My Featured Customer of the Month – Kyra, and her GISHWHES Exploits!

It’s that time of the month again – no, not THAT time of the month. At least not since I had my hysterectomy (best surgery I ever had, by the way!) too much info – of course! But you kept reading, didn’t you…

Now time to read about one of my amazing customers – Kyra!!

Kyra and I met at VanCon this past August. She liked my hand stamped pieces and commissioned me to make her one of my signature wrap necklaces. A lady with impeccable taste!

Kyra with some chick named Felicia Day...seems a bit familiar to me...

Kyra with some chick named Felicia Day…seems a bit familiar to me…

Not only is this a feature on Kyra, she is also guest poster as well. She did an incredible write-up about her recent experiences with GISHWHES – a must-read!

For those who don’t know, GISHWHES is the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen.  And this is the brainchild of none other than Misha Collins – so you know you’re in for a wild ride.

So without further ado – take it away Kyra!!

My name is Kyra Hall, I’m a writer and am going to college with a focus in early childhood development education.

photo 1

Meanwhile, I work at a playcenter in Bellevue, WA, called Wiggleworks. Perhaps a bit cliche, but I do believe children are the future, and that the written word is one of the most powerful forms of communication we possess.

Aside from writing, I am also adept at making stained glass and dried floral arrangements. I am also an aerial dancer and a scuba diver in my spare time. Most everything, to me, can become an artform.

The reason I find handmade jewelry more alluring than factory made is quite simply the uniqueness, the time and effort that is put into each piece is irreplaceable.

When someone creates something, a little piece of themselves goes along with it.

Store bought items have such a uniformity to them that all of the heart that would be otherwise put into them is lost when sold and pocketed into the hands of thousands.

Instead of a simple exchange from creator to buyer, you get a hundred other factors measured in. It’s messy.

Pieces that stand out to me are stamped pieces, but just because I like rugged/simple things and oooh, shiny!

Crystals also get to me because as they say, there’s some kind of energy that they just seem to have. I enjoy the thought behind that.

The wirewrap necklaces stood out to me. Honestly, though, all of your jewelry is very well done and intriguing. You also really communicate with your customers, something not a lot of people do.

I don’t have any pictures of my actual stained glass because I gave away all of my pieces, the most notable being a mermaid.

There is a Castiel piece I did for GISHWHES. It wound up being done at 3am, and is actually puffy paint, pastel paints, and plexiglass.

Kyra's Stained Glass Depiction of Castiel - it RAWKS!

Kyra’s Stained Glass Depiction of Castiel – it RAWKS!

I did buy a sheet of glass and got a new glass cutter for the task but didn’t have enough time to venture it, as I’m sure most participants found.

GISHWHES itself is like a weeklong sprint. It was my first year this year! I didn’t even know it existed until I saw one of my friends on Tumblr mention it…. Then I started searching the tag and saw so many people looking for others to join their team.

So I messaged someone I thought I might get along with. I registered the day after registration closed for team Mishapocalypse.

By the time GISHWHES started we’d been merged with another team, and were finalized as MishapocalypseLovesScalenebunch with most members being in Tennessee, Maryland, and Canada.

One of my good friends now was in the UK and I was solo in Seattle.

We ended with around 5,600 points, over half of the possible, though nowhere near some teams.

So how did we do it?

Easy… ish. Before GISHWHES started it was important to assess everyone’s strengths and hobbies. We set up a facebook group, exchanged phone numbers, and made a google document for all of the items for us to sign up for and then update when we completed and uploaded them.

Day 1 was the hardest part, because when the list went up, we went crazy. About a third of the items were claimed, some we deemed impossible (like getting Jared to tweet Misha a compliment, or getting the international space station to acknowledge us. I COULD have gotten a CEO to dance to Single Ladies… but he was out of town with his sick family).

Day 1 was a planning day, where the flash mob was planned, I payed my local paper to make an ad for Destiel, we made a twitter clock (and exceeded the required amount of followers in two hours.

I also tweeted Osric about it and he followed us as well). But that wasn’t enough. So I made another facebook group with all of my friends in town that were willing to help me.

Every day I had three to four items planned, and often got an extra two or three in the middle of the night (like sewing teabags together for a bathingsuit that leaked no matter what I did, or duct taping plywood and gloves together for another outfit item).

Kyra's boxing glove ensemble - this is a riot!!

Kyra’s boxing glove ensemble – this is a riot!!

