Woodside WireWorks

Wit, Whimsy, & Wisdom…

Month: February 2015

Lusting for Spring…

This is the view from my window.

This is the view from my window.

This is the road in front of my house.

This is the road in front of my house.

 

This is what my street looks like.  And it has been pretty much like this for the better part of the last ten days.  I’ve been out once!

I’m one of those girls that always wants snow. After this winter, I’ve changed my mind.  I want snow that comes and goes as quickly as it came! I live in the South. I don’t deal. While I love tinkering on the home front, it is nice to get out a bit.  And I really, really don’t like to drive over white stuff.  Around here we don’t get much practice.

 

Work in progress...

Work in progress…

Honestly, I can only string but so many beads, read but so many books, before the walls begin to close in a bit. We’ve had three substantial snows in ten days. That is unheard of here.

The finished piece.

The finished piece.

Meanwhile, cabin fever has set in. In.a.big.way!

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I can’t wait to start messing with these again!

I can’t wait to get dirty. I want to go outside and scratch around in the soil. I want grab my rake and shovel and shed these winter woes. I’m new to yard work and while I suppose it shows, I’ve discovered that I really enjoy it. Hell, before last year, I didn’t even know how to put the lawnmower in reverse! Now I have a chainsaw, and know how to use it—and have been pruning and planting. I’m itching to throw some seeds in the ground and watch them pop up!

 

That's what I'm talking about!

That’s what I’m talking about!

Last year's first harvest.  I can't wait!

Last year’s first harvest. I can’t wait!

Fresh herbs, summer salads, oh my...

Fresh herbs, summer salads, oh my…

I want to feast on steamed crabs.

I want to feast on steamed crabs with butter dripping down to my elbows! Yum, yum, yum!

I want to open the windows, air out the house and blow the cobwebs out of my head at the same time.   I need some exercise. What is it about this weather that has turned me into an utter slug? But alas there is hope. Watch this video. Could that be the sound of melting snow? I do believe it is!  This girl is counting the days!

 

 

 

Fifty Shades of Folly…Build a LIne Challenge, Woodside WireWorks, Part 2

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I found this little treasure on Purple Clover’s Facebook Page. Love it!

Whips and Chains…Come on now, get your mind out of the gutter for crying out loud—not those whips and chains…we’re not talking THE Fifty Shades here…at least not that version! Metaphorically speaking, I’m talking about creative bondage… And in case you are wondering, no, I have not seen the movie. This discussion is entirely different. I’m referring rather to fuzzy, unfocused, and very gray thinking, far more than Fifty Shades of foolish thoughts in my case.  The Build a Line Challenge sponsored by B’Sue Boutiques has enlightened me on just how twisted my thinking can be.  Time to work smarter!

My kind of "chains."

My kind of “chains.”

For instance, my beliefs about making jewelry, which I held so dear, made sense only to me. Fuzzy indeed! I’ve been clinging to my notions as if they were a life raft in a turbulent sea.  For roughly eight years. I’ve been adrift, approaching my craft as nothing more than a hobby. And you know what, doing the same thing, over and over with no new innovation—in terms of selling and marketing—yields the same results. Duh! It’s no wonder why the outcome of my efforts is less than magical.

Deck Out Your Denim

Works in progress for my Deck Out Your Denim line. I do believe I’ve remade the piece on the right at least five times.

Don’t get me wrong; when I do a show, I do well. I’ve sold quite a bit of my work over the years. My designs are unique. I give myself permission to experiment and follow my intuition. The feedback I get is usually positive. Does everyone like my style of jewelry? Heaven’s no! Do I like everything I make? Oh please…I have a box of failures awaiting a pair of cutters and a set of fresh eyes…some of it is quite dreadful, actually. Do I like all of the jewelry I see on a daily basis? No, of course I don’t.  That’s not the point.

I’ve learned a few things in the course of a month, which will prove to serve me well should I take those lessons to heart. That would be good, as my business plan up to the point should be labeled, “Monkey Business,” for I haven’t a real ‘plan’ at all. I LACK FOCUS! When I threw my hat in the ring for this challenge, I hadn’t the foggiest where it was going, or where it would take me. Not a clue! What I didn’t expect was to have a total overhaul of what I do and how I do it. Were talking a major psychic shift! While I may not make my first million dollars, one bead at a time, at least—thank you Brenda and classmates—I’ve come to realize I need to set the bar quite a bit higher than I have in the past, unless of course I want to be singing the same tired song this time next year.

