Bumps in the Road

Sometimes we hit bumps in the road and we try desperately to avoid them, but we still hit them. I’ve hit a lot of bumps in my road, I’m sure we all have, and while they hurt, I try to learn from them. I try to learn how to avoid them in the future and how to make myself better because of them.

Recently I hit bump in my road that has ended up being a pretty big bump. I wish I had learned something from it sooner and could have moved on from it months ago, but such is life sometimes. Slowly, I am learning and as I learn I have figured out one thing. I am an artist by natural design.

Over the past six months, I have drastically cut back on my creating in effort to save money. In doing so, I have found myself starting to have an urge to create. At first it didn’t bother me, but the longer I go, the more ideas I get and the more I want to create. The few times I do create, I feel so much better about myself.

So I’m not an artist by the standards of most people. I don’t draw very well and painting comes in spurts. But I am an artist in the form of a creator. I like to play with things and see what happens. I like to take an idea and tweak it. When I don’t have something to play with in this way or a general plan of something to create or work on, I start questioning my purpose. What am I meant to do?

Because of the need to save, my jewelry business has taken a backseat this year, and that’s why the blogs have been becoming more spread out. Since I’m not creating as much, I have been running out of ideas to write about. I know I need to work on this. Come October, I will have the Lititz Artisans’ Porchwalk,which I have mentioned in years past, so I need to build up my inventory for that. I am planning on having almost an entirely new setup this year…new styles, new pieces. In anticipation of this, I plan on placing a supply order soon and getting started with moving forward. I hope you will stick with me through this. I’m looking forward to seeing what comes of it.

Thanks for reading!

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1940s meets Modern

My husband and I traveled back in time this weekend, or at least it felt like we did. We were on our way to Renninger’s Antique Market in Kutztown, PA, when we saw a sign for World War II days at the Reading Airport and we decided to go there instead. We are very glad we decided to change our plans!

It was literally a step back in time. There were ladies done up with cotton dresses and victory curls, men walking around in uniforms, battle reenactment villages, and shops selling all things 1940s while big band music and war-era radio clips played over the sound system. I have a hidden obsession with this time period so I felt like I was among my own people here.

After we got home, I started to think about my recent meeting with the SCORE business advisors (please see my last entry) because I realized part of my trouble. The SCORE advisor suggested I streamline my business, but there are two sides to me and I’m trying to express both of them through my jewelry. There is the side who likes the sleek elegant modern look as I wrote about in my last post, but there is also the side that loves the vintage jewelry, especially that of the 1920s through the 1940s. I previously wrote about jewelry from the 1920s, but this weekend inspired me to look into jewelry of the 1940s.

 

Metals:

This was an interesting time for the jewelry industry because metals were rationed. Sterling started to gain in popularity because the base metals were needed for the war effort while gold and silver were also rationed for use as currency. White metal jewelry was very popular because of this.

Gemstones:

Because of the war, it was difficult to have gemstones imported. For this reason, gemstones were often reused from old and broken jewelry. Synthetic stones also started to become popular during this era as well as jewelry without any stones in it. Glass and lucite started to make an appearance in substitution for metal jewelry and gemstone.

When stones were imported, they often came from European jewelers. Some of the popular stones included topaz, citrine, amethyst, rubies, and sapphires. Rubies and sapphires became especially popular in patriotic-themed pieces.

Designs:

In regards to the style, many pieces featured bows, ribbons, and other 3-dimensional shapes. Toward the end of the war, American themed jewelry became popular with the use of flags and red,white, and blue stones.

Art Deco styles and animal themes were popular design elements in 1940s jewelry. These were often found in pins, which were very popular and are still collectable pieces today.

Bib style necklaces, made with layers or multiple strands of metal or stones became popular especially toward the end of the 1940s. Today you can see bib style necklaces coming back into vogue with modern materials and designs.

 

Many of the styles which were popular in the 1920s and 1930s remained popular through the 1940s, but after the 1940s, styles started to change dramatically.

This is a whirlwind summary of the jewelry in the 1940s, but there is so much more to it than this. If you have any thoughts, memories, or input, please feel free to share it.

If you are interested in reading more about the World War II Days at the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum, please check out their website: MAAM WWII Weekend. I’m really hoping we can go again next year.

For now, thanks for stopping by!

 

Changing Course

Have you ever felt like throwing everything up in the air and starting all over again? I’m just about to that point, but I think I will try to be a bit more organized about it.

A few weeks ago I had a meeting with a small business coach from a group called SCORE. According to their website, “SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship.” I wasn’t quite sure what to think as I went to the meeting, but the two gentlemen I met with gave me a lot to think about. However, some of their ideas have lead me to think I need to back up and start over in some ways.

I must say, it was interesting to talk to two men about a jewelry business. They had no idea on anything jewelry related except for the jewelry their wives wore. However, this provided some interesting insights. One thing they pointed out is that my styles are a bit scattered. I have always prided myself on having a wide variety of styles, but they said that could actually be hurting me. It ends up looking too cluttered and doesn’t have a consistency. This hurts in advertising because I can’t have a set style to tie everything together. I thought this was interesting because I have considered going in one direction, but I wasn’t sure if it would appeal to the masses. After talking to my husband about this, I realized it’s not always what appeals to the masses that’s important. It’s more important for me to enjoy what I do and to create something that appeals to a dedicated group of followers (more or less).

With this all in mind, I have decided to move away from the big, chunky designs and go to simple and elegant designs with some nature inspired themes. This is where I started and this is what I really enjoy. If my crowdfunding project works out, this will be an excellent way to piggy-back onto the American made jewelry concept because those are going to be simple and elegant designs.

Now the challenge is to focus and continue to push myself to pursue my goal(s). I’m enjoying looking at my business in a new light and I’m looking forward to seeing where I can go from here.

How often do you find yourself doing things because you think that’s what others want? Do you usually keep doing it or do you find yourself eventually going in the direction you want to go?

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” -Albert Schweitzer

Thanks for stopping by!

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