Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Folksy blog

Just a very quick one today as I'm busy doing Christmas orders but I just wanted to share this review that I wrote for the Folksy blog.  It's about a recent Christmas craft fair in Ely Cathedral...

http://blog.folksy.com/2013/11/27/craft-fair-review-ely-cathedral-christmas-food-fair


Monday, 21 October 2013

Christmas Craft Fairs

I have some upcoming craft fairs to tell you about....





Guardian, New Look and Hedgehogs

Guardian...I was really trilled earlier this month to discover that the piece I had written for the Guardian's 'Marketing and PR excellence' small business showcase had been selected for publication on their website http://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2013/oct/10/showcase-marketing-pr-arc-jewellery  

I must admit that the text was written very (very) late on the evening before our holiday. The deadline for entries was the following day (how had I managed to leave it so late!) when we would be on our travels so I had to get it done quickly.  After several edits I was able to whittle it down to the required 250 words.  I clicked the send button then forgot about it, so it was a lovely surprise to receive an email from the Guardian saying that my copy was to be included on their website.  Now I just need to keep my fingers crossed that it'll be shortlisted for the next phase of the showcase.

For details of the forthcoming showcase categories and how to submit an entry yourself click here...
http://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2013/jul/16/about-small-business-showcase


Amethyst brooch pendant available from ARC Jewellery 



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New Look...as many of you know I have 3 online shops, www.arcjewellery.co.uk being the main one but I also sell through Etsy (http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ARCJewellery) and Folksy (www.folksy.com/shops/ARCJewellery)

Folksy has recently made some changes to its shopfronts and to the way in which a shop keeper can manage stock and layout their store.  At first I wasn't sure about this new look and there were a few teething problems (as there always is with new software) but after using it for a few days I am already beginning to see the benefits of the new design and I do like the clean, crisp appearance of my new Folksy shop.


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Hedgehogs...I wanted to share this little hedgehog with you.  Isn't she lovely! Hedgehogs remind me of Autumn (my favourite time of year) and hibernating (one of my favourite things to do at this time of year) and this one (named Mabel) is available from Sara Carr on Folksy http://folksy.com/items/2080033-Mabel-Hedgehog-Lambswool-Plush-In-stock




Thursday, 22 August 2013

Harvest, Fruits & Berries


It's very productive in the village where I live at the moment, with the harvest well underway and tractors thundering by, there is a real buzz of activity and a great sense of urgency to get the harvest in before the weather turns.

It's been pretty productive in the ARC Jewellery workshop too.  I have been playing with my rolling mill (I love my rolling mill!) and embossing patterns into silver sheet that have then been turned into earrings and pendants.  I've also been working on several new designs and preparing a bundle of work to be shipped to the London Assay Office for hallmarking.






Autumn is by far my favourite time of year and already there is a real autumnal feel in the air.  I can't wait to exchange my flip flops for boots and T shirts for wooly jumpers.  I look forward to long walks with the dogs, kicking through the crisp leaves and collecting kindling for the log burner.  Picking apples, pears, quince and berries to store for winter or turn into jams and chutneys.  

The autumn harvest and winter berries was the inspiration behind some of my latest pendants and earrings made with juicy plump agate beads and berry red jade.                                                             








Thursday, 27 June 2013

Craft Fairs

I have a couple of craft fairs coming up that I am really looking forward to.  These are both regular events that I have attended in the past so it'll be good to catch up with other stall holders that I haven't seen for a while.

The first is the Saints Crafters Fair on 6th July in St Ives (Cambridgeshire).  This is a monthly fair held in the Free Church Hall on Market Hill.  For more information about Saint Crafters visit their website www.saintscrafters.blogspot.co.uk


The second is in Ely at the Cathedral Centre on Palace Green and is open from 10am until 4pm.  More than 30 artists and crafters will have their work on display and available to purchase.



Bridesmaid Gifts

It has been an incredibly busy month at www.arcjewellery.co.uk with lots of lovely orders for handmade sterling silver bridesmaid and birthday gifts, as well as people treating themselves to pieces of jewellery.  

It's always really useful to receive feedback from customers and I have had some wonderful messages from my lovely customers as well as many repeat orders, which is always a good sign!

As a thank you to my customers I offer a 10% discount code that can be used the next time they shop online at www.arcjewellery.co.uk.  I have decided to extend this offer to include my Facebook followers and blog readers and am offering 10% off all online purchases to the end of August.  

Simply enter the code FBPROM10 into the promotion code box at check out and the discount will be deducted for you.

This promotional code can be used as many times at you like until 31st August 2013.  Please share it with friends and family who might also like to take advantage of this offer and treat themselves to piece of handmade silver jewellery.

The code is only valid for use in my online shop at www.arcjewellery.co.uk and not in my Folksy or Etsy shops.

Follow arc jewellery on Facebook to keep up to date with new designs, offers and promotions.  www.facebook.com/arcjewellery


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Also this month I am working on some new pendants.  They are similar in style to this one but with the addition of a pin so that they can also be worn as a brooch.  Two pieces of jewellery for the price of one! 

They are about to be sent to Goldsmith Assay office for hallmarking but will be listed in my shop as soon as they return...I will keep you posted.


Thursday, 30 May 2013

St Etheldreda, Abbess of Ely

On Saturday 1st June I shall be at the Etheldreda Fair in Ely with my ARC Jewellery stall and I thought it would be a good idea to find out a bit more about St Etheldreda before I go.  

