It's been a strange few months in terms of creative endeavours; blame it on stress in the day job, perhaps, or the fact that a few of my usual craft fair gigs have stopped running. Sales have been down, and while the sensible thing to do would be to go online and start pushing, I think I lack the self-promotion gene. Talking to people about the jewellery when it's there in front of them and they're picking it up and experiencing it is one thing, but actually putting it out there in their faces via social media feels wrong on a very fundamental level. Without wishing to turn this into a therapy post, self esteem has never exactly been my forte. Therefore, if the pieces aren't selling then I usually land up concluding that it's because they're rubbish and that this has nothing at all to do with the fact that nobody's actually seeing them.
The perceived solution? Buy more beads so I could make better pieces. Except that all this did was create a huge mountain of beads that I was ashamed to look at because it was a reminder that not only was I creatively dead inside, I was also a spendthrift. Every time inspiration hit, I'd spend 30 minutes looking for the beads I wanted before the guilt set in at my own uselessness and I'd slouch off to play Candy Crush instead.
It's all been rather wretched, to be honest.
Fortunately, Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Party appears to have come around to rescue me. I had an amazing time participating last year, so with a date set for the 8th party sign-ups I knew I had to get in proper beady shape beforehand.
Drastic measures were called for.
Step 1: Identify the problem. Easy enough: too many beads, making it too hard to find what I wanted.
Step 2: Decide on a course of action. Again, fairly simple: streamline and organize my stash so it felt manageable again.
Step 3: Implementation. Well, thinking about implementation and then wondering if there was any possible way I could just carry on doing what I was doing whilst getting back to having fun and making new pieces.
Step 4: Accepting that no, implementation was actually necessary and resolving that no further beading would be attempted until the stash was under control.
Step 5: Implementation. No, really.
A week on, and I'm most of the way there.The real dreck has been thrown out and the rest is in two big piles - one to keep, and one to re-home. It's been a journey, too; memories have surfaced along with beads I haven't seen in years. The best part has been feeling my impatience grow as the flashes of inspiration have started to hit again - can't wait to have everything done and tidy so I can start trying all the new projects I have planned.
Besides, with all the space I've created, think of all the new beads I'll have room to buy!
Finally, a couple of photos, because the creative well never dried up entirely...
Over the past few months I've been having a lot of fun making beaded dodecahedra, so when I was looking for a showstopper piece to draw attention to my stall at the Christmas craft fairs, I decided to use them as a starting point. This piece was originally going to have a triangular centrepiece, but after putting the beaded beads in my trusty cereal bowl the flower centrepiece formed itself and I realised I'd found something a bit special:
I used opalite rounds and Swarovski bicones for the flower petals; at some point I think the bicone petals will have to be replaced because they compress that little bit too easily under the weight of the rest of the piece. It proved to be a real eyecatcher on the stall, though, and I landed up putting the price right up when I realised I liked it too much to want to let it go.
Beaded dodecahedra also make great cat toys if you make them with chunky wooden pony beads and hardwearing acrylic yarn.
Bead bloggers also often like to post photos of their cats under very flimsy pretences indeed.