Sunday 28 January 2018

The Diary of a Complete Pillock, part 68 - Back to Vague Visibility, (Probably) and The Gentle Art of Not Getting Caught Up In It All. . .

So after a period of experiencing what Americans refer to as 'tumbleweed' in my Etsy shop, I got two big orders in the space of one hour. One from the UK and one from the USA. Exciting stuff. . .

So what do I do? I carefully package the orders and send the UK order to the USA and the USA order to the UK. Brilliant.

What a pillock. . . (A mild semi-swearword that I have used often but never thought to look up the derivation of. Until now, thank you Wictionary -

"The origin of pillock is believed to go back to the 16th century meaning penis, from the Norwegian word pillicock, presumably akin to the slang dickhead meaning inept fool.")

Oh right, another knob related insult. Had to be really didn't it? ;-) So it's not some sort of cross between a pillow and a hillock after all, that's a shame. . .

Anyway, both bead sets are being sent back to me as soon as they arrive at their erroneous destinations, so I should be able to rectify the situation amicably, refunding various bits of postage, and paying for it all over again as I resend to the right customers. Might take a week or two though.

Oh well, these things happen. Bloody annoying when they do though, for everyone concerned.

But, the good thing about this occurrence is that it might well mean that I am at least somewhat visible to prospective customers. A conclusion backed up by a couple of smaller sales in the last few days. We shall see.

Facebook has been interesting, sales wise. I sold out of the small selection of new spikes I listed, with a couple of requests for made to order thrown in, but a subsequent listing session involving crusty, ancient type beads met with little interest and no sales. So it's a case of the usual swings and roundabouts of online retail stopping me from getting complacent.

It's impossible to second guess the reasons for these ups and downs, but that doesn't stop me trying. . . The beads may have been too expensive, or the right people just weren't checking that group that day, maybe my potential customers had spent all their cash on the spikes a few days before, or some better known bead artist has a showcase on another group and all the buyers are congregating there, throwing their money around, not even aware of the wonders lurking nearby, who knows?

These things are pretty much unknowable, so I shall just try again, with some different things and see what happens. I shall relax and let it be instead of endlessly going over the ways I might be doing it 'wrong'. If a pattern emerges over time, I may be in a position to draw some conclusions and work out a strategy to improve things, but until then, I shall stick to happily creating things and seeing if anyone likes them enough to buy them.

There is a down side to selling well. I don't actually like the fact that on the relatively rare occasions it happens, I start thinking "Those beads sold, I should make more like that," because when I do I often find that the spark goes out of the process somehow, and the results aren't as interesting.
Once I am aware that I am going through the motions rather than exploring, I have to stop and try something different. After all, the selling is just an afterthought to the making for me. It's great, but it's not what I do it for.
Fah! Bloody Artists!
Jon x

Tuesday 16 January 2018

More Adventures in Ancientness, (if that's a word), in Solving The Unwelcome Pinkness of Black and in the Production of Spikes

Well, here I am, taking a deserved break in the laying of tiles and grouting of same, and taking the opportunity to share some of my recent creations with you.

But first, I would like to say a special 'hello' to the interestingly large number (percentage wise, pertaining to this blog) of Russian readers. ;-)

I'm told that 'Privet' is the correct greeting. Though in English it is the name of a type of shrub largely used for garden hedging. . . .
There are lot of excellent polymer clay artists in Russia, as any time spent on Facebook will show you. So - Privet!

Ancient look blue simple beads - SOLD

OK. 'Ancientness'. I am having fun playing with all sorts of things that can make the surface of a bead look ancient and crusty. Mainly it involves using stuff you can use as a barrier between inks and paints, and which will then wash off in water, leaving an interesting random pattern.
Well, that's all the handholding you get I'm afraid. Have a play with anything you have lying around that fits that description and see what you get ;-)

This sort of thing

Now for the unwelcome pinkness of black. I mentioned in a previous post about the tendency of black alcohol ink to revert to a pinky purple brown when either diluted a bit, or when the brush starts to run dry ( if you use a brush to apply it instead of just using the dropper/nozzle on the bottle).

It fades into pink purple when baked too.
Also varnish can kind of leach out an extra bit of pinkness if applied too enthusiastically.

