Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Special Bulletin

The past month or so has been quite hectic for The Galeana Outfit! Within that time frame I have sold and nearly completed two wholesale orders. My very first! I've been working like crazy to complete orders, create new pieces, stock two consignment shops and prepare for a really big art festival in my hometown. Needless to say, I'm quite excited. 

I'm currently working on some new earring designs. I feel like I haven't given much attention to ear adornment since I opened my shop. Perhaps it's because I haven't gotten any request or interest in that arena thus far. Nevertheless, when my first earring designs are completed, I'll post them and discuss their concept and design strategy.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Hat Rings Galore

I have been exceedingly busy and very blessed with a good bit of new business and new inspiration. I have started a new collection of rings, called Hat Rings, so dubbed because of the shape that the ring makes when in profile.

Usually, I like to make one of a series and offer different styles through custom request, but in this case however, I thought it more prudent to actually show some of what I have available with the idea that seeing the finished product is better than imagining it. I also just got in a new shipment of gemstones, so I'm able to expand upon my inventory a little more, as well.
Without further ado, here they are:

Whisky Hat Ring

Andalusite Hat Ring

Fire Citrine Hat Ring

Garnet Hat Ring

London Blue Hat Ring

Peridot Hat Ring

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Fill in the Blank Bangle

This is my latest piece, which I made yesterday. I had been thinking quite a lot about comic books and other elements of pop culture, particularly pertaining to the 80s and of course to pop art. I titled this work Fill in the Blank Bangle because I wasn't necessarily interested in including my own catch phrase. The use of a blank line with a garnet "period" at the end, really seemed to capture the graphic element of the speech bubble that I was after. 

I've been trying to incorporate more and more pop objects into my designs, but that hasn't exactly been easy. Although I can think of a million different ideas, none of them seem to fall within the scope of my work. Perhaps gradual fluctuations will be a better solution. For now though, I think that this is an excellent start.  

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Pink Lemonade Bangle

This is my latest creation that I dubbed the Pink Lemonade Bangle. It features a 15mm x 10mm lemon quartz and a 6mm antique cushion cut blush topaz. To be totally honest, it was a long time in the making. 
You see, I bought that lovely lemon quartz nearly four months ago, but I couldn't compose a setting for it that I was pleased with. I have several pages in my sketchbook devoted to trying to work out that problem. Even though holding the stone was rather simple enough, the shape of the custom cut design makes it rather difficult to set it in a flattering manner. Finally, after tinkering around with it all afternoon yesterday, I finally cracked something I was pleased with. 
It's just a traditional prong setting, but one that was actually slightly smaller than the size of the stone so that the pointed edges would fit more comfortably. I also modified it a bit so that the lemon quartz could be held with minimum intrusion by the prongs. I ended up adding a pink topaz to the design because I've always enjoyed the color combination of bright yellow and hot pink. Once I finished the overall bracelet design, I realized that the entire piece reminded me of pink lemonade, hence the name. 
Overall, I'm very proud of it, and I think that sometimes it's better to wait to use a stunning stone than to rush into composing before all of the possibilities have been considered. 

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Origin of the Outfit

I've procrastinated for quite awhile about relating the story of how my studio got its name. Basically I am a huge Sherlock Holmes fan. Sometime after I had set up my workspace, I read The Adventure of the Three Garridebs. The story describes the plot of a recently paroled American counterfeiter who goes to London in search of his old forgery equipment. The statement that struck me was, "It was a glad day at the Yard when the Prescott outfit was discovered, for, though they knew it existed, they had never been able ... to find out where it was."

Now let me first say that I am in no way, shape, or form counterfeiting! I just really liked how the word "outfit" was tagged onto a metal working operation. My small work space is quite able to handle a variety of metal maneuvers and I think that "The Galeana Outfit" has such a nice ring to it. It's just a small bit of wording that immediately stands out.   

