Monday, December 08, 2008

Shore Things....


Now that the season of Holiday gift giving has passed - why not treat yourself with something that was made with the love of our beautiful coast in mind!

The December 2008 Holiday issue of the
North Shore Magazine featured my (Sea Glass Things) sea glass wine stopper.


Sea Glass Things has great representation is this upscale magazine this December. A sea glass wine stopper makes the perfect gift for anyone. Being from the North Shore, my items are truly inspired from the coast and sea. The sea glass wine stopper featured was sent to a new home in Needham, MA! Check out the online article as well below.


Visit my online store at
Sea Glass Things!


Saturday, November 22, 2008

I Tube... You Tube... We Tube

In the era of Internet Marketing and "reaching the masses" - I decided to jump on the ol' bandwagon & attempt marketing through a well known site You Tube.

Being the online leader in video broadcasting, You Tube has millions of viewers world wide... and is free. It only made sense to put together a marketing piece in order to tap into resource and hopefully potential customers.

I used Microsoft Power Point to put my slides together. I arranged the layout, timing and transition of the slides. I also added audio. Now the tricky part was converting the Power Point to a video stream suitable for broadcast. Through a lot of searching and trial & error I came across ABOILSOFT. I was able to download and utilize a trial version of the software and convert it to a .avi file. Though it may not be the best product out there, and the audio isn't as crisp as I would have liked - it seemed the most user friendly.



So check it out - reach the masses and broadcast yourself today!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Resurrected Vestiges

I have always loved these two words together and have seen them frequently used... "Resurrected Vestiges". So mysterious and limitless. The meanings, however, so simple: res·ur·rect·ed: to bring back to life, notice or use ; ves·tiges: a visible trace that something once existed. In my searches I have come across items that have traveled through time... still embodying the form in which they began - only to be transformed into something new.



It is believed that in 1870 a German ship, once carrying porcelain doll parts, sank off the Atlantic coast... if you are lucky enough you may be able to find one of the doll parts while beach combing. I have only found one - and I transformed into an interesting, yet beautiful necklace - full of history.



On my many journeys I have also uncovered old pieces of tavern pipes and glass buttons. Clay tavern pipes were used as far back as the 17th century and were plentiful during the Civil War. Shards and full pipes have been unearthed from old battle grounds and they have also been washed ashore - lost at sea from tobacco smoking captains.


Tobacco smoking and clay pipes were initially introduced to Europeans from Northern & Southern Native Americans. Pieces of these pipes would be frequently be broken off, and discarded, for sanitary purposes. Glass and bone buttons are fun to find as well. I always imagine where they came from, what type of clothing they were once on, and how there were separated. Under light and when wet - the button below is a dark plum purple. If you are out strolling the shore around active harbors... keep on the lookout - you never know what you may find!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

New Biz Card or Old Biz Card...That is the Question!

I am in need of more business cards and found another great source on Etsy as my original isn't available and I really, really need them. I really love my old ones - however, I told him I was willing to look at what he had in mind. I have a few minor text edits to be made on the new one - basically wording.

What do you all think?

OLD:



NEW:



Thank you to all who chimmed in! I have decided to go with the new one to see how it works - however, I am also going to be re-ordering my old ones later in the month because I just love them! So - below is the new one with a minor logo change and the word "Decor" will be added to the bottom as well!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Visit Sea Glass Things at SOWA October 12th!


Sea Glass Things will be at the South End Open Market (SOWA) this coming Sunday, October 12th ~ From 10am-4pm... along with more than 26 members of the Boston Handmade Team in which I am a member. Come check out fantastic talent from local crafters and artisans this Sunday!

Sea Glass Stitch Markers Now Available!


New offerings at Sea Glass Things this fall! Sea Glass stitch markers are now available in my Etsy store with more to come!


The stitch markers are a fun accessory for yarn enthusiasts and also make great gifts for the holiday season. Each set of 6 stitch markers also comes with a row marker... be on the look out for sea glass knitting needles as well! Check out Sea Glass Things for great holiday gift ideas.

Friday, September 19, 2008

North American Sea Glass Festival



Some great news for Sea Glass Things! Since I can't attend the North American Sea Glass Festival this year - Jodie Pastor, from Lake Erie Beach Glass, will be taking 2 of my custom made sea glass tank tops with her as display backdrops for her jewelry! The two tanks pictured below are the ones that will be for sale at the festival for $58 each.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Get "Witchy" With Sea Glass Things This Fall

Sea Glass Witch Earrings for Halloween...



