Saturday, October 30, 2010

Respect in a Changing World

This one isn't about beading at all it's about respect and free speech.

I've been more and more disappointed, saddened and just plain angry about how the flag "free speech" is being used to disrespect people.
I don't really tie myself to one political party, because I've seen from the inside that 99% of politicians are pretty much all out for themselves, so when I say I'm liberal I mean it in the "tolerant, broad-minded" way.

I do believe that everyone has the right to their own long as it doesn't hurt or abuse others.
I have no problem with poligamy (I live in Utah) as long as it is practiced by adults, and children are not coerced or brainwashed into it.
I believe any adult should be able to love any other adult no matter the color of their skin, their sexual preference, etc. and I believe they should have the same rights.
I believe state and church should function separately...if Halloween or New Year's eve falls on a Sunday...celebrate it on that day...don't go changing it because of religion (Saturdays are apparently ok because Judaism is overlooked....yes, again I live in Utah where they celebrated the new year a day early because it fell on a Sunday).  For one religion to dictate to all the others in a state is very says, if you don't believe what we believe you don't count....and we live in a democracy?

That's just some of what I believe.
One thing that has horrified me lately is this anti-gay group picketing the funerals of fallen soldiers whether they are gay or not. This idea that God is killing soldiers because America is 'tolerant' of gays is so offensive it makes me want to scream.
You can tout free speech all you like as you diss someone's opinions on their Facebook wall but if you were burying your son or daughter killed while fighting for their country and you had a bunch of protesters disrupting the funeral I have a feeling you might not be waving your own free speech flag.

Unfortunately technology has given us new issues about free speech and no conduct guidelines.  So here's what I think:

A Facebook wall is like someone's garden, if they support a particular political party they may post something saying the signs you see in people's gardens.  Now, I doubt you would go into someone's garden and rip out that sign, or deface it, or plant your own right next to it. You probably just shake your head and drive/walk on by. Maybe you go put your own sign in your own garden...that's your right and the right thing to do....that's free speech with respect. In the same away from that person's wall and go post something on your own...if they have you on their feed, they will see it and you're not disrespecting their space.

Likewise, don't go posting to people's walls telling them to vote...odds are that by being online they are fully aware there's a vote coming up if it applies to them....and people, someone from Indonesia does not need to know about your local elections....ask you care who is their mayor? not take it for granted that because you have someone's e-mail address that they believe/support the same things you do. Realise they may actually believe/support the exact oposite view...and that they have every right to do that. They do not need your e-mail in their inbox spouting things against their belief....that's just antagonizing. say, "but I don't know what they believe in"...then you don't know them well enough to push your ideas onto them.  Ask them if they mind recieving info about such and such...and if they say yes, they do mind...respect that.

It seems the more technology we get the more respect dies unless we stand up and fight for it.  As those who know me know...I barely use my phone anymore. I turn it off.  I have a cell phone for my convenience, and if I need to use it, I do....after considering if it will be convenient for the person I'm calling to recieve my call.  It became obvious to me that I wasn't given the same consideration, hence my phone got turned off.  Contact me by can always ask me if I have time to talk on the phone...and if it is....hey, I'll call you....but expect my # to be hidden because I no longer give it out.

Now if you are reading this and thinking "she's talking out her butt", I respect your opinion, please just leave an "I disagree" comment and then go to your own blog and write your own opinions there....because my blog is also my garden.....and I weed it :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Aspen, Ice Queen

Completed the challenge tonight so thought I'd post tonight instead of tomorrow.

I'll have to take some photos in daylight
to really show the AB crystals.
I'm really loving the new rope and dying to do it in some more photographic colors :) It's actually triangular with a pearl core, and weaving on the edges.

I'm going to be teaching the icicles next month as a Christmas ornament...they would make a great gift decoration too.
The largest icicle measure 3.5"...they look a lot larger in the picture.

Anyway...there she is...enjoy:)

Frustrations to Freaky Happy Dance

Last night was one of those times when things turn around on you in a good way. I finished the focals for my Ice Queen and began working on the 'rope', now I had a couple of ideas in my head for how this was going to go. I knew what the base was going to be for the rope, pearls, but wasn't sure which of the two ideas I would use for the second layer.

Well....the first idea didn't work...hated it!

