Tag Archives: lucite

Smiling in the stacks.

It all started last winter when my friend Bettie Newell and I had a conversation over cocktails about small business and marketing. Bettie is a wonderful photographer, and she had an idea about doing a photoshoot with my urban legend jewelry line. Let’s get some cute girls and some vintage dresses together with your necklaces and take pictures! Well, yes, please, I would love that. A few weeks after that conversation, I posted a photograph on Instagram using a vintage dictionary as a background for a necklace. Bettie texted me immediately and said she thought the library would be perfect for a photoshoot. We set about getting permission and rounding up several of our lovely friends to be models.

And so it happened that about a month ago, I packed up a collection of urban legend jewelry and headed to Central Library in downtown Portland to meet some beautiful ladies. Central Library is an exceptionally beautiful building: spacious and light and elegant. We had a gorgeous sunny spring morning, and the light was beautiful. The group of us spent a fun few hours in the stacks, trying to keep our laughter hushed as we effected wardrobe changes, browsed through books, and scouted out good spots to gather. We managed to be unobtrusive for most of the time, but we gathered a small audience while we were posing on the central staircase. What can I say, we looked adorable.

These pictures are a small sample of the beautiful work that Bettie did. I love her eye for color and faces, and I’m so happy with the way this project came together! It’s been so much fun adding a few of these at a time to my shop listings. Keep your eyes open for more! And please visit Bettie’s website to see more of her beautiful photographs, or to book a photo session.

45 and counting.

70 necklaces 1

Most of the flat surfaces in my apartment currently have a little bundle of bright colors that looks like this. For the last month, I’ve been working on a project to design 70 of my urban legend vintage Lucite necklaces, to be included in swag bags for VIP tickets at Portland Fashion Week in September. When I started the project, I decided to design 70 completely new necklaces, and I’ve been making at least one a day. It’s been so much fun to put new work together¬†and watch the pile grow!

In addition to collecting these for Portland Fashion Week, I’ve listed exactly one of each of these new designs in my Etsy shop. There will only be two of these designs in existence – one for the shop and one for the show – so if you see one you like, grab it fast!

70 necklaces 2

126.

Ever since I moved into my apartment, my creative workflow has been off. I’ve fiddled with it here and there, and small changes have made small improvements, but it hasn’t felt really good to me in over a year. I’ve been missing the juice, the joy of it – the thing that used to make me come home from work full of colorful thoughts and get right to making things. I still have plenty of ideas, but they don’t seem to gel right. It often takes me three or four times longer to get a design right than it once did.

A huge part of my enjoyment in my design work comes from pure tactile contact with my bead collection. Being able to move them around and see them together and fidget with them makes things happen in my head. I’ve often joked about making a giant ballpit for them and playing in it like a sandbox. A couple of weeks ago, I was frustrated beyond the limit with my inability to find a good workflow, and the ballpit of beads joke suddenly seemed like the greatest breakthrough I could imagine. 
So I cut a huge cardboard carton apart into wide strips, taped them to the edges of my kitchen table, and dumped out 11 boxes and two drawers full of vintage Lucite beads. It made a crashing enormous noise, and it felt wonderful, but it still wasn’t quite what I needed. After staring at it for two days, I knew what had to happen. I needed the beads to be free range. I loved that idea, but it also made me incredibly nervous. I manage inventory in order to be able to repeat designs by knowing exactly how many of which beads I have, and having all of them together in bags or on strands where I can find them easily. The work still wasn’t right, though, and it had to be done. With some smiling encouragement from the good man who holds my hand, I bit my lip and closed my eyes and changed everything about the way I work and run my business. I dumped all the beads out of all the bags, and I threw the bags out. 
The result is pure joy. It’s a sandbox full of color and texture and shape and I can’t stop touching it and it’s unlocked dozens of ideas and put a huge giddy smile on my face. Every time I walk past it, I reach in and give the beads a stir and see something new. I pull out little handfuls of color, and make them sing. I’ve made more new things in the last 10 days than I have in two months. It feels fantastic. 
My candy revolution means that I’m only going to be making one of a kind designs for a while. It’s difficult to find specific beads to pull multiple pieces together for inventory. But I find I’m excited about that idea – offering unique pieces of jewelry to my clients and my stockists sounds like fun.
I’ll be in my playground; keep your eyes open for new work at urban legend!

’tis the candy season.

It’s sale time! urban legend is participating in Etsy’s community-run annual sales event, Christmas in July. Most items in the shop are discounted 25% for the duration of the sale, from July 11-21.* Sale prices are listed, so there’s no need to use a coupon code. Happy shopping, and please don’t eat the jewelry!

*new designs and necklace of the month club are not discounted.