It's super great to think about never having to keep track of business miles, save receipts for every little business expense, do the tedious bookkeeping, take end-of-the-year inventory, or prepare everything for taxes.... Not ever again will I have to do any of those odious tasks!
|Me, celebrating 41 years in business as Artist - Teacher - Author|
But, we will not have any crying over spilled milk; the deed is done; the authorities officially notified. And, with respect, I thought it might be fun to share a few photos here, photos of the business me, and the story in more-or-less chronological order.
It all started when I met Liz Chenoweth, who is still my closest friend, and who at the time was studying metalsmithing at the University of Washington and I think working for a commercial jewelry manufacturing business in Seattle. I got the bug from her. After taking a short class in soldering sterling silver to make jewelry, I bought a workbench and all the tools, getting into it full-tilt-boogie! Liz helped me, teaching me all that she knew, and helping me to realize the design ideas I had.
|Liz (on the right) and me in our metalsmithing shop, The Fort|
|Sterling silver ring, commissioned by a male customer|
|Jasper stone set in sterling silver, sterling clasp, leather cord - this is a man's necklace|
|This is the display of my silver and gold creations at our second "open studio," 1977|
|Multiple strand necklace in style taught by Carol Berry|
|Multiple strand necklace I made as a "project" for Margie Deeb's book, The Beader's Color Palette|
By 1988, I sold my metalsmithing equipment, and turned my garage into a studio/store for both selling beads and teaching beading workshops. For 10 years, that was my life, my identity... Beads Indeed!, open every Wednesday of the year, classes most weekends, open for your beading needs at any time by appointment.
It worked! I could have my cake (beading/beadwork) and eat it (selling beads and teaching classes) at the same time. You have to know that back then I did not in any way consider myself an artist. I knew I was a pretty good craftsman, making jewelry that would last and that looked great technically. But I did not think of myself as a creative person.
|Generations, a small pouch, my first improvisational bead embroidery piece|
This was such a huge alteration of identity. It made me feel more sure of myself as a teacher, and gave me the confidence to promote my workshops far beyond the walls of my studio/shop. I traveled to many states, teaching at conferences, for bead shops and guilds, branching out to teach beading to quilters and fiber artists, eventually even teaching at art schools. All in all, Beads Indeed!, in Seattle turned into a pretty decent business. I could afford to eat out now and then, plus travel to far away places, like China, Germany, and Eastern Europe, on bead-buying trips.
Those 10 years, immersed in beads, with a growing sense of myself as an artist, gave me the confidence to begin writing books about beading, which in turn, provided another source of income, income I would need after moving from Seattle to San Juan Island, where I could no longer depend on selling beads to support myself because the population base was so small.
|Marriage Bag, a small purse I made while deciding if I should marry Robert|
|My first book, published in 2000|
|My most recent book, published in 2013|
- What shall I do with the remaining inventory of my book, Heart to Hands Bead Embroidery?
- Shall I keep paying for my website (my domain name and web service), which includes my primary email address, and which badly needs to be updated?
- Shall I continue teaching now and then, maintaining the necessary supplies to do so?
- Can I immerse myself in creating things (quilts, art, bookmaking, beading, etc.), with no intention of doing anything with the things I create, not using them as examples when I teach, and not selling them?
- And, of course, there's the question at the top of this post.... who am I now?
|Home, one in a series of bead embroidery pieces about gratitude|