Onto the second idea....hated it more!

Yes, I was muttering curses, a mantra of s***, s***, s***!
I start thinking of options..not a lot if I still want the base I had originally I think...simple spiral??

Well...maybe....but my focals are spiral...that would be spiral overkill.
And so began the designers mantra of "What if.....?"
What if I blended idea #1 with the simple spiral?
What if I started the next section here rather than there?
What if this strand went there?
What if I went through that bead?

The result? A brand new stitch!!!
YAY!! Snoopy Happy Dance around the room.

Sorry...can't show you yet...and plugging my ears so I can't hear you scream "tease"!, can't hear you!

All will be revealed soon when the tutorial is written and in my stores I have bills to pay after all.
And to top it all, I woke this morning with a variation or two of the new rope that I'm dying to try...I love when a stitch offers lots of variations.

I had taken a break from trying to design new stitches and relaxed with the design and work up of Tornado....obviously it was a good choice. Sometimes you just have to stop trying too hard!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I don't know if it was the storms we've been having lately or what but the latest flatwork cuff definitely made me think "Tornado".

I got the inspiration for this one from one of my polymer beads, it just seemed like it would make for a nice fabric design.

Of course, now I want to do something with the original bead as a focal.
A designer's job is never done.
The pattern for "Tornado" should be in my shops today or tomorrow if you want to make one of your own....if I had time I'd love to make this one up in the colors of Van Gogh's Starry Night.

But....the extra crystals arrived for my Ice Queen challenge piece so that is on the beading board today.

Happy Tuesday everyone...and I hope you have time to bead today :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

One Day You're In...The Next, You're Out!

No...not talking about Project Runway, I've been pondering what happens when beaded jewelry goes out of fashion, when no one wants to learn it or buy it anymore.  Doing this for a living one has to think about that.
As I've been beading twigs lately I'm reminded of my desire to sculpt with seed beads and produce bead art that isn't necessarily wearable.

I found an English artist who definitely creates seed bead sculpture that isn't wearable....her name is Liza Lou and she's gonna make your jaw drop!

I can't imagine how many seed beads these took...or how long.
I love the cage!
I don't see me getting this carried away but it sure is inspirational and gives me hope for after people don't want to learn or wear seed beads....which hopefully will never happen, but, I was a Girl Scout who got kicked out for hanging with the Boy Scouts so I believe in "Be Prepared".

Now...who's gonna complain about how long beading takes???

Friday, October 22, 2010

Um...Let Me Rethink That

After being informed that the craft store I teach at does not want classes from the middle of November through December because they want to use the classroom for storage I needed to rethink what I would be teaching.

After giving them a glimpse of the Ice Queen components last night the drooling convinced me that I would teach the components on a larger scale to be used as Christmas ornaments.
Last year I taught a really large version of a beaded bead as an ornament and everyone loved it so hopefully this class will be as popular this year.

As I'll be writing a tutorial for this I will also make it available in my stores :)
It also means I'll be cranking out the Ice Queen necklace so I can do the big reveal before I launch the tutorial.

Also with things being quiet teaching wise for a while I'll be able to get to writing the stack of tutorials I haven't had time for so watch out for some fun new things to make....including some new snaps designs :) The Lentil Snap and The Dagger Snap should be in my stores soon.

I'm also looking at making video versions of my tutorials...there's always something new to learn out there.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ahhh...ahhhh...Armature! Gezuntide!

It seems that when I mention the word "armature" people get curious annd start calling me a tease. Moi???? Lol! I am known for not being able to keep my trap shut.....unless someone requests a secret be locked in the vault.
When it comes to beadwork, well, the teacher in me wants to share and inspire and I have a hard time not showing things in progress.'s a teensy snippet of the latest armature piece I'm working on.

This is a hard armature in that it doesn't bend hence being wrapped in wire to give it strength.  The base of it is curly willow twigs, cured and painted with layers of latex (body paint type latex...I just happened to have some but I think Tool Dip would work too) to keep them from being too brittle and then wire wrapped to protect againt breakage.  By the time you have the beading around them done they are actually quite durable.
I could have just used wire but there's something about working around a piece of nature that makes me prefer the twigs.
Now...beading around these is time consuming and not this is not for the faint of heart or those short in the patience department.

