in all blogs
Viewing Blog: Carol Creech Illustration - Sketches and News, Most Recent at Top
Results 1 - 25 of 257
Hand-drawn, custom house portraits, pet portraits, wildlife art and botanical art by Carol F. Creech.
Statistics for Carol Creech Illustration - Sketches and News
Number of Readers that added this blog to their MyJacketFlap: 1
I have some gorgeous red and yellow tulips in a vase this week. One of my very favorite flowers, I have always wanted to draw them, but get intimidated by the feathery red that blends into the yellow on the petals. I tend to use colored pencil and sometimes get too heavy-handed with it. I often end up with a muddy mix, rather than a delicate layering.Clearly, I could practice just using a lighter touch and sharper pencils! However, today I wanted to try out a little mixed media technique and lay down a watercolor wash to give me some background on top of which to add pencil.
One of my retreat friends used this technique beautifully this weekend while painting a skunk cabbage in all of its maroon and cream glory. It reminded me that although I have not done much painting with watercolor, I could definitely use it as a base for a detailed colored pencil drawing, especially when layering very light colors with darker ones.
I started out with a light graphite pencil sketch to get the shapes. I have a small Windsor & Newton travel watercolor kit and used one of my travel watercolor brushes to grab a little bit of yellow and do a light wash on the petals. I also did the same with a light wash of green on the stem and leaves.
I painted on Fabriano Artistico Extra White hot press watercolor paper. I took some quick snapshots to show the process, but apologize for the poor quality of the photos! It should give you an idea of how I worked through the study, at least.Next, I started adding in layers of colored pencil. I use Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils. For this particular study, I used dark red for the deepest shadows in the petals and layered deep scarlet red and pale geranium lake on top for the red sections. For the yellow, I added some shadows with light yellow ochre and dark naples ochre. I kept layering, attempting to capture the subtle texture of these silky petals. I used light green, permanent green, may green, and pine green for the leaves and stem. As you can see below in the photo of my whole page, I did some test patches for each pencil before I used them to make sure I had the right colors. I need to do a color chart of all of my pencils to use as a reference! Those can be fun to make and good pencil practice - perhaps another blog post?
When I finished, I set the drawing aside for a few minutes and came back to it, darkening some shadows for definition and adding some highlights with my kneaded eraser. Here is the final. It's a photo (couldn't get the scan to look right) and even this doesn't quite show the darker reds as much as the actual.
Overall, I really liked using a watercolor wash as a base. I have more practicing to do, but look forward to using this technique again.
Do you use mixed media in your work? What combinations do you like and why?
Blog: Carol Creech Illustration - Sketches and News
(Login to Add to MyJacketFlap
, colored pencil
, skunk cabbage
, Pierce Cedar Creek Institute
, trout lily
, art retreat
, spring beauties
, Add a tag
If you have been following along, you know that I had the opportunity to spend a wonderful day at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute yesterday at an art retreat. I, along with about 8 other nature artists, spent time together catching up and creating some new artwork. We had a fantastic introductory class in etching with PCCI's first artist-in-residence, Doet Boersma. Read about it in my previous post.
After our etching class and a tasty lunch, we all spent the afternoon hiking the many trails at PCCI, sketching and painting whatever caught our attention. After such a long winter, it was a pleasure to have temperatures in the 60s and lots of sun! The woods are just starting to bud and spring plants are beginning to bloom.
I decided to hike one of the easier trails so I had plenty of time for drawing as I spotted wildflowers or other interesting subjects.
Three of us headed down toward the boardwalk behind the visitor's center, passing many, pretty little spring beauties (Claytonia virginica) along the trail. These delicate, pink-striped flowers are among the first to pop up through the leaf litter each spring.
As we headed onto the boardwalk, I spotted a few blooming marsh marigolds (Caltha palustris). I missed the chance to sketch them last time I was here, so I set my gear down and decided to do a little drawing. Marsh marigold sketches are in graphite at the top of the page. Another plant that we saw everywhere was s
kunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus). They have some really interesting shapes and colors, so I had to stop and capture those, too. I ended up doing graphite and added colored pencil on top. Not the best combo, since it gets muddy and smears. But I wanted to add some color to indicate the deep maroon next to the light yellow-green in the same plant. In the swampy area near the rest of the skunk cabbage, I did a quick sketch of a tree with bright green moss growing by the roots. I chose to use gray toned paper for this one.
