|a sample of my beadwork at age 12, found in my grandma's jewelry box 14 years later|
I’ve been in love with beads ever since my grandma gave me her loom at a young age.
I’ve had an entrepreneurial spirit since then, too.
One summer when I was 12, I decided to make some bead money by selling my strung seed bead jewelry. I lived by the lake, and the busiest day is the fourth of July. There was a little store that everyone would buy ice at on their way to the boat ramp, and the owner agreed to let me sell my jewelry in front of his store.
With the date set and the agreement made, I started beading up a storm. I created patterns that I liked, and color combinations that made me happy. I’d finish one design that would spark a new idea for another design. I realize now looking back that I was creating a collection! I didn't think too much about what people would want to buy, and only a few designs ended up red, white, and blue. I stayed up late creating with reckless abandon, just doing what I loved.
The big day came, and I laid out my jewelry on the walkway in front of the store. My sign read bracelets $1, necklaces $2, and leather keychains $5. I didn't exactly get the idea of pricing for my time, but I never questioned the value of my work. I had the mentality of “who wouldn't want one of my cool bracelets?” I ended up making $76 that day, and I felt so rich!
|My Andromeda Spike Pendant- one of 3 projects I will teach at B&B 2014|
If my 12 year old self knew what used to go through my head when I designed, she would kick my *$$! Recent designs have been edited by the thoughts, “What will my colleagues think of this?” and even worse “Is this good enough?” I've held myself back in ways I never did before I decided I want this to be a career. The piece I created for a beading challenge, just to have fun, was the piece that ended up in a Beading Daily newsletter.
Now I design like my 12 year old self, and I feel liberated. I haven't had "designer's block" since! I also take time to create things that allow me to be fully expressed as an artist that may not turn into a kit or class.
|Rajah, the beaded tiger I'm working on|
Some designers don't create things outside of what they're teaching or creating tutorials for, but I know it feeds my soul, so it works for me.
My design advice is to bead what makes you happy, and get lost in it. Get so lost you have to set an alarm so you remember to eat! Most importantly, have fun!