B’sue Boutiques Build a Line Design Challenge Part 2: the progress

Five Elemental Lizards focalsHere we are for Part 2 of the Build a Line design challenge (BALC for short) where I’ll be showing my progress in creating a line of jewelry using components from our sponsor and instructor, Brenda Sue (aka B’sue) Lansdowne of B’sue Boutiques.

In Part 1 of the challenge, the other participants and I revealed the themes we’d be exploring and components we would be using. Some of us (the over-achievers) even had a finished piece of jewelry or two to show off.  In Part 3, coming up in a month from today, we will be debuting our completed lines, which must have at least five related pieces.

Previously on BALC

In case you missed it, or can’t quite remember the details, my chosen design theme revealed in Part 1 is “Elemental Lizards.” For this theme I’m using brass lizard stampings, which I got from B’sue Boutiques Etsy shop, as part of the focal pieces for five necklaces. There will be one necklace for each of the five alchemy elements: fire, air, water, earth, and aether (or spirit). Each element has a color associated with it: yellow for air, blue for water, red for fire, green for earth, and white for aether.

Lizard jewelry components

These are the “rusty black” brass stampings I revealed as the focal for my “elemental lizards” line for this challenge.

The Progress and some Pondering

One of the reasons I chose to sign up for this challenge is because, while I enjoy making one-of-a-kind designs and continuing to explore new techniques and materials for my jewelry, I want my work to be recognizable as mine.  A cohesive look is what I’m after and why I’m here.

Brenda has encouraged us to think “bread and butter” for our challenge pieces. As in, including things that will sell in an impulse price range for our target market, and be relatively easy to reproduce in a short amount of time, so that we can optimize our profit.  She asked those of us determined to make one-of-a-kinds rather than production pieces to explain why we think we can sell them for a profit.

Air Element focal and beads

The first component I made, and then remade, was the Air Element focal and some coordinating beads. I wasn’t happy with the coloring in the first version, so this is round two.

I’m one of the those who hasn’t quite been able to convince my muse that we should repeat ourselves creatively. She insists there’s too little time to get to all the ideas we have as it is without wasting time making the same things over and over. Because making jewelry is a creative outlet and way from me to decompress from my day job, I have a difficult time disagreeing with my muse on that point.

Water Element focal and beads

This Water Element focal didn’t turn out quite the way I planned. Or rather, I didn’t have much of a plan other than the colors. I’m very tempted to re-make it with some minor variations here and there.

However, Brenda has managed to convince me that there is value in doing variations on a theme. (I know, it’s a modern day miracle.) Like varying the colors used, or the types of metals. So that someone who would really like to buy my rustic copper and turquoise earrings if they were made with silver instead has that option. So I can make the same basic design in copper, silver, brass, etc. (or with different colors of beads) and do a limited edition line for that design.

Fire Element focal and beads

I made a batch of lava beads to go with this Fire Element focal.  And then decided to make these swirled beads to be similar to the accent beads I had for the other elements. It’s all part of the cohesive look thing.

There is also something to be said for “limited edition” pieces as a marketing strategy. If people like something and know I will only ever make a limited number, they may be likely to buy rather than put it on their “maybe someday” list. It’s a basic supply and demand thing, sort of like how keeping the supply of diamonds low ensures a continuously profitable demand for them. What? You didn’t know that was a thing?

Earth Element focal and beads

The Earth Element focal is the most sculptural of the five pieces. I like how the lizard is sort of camouflaged among the leaves. And these are my favorite of the swirly beads.

As for price points for my line, I jokingly commented in the Facebook group for this class that I was going to do a “rice crackers and hummus” line rather than “bread and butter.” That’s because my target market might be a tad more crunchy and savory in their tastes than the bread and butter crowd. Even so, my line will include pieces spanning a range of prices, or tiers, as they say.

