Sunday, July 8, 2012

Beads of Courage

Today I am spending a lot of time organizing my studio space. It was my great fortune to acquire a lot of beading findings as we were cleaning the back room of Knits & Pearls. In the midst of organizing I came across some old large-holed beads that I made a few years ago. They were beads I had decided not to sell because of size, color, or design. So, as I came across them again I realized that there were some people out there that might appreciate them: the children in the Beads of Courage program.

For Beads of Courage

What is the beads of courage program? From their website,
The Program is a resilience-based intervention designed to support and strengthen children and families coping with serious illness. Through the program children tell their story using colorful beads as meaningful symbols of courage that commemorate milestones they have achieved along their unique treatment path.

Even if you're not a beadmaker, if you have children and are thankful for their health, this may be a program worth considering for your charitable donations.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Working On Something New

Now that I have more time to work on new designs I'm very, very excited to say that I've expanded my repertoire to include fine gem beads and stones. It's something I've wanted to do for a long time and now have enough time! While I plan to continue producing jewelry with standard semi-precious gemstones and my lampwork beads, better defining and expanding those lines of jewelry, the fine gems will allow me to compete for some of the luxury jewelry business that's out there ... if I can resist the urge to keep them all for myself. Yay!

07032012 - pearl, diamond, laboradite, spinel, sterling silver - art shot

The top two gemstone beads in each earring are rough DIAMONDS! Pearl briolettes, laboradite, seed pearls, and black spinel round out the gemstone contingent. All of the metal is sterling (0.925) or fine (0.999) silver.

The gemstone cluster look is pretty popular right now and it definitely appeals to me. I love the long, lean, and sparkly look! What do you think?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Knits & Pearls Is Closed - A New Chapter Begins

Knits & Pearls, where I was the primary beading and jewelry expert and instructor for the past two years, is now closed. While there is always some uncertainty in change, I've always been someone that embraces the possibilities of the future. So, I'm pretty stoked about having more time (okay, so only one day a week, but one more than before) to focus on bringing my own designs to life.

At Knits & Pearls, while I was always proud of the work I did there, I felt like I had to be conservative in my designs so they would appeal to more of our customers. While that's not a bad lesson to remember, I have been itching to try more avant garde design elements and work on pieces that involve more complex and technical techniques than I was able to do for the work I did at Knits & Pearls.

c koop bangle bracelet

I also feel like I've entered a proving ground. This is my opportunity to take control of my time and structure it in a way that allows me to make Autochthonous Evolved truly profitable. For me, this particularly means to take social media more seriously, to be more consistent in sharing my ideas. For example, I embrace the fact that I'm pretty critical about technique and execution in my own work and in that of other professionals, but now I have the opportunity to take the time to explain why it takes more to be a jewelry artist than being able to make something pretty, why it's important to perfect technique and understand the capabilities and limitations of different materials, and what elements contribute to the wearability of a design. As someone that spent a lot of time, effort, and money learning how to be an effective teacher, I certainly hope that I have useful knowledge I can contribute to my fellow artists; and selfishly, I hope to help potential customers understand what lies beneath the surface of my designs and what makes them stand out.

So, what should you expect from this blog in the future? I plan weekly book reviews. I plan weekly jewelry redesigns - taking some of my old, embarassing designs and talking about what I considered when remaking them. I plan technical briefs: information on metals, stringing materials, adhesives ... to do experiments on the things we use to make jewelry and share my results to help us all make more enduring jewelry.

Above all, I'm really excited about this next chapter of my career and I hope you'll join me for this new leg of my journey!