My friend Richelle over at Shipwreck Dandy nominated me to take part in a blog hop, so here we go!
What are you working on?
What I’m really working on right now is recapturing some of my creative energy. This may sound strange, coming from an artist/bead shop owner, as it seems that creativity would just be flowing out of my ears. But the truth of the matter is that all of the creative energy I used to put into making jewelry is now routed to the shop. Between doing window displays, constantly re-arranging 7 showcases and innumerable shelves of goodies, keeping the beads clean and shiny, and helping all of our friends and customers realize their creative dreams, I am pretty spent. I do keep up with making jewelry for the shop, but jewelry making is now something different for me. While I still enjoy it immensely, things are different now that it’s my business. Pre-shop, crafting jewelry was something I used to unwind at the end of a long day (or night) at work. Now it’s my job. And truthfully, I still enjoy it as much as I ever did, but it’s no longer a creative release like it once was. So, I’ve been doing some different things to “get my groove back.” I decided that I had to do art that is just for me, instead of art that is for sale. I’ve taken up writing again, and after becoming obsessed with Pysanky eggs around Easter time, I’ve started to paint rocks:
And also started to mess around with flower gardens. Here’s my new bleeding heart garden:
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I had to think about this one for awhile. I mean, what exactly is my work these days? Is it the jewelry I make? Or the window displays we come up with? I think the answer is my work encompasses all that is Fall Hill Bead and Gem. And our shop (also referred to as “the baby”) is definitely different than many bead and gem shops. Really, all dusting and cleaning aside, my work is now to help others reach deep inside of themselves and pull out the creativity that’s hiding within. How many times have I heard “I can’t make jewelry,” or “I’m not artistic at all!” only to help that person put together a one of a kind piece that indeed, they DID make with their artistic nature that they didn’t even know existed. The look in someone’s eyes when they see that yes, they are creative, and yes, they are capable of producing art to be proud of: that’s the real payday. Which is good, because it takes a while for those penny beads to add up! Haha!
Why do I create what I do:
One thing I love about my current job is that when people walk through my door, they are always happy to be there. It’s not like the DMV or the grocery store, places that you HAVE to go. Coming to the space we’ve created is a treat for people. I love to watch folks ooh and ahhhh over the unusual crystals and gemstones that we have. I love to watch people picking up beads and absentmindedly running their fingers through the gemstone strands. It’s great to watch the stress roll off of people as they sit around my table and string a bracelet or a necklace, one bead at a time. I always joke that it’s cheaper than therapy (well, depending on what beads you buy) and it’s just as effective. There is just something so meditative about stringing beads, and I love to share that with others. Creating and maintaining a space where people can just let their guard down and enjoy being among the treasures is my purpose. If I can put some joy out into the world, well then I’ve done my job!
How does my creative process work:
There is really nothing that I love more that what I call a “bead challenge.” A bead challenge is when someone comes in with something specific in mind, and we work together to realize their vision. Oftentimes, we don’t have the exact bead that’s on the necklace in the Sundance catalog, and that’s ok. Because part of it all is allowing yourself to be malleable, to surrender yourself to the flow of the project at hand. I learned long ago, after trying many MANY times to incorporate a most special bear claw that I was given into various pieces, you have to listen to the stones (or glass beads, or crystal beads, whatever the case may be.) I made 3 or 4 intricate projects with it (including a giant peyote-stitched amulet pouch with bear tracks and gorgeous tiger eye fringe), but in the end it would just be looking at me saying “NOOOOOOO! NOT HERE!” So, after trying to force the issue, I put it away for awhile – 12 years to be exact! It was not until my godson Owen was born that it found its place in a power piece that I made in honor of his birth. It was like it was waiting for him all along:
So, as much as I may want to finish something/use something specific/make a piece a certain way, I learned that you really have to listen to the beads. They’ll tell you what they want to be. And if you try to ignore them, you’ll be ripping apart your work constantly. Some things just SCREAM about what they want to be, other things whisper about it. And every once in awhile you get a really petulant bead that insists on being stashed away for a time until the right project comes. And those are the ones that go down in the books as some of the greatest projects ever. I’m currently cooking up something to do with these beauties:
I’ve invited Alexis over at Threadabell to participate in sharing how her process works. Hop on over to Alexis’ blog and check out her etsy store, to see some amazing stitchery and to check out her sewing skills. And try not to buy a Swedish Chef apron, I dare you!