I Can't Stop Myself!

Rosetti's Spring No.1
Etsy Link

Rosetti's Ocean No.1

Rosetti's Dawn No.1
Etsy Link

Making these little guys is absurdly addictive!! Guess what I'll be doing INSTEAD of working on my personal challenge piece?

By the way, does anyone have a good source for inexpensive ball chain and connectors?

Now, here's the final inspiration for 2008 -
Bead Societies!
Personally, I'm not a joiner - I'm lousy in groups - I've tried several times to be a part of various Etsy teams and I can't even do well virtually. BUT. If I were, I'd certainly look into being part of a bead society - many of them offer access to a communal library, shared resources, internal challenges, and all-around support for the bead-obsessed.

I might not get back to the blogging until the new year, so until we meet again,

Party On!!


What The Jade Dog Taught Me

If you go to The Jade Dog, you can order patterns, like the one I used here.  I love the results, but boy howdy. Those last few rows of fringe can get really tricky.

Here's Inspiration #51! It's Beth Stone -
I just picked up her book, Seed Bead Stitching,

and I am just loving it. Her website is full of cool stuff - most especially her page of links - love those NY Vintage Beads!!


Inspiration #50

I had this on my wish list for Christmas, but I couldn't wait. I got my copy before Thanksgiving. From my old favorites (David K. Chatt and Linda Fifield among others) to my new discoveries (Maggie Meister and Jeanette Ahlgren to name but a few), I found myself lost in wonder at the inventive, innovative and joyful expressions using my favorite medium. I've had to savor this over the course of several weeks - there's just so much.


And Just Like That. Boom.

One of my favorite bookstore customers (for many, many years) came in while I'm here filling in for Asa during lunchtime. I took the day off to get my holiday baking done. So it's all freak chance is what I'm getting at. She hasn't been in to see us for several months and she stops in when I'm here but shouldn't be. She looked at my display of rings and went nuts. Next thing I know I've agreed to make one just for her on commission. Then she pays me up front for it. See? You stick your chin out there and BOOM.

Clearly I need to be very careful about asking the Universe for things.


Shoving Myself Out There Again.

The Rio Grande - a commissioned work - May 1995

Remember this post HERE? Well, it's been over a year since I accepted any commissioned works - I think my exact words at the time were "Break all my beading fingers if I EVER take on another commission." Something like that.

The Lizard - a commissioned piece - November 1997

Anyway, time has healed much of the wounding and I'm more organized now, better able to take this on and I'm ready at last to stick my chin out there and say, "Hell yes! I can make that!" Besides, Etsy has a great setup for handling this stuff with lots of mutual protections for buyer and seller alike which serves to lessen much of my trepidation in this area.

Whose Woods These Are - A Commissioned Work - November 2006

I had to put myself farther back in time, before my Awful Experience, and remember all the successes I had up to that point. You can see a gallery of some of those pieces in a Flickr set HERE.

With any kind of luck, it will be fun again.


Thinking About What Robin Said -

Robin Atkins posed an interesting question on her blog, Beadlust, the other day. The subject was "selling our art." Specifically, she said "What do you think? Is the real payoff the creative process? How do you deal emotionally with a disappointing sales experience or being rejected by a gallery or for a show?"

I have to confess to a split personality on this issue.

My earliest experience with crafting was from the point of view of making things to sell. I was 16 and I made stuffed animals from a pattern using scraps I begged from family and neighbors, stuffing them with anything and everything from Easter grass to old nylon stockings - being totally unaware that such a thing as polyfil even existed. I sold them for $5 each. Whatever I made was with the view toward selling it, which calls for a certain discipline of mind. You can't take anything personally. You find the thing to make which will sell, whether it's art or not. And you can never underestimate the taste of the general public.

I've done quite a few craft fairs since then. Once I sold nearly everything on my table because 1. my wares were relatively inexpensive (I was a last minute addition to a high-end craft fair), 2. they were well made, and 3. they were general in nature (good choice for any age/gender group). They were Japanese style hand-bound blank books. I mass-produced them in my kitchen.

At another fair, I brought out all my 'art' jewelry as well as a few books. I sold almost nothing that day. The woman sharing my booth made incredible, detailed wooden jigsaw puzzles and sold not a one. Across from us was a woman selling time out dolls. I can't bring myself to post a picture of one here because I think they're unbelieveably AWFUL and disturbing on more than one level. If you don't know what they are, the link will take you to the Google search and you can see for yourself. Anyway, back then they were the New Thing, and this woman did thousands of dollars of business that day. Art Vs Commerce. You can't take it personally.

