Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Motivation Comes and Goes

Some days I am extremely motivated and have more creative ideas than I know what to do with.  Other days (like today), I have no desire to pick up a bead or work on designs.  I'm positive that I'm not alone in this - I think most creative people "hit the wall" from time to time. 

I try not to get frustrated during these times but look to other ways to stay productive.  Today, I've been cleaning out the bead room and getting rid of unnecessary clutter.  Even though I haven't worked on a single jewelry project, I still feel like I've accomplished something. 

I have a very large moving box filled with over 100 books that has taken up residence in a corner of my bead room.  I've held on to these books, some of them for over 20 years, because letting them go somehow seemed like I was losing a part of myself.  Maybe I would want to read that book again someday, or maybe a friend would want to borrow it. More importantly, those books represented an accomplishment - after all, I'd read each and every one of them.  

What I realized yesterday is that I haven't picked up a single one of them to re-read it, and that box is taking up valuable space that I could use to set up a workspace for metals.  (Yes Debe, that means I will finally get a torch.)  I've decided I'm going to donate the books to either the local library or the Goodwill -- feels really good to be dumping some of the old baggage I've been lugging around for all these years.

I'm also cleaning out my bookshelf and getting rid of an entire shelf of stuffed animals.  The animals had special meaning because every year at the State Fair, I would play the game where the carny tries to guess your age.  I'm fortunate in that I look younger than my years and I always won the game.  Those stuffed animals were my reminder that I still had my youth.  I've decided I don't need cheap carnival prizes to stay young at heart and boy, wouldn't it be nice to have that shelf to store my bins of seed beads.  I have to admit that I'm not quite ready to throw those stuffed animals away just yet but I did put them away in a closet.  Baby steps......

So, while I'm not motivated to make anything today, I am motivated to re-do my workspace so it's ready when the creative spark hits again.  I'm sure I'll be over this slump by tomorrow but in the meantime, the stuffed animals are safely tucked away and the books are on their way to new homes.  Maybe I'll go watch a video on jewelry making.......

Saturday, February 18, 2012

New Challenges

2012 is shaping up to be a year of new challenges and adventures and I'm so excited to start exploring.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am trying new materials in my jewelry and it's been so much fun to let my creativity run wild and see what I can come up with.  Be sure to check out the Get Your Bead On store for my new Industrial Chic pieces -- I've been having fun with hardware and alcohol inks to make some interesting jewelry. 

I have also pledged to get more involved in the jewelry making community.  There are so many unbelievable artists out there and the Internet takes away all barriers to working with crafters around the world.  I've started reading a number of blogs from other countries using the Google Translate tool.  The translation isn't always perfect but it allows me to read Russian, Polish, Italian, German, French... you get the idea.

I'm both excited and nervous about an upcoming event I've signed up for.  Every year Lori Anderson runs an event called the Bead Soup Blog Party.  While I am not participating in the main event, a smaller group of us is doing a swap and will be revealing our creations the first of April.  My partner for the swap is Beth from Anchorage, AK.  Besides being a great artist, she's a very nice person and I'm happy to have made a new friend in the beading world.  Right now we are putting a package of beads together to mail to each other.  I'll post pics when I get my package.  I'm a bit nervous about this event because my work will be seen by many, many talented jewelry artists and I want to make a good first impression.  On the other hand, I'm very excited to have this opportunity.

I'm also participating in another type of swap event.  In this one, about 20 people sign up to receive a box of beads.  The box starts out with the first person on the list who takes as many beads from the box as they would like, replacing them with beads of equal value from their personal stash.  Then the box is shipped to the next person on the list who does the same.  Eventually, the box arrives back at the person who started it and they have a box of new beads to enjoy.  I'm anxiously waiting for my box to arrive but I'm near the end of the list so it will be several weeks before my package arrive.

There are so many fun and interesting opportunities in the world of beading -- my "things I want to try" list just keeps growing and growing.  For now, I'll see how these two events go and where it takes me from there.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Hidden Treasures

I'm learning to move outside the box and look for possibilities in all sorts of materials I would have never considered before.  This morning I went to The Scrap Exchange in Durham and WOW - what a trove of hidden treasures.  The Scrap Exchange has a little bit of everything and you have to sort through it all but there are some gems among all the clutter.

My haul from this morning looks like a pile of random "stuff" but I have something in mind for each piece.  It was so exciting to stroll through the store and imagine the different ways that materials could be used.  I was especially excited when I got to the hardware bin of nails, screws, washers, etc.  As you can see from the pic, I got some really great washers that will work nicely in an industrial chic piece of jewelry.  I'm thinking the big washers can be textured and maybe colored with alcohol inks to make a great pendant.

I also found some beautiful pieces of porcelain in different shapes and colors.  I'm thinking they will be great in a bead embroidery piece.  (Now, if I could only find my Lacy's Stiff Stuff.)  And that tray of glass vials on the right - they will make great components for necklaces and earrings with some pretty beads inside.  I also found some great buttons and some metal tubes for making rivets.  The plastic tubing will be perfect to use inside my woven tube beads to give them the support they need.

Oh, and I found a really great book of fabric samples.  I have a special project in mind for these beauties but I'm keeping it under wraps for now because I plan to give them to my friends and I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise.

What I learned today is that you just never know where you will find hidden gems.  And, you have to open your mind to the possibilities.  Look for interest, texture, and color to find materials that you can turn into unique pieces.  I also found some functional items.  See those little test tubes in the upper left corner of the pic?  I plan to use those to store different sizes of beading needles.  Perfect for the function and only 25 cents each.  Speaking of money, my bill for this entire haul?  Only $19!!  Now that's what I call a good shopping day.