Tree with skunk cabbage growing all around.
My quick sketch on toned paper. I didn't do a great amount of detail, but really wanted to capture a bit of the moss.
I made my way up the blue trail to the Maple and Beech forest next. This is one of my favorite spots and one I visited before. The beech trees look so beautiful and delicate, especially the smaller ones, with their papery white leaves rustling in the breeze. Along this whole area, the forest floor is covered in leaf litter and other winter debris, but up throughout all of those leaves, sometimes growing right through them, are the spring wildflowers. I saw trout lily (Erythronium americanum) leaves everywhere, but only one blossom so far. My guess is that in the next week or two, that area will be bright with the curling stems and yellow blossoms. I also spotted more spring beauties and some clumps of light purple flowers that are slightly bigger than spring beauties. They also have a wonderful, hairy white stem. I believe these are hepatica.
I found one with its three-lobed leaves intact and did some sketching on the same toned gray paper as the tree I did earlier.
After I finished this study, I simply enjoyed walking the rest of the trail, looking for more flowers and listening to the birds singing. My last interesting find was right at the edge of the trail as it came out of the maple and beech forest into the prairie section. It was sunny on the path and I had my walking stick with me, as usual. I was studying the left side of the trail for wildflowers and heard a rustling off to my right. I stopped and saw a thick snake, about 14 inches long, with light tan and brown markings. It blended in perfectly with the surrounding leaf litter. It has stopped and was waiting for me to move on. Can you see it in the photo above? Its head is toward the top of the photo, right in between the sideways "V"-shaped tree branches and has two black patches on either side.I took my camera out and captured a few photos before moving on. It flared its head out as it waited for me to leave, reminding me of a cobra. I thought it might be the elusive Massasauga rattlesnake, Michigan's only venomous snake. However, further research when I returned home revealed this to actually be an eastern hog-nosed snake. It is often mistaken for the Massasauga rattlesnake. Those dark head markings really clarified it for me - in any photos you see, the Massasauga has more of a striped appearance. Also, I read that the hog-nosed snake tends to flare its head when disturbed. Either way, a rare and beautiful sighting!
We finished the day by gathering in Doet's studio again to pick up our etching prints that we created earlier in the day and exchange business cards and contact information. I am so glad to have had the chance to visit PCCI and my artist friends, even if just for one day. I look forward to returning again!
I had an opportunity to return to Pierce Cedar Creek Institute (PCCI) in Hastings, MI yesterday for an artist's retreat. I had a terrific time and met a great group of artists two years ago when we went.
Many of the same folks and a few new ones gathered again this weekend. I was only able to go for the day, but it was a gorgeous day. Temperatures were in the high 60s and the sun was shining. Fabulous after this long, cold winter! I managed to get some good sketching done and also had a surprise workshop from the first PCCI artist-in-residence, Doet Boersma.
I arrived to PCCI at 9 a.m. and the day simply flew by. We started the day by heading to Doet's studio. She is an amazing artist and so generous to share her knowledge, time and equipment with us. A gracious host, she made sure we had our coffee or tea before we started! Then she proceeded to give us a quick class on etching. We each chose a drawing or photo - either something from our sketchbook or a photo of our own from online that we printed out. I chose to work with one of my magnolia photos that I took last summer in South Carolina.
From there, we each cut a small piece of plastic binding cover material and chose an etching tool, which could be anything from a screwdriver to a scratchboard point or whatever hard-tipped scratching tool you prefer, as long as you can scratch your design into the plastic. The focus is on scratching the dark areas of the design as the print will be done in reverse, e.g., whatever you scratch the most will retain the most ink and print the darkest.
