Looking for a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry this holiday?
I recently spoke with Anna Blair Owner of the Pendant Place. She handcrafts simply gorgeous, one-of-a-kind pieces.
Anna- What inspires you?
Nature is an inspiration. I love the beautiful colors and details found in nature, and I love trying to produce similar
effects in glass.
How long have you been in business? I’ve been working with glass since I retired as a High School art teacher, ten years ago.
Do you have a favorite piece?
My favorite is always the one I just finished, but they are like ones children- you tend to like them all.
What is your top seller?
Animal pendants. I have one I called “Going Home” that features a tiny dog running towards home, that sells well.
How has Etsy helped your business?
Etsy enables me to reach numbers of people that I couldn’t otherwise. I have a dear lady buyer from Norway who has bought many of my pieces. Without Etsy, she and I wouldn’t have connected. I was surprised how chatty buyers were and how they share snippets of their lives both before and after their purchase.
What makes your products unique from other Etsy vendors?
As a former art teacher, I don’t cut corners. I try to produce something that people will love- I certainly love making it. I use the best material that I can anddon’t make a lot of profit. Most of my fused glass pieces have very expensive dichroic glass in the background and I use either silver plated, gold plated or sterling chains with my pieces. I send everything super fast and packaged in a nice gold gift box tied with a ribbon.
What is the average cost?
An average would be $30. I’ve taught myself to do wire wrapping and those pieces are higher due to the cost ofthe gemstones and silver wire components.
How are your products made? I use a 30 year old kiln that I bought to teach a University art class one summer. It sat dusty in my garage for 30 years and when I retired, I dusted it off, found out the wiring needed replaced, read up on how to do it, ordered parts and rewired it. It works like a charm and I use it nearly every day! I love a challenge!
To make fused glass pendants, I hand cut the size I want from sheets of stained glass and dichroic glass. I layer the glass three layers deep and place it in the kiln. The firing takes several hours in my manual kiln (I can’t “set it and forget it”) when it reaches 1600 I shut the kiln off, and it slowly anneals the piece (hardens the glass so it’s resistant to breakage.) After it cools back to room temperature, I examine each piece and decide how I want to finish them. Any imperfections (glass sometimes warps in the kiln) are ground off, using my grinder. This is referred to a “cold working.” Pieces that have had cold working are then re-fired to smooth the glass again.
The fun part for me is opening the door of the kiln to see what has transpired. Each piece is one of a kind, and with the unpredictability of dichroic glass, you can never tell exactly how it’s going to turn out until you open the kiln door. When the piece is
I love these unique creative designs. They will make fantastic gifts for the holidays. http://www.etsy.com/shop/pendantplace.com