Friday, September 24, 2010

1000+

According to the Flag Counter on this site, which I set going before the Sitemeter, I have now had over 1000 unique visitors. As I am not 'tech savvy' and have not really been publicising it yet, I am quite pleased. Once I have left work and can start making and promoting my Hanga brooch/pendant, I will have to devote more time to 'electronic promotion'.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The HANGA

The HANGA prototype
For some time I have been toying with the idea of designing brooches that you can hang your reading glasses from. In fact, also sun glasses, identity badges and anything else that my come to mind (maybe charms or ipod ear pieces?). My original idea was to incorporate a hanging ring into the brooch design but so far I have been unable to source any suitable solid metal (rather than plated) rings here in New Zealand. The only suitable ones I have found, from America, are not viable due to the excessive postage costs.

Keen to try out the idea, as feedback from initial discussions with several people has been very positive, I made my first prototype last month (around 15 August) purely from polymer clay. I have road tested it as a brooch, for both functionality and feedback, at the last few events that I have done. The comments have been encouraging and I have already had a couple of potential orders, so I intend to make some for this years Christmas markets. It seems quite strong and durable just being made from polymer clay – and most importantly, it works. I have used my only pair of reading glasses and they have not fallen off!

Several people have said that they do not wear brooches but would love one as a pendant, so I was considering making some of each. I want to have a wide range of colours and designs but it is inevitable that I will not have the right one available in the brooch or pendant form. Then I remembered having seen and managed to track down a 2 in 1 finding – it is a brooch pin with a bail soldered on. This means I only have to make one type. I have ordered some of these findings to try out (from Australia) and am keeping my fingers crossed that they arrive in time for me to complete the pieces I have started for the forthcoming markets.

I have spent the last few days trying to think of a name for this ‘brooch/pendant to hang your reading glasses, sun glasses or identity badge from’. Every name Colin and I came up with already existed, as some other object. The only name that did not, was the very first one I thought of – HANGA. I thought of this because it is a brooch/pendant on which you can ‘hang a’ pair of glasses, badge or other item. The name is short and catchy but not too tacky.

Also, co-incidentally, when I looked in the The Reed Dictionary of Modern Maori at work, 'hanga' can be translated as 'build, create, transform, make, compose, construct, generate, shape'. I may need to seek further clarification of this but it is better than 'hango' which is 'shovel'. Whilst an appropriate Maori translation is not essential, as I am making these in New Zealand, an affinity would be good. [I will post some more definitions of 'hanga', when I have completed my research].

So it looks like the Hanga Brooch/Pendant will be the name for my latest creation.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

New cupboard

PHOTO TO FOLLOW

This weekend has been spent unpacking from last weekend. I also bought a large cupboard to help store some of my rapidly growing array of polymer clay tools, accessories and stock. After spending most of Saturday evening putting the cupboard together, a good part of Sunday was spent sorting, tidying and re-organising, as I put things away. I have not finished, as it is taking a lot longer than I thought, and I still have not been through my existing four drawer unit, which is bursting at the seams. I want to get everything properly organised for the beginning of November, when I start my new new life as proper polymer clay artist/designer.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Two events in one weekend

On Saturday I did the Browns Bay Craft Show for the first time (I really thought I should show my work at this event as I am now a Browns Bay resident) and on Sunday I did Coatesville Market, being very lucky to get an indoor spot, in fact it was in the entrance hall where I was last time.

Browns Bay Craft Show

I am not sure what to make of my sales statistics, as I took exactly the same amount of money at each event (+ or - $1); on Saturday I sold twenty four pieces (nearly all low cost items – I actually sold out of my experimental brooches) and on Sunday I sold four pieces (higher value). I would prefer to concentrate on fewer, one-off value pieces but I do not think that ‘markets’ are the right type of sales venue. Once I have left my job, I will have the opportunity to try approaching some galleries and gift/boutique shops, as alternative outlets.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Major life change ahead

I do not normally write about personal things on this blog but this does have a direct bearing on my creative ventures. Yesterday, I handed in my notice to leave my current full-time job. I have given two months notice, instead of the one that is required, so as of 1st November, I will be free to seriously work on developing my craft ambitions.

I am really keen to try teaching some ‘Introduction to Polymer Clay Workshops’. I have been doing a lot of written preparation but once I have the time, I need to make a lot of sample pieces, showing a broad range of things that can be made with polymer clay (not just brooches), and some visual teaching aids.

Recently I have been concentrating more on the lower cost brooches so, when I have the time, I want to develop a larger collection of my higher end Art-Brooches, and investigate other outlets for these.

I have also been approached by Dunkleys Craft Shows to exhibit with them, which I would really like to do, starting with their North Shore event next year. This will require a lot of stock and preparation but I think it could be an ideal place to advertise my workshops, by demonstrating and encouraging people to sign up.

So, this major life change is a very exciting and fantastic opportunity, thanks to my very understanding husband, Colin. I just cannot wait!