It turns out that my choice was a little ambitious since there is a good bit of dark background around the magnolia blossom and within the leaves. However, I plugged away and managed to get something decent to work with on the press.Once our designs were finished being scratched into the plastic, Doet showed us how to choose various ink colors, with darker ones working best, roll them out and coat the plastic or "plate", working ink into the scratched areas with our gloved fingers, if needed. After wiping the excess ink off, we held the plates up to the light to see where we wanted to remove or add a little more ink. Using cotton swabs, I was able to take more ink off of the white flower to bring more light into the design.Once we finished inking, we took a piece of water-soaked cotton rag paper that we prepared earlier and placed it onto a scrap piece of paper on the etching press. Carefully, I centered my etching ink-side down on the damp paper and put another scrap piece on top. I rolled the blanket layers down and then cranked the press to create a
print. You can reuse the plate again and again, applying more ink, different colors, choosing to darken or lighten areas depending on how your print comes out.My first print included mainly some green ink and turned out alright, but I wanted to tweak it some more.
First of 3 "magnolia" prints. For my second print, I added some brown ink to the background and darker areas, but clearly did not incorporate it as well!
Second of 3 "magnolia" prints.
My final print turned out the best, I think. I incorporated some reddish-brown ink and pulled out some highlights in the flower and bud a bit more. The sepia tones really compliment the magnolia as the back of the actual leaves is a rich, red-brown color.
Final of 3 "magnolia" prints. It was such a fun process! Once we all did our first print, you could feel the creative energy rising in the room as people started thinking of how they wanted to tweak their prints, bustling about for more paint, wiping their plates to get the right amount of ink and "dirt" in the background. Everyone did at least 3, some 4 or 5. It was a productive few hours! Great to learn more about this traditional craft.We left the prints to dry while we took a lunch break and spent the afternoon outdoors. Stay tuned for my next post with photos and sketches from the afternoon hike!
Khristos Voskres! (Christ is Risen!)
Wishing all of my readers a very Happy Easter and give you a little information on an ancient art form called pysanky. Many of you may be familiar with this beautiful tradition, but if not, there is a fantastic article that was in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently that can give you the details:
We have been doing the regular young-kid egg dyeing projects, but this year was the first year I was able to introduce my girls (ages 5 and 3) to pysanky. I am of Ukrainian heritage and learned this from my aunt and mother when I was just a bit older than they are now.
It's been years since I have made them myself, but I am looking forward to doing them in years to come with my kids.
Although we weren't quite ready to mess around with the permanent dyes typically used for this, I decided to dig out the kistkas (wax writing styluses) and beeswax to give my girls a little introduction into how it is done.
I started by 'writing' a few dividing lines around the egg to show them, and then let them each try a little scribbling with the wax. They loved it.
Here is my older daughter giving the kistka a try.
Do you have any Easter art traditions in your family?
I hope that you enjoy this beautiful day!
I am finally running a sale!
There are some great deals here, just in time for spring and short sleeves!Check out a couple of the 20+ items currently on sale:This gorgeous triple wrap features shimmering 4mm round Pietersite stone beads. Also known as eagle’s eye, this rare variation of tiger’s eye contains shades of rich browns, coppery reds, cream and a surprising gray/blue. The stones are wrapped in 1.8mm bronze metallic leather with an antiqued gold button closure. Fits petite to medium wrist when wrapped 3 times.
This adjustable pendant features a gorgeous, large Mookaite jasper nugget in a deep goldenrod color with dark brown markings. This earthy design is finished off with dark brown metallic and cream glass beads. The stones are attached to 1mm dark brown, waxed cotton cord with dark brown S-Lon thread and two adjustable sliding knots allow the wearer to choose up to an 18” length (36" cord) when fully extended.So, stop on by and look around, you just might find a great bargain!Check back often for new items, too!
What's new in the shop these days?
Well, after a busy holiday season and getting through some January colds and viruses, I had a bit of a drought when it came to new items for the shop. Feeling better this month, I was anxious to get back to my jewelry table! I have some wonderful supplies and was looking for new ways to combine them.
I dug out these beautiful, hand dyed, 100% silk ribbons that I ordered a few months ago. Silk wrap bracelets in various forms are popular right now, and I wanted to see what I could create that was just a little different than the many offerings currently out there.
