Category Archives: Bead Business

My Artful Journey, continued

I left off my art journey story at 2009, when I had last played with the silver. A that time, I was still making glass beads, and continued until 2012 when I had the call to dive into glass micro mosaics. (I just spent some time looking at old blog posts from that time. Boy, that was some fun, and I made some really cool stuff!)


When I started working with those teeny tiny little pieces of glass I never thought that that would be the end of me making beads. But, one thing led to another, and found myself only on the torch to make the small components, and to pull the fine stringers of glass for the mosaics. It was still a lot of torch time because each tiny chip of glass actually has anywhere from 5 to 11 layers of glass.

2012-2014

I did that for two years and made some really cool pieces but then I veered again, to making glass stringer stacked murrine.

Getting deeper and deeper into detailed work, as is my way, I didn’t create a a lot of finished pieces. The work that I did make was pretty spectacular, if you ask me. That whole process is a little mind-boggling.

That phase of work only lasted about six months. I’m happy to say, as with most things, I’m glad I took the time to learn the process.

November 2014

I decided that I was going to try my hand at writing again. I really do love writing, and it seemed like it would be the perfect job at the time. You see, my kids were in the tween stage and it was getting increasingly hard to find the amount of uninterrupted time that I needed to continue working in the studio. Writing would let me be in the house with them.

[insert HUGE laugh here from my writer friends]. I love you more than words, and especially the fact that you didn’t actually laugh in front of me at my naivete. Mwah!

We had also started a major construction project, adding on 1500 square feet of new space that included a recording studiol, so I couldn’t work in the studio. I don’t remember how long I tried the writing gig — maybe two years? During that time I learned that I could craft a story and I managed to write two almost-complete first drafts. I also realized that while I love writing, in the form of blogging, and how-to articles, fiction was just not my thing. It was disheartening to realize that after trying to force it for a couple years. I was miserable.

So, still wanting to do a “book thing” I decided I’d create coloring books for adults.

August 2016

I started publishing my coloring books for adults on Amazon and set the goal of publishing 12 books in 12 months. And I did it. During that year the new studio was finished and I jumped into journal art, paper art, and bookmaking.

I realized something very important. I need to make art. I’d missed it so much.

August 2017

I published my twelfth, coloring book. It would be almost a year from that time before I’d be back in the jewelry studio. I’ll pick up there in the next post. To tell you the truth, I lost track of a lot of what I did after the coloring books. My struggle with depression was at it’s lowest. I slept a lot, and was hiding from the world most of that time.

January of 2018

I found a good naturopath and I spent a lot of time working on digging out of that dark hole. The good news is that I made some major lifestyle changes and we figured out what works for me to be mentally healthy. I haven’t been on anti-depressants since September of 2017, and have never, ever, EVER, felt better.

Was Supposed to be: Why I Miss Marketing.

You know what I miss? Marketing.

I know. Call me crazy, but I really do. If you don’t already know it, good marketing is an art in itself and anything that can be described as an art is interesting to me. I’ve been involved in some pretty clever things, and creative marketing is one of the areas where I have felt most alive. This feeling though, I don’t think I’ve had for about 10 or so years.

Before then my business trajectory was on the rise. Every year at tax time I noted that my income had risen by a good amount. Then it happened. Kids. Well, the kids didn’t happen then…I had already had them. What happened was that they started wanting things at times that I couldn’t plan anymore. How dare they?! You know I say that with a smile. If I really felt like it was other than good I wouldn’t be typing it here. It’s the truth though.

So, at that time I re-prioritized my life, both reluctantly, and willingly. I also went through a few years of angry at those people who say that women can have it all. Maybe they can but if being a mother is included in that all, I will argue with you. I tried it. We hired an in-home nanny that was unbelievable. I got to be with the kids and I had tons of extra help from what I would call an extension of me. She had the same values, was a hard-worker and anticipated and did things for us that I didn’t even know would make my life easier. Things like Rice Krispie Treats and chocolate chip cookies left on the counter on a Friday before she left was always nice too. Love-you-forEVER-Daniella!!

