Thursday, 26 April 2012


Right! I am on a mission. A proactive mission to get all my stock back out into galleries across the land. Then I am going to streamline my ranges.

Today I am going to focus on earrings. A bit of background on earrings from Wiki.

I love earrings, I have made hundreds of pairs of earrings in my life. I used to go to craft shops with my mum and we would buy beads and go home and make earrings. It was always a treat to go to Rockhaven or Letham. My grandad gave me some pliers and a wee tool box to keep all my bits and bobs in. Also remember getting given huge bags of beads and findings and broken jewellery after grandad had been at Dens Road Market!

I didn't have a very good experience when it came to getting my ears pierced. I was about 11 or 12 and my mum and dad took me to Debenhams (this is pre-Overgate Centre, so the jewellery department was about where Jimmy Chungs bar is!). I remember my ear getting very hot and I'm not sure whether I passed out or not but I remember the room swirling and nearly didn't get the second ear pierced because it was so uncomfortable.

I still have problem wearing earrings, probably because of my dramatics, I had put the girl doing the piercing off and now my ears are pierced very squint! One earring sits at a completely different angle to the other, not a good look it you are trying to promote your own earring designs!

Earring making was always a popular thing to teach at my HERA night classes. Everyone loves earrings!

So back to business, a look at the range of earrings by Ruth Gordon Jewellery. I could spend hours going through pictures of earrings I have made and sold but I have decided against this. This blog post is going to be written as the thought come into my head, a visual notebook as it were.

Corrugated silver earrings. I have so many different shapes, sizes and colours I don't have a clue what sells best. Maybe if I look closely at my sales history there isn't any great pattern and it is all to do with the individual pair of earrings and the buyer involved. This sounds quite right in my head but my paperwork urges me to have more of a system.

My plan is to choose a few of the styles and stick to them only varying the colours. This way my inventory and range will be a bit more organised. So the above pictures could be styles 1-4. Reading 'style 3 in blue and yellow' will be so much easier than reading 'Silver and cold enamel earrings (Yellow and Blue - small)'. To me anyway! Thumbnail images have also featured in my stocktaking to identify which piece is which. I have 25 different thumbnail drawings just for the corrugated silver earrings. That is ridiculous!

With regards to my nylon earrings I think keeping the simple, clean pieces like the ones below makes the most sense. I have made some quite experimental earrings using nylon over the past few years which have been more effort than they were worth aesthetically.  My nylon pieces have always been good sellers and I really enjoy working with the material.



I have decided to start making some of my 'Smarties' stud and hanging earrings again, simple, colourful pieces that are fun and easy to wear.

My acrylic and plastic earrings will get another wee outing too as they have proved very popular in the past.


For the time being I am going to keep my vitreous enamel work to a minimum, if I decide to do any earrings in this medium at all the will be these very simple enamelled disc on silver chain earrings. Straightforward to make and cost and they are very effective design.

Semi precious stone beads are lovely to work with and having just bought a rather large amount from a supplier I am currently working on designs to use them in. I have made several pieces so far such as this agate and crystal necklace.

What does this have to do with earrings? Well, the semi precious stone bead range is going to be the exception to my rule. I wont change this range as it would be impossible to have set pieces with so many different stones out there!

The moral of this blog is less is more.
In my opinion.

Next up. Brooches.

Footnote: Yikes aren't my photos grey?!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012


What a weekend! I will get the 'bad' news out of the way first, an incident we are calling 'Twittergate'

Last Friday night someone I follow on Twitter got hacked and somehow I also got hacked. The spammers started posting on my twitter account about weight loss and, as this was linked to my facebook account, the posts also got posted on there!

I could have coped with that but no, they didn't stop there.

Everyone who follows me received several direct messages saying various things along the lines of 'Someone is spreading rumours about you.' and a link. As far as I know the link looks like a twitter page and asks you to log back in after your session has timed out and this is how you are hacked.

This continued throughout the night and I woke up the next morning to several messages from followers and friends warning me it was still happening. Thanks for these by the way guys! I changed my password etc. and it all got fixed. I apologise again now to my followers for the inconvenience.

A few years ago my credit card got defrauded and I have likened Friday nights events to this. Only this was worse. At least my credit card only affected me. I was so upset about everyone receiving messages and worried that people might not realise what it was and get hacked themselves.

I fully expected to login to Twitter on Saturday morning after hardly getting any sleep to have no followers left. I actually had two new followers! This made me feel a lot better as did the spam disappearing after simple steps I took. I have made some great contacts and friends on Twitter and I am thankful that everyone seemed to understand.

If you get any strange DM messages on Twitter/Facebook etc. my advice is not to open them! I found this guide from the Huffington Post on what to do if your Twitter Account is hacked.

My weekend got better when we went out from dinner to Wagamama and then went to see Andrew Lawrence at Embrace arts in Leicester!

Leaving on a positive note, I also added two more £10 items to my Folksy shop.

                                         Ambronite, Peridot and Silver Earrings

                                         Corrugated Silver Earrings

More new gallery news coming soon!

Friday, 20 April 2012

Wistow Gallery

Busy, busy week!

After spending the first half of my week polishing my wee heart out I braved the rain with the help of my glamorous assistant and driver on Wednesday and went to drop off some work at the lovely Wistow Gallery.

