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!