I don't know if any of you readers (if there are many?) have been by my shop, but it has been closed for the last two weeks. I was just a tad overwhelmed and I was starting to have work nightmares. Those of you who make jewelry can relate, maybe? The kind of dream where you are working on something and then you make a horrible mistake and the piece just crumbles to dust (or something equally horrible). Am I the only jeweler/metalsmith who has these dreams?
So, these last couple of weeks I've been steadily working away on previous orders. I think I took on too much and just couldn't handle it all. It is hard to gauge what exactly I can do in a day, and I'm always a little overly optimistic. Everything seems so easy, until I am actually doing it. This job requires so much concentrated attention. When you need to focus, only 100% focus will do. It can be draining, for sure. So, for mental health reasons I decided to take a personal day...or, um, week...two weeks. It hasn't been totally complete, since I have still been working and trying to answer emails. I even took a few orders each week, but I think I should have waited on those. Summer is just so hard, since so many people are getting married and they NEED jewelry by a certain date. I always feel so bad. When someone has their heart set on a certain piece for their engagement/wedding, I feel like I should do all I can to get it to them. So I end up saying yes, when I perhaps should say no, since it stresses me out. But I just can't!! People are so nice, and I always find it so flattering when someone wants to buy my stuff that I just can't tell them no.
Well, I am getting ready to reopen. There will be some changes, new designs etc. I will also be discontinuing some items. Mainly my silver wedding sets and other silver jewelry. I will still be offering silver items, but mostly pre-made bangles, simple rings and earrings etc. Those will be first come first serve and I won't be taking custom orders in silver at all. If I have made something is silver for a mold, I might offer it as a sample sale. New items in palladium will also be available as sample sales. I will also not be making the eternity rings anymore (I don't think). I will have eternity rings, just not the ones I have been making. I had come to dread it anytime someone ordered one of those, since the stone setting was quite laborious and time consuming. I have to do this because otherwise I will be too busy to do things that I really enjoy doing, like designing, drawing and carving new stuff in wax. I know that some people will be disappointed about this decision, but I have to do what I have to do to maintain my sanity. I can't keep working at the pace that I have been in the last year, it will burn me out. I would like to continue loving what I do.
The fall/winter issue of Oregon Bride magazine comes out this month. A wedding set of mine will be featured in it. It is very exciting for me, but I'm not sure what effect it will have on my business. But exposure can't be bad. :-) The Shop Monkey and I will be going to a fancy cocktail party thing next week that the magazine is sponsoring (?? I'm actually not exactly sure who is holding it, but we got the invites through the magazine). I'm not exactly well versed in fancy parties, but I think I will like dressing up. And seeing the Shop Monkey all spiffed up will be super awesome too. :-)
I'm still experimenting with taking photos of my rings on people. Mostly just myself at the moment, since my lady friends are scattered all over the place (Alaska, Thailand, Arizona). But I am sort of planning (she doesn't know yet) to use my one Portland girlfriend as my model. She has gorgeous hands (tiny!), and is gorgeous in general. I think using someone else will make it easier to have a model, since I feel too self-conscious about myself in pictures. I don't want people to think I'm self-absorbed (although, I probably am! Aren't we all to some extent?) And it is really hard to take pictures of yourself anyway. See below. I feel all myspacey.
Okay, well, I've got to get to work to prepare for my "grand" (re)opening. I've also got a stand alone website in the works, but I had underestimated how hard it is to build one of those things. Anyone know of a good webdesigner? Recommendations would be much appreciated!