I made wholesale earrings for a gift shop - they were simple rectangles of polymer clay, decoupaged with bits of gift wrap paper and a bead or two glued on, coated with Future floor polish. Not art by any means, but the money I made bought the groceries more than once.

I can't speak to the experience of being turned down by a show or a gallery - I've been lucky there. And luck most certainly does play its part in this.

When we make art, though, when something inside cries to be made and you invest all of yourself in the creation of it - there's a whole other mindset that takes over. An emotional attachment to the piece and a deep sense of pride enters the scene and it is VERY hard not to take it personally when it sits there, seemingly unwanted. You have to remind yourself when you offer this piece for sale that it may take a long time for it to come to the attention of the Right Person, one who can see what you saw (and perhaps more), who understands and honors your work by valuing it (almost as highly as you do) by paying your price. When they find you, though, that's the total cherry on top.

I still make both - commercial pieces and art pieces - one is just to make money, the other is for personal satisfaction. When there's a slow-down in the the economy, art will suffer. I've had art pieces AND commercial pieces in my Etsy shop for almost two years! I don't take it personally - it simply means they haven't been seen yet by that Right Person. When you understand just how many jewelry makers/beaders/doll makers there are selling on the internet, in galleries and at craft shows, you realize how fierce your competition is - and how important it is to develop your own unique, recognizable style.

I believe if you make art for its own sake, the reward is within you.


Makin' a Thing, Sold A Couple Things, Remembered a Thing

The Black Hole cuff is now "A Phazia." I've been working on it here at The Day Job.

I sold one of my older pieces, "Dreamsnake Bangle in Burgundy"on Etsy:

And I sold this from the gift cabinet here at the bookstore:
The Autumn Bangle.

As to what I remembered - actually it's a whole raft of things. I finished reorganizing all my bead related paraphernalia (which is to say chunky bits, medium-sized bits, findings, drawings, journals, needles, thread, tools and charms) and remembered what I wanted to do with about 75% of this stuff. So the task of making a production schedule is a little less daunting. Not bad, considering the list of projects remembered is 150+. Just imagine if I had total recall!!

I'm going to stay away from bead shops and internet sites just to be on the safe side* - if I don't rein things in, I'll never live long enough to do all I want just with what I have now!!

Lest I forget again, I AM still working on my challenge piece. In case you missed it, here's that clickable banner link to my challenge again, and I hope you'll think about it -

Of COURSE I'm going to extend the deadline. Of COURSE.

*Wish me luck with THAT. I could as easily influence the tides as keep myself from looking at bead porn. Sheesh.


Made a Thing, Sold a Thing, Found a Thing

My Etsy shop woke up for a minute or two there - I sold Dragon's Tear #2, and as I'd finished this bangle pair, I listed it. My unofficial goal was to have 100 items listed by the end of the year, but I may stall out at 77.

Inspiration #49: The Loose Bead Society of Greater Milwaukee!! They have a great list of links in their index called "Online Communities." Their gallery is a slide show full of eye candy - and the list of links in the "Challenges" section is definitely worth a browse.


And Some More Stuff Listed

"Legend has it that when the great western dragons were being hunted to near extinction, they drew a battle line on the shores of the sea. So many fell on that horrible day that it was thought they were gone forever. When the dust had settled, though, the youngest of the dragons - those who had been hidden away into places of safety - emerged from their caves high above the seashore. When they saw their friends and family dead and dying, they wept great tears of sorrow. Because a dragon's internal temperature is so very high, the instant their tears fell on the sand, they turned to glass.

Many years later, these tears were discovered and dispersed throughout the world, that we who love and revere these wise and wonderful creatures, might never forget and thereby never repeat that dreadful day."

This "memento draconus mori", a curious shade of the palest peach, is here captured in a wire wrapping the color of dried dragon's blood with a steampunk flavor and suspended from a 24" silver toned chain.

Actually, I made the pendants some time back but only recently got around to putting them on chains.


New Stuff Listed - At Last

I feel like it's taken me forEVER to get these together - but that's because I've been holding on to the lampwork beads since last summer. The big "desert twist" beads I acquired from Jones Art Glass are so beautiful - I've had them hanging in my office where I could enjoy them every day. At last the time came when I realized what I needed to do with them, and here they are.

Desert Dawn Necklace:
More pics and info at the Etsy listing here.

