Monday, October 12, 2015

Into The Vortex aka Handmade at Amazon

Hello all,

I hope that life has been good to you since my last post.

The title says it all.  I have jumped headfirst into a deep vortex.  Actually, I have a feeling that I just might meet a good number of you there as well.

Well, maybe not an actual vortex, not at this point anyway.  Time will tell if the waters ever swirl wildly for me there.

I'm dipping my toe into the Handmade at Amazon (HA) waters.  I'm keeping with my established shop branding as you can see....

The shop setup was a bit confusing but they have very good phone support if you need immediate help with anything.  Um yes, you heard er read that right.  Actual phone support with real live people to actually HELP you.  And if you don't need an immediate answer to your inquiry, they get back to you quickly via email.  Yes, I gratefully took advantage of both.  Some things were less confusing than when I set up my Etsy shops and some more so.

While I can't provide any helpful hints yet, I can show you what the pages and listings look like if you haven't seen them for yourself.

The above and following pictures are of my storefront...

...there's a place for shots of our studios...

...but as my studio is currently a total disaster,  I used the above pictures
of tools and supplies,
 and that fabulous picture my friend Nikki took of my stakes.

At this point, I only have 8 things listed.
This is how the shop pages look:

My eye is still getting used to those neutral backgrounds.
You all know how I love my props.

Here is an actual listing:

I didn't find the actual listings hard to do.
The most difficult thing about listing is figuring out what keywords, etc work for them.

I have researched their SEO but obviously haven't a clue
as I'm invisible until you reach the outer edges of the vortex wall.

You have to upload photos one at a time.
They can't be re-arranged so if you want to move them, you have to delete
them and upload them again in the desired spot.

There isn't a "copy" function for listings.
Those are the biggest drawbacks I see to listing at this time.

I find the site difficult to navigate as a seller.  
I know though that it will all become second nature in time.

They do have excellent seller support and
seem responsive to our reactions, wishes and suggestions.

I'll keep you posted about my experience over there,
and would really like to hear about yours.

For once I don't have a ridiculous amount of pictures to share with you.
I know!  Whaaa?????
So I can share one of those DIY projects I told you about on the last post.

 First, I'll show you what's been going on in the studio.

I'm keeping things simple in the HA shop.
Earrings and only earrings right now.

A Vibrant Ruby

Ruby in zoisite, Raku by Elements Pottery
and fine silver sheet which I have oxidized to
harmonize with the colors in the Raku.

Porcelain spikes by Petra.
Un-named at this point.
They make me think of a Snow Goth but
that sounds meh as a name.

Raku Gunmetal Spikes

How's that for an exciting name?
You might notice that on HA,
I am naming most things as to what they are 
in hopes that they might be found in search.
Did I mention learning curve?

Anyway, these cool spikes were made by Petra
and paired with fine and sterling silver.

Borealis Dreams

Living on the edge here with an actual name.

Midnight Intrigue

otherwise known as "assemblage, mixed media earrings..."
on HA.
Petra ceramics, lampwork, textured brass.
Love these Baroque drops!

oooh here's a fun name...
"brass, mixed media, metal and porcelain earrings"

that's just sad.

Verdigris Daggers

Brass with Czech beads in a yummy shade of luminous green.
Verdigris in glass!
Matches the actual Verdigris patina almost perfectly.


Bronzy-gold Petra connectors paired with 
turquoise lampwork and mop. 
The textured brass has a heat patina underneath the oxidation.
Dark and edgy paired with lustrous elegance.

Ancient Hoard Series - Crystal Spears

Un-named, but you know it will have something to do with those
fabulous Petra cobalt spikes.

A Glimpse of Love

An assemblage bracelet full of vintage goodies, adorned with
a platinum heart from Petra, mop and wee lampwork headpins by EmeraldFlame.

Ancient Hoard Series -
Whispered Words

Stainless steel chainmaille, brass filigree with the hoard technique,
sterling and a ceramic bead with indiscernible text by
Andrea Salkowe.
One look at that cool bead and I had the whole design in mind in an instant.

I've finished up a complimentary necklace but haven't done
the photos yet.

Let It Rain

Versatile wrap bracelet can also be worn as a necklace

A wrap bracelet/necklace with stainless steel chainmaille,
a ceramic clasp and Raku drop by Petra and a wee vintage metal umbrella charm.
This bracelet wraps three times around the wrist.
The intriguing colors in the ceramic glazes are gorgeous.

This clasp by Petra has a purplish-bronzy hue.
It's fabulous!
It sits on the top of the hand as the focal of this bracelet
with the stainless steel chainmaille going around the wrist.

