Thursday, September 13, 2012

Growth and New Beginnings....

Over the last few weeks since I returned from my first time being a vendor at BeadFest, I've been doing a lot of thinking about my experience there and wondering about whether or not there are more bead shows in my future. Over the last few years since I began making beads and jewelry, there has been a definite shift in my work from one that was mostly focused on jewelry to one that is mostly focused on bead making.



Making and selling beads is not for everyone and preparing for a large bead show takes months of preparation. Producing and making multiples of the same design has never appealed to me all that much and no matter how many boundaries you set for yourself, there is a tendency for customers to ask for something you are no longer very excited about making. For a working artist, that can mean crossing back over boundaries you've set for yourself because there are bills to pay and customers to please.

So last week, after I returned home and unpacked and put my studio in order, I sat down for the first time in over a month at my work table to make beads.

I had no idea where to start. Perhaps making beads for 6 months non stop will do that to you. I had no energy to put new ideas to work yet and the thought of making one more bead in a similar style to what I had been making sounded way less than appealing.


I decided to revisit some of the first designs I had made almost 3 years ago, small birds and owls. They had always been a customer favorite and many folks were disappointed that I was no longer too crazy about making them. However, as I sat and began making tiny birds, I felt something return that I haven't felt in some time.

Pure unadulturated joy at making birds.



While I don't know what the future holds at this point for my beadmaking future, I do know for now that each bead I make needs to be filled with that same joy. Each piece of jewelry needs to have that same enthusiasm and I'm excited to begin again...


11 comments:

Kristen said...

I know this is a struggle for you but I have to tell you with all my heart that I hope you do continue to make your art. Meeting you at Beadfest is a joy I carry with me. Seeing your creations up close and hearing your excitement when you talk about them was a thrill. I also have seen how hard it is for my beadmaking friends to prepare for a show and I admire you for pushing through!

Cynthia@Ornamental Style said...

I can understand how production work can get tiresome, especially after the big push to get ready for a huge bead show. As designers and artists, our work grows and evolves. Who would ask Picasso to paint something in his blue period style when he's moved on to cubism?

Maybe limited editions are the key. You seemed to have a lot of excitement when you were working on the buddhas. You'll figure it out.

And the birds and owls are so sweet! So when they are for sale, we'll have to grab them up--knowing it may be a while before we see them again.

By the way, the comment moderation sucks! If this goes through, it's on the third try trying to figure it out.

Laura said...

I love your beads, the Buddhas that you made are my favorites and soon I will need more.i have only known you through your beads not your jewelry and I hope you always keep on making your special beads.they have great energy...and I love the birds

Chelsea said...

I've never understood how people can enjoy making carbon copies of the same design over and over again. Clearly I have some attention deficits, but I think that sort of creating can cause the muse to grow stale pretty quickly. I'm glad you are able to continue making things that bring you joy!

lunedreams said...

your little birdies are sweet! i can see why it would feel refreshing to make them. lots of little variations possible too. i hear you about going over old ground, i get requests to repeat very old designs and the thought of it makes me feel ill. recreating a design i feel no joy in makes me want to cry. i usually explain that "i'm sorry, this design has been retired." always a tension between what other people want and what really gives you joy, especially when your livelihood is in the mix. part of the benefit of working for yourself is being self-directed and maintaining your passion, but that gets undermined when customer demand pushes us back into that feeling of being a drone flogging someone else's vision. i imagine it's a constant, inexact exercise to keep listening to yourself and deciding when to say yes and no. thanks for sharing your reflections!

Hopemore Studio said...

I was thinking on this earlier in the week, what would it be like to just make beads...to be really prolific...like it was my day job. I have to admit I had reservations. It is hard for me to be an artist AND do production. There are times I move away from polymer completely, for many weeks I am just done with it then I get a sale or a special request and I struggle with the idea of getting back into it again.

I'm so glad you are rediscovering your joy in making beads again, I hope by just accepting what brings you happiness in the moment will gently guide you to the next place you were meant to be.

Barbara Lewis said...

Barbara, It sounds like just good old-fashioned burn-out. It's great you're giving yourself permission to follow your heart. After a little bit of time away from the event, you'll be able to reflect on the experience in a more balanced way. At that point, I believe that you'll clearly know what direction your destined to go.

carolynchenault said...

I would love to hear more of your thoughts about bead shows...how you decide which ones you want to do & how to determine how many beads to make. I'm considering selling my beads thru bead shows, but I don't know where to start my research to make sure I'm choosing the right venue...

Barbara said...

Thank you all for your kinds words. Your encouragement and words of wisdom really help.

mairedodd said...

how very beautiful - and i am so glad that you found joy in what you were making...
i find it interesting that the little bird form does that for you - i know that leann weih feels the same way about her little birds...
it's funny, people think that makers/creatives don't feel like they are at work... don't understand the tedium that can result from having to do things that don't inspire you -
it's always best when we can work from a place of peace and fulfillment...
looking forward to seeing what you keep doing -

Diana P. said...

Oh Barb, I know what you mean. After Bead Fest I didn't touch my clay for almost three weeks. The thought of touching the clay made me feel sick. I'm finally enjoying it again probably because I'm taking this time to make what I want. Maybe these things won't sell, maybe they will. At least I'm happy making them now. Plus, you can't stop bead-making...I NEED your beads.

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