I knew she was responsible for the construction of a monastery on the site where Ely Cathedral now stands, where she lived as Abbess for the latter part of her life but I didn't really know very much more about her than that.  

In brief....St Etheldreda, Abbess of Ely, was born around AD 636 in Exning, Suffolk.  She really wanted to pursue a life of worship and become a nun but was forced into marriage at the age of 16.  It was her husband, Tondberht, who gave her the estate of Ely (then known as Elge) as part of their marriage settlement.  During her marriage to Tondberht, which ended after three years with his death, Etheldreda was allowed to live life as a nun.

Her second marriage to Egfrith (who became king of Northumbria) ended with her fleeing  (disguised as a beggar) back to Ely to seek sanctuary from her demanding husband.  Etheldreda and Egfrith had married when he was just 15 but now, in his twenties, he wanted (demanded) more from his marriage and wife (who was now Queen of Northumbria).  Etheldreda was determined to continue with a life of celibacy and worship and in AD 673 she built the monastery in Ely where she lived until her death (from a tumour) at the age of 43.

It's a fascinating story about a very strong willed woman who was determined and suceeded to live the life she chose for herself.

To find out more about St Etheldreda follow the links below...

http://www.elycathedral.org/history/the_story_cathedral.html

http://www.earlybritishkingdoms.com/adversaries/bios/etheldreda.html

ARC Jewellery will be at the fair on Palace Green (in front of the Cathedral) on Saturday 1st June 2013 from 10am - 5pm.




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www.arcjewellery.co.uk
www.facebook.com/arcjewellery

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Selling at Craft Fairs...

It has been a very busy bank holiday weekend of decorating, gardening, socialising, making jewellery and attending a local craft fair to sell my work.

There were a reasonable number of people mooching around the craft fair but not so many people buying.  Several of the visitors to the event were saying that they would love to treat themselves (a friend or loved one) but have just received their BIGGER than expected winter fuel bill or increased council tax bill so treats are off the shopping list for now.  Understandable in the current economic climate.

I have also read several comments recently on blogs and in forums suggesting that craft fairs, especially the smaller village or church hall type events, have had their day.  I have heard people say that there are just too many around, a lot of people jumped on the band wagon hoping to make a quick buck from them, they started cropping up all over the place and because of that they are losing their appeal.  

I do hope this isn't the case. 

I am a member of a craft group that hosts a monthly fair in St Ives (Cambridgeshire, not the one in Cornwall) and it's as much a social and networking event for the members as it is a place to sell.  
http://saintscrafters.blogspot.com

Many of the members have been going for a number of years and great friendships have been formed through their shared interest in art and craft.  

It's also a great opportunity to get direct, face to face feedback from customers and other stall holders about designs, techniques or ways to display work.  Of course there is the chance to get feedback when selling online and I have received some wonderful emails and thank you cards from customers but it doesn't quite compare with seeing someone with a great big grin on their face as they walk away wearing a piece of my jewellery. 

I do hope that the genuine craft fair where you can buy direct from the maker (not those selling mass produced imported goods) are here to stay. I really enjoy going to them both as a seller and as a buyer and the fact that people are still attending and looking at what's on offer means that they are interested, even if they aren't always in a position to buy.


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I have been adding to my bracelet collection; all are available at www.arcjewellery.co.uk on Etsy or on Folksy.








Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Anniversary and Enamelling

It's been a while...months in fact...so I thought it was about time that I put in a bit more effort into keeping my blog up to date.

What's been happening...well, Saturday 6th of April was the first year anniversary of ARC Jewellery and what an amazing year it has been...yes, I did celebrate with something bubbly.

During the year I have opened my own online shop www.arcjewellery.co.uk, plus one on Etsy and Folksy and set up my wonderful home workshop (I love it!).  I have attended numerous art & craft fairs only one of which was a complete disaster (have learnt a lot from that experience and won't be doing that one again!).  I've been featured in Making Jewellery magazine, had my work in local galleries, obtained my hallmark and lost track of how many commissions I have worked on.  I have met some wonderful (and extremely talented) artists and crafters along the way, many of whom I have become good friends with.  I feel a real sense of accomplishment when I look back at photographs of the work that I've created and sold during the last 12 months, I sometimes can't quite believe how much I've achieved in that space of time.  It has been an extremely busy year but very worthwhile and I have enjoyed every minute of it.

So, on to the next year and I thought I would start by learning a new skill.  I have wanted to learn the art of enamelling for some time and was lucky to be able to attend a workshop last weekend run by the lovely and very talented Sheila Mcdonald - check out her website, her work is an amazing explosion of colour http://www.sheilamcdonald.co.uk
It was an intense weekend, as a complete beginner there was an awful lot for me to take in and I was exhausted by the time I got home.  I was also buzzing with enthusiasm and am inspired to take it further.  I created some sample tiles during the workshop using various enamelling techniques, stencilling, using foils & leaf, transferring designs with pen & stamps, wet packing enamel and Cloisonné.  I would love to have a go at Plique a jour but having seen it demonstrated I think I need quite a bit more practice before I tackle something so skilled and delicate.

So, perhaps in my next blog entry I will be able to show you some of my new enamelled pieces of jewellery but for now here is a selection of my recent work...







All of these are available to buy from www.arcjewellery.co.uk