Friday, November 25, 2011
Fiorella Jewelry by Clare
Editor: "Okay, some of the stuff in this shop, is amazing. I mean, amazing. For me, it's a mix of steam-punk and holiday beauty. Look at the 2'nd photo on the second row. My favorite. Clare, has some Baltimore talent, and here she is!"
How I selected my name- It is my mother's maiden name. Her father is from Italy, and the word itself means little flower, which I just find sort of beautiful. I also identify with the Italian part of myself quite a bit, and as I think they are and have been through the ages a nation of very talented artisans, artists and makers I am proud to have that connection.
Describe my studio- at the moment, it is small, cramped and cluttered. We recently moved to a Baltimore row home, and though I love living in the city with a passion, the rooms here are considerably smaller than what we had when we lived in the suburbs. Plus, jewelry making involves a lot of stuff. I am still working on getting some better organization going. The things in my studio that motivate me- lots of art on the walls, especially from other Etsy selllers, and music. I always have to have music playing while I am working, it helps me get into that creative head space I think of as "the flow".
Talk about your work- The work I do re-purposing vintage jewelry is pure fun for me. I enjoy every stage of the process, from the collecting of old jewelry at auctions, thrift shops and ebay, to the day when I set it all out on a table and start seeing what works together, to the day I finish a product and photograph it. I love these old pieces, they are so well made, and each has it's own little history I wish I knew but often make up if I am in a fanciful mood. The holiday pieces in particular I associate with happy times, and that seems to be true as well for people who see them, especially the wreaths.
Where I sell- I sell primarily on Etsy, though I am in the first baby steps of getting my own website put together. I sell at a local shop in Roland Park called Crimson & Clover that is just wonderful, in fact I get inspiration every time I go in there. I also do shows, and right now I feel an especial fondness for Clover Mart just outside Philly in Ardmore, Pa. It's a really well juried, well organized and just fun market to attend in spring and fall, I hope to be back there this spring.
What am I doing now, where do I want to take my business- well, my motto has always been slowly but surely, and onward and upward. The whole process of doing this has involved a pretty steep learning curve, I mean just the photography alone is still a challenge at times. I find Etsy to be very supportive of sellers, and luckily I am a member of Baltimore Etsy Street Team which has been a wonderful fount of information and support for me. I am hoping to continue to increase my business and exposure, and for that I think I may need to get a little better with the whole social media thing. I am just a dabbler there right now but I have lots of ideas to try to put myself out in cyber-space. I want to keep creating, learning, and hopefully selling so as to fund the whole process!
Obstacles I have faced- definitely the photography, as I mentioned. It's a crucial piece to selling on Etsy. I think mine gets better and better but it still needs work. Another obstacle, and one many jewelry makers face, is the need to maintain a pretty large inventory of items you use to make your art, and the cost of that. And finally- whenever you put yourself out there, you have to learn to take rejection and sometimes odd comments from people. Every artist faces that. But I actually think it makes you stronger, if you let it.
Good Things that have happened- First I'd like to say that meeting other artisans, through Etsy, BEST, and shows I've done has invariably been a great thing for me. Almost everyone I have met has been supportive, inspirational, commiserative and fun. I have made some friends that I treasure. Other good things, well of course selling an item is wonderful. I have at times collabroated on an item with someone for a special day like their wedding and that is so rewarding, and such an honor. Some times out of the blue people have sent me absolutely incredible compliments and thoughts, which often happens when I am having a bad day and is always surprising and uplifting. And also, learning is good. The feeling I get when I master something I didn't think I could do is really one of the best feelings ever. Better than jelly donuts!
Bad Things that have happened, and what I learned- well, as much as I like my local post office people I must say the USPS has been a thorn in my side several times. Currently they are sending a rather expensive necklace I made for someone back and forth between Baltimore and Boston, it has been to Boston about 6 times now I think. These are just the irritations of doing business though.
To sum it all up- I feel incredibly blessed to do what I do. I can't imagine that there is any better community to be a part of than the community of artisans. The times when I get into the creative flow, and the ideas just come, are some of the happiest I have experienced. I hope to keep learning and to be an artisan all my life. My Gramma painted til her death at 86, so I know it can be done. Thank you for reading this!