Nape and Cuff Jewelry Blog
Information, Product Stories and Inspiration for Nape and Cuff Jewelry's Collection
Why should I buy jewelry online?
Shopping online for jewelry expands your choices: There are a million jewelry makers on Etsy alone. That is 999,995 more shops than I can tolerate in an afternoon blitz of 5 stores. Searching for jewelry online can be narrowed with specific search terms. Choices won't cut it alone, however. Etsy's million shops aren't an advantage if you can't narrow them down to something manageable. But, thanks to searching, you can. When I shop for bracelets or rings online, I rely on the following search terms: - artisan - rustic - leather - handcrafted - handmade - small shop - unique or one-of-a-kind - boho - hippie - for him, for her, for Mom, for sister - for the dad who wants nothing - for the ___ that has everything Here's a search you won't see on a mall directory: " unique small shop artisan bead and leather bracelet for her" Shopping for jewelry online takes you out of the Big Box funnel. Those Big Box buyers all go to the same shows and choose from the same limited set of jewelry manufacturers. So you'll see the stuff they choose everywhere for one year, then never again because we are all sick of last year's trend. Buying jewelry online helps you find your unique style. Those choices, specific searches, and avoidance of Big Box traps give you a chance to create a collection of jewelry that reflects your one-of-a-kind style. Jewelry that reflects you, rather than trends, should be wearable for decades. Buying jewelry online supports an artisan. When you support an artisan, you are buying not only the care and detail that go into a well-crafted piece of jewelry but the story that comes with the piece. Find out why the artist made that piece, what inspired them, and you'll have a conversation starter to wear. Sharing that story makes you part of the process. Go ahead, feed an artisan, not the trash. Buy from a small online jewelry shop.
my name is indigo snowball and this is my story
Crater Lake in Oregon inspired the indigo snowball bracelet cuff, where our young sons, in shorts and tees, pelted us with snowballs one sunny August day. The lake itself taught us that we could see nearly 100 feet into the water if that water is clear enough. Unblemished with the sediment that river-fed lakes carry, only rain and snow feed this 1,934-foot deep puddle in the caldera* of a volcano. We hiked from the rustic, sturdy parkitechture of Crater Lake Lodge, singing a song our youngest, Cole, made up. We climbed enormous stone steps and steep trails high enough up a mountain to find sticky and heavy snowball-snow that hadn't melted. After a few battles, we hiked back towards the lodge, stopping at a scenic overlook high above the lake. An older couple joined us, standing at a rail near our bench. Unfortunately, as I backed up to take a photo, the older woman's knees buckled, and she slid under the rail. She was lucky that both her husband and my own grabbed an arm, or she might have fallen 1,000 feet into the caldera. Strangely, she insisted on continuing up the mountain. We said good-bye, but even our 4- and 6-year old wondered if that older man would be able to catch his unsteady wife on his own. We decided to report the incident at the lodge, ordered some hot chocolate, and settled into rocking chairs on the porch. When a bulked-up rescue ranger asked to speak to Brad, my husband, we expected bad news, but Brad came back laughing. The guy cussed him out for reporting an incident, saying we had caused an unnecessary rescue operation, and who the hell did we think we were. As the burly guy ranted, our youngest threw up on his shoes. Above, Indigo Snowballs Beaded Leather Bracelet Cuff from napeandcuff.com * Caldera: large depression formed when a volcano erupts and collapses.
