Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tips on Organization From a Disorganized Beader

Sometimes when I try and think of things to write about I wonder what people will think because, what do I know? I'm relatively new to this bead weaving thing and many of you reading this will have years, even decades more experience than I.   But, as with my own blog, I try to remember that there are lots of people out there beginning beading, or beginning to sell their beading and struggling with the same hurdles I have over the last couple of years.  Encouraged by this thought I decided to write about organization....and anyone looking in my studio right now would definitely say "she's not qualified to do that!" But as I have spent the weekend organizing my beads I thought I'd share some things that help me.

Bead Storage
These nifty little wheels are the perfect packaging for a lot of my kits but I also use them to store my 2.5mm, 3mm and 4mm Swarovskis, crystals and pearls. They come in packs of two...a large one and a small one, both with 13 compartments from FMG.  For travelling these are indispensible! I write the code for the bead on the side of the wheel...they take a fine point Sharpie very well.
I also have some clear plastic thin trays with dividers for the rest of my Swarovskis.

My Delicas live in tubes in Bead Towers, each has it's identifying number plus what I paid per gram for the beads. This saves a ton of time when you're trying to price a finished piece or kit. I also created a chart to tell me how many beads are in a gram....starting at 0.25g and going up in 0.25g increments up to 15 grams, as I tend to know how many beads rather than the weight. When I pack kits or give amounts in instructions I round up to the next 0.25g...if it's just a few beads shy of the next increment I go up two.  My larger packs of Delicas have their own box.

For my seed beads, by far the largest part of my bead collection, I try to keep one tube of each color on display in these trays , I have a few of them.
The rest get packed away in boxes and storage containers ready for refilling and the tubes get a sticker when I'm getting low on a specific color.
Again these are all marked with what I paid per gram.

I also use the same flip-top boxes as my fellow Maven, Linda....mostly because Kandra of Kandra's Beads packs some of her seed beads in them...but as Linda says they store a lot in a little space.

The rest of my bead collection is stored in storage boxes which are marked for what they contain, eg. "Fire-polished, Pearls, etc."
To keep my Fireline in check I have one of these neat little fishing line spool storage boxes. It holds the large spools (125yds) of Fireline and if you add a dowel  (there's a place for it) it also keeps all the smaller (50yd) spools in check too.
I label the holes with the weight of the Fireline coming through it. Look for it in the fishing section of your local Walmart or K-mart. If you want to measure how much Fireline or any other thread you are using you can buy a fishing line counter and run your thread through it...especially good if you pack thread for kits.

For travelling I have one of these fabulous Train Cases. Mine has three top drawers on each side which I use for projects and beads and then a deep bottom for my finished 'show & tell' pieces. They are in stores now as they make great Christmas gifts, I believe I got mine at Walmart.

Reading this back it makes me look really organized, and when I take the time to put things away after each project before starting the next....I am. However....the creative mind does not always like to clear up after itself before rushing into the next project so my studio constantly looks like a bomb hit it. Morganna my muse is da bomb!

I hope you will find something here to help you organize and that your organization lasts longer than mine.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ask The Mavens

As the new issue of Beadwork arrives in subscriber's mailboxes I'm getting a lot of mail about my project, the Gothic Butterfly (Urchin Wings) bracelet. So I thought this might be a good time to talk a little about publishing.

One of the best ways to get your name out as a designer is to have your original designs published in one of the beading magazines and for bead weavers this usually means Bead & Button, Beadwork, or Perlen Posie...those are the ones I'm familiar with anyway. But how do you go about doing this?

First and foremost your design has to be original.
Then you need to check with the magazine you're submitting to and see what their themes are for the upcoming issues plus the deadlines for each issue, typically you'll be working six months out.
You may want to change the color of your design to fit in with a theme, possibly change out those 8/0 seed beads for some Swarovskis to be included in a 'sparkle-themed' issue.
Sometimes your design just won't be what they are looking for at that time and you won't have to let that deter you. Read what their themes are and maybe you'll be inspired to create something special.
Don't be surprised if they change the name of your project, so if you are attached to the name let them know up front....but don't be closed off to compromise.

Once you have sent your pictures to the magazine and the project has been accepted you will get a contract in the mail, you'll have to sign it and send it back and you will get your signed copy after that.
You will also get a list of things they need....the pattern with illustrations, the samples, a photo of you and a short bio.  Do not forget to mention your website, shop name, blog, etc. as these are the things that will get you business.
The next one I don't do so well on....so practice what I preach, not what I do...lol (while putting together my Gothic Butterfly kits last night I realised I'd forgotten to order the rivolis..sheesh!)

Be prepared with bead kits for the project when your issue hits the newstands...some beaders prefer to work from kits and this is your time to sell some.  As the magazine publishes the pattern your rights to sell the pattern are suspended for the time of your contract....this can be from two months to a year!  So...you will only be selling the beads.
Plus if you wish to teach the project you will need to have lots of copies of your issue to give your students in place of instructions.
And, in my experience you may not have access to your samples for six months, or get paid for the same time...sometimes long after the magazine is arriving in subscriber's mailboxes.

I'm sure the big questions is about how much you get paid....well, it isn't that much (about $60 a page) and you can probably make more selling it yourself especially if the contract is for a year.

So.....if you do it you will make a name for yourself in the beading world, it will boost your business a little, it will boost your confidence a LOT and give you some well earned bragging rights :-)  I say go for it...especially if you intend on making a living with your beads. I'll be watching for your projects....good luck!