I have created a bunch of these cute sea glass earrings with lead free pewter witch charms for the upcoming favorite holiday of Salem, MA - Halloween!



All a little bit different they have been a big hit so far and look adorable! I have three pair available in
my store now with more on the way - so keep checking. Oh, and custom orders are always welcome!

Day Tripping

Visiting the Cathedral of the Pines...



Both of my children were baptized at The Cathedral of the Pines in Rindge, NH - and every now and then we day trip up to visit the tranquility and beauty that resides there. This cathedral is also as abundant in history as it is in nature. There is an outdoor place of worship, which overlooks Mt. Monadnock, that is breathtaking. There is also a marble alter "Altar of the Nation" where our ceremonies were held. The three slabs of marble came from a quarry in Cardiff, Maryland where the Mason-Dixon line runs through. These slabs symbolize division and unity for all.

Upon entering the grounds, you are greeted by the Women's Memorial Bell Tower. It is a reminder of all the women who have sacrificed for their beliefs and for others. What is so interesting to me is the four brass plaques on the sides of the tower were made from the relief drawings of Norman Rockwell. The four plaques (Girls of Combat, Civilian Women, Clara Barton with Soldier and Pioneer Women) honor women for the sacrifices they have made during time.



Inside the bell tower is a beautiful "Tree of Life Fountain". This fountain was designed to honor nurses that have served our country in war. The tree trunk is meant to be a woman's backbone (determination, stamina and courage) and also has 12 fruits - a different one for each month to signify a healing of the nations. This is a fountain so the water is meant to be the "Waters of Life" to feed and care for the "Tree of Life".

Besides the history - there are beautiful flower gardens and hidden spots to explore. I love photography - so I am always snapping away - and always exploring the beauty nature offers.

For more information or directions, visit the Cathedral of the Pines website at: http://www.cathedralofthepines.org/

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sea Glass Picture Holders...

Sea Glass Picture Holders...



When out beach combing, I tend to pick up everything. Even sea glass that is not totally ripe for the picking or may have some imperfections - I will place them in my bucket and inspect each item when I return home.

With some brainstorming and help from a friend - sea glass picture holders were created. Simple and whimsical, yet functional, they look great anywhere... and bring a piece of the ocean's history into your home! Stay tuned as they will be in my Etsy store soon and will be available for sale at upcoming events I will be participating in!


Monday, August 18, 2008

Environmentally Friendly Alternative to Oxidizing Sterling Silver

As an artist I am always trying to find alternatives to the norm - thinking outside the box... and in doing so stumbled upon this very easy and environmentally safe way to oxidize sterling silver. I am sure you could use this process on other base metals - however, my experiment was solely on sterling silver as this is the metal I use.

We know that the chemical, Liver of Sulfur, is commonly used in the the oxidation process of metals. It gives sterling and other metals various patinas depending on how long you process your items - usually by dissolving it in water. It is quick, effective, relatively inexpensive and does the job. However, the drawback is that it is a chemical and you must take the necessary precautions - gloves and a well ventilated area - even protective eye wear could be used if desired. So what do we do when we are done with the chemicals? We dump them down the drain. Where do they go? Well, then can end up right back in our environment and water ways. Not so good.

Sulfur is the substance that creates the oxidation when released. Eggs contain sulfur. Although this method may not save you time - it is a healthy alternative!


Step 1: Boil 1 or more eggs - bring cold water to first boil - then add the desired amount of eggs - after coming to a second boil for about 8-10 min - the egg is ready to be removed.


Step 2: Do not put the egg in cold water as you usually would - take the egg (use caution because it will be very hot) and remove the shell.

Step 3: Find a tupperware with lid (or a sealable plastic bag) and put the egg in crushing it up.

Step 4: Add desired silver you would like to oxidize and seal - this process could take anywhere from a few hours to overnight. The silver will go through different color changes such as rose to a purple hue and then to black. You may have to repeat this process to get to black.


Step 5: After you have reached your desired patina - remove and rinse and you are ready to create! You may want to brush with steel wool to create an even patina and antiqued look.




Give it a try and see how it works!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Here is the interview I submitted to my group and was in our Boston Handmade Blog - enjoy!