One day after work I drove three hours to the border of Canada to find a camel – only to find that the people not only knew about GISHWHES at the fair where they were, but also had many participants already by there.

That's Kyra. On a camel.  In CANADA.  I'm not sure which is funnier - that Misha Collins had this on the list or that Kyra FOUND one - Kudos, girl!

That’s Kyra. On a camel. In CANADA. I’m not sure which is funnier – that Misha Collins had this on the list or that Kyra FOUND one – Kudos, girl!

Another day I drop to the dog park to pitch a quoit in my finest medieval garb.

By Thursday, I was a little depressed. Teammembers kept dropping things they were going to do, and two dropped the scavenger hunt entirely.

I picked up a few of their impossible items…. And wound up driving another three hours in the middle of the dark last minute with a friend who happened to have a steampunk outfit because she happened to find a public park with an actual steam train in it.

But that was Saturday, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Thursday I went into Seattle and got four signatures for a petition to pave California’s beaches.

Some other Seattlite GISHWHESeans reported the Pike’s Place Market police to be a little unhappy at them being there…. But when I went around with my (not exactly welcomed) petition, I got hugs from them for another item… breaking the world record of hugs! For which I got 36, and my team surpassed the amount possible for a team.

Hugs for GISHWHES!

Hugs for GISHWHES!

I also took off my shirt for a bit of a risky “Sock Monkey Apparel” display. Then I grabbed my friends, shoved them in my car, and we raced off to my old junior high to have a pool party in a dumpster. We didn’t beat the sun, though….

Just when you thought 'dumpster' and 'pool party' couldn't be used in the same sentence!

Just when you thought ‘dumpster’ and ‘pool party’ couldn’t be used in the same sentence!

Kyra - you wear it well!  However, I don't think I can look at my son's sock monkey quite the same way again, lol!

Kyra – you wear it well! However, I don’t think I can look at my son’s sock monkey quite the same way again, lol!

Friday was my last big day. Considering I worked every day, I think I did really well.

Friday was my bungee jump day. I met other amazing GISHWHEseans there, one who had had an accident in a plane and was afraid of heights. She told us that without us, she wouldn’t have made the jump. But she did, and I am so proud of her.

I actually wound up going first for everyone else. Haha!

And once the timer went up on the GISHWHES home site, it was all back to normalcy and everyday work. We laughed, we cried, we were all friends by then. None of us were ready to say goodbye.

And none of us can wait to do it all again.

Jodi here again – WOW, Kyra – your experiences sound like a Dali painting. Or a typical day in my house.

The camel story cracked me up – unreal!!

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us! It makes me want to join in the madness next time!!

As all of you know, while I’m In addition to my etsy shop, I am trying to establish my jewelry on the Supernatural (SPN) and Vampire Diaries.

In an effort to try to build my business, I have a Click Start Me campaign http://tinycs.me/9T

The Click Start Me campaign allows me to help cover my travel expenses and get my business to the point where it’s self-sustaining and enough to support my family. And it also is a way I can give back to YOU – for every donation, you will receive a gift certificate towards my shop!

The gift certificate will be worth the exact amount of your donation! And it doesn’t stop there. If you donate $25 or more, I will add an ADDITIONAL $25 to your gift certificate! For example:

If you donate $10, you will receive a gift certificate for $10.

If you donate $25, you will receive a gift certificate for $50

If you donate $50, you will receive a gift certificate for $75, and so on and so on!

And you know what totally rocks about my gift certificates? They NEVER EXPIRE! They’re valid until you spend them, so you’re not put into a time crunch to use it or lose it!

I now offer incentives for SHARING my campaign! If you share my Click start Me link with someone who donates, YOU will get a gift certificate for my shop for $25!!

I also wanted to remind you that I am having an amazing deal the entire month of September – if you go to my shop http://www.eldwenne.etsy.com – I am offering FREE US SHIPPING!! Just use coupon code FSSEPT at checkout in order to receive your free shipping!!

Just a few days left, so jump on the ship now!

Thank you, everyone!

Advertisements

Happy Autumnal Equinox, When Imitation Really Isn’t the Sincerest Form of Flattery and TorCon Crunch Time

The Autumnal Equinox is here today!  For those on the Pagan path, it is known as Mabon. Mabon is the day where the day is perfectly balanced between daylight and night.  It’s a time to pay respect to the harvest.

