Jam Face, A Series of Portraits

As I set out on this year long daily drawing project, I thought it would be a good idea to give myself some assignments lending to medium and subject focus. So here's my first exploration, with pencil sketches and areas of watercolor washes. While I really enjoyed the process, it was maddening to try and get my little one's face just right. Still have so much more work to do this year, but I'm really excited to see where it leads.

New Year, New Projects

A new year always marks the possibility of a new start. Our family made the reality of a new start a bit earlier than the beginning of 2017, moving to France in August of 2016. Since that time everything has been flipped upside down, starting over in all areas of our life from our home, to school, to work, friends, and beyond. Even the simplest of tasks and aspects of daily life are challenged by the everyday unknown. But everything in the name of adventure deserves an open mind. Fast forward to now, while DUO | DUET jewelry lives on - yet at a slowed pace, I've challenged myself to get back to the basics. As a kid, I spent hours drawing, and continued to intensely hone these skills through my years in art school. But shortly after graduating, much of this creative pastime was channeled into use for my professional life in the costume jewelry design industry and stopped exploring sketching/painting/illustration as a means of self expression. Now finding myself without a proper studio and limited jewelry tools, I've begun to question how to continue my creative passions. So, getting back to the basics is my answer. I'm challenging myself to 365 days of drawing. I hope I can keep to it. I'm one month in and it's definitely challenging, but the daily progress and constant ideas are really rewarding.

The rules are simple:

  • Draw something everyday, no limits to medium or subject
  • Keep everything. I can start over or be as prolific each day as I want, but I must keep all sketches (no ripping out pages!)
  • Post the outcomes daily to stay disciplined and monitor my evolution.
  • The point of the daily exercises are just about having fun, honing my observation skills, generating ideas, and mostly enjoying the process -- as each sketch is just an experiment, not a finished masterpiece.

NY NOW Debut and Recap

 NY NOW Trade Set-up pre-show 

NY NOW Trade Set-up pre-show 

We decided to start our jewelry launch off with a BANG at the NY NOW Wholesale Trade Show (formerly NYIGF)! We spent the better part of the summer preparing our jewelry and booth for our first foray into this world. Never having a booth design or doing a wholesale show meant this was an extreme leap of faith for us. It turned out to be an amazing experience in which we learned so much. We definitely plan to continue going to this show which happens twice a year. Here are some behind the scenes pictures of our booth set-up and final display...

 Benoit fitting lighting to powder coated steel frames. He was responsible for all display & booth design.

Benoit fitting lighting to powder coated steel frames. He was responsible for all display & booth design.

 Squeezing into tight spaces to screw in bolts.

Squeezing into tight spaces to screw in bolts.

 Final Display Layout

Final Display Layout

 Panel display 1

Panel display 1

 Screen with collection layouts and 9 color display

Screen with collection layouts and 9 color display

 Panel display 2

Panel display 2

After 4 days of successful days of selling our work, we definitely walked away with a great experience and a slew of things we would alter next time around. I felt though we were pretty organized, we definitely missed some key items that would have made the show easier.

Item #1 - Bring a foldable cart for faster trips from van to booth. It took us an hour to just unload the car, even with a dollie. Our unloading would probably have taken half the time!

Item #2 - Customized sales invoices. For our line it would have made it easier if we had a better, (with pictures) sales form that we could easily check off item/color/quantity boxes. I'm not sure how this would be 3 part with buyer copies, but maybe a computer form that we can print on-the-spot will be our set-up next time. Then we could e-mail it with a follow up to the buyer as well.

Item #3 - White drapes, seamless paper...something to brighten the space up! It might just be a personal preference, but we hated the black drapes from the beginning. We had hoped the white panels of our displays would be enough to brighten the space. Next time we'll bring our own white drapes, either secured with s-hooks or velcro.

There were a lot of little things too (like take better pictures!), but overall, I felt that we were as prepared as one could be without having ever experienced the show before. It went by fast and the support plus camaraderie of the other artist was amazing!