I came up with what I call a 'Tribal Twist' Silk and Stone Wrap Bracelets. With a little bit of s-lon beading thread and some Czech seed beads, I strung stone rounds and nuggets in 6mm-8mm sizes, knotting the ribbon in between, to create comfortable, light and colorful wrap bracelets.
The beauty of these is the variety of stones and sizes I can create. I can add more beads for a shorter wrap, or a few less to fit larger wrists. All of the ones I have created so far will fit anywhere from a petite to large wrist size, wrapping three times around for most, twice for a larger wrist.
I am having a great time choosing stones and silks to pair up, so look for more of these in the coming weeks!
Crazy Lace Agate Pink Silk and Stone Wrap
Packaged on a bracelet card shows how it can look on the wrist.
Fossil Coral Jasper Brown Silk and Stone Wrap
Labradorite Navy Silk and Stone Wrap.
One of the many things on my to-do list has been to update my main website. I periodically looked for a new template, but never quite found what I wanted until they released Auckland (HTML) last year.
I use FolioLink, an artist and photographer website provider, and have for several years now. They provide great service and offer a good selection of templates. I have used the Berlin template for a number of years. It is clean and straightforward, but I was getting tired of it and looking for an update. I also have added the jewelry and craft side of my business, so the number of info pages and portfolios I wanted to include were crowding my navigation a bit in the old template (see the portfolio links at the top and the info pages at the bottom?):
It actually took much less time than I thought to adjust my content to the new template and I basically worked on it over the last couple of weeks. It offers a slightly bigger image size for my portfolios (always a good thing when viewing artwork), and I really like the sliding menu on the left. It keeps the main content pane cleaner for viewing and then the user can always go to the left (or use the arrow navigation at the bottom) to move to another section. I an also add more info pages or portfolios without crowding out the navigation scheme.
Sliding MenuI think what I like most about this is that I could do it myself. A few emails to FolioLink and their prompt replies allowed me to tweak the template to match my color scheme and really capture the look I wanted for my site.So, have a look at the new site here and feel free to sign the guestbook!Have you redesigned your website recently? Or are you still waiting to get to that? :) What did you find easiest or most difficult about the process?
Blog: Carol Creech Illustration - Sketches and News
(Login to Add to MyJacketFlap
, botanical art
, Add a tag
It has been waaaaay too long since I have done any botanical drawing. But just this morning, I took some time to grab my pencil and some paper to do a little sketching.
I can thank my older daughter, who is 5, for this for two reasons, 1) she loves to have us pick up a bunch of flowers at the store every so often so we bought a bouquet of spray roses over the weekend, and 2) they are starting to shrivel, so she asked to take apart some petals this morning before school.
I trimmed off a few flowers and buds and my little scientist (or budding botanist?) started peeling away the petals into a pile. The resulting stem, sepals, stamen and pistils were brought into the light of day and were begging to be sketched.
I love the curve of the sepals and the sharp point they come to at the tips. Although I am out of practice (my shading ended up a bit heavier than I intended...) it felt terrific to finally get back to it.
View from underneath the stems and sepals.
View from the side of the sepals, with some beautiful curling as well as a great view of the cluster of stamens and pistils at the center of the blossom.
The holidays and winter colds can really put a dent in any available creative time. Have you had any projects you have been away from and returned to recently?
Happy New Year 2013!
Welcome to CCreech Studio's 2012 Year in Review and Looking Forward to 2013
I have seen similar posts on other artist's sites and thought this would be a great way to start the new year. 2012 was a busy year, creatively, and this is a great way to recall just how much was accomplished and take a look forward to what I hope to pursue in the coming year. So, let's take a look!
2012 Year In Review
- I opened my Etsy shop almost one year ago, in January 2012
Advertised in a national magazine, FOLKMagazine.
- I had 23 sales (of 30 items) in shop, but also about 30-40 additional sales outside of the shop, including sales made at booths throughout the year.
- My offerings started with leather wrap bracelets made with natural gemstones, but quickly expanded to include:
- Blank, hand-bound journals
- Jotter journals with reprints of my nature and botanical artwork.
- Natural stone pendants, most of which are on waxed cotton cord as an alternative to leather.
