Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Creating Collections - Sautoirs

The Christmas market was wonderful ... out in the country on a farm, outdoor sculptures of all kinds, cookie workshops in the kitchen, very interesting co-exhibitors, visitors ready to buy (it was an invitation-only market), and Christmas carols sung by all as we packed up. My best sales ever!

In January, I went to the professional jewelry show in Paris, Bijorhca. It took me two days to see and absorb it all, and as I left, I was deep into thoughts about the process of creating a collection. For 25 years, I have made jewelry using materials that inspire me - I rarely sit down and think through how to produce a group of pieces with a coherent identity. But visiting Bijorhca took my musings down a different road ...

In the early spring, I was asked to create a set of pieces to leave on consignment in a local shop for the summer tourist season. (I did not in the least mind leaving them on consignment - even if nothing sold, I'd just be that further ahead with stock for Christmas sales.) The owner of the shop looked at what I had and then told me what he wanted. Working out how to create the collection was a new experience!

He liked the monochrome necklaces made with a mixture of vintage beads, and he liked them sautoir, or opera, length, about 50 inches. I also like that length, because the necklace can be worn doubled or tripled or with a knot - very versatile - and I know from experience that these always sell. SO ...

These are fun to create, because I can use all kinds of beads (although it is very difficult here in the wilds of France to buy old beads loose, so my stock of vintage beads is diminishing). I was in the shop the other day, and there was the client who had bought the green one - I think every craftsperson likes seeing his or her creation with the person who chose to buy it!

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