Spring Celebration -- WillOaks Studio

There are only 4 days left to enter the big Spring Celebration. I was hoping that we would get to 200 entries so if you haven't entered yet please take a minute to check it out, to help me reach my goal and possibly win one of the 9 handmade prizes. The last featured shop is another of my longtime blog buddies, Will Oaks Studio.

As part of the Spring Celebration you could win your choice of wrap bracelet/long necklace from the "Made With Silk" series - clear bright colors, lovely pearls and collections, all captured with silk, limited editions. Very comfortable, & budget friendly! Long, versatile and lots of fun.

You may choose any of the Made With Silk series valued at $20. This series is now her best seller ever and I'm excited to own my very own which I bought a few weeks ago. I choose the multicolor in Spring colors at the top. It matches just about everything and is so light that I hardly know it is there. It's long enough to wrap around my neck twice for a great layered effect. She currently has all of the colors I'm showing here and then some.

I asked Karen a few questions about her process and photography tips. WillOaks blog has always been one of my favorite visual displays. I love looking at her gorgeous pictures and inspirations from nature.
1.) Where do you get your inspiration for your designs?
My approach to finding ideas and inspiration is to truly be open to everything around me. My adage is "You never know where a good idea will come from." But I frequently look to nature for forms, color and ideas. I love gardening, trees, plants, flowers and botany and often, pretty neat ideas come to me when exploring in this arena. OTOH, I also get ideas directly from the materials I use. It's partly for the engineering of a piece, or "what goes with what," so somehow, a dialogue goes on in my head between what I'd LIKE to make and what the limitations or challenges of a given material are. And finally, I do subscribe to a few periodicals devoted to jewelry making and other art media because looking at what other artists are doing, especially what the best ones come up with, can help trigger a whole new idea, plus reading about or seeing new materials and techniques can be very inspiring.
2.) Do you have any tips for new handmade business owners?
Well, I spent many years teaching art, including at the upper levels, and it seems to me, to make a "business" of your handmade work, it begins with a commitment to and a true passion for your studio work. This usually shows through in the finished product, and that energy will keep you excited and interested even when things are slow or not going too well. I can remember discouraging my students from trying to dive into major exhibitions until they had built up a fair sized portfolio because it is only with this kind of commitment that your body of work begins to look cohesive. And for me, for a shop or a show to "hang together" there has to be some kind of visual "thread" that connects the different pieces. Next, when you're ready for "prime time" you have to find ways and means--online, in person, however--to get as much exposure as possible. This takes time, but this is how you develop a following of folks that like your work, and then you must figure out ways to keep them posted. And finally, when your handmade things do begin to sell, be very conscientious about customer service. I think a lot of customers are coming to "handmade" because of the personal touch on all levels and it's your job to follow through on that with your work and your service!

3.) Do you have any tips for photographing your items to really showcase them?
I'm kind of old fashioned about photography in that I have always liked natural daylight and so I stick with that. I've experimented quite a lot and normally, I tend to go for very simple backgrounds & minimal props. I've got a little set up next to an east facing window here and I wait for bright, cloudy days as much as possible, or second best is after mid day when the sun has moved so that none is coming directly into that window. I always use a tripod and then, I experiment with different arrangements of and angles on the product. I confess, working on my photography is a constant job and I have to work pretty hard to get it right.

See the contest rules here to find out how you could win your own "Made With Silk" Necklace!


Alterity Button Jewelry said...

Great interview with WillOaks! I just love that pearl jewelry of hers and am so jealous about her orchids!!

Ann said...

Karen has the most beautiful jewelry. She has a great talent for not only that but her flowers and her photography are excellent as well. I love visiting her blog.

WillOaks Studio said...

Thanks so much for the write up, Paige....and I'm hoping to send last minute entries over from my blog, too!! I can't wait to see who wins what!! thank you for including me in your Spring Celebration...I think you did just a beautiful job with all of it!!

imelda said...

wow i hope i can join but i just stumble on this now. i hope u can reach the 200 entries, hope to see u around

Letherton said...

Pretty necklace

I stumbled across your blog and wanted to say hi.
Take a minute an check my blog out
I have lots of great giveaways going on.
Thanks :)


Micah-Noel said...

Ooohhh... that bracelet is just lovely! The colors are so pretty.


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