Most of us, I assume, are not farmers.

It’s not just about produce, my friends.  What we cultivate in our lives, be it gardens, spirituality, our bonds with our family and friends, as far as I’m concerned, are all points of reflection as we wind down the Wheel of the Year towards Samhain.

We did an early celebration last weekend by walking through my favorite place on the planet – Stokes State Forest, and took awe in nature’s beauty.

Salamander enjoying my husband's Pink Floyd cuff

Salamander enjoying my husband’s Pink Floyd cuff

Every living thing we encountered was something to be marveled and appreciated.  Listening to the sounds of the forest was soothing.

My son, Phoenix, calming down poor salamnder after trippy experience with my husband's Pink Floyd cuff

My son, Phoenix, calming down poor salamnder after trippy experience with my husband’s Pink Floyd cuff

Can you find the critter in this pic?   An adorable tree frog clings to his tree, praying that we leave him in peace! (We did).

Can you find the critter in this pic?
An adorable tree frog clings to his tree, praying that we leave him in peace! (We did).

Here are some of my autumn-inspired pieces, all of which are available at http://www.eldwenne.etsy.com

A ring gorgeous crimson red and gold glass bead wrapped in silver - inspired by the fallen leaves

A ring gorgeous crimson red and gold glass bead wrapped in silver – inspired by the fallen leaves

Elegant, simple, yet sophisticated

Elegant, simple, yet sophisticated

Beach stone wrapped in woven silver goddess spirals on an umber organza cord

Beach stone wrapped in woven silver goddess spirals on an umber organza cord

Amber mosaic tile wrapped in silver, framed with thick silver and embellished with a crystal and pentacle drop

Amber mosaic tile wrapped in silver, framed with thick silver and embellished with a crystal and pentacle drop

Burnt orange and brown feather earrings with ruby Swarovski crystals on chains earrings

Burnt orange and brown feather earrings with ruby Swarovski crystals on chains earrings

Goddess spiral glass wrap bracelet in browns, golds, and wines

Goddess spiral glass wrap bracelet in browns, golds, and wines

And don’t forget, all September long I am offering FREE SHIPPING TO THE US with coupon code FSSEPT!! I hope all of you find something to reflect upon and appreciate today! Now on to something I really DON’T appreciate (yes…rant…slowly…building…look out…danger, danger, Mr. Robinson…)

Remember the old, trite expression your mom always told you when your little sister kept mimicking your every move? “Dear, it’s because she looks up to you!  Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

Maybe the imitator’s intent is to flatter, but to the imitatee whose hard work is being ripped off, capitalizing off my hard work – It’s rather insulting.

I spend HOURS each day reading and researching how to build my brand and how to make my mark unique and standout. This is on top of spending inordinate hours honing my craft, learning new techniques, scheduling events, creating the actual pieces, etc. It’s a labor of love because I do look at my business as if it’s a living, breathing thing that needs to be nurtured, cared for, and encouraged; like a child.

I’ve always been extremely open to giving advice, being a shoulder to lean on, and mentoring people. I’ve always done this and continue to do this all the time. If someone asks for help, I’m there with bells on. I just find it distasteful to blatantly use the same design elements, tag lines, and discount offers (at the same TIME as my offers, no less, with practically the same coupon code!!). I worked very closely with a graphic designer to develop my own unique flavor:

MINE MINE MINE!!! No, I'm not territorial...really!  Well..maybe a tad...

MINE MINE MINE!!! No, I’m not territorial…really! Well..maybe a tad…

If I had been asked, I might’ve been able to offer advice, to help them develop their own sense of self that worked more fittingly with their products. In the world of the creative, one would think that the journey of finding one’s niche, building one’s own identity would be relished and devoured to the point of coming up with some kick-ass stuff.

I refuse to change my brand just because others have decided to take my hard work as their own. I still believe that my brand is a strong one and even though there may be a slew of copycats out there in the creative world, I refuse to let them bring me down.

And now that my rant for the week is over (for now!), let’s talk about the upcoming Salute to Supernatural event that’s coming up next month – TorCon!!

I’m super excited to be going – I’ve been told that TorCon is going to outdo VanCon by a longshot – so I’ve put my nose to the grindstone and have been delving even harder into broadening my horizons from a design standpoint.

Hand-stamped pieces are getting to be more sophisticated, as I learned how to do some great texturing effects, like on this piece: I will be ready, willing and able to take on most stamping requests, so if you’ve got a stamping need, I’m your woman! The pieces can be anything you want!!

