Saturday, 8 May 2010

The WireWorkers Guild






















Faux Pearls in a Cluster
by Frances @ The Bead Pot

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A R T I S T
S H O W C A S E

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FRANCES @
THE BEADPOT

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I came across 'THE BEADPOT' quite
by accident and was spellbound
by Frances's beautiful crochet wire
and jewellery designs.

I feel sure you will enjoy hearing
how Frances started on her
creative journey in our recent
interview and considering that
she has only been doing wirework
for just over a year - her work is
quite outstanding! She also has some
great advice for anyone thinking
about setting up an online shop.

WHEN DID YOU START MAKING JEWELLERY AND WHAT MADE YOU USE WIRE?

I have always been passionate about beads.
Seed beads and elastic cords were a large part of my teenage years and so was crocheting and knitting. However, just a little more than a
year ago, I started making jewellery.
I bought the basic tools, beads and findings to experiment on. I learnt to make basic charm bracelets and beaded earrings from downloadable videos over the internet. I also tried my hands at stringing, but although earrings were easy, I pretty quickly found myself getting bored with stringing bracelets and that was when I knew that my love for wires prevailed. I then realised that I wanted to do a lot more with wires and I started off by making and creating ranges of charm bracelets.

















(Above) - 'Garden of Eden' Charm Bracelet

TELL US ABOUT 'THE BEAD POT' - WHAT MADE YOU OPEN YOUR 'SHOP' AND HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT ADVERTISING YOUR SITE?

I started off by making bracelets and earrings as gifts for friends and relatives, which led to my realisation, that there was indeed a demand for handmade, customised items. It was then that I decided to start a blog and try selling my items online. Hence the birth of:
http://www.beadpot.blogspot.com

The blog has also made it very convenient for everyone to view my new items without physically meeting up.

Initially, the only mode of advertising was by word of mouth and then, an online reviewer spotted one of my items and my handmade pieces started selling. I have since exchanged links with other beaders with blogshops, linked up with most online reviewers, occasionally commented on relevant forums who promote handmade artisans and I recently started a Fan Page on Facebook, where I post updates.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Bead-Pot/187213012671?v=info#/pages/The-Bead-Pot/187213012671?v=wall


I do collaborate with Online Reviewers on Giveaways as well. Also, whenever I send out an item to one of my buyers, I include 'The Bead Pot' tags, stickers or business cards, so that I can be remembered and contacted for further sales.




'Caramel Swirl'
Bracelet









I occasionally do beading parties for girls aged 5 and above. With parents usually also present, they will get my contact details for future reference. Again, word of
mouth is important here.

For those who have more time, you can always participate in off-line flea markets or craft bazaars which could potentially increase and create traffic flow to the online site. However, you have to bear in mind that all these participations will also mean that you should have a lot more available ready stock at hand.




'Turquoise
Delight'
Bracelet














WHAT INSPIRES YOU MOST WHEN DESIGNING?
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE DESIGN?

I love walking into a bead shop and get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of beads, colours, shapes and sizes! I also like fabric with abstract designs and colours. It does give me an idea on how to mix and match my colours. Like others, I leaf through beading and jewellery books and magazines for ideas or new techniques and I also drool over exquisite wirework by other handmade artisans. I do have a lot of ideas, sometimes not knowing where, or when to start! I will sketch it out on paper if I have a clear visual in my head, or write down what I want to experiment on. At times, I just have a block and that's when I take a longer break than usual ...







'Turquoise
Delight' -
Crocheted
Bangle






I particularly like the colour of copper and I simply love charm bracelets. I also love spirals, swirls, twists and twirls and that is what WIRE is all about! My favourite design has to be my bangles and crocheted cuff bracelets.







'Peaches &
Strawberries'
Bangle









YOU CREATE BEAUTIFUL WIRE CROCHET DESIGNS. ARE YOU SELF-TAUGHT, OR HAVE YOU BEEN TO CLASSES?

I did sign up for a half-day basic wire jewellery class last year and after that, it's all creativity coupled with experiments and lots of practice. Goodness knows just how much wire I have wasted and beads and crystals I have broken! But hey, 'no loss, no gain', right? There's still A LOT to be learnt and a LONG way to go to reach where some great wirework artisans are
right now, but that's the growth journey and I'm going for it!













