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Will The Show Go On? The Future of Art Shows

Will The Show Go On? The Future of Art Shows

2020 was supposed to be my breakout year; I had HUGE plans in regards to expanding my business with art shows and wholesale.  I, like thousands of artists who rely on art shows for most of their income, got the proverbial rug pulled out from under me on March 13, 2020 as our country cancelled thousands of public events to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.  I had 29 art shows scheduled for 2020:  3 of which I did before March and currently I have 4 that are set to go in August and September.  As of now that will be 7 shows for 2020, a 76% decrease.

I have done a pretty good job hanging on; Jen Lesea Designs is my livelihood and the only source of income for my family and me, so shutting down the business never crossed my mind, because its what I've done for the past decade.  I quickly pivoted to increasing online sales, and now wholesale is slowly coming back. As far art shows...I love doing art shows; it's where I have met most of my customers!  

So the question is: what is the future of art shows?  How will the show go on?

Breckenridge Main Street Art Festival, held outdoors August 6-8 in Breckenridge, CO, is scheduled to happen.  It will be my first art show in 5 months.  This juried fine art show will be one of the first to occur in Colorado.  Here are the modifications and safety measures that are set by the show director:

  • Booths will be spread out 10 feet apart reducing number of booths to about 35 at each Main Street Station and The Village. 
  • We request that artists adjust booth layout to allow for people to easily pass through. For example, open a wall and utilize outside walls when possible
  • Face masks are required to be worn by participants and patrons
    • This is a requirement for all businesses in town as well 
  • Limit the number of patrons in booth at a time when possible
  • Traffic flow to be directed one way when possible
  • No live music to prevent groups from gathering
  • Kid area canceled
  • Each booth will have a sign displayed with social distancing requirements: 
    • Encourage only 1 person in booth at a time 
    • Mark 6 feet in front of booths 
    • Wear masks while in booth
    • Wear gloves/use sanitizer if handling art- glass, ceramics, etc 
    • Prefer credit card- discourage cash handling 
  • Signs throughout event encouraging face masks, social distancing, wash hands often, and stay home if feeling ill
  • Stations throughout event with hand sanitizer, gloves, and masks for the public
  • Volunteers throughout event encouraging social distancing and wearing masks
  • Each booth will have hand sanitizer
  • Paper programs will not be provided this year. We will utilize QR codes on signs and advertising for layout maps and show information for patrons

Here are the additional measures I will do:

  • Have a UV sanitizer to sanitize all jewelry after handling
  • Install a sneeze guard in the middle section of my booth
  • Most jewelry will be behind glass
  • For payment, have customer put credit card into chip reader on a tray, no signature required.  Sanitize chip reader and tray after each use

I know this is a lot of information, but I want you to know what's being done to have art shows continue and that you feel safe attending.  Art shows are good for the city, good for the patrons, and good for the artists!  If you have ever been to a juried art show, you can just feel the good vibes.  This is one of the reasons why I love to do them!  

You can view my show schedule and see where I will be in the late summer.  I hope to see you soon and give you an "air hug"!  

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Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter

Its the beginning of June, and I was scheduled to write about my Father's Day Gift Guide but I can't...I can't go about my business as usual because these are not usual times.

I have been sitting quiet since the murder of George Floyd, trying to process my emotions and trying to find the words to express myself.  I am afraid whatever I say may come off as trite or stupid.  As a highly sensitive person and empath, the flood of images on social media and the news weighs beyond heavy on my heart and soul.  

It feels awkward writing on my business platform about something other than jewelry, but its important to me that you know where I stand. While I may not understand, I stand with blacks, and all people of color, against racism.  I am taking time to listen, to learn, to read, and to donate.

This morning I asked myself, "what is the one thing I can do to every day to listen, to learn, to support, to be the change I want to see in this world?"  I will begin with resources, reading, listening to my black friends and colleagues, donating to various organizations, and giving social media shout-outs in my Instagram stories and Facebook page to black artists.  I will continue with small steps of daily action of positive impact against racism.  

If we each take action, even if its small, consistent baby steps, we will change the world for the better.

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Mother's Day Gift Guide 2020

Mother's Day Gift Guide 2020

Mother's Day is less than a month away and most of us are going to be shopping online for gifts for the special moms in our lives.  It is my hope that my Mother's Day gift guide gives you some direction.  If you decide to purchase Jen Lesea Designs Jewelry for Mother's Day, please know that I am here to answer and questions you may have.  I am just a phone call or email away and will respond within 24 hours.  

