Saturday, 3 October 2009

October News

I said I would be back at the beginning of October to update you with where my thoughts have got to.  I can genuinely say that I am in a different place.

I think I have processed the overwhelming feelings related to the miscarriages.  I had my first period this month in years where I didn't burst into tears just because I wasn't pregnant.

I know there are 3 things I want for my life

  • A baby
  • A family home which my husband and I own – there is a long saga about not being able to sell a flat and living in rented accommodation in an area we want to live in.
  • A life skills centre – a place where God is at the centre but people are given the opportunities to learn the skills that life has either stolen from them or not given them the opportunity to learn.

Each of these things I have spent time, energy and money trying to make happen and yet they haven't happen.  I am in a place where I know I can not make any of these things occur but I know I need to live the life that I have been given. 

I do not want to live my life waiting for things to happen.

I genuinely believe each of these things will happen, I guess I just haven't worked out the right timing for them in my life.  But my life is more than waiting… it is living.

So where does this leave me and my creativity.  I guess the bottom line is just where its always been.  Its a really big part of who I am.  In the last month I have knitted, crochet, learnt how to use metal clay, made some beads and started preparing  a story plan so I can participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)

Where does it leave me and my business, that bit I don't know.  What I do know is that it is important for me to create, I know that I am very good at starting projects and not finishing them, I am good at sabotaging myself so I never start things but I also know that there has been a shift in my thought processes.  What that might look like in the future, who knows. 

But I am genuinely in a much better place than I was a month ago.

Thank you to all of you who have reached out and touched my heart whilst I have not been writing so publicly.

Julie

Monday, 17 August 2009

A diamond shines best when it is cut

I need to take time out from this blog.

It has been a fantastic experience for me, and as a consequence I have found the power of personal journalling. Expressing to myself the things I wouldn't express here.

I spoke last post about how I am finding that I am removing things from my life, to discover who I truly am. Well I need to let go of the blog for a month.

I have been told that blogs grow naturally when you do certain things, and most of them I have been doing. The blog hasn't grown. I was analysing what it is that could be getting in the way. I think there are a number of things
  1. I haven't added much content which is useful, other than an insight into me and where I am going
  2. I am in that confused state between bead maker and artist. That's gotta mean that I don't attract people from either group

This all sound like I'm being harsh on myself, but the truth is I hope I'm not. I genuinely feel that I am coming out of a deep phase of grief and trying to discover the new me. And its not the me who went in to this, and that included my art. I need to give myself time to truly discover me and what it is I now want to present to the world.

Thank you for your interest in my work, and I will be back at the beginning of October - if not before - to let you know where my world is heading.

J

Friday, 14 August 2009

Studio Update

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I’ve come to realise that when a girl features in my pictures that the picture is pretty much a self portrait of what is going on in my life.

I put all the flowers on because I thought they should be there.  If I was an artist and and glass artist, my picture should have more glass in there.

Only I was wrong.

As I looked at the picture I realised I needed to strip away the stuff that shouldn't be there.  But to do that would be painful and do damaging to the picture, but I knew I needed to do it.  Knew I needed to get rid of the flowers.

Its kind of like what is going on in my life, I feel like loads of things are being stripped back, taken away.

Some of it is easy but a lot of it is hard.

I’m now at a point with the picture that I feel like in my own life.  The yellow centred daisies have gone, and the picture really does lock a lot better.  The problem is I think I need to do more.  I think I need to completely sacrifice what I have now to get what it could be in the future.  And like in the picture, I don't know how much that will cost, or what it will look like.

I almost feel as if I need to create balloons which are fragile and can fly away, becoming what they were meant to be, rather than spring flowers which are here for a short season before they die.  In my own life I feel I need to let go of things which I feel have defined me, defined my pain, defined my path to go on the journey I was created to be on.

Monday, 10 August 2009

7 Things You Need to Make Glass Beads - Glass

At a bead fair I was discussing with a potential bead maker about what kit they should buy when they started. So what kit do you need?

  1. Glass
  2. Something to heat the glass with
  3. Mandrels to wrap the glass round
  4. Bead release to stop the glass sticking to the mandrel
  5. A way to cool the beads down so they don't thermal shock
  6. A way to clean the bead release out of bead
  7. … and a kiln if you want to sell your beads

Yup it really is that simple. But I have to say it’s scary that this is the minimum you need to make a glass bead, given the amount of tools I have hidden away in my shed.

Glass

There are a number of types of glass on the market but in the UK the cheapest and most easily available glass is soft glass with a CoE of 104.

OK so what does that mean? A CoE or coefficient is about the rate of expansion of the glass. Basically different glasses cool at different rates. A bead with a two different types of glass in will crack with what's known as a compatibility crack, when one glass cools quicker… not good if you’ve spent ages making a bead.

Satake Glass

This is amazingly soft glass has a CoE of 113 or 120. It is favoured by Japanese bead makers, and wow can they make some lovely beads. They often have a very distinct style due to the lower melting temperature and wonderful colour pallet. In the UK it’s quite hard to get hold of this glass, the main supplier being Satake Glass USA. To use this glass effectively you need a special burner.

104 Glass

When people talk about glass beads they often talk about Murano glass.

You can get Murano glass rod or another brand Venice glass Effetre (3 brothers who split from Murano glass) to make glass beads. Effetre. In the UK Effetre is often what people start with.

There are a number of brands of glass which are have a CoE of 104

  • Ask
  • Effetre
  • CiM Messy Colour
  • Double Helix
  • Lauscha
  • Northstar
  • Reichenbach
  • Vetrofond

Theoretically they can be used together in the same bead. I say theoretically because every now and again glasses that you think should work together give you cracks that look like incompatibility cracks.

The supplier I use in the UK is Tuffnell Glass, or Off Mandrel who I think give a great service.

Bullseye Glass

Bullseye has a CoE of 90. It is slightly stiffer than 104 and cools when you are working it more quickly. This means it is great for fine stringer work. Bullseye also has the most amazing pinks and purples. The best place in the UK to get it is Warm Glass, Off Mandrel or Creative Glass.

Borosilicate Glass

Pyrex is a brand of borosilicate or boro glass. Boro glass has a CoE of 30 to 33 and is classed as a hard glass… and wow is it hard in comparison to soft glass. You need a hot torch to work it but it does have some fantastic advantages. The colours you can get from Boro are amazing due to the amount of gold and silver in the glass. It is also great for sculpture and making glasses. Available Tuffnell Glass, Off Mandrel and Creative Glass

There are other glasses on the market and I guess that this is only an introduction to the glasses out there.

So what do I use?

I tend to use Effetre glass coloured glass and Lauscha clear glass for encasing my beads. I tend not to use the silver glasses or reactive glasses, but that’s because I tend to make beads with a sculptural quality. It’s also because I’m a bit of a miser and some of the glass can get really expensive… especially if you are importing them from the states.

End Note

The only way to know for sure if a glass is compatible with another is to do a compatibility check. I will write another article explaining how to do this.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Studio Update

otter - you are not alone

Last night the friends I was supposed to be visiting cancelled as Hannah was rushed to hospital with difficulty breathing and suspected problems with her pregnancy.  Clearly this touched many of my buttons and left me feeling a bit shaky.

I spent today with her 3 kids 2-13 years old looking after them as dad was at hospital.  It was generally going well till the 13 year old decided to do lunch and ended up serving me a single piece of toast with butter, less than she had given all them including the 2 year old.  Turns out there was no other food in the house.