5 fabulous men's bracelet trends for 2021
From layering stone with leather bracelets to incorporating pastels, men are wearing bracelets from the park to the office "Really?" Dad responds. This would be my father's response if I told him that my sons and husband raid my bracelet inventory. Dad is a native of the Midwest where folks don't need fancy stuff. Annoyed at pinot and cab descriptions, he sticks to his request for burgundy at restaurants. Just a burgundy. He is not a man who would consider pilfering a handmade stone and leather bracelet. So, Dad, you are welcome to move in. I know you won't screw up my inventory. But I am seeing evidence that men wear bracelets outside the fam. 1. Men are Layering Bracelets First, there's my friend John, a hair designer and trends and fashion sourcebook. He bought one of the first bracelets I sold and sent this photo: Flattered by the photo, I can see that wearing a single bracelet is what is unusual. Men are wearing bracelets with an "s," playing with textures, colors, and size relationships in exciting ways. Above, rough lava stones lay against smooth braided leather. That leather contrasts with a larger leather braid followed by deep cobalt blue of lapis lazuli stones in the Beauty Pool Bracelet from nape and cuff jewelry. I love the play of rough, smooth, black and brown, matte and shiny, neutrals with color. 2. Men Use Pastels with Intelligence Men are showing a lot of bracelet combinations right now. Below, this guy pulls off a pastel bracelet by mixing it with rougher companions: dark beads and a sleeve of tattoos. Photo by Steven Erixon on Unsplash 3. Men Look Beyond the Valet Box Not every combination needs to be gemstone and silver. In the picture below, a simple black string contrasts with the broader leather bracelets. Painting and colored-cord introduce color and depth to this combo. Very casual and incredibly cool. I sometimes wear a collar that used to belong to Sprocket, a dog I really miss. Don't overlook those sentimental items when stacking your wrist. Photo by Ian on Unsplash 4. Men Use A Combo That Always Works: the One-Color Essay Below, an essay on brown uses different materials to keep the mix fresh. You cannot lose if you stick with one color. Photo by Ali Yahya 5. Men's Bracelet's in Professional Settings Finally, those bracelets aren't just for going or hanging out. They go to work with men, adding style to their office-appropriate duds. Stacking bracelets with a watch? Yes. Yes, men wear bracelets. Not my Dad, but that's okay. Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash One final photo, just because it is such a compelling image: Photo by Jana Sabeth on Unsplash
Whose feedback matters for an artist?
My Mom makes me feel hilarious. It is unlikely, though, that I am as funny as my Mom thinks I am. My Mom would be the wrong person to consult for in a comedic career. 5 Steps for Finding Truly Helpful Feedback Take a class. Read reviews of work like yours. Don't hang out with Dipshits. Develop internal dialogue. Thicken that skin. Take a Class Some cool people teach courses. Use them for skills you need supervision to master, like soldering. The tools are there for you to work with without investment, and their over-your-shoulder feedback is invaluable. In more advanced courses, look at the instructor's work. Is it compelling? Once you get past the necessary skills, an instructor's artistic choices matter. If their artistic choices leave you cold, move on. Photo by Albert Dera on Unsplash Don't Hang Out with Dipshits. I took Color Theory Classes from well-known painter Roger Winter. He taught only in the spring semester because he successfully got away with painting in the fall. Roger walked into the first day of class and said he knew we would ask how to become a famous artist, so he wrote instructions down. The list he handed us said: How to Be A Success Artist work work work don't hang out with dipshits Confused? So was I. Over time, I realized what he meant. Who you surround yourself with matters: Dipshits will push to sell too fast. They lack patience. They use selling as a barometer even though you can sell just about anything. Dipshits talk about finding "their creative selves." Don't hang out with Dipshits. Photo by Tom Crew on Unsplash Look at Product Reviews for Products Like Yours Vicarious feedback is valuable. I make jewelry and browse Sundance Catalog reviews. And Carbon to Cobalt and 32 Bar Blues. Customer feedback for work like mine helped me discover that: 8" bracelets are too short for larger men Magnetic clasps add value A piece that breaks is crazy frustrating Use feedback others have endured. It's embarrassment-free. Photo by Jana Sabeth on Unsplash Development Internal Dialogue Even my sons will say that art is subjective. It's not. Developing taste takes time and work. Be your honest critic. Look at other artists' work but don't copy. Look at more artist's work and steal ideas. Review earlier ideas you had. Something that seemed wrong earlier may just be an idea you had prematurely. Be patient. When you hit on something you will know, like hitting a golf ball 200 yards, you will know. Thicken That Skin Probably the hardest thing to do. Embrace acquaintances who use shoulder shrug emojis as a reply on your Instagram. Don't ask for feedback from your friends. Wear your work and note unsolicited stranger advice. Take your work in-person to a shop you admire. If they don't respond to your work, that is valuable feedback. Do something you love. Do something you would do if no one liked it but you. Photo by Logan Fisher on Unsplash Cover image: Photo by Photo by Sensei Minimal on Unsplash
5 easy steps to a no-fail creative work habit
The Work Habit Works If you read How Talent Undermines Creatives and How to Combat This, you will be familiar with Emily, my student that didn't work hard because she arrived in my class labeled "talented." Lucky for Emily, she is a freshman with a few years to develop better work habits. The advantage of a class and assignment structure will help her. But what about you? Real-life commitment is harder to achieve. You probably have a job, kids, parents, a pet, a partner, and an iPhone. You probably know that creating, exploring, and making mistakes will take time, but knowing and doing is not the same. To combat letting your work slide, set a work schedule: How to Set a Work Schedule Pick a time to work on your craft that is always available. Put that time on your calendar as an appointment. Treat this time as sacred, i.e., don't give it up without a real emergency unrelated to clothing or Happy Hours. Don't skip. Repeat Work.