Aether Element focal and beads

The Aether Element lizard focal was the most challenging for me. Not in execution, although working with white polymer clay has it’s own challenges. The challenge was coming up with a design that represented spiritual energy or the vital life force. I went with a stylized semi-translucent flower. And gave the lizard wings.

I am aiming for more art jewelry in my collection, using artisan beads and focals as the main components. The market, and price point, for that type of jewelry tends to be a little different than fashion jewelry made primarily with mass-produced components.

I still make fashion jewelry using non-artisan components. In fact, I have a new Etsy shop – the Cactus Frog – dedicated to my whimsical fashion jewelry designs created with high quality glass beads (mostly Czech and Swarovski) and mixed metal components.

This Elemental Lizards line will go into my original Etsy shop – Paisley Lizard Designs – where I’m offering my rustic organic artisan jewelry collection made with semi-precious gemstones along with glass, ceramic, polymer clay, and mixed media artisan components.

Each of these Elemental Lizards I’ve shown you today will become the focal of a necklace. There will also be coordinating earrings,  and perhaps, bracelets.  I might even go wild and throw in some brooches.  I also made four focals from the same polymer clay recipes, minus the lizards. For those who like the elements idea but would rather be caught dead than wear a lizard. It’s okay; Paisley understands not all lizards are as adorable as she.

Four Elemental Focals without lizards

These are my “lizard-free” elemental focals. While I adore lizards, and I know I am not alone, I also recognize there are those who find them somewhat less adorable.

That’s all you get to see from me for Part 2 of the Build a Line Design Challenge. You will have to come back next month to see how I used my focals and beads in finished jewelry designs. Or to find out why four of the lizard focals are shaped like triangles while one is round. And why two of the triangles point up while two point down. (If you know the answers, don’t share them with the class just yet.)

Until then, you can spend a little time visiting the other designers participating in this challenge and treat yourself to more eye candy. You won’t be disappointed. There are themes ranging from flowers to sea life, and from birds to bugs.

The Blog Hop Participants

Brenda Sue Lansdowne – Hostess & Instructor Jewelry Making Outside the Box
Marcia Tuzzolino Aurora Designs
Jann Tague Clever Designs by Jann
Judy King Apt to Wander Studio
Linzi Alford Magpie in the Sky, Spoil Heap Tales
Cynthia Wainscott Exotic Peru
Carole Carlson Beadsophisticate
Lynn Stinten Dragonzwench
Marica Zammit Bead Lovelies
Catherine Shattuck VRBrose
Michaele Collie The Vintage Gem
Mary Craig Jewelry Alchemy
Lee Koopman Strega Jewelry
Erin Whitacre Shattered Time Jewelry
Monica Casady MJCasady Copper Works
Leila West Leila Nicole Designs
Cindy Peterson Howling Dog Jewelry
Leila Belcher Leila Bee Designs
Gloria Allen Wings and Beads
Pamela Anger Novegatti Designs
Tammy Adams (Hey, that’s me!) Paisley Lizard   *You are here!
Lynda O’Mara LOmara Creative
Elizabeth Hildreth MadScientistsDesigns
Dana Hickey Wind Dancer Studios
Janet Calardo Jan Lea Designs
Maria Clark Sweet Willow Designs
Lori Beekman B. Accessorized
Jennifer Kroeger Relic Charm
Amy Jorgensen Hoarder’s Corner
Robin Reed Artistry: Handcrafted Bead Designs
Ingrid Anderson Lilis Gems
Louise O’Shields Desire Divine Jewels
Susan Killam Killam Creative
Mary Katherine Deis The Rose Sword: Artisan and Vintage Collectible Jewelry
Nike Bottalico Nike Bottalico
Susan Bowerman Woodside Wireworks
Kristy Le Kristy Le Trendy Jewelry Designs
Jan Peters Stylized Vintage
Mitzie Crider Needful Luxuries Occasional Blog
Gina Hockett Freestyle Elements
Linda Anderson From the Bead Board
Alexandra Sefton Imaginary Jewelry and Altered Art
Melida Boman The Journey of Pens and Things
Teresa Shurter TreeZ’s Treasurs
Melissa Latimer Smithed Up
Renee Hong Fine and Dandy Jewelry and Art
Nadine Edris Moondance Jewelry
Lori Meyer Parisienne Girl
Jennifer Merrill Williams Artists of All Stripes
Denise Lussier Poirier Jewelry by Denise
Renee Allen Small Stuff Design
Autumn Adams Autumn Dawns
Elizabeth Owens 1996 Shabby Lane
Kat BarronMiller Midnight Kat Productions Art Jewelry
Sandra Ballard Mama San’s Mojo
Coral Law ab:coraldesign