Any way, I got home tired with a very low sugar level knowing the good news is that at the moment they have found nothing wrong with Hannah but there will be ongoing tests.  That didn't stop my irritability because I was so hungry. 

There was a parcel waiting for me which was full of some affirmation cards I have been working on for a little while.  The otters above are from the series.  In there were reminders to breathe and that I am enough as I am.  Seriously good timing.

I have completed 11 cards and I hope to either get to 15, 20 or 25 cards in a set.  Look out for them in the near future.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Pink Fritties Giveaway

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Its sad but the winner of these little beads hasn't come forward.  So I’ve re-done the draw and the winner is Aster Sadler. 

Please get in contact so I can send them out…

J

Monday, 3 August 2009

Love, Joy, Peace

085 copy Taken at London Zoo last week

So where has this whole happiness thing come from.  How come I’ve finally got to a place where I can say that I’ve woken up and feel happy?

I was mulling the Christian concept of the ‘Fruits of the Spirit’ – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control.  For years I have thought I can do those but I realise there is a difference between doing them and being them.

For me the key things in this are receiving love, joy and peace. 

Why specifically receiving love?  I think that giving love is about patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and faithfulness.  For me if I am automatically behaving in this way it is because I feel loved, peaceful and joyful.

Self control is important because it means I am actively deciding to put my self in a place where I can receive love, experience joy and be peaceful and actively avoiding situations that steal love, joy and peace.

So receiving love

  • Spending time with my DH
  • Spending time with family
  • Spending time friends
  • Generally being around people who love me and accept me as I am.

So Peace

  • Eating and drinking right
  • Exercising
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Journaling
  • Meditating

And joy – and this is where I have to say I’ve realised that I’m struggling.  What I have learned over the last few months is sorting out how to do the love and the peace thing.  I’m just short on the joy. 

Part of that has to do with a very strong work ethic, part of it to do with a lack of money thing but primarily to do with my tendency to hibernate when I feel down.  Given that I’ve been feeling down for a while I’ve stopped doing stuff.  I no longer sail, ski, scuba dive, canoe, go to the theatre, dance… so this is the next step.  Doing stuff and avoiding hibernating. 

Good plan I think

Friday, 24 July 2009

Studio Update

This week has been one of those week which would typically shatter me, but it hasn't.

My period is with me, and for all of those of us who are trying for a baby, this indicates another cycle where our hopes have not been fulfilled.  Certainly since Christmas I have been devastated with the start of a period.   My DH also lost some contracts this week as the company he works for as a freelancer went into administration… hmmm must change side bar… Clearly that hits us financially, and causes me to worry – normally.  Oh and its his birthday today.

On Tuesday this all hit, my hormones and pain at its worst and Andy’s news… and I don't feel shaken by any of it.  I have been praying about the idea that I cant continue to live with this persistent sadness.  Regardless of whether I have a child or not, I need to be pain free,  I just can not live this life completely absorbed by the pain… and I guess it makes my blog a really hard read to consistently hear me say I’m struggling.

As I said last Friday I think I’m working out how to manage the pain, and given this week, I really think I’ve found something that works for me.

My plan is on Monday to write it up rather than a Bead Basic Tutorial as I feel that at the moment this is the most amazing thing I could share.  so please pop back then

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Wednesday Giveaway – Pink Fritties – the result

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Good morning… well actually its not. I missed the morning teaching a guitar lesson which turned out to be a girly bonding over cups of tea. I like that.

Well done Sam for getting in there before the result, I included you in the draw.

www.random.org gave me the number 5 out of the 9 posts which is Natasha. I hope you pop back because I have no other way to contact you. Please give me your address and I’ll get the beadies out to you. Well done.

Monday, 20 July 2009

6 Steps to Great Lampwork Beads Using Bead Presses

Why Use a Bead Press?

There are many reasons to use bead presses.

  • You can ensure consistency in size
  • You can relatively easily create a good shape
  • Your buyers have a fairly good idea what the bead will be like and can design more easily
  • Buyers may prefer different shapes presses can provide
  • You can create shapes you would find difficult by hand

Guidelines for Using Any Press

The thing about presses is that they look easy but creating a good bead with them is not guaranteed.

1. Over filling

This creates little ridges around the seams which if the bead is meant to have a flat edge will seriously affect the quality of the bead. With lentils you end up with a very fine edge which kinda makes it look like a fried egg. They can be disguised or melted in or take some of the glass off the bead. Having said that melting them in doesn’t always work and you can still see the poor design.

2. Under filling

This will mean that the glass doesn’t get all the way to the extremities of a shape meaning you have duff corners or a lentil that doesn’t quite work. It kind of defeats the whole purpose of using a press

3. Unbalanced bead

This tends to be my speciality. These are the beads where the mandrel didn’t quite stay in the middle of the bead. Some buyers may like this as they can guarantee that the bead will hang that way, however if they are part of set it really isn’t going to help your reputation.

The bottom line is that wonky beads are not good beads although they might be sellable to the right person

4. Dimples

There is a huge debate about how dimples should look on pressed beads. It is however incredibly easy to make sharp pointy holes on beads using a press which is not good.

If it is a bead with a flat edge, normal indent dimple rules should apply. With lentils it is good to have a decent dimple that a spacer bead can fit in. The reason for this is that the glass is going to be very thin around the hole and with wear over time this can cause the glass to break, or at least become very rough which could cause the threading material to break. As a bead seller, not a great way to get repeat business.

5. Chill marks

Pressed beads are always going to get those little ridges across the surface of the bead. They really do need to be smoothed out and smoothing them out has an added benefit that you are adding heat which will help with the whole thermal shock thing.

6. Pressed beads are more likely to thermal shock

As the bead is thinner on one axis it will cool quicker here and will more prone to breaking. The way to work round this is to put pop the beads into a warm kiln and to heat the area nearest the mandrel so that the bead can cool more evenly.

Pressed beads make up a large number of the beads that we make as a community. With the whole practice practice practice idea you can get to a place where you can make great pressed beads that you will be proud of in a few years time.

Links to Tutorials for Specific Presses

I have presses from a number of places. Some of these links are to sites which sell presses. I’m not specifically endorsing them, just highlighting their tutorials

  • Cattwalk Tutorials They have tutorials including Bicones, Crunch, Emerald Cut, Lentil, Puffy Pillow, Triangle, Tabs (Round Emerald)

Friday, 17 July 2009

Friday already studio update

022 copy

My plan had been to show you my pictures I’ve finished this week which I am really proud of.  Unfortunately It’s been raining all day and all the pictures I have are just well… really duff. 

So what you have today is a picture of the cushion Jess made in our home schooling lesson over the last few weeks.  I’m so proud of her she worked really methodically and designed it herself.  Go Jess.

I want to thank you for the comments you have made both publicly and privately about my current struggles.  As it goes, today is a good day and I think I am beginning to work out how when my emotions get out of control I can get them back more quickly.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Wednesday Giveaway – Pink encased fritties

027Today's give away is a set of 5 encased fritties.  Each bead is encased in a light pink glass so that the whole bead is pink.  The giveaway is for all the beads you see in the picture.

I’ve made a promise to myself that I will not miss a posting day since setting up a posting schedule.  Today was nearly the first day that I’ve missed it.  I would normally post at around 9 am it is now gone 9 pm and I’m just about getting ready to post.