Wire-wrapped spoon pendant.

I “decked out” this spoon with wire and beads. I like the result.

Here are a few conclusions I have drawn while participating in the Build a Line Challenge sponsored by http://www.bsueboutiques.com: I need to create jewelry for customers, not other artists. Having my work admired by those who also make jewelry is wonderful but has little impact on the bank account. I love seeing what other’s make, I know what it took to make it, it is often breathtakingly beautiful, and I love seeing how others put their stamp on things. I also love having those of like minds admire my work. But if I’m going to make jewelry, I need to sell it!

That means I need to study style, pay attention to what is trending, and devote as much time to finding ways to sell it as I do making it. I love this wonderful little creative planet I orbit on a daily basis, but my little flights of fancy are not enough. My work needs to find its way around a neck, preferably one other than mine, and for a fair price. A shift in energy and focus is clearly in order.

Miss Skittles…always ready to help!

Miss Skittles…always ready to help!

And that stash of supplies I’m hording, well lets just confess that what I bought years ago I wouldn’t buy today. I’ve learned I need to shop smarter, use quality materials, and blend items that will go with more than one outfit. I need to simplify, and streamline. Yes, I want some “over the top, one of a kind really arty pieces,” but simpler pieces will sell sooner, can be made affordably, and will appeal to more buyers. In other words, this girl needs to approach what she does, through an entirely different lens, engaging her heart, hands, and head!

Pendant.  Coin Pendant.

My “Every Coin Has Two Sides” pendant necklace. After a trillion remakes, I’m finally happy with it.

The ideas we’ve discussed are whipping most of us into shape and that is indeed a good thing. For me, it has been an eye opening case of whiplash!

Oh, about those chains…that’s another thing I’ve learned. Most of what I’ve made in the past has been beaded. Buying chain, and have it look right isn’t as simple as it looks. Trust me, I think I’ve tried them all during this process while I’m getting better at choosing, I still find it tricky, thank you.

In our classroom, when one of us has a triumph, we call that an “Aha Moment.” I’ve had many of them through this opportunity. The biggest one occurred when I placed all of my works in progress together and studied them with an objective eye. My reaction was surprising: “Damn, I have a line…Deck Out That Denim is coming together. Wow!” I started this class not even sure what a line was. I know now, and yes, I have one. Life is good!

Please, please, please take the time to read and see what the others in the Build A Line Challenge have been up to. This lively group will keep you entertained, inspired, and all have a few “Aha Moments” to share with you. Oh, do show some love and leave a comment. We creative types eat that stuff up! Thank you for your visit. I appreciate it!

Another work in progress.  This piece is at the top of my line.  I love how it is coming.

Another work in progress. This piece is at the top of my line. I love how it is coming.

Brenda Sue Lansdowne, B’sue Boutiques

Jewelry Making Outside the Box

Marcia Tuzzolino

Aurora Designs

Jann Tague

Clever Designs by Jann

Judy King

Apt to Wander Studio

Linzi Alford

Magpie in the Sky, Spoil Heap Tales

Cynthia Wainscott

Exotic Peru

Carole Carlson

Beadsophisticate

Lynn Stinten

Dragonzwench

Marica Zammit

Bead Lovelies

Catherine Shattuck

VRBrose

Michaele Collie

The Vintage Gem

Mary Craig

Jewelry Alchemy

Lee Koopman

Strega Jewelry

Erin Whitacre

Shattered Time Jewelry

Monica Casady

MJCasady Copper Works

Leila West

Leila Nicole Designs

Cindy Peterson

https://howlingdogjewelry.wordpress.com/

Leila Belcher

Leila Bee Designs

Gloria Allen

Wings and Beads

Pamela Anger

Novegatti Designs

Tammy Adams

Paisley Lizard

Lynda O’Mara

LOmara Creative

Elizabeth Hildreth

MadScientistsDesigns

Dana Hickey

Wind Dancer Studios

Janet Calardo

Jan Lea Designs

Maria Clark

Sweet Willow Designs

Lori Beekman

  1. Accessorized

Jennifer Kroeger

Relic Charm

Amy Jorgensen

Hoarder’s Corner

Robin Reed

Artistry: Handcrafted Bead Designs

Ingrid Anderson

Lilis Gems

Louise O’Shields

Desire Divine Jewels

Susan Killam

Killam Creative

Mary Katherine Deis

The Rose Sword: Artisan and Vintage Collectible Jewelry

Nike Bottalico

Nike Bottalico

Susan Bowerman – – -You are here.

