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Please consider doing some early Christmas shopping in my Etsy shop where each item is absolutely unique, rather than buying mass produced stuff. Shipping times may be a bit unpredictable in December too.

Some new items:
IMG 5607m by ukapala
buy here


IMG 5619m by ukapala
buy here



IMG 5610m by ukapala
buy here




IMG 5620m by ukapala
buy here




IMG 5618m by ukapala
buy here


IMG 5606m by ukapala
buy here
  • Listening to: Gjallarhorn
  • Playing: Witcher III
  • Drinking: tea
My shop is open again and there are some new items in it. I can't make as much jewellery as I used to, my elbow is still hurting after all the physical therapy and inactivity. I'd have to stop using it at all, I guess, but that's not an option. I'll try to make at least two items weekly, but I guess I can say goodbye to being a full time jeweller :(

There's an exhibition of my drawings and collages in the Malahide Library (Ireland) until September 23rd, so all of you who are in Ireland are welcome to see it, the admission is free.

I've gotten myself into the medieval reenactment movement and been trying my skills in textile crafts, like weaving, embroidery and hand sewing. 

An embroidered Viking motif, will go on a top of a bag:
14199154 1183903911630117 367517162517176045 N by ukapala


Heddle woven bands; can be used as straps, belts, selvage for clothing etc.

13926008 1162994053721103 8801714204389556366 O by ukapala


Me, in a Finnish medieval dress, petting an owl. Yes, an owl.
13882671 1156600207693821 2892893974784649512 N by ukapala
  • Listening to: Gjallarhorn
  • Reading: Kate Daniels series
  • Playing: Anno 1404
I've developed a lateral epicondylitis and can't make jewellery anymore, at least until it gets better (which can take months). I'm about to undergo a series of painful steroid shots right to the elbow and physiotherapy. Fantastic. :| (Blank Stare) 

I'm also not allowed to swim, and my artistic and professional activity needs to be reduced to minimum, because I use this arm for everything, not just crafts: painting, guitar, illustration, cooking and housework.

I'm feeling so useless now. Sniff 
  • Reading: Kate Daniels series
  • Playing: Skyrim
  • Drinking: Coffee

More Affordable Jewellery


I would love my jewellery to be more affordable. Sadly, after taking off all the fees, taxes, supplies and other costs pure income is maybe half of what customers are paying. But I still think more people should be able to afford something nice every now and then, so I decided to make some simpler pendants, that don’t involve so much supplies and require less time to complete. So here’s a batch of pendants. They’re all €35 plus shipping. Enjoy! Available here.

IMG 4305m by ukapala IMG 4306m by ukapala IMG 4318m by ukapala IMG 4320m by ukapala IMG 4315m by ukapala IMG 4317m by ukapala IMG 4310m by ukapala IMG 4311m by ukapala IMG 4313m by ukapala IMG 4308m by ukapala IMG 4309m by ukapala
  • Playing: Witcher 3
My beloved cat died recently.
Absence of the cat generates a cat-shaped negative space in the house.
I didn't get to say goodbye.

1rCi by ukapala
I am selling some of my original collages and drawings in my Etsy shop. They're available in the art section.
These are the ones that are listed in the shop at the moment, but I will be updating this list gradually. You can always check out my "Art For Sale" dA gallery section if you want to see what's currently on.
Sketchbook 9 by ukapala Cafe Still life by ukapala Cafe Still Life 2 by ukapala

Mature Content

Fire Spinner by ukapala

Consciousness by ukapala Consciousness II by ukapala Garden by ukapala Small Packet by ukapala Pink by ukapala
  • Listening to: Black Crowes
  • Reading: "The Secret Garden"
Thanks everyone for your supportive comments on my previous journal entry. I sometimes feel that I get more support and understanding from people I only know through their art than from anyone else. Thank you very much. The least I can do for you is feature some art.