Desert Night Necklace:
More pics and info at the Etsy listing here.

Desert Night Bangle Pair:
More pics and info at the Etsy listing here.

And the return of last year's favorite stocking stuffer,
the little Gothic Yule trees:

More info at the Etsy listings here and here.

I haven't made any measurable progress on my stethoscope, but once I finish the Desert Dawn Bangle Pair, I'll get back to it. The Great Bead Reorganization continues, and believe it or not, the very first bracelet I ever blogged about is nearly finished.

Now, Inspiration #48: The Bead Society of Greater New York.

The link will take you to the members' galleries - there are seven of them, filled to the brim with way cool examples of outstanding design and artistry. Enjoy!


The Need To Process

Time now to be very quiet, reflect and meditate. Time to piece together all the recent experiences and stitch them into future works.

I am enjoying a real excess of riches - Jade Dog and I blitzed the local bead markets and came away with swag enough to choke a T Rex. * We ate enough food for a small hill tribe. We took a few long walks. She taught me how to cover a large bead with right angle weave. We had a great visit and we all missed her the minute she stepped into her plane home.

Now I am left to consider the mountain of beads I've amassed.

I've done two large purges of my bead stash, one of which was just this year. Now I need to sort and organize all this. Get it all into one place where I can stand back and look at it all (currently my beads are in three separate locations). But most of all, I need to get out the old sketchbooks - the beads themselves are my curent major source of inspiration - and set up a production schedule for all the projects flying around in my brain!!

These beads ain't gonna weave themselves!!

And at the same time, I'm still working on my challenge piece. So in case you missed it, here's that clickable banner link to my challenge again, and I hope you'll think about it -


* The Bead Renaissance Show was overwhelming - if I hadn't been with a professional bead buyer I would have been stunned into immobility. Thunderbird Supply is much closer to where I live than I realized and this might not be a good thing. And it's a very GOOD thing that Kameyab Imports is so far away.


I'm Excited - Then Again . . .

On the one hand, I'm really excited! My daughter, The Jade Dog, is coming for a visit tomorrow! We haven't seen each other for over a year - and this is a great weekend for her to be here - The Bead Renaissance Show is going on at Expo New Mexico AND several of the bead shops are having some pretty sweet sales, too. I'm really looking forward to checking out Kameyab Imports - I've heard lots of great things about them; hope to hit Mama's Minerals, Thunderbird Supply, Thomason Stone Supply, and a few others if there's time. We'll be doing all sorts of bead-related nonsense for four solid days!! Whee!!

Then, on the other hand . . .

I just sent in my application to the Beadwork VI: The Beaded Book competition.



A Day of Sharing Words

Thanks to the Beadbabe for steering me to this post over at The Poetic Eye. The poem I've chosen goes by different titles, the most enduring of which is "The Possibility of Being." It was written by Rainer Maria Rilke and can be found in several of his collected works - but most easily found here.

This is the creature there has never been.
They never knew it, and yet, none the less,
They loved the way it moved, its suppleness,
Its neck, its very gaze, mild and serene.
Not there, because they loved it, it behaved
as though it were. They always left some space.
And in that clear unpeopled space they saved
it lightly reared its head, with scarce a trace
of not being there.
They fed it, not with corn,
but only with the possibility of being.
And that was able to confer such strength,
its brow put forth a horn. One horn.
Whitely it stole up to a maid - to be
within the silver mirror and in her.

I think L.K.'s idea for sharing the words and pictures that move us is so good, it's my Inspiration #47.


The Day The Blog Counter Exploded

I woke up this morning to the interesting news that one of my beadworks had been selected as a 'Daily Deviation' over at deviantART. The next thing I know, I've written and sent over 150 thank-you emails to all the folks who said nice things about me over there, and I check my blog stats and whaddya know. All those great Deviant Artists have come to visit my little blog here! Nearly 200 of them!!

To say I'm overwhelmed is understating things. I've never had such an intense response to anything I've posted on the web. Just goes to show, I guess, that artists of all media make great communities.

Thanks again go to the Beading Butterfly, who sort of goaded me into posting my beaded journal over there.

I guess I'm still a little in shock. Judging by the response, I'm more than a little encouraged to enter my journal into the Beaded Book competition. Who knows?


Inspiration #44, 45, 46 . . .

(do not adjust your monitor - I finally got around to a bit of a seasonal color change - it's a subtle change to be sure, but whatcha think of the new colors and banner?)

