Saturday, January 2, 2016

My 2016 Beading Resolutions

Although setting lofty goals in the New Year can be an exercise in futility, I’ve always thought that this tradition provides a good opportunity to make small changes in one’s routine. If you set reasonable, doable goals, then this time of the year is a great way to reflect and improve. I’ve decided to make a couple of 2016 resolutions in my workspace, which I’ll hopefully be able to stick to and keep up with in years to come.

1. Staying Organized

If I were to make a resolution to put away all of my beads at the end of every project, I would be doomed to failure. I’m usually much too excited to start the next project on my list to stop and tidy up first. Also, I’m usually beading in the middle of the night, while a movie is playing, so taking 5-10 minutes to cart bead caddies back and forth to my desk is out of the question.

I made these 2 years ago and still haven't done anything with them.

Instead, my first resolution will be to make time every week to sort and replace all of my materials in one go. Several months ago I added a container to my workspace for tossing in beads that I’m finished with to deal with later. Although it keeps my workspace tidy, it also means that I never know where anything is half the time. I’ve got to make an effort to put things away more regularly so that I can stay organized and make more stuff!

2. Create More Tutorials

Technically, I had already set this goal a few weeks back, but I think it’s worth adding to the list because I am so determined to keep up with it. I have a big list of stitches and projects that I want to share, and I’m hoping that I can make at least 2 per month. I’m also planning to revamp some old tutorials, and I’ve got the first series of Master Class tutorials planned. They are going to be so much fun!

Ombre Herringbone Cuff Tutorial

3. Make Practice Projects

For the longest time, I felt that making things for myself was a waste of materials, but I’ve had a change of heart. This year, I want to do more experimenting, make practice pieces, and try out techniques and projects by other artists. I’m interested to see how this new approach will change my skillset and overall bead outlook. The bonus is that I’ll be able to share my experiences and we can learn some new things together.

4. Wear More Jewelry

I have a ridiculous collection of beadwork jewelry, but most of it never gets worn. Often it’s because the pieces I have don’t go with my work ensemble, and any other time I’m wearing jewelry I just stick to my favorites. This year I want to make an effort to wear and experiment with all of the designs in my personal stash. Perhaps I can think of a way to share these as well!

A Portion of My Jewelry Collection
Just a tiny portion of my jewelry collection.

5. Frog Old Pieces

I’ve been doing beadwork for almost 10 years, and apart from my first few projects, I have never ripped apart old designs to salvage the materials. Just like making designs for myself, I never felt that the time spent would be worth it - especially if I can just add unwanted designs to my wardrobe, or save them for Ugly projects.

This year, I want to try frogging and see if I can incorporate the process into my beading routine. I have a box full of pieces that I discontinued from my shop in recent years. Anything I don’t want to wear will get repurposed, and perhaps I’ll rediscover some favorite materials.

Beadwork Frog Pile

Do you like to set New Year’s resolutions? What are you beading goals for 2016?


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  1. Very much enjoyed your goals. Lots of common sense in what you say.
    Thank you

  2. I LOVE your 4th resolution, in which you state "I have a ridiculous collection of beadwork jewelry, but most of it never gets worn."
    Me too! I've got several faves, a couple of core pieces that I wear on a regular basis, but lots put aside - a very small amount of things I'm not thrilled with, but the vast majority I have waiting for the right person to come along - whether it is an item that is being gifted, or one that I sell.
    I've got a bit of a conundrum though, and that is that I like to size bracelets to each individual person I am giving and/or selling. So I tend to leave clasps off until I know the best length. People really appreciate this! It adds a personal touch to a gift, and , as for selling, I've found that people appreciate this to the extent that I am more likely have happy customers, even when I sell my work at a fair price-point. So many beaders undercut themselves when pricing - there can be lack of compensation for material alone, and most especially discounting the time that can go into working the most detailed off-loom beadwoven pieces. It's a shame. (My dad once said, "You can't sell that! It looks homemade!" I informed him that pre-made jewelry only hopes to look handmade these days. I don't think I convinced him!)

    So the personalized-sizing, while not adding a TON of extra work, helps people to realize that they are truly being taken care of and getting work made with high standards. Even if I have a handbeaded clasp, I like to make absolutely sure that people are comfortable with the fit. That can be a difficult thing when it comes to bracelets!
    But - across the board - I find people are much more pleased with their purchases by throwing this in. So if I do run into the case of a handbeaded clasp, I will show it alongside a bracelet, so I can finish things up in such a way that I KNOW people are comfortable with the fit. That can be a difficult thing when it comes to bracelets! In fact, I've never really bought bracelets for myself, in large part because size varies so much and it can make or break things - whether you wear your jewelry or whether you put it in your jewelry box and forget about it.

    SO, all this leads to: If I were to undertake such a resolution such as your number 4 here, I'd have to size everything to fit me! I suppose I could make things adjustable, or add an easily removable clasp for experimental purposes... but in general it would be even more of a PITA to finish items up this way.
    Yeah some pieces are larger and some smaller, and some wrists call out for something on one side or the other, but I want to be absolutely positive that anyone wearing what I have made, is pleased with the fit as well as the personal touch - shows the care that I have put in all along.
    This is just me, and I am really not in this for the money, not at this point in time - for one thing, I give away many more pieces than I sell. But when I DO sell, I try very hard to price my work at a fair wage. (If only to help other jewelry artists price themselves fairly.) Unless I sell things off my wrist, which has happened. In that case, the length is the length..though I charge less anyway.
    Ok. Sorry for my rant. I do love your idea but I simply don't see a good workaround to meet the goals I've adopted over the years.

    1. I know what you mean about bracelet sizes. Absolutely everyone is different, and it's even trickier when you're making OOAK pieces specifically to sell. Whenever you make a bracelet, you basically have to hope that it fits someone who likes it.

      Having so many retired/discontinued pieces in my own stash means that I can't wear a lot of the bracelets either. I like my bracelets to be about 5 3/4 inches, but I almost never make them that small for the shop. And of course, I don't have time to adjust bracelets just for myself!


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