Songfic Fairy Tailsongfic fairy tail
song by he is we, kiss it all better
Natsu used to be a happy guy, he had a lot of friends and a girlfriend that he would do anything for but that all changed when the darkness came. Natsu and Lucy finally had the guts to confess to each other, they were going to tell everyone about the news but when they got there the guild was covered in a dark mist and everyones eyes glowed red. Natsu lays on his bed replaying that terrible day in his mind.
He sits in his cell
and he lays on his bed
covers his head and closes his eyes
"Natsu!"  Lucy screamed, Alzack had shot her right through the stomach. "Lucy!" Natsu ran to catch Lucy before she fell down and held her close to his body. But Alzack wasn't done yet and Natsu knew it so he picked her up bridal style and ran he couldn't hurt his friends. "Natsu," Lucy whimpered. "I'm not ready to die." She cried into Natsu's chest and he kissed her head while the tears streamed down both of their faces. "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry
  ME: TouchAuthor: KitiaraMajere
Universe: Mass Effect
Characters: Fem!Shep, Garrus
--------------------------------
It was odd, how quickly she'd adapted to having aliens around. On her crew, even. She hadn't dealt with other races much before this little jaunt, and initially she had been a bit nervous. After all they'd actually fought the turians, so working with Nihilus had been a bit awkward at first. But he had seemed dedicated to his job, and he'd died doing it. That earned him a lot of points in her book.
Now...
A turian, a quarian and a krogan walk into a starship-- She grinned to herself.
At least they seemed to get along. She'd had some concern about that at first; they all seemed so different.
Tali seemed the most easy-going of the lot. Not a lot was known about the quarians, even what they looked like. She was obviously intelligent, and so far showed the kind of moral traits that Shepard aspired to. That revelation about the geth disturbed her, though. Reminded her of that old
  Tiger eye and Hematite custom ordered necklace by cybelemoon  Wire-Wrapped Cardinal by ataria  Stormcloud Pearls by Annqueru  Scp439 by DenitaTwoDragons  0072 by pulbern  Tender Heart by Xenaris 

Mature Content

Mechanical Desire by neuroboy-art
  Hammerhead Heavy Tank by Hongablaster  Astronaut by Tordo
  • Reading: Hyperbole And A Half
  • Watching: Supernatural
  • Eating: soup
So as you may have noticed I haven't submitted anything since Summer. The reason isn't that I'm lazy but my stupid depression is back. It is being treated but honestly I can't seem to focus on anything creative at the moment and I'm barely doing the everyday stuff. I have literally stared for hours at my beads and bits of paper and couldn't come up with a simple collage or a pendant. I'd mostly like to lie in bed and read books until it's Spring again, to be honest.

Knitting seems to be something that keeps me occupied and not demanding at the same time so I'm making a lot of scarves and hats.

I'm going for a short holiday to Germany tomorrow and hoping to take some photos, I generally like to visit new places, provided I can get myself to go out.

Hopefully this will pass soon, as it is seriously pissing me off.
  • Reading: crime books
  • Watching: Supernatural
  • Playing: Skyrim
  • Eating: apples
  • Drinking: tea
So, over the past weekend I have: met some good friends, some cool new people (hi, somk!), my postman (don't ask), sold an original picture (!!!) which will be put on a cover of a French sci-fi magazine, did my first two discussion panels ever, sold a lot of jewellery, gave out a hundred business cards, had many conversations, bought a book and partied.

Also, developed a throat infection, but I think the balance is still in plus, don't you think?
  • Playing: Oblivion

I've posted this article on my jewellery blog  originally, but I thought I'll post it here as well to reach more readers.

This topic has been covered numerous times by pretty much everyone who sells their crafts, and every artisan has their own reasons for making particular items more expensive than other and some of the reasons are the same with every person. I will write however about my own creations and try to explain what you pay for buying MY jewellery.

Background

I was raised in a Poland, which lies in Central Europe and was one of the communist countries back then. You probably have only a vague idea about how that system worked, but bottom line was people in general were rather poor and stuff wasn't available. And I'm not talking about luxurious stuff like jacuzzi tubs or fancy food, I'm talking about basics.

For example: meat was rationed and the choice of vegetarian food was quite poor in comparison to what's available now. Another example: you had to stand in a queue for weeks or months to buy a basic home appliance like a washing machine or a fridge, because there were ten of them available per one big city at a random time. A literal queue - families would take turns and people would borrow small children from their neighbours and pretend they were mums and dads so the rest of the people in the queue would think they needed the merchandise more and let them forward.

It may be hard to believe now, but I am neither joking nor exaggerating. So needless to say, one had to be creative to have anything more than bare minimum needed for survival. That's why handmade stuff wasn't associated with luxury and uniqueness at all - it was something you had to make yourself because you couldn't afford to buy it or it just wasn't there to be bought.

And after so many years after the fall of communism in Poland that notion is still there - handmade item should be cheaper than mass produced because it's something you've just made last evening while watching TV and out of scraps from your grandma's basement. Moreover, demanding any serious money for your products is frowned upon and means your self esteem is too high (don't ask) and the satisfaction that somebody wants to own whatever you've made should be enough. So you can imagine my surprise, when I started to make jewellery, post pictures online for friends to see and after a while suddenly people from all over the world wanted to buy it. That's when my own mindset started to change and I started my own tiny handmade jewellery business.