Busy Bee

Almost as soon as I woke up this morning, I set myself out to make a new line of stackable rings. I had a set already made, but I felt like I wanted to take a traditional concept and change it slightly. In this version there are only two rings that can comfortably be combined. I did this because I wanted to emphasize the strength of the simple. Here is an example:
Together, these two colors make a dramatic and bold statement despite the simplicity of the design. They fit so nicely and the bands are free to swivel without the stones running into one another. A very nice and comfortable combination, indeed.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

New Horizons

I've spent a whole lot of time recently overhauling my photos, my jewelry and my marketing strategy. Basically, I am attempting to upgrade not only the quality of my work, but the quality of its presentation as well. I created a new banner and made a light box to take my photographs in so that I can regulate all of the settings and environments much more easily.

It all started when I peeked in my etsy shop one morning and I noticed that the listings I had all looked like they could have been made by various jewelers rather than just one. To say it another way, it looked like a search page and not a cohesive shop. It dawned on me that my work didn't look unified because it was not presented in a similar fashion. After that realization I invested a whole lot of time into reshooting a good bit of my work. After I was done with that, I saw that my banner and avatar were sorely lacking as well. I thought a logo with similar colors and trimmed down graphic elements might tie everything together, so I created one. 

I also took my work to other outlets as well. I applied for trunkt (for the second time), after I had a few really striking photos and I was accepted. Also, I started shopping my work around to local boutiques. Hopefully all goes well in that arena as well. 

Overall, I am pleased with my results but I feel like I definitely need to thicken up the inventory. Slowly but surely, everything is starting to build up.

It's Been Awhile...

I have several new things to post about but I will do them sectionally. First off, allow me to touch base on one of my earlier posts: Bracelets. Over the past few weeks I have been very busy creating bracelets and then taking them apart because I was unsatisfied with the results. I now have three particular bangle-style bracelets that I am quite proud of and they exhibit some of the new skills I've recently been acquiring. I will only show two of them. Here is the first one:This is called the Multiple Stone Bracelet, or The Colorful Bracelet. I haven't quite settled on a name. It took a lot of work to create it, but honestly, it took more time to clean and polish it all up! Hard to reach areas are always a problem.
Here is the second:
I call this one the Sunset Bangle because of the colors that I used for the stones. It is a royal amethyst, and autumn topaz and a hand forged solid 14 karat gold cabochon that represents the sun. It is one of the best pieces that I've created so far. 

I have a couple of new pieces in the works as well, and a few still just on paper but when they are all done and I am satisfied with the results, I'll make an update. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

New Commission

I have been really busy over the Easter holidays. I had four orders, one of them a commission from a design that I worked on with my lovely customer. I won't lie, this ring was a little difficult to make as the ring shank is rather thick and building the centerpiece for the stone to sit on was kind of like tug of war. However, I'm pretty pleased with the outcome. I've never made a ring that looks like this, and I probably never would have thought to design something like this either. So, without further ado, here is my brand new ring.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Setting some goals

For the last couple weeks I had been quite busy with midterms critiques for my MFA, but now that's over, I can come back to concentrating on some new goals. I've been doing quite a lot of research and I've noticed that there seems to be a very big void within my product line and that is bracelets. I haven't made one to sell on my shop yet! That is definitely going to change, as I hope to make at least 8 new bangles before the end of two weeks. I know that is quite a goal to set, but through a whole lot of hard work, I know that it can be done. I actually made one today. I'm actually waiting for an order for silver wire that I placed yesterday, and as soon as it comes in, I'm all set to go. I will be offering onyx, carnelian, lapis lazuli, rose quartz, jade, malachite and amethyst. Here's an example of the first one:
This particular bangle has a 10mm royal amethyst, and I think it looks fantastic with a slightly matte finish. Anyhow, I will be updating the new bracelets as they are made. 

