Sunday, January 12, 2014

Behind the scenes... It's not quite as exciting as the making of M&Ms, but almost. Just kidding. Not that exciting really.

 Dear Reader, consider this tedious and long blog post an in depth " behind the scenes" special edition from moi , famous beader Kinga...
 It came to my attention that some of you peeps are under the impression I am a big name in the beady biz.

This cracks me up a bit to the point of giggle snorting, because I am still holding down an almost full time retail job as a shoe sales clerk, and while I have an excellent view into the bunions, neuromas, heel spurs- the best our country can offer indeed- I am also trying ever so hard to eventually earn enough to at least pay my rent by beading.
 I can't complain. I am on my way, and I know it! And I shall not give up till I get there.
My retail job comes with perks. Kind management and amazing coworkers. And access to retail space to use for taking pictures before and after hours. 
The back of our shoe store used to be filled with Crocs. They are mostly gone now, so the valuable space was given to Columbia gear. Comfy stuff indeed.
It just so happens that this space has an ambiance of no other: on really slow days I catch myself wondering around here among the naked bricks under the 20 foot ceiling. There is magic to this spot, and for whatever reason, in the morning the light is just perfect here.
This is where the magic happens, Dear Reader.
All the pictures I take on models, who all happen to be my coworkers, are taken here, unless we shoot outside.
 In case you are wondering about the thousands of dollars I spend on hiring models, getting a makeup artist, getting a photographer and having those pics edited, here is what happens. 
I put up this stand I got on Ebay. It is a very good stand, adjustable, and it only falls apart once in a while.
Then I hang this awesome gradient background on it by plastic clamps. Also an Ebay special. It only has a few wrinkles, really.

 Then I use such high tech methods as paperclips and shoe laces to stabilize the background. Now it just came to me that this particular paper clip is  our shoe store accountant's prized possession and I forgot to return it after the shoot. Shoot. She will miss it. I shall return  it.
 Most of the makeup in this bag comes from the Theatrical supply company. I walk there because it's only a mile away from my apartment. ( I am afraid of driving  anyways, so I might as well  get some exercise.) Some of it I bought for personal use, but I don't like wearing makeup much, so things end up lasting forever for me.
This is the view from the Croc room. Anna,our model is arriving. I faithfully documented all details.
 Anna kindly brought her prom dresses with her for this very special occasion.
Here  she is, before the makeup, with her socks on. Accompanied by various men's athletic  shoes behind her. From certain angles Anna looks quite a bit like Angelina Jolie. I am very fond of Angelina. And I love my Anna! She has been most gracious and kind by indulging my chronic photo habits. She had to work all day today, but she got up  4 hours early for me to be my model. I did not have to work today. For the first 5 years of my employment, I worked about 49 Sundays per year. Since September I decided to dedicate Sundays to making things, and - in this case- taking pictures of the things I have made.

Dear Reader, keep in mind that at best, I make jewelry I don't mind wearing. 
But I am less than mediocre and competent when it comes to taking pictures and putting makeup on.
I fumble along the way, and learn little by little.
As for the makeup, my favorite place for learning to do makeup is from the Pixiewoo ladies on youtube.
They had a tutorial for Angelina Jolie inspired makeup.I have tremendous admiration for these ladies.
The video and ALL their videos are amazing. I highly recommend them to anyone interested in  the art of makeup. But I had some questions left after viewing it repeatedly, and I only know one real life makeup artist, in person and that is Eliza George.
Eliza is truly an artist. She sees magic in people and brings it to the surface. I am lucky enough to call her a friend, and I am proud of it too.She has been wonderful sharing her secrets with me.
Armed with faux lashes, big ideas and a green prom dress, I set out to make magic.
Tadaaa! Just kidding. Although this picture has it's own magical qualities.

I did not even get to edit half of the pictures that I wanted to. There are a lot left on my computer untouched. I took about 300 photos, went through them hastily and edited the ones that were acceptable. Keep in mind, my tricks are few and far between. I can edit skin tone, make pics black and white, but I can't make limbs longer or make someone skinnier.
What I deem to be acceptable is where the jewelry and Anna BOTH seem to be at least partially in focus. (Keep in mind, my camera is a lot smarter then me,  I just poke around in the dark for the most part. Yes. I have taken these pictures on auto settings. But, and this is a big BUT. I did invest my earnings on sold jewelry into a top notch camera equipped with a macro lens and various filters. While this act buys me no credit as a photographer whatsoever, it allows me to be lazy and just let it take the good pictures I see through the viewer.)
Let me remind you Dear Reader, that Yours Truly did not grow up in the computer age. 
I did not learn any of this stuff in school. My first run in with a computer happened through my one and only year of college education, when I paid a fellow student to do my computer homework for me. He needed sketches for art class, and I needed help with informatics.
It was a match made in heaven. I did not have to look at a computer with a critical eye till I discovered Ebay... Lots happened after, but of course with making jewelry came with  the problem of selling it online and all that goes with it. So I learned the rest. As far as editing these pictures , my dear husband has given me Photoshop classes last year for my birthday. They paid of, but my skills are still very limited. Lots of room to grow.

But yeah, that's how magic is made.
Now for the purist who say all this is fine, but let's see some closeups of this stuff, here are some of those.

 Jenny Greenteeth

Anna Alford, I can't thank you enough!
And for Everyone who read this, thank you too.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Eyes and Respect

 Aye aye, Captain Eye!  This is my friend Matthew Nix.  We met through Etsy where we both sell our work.
He is a maker of some beautifully detailed breathtaking wire wonders that befuddle me.
Me and wire just don't mash , and all the things I am not very good at, I have tremendous appreciation for.
 Just look at this! I can't even begin to understand how people do this kind of work.
Well, he does and he does it really really well.
 Matthew is not only talented but a genuinely nice person.
He is very much into steampunk, and quite a few years ago, when he realized that there were just no cool eyeballs on the market, he decided to dream up some and make his own. He indeed was the very first person to sell them on Etsy, and his offerings have expanded as the years went on.
He has a selection like no one else out there. Here is a link to Matt's Etsy store:

I have been a huge fan of his stuff for about 2 years now. Recently I started making some of my own glass cabs, but mine are very different from his.
 Mine have butterfly wings and leaves in them.
Looking at these some friends asked me why I would not make my own eyes, they can't be THAT hard.
Well, I will tell you all why I don't:
Because there is right and there is wrong. 
Matt has recently asked his beloved Mandy to marry him. They are starting a life together, and times are hard for everyone. Making jewelry and making those  eyes are Matt's source of income. His only source of income. And he is doing ok, in fact, he even hired his friend to help out with the production. How cool is that? I love that I can support him in his effort to maintain a good life by buying his well crafted goods.
In all honesty I don't think I buy enough to be that much of a help, but I sure hope that every time I pass his   name on to all my beady buds, they spend some money with him too.

The thing is, when we decide to cut corners and have an attitude that "oh yeah, I can do this cheaper", and here is someone else's idea that took them years to get right, but it only takes me a little while to "make it mine", it's not a little boo boo, it's an ethical blunder.
Of course people experiment with all sorts of things at home, and we all see pictures of handmade goods we like and if we make similar things for our own use, that's ok, no harm done.

But respect is respect, do not bite the hand that feeds you and do unto others as you would have them do onto you. That's why this frog is not making eyes!
 Because there is someone in the eye business that I want to give my business to, and want all my bead buddies to enjoy his well crafted delightfully creepy creations  as long as he keeps on making them.

And surely with all the wonderful eyes out  there, we can all create our very own pieces of art, that reflects our heart and soul. Thank you Matt!