This is a pain, as it turns the edges of the black and white into a purply pink smear instead of a lovely clean demarcation between black and white, so I have been messing about with mixing several colours to get a better, non-pink black. (I could use black acrylic paint, but I want the particular surface effects that alcohol inks give.)

Dark brown pinky black with pinky smears. . .

Dark blue and dark brown seem to be the best colours to mix, as the brown compensates for any purpleness in the blue, and the blue compensates for the redness in the brown. I tried adding a small amount of green too, as black is technically the sum of every colour. Well, in theory anyway.
Whatever, it worked pretty well. See below.

How much more black can they be? The answer is 'none more black'. . .

I hope you got the Spinal Tap reference ;-)

I have also made some more of my popular turned style spikes. I probably need to explore some different colours next though. Not that there is anything wrong with browns and blue greys ;-)

Anyway, until next time,
Jon x

Thursday 4 January 2018

How many of What? Crackly Stuff, No Room in the Inn. . and New Year Good Intentions

First off, may I wish a very happy new year to all my readers, present or past. thank you for your support. It is nice to think that I am not just talking to myself.  ;-) 

I'll try to make the read worth the wear on your link clicking finger. Failing that, I will at least try to make the the pics worth looking at. . .

simple crackled barrel beads

So, to business. . . 

As you may have realised from the title and any pics that may have passed in front of your eyeballs so far, I have been playing around with crackly stuff again. It's nice to come back to a technique after a month or two of not using it. I find the time gap has somehow consolidated a few things in my mind, and I am more sure of what I can achieve with it. 

I am really liking how it can be combined with my turned technique to make ancient looking beads which could be made of anything from ceramic to bone to horn etc.

Semi trans cernit tube beads with crackle and alcohol inks

Talking of making beads, the other thing that has been exercising me somewhat, is the issue of how many of what to make. 
I guess it all depends on the use the beads get put to eventually. I used to imagine my creations being used in necklaces and the like, so I made sets of six or eight. The number was pretty arbitrary but seemed to be ok with buyers. 
After a while I realised that they were using them mainly as earring components, which I obviously didn't have a problem with, but I did think that maybe making pairs would be more convenient for earring makers, so I started making pairs of beads. 

So, sixes or pairs? 

Crackled round semi trans beads

I hope you had a good Christmas or other festivity you may indulge in.

Mine was by and large good. We had an interesting moment when we turned up (after a four hour drive) at our pre booked hotel in a small Yorkshire town only to find that it was dark and uninhabited. It had gone out of business a couple of weeks before. The booking firm sent us an email just after we left on the 23rd but we weren't online after that so it didn't get to us in time.
Luckily the phone number had been rerouted to a pub just up the road, who were very nice and helpful and got us booked in to another local hotel. Phew.
Could have done without that to be honest ;-)

green patchy crackle beads

The new year gig I mentioned in a previous post went very well. Just me on bass and my mate Rich on guitar and vocals banging out old faves. The pub was packed and we all had a great time. Yay! And we got paid! (getting paid to play is a novelty, believe me)

grey round, turned technique semi trans crackle beads

I haven't made any new year resolutions as they never quite work, and make you feel bad when you don't keep to them. I have set some intentions however, but not with negative associations attached.

I am going to list more stuff on my Etsy shop and share on FB and Instagram etc. Thus keeping my profile reasonably high. But only if it feels good to do it. I'm trying to avoid the concept of 'should' where feasible and not harmful, as it usually turns out to be a confused version of somebody else's 'should' and not something drawn from my own experience. Which doesn't tend to turn out well imho.


I made some more cool spikes. These are fun to make and I will keep on making them and variations of same. . .

MDF backed poly clay 'biscuit' beads

I also found some smaller 'biscuits' (for use with a 'biscuit jointer') in a diy store (in the reduced price box.  .) They are MDF unlike the larger ones I had used previously which were plywood. This makes them a bit less forgiving to work with, and produced nasty dust when sanded, but nevertheless I made some MDF biscuit backed poly clay textured drops in a faux bone style. .

Well, that will do for now. Have a good 2018 'going forward' as they say, I intend to have a good one too, though going sideways is probably more my style ;-)
Jon x