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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For the Love of the Craft

As I sit here preparing for my first craft show of the year, I am thinking about just how much work goes into preparing for a craft show. What’s funny is I know there are a lot of people out there who do a lot more preparation than I do.

 

Usually two nights before the show I double check my desk to make sure I do not have any recently created pieces still laying there. If there are pieces on the desk, they get put away into their respective places to make sure they end up at the show. Then I double check my packaging supplies to make sure everything is together. I really should do this a few weeks in advance to make sure I have enough, but I never think of that. Some day that will catch up to me and I’ll be making a craft store run just before a show.

 

The night before the show I take all of my items, tables, chairs, canopy, displays, etc. down to my living room and pile them near the front door. From here I usually take an inventory to make sure I have everything I will need. However, I have forgotten things on more than one occasion. Usually, it’s not something I can go without either. Perhaps I should consider making a checklist for shows to ensure I really do have everything. It would probably save headaches and fuel (from running multiple trips home).

 

Craft show days are usually early mornings. Depending on the show and its location, we’re talking earlier than most people get going during the week for work. It’s really amazing that crafters are awake, friendly, and functioning at shows sometimes because they’ve been up before dawn, loaded their gear, unloaded their gear, set up their booth and, depending on the time of year, are sitting there freezing cold or frying hot. I have trouble being cranky on a normal day when I get up too early. So remember, if the crafter at the booth in which you are standing doesn’t seem quite awake, they probably aren’t.

 

Craft shows are not often paying the bills. These long days and the wear and tear on the body are not always at the expense of big payouts. Even if customers might think things are overpriced, please keep in mind that this is often what it costs to be in business these days. It’s a hard market to be in. We do this for the love of it and possibly a little extra change. If nothing else, it’s enough to keep the business/hobby going.

 

Why do I write all of this? Not to make people feel bad for us and come out to support us, but because I really find the entire concept of craft shows to be quite ironic. People do it for the love of their craft and for the hope of making a little extra money. At least, that’s why I do it. I hope to hit it big eventually, but for now, it’s a labor of love. Before I got into this business, I would look at crafters and I couldn’t help but think “Wouldn’t it be easier to get a real job?” Now that I’m doing this, I’ve learned most of them have a “real job” and they balance their craft on top of it. It’s all done for the love of the craft.

 

Speaking of, perhaps it’s time to make sure I have everything I need for this weekend’s show. It’s supposed to be beautiful weather so I’m hoping we have a great turnout. If nothing else, I get to spend the day with my sister sitting out in beautiful weather surrounded by other great crafters and we only have to travel across town to do it!

This weekend’s show is as follows:

Manheim’s Artist’s Alley

Location: Manheim Railroad Station, 210 S. Charlotte St., Manheim, PA 17545

Time: 12-5PM

 

Hope to see you there!

Dreaming…

I hope you all had a relaxing holiday! I can’t believe we have now passed Labor Day…

 

As I look back over this past summer, I am trying to focus on the things I accomplished and not worry about the things I did not accomplished. That can be a challenge. For those of you who follow me regularly, you know I’m a big fan of learning from events in life. It’s basically the concept of finding something positive in every situation.

 

Something I learned this summer is if you want something badly enough, you can usually accomplish it as long as you are physically able and willing to put a little time, effort, and (possibly) money into it. Oh…and patience. Patience is important.

 

In my business, I have decided to move forward with some things that once seemed like dreams. I was concerned about spending the money, but I believe it will pay off in the long run. I will never know if they will work or not unless I try.

 

I have wanted a white canopy (EZ-UP) for some time now. This is considered a standard for craft shows and is often required for higher-end juried shows. I finally went out and purchased one yesterday. I was going to put it off until this winter or next spring, but my husband reminded me about end-of-season sales and the fact that it will be harder to find a canopy after cookout season is over.

 

Yesterday I also decided to purchase some silver to make the all-silver jewelry I’ve been dreaming about for months. Again, I was concerned about spending the money, but I think the timing was best. I have been watching silver prices very closely for the past few months and I think I’d be investing more money into it if I waited much longer. In July, silver was around $26 per ounce. Last week, it was around $30 per ounce. Yesterday, it was around $32 per ounce. Awhile back it was $40 per ounce and it did come back down, but they don’t think that will happen again for a long time, if ever.

 

Please note, this silver isn’t just any silver. It’s USA-made silver, which goes with another one of my dreams. As I have previously written, I love the idea of USA-made items created with USA-made components. It’s going to be awhile until I get my entire jewelry line to that point, but I have to start somewhere, so why not now?

 

The other dream I started to aim for is the completion of a certification I’m working on. I have been working on achieving my Accredited Jewelry Professional (AJP) certification through the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) for a little over a year now. It’s a 3-course certification and I finally started the third and final course yesterday. While this certification might not pay off for me right away, I think it will pay off in the long run. If nothing else, it is building my understanding of metals, gemstones, and the jewelry industry.

 

Speaking of my jewelry-making dreams, I felt inspired by an image I saw yesterday and I decided to make a pair of earrings based on that inspiration. I can’t remember what the design I saw was, but I made some changes and this is what I ended up with:

What do you think? I love them! These are created with sterling silver and cultured freshwater pearls. They are not listed on Etsy yet, but they should be up soon. I will let you know when I post them!

 

So with a little bit of patience, a little bit of determination, and a little bit of money I have accomplished one of my business dreams and started on two more. As hard as it is for me to remember, if I get knocked down when I’m in the heat of the fight, I must get up, brush off the dirt, and move forward.

 

Thanks for stopping by!