I would love to come up with all sorts of reasons why but the truth is that today has been another step on our fertility journey.  I’ve had another hospital appointment today and I feel totally drained, not so much as by the appointment but by facing what I try and hide. 

I can genuinely say that following Friday's post when I really wasn't coping I have got to a place at the moment where I am coping with the pain I feel.  But facing the tests again today I feel like my energy has been sucked out of me. 

So why am I continuing with today's give away… because as I think I’ve said before it makes me happy.  Being able to give away something I have invested love in is something which makes a difference to me.

All you need to do to have a chance of winning today's beads is make a comment about what gives you energy, what makes a difference in your life.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Pricing Your Lampwork Beads

I have to be honest this is one of my bug bears.

Pricing is not just about you

Before I started making lampwork beads I genuinely could not understand how people could get away with charging as much as they did for a piece of glass.  As I’ve learned to make beads and learned to love our community of bead makers I’ve realised that this perception of the value of our own work seems to underpin a lot of what we do.

Charging appropriately for what we make is about respecting ourselves and the community of lamp workers we are part of and consequently represent. 

I was reading a thread over at LE - Lampwork Etc. where artists who had been making a living from lampwork were beginning not to be able to pay their bills (pre economic downturn).  The sense was when we as hobbyists and students undercharged for their work, the people who buy lampwork were not prepared to pay the prices they needed to earn a living from glass.  If I undercharge I am teaching people that these bits of glass are just that, bits of glass, rather than amazing works of art formed through this incredible process.

Under pricing could affect you in the future

I guess this is a bit of a warning. 

We all know of people who sell their beads for a lot of money.  I saw a bead going for over $300 a few weeks ago.  The truth is it was an amazing bead from someone with a reputation, but still wow that's amazing.  So there is money to be made.

My thoughts go something like by underselling, I damage the price that people are prepared to pay.  That means as I improve my skill and my reputation, people are prepared to pay less than they were prepared to pay before.  I therefore end up earning less.  Not good.  In this scenario the only way to earn the big money is to have an amazing reputation and make amazing and distinctive beads, and to be honest there are only a handful of names in this category.

So the formula

50p a minute or $1 a minute

Seriously it is that easy.  Due to the exchange rate the $1 a minute is quite different from 50p a minute so there is a price range you could go. It is what I was recommended when I was taught and what I see being recommended by people who have been lampworking for a while.

I also have a wholesale price.  Simply because if I sell to a local shop they have a mark up they need to put on.  If I sell at retail price, then I am charging less so why would people purchase from the local shop.  I’m to great a competition.

30p a minute or $0.60 a minute

I’ve never sold wholesale to the US so I don't know how that would work but I know with the UK shops it worked out at a price that the shop owners were willing to pay as were their customers.

But my beads aren't worth that much

So what if you don't think your beads are not worth that much?Seriously there could be a number of issues going on

  • The beads aren't good enough – have a look at the post 10 standards for selling good lampwork beads.  If they pass they are good enough to sell.  If not think about developing your skill a bit more, sell to family and friends, use them for yourself, fuse them, there are all sorts of options.
  • I’m new to lampwork - so you make your beads slower than some who has been doing it for years.  Why not estimate how long it would take them to make the beads and charge at that rate?
  • I’m a hobbyist I don't need to charge as much – you don't but others need you to charge that much.  You are unintentionally affecting others who earn their living by glass art.  Consider your community when you consider your pricing.
  • I just cant charge that much – when I initially stated this was one of my key thoughts.  For me it started to highlight something about not being good enough as a person and not being worthy enough to earn money through something I loved.  Truth I am good enough and I don't need to be a struggling artist.

I’m sure there are other reasons why we don't charge correctly.  Please hear my words as guidelines and recommendations and hopefully not a lecture. 

Go for it make fantastic beads and sell well.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Studio Update???

picture goes here

I am only writing today as Friday is supposed to be my studio update day.  I have no update as I haven't made anything all week. That feels really weird to me as normally I feel creative a lot of the time.  I feel at the moment that all I have the energy to do is cope with my paid job.

Where I am at emotionally has a lot to do with this.  During last weeks mini heat wave I found myself unusually attached to the persistent sadness I feel as a consequence of our fertility issues.  That has probably been brought into focus as we have finally got to see the right doctors… it too 3 1/2 years rather than 6 months to get to this stage, but that's another story.

Currently I feel incredibly drained and my head feels like cotton wool. All I know is that I need to find some way to deal with some of this pain independent of whether we have a child or not.  I need rid of this pain if I’m going to do something rather than just survive.

So where do I start, the honest answer is I’m not really sure.  The obvious answer is I need to spend more time meditating and just being with God and its true that will make a huge difference.  But what else is it that I’m needing, because it feels like there is a lesson I need to learn but I’m just not comprehending what it is.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Tree Bead Necklace Winner

I’ve had posts of both my blog and facebook so I’ve decided to combine the numbers… First the blog posts, then the facebook comments…

14 comments in total… and the random generator gave number 8 which was Kitsch Kitty, UK Beaders founder.

E-mail me your contact details and I’ll get the necklace out in the post to you

Julie

Monday, 6 July 2009

10 Standards For Selling Good Lampwork Beads

In the excitement of starting to make lampwork beads is the amazement that other people like our beads and are wanting to buy them. So when are we ready to sell our beads.

1. Good holes.

The holes of your beads need to be neat, to not have any sharp points. Quite simply if your beads have sharp points they could cut the stringing material a bead worker is using damaging your buyers jewellery and potentially affecting their reputation.

You are also selling something with a sharp point, which after all is glass and so could cut the buyer.

People recommend that you should have good puckers, what that means is that there are nice dimples so the whole thing is smooth. There different recommendations for different shapes and different personal preferences, but I would recommend that the holes always go in a little.

I do know that some people “drill out” the holes to get rid of the sharp points. This will leave an etched look on the bead and a rough surface. There is no harm in doing this for beads you intend to keep but it is best to avoid on beads you intend to sell.

2. Shape of the bead

The bottom line is that most people who are buying our beads are buying them to make jewellery and generally they need the bead to hang right in the design.

S13aIt is fairly obvious when beads are off centred and don't hang right. One of the surprises for me was with my signature peacock beads. With the way that the glass is place to form the body, it causes the beads to be unbalanced and turn meaning that designers have needed to be careful how they have used them. I have subsequently changed the orientation of the design which makes a huge difference.

There is no problem in making an off centred design if that is how it is intended to be. You just need to let your buyer know, you don't want buyers returning your beads.

3. Structurally sound – No cracks or defects

In my mind it goes without saying that beads should be structurally sound. What has scared me when I have looked at beads the number of people who sell damaged beads. I even found some at a bead show on a lamp workers stall and they were telling me how wonderful their work was. Unfortunately my thoughts were you are unintentionally affecting me by selling stuff which is substandard

4. Stringer design well attached

It is so exciting when you begin to get design on beads. It is really important however that it is well attached. The bottom line is if the dots or stringer are under cut and not flush to the bead, the glass will come off at some point. Not great if you’ve already shipped the bead and someone is wearing the bead as it can lead to sharp glass … ouch.

5. Annealed.

It is strongly recommended that you anneal your beads in a kiln before you sell them. This is often the main difference between mass produced beads.

