Thursday, February 19, 2015

B'Sue's Build-A-Line Challenge Blog Hop 2 is Here!

Last time we chatted, I shared that I had been doing a lot of thinking. And, boy, have I. There are 55 other women in this classroom and we have been talking about a lot of things. Pricing, favorite designers, what makes a line a line—all of this plus more has been discussed. What designer’s really inspire us? What inspiration drives us to create?

Flowers drive me. I failed to mention two other influences which have gotten me into this task of creation: Wendy Baker’s assemblage and collage jewelry and The BSK My Fair Lady Collection of Jewelry created for the film. I mentioned a few in the last blog, and you can go back and read it, if you want to. It’s just below in an earlier blog.
I fell on Bendy Who’s (persona for Wendy Baker) site on Etsy about six years ago.  What she was doing with metal flowers-OMG! The monochromatic flowers were fabulous. The color combos were fresh and unique. And that was just for the component site.  When she put things together for sale, she prepared with a line in mind. The collage arrangements were over the top runway gorgeous.  If you haven’t been introduced to her style, Google her name. It was a real inspiration.  What I learned from studying the pieces that she made was that she showed consistency yet diversity in her designs.  Yet, you always knew they were hers. I also learned you had to use quality materials for quality results.
The BSK My Fair Lady line was all about the flowers—colorful, enameling holding the line together in rich colors on Russian Gold Plate.  Glorious! I had the entire collection at one point.  Beautiful.

How difficult could it be designing a line? Easy peasy, you say? In what universe, I ask?
I thought this would be an easy thing to do.  Had my ideas. Ready to go. Ordered my pieces. And then we started talking in class.  And this was and still is a very good thing.
Somewhere in the middle of some night I was awakened by the thought that I was used to doing one of a kinds.  Even if they looked similar, they were not a line.  Essential questions like, would I have enough materials available to do 10 or 12 of each piece if I needed to emerged and demanded an answer.  And, I had to listen and start all over at the beginning because I was repurposing or using limited vintage components. And much of that work did not come with hundreds of pieces to purchase and use.

This is one unfinished piece I could justify getting enough of the vintage pieces from B'Sue and another vendor. In progress--please note that! My sole regret that as a non experienced person with a blade, I could not cut out the back of the cameo setting before mounting to show the light through the intaglio cameo I had placed onto the base.

I teach English.  To high school students.  Most days.  When they will listen.  Which isn’t often.  For the past thirty years. Please don’t judge me by my writing here. I say that, to say this: when writing, one must know one’s audience. Speaker. Audience. Occasion. Purpose. (How stuffy was that?) So, back to basics for me. . .to whom did I want to sell ?  Who was my audience? 

I wanted to do my thing.  I wanted to make flowery semi-steam punk beautimous deliciousness which would elicit awe and perhaps money. And I started putting together stampings. And I thought I had it.  Didn’t LOVE it, but I thought this will do for the assignment. How many times had I done that in college classes? This is what I thought I would use when I started. . . and I did.  Sort of. . . .

Then the class talked about a lower tier impulse collection for the line. Not lower quality , mind you—lower price.  Something that would make a girl scream, “That’s it! The price is right!  I want it now!” And so, I started there. And everything changed.

These pieces reflect my theme.  I do not feel as if I settled for anything.  My audience is women aged 16-65. These pieces are clean, classic and timeless. Anyone could wear them. I do not see them as trendy. I could see these being part of a yearly collection of favorites. . .worn with all white as spring slides into Summer.  I could see them being found years later and being worn as contemporary as they are today. 

                                                           This is the gold plate

                                               This is the silver plate

I call them “The Hidden Portal.”  They come in silver plate and gold plate .  I chose to place them on neck wires instead of on chains as the neck wires work so well with B’Sue’s charm bracelet wires so connect in terms of line and construction. Portals are important for time travel in most steam punk art.  The gold plated and Silver Plated rings on the white floral resin pieces and the connectors are all B’Sue’s.  These pieces are part of my lower tier—high quality—low price—giving you a taste of what you can expect and then making you return for other pieces. They are still femme but less Victorian fussy.
I have designed the charm bracelets so they have a few charms on them.  I did not want them overladen with cha chas. Not a hater of cha cha's. . .I have made and sold many of those.  I wanted them clean and simple.  I wanted them unburdened so a person could see the beauty in buying several and wearing them layered together. These are in progress as I need to add flowers to them.

