Saturday, December 18, 2010

Blog Carnival December-Twigs and Heather's custom pieces

Today for our Etsy Metal blog carnival we are talking about our custom pieces. We do a couple of different types of custom work. First is our "natural casting". We have had customers from all over the world send us twigs, seeds, feathers, etc. to cast in sterling silver and make a special piece of jewelry that is sentimental and will tell their story. One of our most recent and favorite custom pieces was made from a "nut" that a man found while walking in the woods. The inside had a perfect heart shape. We cast in and made a necklace from it. It was big and heavy and totally one of a kind. We loved doing this project.

Another piece that comes to mind we made a few years ago. A customer send us a tiny feather from her beloved bird. We did not cast it but imprinted it into a piece of wax. That was cast in sterling silver and made into a ring with a birch bark band.

Kerry makes so many rockin' pieces. They tend to be big and heavy. But there is always someone who wants it even bigger and heavier. We love that! Some recent custom Kerry Alice's pieces have been a giant sacred heart and triple pin cushion. So cool. Kerry also works on all of our custom sea glass pieces. People can send us a piece from their collection and we will bezel it and make a pretty necklace for them.

But I have to say that my favorite custom pieces are the twigs. We have had many people over the years send us twigs from sentimental places. Many times they come from a childhood home that they have moved away from. Hearing these stories make what we do all the more special. I know that for myself, whenever I look up at the trees, no matter where I am, I think of home. I guess that others feel that ways as well. That makes me happy.

Please check out what my friends at EtsyMetal make for custom pieces. All their work is excellent.
Inbar -
ES Designs-
Victoria Takahashi

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Blog Carnival- EtsyMetal team "What does it mean to be successful?"

Kerry and I are part of EtstMetal. It is a international collective of artisans who create jewelry and works of art in metal. This is my first time participating in our Blog Carnival. We all answer the same questions and write about it in our blogs. We can't wait to see what everyone else thinks about this topic...What does it mean to you to be successful in business as an artist?

We feel like a success because we have been sustaining our business for over 12 years. We have the freedom as artists to make what we want. We have repeat customers who love our work and want us to make jewelry for them that is special and cool. And we have never had to compromise who we are in the process.

Question 2- How do you walk the line between creativity and profitability?
When we first started making jewelry all of our organic castings were one of a kind. Now we have two lines of jewelry, our one of a kinds and our molded production pieces. We change the production pieces every year to keep them new and different. The customers still love them and we can keep them at a nice price.

Question 3- What is the best thing we have done for my business?
We have always done things our own way. Everthing from our designs to the way we display our work has always come from our clear perspective of who we are and how we want the world to see our work.
We have always followed our hearts and our guts. Being true to ourselves and our art has been good for our business. We think that when you make your own rules and follow your own path you stand out from the crowd.

Check out what my fellow members think about this topic.

victoria takahashi / experimetal
Beth Cyr:
Nina Gibson ~

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Inspired by color

I went to America's Oldest Fair this weekend. It was the Topsfield Fair in Topsfield MA. A good time was had for all. I loved seeing all that carnival stuff...Oh the colors! I am thinking about trying to use more color in our jewelry...but how? I will let you know what I decide.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Why we love Vermont...

The Peru Fair. We just got back and it was super.
The Vermont Country Store. Lots of weird and wacky stuff. Can I get most of it online or at the mall? Yes, but who cares. I'm in Vermont!
Bluegrass music. It played all day at the fair. So sweet and lonesome.
Good food, friendly people.
Chainsaw art. Especially the bears.

We want to start a artist house and studio exchange program. We love on the ocean, you Vermont? We would love to. Glad we asked!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Vermont show

Last weekend we did a tree day show in Manchester VT. It was on the Hildene Meadow, home of the Lincoln's...Yes, those Lincolns! So needless to say it was beautiful there. The show was put on by Craftproducers. It was our first year doing any of these shows. We really wanted to do this one because we fell in love with Vermont last year. Vermont is so strange and different than what we are used to. We are city/ocean girls so being in the mountains is weird and wonderful.

The show was good. Nice customers and some people who recognized us from the Peru Fair last year (also in VT). Kerry's pieces were very popular. Especially the Day of the Dead skulls. A few twigs sold but my theory is that if you live in the woods you don't really want to wear it around with you every day. And that's OK! We were thrilled to see some of our favorite lady skulls find good homes with obviously some very cool people.

The best thing about the show was hands down our fellow artists. Some of them have been doing shows for over 30 years! Craftproducers offered camping so many of the artists had campers and RV's. It was pretty old school. Kind of a hippy vibe. It was very inspiring to be around these artists who are still doing what they love, still showing their work to people at shows. Thanks to all of you who were so kind and friendly.

Monday, August 2, 2010

New pieces...For men!

I have been talking about adding a men's line to our collection for a while now. Recently we have had a few custom orders for the special man in a Twigs and Heather's fans life. So I made a few old favorites into nice necklaces for men and also some new one of a kind sterling silver birch necklaces that are big, bold, and beautiful. My amazing husband will be adding the page to our website soon. Look for it!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hand project.