I can't tell you what it's going to be cos that really is a surprise.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Beadus Interruptus!

Hard to get anything done for the last few days with visitors in the house.
It's amazing how much time you lose when certain people come for a day and a half....I figure I've lost five days of work!
The only thing I've been able to sneak in and settle to do is a few components for the Ice Queen's a sneak peek.

  I'm keeping the major components under wrap until the big reveal so you'll have to wait for those.  A certain Maven panicked when I said I'd run out of crystals after ordering!  It's amazing how fast you can use those babies up in my secret components and I really didn't think it through enough.

Working totally in white is tough for me, not the designing aspect but seeing where the thread goes...give me black any day!
I have been thinking I'd like to do this piece in black and call it "Black Ice", much more something I would wear as white says wedding to me. My working name for this piece is "Oksana" after Peter announced his as "Svetlana" before!  I guess we both relate icy and pretty with Russia.  However, the white wedding thing has me thinking "Aspen Wedding" or just "Aspen".
I'm sure it will scream it's name at me once it's finished.'s off to play catchup for me.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Let Me at Dem Beads!

Saturday my brother and his partner arrived to help us empty the attic and get some things ready for a yard sale so there were lots of errands to run in preparation for their arrival so the only beady thing I managed to do was lay out the newly arrived beads for my Ice Queen challenge piece.

Today I'm still looking at them on the board dying to start beading them and boy, has it been hard not to ignore everyone in the house and retreat to my little beading corner.  Today I shall be able to start beading :)
I'm really happy to be using some of the vintage Swarovski rivolis I bought from Kandra's Beads at the CCBS bead show, they are perfect for this challenge.  Sometimes buying things that aren't on my 'Need' list works out really well, other times....well, I still haven't touched a bunch of beads that I got when the ABC bead show was in town. Though, the wonderful Nancy Dale sent me a tutorial that gave me an idea for some of them :)'s Monday and it's back to beading for me. I hope you get some time to play with your beads today too.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

"Rubus Autumnus"

So I finished the first Maven to Maven challenge which was an Autumn inspired piece.

I'd started this piece a few weeks ago before we had put the challenge together but it just seemed like the right color scheme for Autumn and as it was still in the beginning stages I let it tell me how it wanted to turn into something for Fall.
The freeform strands reminded me of the twisted stalks of the bramble bushes I used to pick wild blackberries from as a child in England. So it set me off with the challenge to design a tiny leaf that would really make the piece say "brambles".

I confess to getting way carried away with the making these little babies, and I actually had to prune the brambles :) I like how the pearls say "berries" without having to look exactly like a blackberry, though I put a couple more like blackberries in the front fringe.

Working a freeform necklace was way different from making a freeform cuff.
The whole approach was different and required more planning...planning a freeform seems like an oxymoron but that's what it took.  The focal cab and the clasp were done first and then basic strands to connect everything so it was the correct length. I worked with the piece on the neckform to make sure things were evenly balanced and definitely recommend this technique.

For more pictures head on over to the Bead Mavens Forum
Two more challenges in the works the Bead Mavens "Ice Queen" challenge and GoodQuillHunting's "Haute Couture" challenge.

It's a challenging time of year :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

A-pondering I Shall Go

I have an idea for an entry into the Haute Cuture contest....but I'm pondering how to go about it. It will require an armature and I am contemplating whether it should be wire or something else.  I am very tempted to do the something else because it's something I haven't done before.
Yes..I know I'm being enigmatic but I hardly want to spill my guts and have someone steal my idea.  So this might not even be the picture I'm inspired by :)

So...the pondering continues.
Do I play safe or dangle myself off the cliff? personality type tends to go for the dangle.

It makes me wonder how other designers deal with these kind of they play safe or take a chance?  Is the sale more important than the creativity? 