BH: Tell us a bit about yourself (name, location, affiliations, personal stuff)

SeaGlassThings: My name is Marla Kunselman and I live in Salem, MA. I have two girls - Taylor, who will be 14 July 4th, and Devan who is 3.5. I am a member of the Boston Handmade Team through Etsy. I am a Salem State College Alumni and studied Art and Advertising/Communications. I used to be in advertising years ago and most recently was a Quality Assurance Engineer for a educational software company - WebCT at the time and since they have been bought out by Blackboard. I was laid off when I was pregnant with my second daughter - since then I have focused on my business and my kids full time. I am very busy and always juggling a dozen things (activities, projects, you name it) at a time. I am so happy that summer is here and things can slow down a bit!


BH: Apart from creating things, what do you do?
SeaGlassThings: Hmmm, that is a good questions - well, I am a caregiver, chauffeur, entertainer, maid, advice guru.... HA! Seriously - Right now I am just focusing on my kids and spending as much time with them as possible. I also write - hope to get a children's book finished, I write poetry - love sports and being outside as much as possible. We try to get out and kayak as much as we can. I am starting the process in the fall of returning to a "day job" full time - so we shall see what happens.

BH: How long have you been doing your artwork/craft?
SeaGlassThings: I have been creating sea glass jewelry and minimal home goods for about 13 years now. Over the past year or two I have expanded into clothing, pens, stationary and more home goods.


BH: - What is the first thing you can remember making by hand? How and why did you make it?
SeaGlassThings: A hook rug from a box that I got for Christmas when I was little - I remember I sat for hours making that darn thing.... don't recall what ever happened to it though!

BH: Please describe your creative process (how, when, materials, etc)
SeaGlassThings: My creative process is ongoing - I constantly think about what new and exciting things I can come up with - whether it be designs or a new product. I like to think "out of the box" and create what no one else it creating. Year round I spent countless hours on the beaches collecting the sea glass and shipwreck pottery I use in my work. I use sterling silver for my jewelry - no base metal.




















BH: What inspires you? Where do your ideas come from?
SeaGlassThings: I get my inspiration from textures, colors - the outdoors - and then melding them into art. Most of the time I "create as I go" to see how a particular piece will take shape. I like to incorporate other elements in to my jewelry as well - beads, natural stones, precious stones, and pearls. I find it gives depth to my work... however, there is also beauty in simplicity.

BH: Describe your work.
SeaGlassThings: I "upcycled" found objects from the shore - sea glass and shipwreck pottery - into wearable and usable art.


BH: What is your biggest obstacle with it?
SeaGlassThings: My obstacle is two fold. Sea Glass is becoming more and more difficult to find due to environmental awareness, technology, and popularity. Also - because of increased popularity there are many more sea glass artists now - thus more competition.

BH: How do you promote your work?
SeaGlassThings: On Etsy I try to get into the forums and chat as much as I can. I featured Etsy artists in my blog (http://seaglassthings.blogspot.com/) and try to promote them as well in the forums. I also frequently renew my expiration dates on my items – to keep my self at the top of the barrel. I have taken part in the Handbook to Handmade by fellow Etsian Timothy Adam Designs and also the Artisan Impact Magazine (80,000 copies distributed in the US and Canada). You have to spend money to make money – especially when you are trying to get a biz off the ground. I am not a stranger to the Internet and have sold on it for many years – I also do a lot of link exchanges with my blog and purchase online advertising spots as well. I have had a professional banner/avatar made and a logo done as well as all my promotional items. I am getting involved in my community as much as I can – recently I have donated to large ticket items and in return I will be advertised. I participate in events as a vendor and do home parties and commissioned work. So – there is really a lot I do and most of my time is spent on marketing myself. And... when I am out - I wear my goods - no better advertising than that!


BH: What’s your most interesting fair/show experience?
SeaGlassThings: I would have to say last year - the First Annual Salem Jazz Soul Festival at the Salem Willows - It was mid August and so windy and cold you would have thought it was going to snow. My tent blew away - even though I had it secured down. Everything was blowing off the table I had to find rocks to hold it all down and couldn't put out most of my items. However, I made out ok and drummed up some decent sales that day!