Woodside Wireworks

Kristy Le

Kristy Le Trendy Jewelry Designs

Jan Peters

Stylized Vintage

Mitzie Crider

Needful Luxuries Occasional Blog

Gina Hockett

Freestyle Elements

Linda Anderson

From the Bead Board

Alexandra Sefton

Imaginary Jewelry and Altered Art

Melida Boman

The Journey of Pens and Things

Teresa Shurter

TreeZ’s Treasurs

Melissa Latimer

Smithed Up

Renee Hong

Fine and Dandy Jewelry and Art

Nadine Edris

Moondance Jewelry

Lori Meyer

Parisienne Girl

Jennifer Merrill Williams

Artists of All Stripes

Denise Lussier Poirier

Jewelry by Denise

Renee Allen

Small Stuff Design

Autumn Adams

Autumn Dawns

Elizabeth Owens

1996 Shabby Lane

Kat BarronMiller

Midnight Kat Productions Art Jewelry

Sandra Ballard

Mama San’s Mojo

Coral Law

ab:coraldesign

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hot Chocolate and Fuzzy Socks…

Snow day play date.  Making beaded chain.

Snow day play date. Making beaded chain.

What a beautiful day to be a “shut-in!”  Snow is a rare commodity in Virginia Beach and last night’s snow was epic for this neck of the woods.  I kept the flood lights on, and watched it come down.  It was like one of our typical N’Easters but white!  Absolutely beautiful.  I don’t believe I’ve ever seen snow come down with such fury before.

This day is the perfect excuse to stay in my PJ’s and work on the Build a LIne Challenge, which has been keeping me entertained since early January.  We have another blog hop scheduled for Friday (stay tuned!), and I’m pretty certain most of the troops are hunkered down with pliers, wires, and glue, just like I’m doing this fine day.

How 'bout this view?

How ’bout this view?

The front yard.  Our street will be icy for awhile.  Poor me, I get to stay home, drink hot chocolate, and play!

The front yard. Our street will be icy for awhile. Poor me, I get to stay home, drink hot chocolate, and play!

For many of us, this challenge has taken us out of our comfort zones, but led us toward a new way of thinking.  We are a chatty bunch and the interaction has been lively and fun.  If one of us has a problem, we post a picture, and typically get several great answers, and a solution to our problem.  How cool is that?

The challenge is sponsored by B’Sue Boutiques (http://www.bsueboutiques.com) and our mentor and gifted teacher Brenda Sue Lansdowne.  She is AMAZING!  I cannot even imagine trying to inspire our tribe.  We are a fun bunch, and a few of us might just be a wee bit stubborn, and resistant to change!  I know I was.  Brenda has opened my eyes on so many levels–and that isn’t easy to do!

Parts, glorious parts!  Can't wait to show you what became of these!

Parts, glorious parts! Can’t wait to show you what became of these!

Today I’m trying to wrap up a few projects while gazing out of the windows at the beautiful snow.  My animals are huddled beside me in the quiet warmth.  I’ve got some cozy wool socks on, am about to make some hot chocolate, Nora Jones is playing in the background, and all is well in my world.   It doesn’t get much better than this!

But Wait, There’s More…

I have had this scrap of paper for thirty years.  It traveled with me from one job to another, and when I eventually retired, it came home with me.  I think these words are as true in business as they are in life.

I have had this scrap of paper for thirty years. It traveled with me from one job to another, and when I eventually retired, it came home with me. I think these words are as true in business as they are in life.

Nothing like falling asleep with the TV on, only to be awakened by an Infomercial. You know what I’m talking about. You can buy anything during the wee hours, from cookware, to knives, to pots and pans, even vacuum cleaners. Often the program is hosted by an “all American Barbie and Ken-like duo,” who follow a well crafted script, designed to educate you—the would be buyer—about why you couldn’t possibly live without their product. They banter cheerfully back and forth, rolling out the said product—feature-by-feature and benefit-by-benefit—all before a gushing studio audience.

This genre of advertising never ceases to amaze me. Regardless of what the product is, in a mere half hour you want it! Period. And, you are pretty certain that the world will stop spinning if you don’t buy it. All of those starry eyed folks in the studio audience who ooh and ahhh at just the right times can’t be wrong, can they? They provide just enough justification to warrant a purchase. Seriously, these ads are sophisticated; they are engineered to motivate, and move product. They work! Meanwhile, the implied underlying message is that you aren’t good enough, your house isn’t clean enough, and heaven forbid if you don’t have “abs or buns of steel!”   Infomercials are compelling, to say the least. And, don’t forget, you can have that new vacuum cleaner with “just four easy payments of $49.95, but wait, there’s more…”

What does this have to do with anything? I’ve decided to do my own infomercial, without the cameras, and with one poorly paid host: Me. Today marks my one-month anniversary in the B’Sue Creative Group’s Build a Line Challenge. Just one month, I can’t believe it has only been a month! Wow.