I'll have to go hunting today and see if I can find the something else.
If you like contests and challenges you should head on over to the Bead Maven's blog and check out the Ice Queen challenge:)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Snowed In

No...I'm not, but I would like to be.
I loved being snowed in when I lived in the mountains of Park City, Utah.
It's the perfect excuse to curl up with a good book and a latte. Of course thesedays I'd switch the book for beads. I beaded yesterday and managed to make a lot of headway on my Autumn challenge piece and I named it..."Rubus Autumnus". The name came because the leaves mixed with the freeform remind me of bramble bushes. I like the Latin translation of "Autumn Brambles" ...I'm English and Latin is somehow inbred :)

So...I have some fringing to do today and maybe this one will be finished and ready for it's reveal :)
I'm toying with an idea for Good Quill Hunting's Haute Couture Contest, something a bit different, something I haven't done before.
And my beads are ordered for the Bead Mavens Ice Queen challenge, of course no prizes for me in that one :)  But...for you, so give it a try.

I'm continuing my quiet time for the next few days, sometimes you just have to step back and do the thing you love without any of the business stuff attached.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Self Doubt

Sometimes it just creeps up behind you and sucks you up before you know it, and then you have to figure out the reasons and deal with each one.
It's been creeping up on me since I got back from my trip and I'm feeling like I'm clinging onto furniture to stop myself from being sucked into the wind tunnel.
So....I'm off to think and bead, bead and think.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My Own Leaf Challenge

As some of you may have seen last night on FB I challenged myself to create a new leaf.  It seems like such a little thing and yet this is a huge challenge because everyone and their sister has designed leaves so to create a new one is no easy task. Plus I wanted tiny leaves which doesn't give one a lot of options.
I tried a few things and finally settled on this peyote version which measures 3/4" by 1/2"

It works perfectly into my freeform piece and will take it from just Autumn colors into a fully foliaged Autumn piece.  I now just have to finish the freeform necklace part before I can add all the leaves I want to.
The piece is for an Autumn challenge the Bead Mavens set for ourselves...but if you have an Autumn piece you should head over to the Bead Mavens forum and share a pic of it with us...we'd love to see.
And we are inviting you to join us in an Ice Queen challenge...check the blog for info on that :)

Whether someone has done a leaf this way is unknown to me, it's pretty basic so I sure don't think I've recreated the wheel and it's not original enough to claim copyright anyway.  Speaking of which...did everyone see the excellent article about copyright and beading ethics in Beadwork magazine this month? A very informative read for anyone doing beading.

Have a great Tuesday everyone.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday, Monday!

Happy Columbus Day!
I quite like the idea of celebrating Columbus day as it kind of celebrates courage. Setting off for parts not only unknown but non-existent...cos many thought he was going to sail right off the end of the world.

Beading is sometimes like start something with no idea how to end it....ok...segue way to Bead Mavens' Blog today and a wonderful article by Linda Jones on clasps.

Freeform is something like that let the beads talk you into going certain ways that you might not have planned and that's often when the magic happens.

This is the piece I started before I went on vacation and I'm getting back to it for the Bead Maven's November Challenge, an "Autumn" piece. It's the first time I've used freeform for a necklace so we'll see how it turns out.

Challenges are great for pushing you to create something, expand your beading vision and give you a direction you might not have thought about.
Last year I was selected to do the Beadwork Challenge and it was exactly that, a challenge!  I worked with Lucite for the first time and big pieces of it to boot. I learned a lot doing that challenge, about myself and about beading.
I learned that I can be scared by!
Also that I can overcome those bead fears and work with anything and any theme.

I highly recommend taking part in challenges. So...gather up your courage and enter one....what's the worst thing that can happen? There's no end of the world to fall off ;)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Saturday Got Lost

Yesterday was not the best of days for me, stress catching up and being thrust upon me turns me into a bit of a wreck and the only thing I can really do at those times is retreat to a corner and do some beading.

I finished cross weaving a piece that had broken!
To my horror, a piece I had sold broke and was returned to me for repairs. It was an earlier piece and was woven with Silamide which I don't use anymore, strictly a Fireline gal now.  A lot of my own pieces are made with Silamide and some of them I wear a LOT and never had a problem, other than one....a braclet made with some inferior tiny cubes which have cut through Silamide, 4lb, 6lb and 10lb Fireline....grrrrrr!  Buy the best beads you can folks and watch for those sharp edges.

Anyway...I reworked the piece with Fireline and added extra support threads (40lbs worth) to double safe the piece. Now I'm working on an apology gift because I feel so badly about it.  Must say...I'm liking the gift and may have to do more of this one :)

But...those are the breaks (pun intended). Sometimes you have no idea that a bead has a sharp edge until it cuts your thread, hard to imagine something as small as a seed bead can cause such damage, but it happens. If you're a tight beader you'll encounter this more than if you're a loosey loo...tight and sharp  are not good together...unless you're a size 0 wearing Calvin Klein.

