Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Notes to Self - The Bead Show

Well, I'm back. I'm still riding the wave of excitement I had throughout the Show. What show?? The 'Almost Spring' Bead Oasis Show, 2009 of course. My very firstest show.

This Show is organized/sponsored/brought to you by NLM Glass Arts andNancy 'n' Sam took good care of us. It is directed at the artisan jewellery world rather than the fine art jewellery of the sort you see in Birks. The artisans are a wonderful group of people who watch out for, share, and support one another. Just for that alone, the booth was worth every penny it cost.

In monetary terms, I took a bath (that's a monetary term, isn't it?). For somebody on an incredibly small budget, it cost a lot of money just for the booth fees.

In practical terms, I roped in the sun!!

I had an incredible education that I couldn't get as an attendee. From my side of the table I saw some really gorgeous jewellery worn by the people who visited our booth. Great ideas from that. And many people stopped to chat and discuss. I gotta say it: we were invited into people's personal lives, shared our experiences, and gave and received hugs. These people were so brave and so trusting.
I met some people interested in my work and wanting to put it in their shops.

I received a wedding commission for bride's and 9 attendents jewellery. MMMMM You should see the pearls I got for this young lady.
I received the all time best deal ever from a young woman de-stashing. I was running my fingers through all those beads last night and dreamt of how I would use these beads.
I know how to present my kits better now. And I've been asked to write other kits I hadn't thought to do before. On top of all that, I had some of Joann's kits from her kits are stuffed with instructions, beads and even 2 beading needles. There's more. I also had the DVD of instructions for 5 projects from that DVD included a free kit of 1 of the projects.

The booth took almost twice as much time to set up as it did to tear down. That figures. And the glass bead artisan jewellery on sale needed straightening several times during the day. My trolly is still sitting in the kitchen: I'm removing things slowly with the good intention of putting it all back in its place. If you know me, that means piled high: nothing seems to have a proper spot in my PigPen Studio.

Artisan Jewellers are advised to wear their jewellery: they are, or should be, a moving billboard ad for their own wearable art. I am not very good at this but my sister is wonderful. Much of my 'big' artisan jewellery designs is worn by her because she has the personality to carry it off. And I, through her, received many compliments on what she wore. The lesson to me, aside from the obvious 'wear it,' is to have the big bold pieces in good supply.

I has been a remarkable 3 day show and I got home exhausted. Two days in bed, I'm almost 100% again, and still the ideas are swirling in my head. I have a lot of sorting and writing and ..... to do. A big lesson was to ensure my computer was working: it got moved and jiggled and disconnected and ........ I ended up losing one of my kits and I have to re-write it. To add insult to injury, my machine accidentally got pushed to the back of the keyboard shelf and it and the shelf fell down, went boom. On my foot.

There's another show in September and you really need to go: no matter what side of the table you are on it is worth the trip. And the entrance fee is only $8.00. Canadian money. It's worth the visit to Toronto.
Check back again soon. I'll be linking to my kits. You'll like that. Helen

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Notes to Self ~ A Knock on the Door

A knock at the door this morning but nobody there.

A parcel left at the step. But not a baby in the human sense of the word.

Artisan jewellery of the glass bead variety. A big package filled with kits by Joann. To see the kits you must visit Joann's site. Or my booth. She has sent me a sampling to sell at the 'Almost Spring' Toronto Oasis Bead Show next week. They've arrived, their parcel ripped open, but all kits are safe and sound. The pix on Joann's site are wonderful: they are clear and well lit. What she sent me is designs using a spiral technique that she calls a 'Swirl Necklace.'

And they are here. Safe and sound.

A kit includes the beads and findings. And a reel of beading thread. And 2 beading needles.

A smart businesswoman, Joann has also included her business card ~ that's what she used to hold the 2 needles. I told you she was smart.

As of now I feel relieved. I was worried they wouldn't get here in time. They came from the other side of the continent and from a foreign country. Doesn't that sound grand? Joann lives in Sammamish. Yeah, okay. Joann lives in Sammamish Washington state USA. But I am in Toronto Ontario Canada. So technically the kits did cross an international border.

Also. Joann sent me an extra kit. I want to get it all done in time to display at the show. The kit she donated to me is the Peaches and Cream Swirl Necklace.

Thanks so much for entrusting me with your products. I promise to take good care of them.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Notes to Self ~ Getting Ready

I am SO excited: I'm that close to opening the artisan jewellery booth at Toronto's Bead Oasis Show. I have so much to do and not enough time to do it. I can't just turn my back on my online responsibilities and I can't just turn my back on things like labels and inventory and ....

AND I have to keep in mind that I need more rest than most people and I have to take it so I don't exhaust myself BEFORE the show. After will be okay: I can collapse for a day or two.