***NOTE: If you leave a comment in the box below and it doesn’t show up on my blog right away, don’t fret. My spam filtering protocols are just holding on to it pending my approval.

83 thoughts on “B’sue Boutiques Build a Line Design Challenge Part 2: the progress

  1. Marica Zammit

    Never thought I would say this (seeing that geckos and lizards scare the bejesus out of me lol) but your line is gorgeous. Loving how you integrated the lizards into your focals. The blue and green are my favorites and I’m loving the white one too. That one looks magical 🙂

    Looking forward to seeing your earrings and bracelets! I think that the lizards would make awesome brooches too.

    Great job!

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      I’m so happy you’re making friends with the lizards, Marica. I’m still working out how to make earrings with the lizards as they are on the larger side, but I have some ideas for the brooches.

  2. Susan Bowerman

    Tammy, I think you are an amazing jewelry artist, a gifted writer, and any girl who likes lizards is a friend of mine! I adore those little critters! Oh, and one more compliment for you dear lady. You are “sharp as a tack!” Thank you for all of your help throughout the challenge, your meaningful commentary, and for being you. What a pleasure to follow this path with you!

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Well, shucks and gosh darnit, Susan. I’m blushing. Thank you so much for those very kind words. I hope we get to meet in person someday. I think we could have great fun. Even more than in our virtual classroom.

  3. Lee

    Tammy, I think that your muse and mine get together for drinks and snacks. I’ve had a terrible struggle trying to convince mine that “same” is a good thing. She is wild I admit. I do love your lizards and the color schemes you have chosen. You should definitely make some brooches though I would modify that and call them cape clasps or even shawl pins would be a good lower price point item though maybe you would need a smaller lizard.

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks, Lee. I think I’m getting the hang of “same in concept” but different enough to keep my muse happy. After all, there’s a nearly endless list of colors to try. And thanks for the suggestion about cape clasps and shawl pins. Hadn’t thought of that angle.

  4. Dana

    Yup I so know what you mean. Even knowing you need it doesn’t stop the resistance in our heads does it? Love the color palette and am looking forward to seeing the entire line!

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks, Dana. I read somewhere long ago that making a change is similar to grieving. We go through many if not all of the same stages, including denial. Even when it’s a change for the good or one we chose to undertake. I’m getting there.

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thank you , Susan. I wasn’t very impressed with that white one when I made it, but after seeing the reaction in comments here, I’m rethinking my own feelings about it.

  5. Louise @ Jewelry Treasures

    I like where you’re headed with this Tammy. You’ve obviously put a lot of thought into the meaning and the design of the elements. Really love the white lizard collection, also loving the focals without the lizards.

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks, Louise. I do like doing research and I’ve spent a fair bit of time looking into the meanings and symbolism behind the colors and shapes.

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks so much, Beth. It’s so lovely to get feedback from a polymer clay artist whose work I so admire.

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks, Jeanette. I’m surprised to find you are in the majority on liking that white focal. I may have to reassess my ideas for the rest of the collection.