Kate Foster opened the Wistow Gallery on 27th March 2012 featuring artists and makers from Leicestershire and Rutland. The gallery has an excellent range of beautiful items including jewellery, ceramics, glass, wood, textiles, prints, paintings and photographs.

The gallery is situated in the Wistow Rural Centre just south of Leicester. The Rural Centre has free parking, is open all year round, has a deli, a cafe, several gift shops, a garden centre and, during the summer months, the countries largest maize maze!

Kate was very welcoming and we even met her husband and daughter! It's lovely to meet someone who is so enthusiastic about my work and so honest, we had a good laugh about the sizing of my bangles!

                                         Silver and Cold Enamel Cluster Bangle

                                         Silver and Cold Enamel Cluster Ring

                                         Silver and Cold Enamel Earrings

                                         Silver and Nylon Loop Earrings

                                         Silver and Nylon Loop Earrings

                                         Silver and Nylon Bangle

These are just a few of the pieces for sale at Wistow Gallery

More news soon.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Super quick update!

Wow! It has been a busy week for Ruth Gordon Jewellery so it's time for a quick mid week update.

I have four new £10 items listed on Folksy, one of which has sold already!

                                          Acrylic and Silver Necklace

                                         Green enamel and silver earrings

                                          Yellow enamelled silver earrings (sold)

                                          Pearl and Silver Earrings

I have also been Tweeting my little heart out! You can follow me on Twitter to find out all the latest news from Ruth Gordon Jewellery and other creatives I retweet. @RuthGJewellery

I am getting ready to start stocking and restocking galleries around the country so please do check back here for news on this as there are some pretty exciting new ventures happening with my jewellery this summer.

I will also post news on my Facebook page so please 'Like' that to receive regular updates and, in the upcoming months, there will be a Facebook competition where you could win a piece of Ruth Gordon jewellery.

Lastly there has been talk of setting up an ACJ Leicester group and hopefully I will be getting the ball rolling on that very soon!

More news coming soon!

Friday, 6 April 2012

A helpful evening in Leicester

Tuesday 27th March 2012

A beautiful sunny evening in Leicester, the perfect setting for the Creative Leicestershire event, 'Selling Art and Craftwork Online' at the LCB Depot.

The speakers were James Boardwell, co-founder and director of Folksy; Sharon Dickinson, a jeweller and metal worker who sells on Etsy and via her own online shop; and Amanda Charteris and Alison Griffiths the co-founders of Gift Wrapped & Gorgeous Ltd.

After a warm welcome from the Creative Leicestershire team, James introduced himself and began the evening's discussion. The Folksy director spoke about the difference between 'craft' and 'handmade' and what this means. James also emphasised the importance of having a story behind your work, showing or telling customers how the pieces for sale were designed and made. I felt this was particularly significant to my work as I've always found that at my Open Studios visitors are often just as interested in my tools and techniques as they are in my work. I will be using this Blog to document and share how I make several pieces from start to finish in the future.

With some examples including the work of fellow Dundonian, Nikki McWilliams, James spoke of the importance of finding your niche in the market, how to stand out and be noticed. Social media and the different methods of sharing information were also discussed. Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, Linkedin etc. were mentioned along with emails, newsletters and good old fashioned printed cards and leaflets. The group talked about creating different products with varying price points to attract a range of customers such as cards, mugs and badges alongside cushions and aprons.

A huge talking point of the evening was the importance of quality photographs. As the customer can't pick up the product and see it until they have bought it a set of quality images is critical. A lot of craftspeople are guilty of taking photos and knowing they are not the best quality but using the images anyway. I do it. I say to myself "I will take a better one soon but that'll do for now". Photography isn't as easy as pointing and clicking, it requires a bit more knowledge and understanding than that!

 James also discussed some of the features of Folksy such as the online magazine, Frankly and the email newsletter (which I was featured in a few weeks ago).

The next speaker was Sharon Dickinson of Archive Crafts. Sharon makes jewellery and larger objects which she sells at markets, on Etsy and on her own website. Sharon started by saying she wasn't sure why she had been asked to talk as she doesn't rate her website very highly and does not sell a great volume of work through it. It was encouraging to hear Sharon's story and her thoughts and concerns about her website and social media in general. Like myself, Sharon finds it all a bit foreign and hard to get her head around. Sharon passed around some beautiful mirrors and a particularly impressive picture she had made out of embossed pewter.  Check out her blog, it's really good, despite her misgivings.

Next up were Amanda Charteris and Alison Griffiths from Gift Wrapped & Gorgeous, the online gift boutique marketplace. Amanda and Alison work together with each designer to create an individual boutique with the option of promoting their business with the media coverage package.

Amanda and Alison gave excellent advice on photography that stands out and will be noticed by the press and by the consumer. They commented on lifestyle photography as well as white cut out photography for press use and showed several examples of images which were successful and ones that were not so successful. Amanda gave several quirky ideas to catch the attention of the press and also discussed whether it is a good idea to write your own copy or not.

A point that has really stuck with me came from Amanda being asked how best to make Twitter work for your business. Amanda explained #ff to us and it all started to become clear! In the week following the event I made a lot of progress on Twitter with a significant amount of new followers and numerous retweets and mentions. It was also suggested that we have a social media strategy to ensure we get what we want to do done in a timely and effective manner.

This event was very informative, I met some great people and got some great advice. I have already changed my practice and I am using social media more effectively. I do, however, have a long way to go!