While I was asked to do a ton of SPN-related pieces, I also was asked to do a ton more of personal, non-SPN pieces as well.  Stamping allows me to customize something specifically for YOU! So don’t be shy to ask me for anything!

Rev up the impala with this necklace!

Rev up the impala with this necklace!

Every driver's motto

Every driver’s motto

Additionally, I have so many new pieces waiting at the helm to be revealed and I look forward to sharing them with you!  Many more wrap-necklaces, wrap-bracelets, one of a kind rings, earrings, etc are all going to be waiting for you!! While I gear up for TorCon, I am still in need of support.  I have both a Click Start Me campaign as well as a Go Fund Me campaign. I started with the Go Fund Me campaign a while back and then discovered Click Start Me, which has been much more visible. Go Fund Me link is: http://www.gofundme.com/EldwennesFantasySPN Click Start Me link is: http://tinycs.me/9T Both campaigns offer the same kick-ass incentives! For each donation, you will receive a gift certificate worth the amount of your donation! The gift certificates never expire, so no time crunch to use ’em or lose ’em.  They’re good until you spend them!  They are good towards all jewelry in my shop http://www.eldwenne.etsy.com

Gift certificate given for EVERY donation, in the amount of your donation!  $25 or more will receive an ADDITIONAL $25 added!

Gift certificate given for EVERY donation, in the amount of your donation! $25 or more will receive an ADDITIONAL $25 added!

If you donate $25 or more, I will add an ADDITIONAL $25 to your gift certificate!  For example: A donation of $10 – you will receive a gift certificate worth $10! A donation of $25 – you will receive a gift certificate worth $50!! A donation of $50 – you will receive a gift certificate worth $75!!! And so on and son on…. If you can’t donate, I’d really appreciate it if you spread the word by sharing these links – it’s not just about getting me to TorCon – it’s about helping a woman jumpstart her small business.

The boys enjoying the handmade jewelry I gave them for their beautiful wives

The boys enjoying the handmade jewelry I gave them for their beautiful wives

Misha Collins shopping around at my table at a Salute to Supernatural convention!

Misha Collins shopping around at my table at a Salute to Supernatural convention!

Thank you and I look forward to hopefully seeing you at TorCon!!

Prepping for TorCon, Being Anti-Trendy, and Who Wants to be my Featured Customer of the Month?!?

TorCon – the final frontier.   These are the voyages of the blue-haired one-boot wearing jewelry designer…

Sorry for the cheese, I was just really struggling with an opening line.

So as you can tell from the title of this post – TorCon is happening and I’m busy as a bee (btw – bees never really looked too busy to me- they look more like drunken little things and their flower-hopping is the equivalent to a pub crawl).

drunk bee

Anyway, I thought a post about my prepping process might be a tad interesting.

The first thing I always do is take an inventory of the pieces that I have on hand to see where I’m short, for example, I have close to 150 necklaces but only 35 pairs of earrings.

MedievalWire Necklacephoto 1photo 3

That at least gives me a push in what area to work on.

Then I take a good look at the designs of the pieces that I have.  Do I have a decent variety?  Or do I have the same design done to death on most of them?

More often than not I find that I need to push my creative boundaries and challenge myself with a new design element or technique.

Once I find that I need to change things up a bit – the motivation bug bites (not the drunken bee sting) and I start reading tons of materials on new weaving techniques that I haven’t tried or have only tried once or twice.

Another thing I’ll do is dig into my older supplies to find mediums/stones/crystals/etc. that I haven’t ever used or haven’t used in a long time.  Sometimes just looking at the supplies makes 1,000 ideas pop into my head all at once!

The one thing you will NEVER see in my shop or at a convention – trends.  Call me weird, call me crazy, call me anti-profit – I REFUSE to make pieces that are ‘the latest thing’ or ‘in Vogue’ or whatever.  That’s not why I make jewelry.

My jewelry – each and every piece – is about creative expression. Uniqueness.  You’re not going to see pieces that look like something store-bought where everything is so perfect that it looks as if a machine made it.

You’re going to find pieces that have very human elements.  You’re going to see that one of the rows in a weave may be slightly crooked.  You’re going to see asymmetry.  Because it’s about demonstrating the humanity in the work.  I don’t want to emulate a machine, I am producing what my hands produce.

photo 1Goddess Spiral Silver Ringphoto 3photo 2photo 3

I can’t tell you how many people tell me how my work is so different than most and I find that to be such a tremendous compliment.