Her Treasure

A romantic assemblage of old and new.
Enameled vintage components, rhinestones,
fossil blastoids 
and torch-fired hammered headpins in a rich deep pink/burgundy hue.

The Rose Trellis

Another pair of assemblage earrings
featuring vintage enameled components.
Love the colors and shapes in these earrings.

Colors of the Canyon

Assemblage earrings with a bit of boho flair.

Boho Hoops

Oxidized multi-wire hoops with intricate dangles
in shades of green and berry pink.
Feminine but not "girly".

Assemblage earrings with upcycled tin beads,
carved coral flowers,
vintage glass teardrops and Petra droplets in
Robins egg blue

I Remember the Rose

Vintage watch faces paired with vintage enameled rose pieces,
 vintage teardrops, rhinestones, 
crystals and petal beadcaps.


Petra double drops,
textured brass, amber hued lampwork by Emerald Flame
and titanium posts.

The Night Garden

Double hoops with carved coral flowers, crystals, rhinestones
and wee lucite bell flowers in a soft grey-blue hue.
The darkened hoops and the subtle flowers
make me think of strolling through a garden in the dark of night.

First Bloom

Vintage pink and red enameled roses on a burgundy background,
 accented by vibrant red leaves with striking turquoise 
droppers by Petra.
This is my favorite color combo
and I'm succesfully resisting the urge to keep these.
So far.

The Urn of Red Roses

Assemblage earrings of vintage enameled pieces.
These urns are vintage Matisse Rembrandt enamel.
I know, I know.
Serious collectors of these pieces might be cringing that 
I've dis-assembled a necklace
 to repurpose for earrings.
Couldn't help myself.
The urns needed flowers bursting from them.

The Single Red Rose

Yes, I've been on quite the romantic red rose earring kick.

Ancient Hoard Series -
The Wise Men

I was able to acquire a few of these vintage
connectors featuring fascinating mustached men's faces.
This seemed a perfect pairing for them.
Brass filigree drops with the hoard technique,
mop and deep red lampwork by Emerald Flame.

Fossil crinoid cabochons with asymmetrical forged pewter blades.
Deep red lampwork by Emerald Flame.

Ammonite fossil assemblage earrings.

Kristi Bowman made these fantastic copper ammonite castings.
I've paired them with fossil blastoids that look like little flower buds, 
fossilized sea lily stems (crinoids), rhinestones and wee glass beads.
Hammered torch fired enamel headpins in a soft mossy green
add a bit of organic color to these assemblage earrings.

Kristi also made these ammonites.
She makes so many cool things, but I'm always drawn to her ammonites.
These have been paired with soft green lampwork, again by Emerald Flame
and shields of hammer textured, verdigris patinated, melted edge copper.

Well, that's it from the bench.


You might remember that a few years ago, I snapped a tendon in my right elbow.
I've recently strained it again, and being right handed that's a problem.
This is nowhere as serious as the previous injury,
and to keep it from getting to that point, 
I'm resting my arm for a week or two.
 I should be back to the bench soon.

Not happy to sit around idle....

I have a couple new vintage links listed in 

Each of them are unusual.

These links are exceptional...

Beautiful repouse leaves and blooms

I think these will make beautiful bracelet focals.

I have never seen double links like the following....

I'm going to make a chatelaine necklace using one of these.
It will be the focal from which all of the chains will hang.

The following are the smallest links of this type that I've run across:

Intricate and lovely detailing.


Now for the DIY project...

Many of you have seen this amazing antique necklace display
on Pinterest.

Apologies, but I don't have the original source of the photo
to give proper credit.

At any rate,
it's an incredibly gorgeous display.
While I would prefer finding one with all of the authentic charm
that this display has,
the odds of that seem pretty slim.

Surely, I can up-cycle a display I already have but am no longer using,
since I'm not currently doing shows.

I wanted to alter a necklace display,
using dark charcoal velvet.

I checked all of my local sources for grey velvet.
Nada, nothing, zilch.

So I get the bright idea to try a painted velvet effect.
How hard could that be, right?

I got one of my old displays that had some nicks and tears.

Instead of a small display, I chose this large one
 that didn't need a stand.

These displays showcase my larger statement necklaces really nicely.
Should be perfect in dark grey.

First, I roughed up the surface with sandpaper to give it some 'tooth', 
so that the paint had something to stick to.
Then I applied a coat of black gesso and let it dry.

I painted a couple coats of matte black, and matte charcoal (called zinc).
Then I dabbed at the paint
with a damp art sponge to get a mottled texture.
I was going for a crushed velvet effect.

