Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Bead Collection on a String

  I'm new to the craft show gig, and so I have been working on my booth.  I'm getting there.  Due to the nature of my jewelry, I am aiming for across between a Middle Eastern souk and a museum display. At The Rockland craft show I was immediately aware that my booth was missing a banner.  The banner would be a one-liner describing the essence of my product.
  I'm the first one to acknowledge that my beaded jewelry has a small market.  I'm also the first one to say that I'm not a jewelry maker.  I am two things:  I am a collector and a designer.  One could call the jewelry a bead collection on a string.  Or an  (arguably) artistically arranged bead collection on a string.  Therefore my work will appeal to those people who naturally gravitate towards old, handmade, culturally interesting beads.  I have found that this is an acquired taste, stemming from some experience or knowledge.  Like caviar.  Or like hats which totally defy gravity.  The more you see it/ hear about it, or taste it, the more you embrace it, whatever "it" is.  In Paris I was told that now the "right" way to eat chocolate is to smear olive oil on top of it.
  But I digress, and I don't think my work is as avant garde as an oiled chocolate bar.  But the foreign and exotic beads are more interesting to women who have seen them before, in shops, books, or in their travels.  This is how I finally arrived at my slogan:  "Artful beaded jewelry for interesting women".  It would probably be more accurate to call them interested women, but, interesting serves a purpose. 
"amber", antique red glass bead, hand cut sodalite, Peruvian turquoise, coin silver African bead
  Each necklace, or strung bead collection, has a story to tell, which starts outside this country. For instance, the necklace above is an example.  The piece as a whole has an Indian or Tibetan look because traditional Indian/Tibetan jewelry uses amber, turquoise, lapis lazuli and coral (as does Moroccan!).  However, nothing on this strand is from India.  I bought the "amber" on this necklace from Hudu, a bead seller in Ghana.  Hudu was magnificent to look at because he always wore satin robes and a matching hat whenever he was in selling mode.  He sold me these beads as amber, but I'm sure now that they are fake amber (see earlier blog post, "The lure of amber").  The turuqoise on this necklace is Peruvian turquoise, which is chrysocolla, found in Peru.  The dark blue stones are not lapis, but Peruvian sodalite, hand cut in Peru.  The red beads here are antique red glass beads traded in Africa for many years.  The coin silver beads are authentically African, which I bought from Hider in Ghana.  It's an international bead collection on a string.