Repeat. See you next week for the next step . . . How to Begin: Instruction, Mentors and Idea Generation.
5 undisputable advantages of handmade products
2. went to bed first on car trips because my spot was our station wagon's back seat. Before my parents could hang the upper bunk for my sister across the top of the front and middle seats, I had to be in place. I never saw another bunk like that because my Dad made it. It was unique. That bunk bed was functional, made with pride, tailored to its space, and I was jealous. These are the qualities I see in handmade goods. Handmade advantages over mass-produced alternatives uniqueness artisan pride quality slower production: time to get things right customization 1. Uniqueness Uniqueness is probably the number one reason I look for handmade anything. In a Pottery-Barn-RH World, it is nice to stumble upon work I haven't already seen somewhere else, like a secret cache. 2. Connection Small shop artists have a personal connection to their work. That connection creates something more potent than any guarantee: pride. 3. Artisan quality Handmade, done well, allows for a trait that mass-production cannot accommodate: patience. The best artisans work slowly, in focus, and with patience to build quality that lasts. Skills build over a lifetime and become layered, better with time. I appreciate the value of something made one at a time. Photo by Kerensa Pickett on Unsplash 4. Supporting Small Connects Me to a Larger World While much of our world still make what they need, my own culture needs more Makers. In my country, handmade products provide an opportunity for us to rediscover what it is to make something of quality with pride. Buying handmade is a vote for this very human practice. Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash 5. Customization Nothing is more wearable than something that fits. Necklaces must fit a specific body, draping to just-so lengths. One of my closest friends is 5'10" and has the elegant body of the dancer she was trained to be. We worked together to make a long necklace that frames her lithe torso, and it made all the difference.28 Cover Photo by Julian Mora on Unsplash
talent can be the worst enemy of an artist
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash Teaching at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, I witnessed young artists' main pitfall: the idea of talent. If that sounds bass-ackwards, it isn't. Students that work overtake "talented" students, sometimes in a single semester. How do I know? As a new professor, I taught the courses avoided by tenured professors: Non-majors Beginning Drawing, full of first-year students satisfying a distribution requirement with an easy art course. Worse, these students do not believe the class period will last three hours. Natural class skippers. Skippers, I can handle. "No excused absences," I announce on day one. Mouths gape. "We have an appointment from 2-5 on Tuesday and Thursday, and we will both keep that commitment." "Uh, will we ever leave early?" comes from the back. "No, you cannot leave early. But you can stay late." The Talent Trap Due to a scheduling conflict, one of my students is an art major. I'll call her Emily. Having taken classes in high school, Emily has skills others do not: she uses the whole page, has an intuition for proportion, and, most importantly, accepts that charcoal creates a mess. Unfortunately, high school teachers had dubbed Emily Talented, not Skilled, which is more accurate and less likely to induce laziness. As a result, Emily skips class regularly. Talent Undermines Work Talent becomes a hindrance when viewed as a state of being, like being 5'2" or Norwegian. Even without effort, you will remain 5'2" and Nordic. Skills, however, need continued practice to prevent. A runner who jogs once a month loses wind, for instance, a pianist who practices whenever forgets fingering patterns. A creative who believes in their talented status tends to laurel-rest. Because I am talented today, I will be talented tomorrow—time for a nap. Photo by Kazuo ota on Unsplash The semester goes on. Emily continues to skip while her classmates began to experience three hours fly by. As the semester closes, it is Final Review Time, which means students take turns hanging drawings on the wall for a critique in front of each other. By the time that review hits, all could see some novice students surpass Emily's skills. Habitual practice beats laurel-resting. ---------------------------------- Emily's eyes water, and her voice shakes, but she teaches everyone in the room something valuable about work and skipping class. I lose track of Emily the next semester, as the next set of novice and a few talented students arrive in Non-Majors Drawing, and the scenario repeats itself. Does Talent Exist? Inarguably, the lack of talent exists. No amount of work, for example, would make me an Olympic downhiller. But someone else does possess the potential to become a champion skier. The idea of possibility is essential when we talk about talent. Without work, talent is just potential left to wither.