It resulted in a weird shiny surface where the sponge texturing was applied.
No problem, because that wasn't going to be the
last coat on the display.

I had an old metal ornament that I thought would be perfect on the top.
So I painted it with gesso then with the matte black too.
Gesso is basically a good primer or binder between the
item and the paint.

Here's what I used...

I didn't prime the finial with gesso before 
painting it with the black paint
because I intended to sand some of the paint back off
for a distressed effect.
I've already sanded it here...

Next, I applied a coat of water-based  MATTE

Notice I said matte.

hmmmmmm    Not so much.......

Way too shiny.
I'll deal with that later.

Next I applied the metal ornament to the top of the display.

I then affixed the finial to the metal ornament...

I used liquid nails.
Worked perfectly.

Now what to do about that shininess.

I didn't have any other matte sealer to try.
I thought about dusting the surface with cornstarch
but figured it might just make a big nasty mess.

Since I live out in the country, it's a bit of a trek to the nearest craft store,
so I scrounged around to see what I had on hand.


Green scrubbies are kind of the equivalent of duct tape, right?

Sure they are...
which means I can use them for anything!

I gently rubbed it all over the surface.

It did tone down the shininess a little bit.
It also pulled bits of paint off here and there, 
mostly in the back, fortunately.

IMHO, it is still too shiny to look good as a photo prop.

Ok, so maybe green scrubbies aren't a fix all.

It's better, but still not quite right.

Here's what the display looks like now with jewelry
displayed on it,
after the green scrubby treatment.

I think it competes with the jewelry.

I picked up some dark grey chalk paint last time I was in town.
That ought to do the trick.

So if you see this display being used for my shop photos, 
you'll know that the chalk paint worked.
If not, it's back to the drawing board.

How's that for a DIY fail?

I didn't say I was going to share a DIY success,
I just said I'd share a DIY project.

The next one is a complete success.
No, really.
I'll save it for another time
when I don't have a gazillion photos for you to wade through.

So that's it.
Shortest blog post in the history of AnvilArtifacts!!
And you were here to see it!

Many thanks to all of you for stopping in.

Hope you all have a wonderful Autumn,
filled with happy times and beautiful sights.

Till next time,

(photographer unknown)

(goodbye in Swahili)


  1. I love your formed brass triangles. Well, and sterling. The chain mail bracelets are inspired too. And if I were motivated to make anything lately, I'd be all about those bracelet links, yum. I wish I had your energy!

  2. Thanks so much, fanci! I appreciate you stopping by and your kind words. Yeah, I'm loving how the chainmaille lays upon the wrist. It's lovely stuff. I sure hope you feel energetically creative again soon. You're an amazing dynamo when you're in your zone. Won't be long before the Chicago winter descends on you and it will feel wonderful to stay inside creating. Hugs

  3. I wish you every success with Amazon. I didn't like the way they take so much control over image rights and artistic work to use for their own purposes. Also the same resellers are there, just like etsy. There really needs to be a true, handmade artisan sight for us all. Loving the solder work on your earrings, amazing ideas.

    1. Thank you Marcia! Yes, those issues concern me as well. hmmm, so we just need an adventerous uber tech savvy team who understands what artists need and want in a selling platform. I just had this same conversation with Mr. Wonderful, who is pretty tech savvy. He suggested to me that those two things don't readily go together. hey....what is he trying to say?!!! hahahaha. You are so right- that's exactly what we need!

  4. omg janet, I was swooning with desire for your new additions to the earring cache !! no, no said the Chinese man I live with. no more buying those earrings on etsy! ah so! be still my beating heart....janet is on amazon, where it's only one click....and it's not etsy, ah so ! your beautiful earrings for meeeeeeeeee! I am thrilled to be adding to my collection of your amazing jewelry!! it was hard choosing just one....midnight garden is still on my mind....thank you, pretty woman! xo lucia

    1. Hello there Lucia! What a lovely surprise that you found me on Amazon amongst the masses. That was no small feat! Thank you for taking the time to leave such a lovely comment. Your always cheery notes never fail to brighten my day and/or make me laugh out loud. Usually both! Many many thanks for that.

  5. So you've gone to Amazon! Their fees are much higher than Etsy and as Marcia said same resellers are there...I'll stay tuned to your experience over there. So many beauties in this post! Splendid, and so inspiring! Your DIY is very interesting, what about flocked velvet powder?

