Tag Archives: metalsmith


Had a question on professionally pricing your work….

It takes a long time to get practiced enough to charge for time…. That is really hard to figure out. It really depends on your skill level.

I look at my piece when it’s done and think of the cost of materials: I double that cost upfront. Sometimes I can’t include the cost of a really expensive stone – that cost I don’t double I just want what I paid for out of the stone. I usually then look at that price – how much is it $$$$ this is my wholesale price or do I need to triple the cost of materials because of its complexity? Look at that price, $$$$. Then I ask myself should I make more of this? Is it profitable? Did I enjoy it or was it a pain. Can I do it in a reasonable amount of time? After I answer those questions I look at a retail price: a great profitable retail price is doubling your wholesale price. You can’t always do this in our current economy. A retail gallery/store gets 50%. As you grow your business stores will want you. You cannot undersell them. They will drop you. It’s a very small world so they find out if you are underselling them. You will eventually go out if business if you don’t sell at a retail price. The buffer in the mark up is for wear and tear on tools, new cameras, new computers, insurance, travel, customer service, returns, and everything else that goes with any business….. This formula is fair. I don’t know too many jewelry artists making too much profit. We usually give the shirts off our backs.

Whenever possible take a workshop. It revitalizes you. You learn more in a day with others than a month on your own.

Some pieces are a work of love. These pieces have no reasonable price. I have a few pieces that took hours and hours and hours. I do it for the love of doing it. I have put my heart and soul into it. How do you sell these pieces? You put some price on them that if they have to leave you are ok with it and the person buying it obviously will give it a good home because they are willing to buy it for a cost that is abstract.

I sold one of my favorite pieces to the wrong person one time. I still think about it. I still regret selling it. He was a super rich guy (or was posing as one) and could have cared less. The piece is probably laying in his 22nd mistress’s jewelry box unworn and unappreciated. I’ll never do that again. Wish I had it back.



On Fire Necklace

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Made this today…nice to get back to work after eating everything in site for a week. Back to the norm and it is good. It is 2013 and I have a pile of receipts/tax papers here for anyone who wants to enter them into the computer, eeekkkkkk!!!!!!!!! The paper stack is only about 6 inches tall.

I have lots to share though and will be doing so in the upcoming month. It’s time to make make make jewelry – get pics done and enter into shows – and get new marketing products made and make make make jewelry, I said that already.

I am going to go exercise off my Christmas cookies now. Looking forward to some awesome tools I just bought but they did not come to the door today. I will share them with you when they come!

New Durston Dapping Set

New Forming Block with the grooves and matching pieces to each groove

New Fretz Stake Set – big score!!! can’t wait to use that! With my Fretz hammers

New Chasing Set – the pitch, bowl, and Complete set of Chasing tools…. been wanting to do that forever and started doing it with a screwdriver and a sandbag: but that is pretty limited Chasing.

Have a great night! Happy New Year!!!! Saying Hello to 2013!!!

Workin’ At Tammy Rae’s Studio

Had a play day at Tammy Rae Glass Studio yesterday. What a great time! Thanks Tammy for sharing your studio with me! It was myself, Tammy, her daughters, a charming dog, Tammy’s charming husband and a brief moonlighting from their cat named Blue.

Tammy’s torch is for boro glass…which is Pyrex glass. The torch reaches amazing temps and its huge!


This is a pic of a ring her daughter was working on…. It is a roman ring and we have it stabilized with two graphite rods.



Last pic is of all of us…. What a great day! Can’t wait to do it again!


Show This Weekend

Kohler Art Show this Saturday. I have never done this show before. I guess it’s swamped with people. Here are some pics of things in the making for the last few weeks….

These are some of Tammy Rae’s beads just out of the tumbler…
Here they are done….

That’s a pile of necklaces! I make the chains they are on as well. I purchase the small link chain in a spool and solder on a tiny jump ring on each end with a chain extension and a hand made clasp. It’s a nice touch instead of purchasing a pile of chains commercially made. A lot less expensive too and 14 chains took me half hour, which is quick!

This is a 40 inch handmade chain out of he tumbler. This on the other hand took a lot of time but I real enjoy making chains. Each little cup has a different detail in it.



I have about ten more one of a kind pieces done but will have to show you pics when I get back from the show. I’ll take lots of pics of the show. Suppose to be great! Wish me luck!

Sheet of Silver and a Skull

Sheet of silver is spoken for with these stones…. The skull I like the best. It is carved bone and really big… Love it for the season we are in! Halloween….




The picture of my charcoal block is all of the bezels to be soldered together to fit the stones. It really gets you in a groove to do a lot of bezels all at one time. Even if you are not planning on using all the stones make a bezel anyway. Then it’s ready to go if the mood strikes you!

The sheet of silver is 6×4 inches. I order it this way because it fits into my peep tools sheer and I can cut the perfect squares out not wasting any sheet. I don’t make the final shape until the piece is almost finished. At that time it gets sawed out with a jewelers saw.

Also if you are going to hallmark the back of the silver now is the time.

Gotta get to work on all of this. Show you pics of things in progress……

New Stuff and a Repair

Queen of Hearts Rhodocrosite Stone Necklace….

Labradorite Brush Finished Ring….

Kyanite Stone Necklace…..

Repair Moonstone Ring… Goofy liner in it to compensate for the stone not being cut evenly. One side of the stone was sloped more than the other. This half of a liner in the setting let the one side be pushed down while the other side sat flush. Funny, but it works. Sometimes you will find sawdust in rings or other goofy things to prop up the stone in some way. Ring is good as new and one size smaller. Amazing that the repair is as much as the ring probably cost.

I like repairs. They can be tedious but you learn a lot and they are financially a good choice to do.

Thank You Again Appleton

Had Octoberfest in Appleton Wisconsin this weekend. Have never done that show before and it’s not an Art show. It’s a music festival with some booths at it…..and lots of beer. I get a little nervous about the beer factor. It makes for a tough crowd. At an Artshow people are polite and calm and interested in what you do. At a music festival the general population that’s drinking can start to get a little rough on the merchandise. It’s entertaining to watch unless they pick up a stone necklace and drop it. So, Katie and I had to be on our toes watching everything and everyone like hawks.

It was all good though and a beautiful day. A man becoming one of my best and favorite customers bought the following piece. Thanks Bob! You flatter me! The piece is perfect for him.


I don’t have a show now until November. So it will be nice to create for the next 6 weeks. I’ll be able to post some how to things on here too.

Thanks again Appleton….see you next year at Octoberfest.

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