(Above) - 'Gardenville - Watermelon' Bangle

As I mentioned earlier, I learnt how to knit and crochet
as a teenager. So getting to put those skills to use and treat wire as yarn is exhilirating. I love the outcome and actually can't stop making them. Using different beads and different colour palettes and 'voila'!
















(Above) - 'Pearl Princess' Cuff

DESCRIBE YOUR AVERAGE WEEK WITH ALL THE DIFFERENT THINGS YOU DO?

I hold a full time job, so I only have about 2 to 3 hours every night before bedtime to work on bits of a project. It also really depends on the number of orders I get in the week. I usually complete easier projects first and finish the more complicated ones during the weekend. At the weekend, I try to do as much as I can during the day to maximise natural daylight (for photos of a completed project, etc...). Of course, not forgetting all the household chores too! (*laugh*!).













(Above) - 'Peach & Strawberries' Necklace Set

DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER INTERESTS BESIDES CREATING WIRE & BEAD JEWELLERY?

Playing and practising my violin used to take a whole lot of time in a week. The moment my beads and wires made an appearance I couldn't cope and my violin took a backseat seat and still does (*chuckles!*). In between my beads and wires, I also have a passion for baking and cooking which I indulge in during off-peak times, when my orders are low.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE WISHING TO SET UP AN ONLINE STORE?

My main tip is: passion. Without passion in what you do, the online store will not sustain itself. You should have loads of patience too. Patience when making mistakes - learning through trial and error, patience with frustrations - to try and try again ...

Bearing in mind that selling online means that buyers are unable to touch, hold or see the item they wish to buy, clear descriptions and precise measurements, as well as good, clear, large photographs (of all angles, if possible) are extremely important.

I currently maintain one online blogshop at:
http://www.beadpot.blogspot.com

and a fan page on Facebook at:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Bead-Pot/187213012671?v=info#/pages/The-Bead-Pot/187213012671?v=wall


There are plenty of other sites such as eBay and Etsy that you can also use to sell and promote your handmade items in, but only if you're able to cope - should there be a surge in orders. Of course, I'm not saying it's bad too have many orders, however,
I personally believe in maintaining a good balance between hobby/passion and life itself.


'Happy Valley' (Teal) Necklace

7 comments:

  1. Great interview and lovely jewellery. I love the Turquoise Delight bracelet.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very inspiring interview and some great internet selling pointers. I especially love the Gardenville Bangle ....time to dust off my crotchet hook! I have played around with the crotchet hook and Bullion (Bouillon?) wire which I came across in a florists section of a craft store. I found this easier than normal wire to use as the kinks gave it a bit more "give" and was therefore easier to manipulate. Still had sore fingers at the end of it but persistence as ever is the key to toughening up! Many thanks for sharing on this Blog and providing even more motivation.

    ReplyDelete
  3. That's good advice about the florist wire!

    I also love the 'organic' birds-nest-look of Frances's beautiful bangles, interspersed with Magpie jewels ...

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am appreciative of this opportunity Laura. :) In fact, am inspired to make some more. :)

    Sky Pixie, I have sore fingers (and blisters) too, every time I complete one crocheted bangle. It would be a challenge to make a second one immediately. Will need "finger rest".

    I am currently experimenting with knitting wires but they don't seem to knit well. Any tips?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Frances and good to hear that I'm not the only one with sore fingers ....not that I wish that sort of thing on people!!

    I haven't yet tried out knitting wire. However, yesterday I received some silk covered wire (www.wires.co.uk) ....ohhh, the excitment of new things! Not that I've done much with them yet, but the silk does fray and unravel away at the ends and does anyone have any tips for overcoming this? Glue? Clear nail varnish? I think they'll be lovely for making wirey beads, with the ends tucked away neatly. I also got some Bronze wire (0.9 mm and 1.0 mm) and this manipulates beautifully ...halfway between silver plate and copper wire and I love the slight and light orangey tinge to it. Quite expensive but although copper has always been my favourite it might overcome those customers that love the look of copper but insist that they'll turn green!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hey Sky Pixie,
    Nice to always experiment on new things. :) I have used cotton cords before and to seal the ends, use a drop of strong clear glue and let it seep in. But I think nail varnish is a good idea too. Otherwise, try swaying the tip of a lighter at the ends and see if it burns and curls. If it does, it should seal pretty nicely under slight heat... :)

    I must say brass gold wires also turn green after a while. Can ketchup do the job of "polishing" the wires?

    ReplyDelete
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