Here are my top picks for 2020!

For the Outdoorsy Mom: So she can keep the mountains close to her, wherever she may be, consider this oxidized sterling silver mountain necklace with an 18K gold moon:

Mountain Necklace

For the Corporate Mom:  Whether is she is attending a meeting in person or virtually through Zoom, its important she makes a statement without distraction.  Check out any of these sterling silver pieces from our geometric collection:

Circle Necklaces Circle Earrings Sterling Silver

For the Minimalist Mom: If the special mom in your life is too busy to worry about accessorizing yet appreciates dainty jewelry that can be worn everyday, consider a birthstone necklace or stud earrings:

Birthstone Necklace

For the Artsy Mom:  If you have a special mom in your life that wears jewelry like no other and loves finely crafted art, then you can't go wrong with these Tahitian pearl pieces or these feather-light 14K gold and sterling silver Blue Topaz Earrings.

Gemstone jewelry Pearl necklace Pearl Ring

I am also available for custom orders! I have literally hundreds of stones waiting to made into something unique!  If you are interested in working with me to create something awesome for mom, please contact me by May 1!  Here's to celebrating mom! 

 

 

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Virtual Meeting Fashion Part 1: Earrings

Virtual Meeting Fashion Part 1: Earrings

During this pandemic of COVID-19, most of us are staying at home and relying on video conferencing for work meeting, happy hours, exercise instruction, and dance parties.  Below is a list of suggested earrings for each video conference appointment:

Stud earrings Jen Lesea designs

Or, if you prefer dangle earrings that make a statement, stick with something shorter with a unique design, such as these silver hoop drop earrings:

Hoop Drop Earrings Silver Jen Lesea Designs

  • Virtual fitness classes: Since we can't be exercising outdoors to the extent we want to be (i.e. National Parks and U.S. Forest Recreational areas are closed), feel connected to the beauty of the mountains with these mountain stud earrings or copper mountain dangle earrings during a zoom yoga or strength class: 
Mountain Stud Earrings Jen Lesea Designs

Copper Mountain earrings Jen Lesea Designs
  • Virtual Happy Hour and other Social Gatherings:  HERE is where anything goes! What the heck, wear earrings that make a statement and spark conversation, or ones that make you feel confident and happy.  My personal favorites are the Blue Topaz and 14K Gold earrings (great sparkle) and the Silver Hoop Earrings (great movement):
blue Topaz and gold earrings Jen Lesea Designs

Silver Hoop earrings Jen Lesea Designs
Stay tuned for Part 2: "Bling and Video Conferencing: What your Necklaces Say About You" in a few weeks! Stay well, be safe, and remember jewelry is meant to be worn, even if that means we are at home!  

 

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The Color of 2020: Classic Blue

The Color of 2020: Classic Blue

Last month, the Pantone Color Institute named Classic Blue as the color of the year.  This shade of blue is akin to the sky at dusk, just before evening falls.  Pantone selects the color of the year based not only on trends in fashion but also what is happening globally. 

According to the Pantone Color Institute, "it recognized similar feelings [as in 1999] of instability gripping the world today, from the United States to the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Syria and across the globe. It settled on a shade that offers the reassurance, confidence and connection that people may be searching for in an uncertain global milieu."

Personally, this is my favorite color; I even had my first car, a 1973 Toyota Celica, custom painted this shade of blue!  It is also a great excuse for me to create more one-of-a-kind pieces with blue sapphires, London blue topaz, and lapis.  Here are a couple classic blue-inspired sapphire necklaces that are currently in stock:

Sapphire PendantSapphire birthstone necklaces

Stay tuned for more Jen Lesea Designs Classic Blue-inspired jewelry!  It is my intention that seeing this color instills a feeling of calm for you.  

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Hello 2020!

Hello 2020!

I am so excited for a new year and, a new decade!  At the beginning of 2010, I was working 7 (yes, 7) part-time jobs to make ends meet.  I closed 2019 with my best year to date for Jen Lesea Designs.  A lot can happen in a decade; a lot of living and working was done which included, but not limited to, retiring from my fitness career, focusing on my jewelry business full-time, receiving a shocking diagnosis of hip dysplasia, undergoing 2 major hip surgeries which included 6 pelvic fractures, 6 screws in my hips, 6 months on crutches, and learning how to walk again, creating my own studio so I have a private place to work, acquiring new friends, pursuing new travels, and getting new fur-babies. Whew!  Thank you for being part of my journey: in my business and/or personal life.  I am grateful.

