Sunday, November 2, 2008

Ceramic Jewelry Display

Since I make ceramic pendants, earrings, and necklaces, I wanted to develop some unique ways to display the jewelry at shows. Before I went out to purchase commercial display racks, I decided to look around my home and studio to see if I had anything I could use. I remembered this concrete bust which I thought might work to display a ceramic necklace. I also have several wood bowls that look nice with contrasting pendants lying in them.

Unique or unusual display items are much nicer than the traditional black or white velvet easel displays often seen at art shows. But an easel display can also easily be made by cutting out a cardboard shape and gluing some fabric over or by painting the cardboard. Even a flat piece of cardboard can be propped on a metal easel for a necklace display. I am cutting out several of these and putting different colors of fabric on them to use.

Although using a manzanita branch as a jewelry tree is not new, a friend of mine took a manzanita branch and stuck the branch in some plaster of Paris in a metal can. She painted the can a decorative color. She placed the finished manzanita display on her table at the show and hung her strung pendants from the branches of the manzanita. She makes rustic looking pendants and this type of display suits her pendants very well. Sorry I don't have a photo of her display to show you, but her pendant display was very well received by those visiting her booth. Since her display puts the pendants at eye level, they were noticed by passersby much more easily.
I also thought it would be nice to attach tags or card. This way I could hang them from a rack when I go to shows. Sending pendants in the mail attached to a card is also a nice way to package them for the customer. Either way, I think having the pendants and earrings attached to a card is more professional looking than just loose. Having them boxed is another option, but boxing is a more costly option. If jewelry is given as a gift and is attached to a card, the receiver will know who made the item and where to purchase others.

Another reason to put my pendants on a tag or card, is the cording sometimes gets tangled up and it is a pain in the neck to untangle the cording. If I had the pendants attached to the cards and the cords behind the card it would be much easier to keep them neat and organized. Eventually I can have my cards printed, but for now I want something I can print up quickly and inexpensively on my printer at home.

To make the tag or card I first thought of using my business card and punching a hole through the business card and attaching the pendant. My business card is printed landscape and is a traditional business card size of 3.5 by 2 inches. A business card is a little small for my pendants.

Pamela Vale showed how she used business cards as hang tags to her advantage. I thought about gluing the business card to a larger size card stock and punching a hole in the larger card stock. But it would be time consuming gluing the business cards to other card stock. There is too much information and lettering on the business card. So I rejected using a business card for my purposes. But maybe just a tag with my business card background design, the business name and byline. Might be good for some items, but still too small to attach a pendant.

I wondered what other type of card stock is available already perforated that I could easily print on my printer. I checked out postcard stock. Print ready, perforated postcard stock is a little too large at 5.5 by 4.25 inches. Folding the postcard in half makes a 4.25 by 2.75 inch rectangle, which seems about the right size. And folded in half the card is a little heavier weight, which is nice. I can still punch a hole through both thicknesses and attach the pendant. Another idea would be to use plain card stock and stamp a border design, but I like the idea of being able to print my name on the card along with the pendant. Try to picture the tags on colored paper with a hole punched in the top to attach the pendant.

Now to design what the card will look like. The lettering needs to be on the side or bottom of the card. The top is hidden by the hole punched to hold the pendant or earrings and the middle is hidden by the pendant or earrings themselves. That leaves the side or bottom. If the pendant is large, part of the bottom may be hidden too. So only a limited amount of information can be printed on the tag or card.

More information could be printed on the reverse of the card. In the Art Bead Scene blog recently Jennifer Heynen of Jangles Jewelry outlined a list of what can be included on a tag. She also said to be sure the price can be removed from the tag. I thought of placing my price on a little round sticky on the tag which could easily be removed.

Printing just on the bottom of the card is optimum, but what if I want my contact information on the card? There isn't much room on the bottom of the card for much information without it being hidden by the pendant or looking too busy. So I thought, what about printing a mailing label and sticking it to back of each card. That might be the perfect solution. I could print "Handmade Ceramic Pendant by Linda Starr" on the front and I could attach a mailing label to the back with information about how to contact me.

Since jewelry is often an emotional purchase, other information included on the tag could include the artistic process or idea behind the design. For example, “Made from clay the artist dug from Tule River deposits”, or “Impressed with a leaf from artist's own garden”, or “Handmade with traditional pattern passed down from the artist's ancestors” (Cherokee). I could also include information on how the pendant is made, such as hand rolled or hand carved clay formed into a pendant.

OK, I have been thinking about jewelry tag or card for about a week and it just now dawned on me I have less than one week before the show. I have complicated this much more than it needs to be. If you want to chime in, please do so, but I have to move into high gear to get everything done - yikes!


  1. You could even try putting your pendants on tall bottles or jugs- there are lots of possibilities for pots which are warm and inviting along with the wooden bowls- who doesn't love a pretty bowl, wood or clay, to draw attention.
    The tags- try several and see which suits best- it might be nice to have a combination of cards. But don't let them distract from your work.

  2. Wow Meredith, Thanks for the great idea of putting the pendants hanging or on the top of a vase, bottle or jug. I was already thinking I'll probably need different sizes and types of tags. Thanks.

  3. I like the branch idea a lot - in the future, you could even design a little ceramic base for the branch as opposed to the painted can. (I might borrow that the next show I do)

    At a holiday show last year, my booth was next to a jewelry only booth and they had a very unique display and were gracious enough to let me in on their secret. They used canvas stretcher bars to make a variety of different sized frame displays (some table top and some 6' tall folding screens) which they painted funky colors. They stretched wire across the frames and hung their jewelry on the wire. Some frames had hinges on them so that they could fold up and served as a nice dividing space with other booths since this was indoors.

    The spacing of the wire depended on whether they were displaying earrings, necklaces, or bracelets.

    I don't remember if they had their work on cards or not because I was so drawn (and jealous) to their display.

    I think they might have included business cards with purchases since everything was placed in little gift boxes. I've thought about making a little custom lino cut logo to print onto a jewelry gift box.

    At least you're thinking of this now and not the night before!

  4. Hi Linda-It sounds like there are some great ideas here- and I do like giving the customer the info on how the work was made and where your materials come from.
    They love the little tid-bits to take back along with their purchase.
    Cynthia- how I wish you had a picture of the jeweler’s booth. I am amazed at the creativity people use.

  5. Wow, Cynthia what a great idea for the stretcher bars and for making a pot instead of a can for the display. As I move forward hopefully my displays will improve.

    Meredith, I missed your idea for putting the manzanita in the ceramic pot the first time, thank you.

    Hopefully for this show I will take some photos. I now see other folks booths are a wealth of information and I intend to make time to peruse the other booths at this show.


I love suggestions, questions, critiques, thanks for your comment