Artist Profile: Lisa Farrell

Artist Lisa Farrell describes her jewelry-making process, and talks about methods of selling face-to-face that have worked well for her small business.

 

Lisa Farrell - Keum Boo Earrings by artist Lisa Farrell. See her artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

 

ABI: Tell us about your materials and techniques.

LF: I absolutely love silver. I originally learned metalsmithing in college, back when silver was about five dollars an ounce! Silver is soft, polishes brilliantly and takes a patina beautifully. I add accents to my pieces with new gold (red brass) and I use thin gold sheet which I apply to the silver using a technique called keum boo.

 

Lisa Farrell - Spirals Necklace and Pendant by artist Lisa Farrell. See her artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

 

I use a combination of silver metal clay, 960 metal clay (sterling metal clay combined with silver metal clay), bronze clay, sterling sheet and sterling wire. I combine these materials to make my pieces. The metal clay allows me to create intricate textures. I solder or rivet them to sterling sheet using traditional metalsmithing techniques.

 

Lisa Farrell - Rings by artist Lisa Farrell. See her artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

 

I’ve been using photo polymer gel packs to create my own stamps from black and white photos. A couple of years ago, I visited several cities in Europe and took photos of ancient architecture and art. I used these photos to create a whole line of texture stamps.

Lisa Farrell - Earrings by artist Lisa Farrell. See her artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

 

ABI: You sell a lot of jewelry through home shows and other events. Could you explain how you organize and run them?

LF: Several years ago, my friends asked me to have an open house and lay out all of the jewelry I wanted to sell…so I did.  Up until this time, I had only made jewelry for myself and a few friends and family. This open house was crazy. Many more people than I expected showed up, which is good, unless you’re not prepared for so many!

 

Lisa Farrell - Verde Pendant and Earrings by artist Lisa Farrell. See her artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

 

By the second home show, I had a friend taking money, another friend packaging and gift wrapping and a caterer taking care of appetizers. This freed me up to talk to guests and answer questions. It was really important for me to not have any tasks except overseeing and answering questions. I think this is why home shows and open houses work so well.

 

Lisa Farrell - Pinecone Earrings by artist Lisa Farrell. See her artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

 

Customers like to meet the artist and have a one-on-one conversation about the art they create. They also like to see where the jewelry is made, so I open my studio as well. This adds a personal touch. I also learn from guests what they are looking for—likes and dislikes—and whether or not my pricing is reasonable.

 

Lisa Farrell - "Mary" Necklace and Pendant by artist Lisa Farrell. See her artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

 

Galleries are great but artists have to raise their prices to make up for the commissions. Arts and crafts shows usually have booth fees and sometimes a commission on sales.

 

Lisa Farrell - Etched Pendant and Earrings by artist Lisa Farrell. See her artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

 

ABI: How do you plan to grow your business?

LF: I just finished creating my website and I’ve started using social media to promote my jewelry. I honestly have not had much luck with online sales. It’s great to point someone to my Etsy site to see all my jewelry in one place, but this hasn’t generated many sales for me. I am also concentrating on building up my inventory and I’m looking into a few local art shows and the possibility of teaching.

 

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