why make bracelets instead of gallery art
Gallery owners who gave me openings and worked with clients were incredibly generous to me, and I appreciate their hard work. Pre-kids, I worked the same hours as my husband, Brad, an attorney: roughly 6 am to 6 pm. When I ran out of ideas, I just made messes to throw away later, and during those years, it was nice that Brad had something to do. My Heart Lies in Larger Landscapes However, with its cheese and pristine white walls, the Art World attracts me less than the world I've discovered since grad school. Experiences like hiking 24 miles across the Grand Canyon, giving the right-of-way to mountain goats in Glacier Nat Park, or throwing snowballs in the summer at Crater Lake made me forget image-making. Preference for the Natural Those experiences developed my preference for the natural to the artificial. Hiking, I began to breathe more and play more, fashioning bracelets of stuff along the way. I also collected rocks and took photographs of the incredible blues in Yellowstone's glacial lakes and acid pools. Making Bracelets: Elevating Something More Common Rather than creating images, I decided to elevate something more common using colors and textures from the National Parks. The bracelets I make are visual keepsakes of specific lakes and trails for me. Most are also are rugged enough for an outdoor lifestyle. Making something less high-falloutin' Like gallery art, Nape and Cuff pieces explore materials: beat-up leather, smooth snaps, and beads that spin like an abacus. Unlike gallery art, average human beings can own and wear my jewelry. Look around. I hope you like the images, of course, and maybe decide to take one of these bracelets or necklaces to your beautiful places.
Phantom Ranch wrap bracelet and necklace, inspired by the greens of the Grand Canyon's oasis
Why hike the Grand Canyon? Like most enormous places, it is hard to fathom the size of the canyon unless you experience it with your body, all twenty-seven breathtaking, relentlessly grueling miles. Then there is Phantom Ranch, an unreal collection of cabins in the bottom of the canyon that few people will experience. Hardy souls built Phantom ranch, carrying building materials and a grand piano to the camp 9 miles down from the South Rim. Among those supplies was a grand piano, now buried in the filled-in pool that once existed. The original Phantom Ranch was a ritzy place but currently serves hikers looking for a spot of peace on their two-day hike through the canyon. The length of this wrap bracelet/necklace echos the nine-mile driveway one must hike to get to Phantom Ranch. The sage, turquoise, and olive shades of the strand evoke the calming green paint and serenity of this verdant spot after your 100-plus-degrees journey to arrive (carrying water because there is none on the way). Phantom Ranch is so famous that you shouldn't expect more than one night's reservation. After a shower and a good night's sleep, you'll be back on that long trail, 9 miles back to the South Rim or 14 miles to the North Rim. Brings a new meaning to length.
Beauty Pool Blues Bracelet: the Heavenly, Melancholic Blue of Lapis Lazuli
nounMUSIC a minor interval where a major would be expected, used especially in jazz. --------------------------------------- The blue yonder, the deep blue sea, the blue tent of sky: these out-of-reach places withhold from our touch most of the blue we experience. Blue has an aloof, heavenly cachet. This is, perhaps, why blue signals value: blue ribbons, blue chip stocks, blue bloods. Blue within reach, however, is rare. Actually, blue's scarcity in nature is astounding. Most blue flowers are just purple masqueraders. Blue mammals? Nope. Blue makes few appearances in ancient paintings because there were so few sources from which to grind blue pigment. Michelangelo, for instance, saved his Ultramarine Blue for the Sistine Chapel, a rare color in painting because its source, lazulite, was also rare. Lazulite is also the source of lapis lazuli, the gemstone of the Beauty Pool Blues bracelet. Lapis lazuli stones like these above have been bestowing status on wearers since 6,000 BCE, hanging from the pendants of Pharaohs, sealing documents for Mesopotamians, smudging the eyelids of Egyptian royals. But lapis lazuli also carries the irony of a blue note, a note that is expected to arrive major, but shows up minor. This melancholic side gives lapis lazuli a complexity and gravity. Melancholic, but not hopeless, the lapis blue symbolizes the kind of sadness necessary to recognize happiness. Wear the Beauty Pool Blues bracelet as a symbol of your rareness, your value, and your own complexity.