- Hand-knotted, macrame and gemstone bookmarks
Participated in three, in-person booth craft/gift shows
- Participated in their Holiday Gift Guide Giveaway, donating one of my bookmarks that was given to a lucky winner.
- Saline Farmer’s Market (August 2012)
- 10th Annual Kerrytown BookFest (September 2012)
- 1st Annual Holiday Greens & Gift Market in Kerrytown (December 2012)
My first exhibit!
- I am fortunate to have items from my shop on consignment at two local shops/galleries:
- The exhibit, "Illustrating Science: From Anatomy to Zoology", showcased scientific illustrations on a range of subjects, done by local illustrators. Four of my botanical illustrations were on display during June-July 2012 at the Ann Arbor District Library.
- I had three commissions this year:
- Ink portrait of a cat (Beacon)
Donated a bracelet for the 8th Annual Circle of Art benefit for Food Gatherers, a local food bank.Donated a hand-bound journal to the American Society of Botanical Artists annual auction.The indiexhibit
- Landscape in ink and colored pencil.
- Participated in the American Music Awards with two display items that were gifted.
- Participated in providing mugs and jewelry to three film projects being completed in the coming months.
- Keep creating!
- Continue to add to the Etsy shop
- More hand-bound mini-journals with natural gemstones, silk wraps, and more.
- I enjoy creating blank ones for a variety of creative uses, including art, writing, photos, etc.
- Develop an idea for a journal format that a friend described to me last year.
Participate in 1-2 booth showsContinue my partnership with FOLKMagazine. for 3 of the 6 issues this year:
- More bookmarks, bracelets, and pendants; including finding new stones to use, state-specific stones.
- I will have ads in the first three issues:
Continue consignment opportunities.Create wholesale price sheet and look into wholesale opportunities.Continue participating in The indiexhibit events as opportunities arise. It is a fun way to get a different angle of exposure and have my creations in different venues.
Participate in the 9th Annual Circle of Art benefit.Draw more! I had some commissions, but did not really do much sketching or drawing last year. This year I *will* do more! :)
- Participating in the gift lounge at the Academy Awards ceremony (The Oscars) 2013 in February.
- Botanical and nature art - both sketches and finished pieces. I would love to do a few 'sketching' days at the local botanical garden.
Seek out other exhibit opportunities.Attend the American Society of Botanical Artists conference in Pittsburgh in the fall.So there it is! I am sure I will add to this list as the year goes on, but this certainly looks like a great start!Do you have any creative goals for the coming new year? I'd love to hear about them.
- House portrait of my own house.
- Other commissions that come along.
Wishing all of my readers out there a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
I haven't done much in the way of new drawing this year, so I am posting an old pen and ink I did of a poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima). Still one of my favorites!
Have a wonderful holiday season!
Remember the pen and ink commission I posted a while back? It was originally done just in ink, but after consulting with the client, they decided that they preferred some color (this is for a gift and is a special place to the recipients, so they wanted to make sure it really resonates with them.)
Here is the final pen and ink:
Today, I added the colored pencil. Here is the final result:
I think it turned out beautifully! I particularly like the way the water turned out. It really makes it the focal point of the drawing.
I used my favorite Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils and layered five different colors for the water: cobalt turquoise, dark thalo green, cobalt green, ultramarine, and navy for the darkest area near the horizon.
Greens used included chrome oxide green, pine green and earth green yellowish.
Have you had any holiday commissions to complete? How are they coming along?
I had a chance to have a booth at a local holiday market this past Friday, December 7. I was all set up at the Kerrytown Market & Shops here in Ann Arbor along with a number of other artisans and vendors to help celebrate Festive Fridays during this holiday season at the 1st annual Holiday Greens & Gift Market.
It was a cold and rainy evening, so crowds were not as busy as we'd hoped, but there were still a number of folks who came out to enjoy shopping, s'mores, caroling, riding the Jollie Train and seeing Santa!
I made a handful of sales, so that was fun. Here is a look at my booth:
A shot of my whole booth - fortunately, my friend Claudia of Artitlan (on the left) brought a tarp that hung behind both of our spaces and kept us fairly warm and dry! My jotter journal sets in the middle, natural stone pendants in the back (with sliding stone necklaces in front of them) and bookmarks on the right. A peek at the left side of the table with my necklace display.
