So, my three year Etsy-versary is approaching in a couple of weeks I am so glad I started my little shop and that so many people have supported me along the way. A special shout-out to Ellie and Christy for putting me over 300 sales this week! That's roughly two sales a week, but I've also had two babies in there, so you have to make some allowances.
The business has grown to be profitable enough to pay for pre-school for Ruby and have a tiny bit of pocket money to burn...usually on more art supplies. Most of all, it gives me a creative outlet--something I NEED to be fulfilled and happy as a person. One cannot survive on Sesame street and laundry if you know what I mean.
I have really improved my quality over the last three years. I shudder to think of some of the shite I sent out in the beginning (please if you're sitting on broken, old pieces, and you're reading this, SEND THEM TO ME!), while I've always been creative, it takes time to develop your skills and learn about the proper materials.
I have made some crazy pieces over the course.
You may think that my colorful, chunky, wacky, borderline-tacky pieces are just thrown together willy-nilly, on a whim, but I actually have a formula for my creative process. And here it is:
1. Start with a central idea.. something unique to your style or a special bead that you've been saving. Here I'm using my "textile flags," little scraps and bits of beautiful textiles stitched into flags and beads.
2. Choose a focal color and include several pieces in that color. These are clay beads I made myself.
3. Reference the other supporting colors in proportionate amounts.
4. Add some interesting patterns..make sure they speak to each other in some way.
5. Be sure to include natural/neutral elements. This is your base..to keep it from getting too concentrated. Really beautiful beads are boring if you just throw them all on a string together. Break it up.
6. Add some sparkle. A little glitz adds glamour to otherwise "hippie" pieces.
7. Include something that's a little off but somehow works with the group. A contrasting color or texture to emphasize everything else. Here I used yellow agate and weird Celtic knot bead.
8.Take a look at it all. Edit. Add.
9. As you lay out the order of beads, decide on balance. Is it shaping up to be a symmetrical piece or an asymmetrical piece? Achieving balance is a must. Try to balance the weights of things. Is there a big bead on one side? Balance it with a grouping on the other.
10. Keep some elements symmetrical.....or not. But do it deliberately.
11. String it on something durable and fitting to the style. I'm really into the wax cord right now. It's earthy, elegant, doesn't require lots of annoying little clasps and is easy to fix if you make a mistake.
12. Add a unique detail at the closure...you know, something Target would forget if they stole your idea. These seed beads support the main colors and a vintage button make it one-of-a-kind. The view from the back is just as lovely as the front.
13. Do a test run. Wear it once and let your husband say, "Hmm..this part looks weird" or let your kids pull on, sit on it, use it as a belt. It if it breaks, rework it. If it survives the critics, list it and sell it.
14. When the customer purchases it, make any changes they requested, or just package it beautifully with a personal thank you note, and ship it directly to their home so its waiting at the door when they get home from work.
15. Proceed to end step. Customer treasures one-of-kind piece, made just for them, while all of their Target cheapos go visit Goodwill.
And that, people, is why you buy handmade.
Cheers and Happy Weekend.
all photos by me except crazy mom. :)