    1. Hi Lucie. I'll keep you posted. Thank you for both your kind compliment and your excellent suggestion. I thought of flocking and I do have some grey flocking on hand but then I though of how badly it tends to shed when things rub against it. hmmm, it might adhere better if I use it in conjunction with the chalk paint. I just might experiment with that. Thank you! :)

  6. Your copper shields have me swooning. That perfect browned melted edge and the amazing verdigris treatment is so nice !
    All your shield earrings are lovely and elegant and so wonderfully you. I wish you the best of luck with Amazon.

    1. Thanks so much Tracy! Your good wishes and very kind words are much appreciated. I completely agree. That melted edge is so yummy. Kristi's ammonites work perfectly with it. A happy pairing!

  7. ...and I must say...those carved red flowers are exquisite!!!

    1. Thanks Lucie! Can you believe that a very dear friend shared those flowers with me?! Mostly I am hoarding them because they are so precious to me but occasionally I break them out. Whenever I do, they add the perfect touch, no matter how I use them.

  8. Brave girl - into the Amazon jungle. Have had a long hard look at the deal and it seems to me it may not be the site for individual artists as opposed to a studio employing artists. Could be wrong, often am, will be again in the future.
    Can see that you are putting your rolling mill to good use (green jealous face) - great textures.
    And go the Manky Model Makeover! Will attack my cheap-n-nasty molded plastic one soon it's doing my head in.
    Back to admiring your creations :)

    1. Hello Greer! Ahh yes, a vast jungle it appears to be. I think it will be fascinating to watch it all unfold. Have you tried any of the alternatives to a rolling mill until you can get one? So many ways to mimic those textures. I won't be able to use mine until this elbow mends but I would be happy to send you some bits and pieces I have laying around. Private message me if you're interested. Thanks much for stopping in.

  9. Hi AA - well done you for taking the risk - I have read a few blogs lately where folk are going down this track. Mind you - you said you had not many photos to share - as usual that is a great understatement - as usual you have done a huge amount of great work. May your creative life continue to bring you joy and hopefully a few $ as well. Peace. B

    1. Many thanks, Barry! Always so nice to read your positive and encouraging comments. Thank you for the well wishes and kind words. Now off to see if you've posted more of your stunning nature photos and inspiring work. It is one of my great delights to read your posts. The hubs and I both marvel at your amazing moon shots. Thank YOU!

  10. What a wonderfully full post! And what a blazing new trail you're setting out on....Amazon! I'm looking forward to seeing how you like it. I'd love to find somewhere besides Etsy - Best of luck with it! And of course, all your creations are scrumptious! You're one busy lady!

    1. Thank you so much, Lela! It is definitely a completely different trail than Etsy. So far so good. Feel free to private message me anytime if you have any questions about particulars.

  11. This post is just filled to the brim with awesome.
    First, best of luck with the Amazon venture. I applied but then heard all kinds of talk about not being all that so I'm questioning whether I will dive in now that I've received my invitation. I'd love for you to keep us updated on how it's working for you. I like that you gave both the good and the bad in setting up the shop, comparing it to Etsy. That helps . . .a lot!

    And your jewelry in this post: serious, serious eye candy! You are a real inspiration.

    Lastly, that jewelry display is looking fabulous. I hate it when matte finishes come out shiny too. I wish I had a tip or something that would help you tone it down, but nothing is coming to mind right now. I use a lot of matte mod podge to seal things, but it's also got a smidge of shine to it. So, that won't work. I also use a fine grit sandpaper to take it down a notch, but it sounds like all you have is the scrubbie. Ah well, you posted this WEEKS ago and I'm just now getting to it, so I'm sure you've found a solution by now.

    Thanks for another inspiring post!

    1. Hi CraftyHope! Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to share your thoughts. Very much appreciated! I'll be happy to share how things are going at AH. At this point, for me, the positives outweigh any negatives. Thank you for your helpful suggestions about the necklace display. I do have some sandpaper but it pulled too much paint off. Half the fun is in the experimenting, isn't it? I'm on a constant quest for new and unusual displays. Stay tuned for the next DIY display fail. ;)

  12. Hi sweets! It's been sooooo long. Sorry for disappearing in the ether like I did.. Life!! I'm slowly getting back into gear, though. I promise I'll be around more often to check out your gorgeous jewelry pieces and the DIY project was fun too!! You really have an artistic eye. Keep up the good work :) xxx

    1. Welcome back Emmanuelle! So good to hear from you. Hoping all is going well with you. Will keep my eyes peeled for your lovely new work as well. Enjoy!

  13. Replies
    1. Hi there Claire. Welcome! Thank you very much! Those are my thoughts exactly when I'm stalking your shop. Which I keep doing hoping to snag some of your moths and lilies. So beautiful!


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