"Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow. "
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)
The topic "Growth" can go in many directions. I am focusing on the growth and progress Chris and I have made in our beads and jewelry over the past three years. We are often asked how we got into the business of jewelry and later lampwork beads. It all started with Chris giving me an ultimatum. "Stop buying beads or start selling what you make." So being a total bead addict, I started Pixybug Designs on April 4, 2007 (that was the day I got my tax id number from Nebraska). In July of 2007, Chris had the chance to take a lampwork bead class. It was my turn for the ultimatum. "If I am going to do this, then so are you!" So he took the class, and from the very start it was obvious he was going to be great at it. The beads on the string above are his very first beads! Chris and I both feel it is important to share our craft and our knowledge with others who are curious or getting started with an "art" business. We are not pros by any means, but we give suggestions for things we have tried, pass along art contacts and show info, and just enjoy chatting about how we got going. I often tell people when I teach them beading "that it is good karma to share your craft skills with others". Chris and I both feel that what we are doing (and what all artists are doing) is making the world a better place one bead or earring or bracelet at a time.
These are my pieces from the Sherry Serafini class I took on May 1st. What I learned opened up a whole new world to what I want to do with beads, buttons, and practically anything I can glue to a piece of Lacy's Stiff Stuff! Wow! What a fun and beady day that was! I had a great time, and it was probably the first time I have ever sat an beaded for 8 hours straight without a TV on! Sherry was a terrific teacher, and her beadwork is so amazing and inspiring. I have my pieces pictured this way so that you can see what each one started out as. I like to show them this way too, when I show them to people. I feel that whomever I am talking to can see just how far each piece has come. We started the morning by gluing components to our backing for the embroidery work to be stitched to. Then came the fun part! We designed our pieces to our liking. Sherry would show us basics on the board and then we could play as long as we liked with each piece. I chose not to look at my instruction booklet, instead going by what I chose each piece to look like. The only one I looked at in the book, was the rivoli piece, mostly because I wanted mine to be similiar to Sherry's and it was getting toward the end of the day, and I was getting tired.
For some time I have been frustrated with just "stringing" beads for jewelry. I felt that if I had to go on doing that, I would likely quit making jewelry because I felt stifled creatively. Shows are quite exhausting to keep up with, and I get a major case of burnout by the end of the year. I took a metalsmithing class in February in hopes that I could add metals to my beading. I still intend to do that, but I am having trouble with the soldering technique, so I need to find a tutor to help me or take another class to work with that a bit more. Bead embroidery is definitely in my future. I love the fact that you can start with anything (I have several things glued up and waiting for me to get to them) and I love that each small piece is an artwork to itself. I can join them together in a larger piece (like the one above with all of my components together) or just make them individually. I am thinking that my components will be a broach that I can wear to show off my glamorous beading all at once!
This picture sums up our growth. The ancient Mumbo skull on the left was made in October of 2007 and the one on the right was made recently. Chris was amazed at how much he has changed and thought the ancient Mumbo is cool, his skills have progressed amazingly!
This was one of my first seed beading projects. It took me four months to complete. I learned my stitches this way (though it took sometime to recognize what was being talked about when they were spoken of by name), and at times I wanted to pitch it into a wall. I love it, wouldn't trade it or sell it. I display it at our shows. I can see the flaws in it which shows my growth in learning.