And my bookmarks and bracelets along with my 'Stones of Michigan' display card.
I look forward to adding some new items to the shop this week. Have you ever had a booth at a holiday (or other) market? What was your experience?
The FOLK Magazine blog has been running great features this holiday season with do-it-yourself crafts and more.
One thing they are also doing is hosting a wonderful Christmas Gift Guide Giveaway everyday and today, I am featured in the giveaway! My Fossil Coral and Turtle Macrame Bookmark will be sent to one lucky winner who comments on the FOLK Blog post.
Check it out for a chance to win!
Check out the online craft fair posted by Saturday Sequins! Great way to shop small this Small Business Saturday.
Natural stones all polished and strung, check out these gifts for some holiday fun!
15% off of everything in my Etsy Shop from now through this weekend!
Use Code: BLACKFRIDAY12
Knotted and beaded with stones to match, long enough for your favorite hard back, these handmade bookmarks are unique and personal so consider one or two for your favorite reader:
Yellow Botswana Agate and Golden Autumn Leaf Macrame Bookmark
Lapis Lazuli and Starfish Macrame Bookmark
Perhaps a pendant or necklace is what you seek? A single nugget of earth's beauty or some sliding stones, adjustable from large to small they are a great fit for one and all!
Crazy Lace Agate Adjustable Pendant
Labradorite Sliding Stone Necklace
Bracelets and jotter sets I have as well. What you might like I cannot tell so take a peek and have a look-see, especially the jotters that have artwork done originally by me.
Practical art for your pocket or stones for your wrist, you might find a stocking stuffer or perfect hostess gift!
Mookaite Jasper Triple Leather Wrap Bracelet
Garlic Scapes Jotter Journal Set (3 mini-journals.)
Last, but not least, be sure to check back as I will continue to add to the shop, that's a fact.
I just completed my most recent commission in pen and ink. This was a little different than my normal subjects, but still an enjoyable challenge to render. As usual, this was done with my 3X0 (.25) Rapidograph pen on smooth Bristol paper.The scene is a special one for the recipient, so a different composition was not really an option. Because the final drawing is approximately 9X12 (fairly small), I tried to focus on using various pen and ink techniques to highlight the different textures present. I did some heavy cross-hatching on the metal railing in the foreground; squiggly line work to show the foliage behind the railing; stippling to indicate sand on the beach; and various straight, fanned-out line work to fill in the palm trees.I think it turned out very nicely and hope the recipient enjoys it!Have you done any challenging projects lately? How did you manage to work around any tough parts?
Thank you to all who entered my 4th Blogiversary Giveaway. Using the random number generator, the winner is Lisa!
Please visit my Etsy shop to see my current offerings - more sliding stone necklaces, natural stone leather wrap bracelets, pendants, bookmarks and more! Great gift ideas for the holidays.
As a thank you for your continued support of my blog and my business, I am happy to announce a giveaway opportunity! This is the fourth year of my blog and I am giving away one of my new sliding stone necklaces to one lucky winner:
Mookaite Jasper Sliding Stone Necklace
This adjustable necklace features gorgeous Mookaite jasper nuggets in deep maroons, dusty purples, and some beautiful dark yellows and browns. The stones are highlighted by gold metallic and maroon Czech seed beads and glide gently along 1mm dark brown waxed cotton cord with two adjustable sliding knots. This allows the wearer to choose up to approximately a 32” cord length when fully extended. What a colorful and beautiful gift for yourself or someone else this holiday season!
- Leave a comment on this blog post. Please remember to include a link or email so that I can contact you if you are the winner!
- For two additional entries:
- Post this giveaway on your Facebook page and leave a comment here for another entry (please leave a link to confirm the posting.)
- Post this giveaway on your Twitter feed and leave a comment here (please leave your twitter handle to confirm the posting.)
Deadline: The giveaway ends on Friday, November 16th at midnight. I will choose a winner using the random number generator and announce it on Saturday, November 17th.
Thanks and good luck!
