January 12th, 2008
It was SO nice to be back in the studio again! This past week has been one of lots of prep work, and research, and marketing, and not nearly enough metal. And tomorrow will be another no-metal day, since we have social stuff going on. (Which will be fun and everything... but...!)
Not that I got tons done. I did get a recent Rio order mostly sorted out. The stones are in my inventory system now (but not the boxes), and the tools are put away. I am excited about the projects that the stones will be in, and looking forward to getting to work on them!
I did work on polishing the Russian filigree pendant, and it's close to done. It's not completely done because I designed it to have something dangling off the bottom, and (basically) hate everything I have that could do that. A friend's offered to let me check out some small heart beads (rose quartz and onyx, I think), and they may be just the ticket since the basic shape is a freeform heart. If I end up not liking them, I'll do a drop with 2-3 graduated-sized beads, probably black and red (black onyx or coral, hematite, with garnet in the middle if it's 3).
I'm also eager to see if the wooden dapping set I got will help with those tricky double-spirals on my Viking beads. When I fused a bunch of them last time, the elements got stuck on... but several of the spirals sort of unwound a bit and sproing!ed out. I could tap them back into place with my steel dapping set... except that would flatten the tops of the twisted wires, which is not the look I'm going for. So: wooden daps. I feel optimistic about this. :)
Plus: next time I have some quality studio time I can get started on some of the experimental pieces I've been wanting to do. Joy! There's several setting techniques I want to practice, plus more filigree, and making progress on several projects that have been stalled for a while awaiting one thing or another.
And, of course, starting work on some new commissions! Fun stuff!
I'm interested in your inventory system...do you use a commercially available program? I'm trying to figure out what I want to do...
I do use a commercial system, yes. It's called "Jewelry Design Manager," and I'm ambivalent about it.
It's essentially designed for people whose style of work is very different from mine. I think it would work brilliantly well for people whose work includes a lot of premade components, and who tends to make large numbers of more-or-less identical pieces. Which, to be fair, seems to be the style of the person who designed it, so it's not really a surprise.
However, I do mostly one-of-a-kind or very small editions of pieces, and it's awkward for me. I have, for example, a number of stones of various sizes and types... and to make it work properly, every single one would have to be entered separately. Similarly, I'd need to keep track of the exact square inches of sheet, amount of wire, etc... and I would then spend so much time tracking inventory that I'd be hard-pressed to get anything made! I have figured out work-arounds; I have "cheat" entries in which for the quantity I put the price of the unique stone, the weight of the silver, etc. And it does work very nicely when I do multiples, or even when I use many of the same item in a piece (like a ring set with 17 2mm sapphires).
The other quibble I have is that when one is entering the components of a piece, all possible items are on the same level, so I have to scroll through all possible types of beads, findings, packaging, etc. before I get to "stones". I wish it had a system in which one could scroll through the types of things, then the things entered under that type!
Its strongest virtue, though, is that it's forcing me to keep track of *everything* that goes into a piece (which is why I added packaging), and encourages me to keep better track of my time invested as well. It also helps me a lot with pricing. I'm quite happy with the default numbers and technique for calculating the wholesale price, in particular. The defaults for the others usually don't work for me; they assume that materials are a larger part of the investment than labor; but I can take the sensible wholesale price and double it for retail. This allows me to consider selling in galleries, because I know that they generally pay 50% of retail, and this way I won't be losing money at that! And when I sell direct, it helps me pay for the work and money I'm putting into things like my website.
Also, it is a very, VERY solid program, and I've never had a bit of trouble with it. That's worth a lot. I would HATE to use something that crashed and lost all that data I've spent hours inputting!
So for me it's worth it, although there are things I wish it did differently. I'd definitely recommend it to people whose work is closer to the assumed style; for someone else like me, I'd suggest researching other options first to see if there's anything that's more compatible with what we do.
Hope this helps!
Actually, this helps a lot. I really want to get a better system going this year...and That really does seem to be the only program out there that's solid and well known...I was also looking at http://www.artaffairsoftware.com/
I guess my style of jewelry is a closer to what the creator does, but I'm not sure for how long. And I do have the luxury of limited edition pieces...Which version do you have (standard, pro or deluxe?). I'm kind of looking at pro...
Thanks for your insights!
I have Pro, but we're thinking of upgrading to Deluxe- it looks like it has some handy features.
I really do LOVE the pricing help, even though it's rather a pain for me to use accurately!