Tag Archives: small business

Goblin Charms

 

There’s a new project afoot in my studio. I’ve unearthed my treasured hoard of “this is the last one” beads and I’m doing something special with them in a new collection of jewelry I’m calling Goblin Charms. Each Goblin Charms piece is unique, and I’m selling this collection only via Instagram and Twitter. They’re literally one of a kind, and made in collaboration with my partner, Phil. When you buy a Goblin Charm, you’ll get a piece of jewelry designed and made by me, in a package with artwork made by Phil.

I believe that jewelry tells a story. When I make things, I’m imagining the person who will wear them, the story that this bracelet or that pair of earrings tells, the story that it will be become part of with a new owner. This new collection has a part of my story in it, as well.

Wear your story, and mine.

valentinesThis is a goblin love story. Fittingly, it starts deep beneath the earth, in a dark cavern veined with hidden treasure. Well, almost. Actually, it starts on the internet. Phil and I met on Twitter. We’re not 100% certain how we actually found each other, but it quickly became apparent that we both love books, extremely dreary weather, Spaceballs, inappropriate jokes, China Mieville, and making things with our hands. After some time, it also became apparent that we love each other. But PLOT TWIST! He lives in Yorkshire, England. I live in Portland, OR. We get to visit a couple of times a year, and we are very grateful to Google Hangouts for letting us be together in our virtual country. But we are in love, and we want to live together.

How are we going to do that, you wonder? We’re glad you asked. It’s a good story. I’m going to move to England. Patience is not my strong suit, and I may have already packed some stuff. But before this can really happen, I need to apply for a visa and we need to save enough money to pay for the visa, a plane ticket, and moving. As I said, we like making things. Phil codes ingenious tools and draws pen and ink monsters. I make jewelry. We’ve decided to make something together to help us reach our goal.

goblin with a ear rings and glassesFor a long time, I’ve been hanging onto a collection of rare vintage Lucite and glass beads. I’ve always meant to curate them into shadowboxes and have a permanent display, but somehow they’ve just stayed jumbled in a box. The truth is that I enjoy making things with beads more than I enjoy just hoarding them to look at. They should go out into the world and live their story there, even if it means they are lost or destroyed or lose their lustre. Beautiful things are meant to be seen and handled, meant to express themselves. I got the box out, and I started making one of a kind pieces of jewelry with these last precious works of art, and so Goblin Charms came to be. As I’m releasing a jewel hoard out into the daylight, I thought goblins were the perfect mascot. Phil draws excellent goblins, and he made a logo for us to use on packaging. Then he drew a small army of goblins festooned in jewelry just for good measure. This stripey lady just above with the John Lennon glasses is my favorite.

The money from each Goblin Charm sale goes straight into our savings account towards the day when we can live together. We are so grateful for our friends all over the world who have been watching our story and wishing us well. From the bottom of our goblin hearts, thank you. Your support means the world to us.

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blaugust #06: sparkletalk.

I made a little deal with myself last week. The boxes of glass beads have been languishing lately. My time for making things is much more restricted than it was a couple of years ago, and when I sit down for a design marathon I tend to let the more popular urban legend designs take all my time. Leaves of Glass is my first venture, though, and still my true heart. I don’t want to let it slip away entirely.

Last week I decided I’d make at least one piece of vintage glass jewelry a day. Sometimes my only hope of succeeding at a challenge is NOT to publicize it. Talking about it can work as a catalyst for doing it (Blaugust is working that way for me, so far), but it can also work as creativity-stifling pressure. I’ve lost momentum from sheer panic before. This was a little challenge, and not really in danger of being derailed. But it was also a challenge from me, to me, for reasons of my own affection. So I kept it quiet and just forged ahead. I did well! I didn’t miss any days, and on a couple of days I made more than one thing. I posted most of them on Instagram, and several pieces were sold straight from there. For me, that’s the most rewarding design-to-sale format, and I’m always excited when it happens.

This is a gallery of my favorite pieces. The ones that are still available are listed for sale in Leaves of Glass on Etsy. I got my nimble glass fingers working again, and there will be more grit and sparkle to come this month.

(This is my sixth post for the Blaugust initiative.)

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.

I’m hunting candy in the wild.

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Last week I received a lovely selfie from a customer, wearing her recent urban legend necklace purchase. It’s so fun for me to see people wearing the jewelry I make, but because I sell most of my jewelry online, I seldom get the chance. Every once in a while, I catch a glimpse of something I made in the wild, as it were, and it’s a thrill that never fades. I want more of this, I’ve decided. How to get it?

BUT WAIT. The internet lets you see pictures! What if I ask you for these pictures, and provide you with a nice incentive to send them to me? Good? Good.

For the rest of January, I’ll be running a giveaway on Instagram for a $50 gift certificate to urban legend. The winner will be chosen at random on February 1 from all the entries. From now until midnight PST on January 31, you can enter as many times as you like. The rules are simple:

1. Post a picture of yourself on Instagram wearing an urban legend necklace (or bracelet or earrings, if they’re your favorite!), and tag me (@katerimorton). For each unique entry, I’ll enter your name for one chance at a random drawing to win a $50 gift certificate to urban legend. If you have one urban legend necklace, and you post one picture, you’ll be entered once. If you have one urban legend necklace but you like to mix it up with different outfits and you post five different pictures, you’ll be entered five times. If you have five necklaces, and you post a different one for each necklace, you’ll be entered five times. At the end of the month, I’ll use a randomizer to select a winner, and will contact the winner by commenting on their post.

That’s it. Just the one rule. I’m hoping I’ll discover a lot of new Instagram accounts to follow, and get to know some of my customers better, but following me isn’t a criteria for entering the giveaway. I’d rather you follow me because you want to. (Spoiler: I post plenty of pictures of beads and jewelry and things I’m making, but I also post a lot of pictures of Portland street art, my niece and nephew, and Murder She Wrote bingo cards. Mine is a strange, full life.)

I’ll see you in pictures! Please don’t eat the jewelry.

Love, Kateri