I have created a new treasury in Etsy! It's called Beauty of Bookmarks and features a range of gorgeous ways we can use to mark our favorite reading material.
Of course, I am a little partial to bookmarks since I make them (and I am a librarian and avid reader!), but I happily found a number of different styles on Etsy to include here. Check out the wonderful work of these various artists!What are some of your favorite bookmarks? Do you make your own? I'd love to hear all about them.
Flower Jade and Mum Macrame Bookmark
Well, ahem, let me just get it out in the open. You may have noticed an increase in my pricing over the last few days. Are you seeing things? Nope. I did it. And it needed to be done. Why, you may ask? Your prices were so affordable!
Affordable for the customer, yes, but not sustainable as a business. And I want to run a business! A business that shares my creativity, attention to detail, and unique perspective on natural history, botanical and nature art, the book arts, and more.
Before I get into the why, I would like to cut to the chase and let you know that I take pricing very seriously. I want to assure you that you can still get any item in my shop for the original price through October 21st:
Use coupon code LOYALTY for 40% off in my Etsy shop
So, what made me rethink my pricing?
Wholesale inquiries. I have had a few people ask me over the last few months if I do wholesale. Expecting that they want great quantities, which I don't produce, I hadn't given it much thought.
However, for gift shops and other similar venues, the quantity requested is often quite small to start out. Hmmm...maybe I should look into this. So I did. And I discovered that wholesale prices are typically 50% of retail. Whoa! If sold pieces at 50% off I would be losing money and essentially doing this for free! Who does that? Well, no one, if you are not pricing your goods the right way. Clearly, though, there are people who do wholesale and do it quite effectively as part of their business model.
This started me looking into pricing formulas, and I discovered that although I thought my prices were decently marked up from base costs, they still fell about 40% short of what they should be to get close to a sustainable business.
I found fantastic advice on pricing from a post on artist Jenny Hoople's blog. Check out Jenny's work on her site, Authentic Arts, by the way - absolutely gorgeous natural stone jewelry. Well worth your time!
The advice is terrific and Tara states is much more eloquently than I can, so do yourself a favor and pop over to her post to read the details. In addition to the post, there were comments (including some by Jenny) that led to the following pricing formula recommended by another business blogger, Megan Auman
(Materials + Labor + Overhead + Profit = Wholesale) X 2 = Retail
Note that “labor” is calculated as the actual time it takes to make a piece of jewelry and you need to have an accurate hourly wage. This needs to include not just making the piece, but designing it, ordering supplies, photographing, writing descriptions, posting online (website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), packaging up and shipping orders, etc. Tara recommends charging at least $25/hr (and that $50/hr is actually a more accurate number) and when you think of all that goes into the work of a retail business, this is a very reasonable rate.
When I actually did my calculations, accounting for all of the above details, I came to the conclusion that I needed to put up a 40% increase to get into a more sustainable business model for my business.
And so there you have it. If you are a small business owner, read up and make sure you are charging an accurate price for your time, talent, and business. You and your creativity are worth it!
If you are a customer, thank you for your support! I hope this post can help everyone from business owners to customers better understand what goes into pricing the handmade, unique gifts and jewelry that we all enjoy.
Who doesn't love a good giveaway?!
And this one is a big one!
HorseFeathers Gifts is celebrating reaching 6,000 fans by hosting a huge giveaway! You will have a chance to win over $1,600 worth of fantastic items.
And guess what? One of my wrap bracelets is one of the prizes! I am giving away a new Kona dolomite triple wrap as a part of this great prize package:
You will have to head on over to HorseFeathers Gifts blog to see the fabulous items up for prizes and how to enter:
Go...now! See what fun is in store - just think...you could get all of your holiday shopping done in one fell swoop. Check it out!
Blog: Carol Creech Illustration - Sketches and News
(Login to Add to MyJacketFlap
, kona dolomite
, happy birthday
, coupon code
, Dogtooth Amethyst
, brecciated jasper
, Petoskey Stone
, Add a tag
Today is my birthday! To celebrate, I want to share some birthday fun by giving you a coupon code for 25% off of anything in my Etsy shop for the rest of this month (good through midnight, Sun. Sept. 30.)