Monday, March 3, 2008


Well it's been a little while since I've gotten the opportunity to post so I wanted to give a heads up on what I've been doing lately. I've been coming up with new designs so that I will have a fully stocked store, and I've been talking to a whole lot of jewelers to get an idea of what kind of experiences they've had while trying to run a business. I must say that the results have been stimulating. In the next couple weeks I'm going to embark on an advertising campaign to increase awareness of my work.

While I was in undergrad, I spent some time as a graphics designer. I intend to call upon those skills to create new business cards, postcards and flyers. Then I'm gonna hit the streets and start posting them up wherever I see a spot open on a bulletin board. I think that the more I put myself out there, the more interest I can generate about what it is I do. I'll definitely keep my progress posted by measuring the amount of emails, views, convos and hearts I receive throughout this campaign.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Louisiana Challenge

   I just completed a challenge that was posted by the Louisiana Street Team. It was to create an item that was inspired by "Jazz." Obviously that is quite a large category, specifically in the Greater New Orleans Area. I'm originally from a bit farther South than the Crescent City, 60 miles further South. The kind of music that was key to my region was Zydeco and Swamp Pop. As soon as I recognized this, I was immediately inspired to create this piece. 
   It is influenced by the washboard, which is a major instrument in many bands that were from my area. I added a pearl because my town, Houma, was the oyster capital of the United States up until about 30 years ago. I'm very proud of this piece because I feel that it reflects a very personal part of my history. 
   It's made of sterling silver and has a freshwater pearl. It's quite heavy and slightly longer than a quarter. 
   I must say, that this challenge was a lot of fun, and I'm very proud of what was created. As soon as I see some of the other pieces from the challenge, I will post them with a little description.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A Tiny Glimpse of the Outfit

   I have to admit that my studio is quite small. But it does have a window, which lets in plenty of natural light. The good thing is that it is outside, so that none of the harmful fumes associated with jewelry penetrates into the house. It also has a very big concrete utility sink for all of my chemical mixing needs. 
   I do believe that one of the most important things for any creative endeavor to thrive, is that there has to be a place that is usually associated with that creative process. Virginia Wolfe's book A Room of One's Own, describes the necessity of that idea. Essentially, one wants a place that allows a freedom of ideas away from the normal activities of the day. I would be severely set back if I had to get up every five seconds because of outside intrusion. 
   Personally, I wouldn't want to use my torch anywhere near anyone else. Even though it is quite small, that baby gets a little over 5,000 degrees with butane and oxygen. It would be much hotter if I used acetylene, but it isn't necessary. This is my torch and my flex shaft tool getting together. This actually isn't my only torch. I have another, larger, more violent looking torch, but I prefer the lightness and ease of this one. It is definitely far less intimidating! This was actually a hand-me-down flex shaft that I recently acquired. Before that I was actually using a Dremel tool to grind on my pieces. Unfortunately, it couldn't live up to the high demands I had put on it, so it was retired. 
   One of the things that I have found to be key to making successful art is the willingness to try alternative ways to execute techniques that are relatively commonplace. For example, instead of using a lost wax process of casting, why not try different ways of making a mold and pouring metal. Each alternative technique creates a different surface, quality and overall look of one piece. I personally shy away from common metal techniques. On first blush, this may sound silly, but I have come up with many more ideas from trying to bend my mind around trying to recreate the wheel. It also helps if you try this if you are lacking some of the more expensive jewelers tools. After all, "necessity is the mother of all invention."

First Post (or the post that hurts the most)

Well, this is my very first post so I'd better explain myself. This blog is intended to be a glimpse inside my jewelry studio, which I affectionately call "The Outfit." In the Sherlock Holmes story "The Three Garridebs," Sherlock refers to a "counterfitter's outfit." I liked the word outfit as it refers to metal, so that's what I christened my studio. I am certainly not counterfitting anything, but I do like the way it sounds. 

I shall soon post pictures of my humble studio for everyone to see. There's nothing more interesting than learning where someone creates their own precious works of art.