Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Fly away home ...

Anyone who makes and sells stuff will eventually get approached by people looking for donations .. gonna happen, trust me. But I have always, pretty much right from the beginning, looked at charitable donations of my jewelry as a sort of advertising opportunity. Rarely, if ever, do the recipients decline my request to include a little placard showing other pieces I make, or a flyer announcing a future event in which I'll be participating. Plus I get a tax deduction for the material cost of the piece. I do try really, really hard not to think about the fact that I'm losin' out on the retail value of the piece when I'm takin' that material cost tax deduction, however. I may be charitable, but a saint I ain't ; )

Usually I just snag a piece out of inventory if I'm approached for a donation; but occasionally I'll get an idea for something specific. I'd been thinking for over a year about a piece for Waterfowl U.S.A., a local chapter of a larger national organization akin to Ducks Unlimited. An organization like this wouldn't even have been on my radar, but our contractor - a guy who knows pretty much EVERYbody in town - suggested their annual banquet and auction was something I should be involved in. This is the guy who was responsible for my making a spectacular sale to a local jewelry store back during the holidays; so when he tells me I should be involved in a particular annual event, I say OK, who do I call?!?! So, I called the current president of the local chapter last June (their annual banquet is in May) after I was made aware of the organization and their annual dinner, introduced myself, explained that a friend we had in common had suggested I participate in the 2007 event. He was surprised .. actually, neither one of us had been in this position before - an artisan offering a donation without being asked!! Egads! This is what it must be like in a parallel universe!! Anyway, we had a nice conversation. I gave him all my contact information and that was it.

Well, from that point on I started thinking about what I could do that would be duck related. Most of what was on the list of auction items from 2006 was artwork by a well known local artist, and many various duck decoys ... with only a few other items scattered among them (a hand made waterfowl quilt, an oak blanket chest, pottery, a hall entry bench ... nice stuff, to be sure). I was thinking I could include a couple of my nicer pieces ... a hand knotted pearl necklace and maybe a Byzantine bracelet .. but the "big" thing ... the "advertising piece" - the design that might spark some interest - needed to make a little splash, so to speak : )

It all began with some polymer clay beads I spotted on a site I monitor occasionally for new things .. they were pretty much the exact colors you find on a female mallard. So I bought 'em .. twelve little roly poly round beads and ten cylindrical beads, all using the same swirling color combos. I combined them on a sterling charm bracelet chain with smoky quartz, Swarovksi pearls and crystals, mother of pearl and coconut shell .. finishing it with a faceted apatite briolette on one end.

I had mentioned to the creator of the polymer clay beads what I was going to do with them; and when she sent them she included two additional freebies that looked exactly like little wings! So with the two extra round beads left over from the bracelet, and the little wings, I made earrings. (If you're reading this on my blog, and not in a "new post" email, you can double click on either pic and see it close up).

Once I had them all assembled, I made a little placard - mostly so the colors evident in the female mallard would be on hand for comparison. Gotta toot yer own horn occasionally. : ) Here's the set all together ...

I called the Pres again in February (or maybe it was March), just a heads up, and spoke to his wife. She was quite excited about the prospect of jewelry in the auction and thought the wives would all be delighted to finally have something of interest to bid on for once !! Another nice chat .. once again passed on all the usual information.

And here's the kicker: I never got a call. Didn't know when the event was taking place and didn't realize it had passed until I saw a little piece in the paper about it. So .. here's a whimsical n ducky set with no where to go.

I may put it out at a show or two, but I'm not sure if anyone other than a waterfowl enthusiast would care .. maybe I'm wrong. I may send a letter to Pres with the three Publisher pages I created for this set and the other two pieces (which I had intended to include with the pieces when handing them over) and ask if it wouldn't be too much trouble, could he please CALL ME next year. Not too much to ask, do ya think?

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