Monday, January 23, 2017

Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone

It's been awhile since I've visited my blog.  I have about 10 drafts saved that I haven't published yet. Oops.  This past year has been an adventure, to say the least.  The short version is we sold our home and moved to a different state.  The long version will perhaps come later in a blog post entitled "Home Selling Nightmares:  Everything That Could Possibly Go Wrong Did - And Then Some."

Lest you think I'm all doom and gloom, there was a very bright .925 sterling silver lining hiding in my rain cloud.  I got to quit my job and start focusing on building my empire!  That might seem like a tall order, but I believe.  I believe I can.  I believe I will.

I've taken a couple of baby steps.  Then I took the ginourmous leap.  I signed up for the 2017 edition of the Bead Peeps Swap n Hop.  Bead Peeps is a rocking little Facebook group.  You have to check it out if you haven't already!  Anywho, you get assigned a partner to exchange beads and findings with.  After everyone has made something from their goodie bags, there's a big blog reveal and everyone hops around checking out all the eye candy and talent.

One of our "assignments" is to introduce ourselves to the organizer and our future partner.  Here I go!

My name is Dana.  I am an early 40s mother of 3, grandmother of 3+, wife of one.  Now I am a SAHM.  Prior to my career shift, I was an administrative assistant.  My husband, my son, and I live on the coast of North Carolina.  My two daughters are grown and gone and have blessed me with grandchildren I get to see when we visit West Virginia and Georgia.

I have been designing jewelry for over 12 years.  After getting frustrated trying to find beads that fit my "vision" I became a lampworker in 2006.  I took a bit of a break from 2010 - 2012 in order to move and welcome my son into the world and cater to his every whim.  I finally got my studio set back up in early 2013 and resumed lampworking.  My jewelry making skills evolved from simple strung designs into more complex creations and I started making my own components and findings.  When we decided to move again in 2014, I realized I wouldn't be able to take up lampworking immediately, so I decided to take a left turn into another medium.  I experimented with polymer clay a bit and then fell in love with ceramic clay!  I have been making ceramic beads for a few years now and really enjoy the sculptural capabilities.

Now onto the good stuff!  Jewelry!  What do I like to make?

  • Bohemian
  • Gothic
  • Victorian
  • Steampunk
  • Earthy
  • Eclectic
  • Colorful
Lampwork and Copper

What don't I like?
  • Contemporary/Modern
  • Minimalist
  • Cold
My favorite materials to work with:
  • My own handmade beads and components.  (Ego?  Maybe!)
  • Wire - mainly copper, but I like sterling silver and stainless steel as well.
  • Chain
  • Artisan beads - ceramic, lampwork, polymer, wood, bone, beaded beads, altered art.
  • Vintage beads and buttons
  • Textiles and fibers
  • I'm not a "seed beader" but I have incorporated seed beads into some of my designs.
Materials I don't enjoy working with:
  • Beads that are plastic or acrylic.
  • Tiger Tail
  • Rhinestones
  • Bubble Gum beads
  • Wool - it itches!
  • Beads that have rhinestones embedded in them.
I hope this info helps my partner and doesn't scare her away!  I'm really not as hard to please as it looks on paper (screen?).   Good luck to all my fellow Swappers and Hoppers!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A Source of Inspiration

"Where do come up with this stuff?"

That's the question I hear the most.  The truth is, it comes from everywhere.  But then there are times that nothing happens.  I surf Pinterest and Instagram and still nothing appeals to me.  Going for a walk doesn't jolt anything out of my muse.  So then I have to get creative with ways to get creative!

A few weeks ago I had a two-day virtual trunk show on one of my Facebook groups.  During the course of the event Inspiration knocked on my laptop screen.  I didn't know what to give away as a prize, so I asked the participants to design their own!

As you can see, there were some really great suggestions.  There was also a lot of room left for interpretation, which sparked my dormant creativity.  And since my creativity spark was lit, I decided to fan it into a full flame and make them ALL!

Since I didn't make them in order (and there's one left to do at this point), I'm not going to reveal them in order.  Let's start with the winner!  A mushroom in the colors of the fiesta danglies - variegated shades of mint, turquoise, and purple.  

Wait.  What?  You don't know what fiesta danglies are?  Ah!  You weren't at my trunk show!  Don't worry, I will include a link to the group at the bottom so you don't miss out on the fun again.  I'm unbelievably thoughtful like that.

Behold!  Fiesta Danglies.

I have been known to give my beads and jewelry components cutesy names.  Don't judge me.  

First up, I have to make a mushroom.  The first mushroom attempt will not be shown.  This is a family friendly blog, and we all know what mushrooms look like.  *nudge nudge wink wink*  So here is the second attempt at making a mushroom that doesn't look so much like a mushroom looking body part.

Still bears a slight resemblance, but there's really no getting completely away from it.  Unless I did a morel mushroom.  Now why am I just now thinking of that?  Because my mind stays in the gutter. Obviously.

I neglected to take a picture of the mushrooms after they were bisque fired, so just image those same 'shrooms in white.  But since our Winner didn't request white, they got all fancied up in fiesta colors!

Well, one did.  I haven't done anything with the second mushroom yet.  That may be another Design Your Own contest in the future!

As promised, if you would like to join in on the fun, just join my Facebook Group.  It features all handmade jewelry components!  

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Layout Testing

This is what my pictures used to look like.  Pretty bad, huh?

Then I got the idea to use a textured background!  Even worse!

Then I got sidetracked and started looking at cupcake recipes.  Wait a minute.  Cupcakes aren't photographed on plain white backgrounds.  Or on burlap.  Or from above.  Let's see if we can photograph beads like cupcakes!

An interesting background, some props, a little prospective.  I think I'm on to something here!

A little over cropped, but still more interesting.  What do you think?