Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Finished Piece

I finished it!  And for all my whining yesterday, I really do love it.  It FEELS good on my wrist and that's a really important quality for jewelry.  You want to wear pieces that feel good when worn!

As for my whining about working in colors that aren't "me" friend Melissa (waving through the computer at Melissa) said on Facebook that she immediately recognized this as a "Sylvie" piece, but agreed with me that I might not see it as "Sylviebeads" because of the color-scheme.... and it made me think more about what makes me ME, other than color.

Then my friend Susan mentioned my use of mixed patterns and it kind of all came together for me.

I definitely love mixing patterns together.  When designing something with seed beads, I rarely use a single stitch on a larger project and I love love love creating intricate patterns through the directions that the beads are aligned.... and after I looked at this piece again, it totally fits that standard.  The directionality (is that a word?) of the beads in the petals, the multiple strands with their own rhythm of bead-placement.... it's very me.  In fact, those traits are kind of intensified because it IS colorless.

So in the end... other than the colors, it's a VERY "me" piece.... and part of me is the girl that goes out on a Saturday night in casual dressy stuff that this will be perfect for!

I know that I'll be wearing this piece A LOT and I was reminded by other friends that I need to remember that there are a lot of people who don't accessorize in bright colors, the same way that I don't... and this might give them a way to wear the pieces I create.  A good reminder that I needed to hear.

SO.... this was learn something week. 

I learned ....

  • that I get bored making monochromatic things, but there is purpose in it.
  • that my work has some definite unique traits that have nothing to do with the colors I use.
  • that I might have been missing a larger customer base just because of my colors, but I don't have to compromise my design aesthetics to make them happy.
  • that when it comes to something I like to wear, I like smaller and more delicate pieces, which require using size 15/0s (and that's going to make my customers groan at me)
and finally...

I learned that when I whine on my blog, my friends step up to smack me upside the head if needed OR cheer me on.  It's good to have friends.

NOW it's time to conquer a design I've been making for quite a while using only metallic beads, but allowing myself some color variety (yay!!!)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Trying to Fit in (a.k.a. longest whiniest blog posting ever)

Hello dear blog readers (if there are any left after my many hiatuses lately... and there might not be any after this long long posting)

I know that I desert you way too often, saying things in a briefer version on my Facebook "fan" page (is there another word for that?  it sounds kind of conceited honestly!)  There are times, however, that what I have to say just doesn't fit into a sound-bite kind of status and this is one of them...

Firstly, I survived Bead and Button.  I think that my thoughts on that show merit a separate entry, so watch for that.  I still have a lot to digest about the show... positive stuff, but it really needs some additional pondering and wrapping my head around an anomaly of a show.  Have I piqued your interest?  Hopefully, I'll really take the time to talk about it because it really needs some introspection and sometimes thinking "out loud" here on the blog is a way for me to do that.

(have there been way too many things in quotation marks in those paragraphs???  Probably....and too many things in parenthesis too!)

Back to what I intended to talk about today... fitting in.  (and this is the longest blog posting EVER, so I might bore the 2 of you who read this anyways!!)

I don't usually talk family stuff here, but I will for a moment... not anything huge, but to build bit of context around this topic.

I had a discussion a few years ago with one of my kids about how we have to choose whether we want to fit in or not... that sometimes we can make a conscious decision to be a part of the crowd OR we can go our own direction and face the consequences, good or bad.  This was mostly a conversation about clothing... how what we wear can directly influence what people think of us and that it's something we can easily choose to change if we want to, where other things are not as easily changeable.  (I'm leaving out all the particulars... it was a long long long conversation and I'm not going to air their personal stuff here... just the big points)  In the end, he was adamant that it's more important to be your own person and face any negative consequences.  I, on the other hand, continued to hold the opinion of... make "adjustments" to find a way to make your life easier without totally selling out.... and that's the difference in our personalities.  I'm not a "rock the boat" person and he TOTALLY is.  I love how brave he is.... but I don't think I'm ever going to be that bold.

I'm definitely an individual, but I do find myself occasionally making compromises about certain aesthetic things when I feel it will help me to fit in a little more because it makes my life easier.

For instance, I noticed that I looked WAY too subdivision mom when around other artists out of our area.  I wasn't going to get tattoos to fit in, but I have always loved trying things with my hair and thought that would be a way to do that.  Although I would have liked to dye my hair totally purple as a way to fit in with the art crowd... I knew that fitting into the suburban world in a conservative area, that was going to be a total UN-fit in thing to do, and thus, it would put my kids in a weird place.  I needed some sort of adjustment in BOTH worlds, so I compromised with a purple streak, which was easily changeable if the kids felt uncomfortable... and they both said it was acceptable (I'm pretty sure they just shrugged, but no one spoke out, so I'm interpreting that verbally for them) and thus, I caused no drama for myself, but got a bit of what I wanted in both worlds... art and home.