The basic science is that cooling the bead at a slow rate allows the bead molecules to line up rather than being random. Having random molecules means that the glass is more likely to break or crack at some point in the future.

Annealing your beads means that in the future it could be your beads that archaeologists dig up because they have survived years. It also more practically means you will have happy customers.

6. Cleaned.

One of the things about mass produced beads is that often they are not cleaned properly. From a designer point of view this leads to a yucky white substance coming from the beads. What I didn't realise for a long time is that this powder can be cancerous if breathed in. Frankly any fine dust breathed in is bad for your lungs.

Look after your customers by cleaning your beads and look after yourself by cleaning your beads underwater.

7. Chill marks.

These are little rings and ridges which appear on your beads when you use tools or press your beads. They appear because different bits of the glass cool at different rates. The bead need to be warmed to clean these marks off to create a nice smooth surface.

Having said all this I have seen a friend create lollipop beads where she deliberately left the marks as part of the design. Some people just have to be different hey.

8. Bubbles

Bubbles are the curse of clear or transparent glass especially when you are encasing the bead. The aim is to create a bead free of bubbles. Some people like bubbles in beads and my understanding is that they don't affect the structure of the bead but a good bead is bubble free.

9. Pricing.

This is a hugely touchy subject but the bottom line is if as a designer you sell a handmade bead for a cheep price you are teaching the guys who buy beads that lampwork beads are not worth much. This then affects the other lampwork bead makers.

You may only be making as a hobby, you may no feel you are good enough but the recommendation is that you charge 50p a minute whilst making the bead. That will cover the cost of the making the bead and promotion. If you feel a better lamp worker would make the bead faster then charge for the time you think it would take them.

10. Insurance.

The unfortunate reality of selling is that it makes sense to have Public Liability Insurance. Should the glass you sell harm someone, it makes sense to be able to protect you and your family financially.

Enjoy melting glass, it is the most amazing thing you can do. Hopefully this article should give you an idea of when it is a good time to start selling your precious orbs of glass.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Stoicism = So Happy I Could Bounce and Studio Update

I’m going to start this rather long post with my studio update followed with what this slightly bizarre title is about.

I have 3 sets of uncleaned comet beads which I really need to get round to listing.

018

I’ve also been painting, or at least working on the mixed media pictures

015

This is the one I showed you last week.  It now has its birds and some beading.  I think I might need to put a bit more movement into it, but hopefully by next wee it should be near being completed.

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This is the one that I’ve recently started on.  Nothing is stuck down.  I’m thinking it might need some lampwork butterflies.

So back to the title.  It seems like one of the strangest things I could say but wow it so is.  I was watching a 5 minute presentation on Stoicism and looking at our fears rather than trying to improve our motivation.  The practicality of pessimism: Stoicism as a productivity system

It is so important to be grateful, so important to find out what we really want to do, but somehow in this I have always felt held back.  I’ve never been able to tie that down until this 5 minute moment.

Listening to what was being said something made a lot of sense.  In therapy I often get people to look at what the “bottom line” of what they are fearing is.  For some reason I hadn't considered applying this to my art work.

By Following the recommendation of creating a 3 column chart. I feel like something has lifted and I feel really excited.

  • The first column being identifying all the possible worst case scenarios that could happen if you did what you're considering.  
  • Column 2 Detail all the things that could minimize the likelihood of those worst case scenarios from happening.
  • Column 3 Detail all the line by line action items that it'll take for you to get where you want to go. What do you have to do to make that change in your life, to avoid those worst case scenarios, and is it worth it?

I now have 37 clear things that I can do to stop the worst thing I fear happening from happening.  OK only 18 are linked to my deepest fear but I feel like I can move forward in a way that looking at only positive things hasn't been able to give. 

By recognising and identifying my fear it has lost control over me, for now anyway.  I also have practical steps which will help challenge my procrastination which is one of my biggest problems.

I feel so happy I could bounce.  My pessimism has been dissolved by looking at it head on

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Tree Bead Necklace Giveaway

I thought I’d do something different this week.  I’m offering a piece of jewellery made with one of my focals.

125

The silk ribbon is painted and sewn by Diane at SowZerE Designs.   It’s amazing the love and care she puts into her hand made ribbons.  This one is called Calm.  I thought that was so apt for this bead.

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The metal in this piece is sterling silver and has been formed by myself.  There are 2 copper spacers at the top and bottom of the bead to hold it in place.

I hope to have some comet beads and dragon scale beads listed on Etsy tomorrow morning.

All you need to do to have a chance of winning this pendant is make a comment, leaving your name

Monday, 29 June 2009

Conceptualising My Art Business – Part 4 Where?

Gosh I cant believe I’m on part 4.  It’s quite exciting to have set myself the target of doing a series … and actually finishing it.  That is one of my biggest problems, finishing.  So I’m learning to set smaller goals to achieve my bigger ones.image

What I’ve done is taken the types of people I want to sell to and thought about where I might want to sell.

People who collect beads

I guess this is an area which is something which when I was aiming at creating arty beads this was part of my focus.  The consequence of making beads I love is that other people will love them and want to collect them.  I’m wondering whether having this as a primary focus for my beads is not so helpful.

As a thought these are areas I recon I could promote to collectors in.

  • etsy
  • eBay
  • just beads
  • my website
  • art fire
  • lampwork forums
  • flickr
  • retail shops

Jewellery designers

It seems to me that this seems to be who I need to be aiming at with regards to selling my beads.  I am coming to realise that I make the beads for me, as a distraction from stress rather than specifically made for jewellery.  So the truth is focusing on this group of people is about promoting what I have. What I have done in the past is become overwhelmed by what I think designers might want.  I am learning I can only be me, and in that I have something unique and special.

  • jewellery forums
  • flickr
  • etsy
  • misi
  • art fire
  • personal site

Women

lol…. this is such a huge statement.  It was referring to my affirmation prints and paintings which is what I am developing.  So as far as I can see so far these are some places to aim for.

  • profiles on other artists blogs
  • writing for other blogs
  • sponsoring other artists blogs
  • etsy
  • mixed media forums

People who value creative, hand crafted goods

This goes for both the beads and the art.  As a starting place these are places I think I could aim at

  • etsy
  • misi
  • folksy
  • art fire
  • not on the high street
  • handmade forums
  • Saatchi online
  • galleries

Teaching Lampwork

As I’ve said before unfortunately I don't have the right location at the moment to teach at home..  May be one day.  Here and now it strikes me that these are my current options.

  • lampwork forums
  • other peoples studios
  • bead shows
  • personal site
  • blog
  • online tutorials
  • tutorials for sale

My blog

Gosh there is so much advice on how to promote a blog that I really couldn't go into it here in this post.  Maybe in one in the future when I feel like I know more about blogging I will publish some how to’s

As you can see even in the process of writing this series, my thoughts have changed from week to week.  I’m not sure I’ve completely got all the answers but I know a few things for certain

  1. bead making is something I do for me but I choose to sell so I need to learn how to market them with this in mind
  2. Affirmation art is something I want to develop and focus my business mind on
  3. Teaching and giving back is something I want to do and at this point in time the best place is here on the blog.

If you have been following this series you probably can see some things that I am missing.  I would really appreciate your observations and comment.  Thank you

Julie

Friday, 26 June 2009

Studio Update

It has been really good this week.  I feel great because the beads that I have made because I want to have sold where as ones that have been around which I was making with others in mind haven't.  I really feel great about the idea of making things which I love rather than trying to second guess everyone else.