So, heed my warning, don't make my mistake, stock up on Fireline in all it's weights!
Now...get on over to the Bead Maven blog or Bead Maven forum and post questions for us to answer next week :)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Today is a Day to Breathe

After all the hecticness...hmm...hecticity? It's been busy, you know what I mean.'s time to slow things down a little and take a breath.
Sometimes things get so crazy it's like you're standing in the middle of the room and the room is spinning around you. So today I have put myself into  'Time Out'.

For me this means catching up on errands...doing silly things like laundry and shopping, maybe I'll even cook tonight.
Business wise I have Silly Sale things to list in my Artfire store and I need to sit down and make a fresh 'To Do' list.
I'd love to be able to spend Saturday playing with clay and get the latest beads sanded, buffed and up for sale.
Sundays are now taken up with projects to get the house on the market and somehow it seems it may all be up to me, it appears any help I get needs hands on supervision...sheesh!  

It seems I'm not alone in wanting a breather, fellow Bead Maven, Good Quill Hunting posted a blog today talking about how she gets so much done. Head on over and check it out.

And now I'm going to stare at this picture for a while.

It's Point Dume in Malibu.  When I lived there this is the beach across from the house and if you walked north on it you came to a cool restaurant and bar called the Sandcastle, it was my local :)  They did a great Sunday champagne brunch and was my Mom's fave....possibly because the first time I took her there Barbra Streisand was in the next booth.

Have a great Friday everyone.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Class Day

After three weeks of no classes and five weeks of no kits to prepare it's back to the routine of weekly classes tonight. Allbeit with a new format.
It hasn't quite hit me that I don't have a new design and kit to do every week yet, but it's beginning to feel good.

My new format involves a large project, well two really, one for beginners and one for advanced, and so just two kits done for the beginning of the month. It will definitely make some extra time for me, which, of course is already planned!
It's a small class tonight so far....we'll see if the demo I did last week will bring any new beaders in.  But small is good to get me back into the swing of it. I know it's only three weeks but it's been such a busy three weeks it feels like three months!

Bead Mavens are off and running. That has come together so easily it amazes me and you've never met such a group of agreeable people. Beaders rock!We're planning challenges, throwing components at each other along with jovial barbs. don't just get to watch us can take part too.

Sunday is question if you have a question you'd like answered by all of us....ask it on our Facebook page and we'll choose the best question each week to answer. Six designer/teachers to answer your bead questions, that should give you a good chance to get an answer you like :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I'm a Bead Maven :)

Yep the cat is out of the bag, and Bead Mavens are/is launched.

This was an idea Linda L. Jones and I have been tossing around for a while. You meet a lot of beaders through Facebook and some you just click with, it was like that for Linda and I, so talk about working on something together was natural.   With the rebirth of Artfire it seemed like a great time to create something new, so with an Artfire store being the keystone we began looking for our 'gaggle' of beaders.
We had a simple set of qualifications....
They must be a professional beader charging correctly for their hard work and talent, they must teach, they must be pro-active in promoting beadwork....oh, and we had to LOVE what they did :)

Now, while it's very easy to find gorgeous beadwork, the teaching thing slims the numbers down, plus we were looking for relatively new designers/teachers.
Nancy Dale was an instant choice....her work is amazing and as she's just started teaching she was exactly what we were looking for.
Good Quill Hunting was next up....stunning work and a power house of energy and brainer!
My next suggestion was Cynthia Newcomer Daniel of Jewelry Tales, someone I've known for a while and whose work I's very light and lacy and she writes the best tutorials.
Linda's suggestion was Peter Sewell of Beadsage. I confess I was not aware of Peter's work but as soon as I took a look ...OMG, yes! So Peter became our token bloke :) and the only one of us not in the US. He's a Brit like me and weirdly enough lives in basically my home town.