My friend Andrea asked me to help with a craft project during my daughter's day camp this week. I came up with this sweet project. We traced all the kids hands and decorated paper plates. We then cut the hands out and made flowers, sun-shines, angels, and some other very clever designs.
I was really impressed how creative the kids were.

I love this project because when my girls are older we can see how little their hands once were. Awwwww...But the best thing was watching these kids express themselves through art. It was a very special day for me. Makes me want to work with kids more.

Here are some of their awesome pictures.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

New one of a kind tiny maple seeds!

That time of year again. It is the time when the beautiful Japanese Maple Tree's seeds are ready for pickin'. I love the size of these petite seeds. Most of them are less than one inch long and wide. I cast 12 of them recently and they came out perfect. Thank you Mother Nature...again.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Renegade Craft Fair- You are awesome.

We would just like to thank everyone that put on the Renegade Craft Fair this year. Another amazing show! We also would like to thank everyone who bought pieces from us, all the super talented artists we talked to and the weather for only turning ugly for about 20 minutes.

This was our fourth year participating. It is always a thrill and a honor to be part of it.
Thank you kindly for Heather and Kerry Alice.
We love you.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Off to Brooklyn for the Renegade Craft Fair

This weekend is one of our favorite shows- The Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn NY. We have had the honor to participate in the show for four years. It really just gets better and better. Not only are the crowds HUGE but they are super enthusiastic about buying art and craft.

I plan to shop a little myself (alright...a lot). I need to get a new notebook for my hubby Jason and some cool toys or stuffed animals for my girls. I am also looking for a cool new belt and some summer skirts. I also always buy end of the year gifts for my daughter's teachers. Got to support my craftin' peeps!

We were hoping to receive our new Square for the i phone, but we are on the waiting list. Guess it the old knuckle-buster again this year.

So, please send out good wishes for great weather. We have seen thunderstorms, 100 degree heat, torrential rain and wind, and clear blue skies over the years. I have even been trapped in a Port-a-potty during a storm once. Too funny! But really no matter what the weather we love being there.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

We created this! MELT Makers Everywhere Living Together.

Hi all!
We just created a new blog and Flickr group called MELT. MELT stands for Makers Everywhere Living Together. We are hoping that MELT will be a community full of good karma that shows the world that being a maker goes beyond the studio, into all aspects of our lives.

Kerry and I are very passionate about being artists and about helping the environment. We are hoping that this group will grow and grow. We ultimately want to be able to show the world that the choices we make can do good, make people happy and can also help us become a success.

It's baby steps right now but we will be working on this new venture, along with our flickr group, to make this a place a happy place.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Twigs and Heather jewelry featured in a movie!

Last summer we were contacted by a costume designer that was working on a movie in Beverly MA. They were filming a movie about a real estate developer who is trying to develop a big piece of land and the forest creatures fight back! The move is called Furry Vengeance. It stars Brendan Frasier and Brook Shields. Our pieces are being worn by their daughter who helps the animals.

She will be wearing a tiny maple seed and perriwinkle necklace. We are so excited! The movie comes out April 30th. Save me a seat.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Writing a new artist statement.

Sometimes shows that we apply to ask for an artist statement. We have used the same one (or variations of it) for a while now. It's easy for me to describe my work to people when they ask, but putting it on paper has been a challenge. We just don't want it to sound, well, artist statement-y. We want it to be simple and true. Plus we are working on our line sheets and this will be included in it. So it in a way has to sell our work to potential customers too. OH the pressure!

Here it is. My newest version, subject to change at a moments notice.

Twigs and Heather is twin sister silversmiths and casters Heather Goodwin and Kerry Alice Collins. We opened our studio in 2000 and have been creating one of a kind sterling silver jewelry designs ever since. Using the lost wax casting method and a few tricks of our own, our pieces are cast from organic objects and hand carved waxes. Our jewelry is part forest finds, part rock star, and part silly romantic.

Heather's organic collections reminds us of our personal connections with nature. Each piece sparks memories that are sentimental and sweet. Kerry's work focuses on love, heartache, rock n' roll, and rebellion. They are moody, romantic and have a sense of humor. As different as these collections may appear, they always compliment each other and hold many of the same truths.

These pieces of jewelry will get more beautiful the more they are worn and they will last a lifetime.

There it is. We love using the word sweet.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Making new displays

Kerry and I love how we display our work at shows. We try to look different from anyone else that is selling jewelry. We have always stayed away from velvet necks and many of the other commercial jewelry displays that you can buy. We like to have lots of color and sometimes we like to make our own displays. I have in my mind that this year I want to display my acorns a little differently. Here I am making my new display out for birch logs and branches. It still needs more work but I want to finish it by this weekend when we have our first show in Somerville at the Burren. Look for our new handmade display and all of our jewelry there!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Looking forward to my shows.