I have a Work in Progress for you

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Remember this picture.  It was the first of using paint and glass in a picture.  This is something I have been musing about for a while in terms of making it happen.

This week I have started this picture

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This piece is about my musings about community, quite funny as there is no community in here at all, but there will be.

It very much is a work in progress and I took the picture at the wrong time of day so it doesn't show everything up.  The tree (polymer clay) and leaves (lampwork) are yet to be fixed and I’m thinking there is something wrong with the leaves.  There will be 2 glass birds to perch in the tree and when they are there I’m sure I will be able to see more clearly what is needed.

I also need to find some way of accurately showing off this type of work.  Part of that is about selling it, but part is also about the idea that I might want to make prints… a thought but I don't know where it will lead me.

I would really appreciate your comments on this piece, ideas and observations.  This really is a new venture.  Whilst I wouldn't, and most people don't recommend showing something so early, I thought I would to get some sense of feed back.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

And The Winner Is…..

I got a lovely message on Frit Happens from last weeks winner. One of the reasons I wanted to give things away is that it genuinely makes me feel good.

So to this weeks winner... according to the random number generator, post 3… errrr, so that would be me then. Then number 11… me again… 13… and again, I think I might be commenting too much on my own blog. 15… that’s me, now this is getting stupid…

So what I’m going to do is recalculate this taking out my posts … the 6 of them.

Well done Rozelle, contact me with your address and I’ll get the beadies out to you.


Monday, 22 June 2009

Conceptualising My Art Business – Part 3 Who?

So the question for today is so who am I aiming my work at?  Who is my target audience? Who are my right people?

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You know it feels a bit strange writing this on a blog and making it public.  I guess if you are reading this then the reality is in some way you are the part of the group of people I want to, for a better word, influence whether that be through my art, my beads or my words.

Glass Beads. 

So who do I want my beads to appeal to?  Err the egocentric answer is everyone, but that's not such a helpful answer is it really.  Need to come up with a better thought it it is about who I would like to sell to.

  • I would like people to love my beads, so I guess there is something about selling to people who collect beads.
  • I would like my beads to be usable and worn.  I would like my beads to be loved and used by jewellery designers

Paint and glass.

Given that this is the part of my business that is less well defined I guess it is the part that I need to think about the most.

  • I would like my creations to encourage and affirm people.  So that is probably about aiming at women, creative types
  • There is something about people who understand and appreciate hand made items
  • I would like my faith to some how be reflected in the art so would that be about aiming at a Christian market or just acknowledging the reality that it is likely to be there? This is something that I haven't really thought through but maybe will evolve over time.

So the giving back thing.

For me this is apparent in a number of ways.

  • I’m teaching guitar lessons.  You have no idea how funny I find this as I really don't feel like I have the skills to do this.  But the guys I am teaching sought me out and are clearly really enjoying it and that is such a buzz
  • I am teaching art to some home schoolers.  I saw them on Friday and after an hour and a half, the time we had agreed, they were asking for more.  Just how cool is that?
  • I would love to teach lampwork, but the reality is that I don't have the best environment to do that in at the moment.  What I am going to do instead is put a series of “Bead Basic” tutorials on the site
  • I would also like this blog to be a place to give back.  A place where my words and thoughts can be an influence and be helpful

If you have any thoughts about who you think might be my target audience given my work I would really appreciate it.  Often other people see things that we don't see ourselves so your thoughts would be really appreciated.

Julie

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Conceptualising My Art Business – part 1 Why - Summary

I was planning a 4 part series on conceptualising my business.  It was all going really well.  I published article 1, wrote article 2, so far so good.  I did something strange which meant that article 2 replaced article 1 loosing it forever.

This post is a summary of what was lost.  I’m sad that I have to do it this way as I’m aware that some of the energy of the first post will be lost.

So this is my conceptualisation of my business.  This is something I have developed for myself after reading a lot of information from other people.

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As I was thinking about it I realised that some of these questions I have answers to but some I really didn't, and these were the fundamental questions.  Like why am I making, let alone selling

So why do I make, in essence there are two answers in that for me

  1. because it is integrally part of who I am.  Without being creative I find part of me dying
  2. there is something about me needing to give back through my creativity and seeing a difference in peoples lives.  For my art to have meaning

Its these two core issues which define my creativity.  It means that it is ok just to make things because I can but also to have something that has meaning.  As a consequent of this I have take some steps

  1. I am allowing myself just to make things because I can.  This means I am allowing myself to enjoy making my dotty beads, and the flow of the molten glass.
  2. I have started teaching people guitar and I am teaching some home schoolers art. 

What I have lost in this is the sense of meaning.  What that means is that there is something to explore about how to create meaning in my art.  This was covered in part 2.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Check Out To Find You Already Had What You Wanted

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I am one of these people who enjoys planning, enjoys scheming and working out where I want things to go. The problem with this is that it can cause me to feel disconnected. Feeling like there is something more to life than I am somehow connected to.

My observation in life is that we tend to fall into categories those who tend to scheme all the time and feel overwhelmed and those who tend to drift and feel lost. Now I know these are generalisations but I’ve experienced as well as known the truth of it this week.

As a therapist I often explain that to have too much stress is to burn out but just as disastrous to mood and efficiency is rust out, when you just don't have enough pressure.

diagram

Last week I had a week away with my parents. When I do this, the world literally stops. By day 2 I was getting really wound up by doing nothing. By day 5 my husband and I were going loopy.

I had taken my paints to do stuff, a book to read, a screenplay I’m working on, things on how to improve my blog but I just couldn't get into anything. It was as if stopping robbed me of the ability to perform. Not only did my motivation vanish by so did my ideas. There was no planning, no scheming and I can genuinely say I felt my mood sink really fast. Rust out.

So how do I hold that with the learning how to slow down? How do I give myself space to plan and scheme without putting too much pressure on myself? It is almost as if I need to plan and scheme how to do a simple life. Some of it could be summarised by this great post about slowing down on Zen Habits.

Planning to slow down but having something to slow down from seems just as important. So I’ve decided that I will do that by identifying what I want from this week, then making a point of making it happen with specific goals.

So what are the key things that I want?

  1. I want time to create whether that be with glass, silver, paint or words
  2. I want to have time for relationships, with people I love
  3. I want to earn money from activities which I see as being worthwhile.
  4. I want to make a difference.
  5. I want to be me,
  6. I want to fully be who I was created to be, because only then will I be fully happy.

So things I need to do this week

  1. Set specific time to create
  2. Invite friends round for a meal or to the pub at least if I don't quite get round to cleaning the house
  3. The truth is I see my paid job as worthwhile. I just need to learn how to give it direction. Therefore I need to set some time to plan and scheme… ooo things I do well.

I guess 4-6 will happen as I work on the other things. By focusing on the specifics I perceive that I will be able to stream line my life and therefore slow down. Interestingly to have time fro friends and time to create I have to slow down as well.

So back to the title of the post, I realise that as my life has sped back up today my ideas, inspiration and desire to create are returning. If I make a point of doing my already, everyday life, but slower and simpler I already have everything I need and want. So very simple but so very true.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Wednesday Winnings

Hi there it’s my second giveaway/winning day.

