All posts by grossbar

Grand Central Holiday Fair Wrap-up!

Barry teaching at the Woodworking Show Seminar

At the Woodworking Shows people have been asking me how the Holiday Fair turned out, and I apologize for this blog being so late. We broke down the booth the day after Christmas and then started getting ready for the Woodworking Shows and it has been non-stop ever since! Every Thursday we leave for another city, and do not get back until Monday morning, then we have to replenish the products we sold over the weekend at the show, and get them organized and shipped to the next location. This weekend will be the 8th Woodworking show (Milwaukee) and we are pleased to see all our friends at each city!

2018 Grand Central Booth

The final tally, after 42 grueling days of selling from 10 AM until 8 PM, we wound up selling 965 pens! The Cigar pens with the tobacco and cigar bands wrapped around the pen tubes were still the best selling pens followed by the Kallenshaan inlay kits and watch part pens. Last year we sold 745 pens. I’m crediting the improved packaging with the increase in sales. All the inlay kits were coupled with a matching box, and by having a matching themed box, it made for a perfect gift! A vineyards inlay kit was coupled with a wine pen box, and a caduceus inlay kit was matched with a caduceus box. How these were presented made a big difference! The pens without a matching box took longer to sell than a pen with a matching box, and we also charged more for that product than just a pen. It’s a “no-brainer” to offer your higher end pens with a nice box. It increases sales!

People ask me would I do it again and my answer is Yes, I would do it again!
Hope to see you at the next Woodworking Show
Happy Turning – Barry

Grand Central Holiday Show Update

Booth Image

With only 9 days to go until Christmas we are in super crunch time!  Today we sold 49 pens, that was one every 10 minutes! We were very busy and I am starting to run out of certain pens.  I will go back to the warehouse on Monday night and make some more pens to take back with me for the last 7 days.  So far, we have sold over 125 pens more this year than we did last year at this time.  Top selling pens are still the Kallenshaan inlay pens, watch pieces pens, snake skin and antler pens and my cigar pens!  Sold out of all the Faux Cigar pens – they sold fast!  Well it is off to sleep another long day tomorrow!

Happy Turning – Barry

Grand Central Holiday Show Update

Holiday Time at Grand Central

It is holiday time at Grand Central terminal and the decorations have come out both outside and inside.  This is a world famous cultural destination in Manhattan known for it’s shopping & dining. Right now, this is my home for the next 24 days!  Sales of pens have been brisk in the past several days after Thanksgiving,  so much so that I have to go back to my shop on Sunday and make more!  Big sellers have been the Kallenshaan inlay kits, watch part pens and my tobacco wrapped cigar pens.   The hours are long 10-8 but the sales are compensating for it.

Well its time to get some sleep and get ready for the Saturday crowd! Happy Turning – Barry

Grand Central Holiday Fair

Booth Image

Grand Central Holiday Fair is now open again and my booth got a face lift thank to my web designer

Right side of booth

Susan (thanks Sue).  One comment that the staff at the Holiday Fair mentioned to me last year was that I could improve on my signage and thanks to Sue we have done just that!  Now people can easily see what we are selling. Another comment from the staff was how the pens were made. We added some process shots on the walls so people can see just how the pens are made.  Of course we elaborate on the process to really get them focused on how much work goes into making one of the pens.

So far after 7 days of sales we are slightly ahead of last years pace but the real sales did not start until after Thanksgiving which is in a few days!  We will keep you informed!  Have a Happy Thanksgiving with your families and this will be the last day I have off for a while – Happy Turning – Barry

 

We Have A Winner! Pen Contest Results Are In


Congratulations to Grand Prize Winner Ronald Neely
for his Meteorite Blue/Green Opal Inlay Fountain Pen! 