SO.... what does this have to do with my art itself???  (because that's what this blog is about after all.)  It has to do with me making decisions about adjusting my aesthetic for the benefit of business, which, for me, is more difficult emotionally than deciding what color to dye my hair.

The quandry:  I can look at the Bead and Button show catalog, where I really want to teach, but have been turned down several times now, and immediately see that there is a commonality in most of their beadwork classes and that I don't fit into that mold....  color scheme.  Although the designs are very different, the materials choice is often VERY similar across the board... the designers who are teaching on the circuit use a lot of matte metallic or metallic seed beads and crystals.  When I looked at the course catalog, there were absolutely NO bright colors... no whimsy at all.

First things first.... I've got to say that I LOVE matte-metallic/metallic beads and crystals (AND the artists that use them).  They're YUMMY and they fit into these artist's work really really well.  My work, on the other hand, has always been about COLOR.... and it doesn't fit into that world of sophisticated color palettes that is Bead and Button classes.  When creating things, I love big bright and bold.... which metalics are not.  I love whimsy and pattern and that is also not what is being offered at these venues.

I want to get hired to teach... and I'm not being accepted, so I'm having to make a decision, like my son, whether to make compromises to fit in, hoping that it will make my life easier financially because I might have more opportunities to make money teaching and selling OR to stick to my guns like he would JUST to stay true to myself.

All this said, even if I make the changes, I still might not be accepted.... my rejection might have nothing to do with my materials choices... it might just be that there is a very limited customer base for my work or that it's just not up to par or on the same level as these other instructors (that is hard to swallow, but it's a real possibility)

(this is the longest blog posting ever.... sorry if you're nodding off... I just feel the need to expound on what I've been making quips about on Facebook... to show why I'm having such difficulty in what I've been working on lately)

I came home from a successful show at Bead and Button, where my success was primarily through my glasswork... which had not happened at my booth since the late 90s when I didn't have beadwork kits at my booth.  What did that mean???  I had to really look at it honestly (and that's the future blog posting).  At the same time, I'm thinking about what to send Bead and Button for my class proposals/application for the 2013 show because those applications are due at the end of July.

A lot rides on being accepted to teach, finances in particular.   If I'm not able to sell kits at the Meet the Teacher night, which is the night BEFORE the sales floor opens, when instructors can sell kits to people who aren't in their classes, the time,  according to my customers, that they spend a lot of their money on beadwork kits, I truly believe it will continue to have a negative effect on my own kit sales and my choice whether to remain a vendor or not.  (yes... I said it out loud again.  Meet the Teachers HURTS my beadwork kit sales at the show... enough that I might not remain a vendor in 2014 if I can't add additional sales/income to that show by becoming faculty in addition to selling on the show floor in 2013 first.)  This sounds totally whiny... but it's a business decision.  I can't continue to do a show that isn't as profitable as it should be with the outlay of expenses involved.  The decision is just wrapped up in a big bow of emotional junk, which is why I sound whinier than I wish I did.

SO, trying to rein myself in.... how have I dealt with this decision???  For the last week, I've tried to "fit in" color-wise.  I've worked on a piece that is completely void of color in fact.  I even eliminated black and white from my choices for color palette because they can easily be turned whimsical.  I've worked completely in silver and grey to try to convey my same aesthetic, but without color.  It has been HARD.  It has bordered on painful.  It has been emotional.  I know it doesn't seem like beadwork could be emotional, but this has because it's all tied up in the context of fitting in or not and that's tied to how my work is valued by others (it's SO complicated... selling a part of yourself.)

It's beautiful, in my opinion.  It's sophisticated and definitely wearable... but is it "Sylviebeads?"  no.  It's SYLVIE, meaning, in my own "real life" where I wear more subdued colors...but I don't create for my fashion sensibilities, I create for my emotional self... and color is what makes me ME and makes me happy when creating.

Here's a picture of what I made (still in process... I'm missing a couple of petals at the point of this photo and to be honest... it's all I can do to finish it.  It took me forever to finish one more petal (not because it's complicated, but because I was bored with the color)  I was even bored with the photograph!  I played with the Hipstamatic app to make it more interesting photography-wise!