Why it costs so much

If I want to be an artisan full time I need to take every little detail into consideration. Some of those aren't clear to the buyers and people still ask about such things, so I divided everything into a list of factors that contribute to the end price so it's easier to understand.

It's a job, not a hobby

People have the need to comment on everything they see but rarely are their comments thought out at all. So I've had good hearted nice and polite people say to me that they admire my hobby and it's fantastic to have something that you do in your spare time. Make no mistake, this isn't a hobby. It's a full time job. I don't have any other job. I quit looking for a job in a graphic design department to do this and I'm doing it full time. So, as with every other job, I need to make at least the bare minimum that will allow me to live, and it's not a whim or something optional. If you go to work you expect to be paid. It doesn't matter that your work isn't as "necessary" like a doctor's or a fire fighter's job. Artists, artisans and entertainers are the only people whose job is to make your hard life more bearable. Imagine your life without music or any decoration at all. How would you feel without them? So please respect that work and don't complain about the price - if you don't want something, just don't buy it, you really don't need to be mean about it.

Supplies

Supplies cost money. It doesn't have to be a lot of money per one piece of jewellery, but sometimes is, especially when the supplies are actually handmade. Ordering supplies costs even more money, because if you want to actually make it cost effective, you need to buy them in bulk so the shipping doesn't cost more than the supplies themselves. Buying them however in regular non-online shops can be ten times more expensive than ordering them online. Bottom line is that supplies are one of the biggest factors when calculating the cost of an item.

Taxes and fees

If I want to have a legal business I need to pay taxes. All selling platforms (like Etsy, where I have my shop) charge a listing fee and then a percentage of the sold item. PayPal also charges me per every transaction, so if you actually take off the taxes, fees and supplies cost it's often about one third to half of the price of the item. So for every €50 pendant that you buy from me online, just a little bit over €30 ends up on my account, and this still isn't pure profit!

Business cards and graphic design

There is a chance that you've come across my website or a shop through a business card. Well, they don't come for free either. I am lucky to have a background in graphic design so I don't need to hire anyone to design them for me, which would add to the cost substantially. I also designed my logo; the cost of having a logo like this designed for you is from a few hundred to a few thousand euro. So I guess we're all lucky (me as a trader and you as a buyer) because this way my jewellery is actually cheaper than it could be!

Customer support.

I am just a one person doing all of this and I need to reply to emails myself. Most of the questions I get are actually answered in the FAQ  and Commissions sections of this blog, but people can't be bothered to read them, so I must waste time to reply to the same questions all over again. A time that could be used for making another item. So, in fact, if you don't read the FAQ first before emailing me, you're essentially making my jewellery more expensive. Just sayin'.

The creative process A to Z

I've covered all the additional costs, but the substance of the whole thing is the creative process, which takes a lot of time. I'll try to explain the phases.

Looking for supplies

It's a form of art on its own in a way. The worst case is when I have an idea for a particular item or a custom order where I need specific type of stone or glass colour. It can take many hours to actually find the damn thing in an online store that actually delivers to Ireland. Sometimes it takes shopping in several stores over the time of many months to have the exact materials I want for an item, because colours, textures, materials and sizes mustn't be random and need to be matched. This also takes years of art related education, by the way. It's a bit easier when I just browse supplies and buy things I like and could potentially use, but this is also a great way to have an awful lot of money basically frozen as supplies.

Creating

It's the most fun part usually and my average pendant doesn't take more than two hours. Really complicated things take more of course, which is reflected in the pricing. With easier stuff like beaded earrings it takes most time to match the right beads to make an interesting outcome than to actually assemble them, because if something is simple it must also be interesting in some way so it's not just plain and boring. Here comes the art education again. The only thing that I don't like to make but is essential are the ribbons on which the pendants are worn, so recently I began to buy ready ones. Still, I have to make non-standard sizes myself.

Photo taking & editing plus listing

Again I am lucky to have a background in photography as well and know how to take a professional photograph of a product. Otherwise my photos would be blurry, dark and on a fuzzy background or I'd have to pay someone to take them for me. But again, taking and editing photos take time and sometimes several attempts if the item is difficult to photograph (labradorite, for example, is my most favourite stone to work with and the least favourite one to photograph -it's irridescent and I can never properly convey that feature). After I've taken and edited the photos I need to list the item in the shop. Fortunately Etsy has been easier to use recently and gave us for example shipping profiles that we can use instead of typing everything each time.