I’ve been sitting here thinking, well not thinking that’s a bad description. There are days with my journey through fertility that I just sit an find tears rolling down my face, and today seems to be one of those days so far. Nothing specifically has triggered it and I know that at times moment in time I need to look after myself.

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So why am I continuing to give away when I feel like the world is beginning to close down on me and I need to look after myself. For that very reason. I have learned over time that when I feel like this I tend to withdraw into my own little world which is really not very helpful. Giving away these beads is about keeping myself open to the world rather than hiding. Choosing to share who I am rather than running away. I promise however that I will be taking today slowly so that I’m not overwhelmed by what I am feeling.

I thought I would offer you some of my dragon scale beads.

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I enjoy making these guys and the movement of the glass.

All you need to do today to have a chance of winning them is leave a comment.

If you come in directly to this page it will be clear how to leave a comment however if you come in on the front page click the word below that says “comment”. This will take you to the page were you can do that…. Good luck

Julie

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P.S. As I've gone about my business today I've realised that this post could look as if I'm asking you to support me and be kind to me in order to have a chance to get the beads. Honestly this was not my intent. Even if your comment is HIYA, I wouild love to hear from you - J

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Monday, 15 June 2009

Conceptualising My Art Business – part 2 What?

In an earlier post Conceptualising My Art Business – part 1 Why? I explored why I need and want to make.  This brought me to the interesting conclusion that the reason I make is not to sell but about what it intrinsically gives me and my desire to give back to others.


The conceptualising looks a little like this.

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The second question for me here is if it is a business what is it that I want to sell.  I know that I find making to sell is some how a sell out but there has to be a balance somewhere.

Well I could make

  • lampwork glass
  • painting
  • knitting (I’ve made huge amounts of baby clothes)
  • sewing (I’ve made a wedding dress and clothes for others)
  • jewellery (I’ve done courses in making silver jewellery and my next step would be to think about a BTec)
  • hats
  • bags
  • cards

All these things I have made and sold at stages.  But what is it that I am passionate about making.  I guess the answer at one level is simple, glass and painting.

Great … that narrows it down to two huge fields.  Both of which are hugely competitive and I guess need specific focus on.

The glass thing as far as I can see, with the skills I have, breaks down into a few areas

  1. Art glass beads.  I specifically like two types of design.  Those with a very geometric feel and beads inspired by nature.  I’m wanting to create beads with a more painterly like quality.
  2. Production glass beads, which I have done and it really improved my skills but I chose to end because it stole my soul.
  3. Mini sculptures.  My beads have often ended up behind sculptural from very early on.  I have also done some off mandrel sculpture which was great fun.  My dad has a kingfisher as a consequence.
  4. Turning my glass into jewellery

I know there is way more to lampwork but not with my skill levels at the moment.

The painting thing for me is much more limited.  Or at least it feels as if it is.  What I know is that I loose myself in painting but have never produced anything that I feel is of a saleable quality.  What I do love about paint over glass is the depth of meaning I feel and see in the work.  I love the use of this medium for affirmations and the stories that can be told.

So this leads me to a question of whether there is something about combining these two areas to create something that is unique and distinctive to me.  Using glass and paint to create pieces which have meaning seems to be so very important to me and probably the best way forward. 

The draw back is that this is something completely new for me and to start with not a money making avenue… which to me seems to defeat the whole point of conceptualising a business around art.

I guess my plan to start with has to be about beginning to create daily within paint as I perceive I already have the skills within the glass to create what would be needed.  I also need to spend time creating glass beads which I love in the mean time.  Not primarily because I want to sell but because I love to make.

errrrmmmm not sure what happened there

I've done something and caused blogger to be strange...

The post which I set to come up today went up yesterday, but with comments on from a previous post, which has disappeared. You will see that the lovely Elaine commented on the 12th on a post which is dated the 15th but was live on the 14th... I so have done something strange.

Unfortunately I dont seem to be able to recover the missing post so I will put a summary of it up at some point as it was the start of a 4 part series... doh...

Hopefully back to normal now

J

Friday, 12 June 2009

Studio Update

This week has been a week for painting and just being.  I don't have anything to show at the moment, but I’m sure I will in the next few weeks.  I have spent a few days away with my parents and it was fantastic to see them.

So what about to days TGIF – Trust Gratitude and Inspiration Friday.

  • Thankful - I’ve spent a lot of time with my parents this week and it has been fantastic
  • Gratitude – I am grateful for time to be and time to play
  • Inspiration – I have been inspired this week by being down near the sea

Thank you for dropping by

J

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Wednesday Giveaway – the results

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I used a random number generator to determine who would win these.  The result was post 4.

That means the winner of the set is Rachel B.  Send me your address and I will get the beadies out to you

J

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Race for Life

You may have noticed that I've had the race for life banner on my blog for a little while. Well it was today and I've done it.

If you are interested in sponsoring me the link is here.

I dont expect anything from anyone and I am taking the logo off now. This was just in case anyone was interested, had thought about sponsoring me and had not quite got round to it.

Thank you all

J

Friday, 5 June 2009

Studio Update and TGIF

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So Friday posting, what have I been up to. Because I’ve been on annual leave its been an interesting week. Not as productive in some ways as I thought it would be, but really soulful and thoughtful, which to be honest I actually prefer.

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So there have been a couple of bead sets, and Wednesday Giveaway. There have also been some firsts, I taught guitar for the first time this week. That feels a bit strange because I really don't feel like I have the skill needed, but they insisted which was so very flattering. It is also the first actual sit down less for teaching some art with some kid who are being home schooled.

One of the things as I thought about what I wanted to do with my creativity was teach and give back to people. When I identified that, within days these two opportunities arose and there is another bubbling in the pipeline. I think that's cool

Some days I wake up and it feels like my head is full of cotton wool. Sitting down and working out my TGIF seem really hard but actually it is really helpful because despite what my brain says actually there is an awful lot of good out there.

  • Trusting – to day I am trusting that I will have fun with the kids and that the excitement they have shown will encourage them to want to continue with their art lessons
  • Gratitude – I’m really grateful for friends who see me as me and who aren't out to change me. Yesterday I had the two extremes, people who wanted to change me and then wouldn't listen to me and friends who were just the most amazing and supportive, even though I didn't tell them about the first group of people.
  • Inspiration – wow that's when its hard to find something with a head full of cotton wool. I’m doing the race for life tomorrow and beginning to prepare for it has inspired me to want to continue with the weight loss.

Thank you for dropping by. What are you trusting, grateful for and inspired by on this Friday?

J

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Wednesday Giveaway

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So here we are with my first weekly give away. This is a set of 5 18mm beads with 6 associated spacers. These are beads where I love the process and the feeling of making the beads. I love how the glass moves in the heat and I enjoy the skill in making it rather than being inspired by things outside of that moment in time unlike this bead which is inspired by my love of Classical Greek and Roman art.

Classic

So if you fancy winning this set, all you need to do is comment in up to 10 words and tell me what it is that inspires you whether that is in everyday life or in your creations. I will draw a winner next Wednesday

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I look forward to reading your comments.

Julie

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I've just been told its not obvious how to leave a comment. Please click below where is says how many comments there have been. This will lead you to a page where you can make your comments.... Thank you for your understanding - J

Monday, 1 June 2009

Shame and empathy

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I have been thinking about my musing, live life as an exclamation not an explanation, Performing for an audience of one, Relentlessly pursue who I am created to be. As a think about them there is a real sense of wanting to be more than I am at the moment.

