Friday, June 28, 2013

“To Write or Not to Write; that is the Question”

Over the years, many friends (FB and real) have asked me why I don’t write a book.  I have been thinking about this for some time, and it’s been in the back of my mind, with notes and ideas brewing.   Carol Dean Sharpe just posted on FB that she is declining to write a book of her projects and why she declined; with some very valid reasons.  But with all I have seen and heard from many people over the years, I don’t know if I am ready or willing to do this.

My other thought has been to open an “Etsy” store and sell individual patterns (such as Carol Dean does).  I could write patterns with a logo that would be my “book title”, all would have the same look (which has yet to be developed) and feel.

With CD’s comment that she makes “x” dollars a pattern, and a book of $20 would be less than her “x” dollar amount really made me stand up and take notice.  Selling a book and earning less than what I conceivably could earn individually isn't a responsible decision.  I don’t need to shortchange myself in the potential wallet when it seems that everyone is writing beading books.  We do have a beading book plethora (and while many of the books are wonderful and now live at my house, a few shouldn't have bothered).  While it would be fun to envision my name in print on a book – it doesn't change who I am, what I bead and what I design.

With this decision, I need to now look at drawing/design programs, learn the software and continue to write patterns as I move forward.  I know it will be a big learning curve – I wonder if my hospital has access to any software I can use?

Now that I have addressed this in my head, talked with a Kalmbach book editor, and discussed with friends who have given me good and sensible advice (without even realizing that they were giving me advice), I am comfortable with my decision.

I just need to start writing and publishing my patterns, design a look that I like, submit patterns to the magazines, learn a computer program to help draw my images, and as stated in the Nike advertisements – “Just Do It”

Monday, June 10, 2013

Bead & Button Annual Report 2013 – “We are kind of a big deal”

I love going to the Bead & Button show in Milwaukee every year.  I love seeing people that I haven’t seen in a year – people that I enjoy talking with and also making new beady friends.  Here are some of my highlights:

This was a special year at the Bead & Button show in Milwaukee.  My friend and mentor, Marcia DeCoster, was selected to give a “Master Class” in the field of seed beads and used the theme “Playing with Possibilities.”  Since last October several groups of beading assistants have been beading a playground of five components for the participants to use during the Master Class.  There was friendly banter between many women that I have know in a classroom setting for the last several years and getting to know them just a little better in a three day session was really nice.  It was wonderful to see the variety of designs that were put together with all the participants – some very new and original.  Even though I had been beading these components since last fall, it was refreshing to see them again with “new” eyes.
Tracy and I have a hard cider - thank you to Marcia for the picture.
I loved seeing good friends, Janice Berkebile and Tracy Stanley – it’s always a laugh or three or eight with them.  Janice – don’t forget to send me the picture of our collaboration project (hint, hint).  This is going to be fun.  New friend, Gabriella von Diepen, who I met through Marcia, is so friendly and personable, that she fits right in with our crowd.  Gabriella also rocked an award in the Bead Dreams Competition with her mask which won third place.  Way to go, girl!

We had lovely meals at our usual table in the Hilton Chop House – the Chop salad is pretty tasty, and the lobster mac and cheese is to die for.  Our favorite bartender, David, has moved on to his own restaurant called “The Noble” just south of downtown Milwaukee (if you are looking for a new place to try, this is a good one and you have to try Mom’s Butter Cake for dessert).  Marcia and I walked to a sushi/Japanese/fusion restaurant in The Third Ward called Kanpai and had a wonderful dish of Bibimbap – one of my favorite Korean dishes.  I wonder if I found the stone bowls on Ebay, would it be the same.  I had a nice dinner with the European group at Calderone’s – Sabine, Elke, Martina, Petra, Sian, Lyn, Gabriella, Marcia and I.

What did I notice at the show?  Steam punk seems to be dead in the water – there were hardly any booths featuring this.  Remember for the last few years, the ceramic little Peruvian animals that many vendors have had?  I think that I saw one vendor and they were on clearance.  Pearls are still huge, many sizes and styles of Chinese crystals dazzled the eyes, but I stayed away.  Fish leather continues to be popular – from $15 to $21 a piece.  One vendor with fish leather also had sting ray leather which looked awesome, but it wasn’t priced.  You know if you have to ask, I can’t afford it.  Crystals – vintage crystals is again what I found to tempt me the most.  There were two vendors with stock that I loved.

Thank you to Maria Rypan for taking the photo
On Thursday night was a “Meet the Teachers” event, which is many of the instructors under one roof, featuring their different work.   Marcia had prepared a tunic for me to wear this year, which was so special!  Marcia used Hot Fix Swarovski crystals to put “The Bad Liz” on the back of the tunic.  What fun!  I posted on Facebook that I remembered going through “Meet the Teachers” the first time and being very in awe of everyone and their work, too timid to talk with the instructors and the size of the crowd.  This year, it was surprising to see how many instructors that I personally know and how many of them know me (and remember my name).  This night, I not only rocked my tunic, but I had on my crystal and seed bead tiara.  Every Elizabeth needs a tiara…

There was also a social gathering of many instructors one evening – it was just a special way to get to know everyone just a little better – more than just a Facebook interface.  I knew many of the instructors via classes from the Great Lakes Beadworkers Guild and from my many years of going to the Bead & Button show.  Some of the instructors were new acquaintances and it was so nice to put a real face to them.  It was really a wonderful evening and hopefully a new tradition at the show.
All in all, I have to say that this might have been the best show, even though there were NO celebrity sightings…