Here is the list of supplies that were used for these products. All are available on the B’Sue Boutique of B’Sue ETSY sites.  I have links listed.

Pear Shaped Acrylic Flower

Supplies- Big Satin Matte Connector

Brass Circlet Steampunk Connectors

Brass Circlet Silver plate Connectors

Wire Charm Bracelet Antique Silver

Wire Charm Bracelet Gold

This is what constitutes the lower tier bread and butter pieces of the line. It’s just a sneak peek at what’s to come!  See you soon and don't forget to give me a holler so I know what's on your mind.  Questions are welcomed!

So, now onto the rest of the Blog Hop:
Brenda Sue Lansdowne, B'sue Boutiques
Marcia Tuzzolino
Jann Tague
Judy King
Apt to Wander Studio
Linzi Alford
Cynthia Wainscott
Carole Carlson
Lynn Stinten
Marica Zammit
Catherine Shattuck
Michaele Collie
Mary Craig
Lee Koopman
Erin Whitacre
Monica Casady
Leila West
Cindy Peterson
Leila Belcher
Gloria Allen
Pamela Anger
Tammy Adams
Lynda O'Mara
Elizabeth Hildreth
Dana Hickey
Janet Calardo
Maria Clark
Lori Beekman
Jennifer Kroeger
Amy Jorgensen
Robin Reed
Ingrid Anderson
Louise O'Shields
Susan Killam


Mary Katherine Deis

Nike Bottalico
Susan Bowerman
Kristy Le
Jan Peters
Mitzie Crider
Gina Hockett
Linda Anderson
Alexandra Sefton
Melida Boman
Teresa Shurter
Melissa Latimer
Renee Hong
Nadine Edris
Lori Meyer
Jennifer Merrill Williams
Denise Lussier Poirier
Renee Allen
Autumn Adams
Elizabeth Owens
Kat BarronMiller
Sandra Ballard
Coral Law


  1. It's harder than it looks to put together a line! A great idea to sell the charm bracelets that are simple enough to be layered together.

    1. Thank you, Michelle. I think I got that one through my brain as I always try to put my vintage costume jewelry together. All the damascene or damascene combined with the early Victorian slides.

  2. I'm with you there Mary. Though I never thought that this was going to be easy, I never thought it would be this hard either LOL

    I think that this class is challenging us in many ways. But it's all good because that's how we learn.

    Love your bangle charm bracelets. I too went for a simpler look with them.

    Bead Lovelies

  3. Mary, what beautiful jewelry, great writing, and a beautiful blog. I enjoyed being here for a visit with you!

  4. Great post! I love the classic simplicity of the earrings and neckwires and of course the charm bracelets are sure to be popular! ~Ingrid

  5. Thank you for sharing your blog it's wonderful. In your necklace earrings and bracelets all go together they all have the same work and charms people love. I don't think charms have ever gone out of style.

  6. Mary, thank you for sharing your thoughts on this great blog post. You have captured a cohesive look and done it beautifully. Love everything!

  7. really enjoyed reading and seeing! cannot wait to see the rest too~

  8. Such a great blog post Mary and what a great line you are working on. Can't wait to see your finished line. Beautiful job!!

  9. Really liking the clean lines on these! Looking forward to seeing the rest of the line!

  10. This was a great blog post. Can't wait to see the rest!

  11. Love the charm bracelets!! Can't wait to see the rest.

  12. You've definitely been internalizing the discussions and lessons from class. And using your creativity in turning them into what looks like the base of a beautiful timeless line.

  13. Mary I love how you write with such passion and your jewels are equally as romantic. I can't wait to see the rest. XOXO!

  14. good start to the line, can't wait to see your higher end pieces..

  15. Mary, this is a great post! I love these lower tier pieces of yours and there is something to be said for the "less is more" approach. The last gold charm bracelet is my personal favorite. Classy look! Well done.

