Self-empowerment and Business
You know what? I'm going to ride this self-empowerment train all the way to the station. And then I'll wave everyone aboard and ride it to the next and the next. Which is just a really convoluted metaphor for "I'm going to do what I love. Period". And to those who say to me (or you, if you've been as unlucky) "When are you going to quit this hobby nonsense and get a real job?" I say that I'm right where I want to be and, more importantly, where I need to be. I imagine, if you are also following your artistic passions, you feel the same.
So, now that I've got you all fired up to pull out your paints or your camera or your wire and tools, we are faced with the grind of building a business. I've compiled a list of my posts and articles that might help you create some forward momentum for you, as well as some posts and resources by others that you might find helpful. And if you have any resources to share, please do so in the comments below!
Starting A Business
Check out my resources for starting a business or building a website. These posts are not all-inclusive and are based on my own personal experience building my home business. I am in no way an expert on entrepreneurial endeavors, and continue to stumble my way through this journey. Hopefully, these posts will help you avoid the same stumbles.
And feel free to disregard the things that don't speak to you, your art or your brand as a whole. You aren't required to listen to the advice or opinions of others, and sometimes half the joy is just discovering the journey yourself. I hope the journey for you is a pleasant one!
But seriously... he's paid for his labor too.
Wire Wrapping IS "Real" Jewelry!
Yep. It's out there. That ugly opinion that wire wrapping is somehow less than other jewelry mediums. That if you don't know how to (or care to) solder, or form fold or have your own lapidary studio, somehow the work you do isn't comparable in talent or learned skill.
I call shenanigans. Shenanigans on all of that nonsense! Boo to anyone who would belittle the dedication and craft of others, no matter what form that craft takes. The creative community should be in the business of lifting one another up, not tearing each other down. So I'm busting out with this: Wire wrap all the stones. Wire wrap everything. Take apart soldered commercial jewelry just to wire wrap it (come on, I can't be the only one who has done this). Wire wrap and love it, because it's beautiful and you worked hard at it, and it took you months or years to learn it, to find your voice. Or you're still discovering your voice and that deserves love too!
You do not need all the techniques to make beautiful things and continue to push yourself and your skills forward. Half the challenge is taking the same techniques and learning to utilize them in new ways.
So wire wrap away! Wire wrap to your hearts content. Wire wrap until you're blue in the face and then wire wrap some more. Because it's beautiful and inspirational and it's fun and nothing else matters.
Happy weaving my amazing friends. Weave and wrap and the rest be damned.
Design Challenge 2016 VOTING
I'm not going to lie... this was hard. Like.... really hard. I needed help narrowing this down to just three in each category because there were way too many beautiful entries. But my husband and kids were no help at all so, as cliche as it sounds, I sat with and meditated on the submissions these last couple days and settled on my top three in each category.
Now I leave the burden of final voting on each of you who participated in the challenge. You now have to choose just one finalist in each category (and you cannot vote for yourself) and leave those three names in the comments below. The winner in each category who receives the most votes will win the prizes as outlined in the Design Challenge 2016 blog post.
But anyone reading this, I encourage you to visit the Pinterest board with the submissions and give each of those entries a thorough round of applause, because the work of these incredible and varied artists was amazing and fearless. There were 72 magnificent pieces to enjoy and I can't thank you enough, all who entered, for giving me the opportunity to view them.
Now for the categories and finalists....
Cabochons & Un-drilled Gemstones
Tough job, right?
Now I leave it to you, contestants, to vote for your favorites in each category. I know it's not fair, but you can only choose one winner for each category, and list them in the comments below. My heart goes out to you, fellow artists.... it's a difficult choice to make.
This post will be open to comments through the end of this month and reminders will be posted often so each contestant will have an opportunity to cast their votes.
Good luck finalists!
View the entire GALLERY OF ENTRIES here!
Don't Give Up!
There are plenty of moments of dissatisfaction in my creative process. I've started many projects, then abandoned them entirely. I've finished projects and regretted the choices made during construction. I'll admit it... I have thrown away, in fits of frustrated rage, entire pieces that were simply not meeting my expectations, pieces so disgusting to my aesthetic that I couldn't even be bothered to salvage the parts. Oh yes... those are dark moments in the world of an artist, and I've experienced my fair share.
I'd hazard a guess you have as well. And, though it may seem the obvious thing to say, I'm here to tell you to persevere! I know, I know... insert eye roll here, right? I get it. I totally get it. There's nothing worse during those dark moments than the typical cliche! But sometimes, every cliche has its purpose.