BH: How long have you been involved with Etsy and what have your experiences been?
SeaGlassThings: I have been on Etsy since November 2007. Although I have been in my business for 13 years - I recently found Etsy were there were already sea glass designers that had been on "Etsy" longer than I - not necessarily in the business longer. That has been challenging to carve out my piece of the pie on Etsy. It took me about 3 months to make my first sale - and then has been steady by increasing at least one more sale a month. I realized that I had to relist items often as well. I really didn't know where to go for information about what I was supposed to be doing - so I just jumped in forums - made friends, asked questions and things took off!

BH: What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
SeaGlassThings: The following are guidelines that I have put together through my own trial and error on Etsy... follow them and the sales should start to roll in:
  1. Photo quality: Brighten up your images if possible - always use neutral background and make sure you never display blurry pictures - the first picture should have a full image of your product.
  2. Always use 5 pictures and all 14 tags when listing - in 1 of your 14 tags should be your Etsy shop name. When listing items that would be "used a certain way" ie: cards, suncatcher etc. make sure to have different angles (inside, back of cards... maybe the suncatcher hanging in a window) so customers know what they are buying and how the product looks/functions.
  3. Shop announcement - have a catchy tag to draw people in - but keep it short as well. You can have all the dirty details in your profile.
  4. Having a complete profile with all your terms and conditions: very, very important as it protects you as a seller and the buyer as well.
  5. List as often as you can - and relist at least 1 item a day - best time is after 5:30PM.
  6. Get involved in the forums and chat - forums first and foremost - take part and also start forum discussions and some of the Saturday games that take place.
  7. Find communities outside of Etsy - start a blog, join myspace and indiepublic and so on...promote, promote, promote! When you are established enough - join an Etsy Street Team!
  8. Shop banner and avatar - Make sure you have a shop banner that promotes what you do - and that your avatar is clickable!
  9. Make sure to set up you sections and categorize your items so customers can easily navigate your store without having to go through the pages.
BH: Read any good books lately?
SeaGlassThings: The Secret and I have started the Law of Attraction. We can have anything we desire - we just have to believe it and in ourselves!

BH: What are your most and least two favorite films?
SeaGlassThings: Least favorite movies: Top Secret and Passage To India. Favorite Movies: The Lost Boys and Flatlinners... oh and many more!!!

BH:
Is there anything about you that would surprise people to know?
SeaGlassThings: When I was in high school I played basketball – we had a fundraiser in which we invited members of the New England Patriots to play against the varsity team in which I was on. I was defending John Stevens as he was going in for a lay-up… I leveled him and he fell like a ton of bricks on the court… stopped him dead in his tracks from scoring… he was probably twice the size of me. Needless to say he was NOT very happy with me. HA!

BH:
Where do you see yourself in 5 years with your art ?
SeaGlassThings: I hope to be doing exactly what I am doing - but on a much larger scale. I am hoping to apply for grant money in the near future to take things to the next level!

Friday, June 20, 2008

First Ever Boston Handmade Marketplace - Fabulous Handmade Items from New England Etsy Artists

The Somerville Arts Council and The Boston Handmade present an ArtsUnion event! Also in conjunction with Etsy and the Mass Cultural Council - the Etsy Boston Handmade Street team will be well represented by a diverse group of New England Artists.

This is the first show in which the Boston Handmade team has come together to present fabulous handmade goods - art, jewelry, photography, handbags, children's items, clothing, home goods, pottery, glass and more!

Local artists include: Stonehouse Studio, Lucky Monkey, Made In Lowell, Amy Olson Jewelry, Little Wishes, Lucie Wicker Photography, Designs by Lulubelle, Two Guitars, Elizabeth Brennick Designs, Reclaimed To You, Nancyrosetta, Fern Animals, Fraske Designs, Tanner Glass, All Dunn, Blue Alvarez, Sea Glass Things, Bergman's Bear, The Hole Thing, Mimi Kirchner, muchacha K, Pogibabies Handmade, Vintage by Crystal, Glamourpuss Creations, Twigs and Heather, Amy Burhoe Designs, Paper Menagerie, and Cozy Cottage Creations






Come join in for craft demonstrations and live music with local bands: The Grownup Noise & James Christensen - an event you won't want to miss!












Details:
Saturday June 28th, 3-7PM
(Rain date June 29th)
Union Square, Somerville, MA

Visit the Boston Handmade site for more information and directions!

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