Use Code: happybdayI have already enjoyed some birthday bead shopping and am looking forward to a nice dinner out and some dessert from my favorite pizza place in town (Silvio's Organic Pizza, if you are ever in Ann Arbor. They do a fantastic dessert pizza with nutella and sweet marscapone cheese on their thin crust. It's addictive!!)I also wanted to give you some details on the new pendants I have been creating. You may have seen these popping up in the shop as I add them. I created a number of new pendants for the BookFest and sold several of them (yeah!) I was really pleased at the response to my local stones - particularly the Kona Dolomite pendants.
I have some terrific stones on hand again and am looking forward to creating more!
I received a shipment of some more beautiful, large Petoskey stone nuggets and have 3 pendants made so far. One of them is listed in the shop. The Hexagonaria fossil pattern is just gorgeous on these:
I found this fantastic variation of amethyst with angled bands of calcite, giving it a chevron pattern. It is, in fact, also known as chevron amethyst. I sold one pendant with this stone on a purple cord at BookFest. This pendant is on a black, waxed cotton cord and is currently listed in the shop. I have some more stones, so look for more of these soon!
Kona Dolomite (oval and rectangle)
I received a sample of these Michigan Kona dolomite ovals and rectangles with another package of beads from one of my favorite shops, Nawbin Beads, in Traverse City, MI. I created two pendants and sold both of them at my booth. I'll be creating more variations with this great, local stone soon!
These photos are not the best as I took them quickly the night before BookFest to have some record of what I made.
However, the rectangle Kona pendant is on the far left. There is an epidote pendant second from the right. That is another local stone. This particular pendant sold at BookFest, also.
The oval Kona pendant is on the far left of this photo and the two dogtooth amethyst are next to it. The dogtooth on the far right is on a medium purple waxed cotton cord, a nice combination.
It was really interesting to see what people responded to and were interested in. It definitely gives me some great feedback and ideas on what to do moving forward.
Brecciated JasperThis fantastic deep red stone with some dark pink variations is perfect for fall. I made one of these for myself and wear it all the time! I added this one to the shop yesterday:
Which stone of these is your favorite? Why? I would love to hear your feedback. Have a great day!
Recently, Etsy created a new, more detailed section for each shop owner called the About page. It allows a shop owner to share the story of their shop and why they do what they do.
You can find the link to a shop owner's About page on the left-hand menu, towards the bottom of the page under Shop Info.
I finally have completed my About page profile, complete with photos. So, if you are curious to know how my shop came into being and what prompted my current migration to jewelry and bookbinding, check it out!
I created a new treasury in Etsy last night. This one is inspired by all of the GORGEOUS colors I have been seeing this fall, especially the brilliant golds, hence the title, "Golden Leaves".
Take a peek at some of the beautiful creativity featuring this theme.
View Next 25 Posts
So we are having what is probably the last warm-up in weather until spring here in Michigan. Temps are mid-70s, sun is shining and there is a beautiful breeze going through the house. With the threat of rain tomorrow and a high of 52, I wanted to take full advantage!
With my 3-year-old at home for a low-key day today, I was able to spend about 45 glorious minutes outside sketching some fall gourds while she played. Yay!! It has been f-o-r-e-v-e-r since I have had a chance to draw at all so I savored every minute of it.
I had my lawn chair, a huge pad of paper, my favorite mechanical pencil, kneaded eraser and two little gourds I bought from the grocery store a few weeks ago. They are both only about 3 inches long and wide in the body, with one having an extra long stem that stayed remarkably intact for a grocery-store gourd.
I sketched as fast as I could before I had to give up the one with the long stem for my daughter's "collection". :)
Long-stem is mostly green whereas the second one is a wonderful, bumpy-all-over bright orange with some dark green blotches. I didn't get a chance to add color, but I am sure you can imagine these since they are around pretty much everywhere at this time of year.
Even though these were fairly quick studies and not nearly complete, it felt wonderful to have a chance to actually put pencil to paper. It also felt terrific to be outside, squinting in the sun with a breeze swirling my hair as I drew!
Have you had a chance to do any autumn drawing lately? What is one of your favorite things to draw this time of year?