Monday, February 1, 2010

NY International Gift Show and Spot On Designs

The New York International Gift Show is immense. It seems impossible to see every corner of the vast showroom floor. Vendors from all over the world are separated into categories like handmade, just for kids, house wares, wearables.....etc. Some areas are separated into the product's country of origin. I got lost in one section so large that I became panicked with the thought that I couldn't find my way out!

I was there to show my support and congratulate a very special person. Her name is Penny Rakov, owner of Spot On Designs. I found her booth tucked into the handmade section and she was smiling brightly. Penny worked so hard to get here. This show is for retailers to purchase items at wholesale to stock their gift shops, boutiques, museum stores, etc... and despite paying thousands for her 10 by 10 feet of glory and being shuffled into the mix of a few thousand vendors, Penny's show is a sucess. She has done wholesale shows in the past, but never a show with such a huge amount of traffic!

Penny makes beautiful glass murrini. The process for making the murrini is really fascinating. She creates patterns from bars of colored glass and then goes to a hot glass shop to heat up the patterns and stretch them out. Later, after annealing and cooling, the long bars are sliced to reveal the patterns. The results are incredible. Each of her patterns is like an original wonderland with intrinsic detail. She has a great eye for color, making some really exciting blends. One looks like candy, the next like a summer sky, another like a plant cell under a microscope.

Penny and I have been working together for a few years now. She hired me to set her murrini into artisan crafted jewelry pieces. The opportunity was very exciting for me, as I had just opened my own studio and needed to generate some regular income to keep it open. Our relationship has grown as has the product line. It started out as a few pendants, bezel set in sterling silver. Later we made some items in gold. Eventually we started working on stunning neckpieces involving up to nine murrinis scattered like a constellation around the neck.

Our latest project was my favorite: a line of cocktail rings that are real show-stoppers. I have really enjoyed using more of my skills to create a design for these rings that relates to the pattern in the "stone" (we call them stones when we talk with each other - even though they are glass) The under side of the setting is a dome of silver with a spattering of holes drilled to let in the light like a stained glass window. The rings are generally quite large, stones ranging from the size of a nickel to more than 2 inches in diameter! Quite a lot for a ring!

So way to go Penny, taking the world by storm and vending at a REALLY big show. Thanks for letting me be part of it, and way to be a happening entrepreneur. For more info on Spot On Designs check out the etsy store:

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