Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Who's behind the monitor?

After years of selling and buying online, receiving and giving feedback has become part of a daily life. This post is inspired by a recent unpleasant transaction. As one of my dear MCHs, Dawn has said, "If people only knew how hard we work on the things we make, they might think before they type." True or not?

Every handmade metal clay piece starts with an inspiration, a lump of clay, and mechanical calculation. Which is the best way to present my inspiration? What's it going to be? What mechanical connection will work for the piece?

The mini snowflake earrings is one of my bestsellers, here is a tutorial on how they're made.

1. Claying is where the creative juice starts flowing. 2. Metal Clay needs to be dried before firing. Usually air dry for at least 24 hours, or drying in an oven for 30 minutes. 3. Forming and shaping the piece, this is an essential step to a nice finish.

4. Torch firing or kiln firing the piece to burn off the binder and to sinter the clay. 5. Since they're earrings, their backs need to be burnished for the next step - soldering. 6. A good cleaning is essential for a good soldering joint between the piece and the post. 7. Flux the pieces where the solder should be.

8. Solder, which takes lots of practicing. A piece can be ruined if handle carelessly. 9. Earrings put into the pickle pot of vinegar and salt (this is all natural and eco-friendly) to clean. 10. Tumble the earrings for at least 1.5 hour to work hardening and to shine.

11. Adding patina to the earrings to highlight the details. 12. How the earrings look after patina, they need a good cleaning, don't they? 13. Polishing using my Dremel. Cannot live without one anymore! Viola! Shiny and ready to ship.

(Of course, I don't need to bore you with the business side of things like ordering materials, taking photos, listing, packing, shipping, and doing taxes! The fun part is still creating!)

These earrings are considered simpler to make compare to the 3-D pieces of those metal clay masters but you can see they still demand careful planning, endless patience and flawless execution. And the earrings are priced at a whopping $19!

Maybe after reading this post, any unhappy buyer will value these earrings more? Maybe if you're a buyer, you will think before you type something negative like Dawn has said?

My feedback is ruined, so as my day yesterday, but there're always something to learn from it. Please remember that the seller is a human just like you, who has feelings, sitting behind the monitor.


  1. Sad that anyone would leave negative feedback on a handmade item- especially one made with so much love and patience. The earrings are lovely and you have a beautiful spirit.

  2. Bravo Betty! Well documented. She should be ashamed. I think you should send a link to that post on your feedback to her.

  3. Betty. You've expressed this so well! You've shown a portion of what goes into your jewelry and educating your readers on what takes place to make your product will go along way in gaining appreciation for your art.

  4. I appreciate this post, great photos. You beat me to the punch, I was planning to post tonight very similar!

  5. Kathy, you should do it! Get it out of your system! Then chin up and move on with a smile on your face!

  6. Betty, sadly, so many people are not knowledgeable about the work that goes into even a "simple" piece. (And I don't think post earrings are necessary simple, especially with the soldering of the posts.) You have done a wonderful job of breaking down the process.

  7. Great post Betty. You do beautiful work.

  8. Fantastic post Betty! I am sharing this! I really can't believe some people! She will get her come-up-ins! Your work is beautiful!

  9. Thank you! Retail is so hard so when people are educated and are able to understand what goes into what you hand make there isn't that general retail retaliation happening !!
    we talk about buying local and from an artist's but the field is still being developed ....we are not a franchise WE ARE HUMAN !!!