Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Proud Member!

I was accepted as a new member to The Artisan Group™ (TAG).  I am so proud to be amongst these elite talented artisans.  I am very excited about the prospect of celebrities wearing something that I handcrafted...it would be a dream come true! Not to mention the support my business will receive from TAG to thrive and continue to grow. It's truly an honor to be selected and I can't wait to become an active member! Keep visiting Essentials Etc. for more TAG updates. 

Read more about The Artisan Group's mission and business model (from their website www.theartisangroup.org):

At The Artisan Group™ we are on a mission to introduce Hollywood to the best of the handcrafted movement. We do it by providing owners of artisan businesses the chance to introduce their products to celebrities, industry leaders and members of the press through participation in major award show gift lounges such as those leading up to The Academy Awards*, The Golden Globes* and The Primetime Emmys*. Because The Artisan Group takes a collaborative approach to participation in these lounges, a marketing opportunity that would be prohibitively expensive for most small companies becomes surprisingly affordable.
Members of The Artisan Group showcase an array of handcrafted products, including jewelry; bath and spa products; designer stationery and paper goods; crocheted accessories; children’s apparel and toys; ceramics; purses and totes; hand-poured candles; hand-bound books and journals; illustrations and paintings; hand-dyed scarves; fine art photography; hair accessories; pet accessories and toys; and woodworked items.
The Artisan Group also offers members guidance in sales, marketing, social media and public relations. Our representatives are experienced and have acted as spokespersons for many artists at Hollywood's top gift lounges, with fantastic results. Because they know and trust us, most celebrities will pose for a professional photo with our artisans’ products.
Participation in The Artisan Group is by invitation only. The result is an exclusive, close-knit community of talented artisans who exhibit excellence of product, great product photography, impressive branding and online shop presence, unique products, an established online sales record and products appropriate (size-wise) for gifting.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Hot Off the Wire!

I absolutely love working with wire!  Wire wrapping is one of the oldest handcrafted jewelry techniques out there. The reason I enjoy it so much is because I can create cool unique pieces. I put emphasis on the word unique...pretty much all jewelry designers have the desire create the most "unique" collection in the market.  Unfortunately, that is very hard to achieve when there are so many beads, techniques and jewelers readily available to replicate (and believe me I've had my stuff replicated). With today's technology and easy accessibility to craft store classes, just about anyone can make a decent popular piece of jewelry. But that is not what I'm in the business of doing. 

I am always searching for new ways to keep my designs fresh and unique. This is what the majority of my customers want...a piece that no one else will have!  Of course you will see some familiar designs in my collections...trendy items are always great to have.  But it's important to have the ability to create unique custom pieces. This is why I invest in design school to increase and improve on the skills I have.

Essentials Etc. G-Cleft Bracelet
G-Clef Silver Wire Wrapped Bracelet
Working with wire I can create my own findings or components (earring hooks, bracelet & necklace clasps, headpins, jump rings and rings), and use mix metals...which never goes out of style. The bracelet shown here has a G-Clef as the focal and it's own unique clasp. It's very cool when pretty much anything you shape with wire can form into a fabulous piece of jewelry.

You should understand that wire working is very time consuming and requires more expensive materials, you certainly don't want to use that cheap aluminum stuff when creating your wired pieces. It does not bother me at all the time it takes to create one piece of jewelry, because I don't like to mass produce anything. So spending a little more time on a piece and having my faithful customers getting excited about these unique creations over and over, is a much better option for me. I tell my coworkers that designing jewelry is where I get my butter not my bread! I don't need to create jewelry...I love to! I have a full-time career to get me the things I need, which allows me to keep my focus on creating beautiful quality pieces of jewelry just for fun...that's what I'm most passionate about.  

If you are interested in having a custom bracelet, ring, necklace or earrings hot off the wire...please do not hesitate to contact me.  My design advice and consultations are always free!
Email me at marcia_fleming@essentialsetc.net.

History Lesson...
Examples of wire and beaded jewelry made using wire wrapping techniques date back to thousands of years BC. The British Museum has samples of jewelry from the Sumerian Dynasty, found in the cemetery of Ur that contain spiraled wire components. This jewelry is dated at approximately 2000 BC. Other samples of jewelry from Ancient Rome show wire wrapped loops (one of the important techniques in making wire wrapped jewelry). This Roman jewelry is dated to approximately 2000 years ago. In the manufacture of this early jewelry the techniques for soldering did not exist. Later, as the technique for soldering developed, the wire wrapping approach continued because it was an economical and quick way to make jewelry components out of wire.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Crocheting...But Not With Yarn!

As you know, I have many crafty addictions, crocheting being one of them.  I was thrilled to discover I could incorporate two of my favorite past times into one!  Crocheting AND jewelry design! 

Who woulda thunk?  It's actually a very easy technique to learn and beautiful to wear! 

I am having so much fun with it. I like to crochet but I LOVE to knit so that will be on my list of things to learn.  Stay tuned.

The best part about creating my first necklace was that I only used the chain...there was no real stitching involved.  (Of course there are other projects that involve more stitches). 

Don't get me wrong, it's so much easier to crochet with yarn, because yarn has more movement.  Crocheting with the wire (I used 28 gauge) doesn't move as well, and if your like me with a very tight tension it makes it even more difficult to keep things moving. 

Despite the minor challenges it works very fast and it's more interesting than stringing on wire.  After your first strand, you'll be watching your favorite show while creating wonderful pieces!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Charmed, I'm Sure

As a child I always loved charm bracelets, It was so much fun to collect a bunch of things that you love and wear them on your wrist, back in the day my love was for monkeys and many other girlie girl things.
It was back in 2000 when I saw my first Pandora bracelet; I was very impressed how they bought this charming look into a new era. This updated look with the charms strung on a snake bracelet or necklace chain is very cool, but I still like the classic charm bracelets on regular links (shown on the left). I believe that a charm bracelet should tell a story and a little about the person wearing it. For instance, I have a tropical theme bracelet that has a palm tree, a flip flop, a tropical cocktail glass, and shells. I collected most of these charms from my travels throughout the Caribbean. My story is obvious; I love tropical places...so much that I even tied the knot in beautiful Barbados! I will be sure to keep you posted on any great finds on my upcoming trips.

I love the conversation that a charm bracelet creates. It's so much fun having a girlfriend grab your wrist and check out your charm selections. Ladies here is a good tip when adorning your charms, make it your spring/summer look so it doesn't snag your beautiful winter sweaters.