all about inventory

Now that I have a few seasons under my belt as a full time maker, I find that I really want to break the cycle of always chasing inventory numbers. Many who browse the booth assume that I have backstock. “You have more, right?” News flash: I’ve never had backstock, save for a handful of pieces! So, in entering the new year, full of resolutiony thoughts, I determined to work farther ahead and build up the collection. Well, this is the first time I’ve had a show in February, so the chasing continues…

In the meantime, here is one of the yarn bowls I created for the Stitches West show:

photo 2

happy new year!

Thanks to all who supported me during the busy month of December. It seems I hardly have a break before I get to leap back into action. I learned a lot in working with ceramics last year, and plan to continue as I have some orders to fill and another show to prepare for! Stitches West is a large, fiber arts convention where I will be a featured artist at the Purlescence Yarns booth. I will be selling yarn jars, spin support bowls, stitch markers, and who knows what else?

I have also been collaborating with author and lino cut artist Anita Dime. Here is one of my favorites below, which happens to be for sale:

Deep Sea Diver Tile/Trivet from Steelhead Studio on Square Market

september sales

Last month was a fun challenge for me, having booked three weekends in a row. The first event was the Mountain View Art & Wine Festival, for which I am pleased to report record sales. Because I had sold so many pieces, I scrambled to make more for the following weekend at the Capitola Art & Wine Festival. Saturday saw steady traffic and Sunday was pretty slow. Being able to eat lunch with a view of the ocean was pretty fantastic. At both shows, some old friends stopped which is always a treat.

The third weekend was full of new friends. My other job is teaching kung fu and T’ai Chi, and I was honored to be selected to teach at the Pacific Association of Women Martial Artists‘ camp this year. Most of the emphasis was on teaching and learning, of course, but there was also an opportunity to sell things to promote your school. How could I turn that down? I created some bamboo-themed jewelry and martial arts mugs especially for the weekend. Of the eight mugs I brought, I sold five along with four T-shirts (also designed by me) and orders for many more. Preparations for this event moved quickly, so I do not have photos of the mugs, but am happy to leave you with this lovely pendant in crystal, glass and sterling, which is still available in my online store. Be sure to check out the events page for upcoming sales, including for the holidays!


show time

I am in the midst of inventory madness to prepare for September. I have shows two weekends in a row plus a martial arts camp the following weekend. First up is the Mountain View Art & Wine Festival, September 6 & 7. Then, I get to enjoy some coastal time with the Capitola Art & Wine Festival, September 13 & 14. This one has been recommended to me by a few people and I’m really looking forward to it. I was waitlisted, then got a spot. Hooray!

To prepare for these shows, and be in decent shape heading into the holidays, I set some ridiculously unrealistic goals for myself. What’s the saying? Go big or go home? Anyway, it’s a fun game to see what kind of numbers I can get. I have a chart breaking down how many pieces I have in what category – necklaces, earrings, etc. – and in what colors. So if I have twice as many purple earrings as green ones, I know what to focus on for an even offering. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love the focus I get from an impending deadline.

The third weekend I mentioned is the Pacific Association of Women Martial Artist Camp. My other job is teaching kung fu. I was invited to apply to teach, was accepted, and am super stoked to hobnob with like minded folk. The icing on the cake? There is a bazaar where we can sell wares to promote ourselves and our schools. Do I want a table? YES. Yes, I do. I have some mugs in progress with a special saying and am working on some miniature weapon jewelry. It’s a little challenging to develop work for this while trying to crank through regular inventory, but I guess it keeps my brain fresh.

wedding rings

Fresh out of the studio! I just completed this pair of wedding rings for a couple who wanted to upgrade from their simple wedding bands. They had the wonderful idea of wearing a main stone in the color of their choice, accompanied by a smaller stone in the other’s choice of color. We used the gold from their previous rings, and I took them stone shopping so they could personally select the gems that spoke to them the most. Here they are in 14K gold with sapphire, tsavorite garnet, and black epoxy.