I’ve gotten the snide remark here and there as well.  “Oh, your stuff is, um – different.”  Damn straight.

I don’t mind getting the odd negative reaction.  It means that I’m getting honest responses from people and I value that.  And as an artist – I like to think about how Andy Warhol recommended to others to not worry about the content of the criticism, but to count the number of responses you’re getting.  Kind of like being the kid starving for attention, so you’ll take the negative in with the positive, lol! Attention is attention!

I digress (as per usual).  This is my long-winded way of saying my designs are my designs and not remixes or replications of what you will find everywhere else.  Why come to me then?  What makes my stuff attractive if you can buy the same stuff somewhere else?

Yes, I’m a business and I do need to sell my pieces.  But I’m an artist and my jewelry is my art.  And my art is all about individuality, uniqueness, and wearing my heart on my sleeve, er, wrap necklace.  You get my drift, I hope!

I mean, if it’s good enough for Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki (yes, the boys are holding Eldwenne’s Fantasy jewelry that I made for their wives), then you’re in great company!!

The boys own my jewelry,  you can too!

The boys own my jewelry, you can too!

Even Misha Collins enjoyed perusing my table - and remembered my work!!

Even Misha Collins enjoyed perusing my table – and remembered my work!!

What I do love to make a lot of, especially when I’m gearing up for a convention, is a lot of Supernatural-themed pieces.  Now that I’ve gotten a great response with my hand-stamped jewelry (Son of a Bitch necklace, anyone?), I want to take it to the next level and make new SPN jewelry that mixes hand-stamped with wire-wrapping and see how far I can push the design elements.

I learned that from the...

I learned that from the…

Dean's Catch Phrase

Dean’s Catch Phrase

photo-15

Like a bracelet stamped with ‘Moose’ and hammered away with a beautiful texture, holes punched around the perimeter with gorgeous crystals dangling from it.  How cool is that?

If there is a Supernatural idea you would like to see me create – let me know!  I’d love to make it a reality for you!

As you all know, I feature a customer of the month for the last week of every month.  If you’ve bought a piece from me, I’d really love to feature you.  I just need you to send me a pic or two of yourself wearing my pieces – eldwenne@yahoo.com.

I’ll then send you five questions where you’ll have the opportunity to talk all about yourself, promote your own business, shout out to whomever you want to, and talk about what handmade means to you.

It’s a great way to connect and I look forward to hearing from you!

So I’m off to now work on more for TorCon.  I do hope to see you there – if you’re going, please stop by and say hi!  I really love meeting all of you.  It helps inspire me to continue to do what I do, and I hope it brings you closer to enjoying handmade art.

I am trying to get to as many conventions as possible in order to build my business so I have a Click Start Me campaign http://tinycs.me/9T

The Click Start Me campaign allows me to help cover my travel expenses and get my business to the point where it’s self-sustaining and enough to support my family.  And it also is a way I can give back to YOU – for every donation, you will receive a gift certificate towards my shop: http://www.eldwenne.etsy.com.

Gift Certificate for www.eldwenne.etsy.com

Gift Certificate for http://www.eldwenne.etsy.com

The gift certificate will be worth the exact amount of your donation!  And it doesn’t stop there.  If you donate $25 or more, I will add an ADDITIONAL $25 to your gift certificate!  For example:

If you donate $10, you will receive a gift certificate for $10.

If you donate $25, you will receive a gift certificate for $50

If you donate $50, you will receive a gift certificate for $75, and so on and so on!

And  you know what totally rocks about my gift certificates?  They NEVER EXPIRE!  They’re valid until you spend them, so you’re not put into a time crunch to use it or lose it!

I also wanted to remind you that I am having an amazing deal the entire month of September – if you go to my shop http://www.eldwenne.etsy.com – I am offering FREE US SHIPPING!!  Just use coupon code FSSEPT at checkout in order to receive your free shipping!!
Thank you for reading and I’ll see you at TorCon!!

VanCon 2013: I Cut Off DJ Qualls’ Head, Dick Roman in the Elevator, and Rude Jewelry Sells Well

I need to start this post with several huge acknowledgments. I’ve said this so many times already but I need to express how genuinely thankful I am to everyone who contributed to my Go Fund Me campaign. You got me … Continue reading