So this is our core six.
Will there be more Mavens? Yes, we do look to increase our numbers once we have everything in place and get comfortable with it.
The dream/goal is to be able to have Bead Maven workshops and retreats all over the US and, obviously England and maybe the, dream big!
 A bead calendar with a project a month will be first up, a collaborative book will hopefullly be next and who knows what else we will think of.
As teachers we all want to spread the joy and knowledge of beading and we feel this is a great way to do it.

On other fronts....did everyone catch the amazing giveaway from Carol Dean Sharpe?  She's actually going to giveaway her fabulously creative new bead.

Go to her blog and make a comment to enter to win this beauty.

And that's all for now.
But do stop on by the Bead Mavens blog where Wednesday is Nancy Dale Day!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Such a little word and yet, often so hard to achieve.
Sometimes it's because there's so much going on outside your bead world and sometimes it's because there's so much going on inside your bead world.

It's hard to focus when you have to cook dinner, there's shopping, laundry, dishes, gardening etc to be done. So many times when you sit down to bead the brain is saying "I should be doing........"
It's just as hard to focus when the outside stuff is done and you have a zillion ideas swimming around in your brain shouting "Me first!"
And then there are the times when all the work is done, you can sit quietly and create...the focus is there but you can hear the crickets chirping in your brain.

When the alignment of focus and creativity happens things are easy.
Tutorials flow quickly, bead paths become highlighted, designs morph on their own and you can hear your muse sighing happily.
Don't we all wish for days like that? Weeks like that? Months...ok, now I'm being greedy.
I wish I could tell you how to make the alignment happen but it's an enigma. All I can say is if you have a day of alignment use it for all it's worth, you may get a week's worth of work done in that day.

I had a good one yesterday and finally finished the tutorials that had been giving me a hard time....they just wanted to come out know like a really long, arduous birth. Sometimes I have a tutorial written and illustrated in a morning, so fast I have to go through it six times to check it because I don't believe it could possibly be correct in such a short time.  But, that's an alignment day for you.

We're having real Fall weather here, lots of rain and cool temperatures, it's good focusing weather :)  So, I'll be making hay today.
I'm wishing you all a great day of alignment!

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Best Thing About Beaders

I don't think there's a day goes by that I'm not impressed by beaders.
What impresses me? The creativity, the range, the colors...yep, all of those but mostly it's their generosity and camaraderie.

I've always been a generous person myself (too generous my family would say) and I have to say it's rarely worked out well for me. I've had things I was giving to charity stolen, had loaned things not returned and a couple of years ago I loaned a full costume (which I had made) including shoes to a supposed friend from work who not only didn't return them.....hung up on me every time I phoned to ask her about my picking them up and threatened me in the end.  It very much leaves you thinking "people suck".

So, it is amazingly refreshing that beaders are so generous with their time, support, advice, resources, and even beads.  You see a lot of 'Pay It Forward' in the bead world and that just heartens my spirit.
One fabulous thing that has just been started by Carol Dean Sharpe is "The Best Little Bead Box" which she designed to raise funds for the "Beads of Courage" charity.   When I won the glass category of Beadstar 2009 we had the option of donating our pieces for an auction to benefit Breast Cancer and I was thrilled to do that.

In other news, I'm part of a new group being formed and it is very exciting. Some of the best new designers and teachers coming together and
the energy is palpable.  More about it soon.

For's back to work for me.
Have a great day everyone and remember to practice random acts of kindness...they can be incredible fun.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Muse

Maybe it was posting about personal style yesterday, or talking to lots of people at the demo last night that got Morganna, my muse, all riled up and demanding attention.

What is a Muse?
According to Germaine Greer "A muse's job is to penetrate the male artist and bring forth a work from the womb of his mind"...."The muse in her purest aspect is the feminine part of the male artist, with which he must have intercourse if he is to bring into being a new work."

Well...I guess that explains why they're usually female. Not sure how that works for female or gay artists.

For me my muse is my creative subconscious, she's the part of me that gives me answers in my sleep, designs while the everyday, functioning part of me rests.  I believe we all have muses but I feel artists tend to listen to theirs more. Morganna does a lot of my design work, my job is to look at enough inspiring things so she'll have something to work with :)
Sounds great doesn't it?
It is....when it works, designs flow, create themselves, bead paths come in dreams spun like sparkly cobwebs.
Of course, as any artist will tell you, it's not always like that.
Muses can be the most contrary, fickle, demanding divas, they disappear for weeks on end, show up in the middle of the night when you would rather be sleeping and change your designs forcing you to rip out hours of work.
They are often THE biggest PITA!