Sailing on

I have been keeping busy, as evidenced by my lack of blog posts. I am wrapping up a couple of commissions and preparing for two shows in September. Mountain View Art & Wine is September 6th and 7th, and Capitola Art & Wine is the following weekend on the 13th and 14th. Back to back weekends! That means inventory crunch through all of August.

Back in March, I posted a photo of some new styles in progress but have not yet posted a final sample. Here is the turquoise version of my porcelain sail earrings, which are also available for sale here. More colors are in the works.

Be sure to check the events page for details and future events. Hope to see you soon!

Turquoise Sail Earrings


Today, I met with a client at Roy’s Station to deliver a custom bracelet anniversary present. His idea was to incorporate their hair and eye colors – gold and lapis for blonde and blue, and copper and jade for reddish brown and green/hazel. The bracelet wraps the wrist twice. I’ve always wanted to do a knit with gold, so I was pretty happy when he contacted me for this project. Anyway, when we met, he had an iced tea waiting for me. He remembered what I ordered from the first time we met. That’s why this guy has been happily married for 26 years! Well done, sir.

After delivering the bracelet, I went back to my car which was parked in front of Petite Galleria. For as many times as I’ve been to Roy’s, I had never noticed this place before. It is indeed petite. I figured I’d better check it out in case my jewelry needs to be there. Whilst browsing, my husband recognized the gal who was working, because she also works at Roy’s. It turns out that her husband owns Naglee Park Garage where we dine from time to time.

Perched on a shelf in the Galleria was a beautiful little teapot that I recognized as the work of Hsin-Chuen Lin. I am taking a class from him at Higher Fire. For as big as San Jose is, it’s nice to feel a little connected.

jade and lapis knit bracelet

measured approach

I am in the midst of several commissions at the moment and one of them has a fairly tight deadline. In the past, I would have freaked out and said to myself “do as much work every day as possible!” and probably felt crunched for time every single day and disappointed at my lack of progress for which I set my expectations too high.

That gets tiring.

You’d think after this many years I could come up with a different approach. Well, I have! A friend recently reminded me of a technique I have used off and on: using music to measure time. In other words, I will commit to working for the duration of an album or two. The other tactic I am employing is to list all of the steps I need to perform in order to finish the piece. As a chronic list-maker, I’ve done this before. But this time, I scheduled the steps for each of the days I have remaining. Now, each day has a goal, and I work for an album at a time (40-60 minutes). Between albums, I take a break, which ensures that I give my eyes, shoulders, and hands a little time out. The daily milestone means I can go to bed knowing I accomplished what I was supposed to for the day and that I am right on schedule to meet my deadline.

Today was day two of the schedule and I even managed to work ahead a little. So far I am enjoying the measured approach. I need to keep this up and complete the project by the 18th. Oh, and here was today’s playlist, if you’re interested:

XTC – Apple Venus, Vol. 1
Steve Winwood – Back in the Highlife
Radiohead – The Bends
Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention – One Size Fits All

So Much Jewelry

As I look at doing more shows, I am finding more and more are saying their jewelry categories are full or almost full. This already tough game is getting tougher. I guess this means I have to innovate and stand out from the crowd even more…or resort to bribery? At least the world has plenty of jewelry to choose from. On the plus side I am getting more commissions and have plenty to keep me busy. Plus, I have a trunk show this evening at Purlescence Yarns in Sunnyvale from 6-9pm. Just in time for Mother’s Day! Fingers crossed for the application I’m sending out today for Capitola Art & Wine. Who wouldn’t want to do a show by the beach?


Red Drama Drop

I had a specific person in mind for this drama drop, and am really pleased I was able to pick up a fabulous center bead from JC Herrell at a bead show last year. I can arrange beads on my design desk and say, “yeah! I want it to look like that” but getting them connected isn’t always as easy. I created a hollow bail where the chain could pass through and hang the center bead in the cleanest way possible, while still allowing for movement. The unique, coffee bean-shaped crystal beads can be adjust up the sides of the chain. She loves it!