Sunday, January 31, 2016

Getting "the" look...

One of the things that plagues many artists is getting the look of the "brand" just right. Over the years, from the beginning of this business back in 2009, I have tried so many different colours and textures for my packaging. And while I wasn't unhappy with the look, I wasn't happy, either. Just as my jewellery has evolved, so has my vision of what the branding should be.

Finally, I have the look I want for The Selkie's Haunt. All Selkie's Haunt jewellery will now be sent out in beautiful brown kraft paper pillow boxes, accented by deep green raffia ribbon and the Celtic knotwork graphic I've chosen as my logo. The jewellery will be wrapped in gorgeous green mulberry tissue paper before being placed in the box. And once the package is tagged and bedecked with ribbon, bubble wrap will be placed around the box before it goes into a padded envelope. Even the mailing labels have been changed so as to give a consistent brand look.

The website has been given a makeover to reflect the new branding, as well. As I move forward with my new designs, they will continue to be presented on a white background with a green frame. So, it only took me seven years, but, at last, I have the look I have wanted for the brand. (And, yes, even this blog has been changed to reflect the new brand colours.)

I've been spending time in the studio working on new designs. I have the beginnings for three pairs of copper earrings complete now after a day of cutting, sawing, soldering, pickling, and tumbling. I will be working on some bronze earrings as well and hope to have at least six new pairs of earrings ready by mid-February. Some of the new earrings will have posts rather than hooks and these will be done in sterling silver. I am making the posts myself, as part of my quest to provide as much as I can that is handmade. The only thing I can't make by hand are the earring backs, so those will be bought in. I simply don't have the equipment or expertise for making those myself.

I recently purchased some beautiful 3.5mm cabochon pairs in six different gemstones. These will be adorning new earrings and I'm so excited about the prospects of more jewellery featuring set stones. I will be creating some rings and brooches along with the necklaces, bracelets, and earrings that I have offered for the past seven years. I hope you will love them as much as I will love creating them.

Finally, I am thrilled to announce that The Selkie's Haunt will be taking part in some of the very popular Poolewe Tuesday Markets, starting in April. I look forward to being part of this very successful market. In addition, The Selkie's Haunt will be featured in the Dornoch Summer Exhibition from May 21 to June 4. I'm looking forward to creating some very beautiful pieces for this exhibition.

Friday, January 1, 2016

The promise and potential of a new year!

There is something incredibly inspiring about turning the page on a whole new year; a blank page that is limited only by the imagination, ready to fill with dreams and aspirations. I love the idea of a new year, new ideas, and new goals.

I have been working very hard over the last year, trying to perfect new techniques and skills. Some of those you can already see amongst my offerings – metalwork that allows me to create organic shapes and soldering metals for even more three-dimensional designs, amongst other new designs and techniques. And I intend to keep going with these to create even more sculptural pieces of jewellery. In addition to more and more sophisticated metalwork, I will be working with set gemstones and cabochons. I look forward to bringing more innovative designs to you in the coming year. I will be working with even larger pieces of metal and will be creating my own chains and clasps. My goal is to create pieces that entirely handmade - without anything bought in already complete. In the past, I have used already-made chain, clasps, jump rings, etc. But that will no longer be the case. It may take me a little longer to make pieces, but I will be so proud, knowing that I created every single part of the design (excluding, of course, the stones used). I am having a great time creating interesting clasps, so look for more in the future that take on the appearance of leaves, flowers, and geometric shapes.

Speaking of stones used, you may have noticed the inclusion of small faceted gemstones in some of my designs. I have been including small A-grade stones as accents for several months now and intend to continue doing so. These stones come to me from the same gemmologist who supplies the highly graded gemstone beads I use in my fine jewellery range, Ailleas Designs by Martha Mawson. I felt and still feel that just because the metal is base, the stones needn't be basic. So more beautiful gemstones will be showing up in the jewellery from The Selkie's Haunt. In addition, the cabochons and cut stones that will appear over the next year are being sourced from a respected London-based gems specialist and a fellow member of the National Association of Jewellers. While I adore the colours and earthy feel of the less highly graded stones, and they will continue to make up the majority of those stones used in the bronze and copper jewellery, I see no reason not to include some really dazzling stones as well.

Health issues continue to slow me down, but certainly not in the area of creating my jewellery. Christmas was an exceptionally busy time for me and I need to create more to give my clients even more choice in choosing their piece of bronze or copper artisan jewellery. The website will be continually updated to share new pieces with you. In addition to continuing to sell from the website and from events,  I would like to make my jewellery more available to stockists on a wholesale basis. I will be seeking out new stockists, reaching farther out in Scotland and beyond. I would certainly welcome any recommendations my customers might make regarding local shops or galleries that may be interested in carrying my work. So, please do get in touch if you have any ideas or suggestions.

The Selkie’s Haunt had a good 2015. I hope 2016 will be even better!