so i signed up for lori anderson's bead soup blog party this past weekend. i'm so excited! i just love this challenge. and lori sent out an email that suggested we tell about how or why we got started in jewelry design and what we like about it. i like this idea so much! so here we are.
i'm not sure i've told this story here before. i know i've mentioned it in my artist statement when i do shows... but i'll risk the possible repetition. we were living in fairbanks, alaska and after my sixth grade year we went down to the lower forty-eight to visit family. we were staying with my aunt corine and playing with my cousin susan (my sister and i) and our mom's went out garage sale-ing. when they came back, mama had a gift for me. it was a shoebox full of beads. in it were tiny cool old bottles with an assortment of seed beads and glass beads. looking back, they were probably czech. i was so excited! i offered to share them with becca but she was like, "no, way." so they were all mine! there was a spool of white c-lon in there, so i started making my own clasps (boy, were they ugly) and strung away. back in fairbanks at the end of summer i bought a loom and played with that. i used buttons from my mom's button box as the clasps. then i started buying seed beads everywhere and packs of czech beads at michael's. my designs stayed pretty basic and i ended up giving most of them away.
then in 2000 i fell into a deep depression. i dropped out of college and sat in my room watching movies and beaded constantly. the beads got me through that dark time and became intrinsic to my being. i found suddenly that i had to bead. i started reading beading books and magazines and learned about beading wire, crimps and the amazing headpin invention. light bulb! and ready made clasps! yay!!!!! so my designs graduated to gemstones that i bought at michaels and joann's. and pendants from the same places. i tried to get becca interested one christmas break when she came up from graduate school. we made tons of earrings but she declared she didn't really think she'd pursue it further. and then in 2003 becca was put on bedrest for her first pregnancy. she was pre-eclamptic and had had a very difficult pregnancy. so i went down to seattle and brought my beads 'cause i couldn't not bead at that point. becca was about fed up with reading because reading all the time on the couch, even for somebody who loves books as much as becca does, can get a little old. we watched some movies but that got old. and i was beading while i watched the movies. the beads started looking good to becca, i must admit. so she got in on it. she likes sparkly crystals, and i didn't have many of those, so for my birthday we did something very naughty. her husband jake, becca, and i went to the bead shop in bellevue (which i totally recommend) and out to i-hop. bedrest, shmedrest. becca sat a lot! but it was naughty. i spent too much money and so did becca but oh, was it wonderful!
becca had finally joined me in my obsession! yay! becca is my best friend and i love sharing this bead-love with her. three months after deborah was born, her little family drove up the alcan in a u-haul with all their belongings and moved in with us so jake could go to school. becca and i formed two sisters and entered our first craft bazaar by sharing a table with a friend and his lampwork beads. i think we made about a hundred. yay! i look back at those designs and utterly cringe. but it was a place along my journey, so i have to honor it.
then we came upon the farmer's market. love, love, love our farmer's market. at this point i went back to college and found metalsmithing. oh! oh! love. true love. cabachons! silver! copper! oh, did i swoon. and my designs got better. and then judie gumm came to metals one class and said she was looking for some workers. judie is a silversmith artist who's work i came across in high school and fell in love with it. so i talked to her and she hired me! my work skyrocketed eons and i found art beads at about the same time. and we got our business license, so i started buying wholesale online. beads! of high quality, finally. and boy did i burn through my paypal account. grin.
so. i felt like i learned all i could at judie's and left, still with the option of going back if i ever want to. and my work is something i can be proud of now. i bought an i-phone and downloaded square so now we can take credit cards and our sales, like, quadrupled. we do less craft shows in winter and opened an etsy shop. we're considering moving to luulla or another spot. and boy, do we love working together at such a fabulous job.
what do i love about beading? well, i'm an artist and selling paintings is HARD. jewelry is art that people can buy easily and use every day. people visit our booth and say our work is wonderful and that we're their favorite jewelers at the market(!). and that feels so good. i absolutely adore working with my sister. and i just love the immediacy of it. instead of days, it takes hours. and beads are sooooo luscious. i love working with such gorgeous pieces of art. gemstones, art beads, and metal. yum. i love being able to express myself and have people view and appreciate it. i love working with our customers. there's not a thing i don't love about jewelry design.
so that's my story. hope you found it interesting!
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