I don't think there's anything wrong with that but they got me thinking, what is it that stops me? Why am I musing on such similar themes? Am I actually changing or is it just light sunlight on a dandelion, I’m showing up the structures and its frail but beautiful in its simplicity?

So what is it that stops me, and the honest answer is I get so far then get overwhelmed by a sense of not being good enough. A sense that somewhere I am deeply flawed, in other words shame kicks in.

I have been thinking about shame resilience and how I can begin to protect myself from shame and I realise a simple truth. As I talk to others and give them the opportunity to show me that not only do they understand how I feel but that it’s OK to have these dark scary thoughts and feel this overwhelming gut wrenching fear, shame is beginning to loose its power over me.

I don't think I’m brave enough to share the specific incident which highlighted it all to me this week but what I do know is that giving other people the opportunity to show me empathy begins to heal my soul. I also actively noticed this week as I shared empathy with others, the impact it has on them and how healing it is,

So here’s to empathy. Really trying to come alongside someone and hear the situation from their point of view. The amazing thing with empathy is feeling heard and understood means that a solution to the problem doesn't have to be found. Empathy itself is the solution.

Friday, 29 May 2009

TGIF and Romanov Beads

So what have I been up to?

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This set is called Romanov as when I was making it I was reminded of some of the amazing patterns that are part of the Winter Palace in Russia.  They really aren't my normal style but I really enjoyed making them. 

As I was making them I became aware that they were similar to other glass artists beads.  As I thought this and thought about their designs, the bead I was making turned into mush, the design slipped, and the glass boiled.  Keeping a focus on my bead was really important.  To express my voice even though similar potentially to others meant that I created something I was proud of.

The other thing that I’m excited about is that today is the first time I get to focus on my writing projects.  I have many half finished stories and I hope to spend some regular dedicated time working on them.

So here are my thoughts for Trust, Gratitude, Inspiration Friday… I'm just really enjoying thinking about this as a regular part of my blogging.

  • Trust – I’m trusting today that although it feels like my story telling voice has disappeared, by creating space for it, it will begin to shine.
  • Grateful – last week I was was saying I was trusting that I had made the right decision to start promoting and selling my beads again.  Within minutes of listing I had a sale, thank you
  • Inspiration – Following the sale I feel really inspired just to be me, to do the things I love. 

Monday, 25 May 2009

Live life as an exclamation not an explanation

004 copyI was looking at one of those posters which has instructions about living life.  Normally I look at them and think what a waste of time they are.  In this one this one sentence jumped out.

I so often find myself not truly being me, second guessing what I should be doing, worrying about what other people think.  As a consequence watering down who I am.  So often I find people disapproving of my playfulness not with words, but a look that says you shouldn't be doing that.  People tell me that I shouldn't respond one way but when I actively choose to do something different tell me that I have that wrong as well.

Actually, why do I let people tell me what I should do and why should I be trying to impress them.  But the blatant truth is I do, and I am sick of it.  I use up so much energy trying to justify and explain who I am rather than just living me.

I guess this ties up into my musing for the last few weeks of how do I perform for an audience of one and how do I relentlessly pursue who I am created to be. 

I am so aware that I feel so many things tell us how to be, how to eat, how to think, how to dress and how we unwittingly maintain these standards.  its partly about the media but its also about the people that we spend time with not necessarily in terms of friends but in terms of groups we belong to.  I have different types of clothes for different groups.  Now at one level that is logical because I couldn't wear something heavy when I dance.  But it seems to me that I am trying to create an image that fits in with the rest of the group as much as what is comfortable to wear.

This image sensor is so acute that when I do things like go shopping I am checking out to make sure I not only fit in the the general image of those around me, but I am doing it slightly better than everyone else.  Now the truth is I totally fail at it primarily because I refuse to spend the money it would take to do that but how does my little head even go there in the first place.

There is part of me that would like to go back to being the kid I was before I was bullied.  The one that was carefree, the one that when I was much smaller had to be put on reigns to stop me talking to strangers, the one who just enjoyed being me and wasn't constrained by the groups image.  You know one of the reasons why I was bullied for so long is that I refused to be like the rest of the group.  I used to do it naturally but I feel that that freedom has been beaten out of me.

I so want to be able to live my life as an exclamation not an exclamation.  Lifting my head to the world and shouting this is me rather than head down hoping that no body notices when I get it wrong.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Friday Feature. Merrett Mansion Update

So here's my attempt at putting up some of my art on a Friday and let you know what I’ve been creating this week

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Hopefully by the end of the day I will have some beadies up on etsy.  The green ones are some of my 15mm beads and the black are 6mm tiny treasures.   How exciting is this.  Beadies to sell.

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I’ve also been a painting.  Apart from the eyes on the first one which need re doing, I think these piccies really aren't too bad.  The plan will be to finish them and make them part of some affirmation cards and prints.

I have to say, that may well take some time but at the moment I;m just enjoying the painting.

To finish up, I’ve been doing a TGIF thing (trust, gratitude and inspiration Friday).  So these are my thoughts for today

I'm trusting that even though I'm feeling so very tired today that choosing to intentionally create space to do the things I love is the right decision

I'm grateful to one of my friends allowing me to home teach her children art. I had been wanting to share my arty-ness and there was a fantastic opportunity that also meant she could take her youngest to playgroup

I'm inspired by one of the clients I met today who expresses her love for people and her expression of creativity without abandon.

Thank you for dropping in

Julie

Monday, 18 May 2009

Monday Musings: Performing for an audience of one

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I’ve made a promise to myself that I will try and update this blog twice a week. 

  • On a Monday with some of my thoughts and ramblings
  • On a Friday with an insight into the art and creativity which has been happening here at Merrett Mansions.

Having made that promise to myself I was sitting here thinking, so what on earth am I going to write about today. 

My new normal pattern for a Monday is now to get up early, meditate, read the blogs I follow and update my own, then get either the paints out or head out to the shed to fire up the lampwork torch. It was in this process that I found the inspiration for today's ramblings, a precious story which really touched me. There in Gypsy Girls Guide was a story which somehow resonates so very deeply with me. 

I have been mulling over the idea of who is it that I am trying to impress.  I find myself at times overwhelmed by what I fear others are thinking of me and as a consequence I perform to those fears.  In India a group of performers performed just for her.  They were not hindered by the fact that there was only one person, that their art and this part of their life wasn't going to be seen. 

For me the challenge recently has been to try and perform for an audience of one.  That one for me being God.  These guys lavishly prepared and gave their best even though only one person was watching.  Just how amazing is that?  I feel so inspired to see such a practical demonstration of performing for an audience of one.  Richly lavishing my life on what I love regardless of whether it is seen or not.

Thank you Gypsy Girl for sharing.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Paradox

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I’ve been feeling for a long time that I need to re arrange my schedule to specifically create time to be creative.  I’ve felt that doing it haphazardly has meant that things just haven't happened.

I’ve finally managed to create time during the working week and what happens when I come to it…. I do all the little jobs that are on the list to do to clear my mind… then I find my mind is fully cleared and I really don't know what to do with the time.  These precious moments that I have been craving suddenly feel like an empty void. 

Why does that happen?

Should I go to the shed to create glass, should I paint the picture I have in my mind, should I continue writing a script, should I finish one of the polymer clay models, should I make the bag that I’ve just bought the materials for or should I list some of the beads I made a while back that haven't been seen or sold? 