Then that little one, known today as the 11yo seemed ready for pre-school. I pushed it off as long as I could. We started with part-time but full-time was inevitable and Daniella was ready to move on to a ‘real job’ too. I still don’t think I’ve recovered.

But anyway, marketing. During that time I was a marketing fool. I was blogging like a maniac, hosting giveaways and contests, coming up with unique ten-buck sales, putting things together in ways that other people hadn’t been, and working my email list regularly. Like, every week regularly! Beads were flying out of the studio. It didn’t hurt that this was before the Chinese imports flooded the market and lampwork was for sale at Michaels.

It was fun.

I loved the excitement I felt when I would post a sale and everything would sell out that day. I loved the feeling of having regular customers. I loved the flow that I felt when ideas of how to sell in a different way would flood my mind. I loved hearing that people were having fun with it too. It was even kind of fun to watch other people start doing it too.

Since that time I haven’t felt confident enough to commit to my own business success because I knew I couldn’t give it my all. That has been hard. It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve made peace with that and you know what they say…when you let go of something…something happens but I forget what it is. Basically, I let go of wanting to get back in the game, of holding on to what I ‘could’ be doing and here I am. Excited again about a new venture.

Sure, over those years I’ve helped market other companies. Cattwalk, Beads of Courage, ISGB, even a couple church and school-related things have gobbled my time and benefitted from my creativity and drive. Those things kept me occupied and my marketing creativity primed, but the focus was different because I didn’t have to handle any work that might result from successful marketing.

This post wasn’t intended to go in this direction…I was supposed to talk about where I am TODAY and why I’m excited about marketing again, and now, I’ve used up my words. The good thing about words though, is that there are always more. I know I always promise that I’ll fill you in on the rest in another post. So that is what I am going to do again here.

Please do stay tuned. I post links to these updates on my Facebook personal page but you know how that goes…easy to miss. Best bet is to subscribe for blog updates, via email, up in the right hand corner.

Talk more soon!

Gotta stop thinking about what will sell.

Do you fall into that trap? You want to make what you want to make, and you do. And then it doesn’t sell. And then you cart it from show to show to show. And then you discount it and it still doesn’t sell. And then you donate it. And I know that I shouldn’t be starting sentences with And.

So, you start to doubt yourself, your work, your business model, the heavens above conspiring against you. You start to go down the dreaded “what will people buy?” road and it starts to dictate what you make. If it doesn’t, it is still there nagging at you and you have to constantly battle it. Total creative buzz kill.

lg130321a1You know what I’m talking about.

This comes up because I saw a cross-stitched doily today and thought, yeah. I want to make a micro mosaic like that. I love words, cliches, puns, etc. Things that can be expressed succinctly (not that you can tell from the way I ramble). Something small that sticks with you and makes you think. Deep things that are worthy of a facebook share.

If it were up to me, my fridge would be covered with catchy magnets saying things like “Don’t make me use my crabby mommy powers”. But, it’s not up to me…my fridge is stainless and magnets don’t stick.

Then I think, who in the Sam Hill would buy a micro mosaic saying that, let alone at the price necessary for the time consuming process and sheer genius of my technique? I mean, would YOU pay $400 for something 3″ x 3″ that says “Oh, hells to the no”? What if hells was in italics for added emphasis? Maybe if it was on a stick or had some glitter?

You see, I have this perception, this dream of making high end pieces. “Worthy” pieces. I have the vision of seeing it hanging in custom homes. A one-woman show in a gallery with stark white walls, wooden floors and little descriptive placards next to them. And then I think of the content that really makes me, myself, smile. And the two just do not jibe. When thinking of who in the world would buy this work, is it wrong for the phrase that I learned last week, “white trash with too much cash” to pop into my head? Either that or really discerning collectors who know what they’re looking at and would buy a toilet wrapped in brown paper and twine. Right?

Maybe I need to start idolizing James Kinkaid Thomas Kinkade instead of Andy Warhol. Or stop thinking about it and just go make stuff.

Thank you for allowing me to take your time while I puzzle this out. Some day, the vision WILL come to fruition. After all, it’s just time invested, right? What do I have to lose? But first, I will do the enlightened thing and make my reclining Buddha mosaic that I promised on facebook.