Shipping & handling

Needs to be done, takes time. Enough said.

What you actually pay for

When you're buying my jewellery you pay not just for all the complicated things that I mentioned in this article. There are also unmeasurable things that are, in my opinion, one of the most important ones

  • Uniqueness. Each item I make is absolutely unique. There is no other one like it in the world. If this isn't worth paying for, I don't know what is.
  • Quality. My pendants don't break, unless smashed with a very heavy object. At least I've never had any complaints. Also, after a few disappointmets I only use enammelled wire to ensure it won't change colour in time.
  • Beauty. Tastes are different and I cater to a selected clientele who like this sort of aesthetics, but with every piece I make sure that the materials used are matching in colour and texture. Even the ribbon matches. The wire wrapping may be freeform but there's nothing random or uncontrolled about it.

With all the factors that I mentioned, I sell my items for the lowest possible price that will let me at least pay my bills. It's a sort of a wholesale price, because if I was to charge for it like retail shops do for mass produced goods, the cheapest pendant would have to cost around €80 (as opposed to €35) and less people could afford it. And this is actually what most artisans do, just because they love their work and they actually want to make it available and affordable. Think about it the next time you feel like demanding a discount from an artist just because you think you deserve it or letting them know they're crazy for charging that amount of money for an accessory.

Having said all of that I'd like to thank everyone who has supported my work for the last few years and bought stuff I make.

  • Listening to: my cat purr
  • Reading: Jonathan Kellerman "Time Bomb"
My drawings are made in the Moleskine sketchbooks that have yellowish paper instead of white. Since I will be framing and hopefully selling the pictures, I took an opportunity to look at them with a fresh eye and correct some things I didn't think looked finished. I'd like to update the dA submissions with the new versions, but I can't decide what to do with the paper colour. It looks nice in reality but somewhat weird on screen although I tried to convey the shade as close to reality as I could. 

So my question is, should I keep the online versions as close to reality as possible, desaturate them a bit to keep the non-black and white mood and reduce the weirdness or just switch to plain black and white:
IMG 2068cm by ukapala IMG 2068am by ukapala IMG 2068bm by ukapala

Which version do you think looks best, and shows the most depth?
  • Reading: Dresden Files XV "Skin Game"
So, my beloved sketchbooks, are going to be exhibited at Shamrokon and I need to cut the individual pictures out. Feeling so sad, like I'm killing an entity that has its own awareness.
Will try to treat it as an opportunity to scan the pictures that I haven't made public yet and to actually be able to show off my work finally...

1abO by ukapala
  • Reading: Dresden Files XV "Skin Game"
Shamrokon is the Irish edition of Eurocon - the Europe-wide sci-fi and fantasy convention. It will take place on August 22-24 2014 in Dublin. All the details are here: www.shamrokon.ie/

The Shamrokon Art Show, as the website says, will feature a selection of artists working in the unique and creative field of science fiction, fantasy and horror. They will display their work alongside the art of our Guest of Honour, Jim Fitzpatrick. Jim is famous for his Irish celtic art, although his most famous piece is probably his iconic two-tone image of Che Guevara.

Attending members will have the chance to experience the creativity of the art on display, and the opportunity to acquire an original or signed print for their own continued enjoyment.

If you want to display your art at the show please apply here www.shamrokon.ie/art-show

I will be at Shamrokon with both my art and my jewellery so pop up to say hi if you're there.
  • Reading: "Stranger in a Strange Land"
I've been recently trying to learn figurine painting, using my friend's Relic (board game) figures to do that. Turns out it's quite similar to painting on flat surface, you just have to emphasize some things more.

Here's a figure of an Ultramarine character. It's about 4 cm wide. Do you think I should submit those to the dA?

Relic figures - Ultramarine by ukapala
  • Reading: "Wizja Lokalna"
Dear watchers, I'm leaving again on March 28th and not sure when I'll be back (May, probably), so if you'd like to purchase something from my Etsy shop please do so until March 27th, because my shop will be on vacation mode after this date. Thanks!
  • Listening to: Jethro Tull
I know most people will disagree with me and think that I can't take a complement, but I hate it when people say that I'm talented.

Except I don't think it's a complement.

It implies that my work is good because of some mysterious talent thingy and not the years of hard work, knowledge and practice I've put into something. It makes me wonder if they really think a person is born with a skill. Same goes for all the people who email me asking "OMG I want to do wire wrapping, how did you learn it?" and then feel utterly offended and disappointed when I tell them the truth: I wrapped wire around wire until I got a satisfactory result, and it took many months of everyday practice. And I'm still learning! No one is born with a skill. You can be good at learning some things faster than others, but you still have to learn it. And it takes a lot of time. And often education.