What did I do with myself before the challenge? Here are a few short answers: I floundered around, for starters. I played with my beads. I sat around in my artsy-fartsy cocoon, therapeutically creating stuff. And it was good…just not nearly good enough. Where do I want to take this passion for making jewelry of mine, I honestly don’t know? But, when I do decide, at least I will have a compass and a roadmap to get me there.

The line I’m designing, “Deck out the Denim” will feature these colors. When we started the challenge, I had an entirely different color scheme in mind.

When I tossed my hat in the ring and entered this challenge, I thought I’d learn about making jewelry, and making it better, that sort of thing. Little did I know that I would learn the fine points of converting a craft into something more viable. Brenda Sue Lansdowne started the Build a Line Challenge as an offshoot of the B’Sue Creative Group on Facebook.   Brenda is a fine jewelry artist in her own right, as well as a seller of parts, a creator of instructional videos…you name it, that lady does it! And does it well! They say when the “student is ready, the teacher will appear.” We are a group of 55 diverse students/artists, all being led by Brenda, and we are willing! She’s teaching us not only about design, but also about the business side of following a creative path. She began with showing us examples of jewelry that sells commercially. Then the group piped in and began to share examples of designers they admire. That was the beginning of our awakening. But wait, there’s more…

Vogue magazine was discussed. Truthfully, I doubt I have willingly thumbed through three issues of Vogue in my life. I am a “tom girl” at heart, no one would accuse me of being a “fashionista,” and, I was of the opinion that Vogue was “out of reach” for most women. I’ve since learned otherwise. Time to pay attention to the world outside of my creative bubble.

We moved on to branding and discovered that some brands, the Nikes, Adidas, Coca-Cola’s and other giants lead the pack, while others simply lag. One does not become a major player by accident. It takes work. For instance, blogs, social media, search engine optimization, tags, categories…all things that at least some of us felt were of little consequence a month ago, are vital to growing awareness and establishing an identity.

There are some incredibly talented and knowledgeable members within our ranks. To be part of this group and to have access to collective wisdom and experience is a gift—a rare gift indeed. For instance, one gal inquired about logos, another member whipped out several samples of logos she created on the fly. They were impressive!

Rose Ox and Silver from B'Sue Boutiques

Some of these pieces will find their way into my line. Aren’t they yummy? I fell in love with the Rose Ox pieces carried by B’Sue Boutiques.

Here’s an example of one of the things I needed help with. I struggle with some of the big components that others use so cleverly. So, I posted a picture of the stamping I was having trouble with, and within minutes, several members of the group shared pictures of their work, using the same component. I was amazed at the talent, and the diverse approach we have within the ranks.

This component will be part of my featured line.  I called on the troops for help using it.  They came through!

This component will be part of my featured line. I called on the troops for help using it. They came through! Sometimes it takes a village for me to learn things. I’m so happy to have found this one! We are a loving tribe!

I really like how this is coming together. It will beautiful on just about any color. I’m striving to create pieces which can compliment most wardrobes.

But wait, there’s more…this is a ninety-day challenge and we are but thirty days into it. In less than one month, we are building lines, blogging and considering more effective ways to market ourselves, and our work. We’ve learned we must design pieces at both ends of the pyramid. At the top are those rare souls who purchase art because a piece speaks to them at the core of their being. We covet and cherish this buyer, knowing our work will be treasured, celebrated, and appreciated fully. At the base of the pyramid, it yet another wonderful buyer, the one who more likely will sustain us by purchasing more pieces, more often. Both groups warm our hearts.

Here at the Build a Line Challenge, we’ve discovered that we need to do more than simply make jewelry.   If we want to take anything to the next level, we must be willing to commit ourselves to a new path.  And we need to be willing to do the work.  We need to create with intention, and focus, not just on a whim. That means shopping smarter, engaging all of our senses to create designs which have more  universal appeal. It means thinking about color, shameans engaging both our head and our heart when we sit down to create. No one is asking us to abandon their roots; rather we are being encouraged to grow our wings. Life is good. Very good indeed!

 

 

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