  6. Nike

    Adore your blog and your line, especially Aether! You have such a beautiful way with your art and presentation! Throughly enjoyed~ xo

  7. Ingrid Anderson~Lilis Gems

    Your focals are fantastic. Really love the Aether element. Looking forward to seeing more! Ingrid

  8. Cindy Peterson

    You will love the concept of your design with great thought into your jewelry. And using polymer clay in the matching beads is awesome. My favorite is the white is just strikingly beautiful I can’t wait to see these all finished

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thank you, Cindy. I think I need to make more beads before the final reveal. Especially the white ones. 😉

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks so much, Chi. I may have to get busy mixing up more of that white recipe if the responses here are any indication of what the “world” will like.

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thank you, Irene. I think lizards are awesome in general. I just gave them a nice little backdrop.

  9. Ne Cultice

    Lovely blog Tammy and I like the direction your going, still building a line but also being true to yourself….not an easy balance and one I think all artists fight with. xXx Ne

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks, Ne. It is a struggle and I’m still working out the details of how I’ll be applying what I’m learning here to the rest of my jewelry designs moving forward. I think color variations will be the key for me.

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks so much, Melissa. The fire is my favorite too. But don’t tell the other elements; they’ll get jealous and sulk.

  10. Leila Belcher

    I’m not going to lie. I had my doubts about the elemental lizards theme. But, you’ve WOWED me. I’m a total believer, now. Not that you needed my approval! Lol. But these are stunning. You are so talented. I love the colors, the beads, the design, the lizards. The whole thing put together is just spectacular and when you get them all ready and up for sale I believe I would like to buy one. Normally Artists don’t buy other Artists work but you’ve made something I never could and I’m so impressed and in love. So I hope you can forgive me my previous doubts.

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks so much, Leila. You’ve made my day. I’m so happy to have made you a convert. LOL.

  11. kat bm

    I think your designs are very art jewelry orient. I have to ask though, the yellow seems too .. well, yellow. I mean from a selling perspective, it’s probably the least likely color to be bought. Yellow as a accent is great, but as a whole piece like that? This isn’t a negative comment, just pointing out the color choice can limit your customer base.

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks, Kat. And you are absolutely right about the color yellow. However, I am on a personal crusade to elevate it as more than an accent color. Plus, it is the “official” color for that element. 😉

  12. Micheale Collie

    Great blog, Tammy! Your writing shows your sense of humor and tells your story beautifully. I, too, think you’re very talented and am in awe of your polymer skills. Have to say, your Aether Lizard is my favorite-just so elegant!

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks so much, Michaele. All of these compliments will inevitably go to my head. 😉

  13. Pamela, Novegatti Designs

    Great post, Tammy, and love the lizards! This is a super theme that you’ve chosen, and done so very well with. I especially like the white lizard! I can’t wait to see your entire line. 😉

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks, Pamela. It’s so lovely to have positive feedback from other artists like you.

  14. Renee Hong

    I like the aether one best, it is beautiful. Great idea to have a tease/riddle at the end of the post! Can’t wait to find out the answers, you’ve piqued my curiosity!

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks, Renee. Even though I assume my classmates will be back for the final reveal, I felt like adding a little “cliffhanger” to the end of my post. 😉

  15. Robin Kae Reed

    Hi Tammy, I love Love Love your Lizards, and also commend you for making a Lizard free zone!!! LOL The colors are outstanding and I love the over all look. I can’t wait to see how you use them in the final reveal!!! BE Blessed

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks so much, Robin. i figured if I were going to be “artistically generous” as Brenda calls it, I needed to provide a safe place for customers who have lizard-phobias. 🙂

  16. Jann Tague

    great blog Tammy .. love all the beautiful colors .. I’m not a big lizard fan but the colors you selected are over the top beautiful .. Looking forward to seeing a finished piece ..

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks, Jann. Maybe by the final reveal the Elemental Lizards will have grown on you and converted you to their side. 😉

  17. Janet Calardo

    Love the lizards and the way you are showcasing them. And you have really peaked my interest on the different shapes. Definitely will be back for the next blog for the answers. Love the polymer work especially the white one.

