Saturday, May 31, 2008

Polar Bears - New Listings on Etsy!

We added some very cute polar bears to our etsy shop. Mom made these adorably cute polar bear sculptures from white clay and painted in underglazes and glossy clear. I think she has it down! They are sweet, and small! Only about 3 1/2 inches long, Helga Cruz's bears are full of character.

After hearing so much about the plight of polar bears and the effects of global warming on their habitat, we started talking about it, and these sculptures were the result. Mom has a wonderful knack for making small figures in clay, and she sells her pottery scuptures in galleries all over Sedona, Arizona.

There's a program at the World Wildlife Fund, where you can adopt a polar bear. For a donation starting at $50, you can "adopt" a bear and get a little fun gift, too, like certificates and plush stuffed bears. It's a scary and sad thing to think that in my lifetime, polar bears can be brought to the brink of extinction. Bears are adapted to living on sea ice, and as their habitat shrinks, due to global warming, we'll be seeing less and less of these majestic and magical animals

She's working on some new bears that promise to be even more fun. I can't wait to see them.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Great Finds - Zizziba Studio

Dina at Zizziba Studios, in Flagstaff, Arizona, makes wonderful wheel-thrown pots that combine her love of clean lines and color in a way that makes you want to smile when you see them. Her soup/salad bowl contrasts classic form with wild splashes of color, creating something fun and functional. I love, love, love color myself and I really appreciate how her pottery fits in with today's casual lifestyle.

Zizziba Studio is a one woman pottery studio, where owner Dina has 20 years of pottery experience. She creates bowls, plates, mugs, and other kitchen essentials with her unique flair. I love her use of color and the touches of the unexpected I found, like the Frog Cup, which has an adorable froggy sitting on the rim.

Zizziba Studio's shop can be found at Etsy, and is a member of the Etsy Mud Team. You can check out her other items I didn't have room to show here. I think you'll find her pottery as fun to look at as I did.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Ready for the kiln

Here's a photo of what my pendants look like before they get fired. These are in the greenware state, which means they are basically just dried clay. At this point, they are very fragile, so when I paint them with underglaze, I have to be careful. You can see some of the pendants I have listed on Etsy; the Moon, the Flaming Eye, and a few others.
You can see the canvas covered board that I roll out and cut the clay on. For small things like this, it works great. To change colors of clay, I just change to my brown stoneware canvas board.

Bringing wood to life

Sandra Healy is a California artist who makes exquisite wood sculptures of animals. I discovered her etsy shop, SandraHealy and have saved her as one of my favorites. She's got an eye for the essence of a creature and brings it to life in her basswood carvings.

I've always been fascinated with wood carving, and I love the naturalistic, yet stylized portraits of Sandra's. Her animals are carved simply, but with the essential characteristics that make you feel that these are individuals, each with their own personalities. Her carving of the
King Penguin and chick is one of my favorites. This piece just makes me smile to look at it. I also love the Bluebird carving, one of her many birds.

In her item descriptions, Sandra says she carves the basswood with knives and chisels, and airbrushes the color with water based inks. Her art is truly collectible, very reasonably priced and each piece is adorable.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Uh-oh! I sold my avatar!!!

Well, there you have it. My theory worked. Someone bought my avatar, a bird porcelain pendant (thanks, The Silver Moon!). I know she's going to love it because it is so darned cute I almost kept it for myself! Now I have gotten myself into a delimma. What to do with my avatar? Should I keep the bird one? But then I'm advertising something that isn't in my shop anymore. Hmm. I'll have to think on that. Perhaps I need to always have one of these little bird pendants in stock. That might work! Anyway, a sale, yea!

Why you need to use your product as your Etsy avatar

Making the decision to open an Etsy shop is easy. Keeping it looking professional, attractive, and up to date takes a lot more work. There are a lot of things you can do to make your Etsy shop look like better, and one of them is having a great avatar.

An avatar is your online "image". That's the little photo next to your Etsy shop name. It shows up in your shop and when you are posting in the forums. It's the thing that helps identify you to buyers and becomes part of your identity. As such, it becomes a small, but important part of your Etsy presence.

If you go to
Etsy and click on "BUY" then go down to "SELLERS", you can see all the sellers and their avatars. You have people who use photos of themselves, their kids, their babies,their pets, logos, funny drawings, shop items, and on and on and on.

Here's where I think most people go wrong (bear in mind, this is my opinion, and you may not agree with it), they don't see this as an opportunity to show what they sell! Here is a way to advertise your product. It lets people know instantly what you sell, your style and that you are a professional business.

I'm not a big fan of photos of babies. I think nothing says "not serious" more than a picture of a baby or a child (unless you sell baby or child items). I know people love their children, but it sends a message that the seller is an amateur. Ditto the pets. Photos of yourself are also not a good idea. Buyers are thinking about themselves while shopping. They look at a pair of earrings and think, 'how will that look on me?'. They are thinking inwardly and your photo gets them thinking about you, not them. Ultimately, you want to draw them in and have them look at your shop and picture themselves wearing your jewelry, or using your soap, or putting your prints on their wall. Don't get them off course by distracting them with your photo. Having a funny drawing works if it's something you sell like a card or print, and a logo is great if you sell graphics or other intangibles. Overall, I still think the product photo is your best bet.

Imagine someone looking at your avatar. You're making an instant impression on them, and first impressions are long lasting. Using your product, you have the opportunity to grab their attention quickly. There's not much time, only a second or two, and you want to make it count!

There's a lot of competition on Etsy, and you need to take advantage of every opportunity to be seen. Your avatar is your best way to tell people about your shop. Think of it as a little ad that goes everywhere you do on Etsy. Using a photo of your product makes your business look more professional, let's people know what you sell, and can advertise your item.

Fireluster Pottery on the front page of Etsy!

One of my pendants made the front page of Etsy this week! It was my Modern Retro porcelain pendant in black and white. Woo-hoo!

I made this pendant like most of my others, cut out the porcelain clay and form it inot a dome shape, and paint the greenware with underglaze colors. This one has gloss clear on top to really give it a high shine. I love my high fire gloss!

The painted design is reminiscent of what was considered modern in the fifties. I think it sort of looks like a bunch of television screens, when I see those patterns. This necklace has an 18 inch black rubber cord with a metal clasp. It really looks wonderful with black or white outfits. I have one I made for myself and I wear it all the time. It's one of those pieces you can dress up or down.

Check out my Etsy shop;
Fireluster Pottery for more ceramic jewelry, pottery and other goodies!