So, with that blast of a recap on the past decade, I am happy to share what I have planned for 2020 and beyond:

  • Release my new "Radiant" collection in summer 2020.
  • Expand my wholesale business so my jewelry can be sold in more stores and galleries nationwide
  • Expand my on-line offerings 
  • Decrease the number of live events, yet sticking with my tried-and-true shows 
  • Expand my public relations outreach

I am dedicated to continuing the following: 

One of my favorite things about being a jewelry artist is the people I connect with, and I hope to see or hear from you in 2020!  As always, I am just an email or phone call away so if you have any questions or jewelry needs, please contact me!

Wishing you health, joy, and peace in 2020!

 

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Traveling with Jewelry: Care and Tips

Traveling with Jewelry: Care and Tips

I don't think I know a single woman who has packed jewelry for a trip, only to find  necklaces a tangled mess.  Or have you found yourself wondering, "Where is the match to my favorite earring?" Only to find it in your shoe, or hooked on a bra...(yes, I'm guilty).

I know a lot of you will be traveling this month for the holidays, so here are my top 3 tips for jewelry care on the road.  For more tips, you can download and print my full Jewelry Travel Care Guide for free!  

1. Take a photo of what you will be bringing.  This digital inventory will remind you what you brought so when you pack for your return trip, you will not leave anything behind!

2. Store rings and earrings in a 7-day pill box to keep them organized.  The trick is to remember to put them back after wearing!

storing rings and earrings

3.  Prevent necklace tangling by storing necklaces in a small zip baggie with ends hanging out.  Storing silver jewelry this way will help prevent tarnishing.

storing necklace chains

Or, use a paper straw (not plastic!) for thin-chain necklaces:

storing necklaces

Last but not least, if you take care of your jewelry, it will last!  Never swim in jewelry (chlorine, sulfur, and seawater can react with metals), avoid sleeping, showering, or exercising while wearing jewelry, and clean as needed.  For more tips and specifics on care, download my jewelry travel care guide today!

Happy trails and wishing you a wonderful holiday season!

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2019 Jen Lesea Designs Holiday Gift Guide

2019 Jen Lesea Designs Holiday Gift Guide

'Tis the season of cheer...and being bombarded with ads of what to buy for those most special to you.  Its my wish for you that this season you can shop stress-free, in the comfort of your own home, while still supporting independent artists and handmade.  In fact, I am going to go a step further to make holiday shopping easy and convenient:  I am offering a complimentary service of being your personal  holiday concierge. All you need to do is email me your list and budget for each person, and I will reply with suggestions from my jewelry line.  You can call me with any questions as well! Then you just add to cart, pay and they will ship in beautiful gift boxes, ready for gifting!  In the meantime, check out my top picks for holiday gifts!

GIFTS FOR HER: 

birthstone necklace Mountain jewelry  silver earrings

GIFTS FOR HIM:

Mountain pin Money clips  tie bar

GIFTS UNDER $50:

Personalized jewelry bronze mountain pendant  stacking rings

GIFTS THAT GIVE BACK: 

(Mountain jewelry online sales has a portion of proceeds going to the National Park Foundation to help preserve out national parks)

Silver mountain jewelry mountain necklaces  Mountain jewelry for hikers

If you have any questions, PLEASE drop me an email or call me; I pride myself in awesome customer service!  Wishing you the best holiday season!

 

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Where to Eat, Shop, and Play for Balloon Fiesta

Where to Eat, Shop, and Play for Balloon Fiesta

I woke up at 4:15 this morning to get ready for work, and I realized most people are already on their way to the Balloon Fiesta grounds in Albuquerque to see the "Mass Ascension."  Some may argue that witnessing the flight of hundreds of hot air balloons of all shapes and sizes is some sort of spiritual experience.  It is certainly a must-see!  

