I'm so glad I took the time to take a class at Philadelphia Beadfest in the spring. In that class I learned how to use colored pencils on copper metal, how to properly clean metal before using it and how to rivet. The riveting part of the class wasn't the focus and it only took up a small part of our time in class, however, I found that it was the most valuable part of the day for me. Taking the techniques on riveting I learned there I created some of my favorite pieces of work this year.
The first design is my "moon over mountains" necklace with hematite. The moon and mountains are both riveted to a heavier gauge of copper metal. The second design is a sterling silver sea turtle necklace. I created the body and shell separately giving them both texture, raising the shell and then riveting the two parts together.
I'm not ready to do soldering yet so having riveting as a technique is a wonderful alternative and I think it fits beautifully with my design style.
The biggest pleasure at shows was helping customers find the right design for them. Having extra helpers give their input like these 2 boys helping their mom decide on a pendant was even more fun!
Cat stories were shared at every show and I enjoyed hearing about everyone's little fur babies. Some stories were funny and some were sad but I'm glad that you felt comfortable sharing them with me.
The great part about making jewelry as my art is that it's wearable. One benefit of this is that I sometimes spot shoppers at shows wearing jewelry that they purchased from me at other shows. I also love it when a customer buys a necklace from me and insists on wearing it right there because they're so happy with it.
I participated in such a wide variety of shows this year. I was at 21 different shows between April and December in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Some shows really stood out for me as ones I want to return to. Part of it lies with the amazing organizers that worked so hard to promote not only the show but my own work. They were always timely with responses to my e-mailed questions and checked in with me during the shows to make sure I was settled in ok and doing fine throughout the show. Specifically, the shows Makers Festival and Art Within Reach really stood out for me as shows where the promotors cared about the artists. Thank you for all your work and I hope to return to these shows next year.
Obviously, all the things I listed above can be described as personal but in this case what I'm talking about are the memories and experiences that may not have benefitted me financially or helped my business grow but just contributed to making me happy!
I've made so many new friends this year thanks to shows. The artists I work next to have been amazing. We spend many hours next to each other so share stories, jokes and give each other those all important bathroom breaks! Many times those artists took the time to help me with packing up at the end of the show. I usually have my husband help me but there were a number of shows this year where he was traveling for work and I had to do the takedown of the displays, table and tent on my own. Having an artist volunteer to lend a hand even though they were busy with their own packing up was truly appreciated.
I also loved doing shows where I knew an artist (or artists!) from other shows. It's fun catching up and knowing that you've got a friend nearby. My poor friend and I were both at a show where temperatures were in the high 90s with humidity (I didn't enjoy that at all). We checked on each other to make sure we were keeping as cool and hydrated as possible given the circumstances. If you love handmade soap check out her business Clean Bean Soaps.
Finally, I will never forget being serenaded for my birthday at Art Within Reach by the band that was performing for the show. I thought it was a mistake doing a show on my birthday but I was wrong!
So, that was 2016. I can't wait to see what 2017 brings my way! I hope your year was also filled with happy memories and that they outweighed the negative.