prevent necklace-buying mistakes in less than 3 minutes
Does the length of a chain matter? Heck, yes. Remember your days on a swing. First, you need to be lifted and pushed. By age 8, you could pump on your own and put yourself in a swing. The chains on a swing are the right span then. You grow hips that aren't comfortable in those black leather-plastic swings, so move on before the chains become too short. I don't know what formula decides the length of a swing's chains, but the chain's reach matters. You are now looking at a grown-up chain, jewelry. The description says 20 inches. Where will 20 inches fall? Will it show well with the top you have in mind for the necklace? Check out this illustrated guide to find out. Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash The Collar, 12-13 Inches Like a dog collar, a 12-13 necklace stays on the neck and looks adorable. This length will show with just about any shirt. Photo by Andi Rieger on Unsplash The Choker, 14-16 Inches A choker lies off the neck but rests above the clavicle. The darling look on the girl below combines a Collar and a Choker with a pendant. The pendant helps keep the choker outside of her t-shirt and visible. Photo by Jamie Brown on Unsplash 15-Inch Chain worn as a Bracelet For something different, wear your choker-length necklace as a bracelet. It will wrap your wrist twice, doubling its impact. This bracelet on the left is actually a handmade natural stone necklace from nape and cuff.com 18-inch Chains Collared shirts or jackets play nicely with a necklace that is 18 inches, a length that is almost always visible. A regular t-shirt neckline bickers with 18-inch chains. You may find your pendant flipped up or inside your shirt. T-shirt collars should hang low: wear a t-shirt with a v-neck or u-neck. Or borrow from your boyfriend or husband (or son!). Left: Photo by Dimitri.photography on Unsplash Center: Photo by Aiony Haust on Unsplash Right: Photo by Tommy van Kessel on Unsplash 20- to 22-inch Necklaces At twenty inches, a chain is long enough to hang out on top of a shirt with a flat collar. V-necks frame 20-inchers nicely. Wear those blouses and button-downs with this length. You don't need to show cleavage to display 20-inch-long beads. Left: Photo by Tikkho Maciel on Unsplash Right: Photo by Guillaume Bleyer on Unsplash Photo by Alex Avalos on Unsplash 21-Inch Strand Worn as a Bracelet One of the most versatile necklace lengths, a 21-inch strand wraps a wrist three times. This is the Avalanche Lake natural stone necklace from napeandcuff.com in a 21" length. A 24-inch chain will generally hang at the center of your bust line. Forget button-downs unless you are feeling extra sexy. The simple t-shirt below is a charming and fresh look. Photo by Dillon Kydd on Unsplash A 36+ inch chain: half-way between bustline and belly button. A three-footer (or more) adds a flower-child vibe. These long strands can hang up on boobs. One solution is a pendant to weigh the chain through your cleavage. This length is perfect for layering, either with a collar, like the picture below, or a 20-inch companion. Or 22- and 18-inch group. Don't be afraid of multiple pendants. Photo by Blake Cheek on Unsplash 36-Inch Strands Worn as a Bracelet Get a luxurious 5 wraps from 36-inch beads. It's a look that is hard to forget. Left and below, Phantom Ranch Wrap Bracelet and Necklace from nape and cuff.com 36-inch strands can be worn doubled as a necklace. 36-Inch strands can be worn as a double 18" necklace. A Printable Chart to Help with Necklace Length Choices That's the scoop on necklaces length and your wardrobe. Before you buy, consider what you plan on wearing with your beads. Below is a handy guide to download and print.
measure for a bracelet in 30 seconds
how to measure your wrist Getting an accurate measurement is straightforward and will improve your chances of ordering the correct bracelet size in 30 seconds: Measure just below your wrist bone with a tape measure (where you would wear a watch)
or Measure with a strip of paper Mark the paper Unfurl Measure marks with a ruler Look for a site that includes customization, like nape and cuff.com , which offers handmade stone bracelets in a length that fits your body. Left photo right by Lorenzo Hamers on Unsplash Photo by Lena Myzovets on Unsplash Cover photo by Jonathan Sanchez on Unsplash