But...that's the price we pay for their brilliance.
Morganna poked and poked me this morning, until, I gave 5am on a Sunday morning! and got up to sketch what she was rabbiting on about.
A book.....different from the one I'm working on....and it is actually pretty much written if I listen to her.   New designs...oh, and this is where the contrary comes in....right after I blog about my personal style being Gothic and Vintage she comes up with a whole new line of contemporary designs.
It's like she's saying "try make THAT look Gothic!"

She's the best friend I fight with, the yin to my yang, the reason I take sleeping pills, the source of my designs, the one who ROFL's when I screw up, the devil on my shoulder and the angel in my heart.
Though she feels like a separate entity she is part of me....maybe the best part, certainly the most creative part.

So....if you know you're muse, treat her kindly,
and if you don't...then get very quiet and listen for her voice, if you're lucky, you'll hear her.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Personal Style

I wanted to write a bit about personal style and as I have almost finished the Gothic version of Gideon's Wheel this seemed like the perfect time.
It's way sparkly...just haven't got it to photo that way...yet!

As designers I think we all want to create our own personal style (see Project Runway) but feel pressured to give people what they want even if it isn't what we love to do.  I believe it's very important to have your own style but sometimes the most difficult part of that is knowing what your style is. 

Personally, I would not have told you a couple of years ago, had you asked, that my style was vintage because I had no clue that it was. I didn't discover my own personal style until I'd created quite a lot of jewelry and began to see the similarities of the designs.  I was fortunate to have had a fashion background to look at too and sure enough the style was there too. I discovered I have a thing for Elizabethan collars, and Rennaisance styling had shown up in my knitwear designs.
So, it's no surprise now that my personal style is Gothic, Vintage and Theatrical....even Costumey.

That does it translate into todays jewelry market?
Well, though I tend to make every design in a black or Gothic colorway, which does attract a lot of people, I then bring color into the designs. I've recently started working with Margie Deeb's Color Report and that has made transitioning into color a lot easier.   And sometimes I just pick every color I wouldn't choose for myself and work with!  Yes....I have even worked in the dreaded pink!

What do I want to be known for?
My Gothic style.
I dream of my Gothic pieces being featured in a Vogue photoshoot and for some of my designs I actually start by thinking..."what would look good in Vogue?" your personal style, pull the pieces you love the most and look for similarities...what are the colors, designs, shapes that say the most about your design view.
Once you've found it, stay true to it, keep it as your center path....and then play with the edges to reach more people.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Virtual Storefront

After talking for the last two days about the home office it seems appropriate to talk about what makes a home business viable for the creative ones of us plus it coinicides with the day Artfire kicks into high gear.

It would be very hard, if not impossible, for so many of us to have our little businesses if it wasn't for the internet and sites like Ebay, Etsy and Artfire.
They give us a place to sell our wares and let us reach around the world.
It amazes me that my patterns can go to all corners of the world in the space of a week, I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around it.

Ebay has been around for quite a while now and while it's a great tool the prices have risen considerably.   Etsy is still relatively new and seems to me to have been created for artists and creative types and my only gripe is that sellers of mass produced supplies which tend to sell the most and bring in Etsy the most money appear to win disputes over the artists. But Etsy does seem to attract more of the serious handmade businesses...and let me explain what I mean there....
Sites like Etsy allow the hobby artist to sell their work too, which is great, however, hobby artists tend to under price their work because it is their hobby and they don't have to pay the bills with what they make.  This devalues the work of everyone who is struggling to make ends meet with their home business.
Artfire's launch today of the new flat lifetime rate of $5.95 a month (for those who opted in) is encouraging and hopefully will make them more known and increase the traffic on the site.  The price can't be beat, I pay three to four times as much at Etsy but after looking at the prices of the beadwork there, it's discouraging.  Obviously a lot of hobbyists sell their wares on Artfire, probably because of their free program.

So what is a designer/entrepreneur to do?
I figure I'll maintain both stores for six months and see which one does the best then review it. It is my experience that unless you work your store along with Facebook, sales and growth will be slow.
What will you do?