See that bracelet up there? I almost threw it away. It was just a knitted bangle and a butterfly, and I felt like it was totally empty of my passion. It sat in a box for four weeks while I contemplated its fate with a grim belief I'd ruined it forever, or something equally dramatic. I took it apart, had to re-cut and re-file and re-finish. I created an entirely new focal, and used the butterfly as an accent. I worked it until I was satisfied that it was an honest representation of my creative voice. And now, thanks to the additional work, thanks to my perseverance, I love this piece. It was born from a place of dissatisfaction, but became an example of what it means to move forward, despite obstacles.
So, don't give up on your work, on your passion, or your voice. Don't make those same rash decisions I've made, and toss work out of frustration and dissatisfaction. Just consider it a pause on the path to completion, step away and give it time to breathe. Give yourself time to determine its destiny. I promise, you'll find it.
Be Kind To Yourself
I admit.... I've forgotten how to be kind to myself. I've forgotten the importance of forgiving myself my inconsistencies, my inadequate efforts, or even that judging my efforts at all is sometimes an exercise in futility. The last several blog posts regarding the beauty of imperfections and the magic of uncertainty have been an exploration in this journey I've had these last few months regarding my one true lost love... love of self.
And maybe, a little, I say that from a place of pure selfishness. And I'm beginning to say it with unapologetic glee. I'm beginning to embrace selfishness, in a way which manifests itself in kindness to myself, whatever that even means. For me, I suppose it means I am allowing myself the freedom to be better and worse than anyone else. It means I get to stop comparing myself, my work, my creative expression, the frequency with which I express myself, to the work and expression of others. It means I get to be okay with my own process and the results of that process.
I encourage each of you, whoever you are reading this right now, to be kind to yourself. To be a little selfish. To untie yourself from your comparisons to others and get off the ride of self-punishment. You are allowed to be you, right now, in the moment, and love yourself for it. You are allowed to be proud of your failures. You are allowed to embrace your imperfections. You are allowed to embody the series of mistakes we all make in our lives, and accept that they make us beautiful.
We are allowed to be kind to ourselves. So I think I'll go eat some chocolate, watch every version of Pride and Prejudice ever put to film, and drink at least two glasses of very very cheap wine. And not, for one minute, feel like I need to make any excuse to justify it.
The Prison of Expectation
"I have devoted my life to uncertainty.
Certainty is the death of wisdom, thought, creativity." ~ Shekhar Kapur
I don't know about you, but that's some deep stuff right there. This idea that if we dedicate ourselves, our efforts, talents, emotional and physical expenditures to an uncertain outcome, we release ourselves from a sort of prison of expectation. That we have to sacrifice, if sacrifice is even the appropriate word, our ideals and just allow our creativity to exist on its own terms. What a beautiful, freeing approach, when we can reject the expected, and accept the reality, in whatever incarnation it manifests. There's beauty there, I think.
Sure, there's an element of risk involved. We can always prick our fingers on the unpredictable edge of the "unplanned". But I wonder if the risk isn't worth the reward... seeing the bloom of creative passion, expressed in unabashed abandon, that we might otherwise hamper with the pressure of our own expectations. Gives me all kinds of warm and fuzzies just thinking about it and, I suppose, this will always be a risk I welcome.
I sometimes wonder if I'm too safe. Do the expected thing, make my apologies for it, and do it again. I wonder if I take enough risk. I wonder on the value of risk. It's late, and I tend to romanticize these things, internalize them and twist them all up with my own creative processes just to see what happens. Perhaps that's a risk all on its own.
And then I wonder if I appreciate the risks I've been allowed to take in my life, if I fully understand their lasting presence, their effect on every future creative endeavor. It's kinda heavy when you think about it.
Or maybe it's just me.
Internet Inspirations: Music
I often listen to music when I work. Honestly, music moves me... physically moves me... to create. The rhythm, the tones, the beat, these are all conduits for creative expression. There is magic in music that fuels the magic in all creative endeavors. Listening to music allows me to express myself in more ways than my hands allow me to express myself through the creation of jewelry or art. And I can do both simultaneously! It's literally double magic. Magic. There's no other word. So, I'm here to share with you some of my favorite musical inspirations. Enjoy!
Yeah... 3 Doors Down. What can I say? I'm a teen of the 90's.
And, because Broadway is amazing....
"But out of limitations comes creativity."
- Debbie Allen
Because through the limitations of my knowledge and skills, innovation is born. This is when I take risks, when I reject the concept of a "masterpiece", and throw (quite literally) paint at a canvas just to see what would happen. Even without a purposeful exploration of my "skills" with paint, I created something that evokes in me a sense of accomplishment. It is my own masterpiece from my rejection of that concept. Irony. Funny stuff.
"People put limitations on their creativity,
believing they have to rely on what they know
and what they have done."
- Bertrand Piccard
You don't have to know anything at all to innovate, to create, to express yourself through art, music or poetry. You just have to be brave, to reject the "standard", to step outside the policy and rules, or break them outright. You just have to deny to yourself that your limitations have meaning. They don't. They are only doors without walls... just walk around them.
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