This is my 4th year at the Rio Grande Arts and Crafts Festival - Balloon Fiesta Show held at the Sandia Resort and Casino, and my 6th time to Albuquerque this year.  I thought I would share my favorite things to do in Albuquerque for the time you are not on the Balloon Fiesta grounds:

EAT: 

  • Albuquerque is becoming known for being a foodie town.  Since I am a traveling artist, I appreciate good food and good service at a decent price.  My favorite restaurant is Flying Star, where one can find a variety of eats, with vegetarian and gluten free options, and where breakfast is served all day.  Be sure to save room for dessert; their pies are to die for! (My favorite is the Key Lime pie).  Locations in the North Valley and Northeast Heights (Nob Hill location is currently closed for renovation).
  • If you want big portions and good Mexican Food, go to Sadie's on 4th St. In true New Mexican Fashion the green chile sauce is legit and they serve potatoes instead of rice as a side.  You can order margaritas by the carafe for everyone to enjoy.  
  • If you find yourself in Old Town and are looking for a more upscale ambiance, High Noon won't disappoint.  Housed in one of Old Town's original buildings dating back to 1785, dining there is certainly a unique experience!
  • If you want to splurge and have a 5 star dining experience, dine at El Campo on the Los Poblanos Inn and Lavender Farm.  While I have not personally eaten there, I have heard nothing but amazing things from friends and family. More about Los Poblanos in the next section.

SHOP:

  • Whether you want to get a special souvenir or get a head start on your holiday shopping, you can find unique gifts in Albuquerque. During Balloon Fiesta (weekends only), the 31st Annual Rio Grande Arts and Crafts Show is being held under the big white tent at the Sandia Resort and Casino.  Over 150 artists from across the country are selling their handcrafted art.  You can find jewelry (insert shameless plug: I am booth C-28), photography, Balloon Fiesta-themed crafts, and even killer wood cutting boards.  There is live music and great food trucks too!  
  • If you are in Old Town, there are plenty of galleries and gift shops, but if you want to shop a beautifully curated collection of New Mexico-themed  products (and food - they sell the best salsa!) a must is the Albuquerque Museum Store.  They have everything, and I love their book selection (and did I mention the salsa?). Note: the store and museum is closed on Mondays.
  • If you aren't going to eat at El Campo, at the very minimum visit the Los Poblanos Farm Shop, where you can get all things lavender that was harvested just outside of the shop.  Grab a coffee or tea at the Farm Shop cafe and sit outside and enjoy the serene view of the lavender fields and Sandia Mountains.  

PLAY:

  • My favorite thing to do is hike.  For a lung-busting workout you can hike the La Luz Trail on the western side of the Sandias or head to the less crowded eastern side for a number of hikes outside of Cedarcrest.
  • Tram:  if you aren't going to hike to the top of the Sandias, take the Tram to the top and enjoy amazing views.  The restaurant is now open so you can enjoy a beverage or lunch at over 10,000 feet!  
  • Museums:  My favorite is the Albuquerque Museum in Old Town, but there is also the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center and specialty museums such as the Turquoise Museum.  There are too many amazing museums to list here; but you can research the top 10 Museums by Trip Advisor.  

I hope you have an amazing time in Albuquerque!  If you took any of my recommendations, I want to hear how your experience was, please contact me!  

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Fall Fashion Jewelry Trends and How to Wear Them Everyday

Fall Fashion Jewelry Trends and How to Wear Them Everyday

You don't have to be avant-garde to enjoy this season's fashion trends. Here are practical ways you can apply my 3 favorite jewelry fashion trends into your everyday life.

1.  Neo-parisian.  Pearls are back!  Layer your mother's or grandmother's pearls with a modern pearl pendant such as this Fused Birthstone Freshwater Pearl Necklace: 

Tahitian pearl and 18K gold necklace

2.  Punk.  Along with choker necklaces, stacked piercings are HOT! My Stud earrings come in all sizes and can be worn together or mismatched for an asymmetrical look:   

Silver and Gold Triangle Stud Earrings

3.  Color.  In contrast to the punk trend of metal, over-sized chains, and stacked piercings, colorful jewelry is trending.  If you mostly wear grays, black, and earth tones, this fall is the time to play with a pop of color via jewelry.  Gemstone jewelry is colorful and often sparks a conversation,  such as this rare gaspeite and sterling silver cuff bracelet:  

Gaspeite Silver cuff Bracelet

What are you favorite ways to wear your jewelry?  I want to know!  Contact me with a pic and a little bit about how you love to wear jewelry (i.e. solo/minimalist or layered/stacked) and you may be featured on my Instagram and Facebook stories!  

 

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