Monday, March 14, 2011


A question in the forum recently was about confidence, how do you feel confident as a designer and teacher?

It set me thinking and while there's no simple answer to this one there are steps you can take to feel more confident about what you do.

I think we all, at times, feel like we have a snowball's chance in hell of creating something new especially if we're buying up every bead book and magazine out there...not to mention browsing every beader's photos on Facebook.  If you're doing that and want to create something of your own.....stop!  The brain stores everything you see and will regurgitate it giving you a design that may well be something you forgot you saw....and there is nothing more confidence deflating than thinking you've designed something new only to be told someone did it before.

Put the bead books down!
Figure out what sparks your creative you love period costume? Flowers? Architecture? Buttons? Fabric?
Make yourself an "Inspiration" book....fill a scrapbook with pictures of whatever gets your juices flowing. If you don't have a sketchbook...get one. Sketch your ideas, make notes about bead shapes and sizes.

What does that have to do with confidence?
Well...if you develop your design this way it gives you the confidence to know the design is yours and you can back it up.   It's amazing how good it feels to know exactly where your design came from...takes away all that second guessing.

Photograph your designs....just looking at pictures of your designs is like looking through fresh eyes. Post pictures to Facebook to see what others think.  Sometimes if you've been working on a design for a long time it can feel old to you and your enthusiasm for the piece may have waned in the time between inspiration and completion...that doesn't mean it isn't fabulous it just means you've seen too much of it.  You need fresh eyes and showing it to others will let you know the true lay of the land.

Don't compare yourself to others.
Sometimes we can erode our confidence by measuring ourselves against other how much they turn out, their range, etc. We all have our own individual style and work schedule.

If you're teaching the best confidence builder I've found is a good pattern. Writing instructions that are easy to follow will make your job easier and when you leave a class thinking "that was easy" or "that went well" your confidence will grow in leaps and bounds.  Also know the level your students work projects that stretch them but ones they can finish in a reasonable amount of time (they should be able to finish it or the component between classes). The more successful your students ae the more your confidence as a teacher will grow.

Knowing who you are as a designer, what your style is, knowing you have built your design from the ground up and that as a teacher you went into class well prepared are all things that should give you confidence.
Of course we are human and we all have our issues so confidence may desert us now and again...forgive yourself for that :)

And remember...have fun with it!


  1. Thank you!!!! so much Mikki for the helpful and inspiring blog. I am so glad to know that I am already doing some of the things you suggest sketch pad and note book are never very far away ...I am always jotting ideas down ...otherwise I would forget them. It is helpful for me to have a record of my design ideas to go back to. Interesting that you posted this at this time as I have been struggling with my confidence as a beader ...very timely :)
    Thanks!!! so much!!!

  2. What an exceptionally good post! Great advice!

  3. Great post. Great advice. It is hard though, not to do the first thing. Especially when we are learning a new technique or a new medium. We try to see how others do it and then we end up looking all over the internet. It can be a vicious cycle. The internet can be bad for creativity, which is what I have found to be true for me.

  4. Great post but it is sooo hard not to admire all the gorgeous beading out there. I have decided to just "Grow" in my learning all there is to learn then make changes that spark me at that time. And with support from all of you makes it so much fun!

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  6. It is true. The more you look at beading magazines and others' work, the less you listen to your own muse.

    Great post.. Thanks a lot!