Pretty and unfinished.... it will be a major miracle if I get the threads woven in  before the weekend because that's my least favorite part... and if I'm procrastinating making a petal, I KNOW I'll put off weaving the stupid threads in.  Once it's finished... I know I'll wear it all the time, which is what's so funny.... but that's how I roll.  I'm a constant contradiction in what I like to wear and what I like to make.  I've been wearing lots of grey lately and this will look great with it.... IF I get the threads woven in.

Where does this leave things after this LONG LONG posting about my dilemma of fitting in vs. being myself?

I'm submitting half of my existing projects to Bead and Button this year in a completely different color palette than what I see as "me."   At least this way, if I'm rejected again, I can take that off the checklist of possible reasons why.  It doesn't mean that I'm totally selling out... there is still my design aesthetic in the project itself, as well as my own color sensibilities... because I am completely capable of creating pieces that are sophisticated in color palette (I offer kits in those sorts of colors in almost every project just so that students who hate brights will have a choice... they aren't ME, but they're mine.  Does that make sense?)   THAT is the adjustment I'm making to try to fit in to the crowd that I WANT to be in.... which is a bit different than my son's situation.  He wants to stand out, be an individual  ALL the time, at any price.

Me?  I want to be me AND pay the bills.... that is the BIG difference.
(After all...  clothes for teenage boys who want to be individuals in the fashion world have to be paid for.)

QUICK NOTE:  After receiving comments and messages on FB, it's important for me to add, I'm not going to totally change what I do.  I won't give up who I am and my aesthetic just because of this application to teach.  I'm still going to make my stuff in ME colors... this is just about me being stubborn trying to make myself work in colors that aren't ME for the application.  Does that make sense?  If I asked my son what to do, he would say "NO WAY!" but I'm being reasonable and responsible..... But No worries... I'm not going to give up my artistic sense to fit in permanently with everyone all the time.  I just need to get hired, so I need the people who might not be looking at my work because of color to look at the design itself.  My customers know who I am and if they see me on the course list, they would KNOW that everything I do comes in brights.  (and I'm DYING to make that bracelet in green and purple!)  I just have to suffer through making these samples in neutrals first.  (and I'm glad everyone likes the silver.... it IS pretty and will look great with my outfit)

Monday, June 04, 2012

So you like Zombies?

So, after posting pictures of the new Head Over Heels Zombie girl, I've been flooded with emails saying "I'm not going to Bead and Button, so how do I get one??"

Here's the answer... I will bring home any remaining kits and will fill orders from people who preordered via PayPal (more on that in a minute). THEN I will start making more to fill additional preorders and after that, I will make more and add the kit to the website. I'm only planning on making 75 kits all together, but my need to pay bills might make me increase this to a number that fills orders through October... No promises)

Based on initial reaction, I honestly don't expect to come home with any of the kits (I'm only taking 20 and several of those are already reserved for preorders) so I expect that I will be making more when I get back to fill the PayPal preorders and they will be ready mid to late June (I won't be back till the 12th so late June is realistic If I give myself a day or two off.)

So... Here's the deal with preorders... If you would like to order a Zombie girl kit at the Bead and Button price of $150 (price will be $175 after the show) you need to put a $50 deposit down on your kit by Sunday, the last day of the show. To do this. Go to and send $50 to Include all your contact info in the notes section.

I will fill the orders in order of receipt and will let you know an expected date of delivery after the show when I know if there are any kits left. When your kit is ready, I will send you a PayPal invoice for the balance. Once received, I will send your kit to you!

Make sense? If not, Email me and I'll answer any questions.

Tiny blah blah blah...

Not enough coffee in the world to get me through this busy day!

Friday, June 01, 2012

Long Time, No Blog... and now Zombies!

It's ONE WEEK till the Bead and Button Show opens in Milwaukee, WI.  I'm only a few days away from leaving and I realized that I probably should say something about it here on the blog.

HERE is what's new....  Head Over Heels Zombie Girl Limited Edition

I will do a bit more blogging about the projects and the show in the next few days.  I need to catch things up a bit, BUT for those of you who have been begging for this project... IT'S DONE!  YAY!!!!  I'll have 20-30 kits with me at Bead and Button (that's not a lot) and will make about the same number for Bead Fest Philly in August.  After that, I'll decide if I'm going to continue the edition through the end of the year or say "done"  SO, if you want one of these, DON'T WAIT!  Contact me and pre-order or run to my booth at Bead and Button on Thursday night!

See you soon!!!

tiny blah blah blah...

SO need some coffee!!!
Music - I'm on a "dance music" kind of thing while I prep for the show