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thank you, Janet. I’m sort of surprised at how popular the white focal is among the comments here. Go figure.

  18. Nadine Edris

    Tammy, I think you are finding a great balance between creating art jewelry and a line. The lizards and elements are brilliant and I can imagine you taking them in many directions. Cohesive but not the same thing over and over. And I’m with the rest of the crowd and love the Aether lizard. Great stuff!!!

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks so much, Nadine. I have a notebook full of ideas for other lizard focals. Starting with the seasons and maybe holidays.

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thank you, Sandie. I can’t have pet lizards: I don’t think they’d be safe around my cats, for one thing. But they’ve always fascinated me.

  19. Alexandra Sefton

    I thought I’d like the air lizard the best cuz I love yellow and lime green. Bit the aether lizard just sends me over the moon–I might have to purchase it! What you did with the colors and shapes of clay in the spirit one are absolutely stunning! I can see it with brass, copper, gold, silver, filigree, anything you’d want to put it with and the world will soon be full of peeps wearing your lizards! Dying to see (well, living to see!) how your whole line comes out. Would adore some little lizard earrings to match the pendant! All your lizards are lovely but that aether one did something to my insides and it feels great!!! You must’ve put a bit of your own spirit into it! And I always read your comments in the groups because you have such interesting things to say. Keep talking, and seriously, I do want that lizard if it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg and maybe even then. LOL. :):)

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Wow, thanks so much, Alexandra. If you still like aether lizard when she’s all incorporated into a necklace, I will be happy to reserve her for you.

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thank you, Brenda Sue. I didn’t elaborate on all the great things I’ve learned so far in this class. I hope some of that will come through when my final designs are revealed.

  20. Judy

    I could NOT have imagined this when you chose the lizards!!! Very cool….looking forward to seeing more!

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks, Judy. I hope this partial reveal has been a pleasant surprise. I know it was probably hard to visualize my theme from my original post.

  21. Linzi Alford

    Love your concept -Elemental Lizards- HOW quirky ! Your execution is brill and each one is special in unique way but very obviously belongs to the line as well. Looking forward to seeing your whole line in a month!

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks so much, Linzi. I am a little off beat so I guess my jewelry should be too. 😉

  22. MJ Casady Copper Works

    Nice blog post, Tammy. You’re polymer clay skills are phenomenal! Looking forward to seeing your final collection.

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thank you so much, MJ. I don’t feel that way when I try to do sculpting, but I guess we’re all our own worst critics.

  23. Lynda O'Mara

    Tammy–Wow, you are really a talented polymer clay artist and you have really put that talent and your imagination to good use. I also like the aether lizard, but the other colors are great, too. I’m looking forward to have you incorporate them into finished pieces with stampings, filigree, or ???.

  24. Tammy Adams Post author

    Thank you, Lynda. Whatever happens with my line, this class sure is good for my ego. 🙂

  25. Louise

    Tammy I love, love , love your artwork!!!! Like wow your clay work is just phenomenal!!!! I am so thrilled to be on this great adventure with you!!! I am truly wanting that white flower and that good energy for myself ! Awesome line created by you Tammy. Warm Regards Louise

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thank you so much, Louise. Based on the comments here, I may need to create a line of just white lizards and focals.

  26. wings and beads

    The line theme and jewelry are precious. Great branding. What I like most, even me whose not over the moon for lizards could wear your line. Options for your customer I luv it. That white is my favorite and like you the yellow second up! I love that yellow. I love to dress in primarily white for summer and that yellow, just gorgeous. Looking forward to the completed line.

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thank you, Gloria. Yellow is a tough color for some people to like, but as you say, it really pops on summery white clothes.

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks, Amy. I continue to be surprised by how many people prefer the least colorful of the focals. Not at all what I was expecting.

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thank you so much, Cynthia. I hope to see you at the final reveal post. 😀

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