Last year I wrote almost the exact same blog post. We mean it again this year. We are looking forward to showing our work in person, being around other artists and talking to customers. Please come check us out at one of these great shows.
Thank you kindly!

March 27- SLAM Somerville MA The Burren
April 11- Craftopia Pawtucket RI
May 8 Andover crafts in the Park
May 22,23 Craftproducers Flemington Arts and Craft Fair- Ringoes NJ
June 5,6 Renegade Craft Fair Brooklyn NY

Friday, March 12, 2010

New pincushions!

Check out these new pieces by Kerry Alice. Our show season is about to begin look for our events page coming soon...

Monday, February 22, 2010

Some new pieces...

Here are two of my newest creations. One is made from our tiny hydrangea flowers. I soldered three together to create this beautiful necklace.

The other piece is made from raw turquoise. I love this ring. Big and chunky, it is very wild west. Straight to the private collection for this one. But I am working on more for our upcoming shows.

Also we are proud new members of Etsy Metal! Quite an honor.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Ring a Day Challenge 30 days later.

We did it! Kerry and I completed our ring a day challenge for the whole month of January. Honestly it was one of the best things that I have done artistically in a while. I got to make some new pieces in the studio to add to inventory, some for my "private collection", and the more conceptual ones I put in a shadow box and hung it in our office. This certainly was a challenge but it got us in the studio every day which is always a good thing.

I wish that we could continue on but now it's time to apply to 2010 shows. I will be checking out our fellow metalsmiths on Flickr to see what new things are made throughout the year. Anyone who makes a ring every day for a year is a Rock Star in my book. Good luck y'all!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

New tools and new projects.

I took my first class in many years in November. It was tube setting for stones at MetalWerx in Waltham. The class was four weeks. Once a week for 4 hours. When I finished the class I had learned the fundamentals to setting stones.

All excited I bought a Bench Mate, ready to get started. Well...busy season, Christmas, birthdays, etc. happened. Finally this weekend my husband put the bench mate on my bench and today I set my first stone. It was a turquoise cabochon. It took a while to get a good feel of how much pressure to use on the burr but after a few tries I had a nice tube setting that I used for my Ring of a Day challenge.

I am so excited to practice more. I get requests foe engagement rings all the time and I can't wait until I have the confidence to say...yes! I wish I had more time to dedicate to this but if I take one day a week in the studio to practice then I am sure that it won't be long until I am making myself and others rings with bling.

Say posted!

Monday, January 11, 2010

2009 round up and 2010 so far...

Well it is a new year. 2009 was a really good year for us.

Our Work- We did some great new shows and experimented with new plants to cast. The silk tree buds and hydrangea flowers were a big success and it makes me excited for Spring to come and start working on new flowers. Kerry Alice started a new Land and Sea collection. It was a collaboration of cast twigs and birch bark with her beautifully bezeled sea glass. Sold a few pieces for Christmas and it will be interesting to see how they do in 2010.

Shows- We discovered Vermont in 2009. One of our favorite shows was in Peru Vermont. It was September and the foliage was breathtaking. The Country Fair that we participated in was busy, friendly, and we can't wait to go back this year. One of our favorite shows, The Wellfleet Oyster Festival was rained out on day two but day one was amazing! Cape Cod in October is lovely and the Festival brings out the crowds. We get some return customers every year. That make us so happy. Our two favorite Indie shows did not disappoint. The Renegade Craft Fair Brooklyn was awesome. We had great weather, sold some nice pieces and really liked the new field that it was around. They put on a super well organized show and we appreciate it. Back on our own stomping ground was the one and only Boston Bazaar Bizzare. What can I say. I love this show. This year was the best yet. I love it when people buy really special pieces for the ones they love. Some twigs found new homes and some killer Kerry Alice pieces too. Plus I traded like crazy, always a huge bonus.

Presently- This has been one of the best things that I have participated in a long time. Etsy Metal has put on a challenge called Ring a Day. Kerry and I are on our 8th ring today. This has really got me into doing new things. I have been thinking outside the box and making things that I wouldn't ordinarily think about making. Seeing the work of the other matalsmiths has been inspiring as well. I have really been pushing myself in the studio to make cool new things. One concept I came up with was the "identity crisis" ring. I used finding to make the rings. One thinks it a pin, another a toggle clasp. I can't wait to make more. They are very me in the sense that they all have a sense of humor. We will be taking on this challenge all month.

Looking to the future- Wholesale. Kind of a big deal. We are struggling with prices though. But working on it slowly but surely.

New work- Maple seeds, and twigs for engagement rings plus lots of bracelets. I want to put my new stone setting knowledge to good use. I will be making molds of nice twigs and practicing new techniques. Kerry Alice has some sweet new hearts with arrows for her pin cushion collection. She's so cool.

New Shows- Maybe the Renegade in Chicago or the West Coast. Trying to get into the Craftproducers shows again. They are in Vermont, our new favorite place.

Stay tuned. Good things to come in 2010 for Twigs and Heather