Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Put That Phone Down!

The Truth of Photography

When I first became a presence online I didn't know the importance of taking good photos, it seemed so convenient to whip out the smart phone, point and shoot. What was wrong with me?
I admit I have posted my fair share of out of focus pictures, but it didn't take long before I saw how important it was to get the right pictures. Especially when I started breaking away from boutiques and establishing more of a presence online.
Social Media is the #1 way to market online, seriously! I have paid to promote my listings online, I have tried my own website. Maybe I am going about it all in a wrong way or outlook but I have found the best way to engage with your audience is to post crisp clean amazing photos.
The other day, while I finished a project I started to whip out the smart phone, I only had three items to post and that was it. Surely I can just take them with my phone and get it right? Right?
I went to snap the photos, and noticed the difference immediately.
If you don't have a somewhat professional camera and you want to be serious about this business please I urge you to make the investment.
I have seen radical growth in my business just from taking the time to get some good professional photos.
It will not come overnight, but with practice you will learn what "feels" right. Don't forget to play with props, get good lighting. All these factor in. My favorite time of day to capture my work is either in the morning light before the harsh sun starts its blanching, or in the evening when the sun is dipping down just above the tree lines. These are the easiest photos to edit. These will make you a better photo. Trust me.

The ever creative,
Nova Leigh

I went from this:
(Taken with my phone)
To this!
(taken with a cannon Power Shot camera)

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Creativity in Loss

Finding peace in my art after losing my roots.
     This past year in August I lost someone very dear to me, my father, and while it was a difficult moment to process at the time I had no idea the ripples in my creativity it would rupture.
You see, ever since I was a small child my Dad would always tease me saying, ''Are you ever going to amount to anything?" and always some words in between and then end it with, "Little Girl". So I always wanted to prove to him that whatever I did with my work would be good.
 The whole, "I will show him!!" bit.
     Even as a small child the arts in all its various mediums and forms interested me. In fact when I got to high school it was the one subject I looked forward to each day as a time to relax. My Dad always funded my projects with brushes, paints, papers, and I even remember one Christmas being gifted a really nice easel and my first semi-professional paint bottles. I was elated.
     As the years moved on, and my Dad retired he took up photography, at that point I was starting to explore a different less common route than most were at the time for creating income, I took up jewelry making. At first it was a hobby, I confess, not the best. I had no formal schooling like I did with fine arts but there was something about it that I found really relaxing, and also the fact of having a finished piece that did not belong on a wall but rather could be worn for all the world to see! I allowed myself to really study the subject on what few books were out there and what few resources I was able to acquire since I did not have access to the internet or a computer. I was self taught.
Learning my voice.  

     Fast forward to last year, in the highlight of a blossoming Etsy business, no I don't have a thousand sales, but I do have a following. Something to show my Dad to be proud of, but you see, his heart condition took a turn for the worse. Even after being admitted to the hospital I told myself he would be okay. Deep down I had my doubts, Daddy didn't seem much like himself. I was not sure what I was going to face, and we never know what it will be like until it hits us personally. My loss was really deep, hard to cope (I confess it still is) and I feel like half of me is gone. You see, all these years of proving and having that drive to be better. The seeds that made me try to doubt myself, question my motives, grow and prove that jewelry could be more than just to wear, that it indeed could be art.

All of that, was silenced.

     It was in that silence that I had to reach deep within myself, and to find something in this pain. At first I just made myself busy, for the sake of being busy. Some people clean, some people write. I did a little writing too, but it was so personal and aching that I find it hard to reveal. When  I finally was able to sit down, and really pull that darkness, tug on its fibers and call it out for what it was.

The Truth is...

Art jewelry does not always have to come from a happy place to be beautiful, to be a treasure. It can sometimes come from the worst imaginable pain. A child who will never be held by her father again, who's conversations turn into rambling because the questions are never answered. This is all okay. This is what makes us grow, and find that creativity in loss.

So hear is to rebirth, to finding my voice again.
Because sometimes, it's with you all along, even when you doubt yourself.

-Nova Leigh

Monday, March 7, 2016

Getting Stuck

I find sometimes I fall in love and buy beads without thinking the whole thing through; the result is sitting (hoarding) beads until I find something that will compliment and suit the project. I have held on to things sometimes for years. I have in the worst cases lost interest and decided to do a destash.
A Beader's destash is defined as having so many beads one must literally let go of some of the hoard or stash. Some choose to sell them, gift them, or donate them. I know last year I sold over 30 pounds of beads ( if it was that easy to lose 30 pounds from my body I would be tiny ). It's a good feeling I tell you, freeing up the work space and allowing more space for things that won't pose for such a difficult task. I really love working with odd things.
Last year I started really trying to find unique items often handmade and working with them. I felt like anything that was unusual would sell well. Be easy to work with, I was wrong; most bead creators don't often take in whether or no their work will compliment other beads and often times do not sell them in kits of beads but singles or small 3-5 piece sets. This posed for a difficult challenge I had never faced before. Shopping online also I didn't always check the millimeters of what the dimensions were, often finding myself stuck with petite beads or even worse, giant oversized beads that will be hard for me to pair anything with. I am not one for Baubles, nor am I one to do intricate detailed projects that require small petite beads.
I have some beads I have been saving from this first initial collecting, I am still sorting through them. Some colors still don't want to match any of the beads I have, which means  I am really going to have to pull a rabbit out of the hat (so to speak). Here are a few designs I have finally got around to. I will say if you love a bead or a finding, don't give up. It might just be that the right complementing beads have not shown themselves to you just yet.
The ever creative mess,
Nova Leigh
These key charms I held on to for over a year...... worth it

This pendant and complimenting beads had to be reworked twice before I made my final decision on this as the final product.....

