Welcome to Part 3 of the B’Sue Build a Line Challenge hosted by Brenda Sue Lansdowne of B’Sue Boutiques. The essence of the challenge was to create a jewelry line based on an original concept using B'Sue components. The challenge was to develop a cohesive line based on a unique theme with a minimum of five pieces.
I have to tell you that going in five pieces seemed like a piece of cake. Five isn't so many after all. Like several of the other artists participating in the challenge, I had to overcome creative blocks and being overwhelmed with too many ideas and nowhere to start. Here are the components I started with. You can imagine how necessary it was to settle on a few elements.
Thankfully the inspiration of the group, particularly the local Denver group, helped me overcome these roadblocks and I completed my five pieces. I'm pleased with the results.
My concept was to use polymer clay to create faux soutache combined with brass elements from B'Sue Boutiques. Soutache is a traditional fiber arts technique that uses colorful braided cords to make intricate and fluid jewelry designs. I’ve interpreted the soutache in polymer clay which offers endless options for color and design. My five pieces include two bracelets, a pendant and two pairs of earrings.
In this first set I used an ornate brass frame and flowers with deep merlot, pink and blush polymer clay custom mixed colors accented with glass pearls. This set includes a pendant with a 27" chain and earrings with the brass flowers which I cut down and used as accents.
Experimenting with a two tone effect on the brass gave an interesting twist to the design. The raw brass frame was colored with Gilders Paste in silver. All of these pieces were sealed to preserve the patina and highlight the clay.
I tend to design in a free form manner with little sketching up front which adds an element of surprise but can be difficult to reproduce. In the future, I'll try sketching in advance.
The second set used the same brass ornate frame and flowers to keep the line cohesive but in this interpretation I used vintage style silver buttons and metallic cuffs that I made myself from faux leather trim. The set includes two bracelets and a pair of earrings.
I really liked the way these turned out, the use of the buttons adds interest and design and the faux leather gives a nice glow to the brass and enhances the overall look. To me this has a Southwestern look with the turquoise, gold and purple clay (hard to see the purple, kind of reads black).
There's a lot more to building a line than just designing pieces of jewelry. Pricing, branding, watching trends, tiers, selling, inventory management, taking pictures and all the business management tasks that go into a jewelry business have to be mastered for ultimate success. The class was exceptional in that each of these issues were addressed and participants had an opportunity to weigh in with their thoughts, challenges and strategies. This was a great learning and sharing experience.
I met two of my goals for the year which was to participate in more challenges and to stretch creatively. Goals I didn't know I had were to find a community of artists with similar goals and to share, share, share and to make more use of social media. These goals, while not initially identified by me, were brought to light during this challenge. That's a great side benefit! Finally, I challenged myself to try something new and learn new skills. What a great experience!
You will be amazed at how unique each of the participating artists are and how they went about realizing their vision. Each had struggles and successes which they share in their blog posts. The energy and effort each put into the challenge will be revealed as they showcase their lines. Thanks to Brenda Sue who mentored the class. It's clear how much of a commitment this was for her and how much energy and passion she put into the process. A big thanks to her and all the artists!
Please take a look at the other fantastic artists participating in the challenge by visiting their blogs below.
Brenda Sue Lansdowne, B'sue Boutiques
Mary Katherine Deis
Jennifer Merrill Williams
Denise Lussier Poirier