It’s just so weird.  I feel overwhelmed by possibility, and at risk of loosing the time I have created.

I guess the truth is that I have been learning how to be and how to be fully in the moment.  So that makes it OK to be overwhelmed by the possibilities… but also it it so incredibly exciting that I can begin to devote my time to some of the things I really want to do.  To begin to create the perfect day I have in my mind… have I written about my perfect day?  I promise I will

Is this sense of excitement and overwhelming something that you can relate to.  It would be fantastic to hear how you have begun to work through it.

Given that the first thing I’ve done when I feel like this is blog I guess what I’ going to do today is write.  it feels like today is a wordy day.

Friday, 15 May 2009

TGIF

For a little while I’ve been reading a blog called Ordinary Courage. Its one of those little corners of the net I find really inspiring and so helpful at this point in time in my journey.

Every Friday they do something called TGIF – Trust, gratitude and inspiration Friday.  So here are my thoughts.

Today has just started so its a really nice way to think about how I'm going to do today

  1. I'm trusting that now is the time. I've been hiding my creativity, which has been like pruning it, and it now seems to be re-growing in new directions
  2. I'm grateful for the start of another beautiful day which is yet to be enjoyed
  3. I'm inspired by just knowing that today has so many possibilities

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Peace in the Storm

I have been painting and making things with glass but not posting them.  Simply because I really strongly felt that it was really important that I fell in love with creating and why I was creating, rather than be focused on selling.  finding what it was I was trying to say rather than just loving the process.

Doing this has lead me to a whole new area of work.  Work which for me has meaning and purpose, in a way that other things have not.  A way for me to begin to express my heart in a way which I have not found before.

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This peace is called Peace in the Storm

It was displayed yesterday at an event open to the public.  The intention was to promote the work of the NHS trust I work for rather than for anything artistic.  I wanted the stall I was on to be some how different from all the self promotion whilst still promoting the essence of the work I do.  I often feel that the time I give to people is about providing Peace in the Storm of the emotions they are experiencing.

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Yes it really does shimmer all over as it does in the right of the picture.

The shame in some ways was that I am not allowed to promote myself as this would conflict with my job.  The response and the enquiries regarding my work,however, really were quite inspiring.  People genuinely could not believe that I had completed the work and the sense of peace it inspired in people.

I really believe that I have begun to find where I need to express my heart, and my love

Monday, 11 May 2009

Relentless

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The phrase which runs through my head a lot at the moment is “relentlessly pursue who I am created to be.”  Now given my last post when I am questioning who I am you can see that this poses a bit of a problem.

Part of this however for me is beginning to recognise the things that I am not any good at and saying you know that doesn't matter.  There are people in  my life who can do those things and I need them.  Not only to be in relationship with me, but because I need them to be who they are to support me as I can support them become all we are meant to be.

Part of this is also beginning to recognise what motivates me, what drives me.  I’m becoming painfully aware that there are unhelpful things that motivate me, like how other people see me and pain that I have experienced and am experiencing. 

There are also more helpful things like wanting to see others become who they have been created to be.  Big ideal hey, but it’s what drove me to become a therapist, its what’s inspired me to do youth work.   But it has hit me, I looked at encouraging people to become who they are without first learning to become who I am.

Its like the commandment in the bible to love you neighbour as yourself.  I came to realise the biggest problem for me with this is I have to love others as I love myself.  And I have problems loving myself… Ok I’m getting a lot better at that one and I certainly don't dislike myself anymore. 

But I realise that the first part of the commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart mind and soul.  What I’m learning, really beginning to understand is that if I understand who God is, it kinda answers who I am.  When I stop over analysing myself and focus outside of myself I feel far more peaceful, far more centred.

I know I don't really talk much about my faith but the truth is, it is at the core of who I am.  Trying to present myself without that core of me means I cant present who I truly am.  I can not be authentically me.  My intention is not to push my faith onto  people but to express who I am.  To begin to answer the question who am I and relentlessly pursue who I am created to be

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Who am I?

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I hear myself ask that question and I find myself wanting an answer which is not trite or simple.

I can tell you things about me that I can do, some which I can do really quite well.  I can tell you about my character, my nature or at least my perception of them.  I could tell you about my dreams… but somehow that isn’t enough.  Over the last period of time it is like I have had these things stripped away from me, and I am left with just me.  But who am I?

I desire to be authentically me, the person who I have been created to be… but who is that?  I want to express love, to be loved, to create art… but what does that mean?

I look at other people and see them growing and changing, clearly becoming more the person they are created to be, to become authentically themselves.  Intellectually I am pleased for them but the cry in my heart is what about me.  Is there something about wanting to been seen and acknowledged… probably but there is something more than that in there.

I want to become me, I want to know me.  The crazy thing about that statement is that most people I know would tell me that I am incredibly self aware, very analytical… but is the answer that I am too analytical, asking too many questions?

What I am learning is that there is something about just “being”.  Holding that tension of not knowing and being comfortable with me as I am.  Knowing that I am perfect already, that I am good enough already and that I do not need to strive to achieve my identity.  I am learning how to “be” in the moment.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Dreaming vs. living in the moment

I’ve finally realized why I needed to give up my business for a while.  I have this tendency to plan and scheme.  To try and nail down my future, how I want things to be, to somehow create the life that I want to live. 

In doing all that all I somehow forget to live. I forget to create the things that I want to.  Its somehow like trying to swim against a tide rather than swimming with it.  It somehow disconnects me from my feelings, from my dreams rather than drawing me into it.

What I know is that I want to have a small business… and that’s the problem.  I want to create a business rather than create art.  I want to make money rather than live a life with creativity.

The truth is I need to learn to live in the moment.  If there is art to sell then great.  I hope that it might lead to something more but I need to somehow learn to live in the flow rather than scheme where it will end up. 

All I know is that I am so much more peaceful not planning and scheming, and trying to avoid worry… now I need to learn how to do a creative lifestyle with out over planning.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

It struck me

OK so I haven't quite managed a week without blogging… but my thoughts feel ready to be shared… I might do a Friday blog anyway… lol

Life has been very challenging recently with my journey with infertility.  I have found myself seeking out blogs and words of affirmation… things that will tell me that it’s going to be OK.

The bottom line truth is I have an unshakable faith which says it will be and I know I am loved by an awesome God, but I have been needing words of encouragement and comfort.  To have a concrete reminder that I am deeply loved, that all I have is enough.  and you know looking at much of the art, both in paint and in jewellery, I see I’m not the only one who feels this way. 

There are so many people who use words within their art to express affirmation, hope and desire. 

On Kelly Ray Roberts blog she challenged folk to come up with affirmations she could use in their art.  Wow so many fantastic words, ideas and images.  Just reading it I could feel my heart soar.

But something hit me

The words which i resonated with the most were words which I could see in the bible.  Words which have been spoken over me and I have heard so many times.  There was something to these words though that had a different power in that it was short and to the point.  Arrows that cut through my shell to my needy heart.

The question I ask myself therefore is how do I use this insight… and I realise I end up back at an idea I have been toying with for a long time.  I don't want to make Christian art but I want to make inspired art… and ultimately that art would be inspired by Jesus’ love, that's the bottom line. 

Interesting and intriguing… I wonder where this one ends up… but its an idea that just wont fade.