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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
Brenda Sue Lansdowne, B’sue Boutiques
Mary Katherine Deis
Susan Bowerman – – -You are here.
Jennifer Merrill Williams
Denise Lussier Poirier