#44: Yoshie's Toggle Gallery - this is straight up fun. Plenty of inspiration here for new and innovative closures.

#45: Valerie Hector. This is a name you might recognize - her book is on many a beadweaver's reference shelf. Besides that, her portfolio is oozing with ideas and inspirations by the fistful.
#46: The Bead Nerd. For anyone who's truly serious about their bead business, this site is a great resource - as pointed out to me by The Jade Dog (thanks, Darcy!). Lori's multi-part article on setting goals was of particular interest to me - and maybe you, too!


Not Much Progress and A Few Asides

I haven't gotten very far with my stethoscope. I made the huge mistake of surfing eBay for lampwork spacer beads. I got an incredible deal on some and once they got here, I dropped everything else. I've been making these rings, as you can see.

Like most beaders, I'm easily distracted by shiny objects. About twelve years ago my partner Asa took me to meet a friend of his who makes pottery - more specifically, artisan and raku pottery. I remember the building as being small and crowded with all sorts of wonderful things. George, the potter, had a small handful of raku pottery beads which I snatched up instantly. Then I saw this strand of distressed wooden disk beads hanging from one of the rafters. He gave them to me with a big, toothy grin. I had no idea what I was going to do with them at the time - which is the story with most of the stuff back in my 'chunk bits' storage. Eventually I figure out why they've come to me. The minute I held the lampwork beads in my hand I knew what to do. I still have about 7 more rings planned - then I can get back to 'beading my fear.'

A Brief Aside
In my last post, I mentioned being interviewed for an online magazine-of-sorts. This is the second time I've done an interview, and I have to tell you - it's not an easy deal. They send you a list of questions and you have the discretion of answering them all or just a few and adding anything you'd like. It's really hard to do without coming off like a pompous twit. I must have edited my answers at least a dozen times and still I think I sound like an ass. My inner critic sleeps when I bead but goes on a complete tear when I write anything.

Another Aside
Site hits. The weirdest thing happened last Saturday. I have an account with BlogPatrol, which is a very cool way to track how many visitors you get to your blog, what country they're from, stuff like that. So I check my stats there about twice a week. I look back and see that for last Saturday, they recorded 105 hits to my little blog here! I KNOW that has to be wrong. I usually get 10 - 12 hits a day. I hope to find out just what happened there in the next few days. In the meantime, I'm trying hard not to flatter myself (I am a Leo, after all) that over a hundred people found their way to my little blog just out of the blue.

A Final Aside
NaNoWriMo. I had high hopes and no plot. I was kicking around all sorts of ideas, when finally a conversation with my partner Asa brought things into focus. I sunk my teeth into a fairly decent plot and got it outlined, when I got my package of lampworked beads in the mail. No NaNo win for me this year. Shiny things will be my downfall.

So in case you missed it, here's that clickable banner link to my challenge again, and I hope you'll think about it -



World Artisan Gems Interview!

World Artisan Gems

I was interviewed the other day for this great website, and I have to say I'm in some pretty heady company! Check out the site - I loved reading all those interviews in the archives. World Artisan Gems is Inspiration #42!

And on the subject of inspirations, here's #43: Libzoid!

I love everything about this site - from her blog to her gallery and all points in between.

And don't forget:

Clicking on the banner takes you to my beading challenge, in case you missed it.


Progress As Promised

When I first scanned the image of the stethoscope, something went a little wonky with my scanner - the first image I got was not the usual full-color photo render. What appeared in the monitor was a very stark black and white image. It was visually arresting to me. In that moment I knew what I wanted to do with it. I printed it and started sketching right away. Once I saw what I wanted it to be, I had to work backward in my head as to how to achieve it.

The initial stage of beading would have to be a fairly substantial base from which I could work multiple levels of embellishment. I opted for a netted base done with Japanese size 11 seed beads (color 318c) stitched with extra-fine smoke colored Fireline. I only have a bit more to go and the base is complete.

Then the fun really begins.

I'm supposed to be working on my NaNoWriMo novel right now, but I need to warm up my writing muscles with a little blogging. As long as I'm here, I'll show you my latest photos for my current favorite cuff, "Come To My Aid."

I love slide clasps. This is the first piece for which I've had the opportunity to use UltraSuede as the backing. I have to say I really love it. It doesn't have the weight or substance I'm used to with leather, but my needle loves it. I just wish it weren't quite so expensive.

And don't forget:

Clicking on the banner takes you to my beading challenge, in case you missed it.