Thanks for checking out my Blog <3

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Fever for the Blues

Lately I have been in this strange blue mood. It's like I had forgotten how much I loved this color up until recently. I find it to be so calming; although I have a deep rooted passion toward browns, and rusty colors.
Here are some of the hues I have been working on and attracted to lately!

Thanks for checking out my Blog <3
                                                         I call these "Mermaid Thorns"

                                                                    "Kindred Spirit"
                                       These hoops are more of a periwinkle color but still so pretty

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Everyone Must Start Somewhere....

 I wanted to take some time this morning to talk a little about how I got started creating the jewelry that I do. First of all, I am self taught, now I don't know exactly what that pertains to when other artist peg this term but for me I had zero help figuring this world of art out. I was very creative as a child right from the start but making jewelry was not a strong suit of mine.  
 Upon dating my what was then boyfriend (now husband) he turned me on to the world of macrame and I really enjoyed sitting in the floor weaving beads into hemp. I felt it was so relaxing. That being said when it came time for my interests to flourish I decided to go to AC Moore and see what they had in the jewelry making section. Back then jewelry making was not a huge fad so the section only offered so much in the way of mediums. I paced up and down the isle, not really ready to invest in tools or expensive beads so I settled with some clearance acrylics and elastics. I also purchased some ear wires and since I had no clue what headpins were; I used elastic in its place. I literally strung the beads right to the ear wires!! I loved the tied off look but as all things elastic they had a lifespan.
 It has taken time to master my skills and after 10 years of design I am starting to get the hang of things. Don't ever let not knowing a skill hold you back. Mistakes are teaching us to be better, to hone in on what we are good at and finding ourselves in a most powerful way. I feel much more confidant in the art jewelry I create now. I wanted to share some of my earlier works so you may see where I started my steps and where I finally left off. Have a beautiful day <3 
-Nova Leigh
                      One of the first creations

This piece was created with a simple melding of plastic beads, lamp work glass, and an enameled key chain charm. I call it, "Super Pop Art Hero" it must have eight knots in the back to keep it secure! I had no clue what a crimp bead was! Learning has indeed been fun!

This is a piece I created last summer! See how much time can develop skills!? Don't give up. And if you ever feel discouraged use this mantra:

You can see my collection here:

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Windows of the Past

I am an artisan jewelry maker, it is something I caught the passion for a little over 10 years ago. All beads are interesting to me, I love to work with fine art beads that are handcrafted but I can also find beauty in acrylic beads with character. Something that caught my attention about 5 years ago was being introduced to Czech Glass beads, its a nice transition between learning and starting out and the next step up. Czech beads have a lot of character to them.
Last year I purchased several lots of bead soups (bead soups- random collections of varied beads that either are themed or literally so random that they can't be made sense of) luckily the ones I get are a little sorted (at least by colors and hues) so as to make the job a little easier. I have been holding on to these particular beads for quite some time. I wanted to do something super special with them, they are petite alone, but adding them with larger beads took away from what made them special to me.
You see these green beads reminded me of something magical from my childhood, I tend to want to work with things that rustle up my memories, I don't want to forget what special things happened to me.
My grandparents in the summer time would visit some of their special friends, Jackie and Gwen, they lived in what I found out later was an allegedly haunted house. This place was the stuff of childhood dreams. Americana at it finest, all vintage stuff, you know, old crank phones, glasses, tea carts rooms and rooms with the most glorious "old book" smell. I fell in love with this house. It was old, and beautiful. Their was one window that was different than all the other regular pane glass window in the house. It was this vivid green, mottled with spirals and when the light hit it, a calming aura was cast across the floor. These earrings remind me of my beloved childhood and the window I may never see again. I wish I understood time better as a child, I would have lavished my time taking in all the house instead of hurrying through everything. These earrings make me want to take more time with life, with each spring, all the flowers planted around the house so fragrant. I remember the cool of the grass, the bunnies in the grass hiding. I hope my children can find magic in their childhood like I once did in mine. Sorry for the rambling. Have a beautiful day <3

Windows of the Past
by Nova Leigh

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Sun Dance - A memorial

Some one so special that her work was even blessed with peace.

I really connected with this art piece so much I didn't halfway want to sell it. Now I wish that I hadn't. I will miss her greatly. An artist is a magical think and when one passes its like losing a muse, or a fairy. I just hope she knows how many lives she has touched with her beautiful art <3

-Nova Leigh