  16. Thanks for sharing your story, your process in this post. You have a great start to your line and keeping your pieces timeless and elegant is such a good idea.

  17. I like the neck wire as it gives the charms a bit of weight and structure. Love the way these are coming together. Can't wait to see the finished line.

  18. I like the neck wire as it gives the charms a bit of weight and structure. Love the way these are coming together. Can't wait to see the finished line.

  19. Simple...gorgeous...I love the thought that you have put into this.

  20. Wonderful designs, Mary Katherine. Love how you coordinated your pieces. Looking forward to the rest of your line.

  21. Looking forward to viewing your finished line! Great work!

  22. Your blog is a great read!. Your designs are well thought out and coordinate nicely. Looking forward to seeing you finished line.

  23. You have put so much thought into your line, and it shows! I can't wait to see the whole thing next month!

  24. You certainly chose a tough career, but personally I LOVED my high-school writing teacher! What a refreshing approach to Steam jewelry. It would be nice to find some flowers added to the gears. I love both genres so having them combined in one piece is perfect.

  25. LOL--you need to expand your ages of what appeals! I'm 66 and I LOVE your line, and I plan to get a lot older and still wear cha chas and wonderful jewelry like you make! As you know, I make loaded cha chas, but I love the way we can see all the beautiful pieces on each of yours and stack them with more chas and other types of bracelets. You really have a beautiful line and I enjoyed reading your blog. :):)

  26. Hi Mary!!! I love all of your ideas! the Intaglio is beautiful!!! Your necklace have great presence and the charm bracelets are lovely! Be Blessed!

  27. Looks good so far. I look forward to seeing the finished line. :-) ~Elizabeth

  28. I enjoyed reading your post and thought processes so much. I really love the cameo--and all of your ideas. Less can absolutely be more! Great job! Gina H

  29. I enjoyed reading your post and thought processes so much. I really love the cameo--and all of your ideas. Less can absolutely be more! Great job! Gina H

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  31. I enjoyed reading your post and thought processes so much. I really love the cameo--and all of your ideas. Less can absolutely be more! Great job! Gina H

  32. Great Blog .. your jewelry is really coming together .. Looking forward to seeing more ..

  33. Mary, first, I love your writing style. I feel a certain emotional familiarity with it. It makes me want to read more. I love that you shared your reasoning process and that yes, sometimes we complete an assignment because it's part of the process, not part of the love. But your doing that led to your big AHA! And it thrills me that you 'get' and stress! that the lower tier is NOT CHEAPO pieces made of lesser quality goods. The lower tier is where you have to be clever but at the same time, generous. Why deny ANYONE the ability to buy something you have made because they cannot afford it? All successful companies have economy lines, midlines, and high end lines. The diff w what we are doing here is that the lower tier is NOT necessarily lower end, OR is it economy, as in made with lesser quality goods. It's where we have put our thinking caps on and HONORED **ALL** comers and converted them into customers by being generous enough with our time to figure out something we could afford to sell them that they could afford and enjoy for a long time. Excellent post!

  34. Great post, Mary! Love how your shared your thought processes, and your jewelry is looking super. ;)

  35. This was a great & interesting post. I enjoyed reading about your journey so far. Looking forward to seeing your line.

  36. Ooh, "The Hidden Portal" is very cool! I can't wait to see more. :)


  37. Great post ! looking forward to seeing your whole line , Linzi

  38. Enjoyed the journey, lovely post. Pretty pieces waiting for more.

  39. Those floral cabs are looking great! Nice bangles and line!

  40. You're off to a solid start with those pieces. I can see more elaborate designs building from them. Lovely work.

  41. I for one loved my English/Language arts teachers! I especially enjoy writing and yours is great, of course. This was a tough challenge and you have made a great start. The flower cameos & simple bracelets are going to be great sellers I'm sure, stacking is such a great idea. I can see these doing well.

  42. Oh yeah, it should be pretty easy to do. Funny how hard hard this turned out to be wasn't it? I like you were honest about the journey and I really hope you keep on going with it.