You have to jury in to become a member, and their yearly jurying opportunity happened the first week we were here! I had to quickly get my studio up and running to make some pieces for the committee, and was thrilled when I got the call I was accepted.
However, being a member of a cooperative gallery means that I am responsible for my jewelry case. And, as a member, one of the rules of the gallery is that every single piece of your work has to have a price tag. I have been thinking about how to design my display case so that it is rich in texture and gives a great, handmade vibe, as well as making sure I follow the price tag rule.
One of the best merchandisers of jewelry that I have ever seen is a small, local shop called Blue Skies in Chattanooga, TN. Tina, the owner, and Denise, her business partner, are masters of display. They both used to work in museums and their displays are works of art. They display all of the jewelry that they carry in flat, glass cases that have texture and a wonderful, aged look. The price tags are discreetly hidden, and when you look at the case, all you see is the jewelry and artistry with tasteful, well placed and interesting props.
Rice, lentils, beans, small sea shells and sand are often the base layer in the cases. Then they add some other props that complement the style of jewelry they are presenting to the customer. Tina and Denise creatively arrange the jewelry that they carry with plain, blue cards that coordinate with their Blue Skies theme.
The artist's name is in the case, along with where they are from. But that is it. The cards that they use don't detract from the work itself. I have seen display cases were jewelers use the same earring card, with their personal and biz name on them for every single one of their designs, and all I see are the cards and their name! It's great to use a grouping strategy in display cases, but make it work for you, not against you!
For my display area at Number 7 Arts, I am using a glass case that my father made for me with his own hands. So, as a base component, it is already meaningful to me because my father made it, plus, it looks handmade, but in a good way. I decided to add lentils to the base, and went to Lowe's and bought some slate tiles. I also threw in some African sand cast beads and some stones that I have and added them intermittently with the lentils to add more texture and a slight tribal feel, which compliments my jewelry well.
As far as the price tags go, I came up with an idea to add some color to the display case, since my jewelry is mostly neutral. I took my watercolors and painted some abstract designs on some heavy watercolor paper, and cut them into small, long rectangles.
On the back of the paper, I have a white sticker with the price, materials and artist ID number on it. When someone purchases a pair of earrings or a necklace, the person manning the cash register just has to peel the sticker off and put it on the sales ticket. I think this makes the display case vibrant, and it discreetly puts the price tag within reach for the customers without it screaming at them.
Below are some more posts from our members and guests where they talk about displays, tags and ways to think out of the box when it comes to staging your jewelry. If you are doing shows, this is really important too, as the overall look of your booth is the first impression a customer has of your work, and will add or subtract from their desire to check out your creations.
Handmade Banner by Barbara Bechtel (show banners)
Alba Nelly Urbina by Mary Jane Dodd (staging/displaying your jewelry)
One Man's Trash, Another Man's Treasure by Tony Westland (jewelry display idea)
Uniquely Displayed by MaryAnn Carroll (displays found on Etsy)
Handmade...From Start to the Very Finish! by Barbara Bechtel (up-cycled display/tags)
Just Earrings by Staci Louise Smith (earring display idea for shows)