Convergent Series

learning, using & teaching metal clay, and other aspects of life

Sometimes I compare beading to framing….

Posted by C Scheftic on 2012/08/06

Much of the time, on this blog, I show a piece when I’ve completed the cycle of converting it from the “raw” form (metal that feels like clay) into its “finished” state (hard metal). With earrings, of course, I’ll show those complete, meaning connected to earwires (or posts or clips or…); that is, ready to wear. But I often will post here photos of pendants in a very plain state: just sitting there or, at most, strung on a simple cord of some sort. In this context—that is, since this is a ‘blog that’s mostly about using metal clay techniques—that seems appropriate to me.

And, sometimes, I actually offer them for sale that way. Why? Well, to me, there’s a lot of “artistry” in that main piece. While I do hang pendants so that they are wearable immediately, I don’t see why I should force everyone to buy an expensive chain or other fancy decorations simply so they can own a piece of my art jewelry. What if they like the main piece but not the other doo-dads? What if they already have a wonderful chain or necklace that they think would complement my little piece of metal art? Many of my beading-friends see my simply-strung pieces as incomplete. While I understand that their artistry is in their beading, and appreciate it for what they can do, I just don’t think every piece needs that double-dose of artistry (both in the focal bead and in the hanging mechanism). It’s almost like I see myself as I view a print-maker, photographer, or other 2-D artist, for example, who offers a number of pieces simply matted. I’ve bought plenty of those over the years, and then framed them as I want (keeping or even changing the original matte board) so it will fit in where I want to hang it.

Of course, those same 2-D artists will also have a select number of items available that are not just matted, but also framed and ready to hang. I have bought a few of those (though, nowhere near as many as I have un-framed) and I do offer a few pendants hung on something a bit more elaborate. I try to do that in such a way that the beading or chain complements the focal piece without competing with it: trying to find the right balance between adding an interesting touch without going overboard. So I thought I’d wrap up my recent round of reporting on the “push” pendants, for the moment at least, by showing what I ended up doing with (adding to) a couple of those pieces.

In closing, I will ask: do you agree or disagree with my comparison of hanging pendants to framing pictures? Answers, and other comments, are welcome!

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4 Responses to “Sometimes I compare beading to framing….”

  1. I agree with you Carol. I think your analogy was a good one. Another reason for selling the pendants by themselves is that often the “length” of the chain or beading is not what the customer wanted.

    • C Scheftic said

      Absolutely! And, when I do “string” pieces, I tend to hang them long … because it’s far easier to shorten by request than to lengthen.

      As I’m sure you understand, it’s not just the “work” involved. Even more, in fact, since most of my pieces are one-of-a-kind, with lengthening there are all the “Do I have more of that chain? Do I even have any more of those beads?” questions running through my head as I’m talking with the person. But I can always find ways to use little leftover bits that I remove in shortening. (I’ve even added such beads to little earrings to make them “go with” the piece in question.)

  2. I’ve been thinking about that lately & am considering doing the same (offering just pendants). What percentage of your necklace/pendant sales would you say are pendant only? Do you get any requests to “finish” a pendant with a special necklace or chain? Thanks!

    • C Scheftic said

      I don’t have handy my exact numbers, Kim, but I can tell you for sure that I sell far more pendants just strung on a simple cord (immediately wearable that way, or customer can upgrade on their own) than I do ones that I offer (at correspondingly higher prices from the start) on high-end chains or with more elaborate beading. And I’d say the same thing whether we were talking just the basic count or the overall dollar-sales total. (The exact percentage would differ, but the bulk would be on the same side.)

      As for requests to do something else with a piece, I don’t get very many. When I do get them, and while this is not always the case, I’d say that if someone asks for a modification to:

      • an item I offer hung on a simple cord, it’s most often someone (male or female) buying a gift for a loved one and they ask only to upgrade to a nicer chain;
      • a piece I offer already-strung to complement my metal art, it’s most often a woman buying for herself who wants a change so it will better “fit” (length, or even color, etc.) with something she already owns and wants to wear it with.

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