might be on the way at last!
(and yes, I did finish stacking all those logs!)
So last weekend saw me at my first ‘real’ craft fair, in Lostwithiel in Cornwall. The last month has been a bit manic, creating enough stock for 3 new shops and preparing my stall for Sunday. I really wasn’t sure how much to take, or which items would be best… In the end I stuck mostly to lots of smaller pieces – earrings and rings – a few examples of my best-selling bangles, and a handful of my favourite (and more expensive) jewellery, just in case.
So I got there in plenty of time, and began to set up. I had two lovely stallholders either side of me – a photographer and a glass maker – but we all had to be very careful not to knock each other’s tables, as it was a bit of a tight squeeze. My youngest daughter had helped me out the day before, when I had a practice table run, so I knew what I wanted where. Well, roughly!
I must say that I was quite pleased with the result. I’d spent quite a bit of time dithering over how to display everything, what ‘accessories’ I needed, how to create interest. In the end I went with very simple. My other half turned a couple of canvasses into necklace boards, I took along a batch of sea glass for colour (as well as a lovely purple cloth), and an album of pictures of my jewellery. I had already made some small cards which Friday night saw me piercing with earrings and stitching rings onto. And I had only positive comments about all of it from the attendees.
Unfortunately there weren’t that many of them, thanks to the Cornish weather. The photographer beside me said he had been there the previous two years and done really well; on Sunday he sold two prints. In fact, I think the only ones to sell anything much were the guys with the ‘junk’ stall opposite, who appeared to sell half of their stock…. But I did sell some pieces to some very lovely customers with great stories. And two lovely gents bought pieces for their ladies. Plenty of other people stopped to chat, ask about my products, watch me crocheting silver wire and took business cards for future use (hopefully!). There was one lady who asked what I did with the sea glass, whilst standing right in front of several rings and pendants made of… yes, you guessed, wrapped sea glass! You have to wonder.
All in all though, I did quite enjoy it, even if it wasn’t hugely profitable. I may even do another! But I have learned, I think, that I need to search out the fairs which suit my products. And in future, when in a room with three other jewellery stalls selling fashion, silver plate and aluminium jewellery, I need to have a big sign saying ‘Sterling and Fine Silver’ for people to see before they check the price, then they won’t be quite so surprised when it’s the most expensive there…
This weekend I delivered my first selection of jewellery for The Clementine, two lovely shops which you can find in Cornwall – in Truro and Fowey – and online. The selection was chosen by Jennie and Ali from The Clementine to complement their existing stock, and was delivered in time to be in store during the Fowey Festival (formerly the Du Maurier Literary Festival).
I sell my sea glass rings through all of my stockists, but the necklaces and bangles you see here are available exclusively through The Clementine.
Should you be in Cornwall at all, I suggest you pay them a visit – and not just to view my sea glass delights, but also all the other gorgeous items they sell. They really are gift treasure troves!
Also available through the shop are these new narrow Vine Bangle designs; I’ve been making chunkier ones for some time, but these narrower ones are perfect for those of you who like a more delicate bracelet.
It seems that this week I have done little in the workshop that hasn’t involved a blow torch – this isn’t a bad thing, I love firing! I’m trying to get myself prepared. I have stock to provide for my two latest stockists by the end of next week, and I’m attending my first craft fair in a couple of weeks, which means I need to get making.
Many of my pieces have a plain hammered bangle as the main component, so I thought I’d share the making process with you.
First the silver wire is cut to size…
…and hammered whilst still straight.
The cut wire is then filed at the ends, ready to be joined. Once the wire is ready, it is soldered under extreme heat:
Following soldering, the bangle is quenched in pickle, then doused in cold water
A quick shaping on the mandrel with a rubber mallet…
…and a sanding to perfect the surface…
…and they’re ready to send for hallmarking before the final polish!