The kit is a Sedona Black Titanium Fountain Pen Kit.
The judges had a very difficult time deciding on a winner but Ron pulled it out in the end!
Just some of the comments from the judges were “original,” “nice design,” and “great fit and finish.”  All entries in both categories were really great, but only one person could win the grand prize.
Advanced Category
First runner up:
Larry Morgan with his
segmented Ultra Cambridge pen
Second runner up:
Joe Spina with his
Rainbow Rhodium Venetian Fountain Pen
Beginner Category:
First runner up:
Oscar Fluitt with his
Shark Pit Elegant Sierra pen
Second runner up:

Jim Burkett with his
segmented Gun Metal Cigar pen
Popular Vote Category:
Joe Tuinstra with his Black & Blue modified Cigar Pen
Joe managed to get 725 people to look at his pen, and 117 to vote on it as their favorite!
 

On a personal note, this was a lot of fun for us here at Arizona Silhouette.
It is really enjoyable to see all the great entries with the creativity and diversity in kits and ideas.
I want to thank the judges, Tom Barron, Don Ward and Curtis Seebeck also the staff at AZ for their valuable input on making this a successful contest.
We look forward to doing this again next year!
Happy turning – Barry

 

 

Last Few Days for Pen Making Contest!

The entries for the Pen Making Contest are still coming in, and looking good!

Only a few days remain to enter our first Pen Contest!
Pen Contest Entry Info
There is still time to get your friends to vote for your pen in the “Most Popular” category by posting it to all your favorite social media channels.  If you have a lot of family & friends, the more votes you get the better your chances are to win the “Most Popular” prize!
Choosing the prize winners for the Beginner and Advanced categories will be a difficult decision for our judges, but they will do their best. The entries so far are terrific!

Good Luck and Happy Turning!

– Barry

Photographing Your Work

Distracting Background

I’ve served as a juror for high end craft shows for many years. One issue that always stands out is how people photograph their work.  Some people have elaborate sets, props and backgrounds, and the piece that they are trying to photograph gets lost in the background.  They feel that the “artsier” the image the better, when a plain image is sometimes better.  I am no expert by any means, however, when you can see the work clearly then you are ahead of the game.  Below you will find some general guidelines to help you obtain the image you want so your acceptance into a “Pen Contest” or a juried craft show gets easier for you.

Clean Background & In Focus

Out of Focus

First and foremost, make sure your piece is in focus!  If you are using a digital SLR camera do not use the auto setting.  Use the aperture setting (lens opening) on your camera and set it as high as you can (f16 or f22) to get the most depth of field (focus) as you can.  This will assure your photo will be in focus from the front to the back.  A tripod is helpful to hold your camera to steady the image. Please consult your camera’s manual for exactly how to use it manually.

Lighting is very important.  A dark picture cannot show the detail in the work.  Natural sunlight is best

Dark Image

but it can give you very harsh shadows.  Use a light tent and light the image from three sides, (top, and left & right sides).  By lighting from three sides, you soften any shadows you may get. The light cancels out the shadows.  Using one source of light will usually produce harsh shadows.

Use a plain background.  You want your pen to be the main focus not what you are using as a background. I personally like using a clear pen stand to photograph my pens. If you do not use a stand for your photograph, and you just lay it on your background, your pen will tend to roll and not lay the way you want it to.  Use some tacky putty, museum wax or a tiny piece of scotch tape rolled up and stuck to the back of the pen.  This will allow you to position the pen in the way you want.

Although a digital SLR will probably give the best results, you can still get very good results using a phone or tablet that have a good camera. There are many photography apps available that can help with aperture & focus. Do not use any built-in filters, they won’t make your photo any better. There are attachments for phones & tablets that will allow you to use a tripod to keep it steady for a sharp photo.

So, lighting, focus and a plain background will work most of the time especially, if you are trying to win a “Pen Contest” – get the hint!  Good luck and happy picture taking!

Alaskan Spalted Birch Has Arrived!

Alaskan Spalted Birch

Just arrived back form the stabilizer is one of my favorite woods, Alaskan Spalted Birch.  Birch is a light wood and these pieces are from Alaska that have started spalting.  These pieces have been stabilized to make it easier to turn and once a finish has been applied to the blank,  the true chatoyance of the wood can be seen.  These are “Eye Candy” to be seen!

Happy Turning – Barry