And then I read a Twitter from Teri_B: she's opened a discussion about home parties for artisan jewellery. Yes, of course, my brain started thinking about home parties. Couldn't help it: Tupperware's home party model kept cropping up. Why re-invent the wheel, or, in this case, the artisan jewellery home party! But I can't get the idea out of my head.

I did something exciting yesterday. I asked for aestheticians and beauty salons for counter space for my artisan jewellery: 1 stop shop for Brides. They can coordinate the jewellery for the mothers, the attendants, the bride and maybe even the groom. And it's a simple solution for the gifts of the attendants. Why not colour coordinate the jewellery with the rest of the colours? You know, the flowers, the tablecloths, the bridesmaids' dresses, the cummerbund or ties and pocket handkerchiefs of the men. That can be accomplished with enough lead time. So the bridal party comes in to check out the salon several weeks before the wedding and sees the artisan jewellery, and says, 'AHA!'

This morning I got up early ~ well, early for me ~ and finished up the graphics for the backside of my business cards. I have almost run out of my other business cards so I've taken the opportunity to revamp the design etc. Now they are happily printing.

See?? I got something done this morning. The trick is to get something done this afternoon that gets me closer to being ready for the SHOW.

Even this bauble babble is helping. It's getting things out of my mind that are taking up too much space and distracting me from my goal. I'm getting older, y'know, and feeling much older than my chronological age. And today I'm feeling particularly brittle.

Next week I have to drive to Hamilton for an MRI. Marg is coming with me: I've had MRI's before and come away feeling like everything has been sucked out of me. Since this MRI is in Hamilton and at 7PM to boot, I am going to be in worse shape than usual. And Marg has to go to work the next day. Next week is going to be really crappy. All the more reason to get a lot done this week.

Yeah, yeah, I know. I should have started way before now. I have to tell you, that's a very smart idea. But I always avoid things that scare me until the very last moment. This occasion is no different.

Good for me!! I think I can focus again on the task at hand. Thanks for your help, good ole Blogspot.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Notes to Self - Stuff to Share

Hiya everybody. It feels like forever since I was here. And I've got a couple or three things to tell you about. And it's all here on this blog!!

1~ Are you stuck on a design? Either you've got an idea that just isn't working or worse! you have no idea at all!!

In the right hand column I draw your attention to several featrues: Microscopic View of the world, Astronomic Pic of the day, and Masks from around the world.

Microscopic ~ it is amazing the shapes and colours of things so small the eye cannot see them. Do a quick rough sketch of a 'thing' and then start bringing together the beads and threads and such you will need to render this 'thing' in beads. You are not likely to go away and come back to do it. The bugs'eye view changes every time you move away from the page. Yup, there are that many wee things that they can populate every blog view with a different wee-un.

Astronomic ~ not astrologic. We gaze at the heavens and marvel and ponder our place in that heaven. Here you will find things about the sky: the stars, planets, weather, ... Maybe you'll see the Northern Lights or the Southern Lights. Or a view of the wake of Halley's Comet. Start sketching. Don't try to define anything. Just move the pencil around, keeping your eyes on the screen and not on your sketchbook. After you've done that you can look at what you've done and think about it in terms of beads. Would it make a lovely beaded embroidery? Or a piece of artisan jewellery, something that will make a statement?

Masks ~ I spent 25 years in Canada's western province and territory ~ 2 years in Yukon Territory and 23 years in Vancouver BC. I revelled in the artistry of the Pacific Northwest First Nations people: their work is wonderfully graphic. Clean lines, limited colour palette. Spiritual meaning in their totems; whether on a pole or on a piece of artisan jewellery. The most famous among these First Nations of BC is, perhaps, Bill Reid. His work is in the BC Museum of Anthropology and graces the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC USA.

Masks are not limited to Canada's First Nations. Borneo, African, American, Mexican, .... The list is as long as ~~ Well, it's immeasurable. As in the Astronomical and the Microscopic exercises, try to draw a mask without looking at the paper. Then do another drawing but this time looking down occasionally. Draw what you see, not what your brain tells you it sees.

Those are great exercises, aren't they. It gets easier the more often you do it. And talk about cutting down that artsy block! Pretty soon you will be drawing that mess on your workbench, a still life of a coffee mug filled with scissors, pens, a fan, ....

2 ~ On a different note, I've just come across a new widget. For artisan jewellers there is a Wire Gauge Calculator, from Irma Pretorius of Wire To Jewelry that will translate a) millimeter to inch and gauge, b) inch to gauge and millimeter, and c) gauge to millimeter and inch. It's a handy tool because there are only 3 countries in the whole wide world that DO NOT use metric: Myanmar, Liberia, and USA.** You can copy it from this site and add it to your blog or e-store. It's FREE ~oh how love the sound of FREE!! Get it for yourself. And offer it to others free of charge. And keep in mind that this is the Beta version of the widget.

And that pretty well sums up what I wanted to say.
Happy Beading Helen Glass0Beads

**from Rena Klingenberg Jewelry Business Blog