Saturday, April 30, 2011

No Need for Twist Ties & Popsicle Sticks Just Yet!

Can you afford to still make jewelry? Will anyone buy it?

I'm sure you've given some thought to the market price and how it's effecting the price of your pieces and whether you sell them or not. Worry not. It's not yet time to bring out the craft sticks and twist ties.
A burning question I hear more and more often, is whether or not someone can afford to use metal clay. Yes you can!
I happen to love math. Yes, that's probably why I'm in business, right? I confess, I am a bean counter. I have to do price comparison shopping at least once a day and often more.
So I thought I'd do a quick little comparison for you of silver and it's pricing.
A 25gm pack of PMC3 is today $ 2.24 per gram (retail). Art Clay is $2.50 per gram retail. Remember PMC is net weight and AC is gross weight (27.8 vs 20gm)
If you make a pendant about the size of a nickel you are going to use roughly 7grams. That's about $15.64 for material costs.
On April 30th, 2009 PMC 25gm retail price was $1.32 per gram ($12.63 market) and 7 grams would have cost $9.24. Then over the proceeding year silver increased and on April 30th, 2010 the PMC retail was $1.50 per gram ($18.62 market) and 7 grams would have cost $10.46.
Over the last year, the price of your materials has increased $5.18. I think that it's safe to say you can still markup that pendant $12 and it won't change your market that considerably. Might you lose a few customers by charging $62 versus $50 for that pendant? Sure, but I'm guessing that you can gain customers too by changing many things in your work and branding.
Could you take a few new classes to learn to use a tool or technique that can lessen your labor cost (which is your highest cost), can you learn to combine materials to lower your cost of goods, can you find ways to trim other costs (overhead) that actually cost you more?
It's simply a marketing problem. Everything in life is a marketing problem. How can you sell this highly valued material without being "salesy" but conveying the worth, the benefits and the sense of urgency (handmade, OAK) that your customer will buy it?
It's all perspective. It's all strategy. Don't let the market keep you from buying materials. Let it encourage you to become a better artist by using your materials wisely, being a better marketer, and a better business person!

Teacher, mentor, artist and founder of The Artful Success Program, Tonya Davidson helps artists take their techniques and business skills to the next level. As the CEO and founder of Whole Lotta Whimsy she has passionately empowered artists to live creatively from the inside out. Her ezine goes out to over 11,000 subscribers. Create the life you love by subscribing to her free ezine at Be sure to check out her blog at for FREE tutorials and articles.
Thanks so much Tonya for this helpful information.
Be sure to check out my ArtFire Studio:

Friday, April 29, 2011

Ted DeGrazia


The son of Italian immigrants, Ettore DeGrazia was born June 14, 1909, in the Morenci mining camp of Territorial Arizona. His early childhood experiences in the ethnically diverse community evolved into a lifelong appreciation of native cultures in the Sonoran Desert and a passion to create art depicting their lives and lore.

After the Phelps Dodge mine closed in 1920, DeGrazia was introduced to his parent's hometown when they moved their seven children to the Calabria region of Italy. The family returned to Morenci when the mine reopened five years later. Enrolling again in the first grade to relearn English, DeGrazia–nicknamed Ted by a schoolteacher–graduated from Morenci High School when he was 23 years old. By then he was an accomplished trumpeter who performed with family and friends.

After working briefly in the mine, DeGrazia hitched a ride to Tucson with his trumpet and $15 in his pocket. He enrolled at the University of Arizona in 1933, where he supported himself planting trees on campus by day and leading a big band at night. During one performance he met Alexandra, the daughter of Fox Theater owner Nicholas Diamos. They wed in 1936 and moved to Bisbee so DeGrazia could manage the Lyric Theater there, also owned by the Diamos family. The couple had three children during this time but divorced in 1946.

To learn more about this talented artist please check the website:

I have loved and admired this man for as long as I can remember.  My mother was a needlepoint artist and worked on many of his creations.  I am fortunate to have many of them hanging in my home.  I have collected a few of his prints which he was gracious enough to autograph for me many years ago.  If you are not familiar with him, you will recognize his art when you check out his website.  He was a very generous and giving man.

DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun sponsors events throughout the year, including rotating exhibitions of original DeGrazia art, the annual fall opening of the Little Gallery to showcase visiting artists, and La Fiesta de Guadalupe every December.

My partner and I have been invited to be one of the visiting artists this December!!!  Am I excited you ask......OMG.  Ted DeGrazia had a passion for music and art that is still felt within the walls of his studio.  We will be exhibiting in his studio, the little studio with only a small fireplace for heat.  I am so excited that I am still in a fog.  I will keep you posted and wish me luck.  We will be there for ten (10) days from December 18-30.  What a magical christmas this will be for me---wow.

Good night my friends and from my soul to yours - nothing but love.

Check Out My New Diggs

Good day my little chickadees.  I know, it has been quite some time since I last blogged.  The truth is, I have been very busy setting up my new shop on ArtFire.  I still have my etsy shop but felt I needed a change.  Please drop in and check out my new diggs;o)

I must leave you now and get back to work on my new shop.  Please let me know what you think.  I will be hosting a huge sale along with a give away soon so stay posted and be sure to leave me a comment of support or give me suggestions as to how I can improve......I welcome your ideas and good words.  Perhaps my banner is too pink (I think so and am planning to change it later today) or my descriptions not exact enough.  Whatever you think, I welcome you;o)

From my soul to yours, mwaaaah!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

As You Grow Up

We were visiting our family last Thanksgiving and I spotted this sign in a quaint shop in Nevada City, CA. As I stood there and read it over and over I became so aware of life and how very fragile it is. We are not in control of our own destiny, only God is. We need to be reminded daily of how temporary this  life on earth is and make that special effort to hug someone we love, dance like no one is watching and love life to the fullest - we only go around once. Be happy and love yourself for what you are. Bloom where you are planted and always be thankful for every breath you take. I love you one and all.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

My Newest Copper Bracelet Creation

I've been working on a favorite bracelet design this past week and today it all came together.  I'll post some pictures and maybe you can get an idea of what it looks like.  I love creating with cold connections because the designs seem to develop on the table.  I always start out with a plan and cut the base pieces and what happens after that is just usually a pleasant surprise.  Here is a look at this surprise.

The toggle clasp is hand forged by me

The piece on the left is acid etched and the piece in the middle is stamped and then the adornments are added

This toggle is cut out of a circle disk then the center is cut out and the remainder is stamped.  Difficult to see that in this picture.

Some of the pieces are etched and some are stamped but they all have little added pieces that give each one of them their own distinct personality.  I am really happy with the way this one turned out.   I'm sorry that the pictures aren't better but I'm working on that all of the time.  Thanks for looking.

What do you think??

How To Steal Like An Artist

This is an interesting article on the artist in our lives.  I'd be interested in your thoughts and opinions.  There were over 200 comments on his site last time I checked so it definately invoked some serious thoughts.