Now, I get absolutely homicidal when I'm being told that "I have a true gift from God". It doesn't just imply that it wasn't my hard work that made me good at something. It also implies that I'm not responsible for it, but some mythical being is! It's like I haven't earned it through my previously mentioned hard work and just got it from a higher being. Just like that. It's not just a non-complement, it's an insult.

Now, I don't want to start a theological flamewar here, I respect people's beliefs in that I DON'T FORCE MY OWN BELIEFS ON THEM and I expect the same in return. Thank you for your attention.
  • Reading: \"Whispers Under Ground\"
  • Playing: Skyrim
  • Drinking: herbal tea
So, I went to Poland for twelve days, to visit my dad (who's in a hospital getting physical therapy and learning how to walk again after the car crash in October), help my mum, see my friends and get some things done. Got sick on the third day. Brilliant :roll:

I managed only to visit my dad twice before I got sick and then went to see him one day before leaving; he was unhappy that we didn't get to hang out more and I'm not impressed either. I got him a Kindle though so at least he won't be bored out of his wits.

I managed to attend a friend's wedding (met some old friends in the process, I just hope they didn't catch my bug), pick up my guitar from renovation, make some pendants, but that's about it. When my cough got really bad I got a chest x-ray photo and went to the doctor and she said I have a chlamydial pneumonia. Yay :|. She prescribed me enough antibiotics to kill an elephant, not just the chlamydia, and banned me from leaving the house until I get better. I had to travel back to Ireland the same day, though (a tip: when you're wearing a surgical mask in a plane people will be reluctant to sit next to you), but now I'm at home and keeping warm. Trying to catch up with reality a bit, which means shipping sold items, listing new ones, making clasped ribbons and doing stuff around the house.

Looking forward to being well again but that may take a while. This is annoying. :roll:
  • Reading: "One Hundred Years of Solitude"
  • Playing: Skyrim
  • Drinking: herbal tea
I am selling some of my original collages, including the ones that are not on the dA. They are framed in a mountboard (usually A4). There are just five available for now, but I'll be adding more next week (I need to frame them first).
  • Playing: Skyrim
  • Drinking: tea
I'm probably gonna get lynched for this, but I can't help but notice, that the majority of DDs picturing women, especially in the photography category, show them in rather sexualized poses (either that or cartoon/manga style or actually BOTH :| ). And I'm not just talking about obvious categories, like fetish, BDSM and pinup portraits, although there's plenty of them (seems like a majority), which are basically created mostly to please a male viewer, but also regular portraits and cosplay shoots. Actually, a model can be dressed up to her neck, but have a suggestive face expression (slightly open mouth, lowered head, looking straight towards the camera, finger touching lips, and don't try to convince me that these are not meant to be suggestive). In fact, I think it's mostly about the face, not the nudity. And I know it is possible to show a tasteful nude without making the pictured woman sexualized and seducing the viewer.

Now, I'm definitely not a prude and I'm usually the last one to complain about anything body related, but as a woman, and as a person who strongly believes in equality, I don't feel comfortable with the dA repeating the same message, that the society is trying to force on us: that woman equals body; that woman is only worth as much as her body and that woman exists for the sole purpose of pleasing men.

I got used to the mainstream media doing such a thing, both openly and in a covert manner; you can either ignore it or lose your sanity. But does deviantART, as a platform for artists (who are indeed a rather sensitive and intelligent folk and should be using their brains more often than the average person), really want to convey the message, than women are just meat?

Food for thought.
  • Reading: "Over The Edge" by J. Kellerman
I was going to do a features post today and then I learned about the Traditional Artwork Feature Contest and decided to kill two birds with one stone.

My finds have several things in common. Firstly, they're all trad collages or mixed media works. Secondly, they're mostly abstract. Thirdly, typography plays a huge part in their composition. I also may or may not have a soft spot for warm tones :B

Here they are:

relaying the truth to the uninitiated by steve2727 <da:thumb id="368748902"/>  5b~ by mando-damon 
Leap by RichardLeach Femmes 1 by LauraTringaliHolmes Autobiography: Finis by hogret 

Artists:

:iconsteve2727: :iconrobert-alan: :iconthomasmuse: :iconmando-damon: :iconveroklotz: 
:iconrichardleach: :iconlauratringaliholmes: :iconaudreysmith: :iconfleetofgypsies: :iconhogret:

Enjoy!







  • Reading: "Over The Edge" by J. Kellerman