Wow~ I can hardly believe it has been over two months since my last blog entry. Needless to say, I have been busy! The Christmas season was an intensely packed one, which I can't complain about. This new year has been full of wonderful new adventures, both professional and personal. On the work front, I am chugging away to get ready for a wholesale show in a few short weeks.
What's a wholesale show, you say? It is a tradeshow but also, much like a 'regular' craft show. However, instead of me selling to the end customer, I will be showing samples and selling to store owners from all over the US. This is how great local stores get the various product options that you find all in one place. The Buyers Market of American Craft is one of the most prestigious in the nation and I'm honored to be a part of it.
However, it is a lot of hard work to create samples, build a new booth from scratch and work on advertising for the show. While I love this kind of work, it is mostly behind the scenes, so there is not a lot to update here.
If you feel you need a more constant Jen-A-Fusion fix, "like" us on Facebook. The fan page gets updated more often!
As for getting back to the norm~ Here's the first installation of the year for Artist of the Month~ Starseed Jewelry!
Terri Wlaschin was one of the first artists I met when I started doing the market circuit many, many years ago (6 to be more exact). Although we don't see each other often, we have shared stories, given feedback about craft shows and supported each other's journey.
I have always been impressed by Terri's flair and commitment to creating fun jewelry. Her taste in beads and findings are exquisite. The combination of colors are striking. I love that she names all her pieces. Some of the titles are oblivious, some just make me want to find out more. See the Queen's Ransom Bracelet, below!
Her jewelry makes wonderful gifts for one's self, as well as others. Valentine's is right around the corner, take a look at her TWO etsy shops~ the first is her own finished products and the second is stocked full of goodies for you to create your own pieces.
Queen's Ransom Bracelet
Q~How did you get started?
A~I began my love affair with beads (which my husband refers to as an addiction) making items for myself but soon bought more beads than I could ever personally use. A card table was my first "shop" but I eventually took over the spare bedroom after my husband went away for a week of travel.
Q~Why do you continue?
A~ I am resisting going to the bead aholic’s 12 step program. Seriously, I did not even know I had a creative side until my late 30’s when I started dabbling in creative writing and photography. When I began working with beads, I couldn’t stop. I mean literally I would sometimes be up until way past midnight creating pieces. I never really knew what having a passion about something was until then. I never get tired of it because I am always evolving my style.
Q~What is a great(or greatest) success story?
A~Discovering and acting on my creativity. If you had told me 10 years ago I would ever start a small jewelry making business, I would have not have believed I would have the courage to do it. By stepping way outside my comfort zone, I have been able to experience a kind of fulfillment that is at the heart level.
Q~What is one of your greatest failures?
A~ I am weak for dark chocolate and will go to great lengths to get my fix.
Q~Where do you get your inspiration?
A~Sometimes from looking in a puddle like I did today. The sun looked like a moon casting a milky shimmer over stark brown tree branches –absolutely heartstopping stunning inspiring. Sometimes from people on the metro, or other people’s creations, or a gemstone or handmade bead. Really, it comes from anywhere for me.
Q~Why do you make/create what you do?
A~ Because it makes me happy. Simple as that.
Wanted Dead or Alive
Q~Where is your favorite place to sell? Or Favorite show?
A~ I do an open house show at my home for people on my mailing list about once a month. I have a few regulars who come to almost every show. I love this setting because it is intimate and I get to know /see my customers, who have also become friends, on a regular basis. I also like the Rockville Hometown Holidays show every memorial weekend. I love meeting fellow artists and people in my community. Plus, I get to shop for wonderful handmade items! I also have two shops on Etsy. Believe or not, I like the administrative part of that because I get to combine photography with writing and my art!!!
Q~What is one thing you love about your business?
A~Getting to work with my hands and expressing my creativity.
Q~What is one thing you loathe?
A~That there are only 24 hours in a day.
Q~What is your dream about your art?
A~That I have mastered bead weaving and can create with ease complex, one of a kind miniature works of art like Sherry Serafini and Laura McCabe. I am transitioning to spending more time beadweaving (stitching beads with needle and thread) than I have in the past. It is teaching me to have more patience and to enjoy the journey rather than focusing on just the results. Sometimes I create individual beads with only a hint of an idea of what I will do with them. And then, when they are all made, they tell me a different story and I am just following it. I find that amazing.
Q~What is your mission?
A~ To Create what I love and hope others love it too.
Q~Where are you based?
A~ Rockville, MD
Q~Where would you live if you could live anywhere?
A~That is something I am investigating as my husband and I will be retiring from our days jobs in less than two years. Hawi, Hawaii or somewhere on the big island would be a dream location.
Q~What would you be doing if not this?
A~Cleaning my house. So, you see I have no choice but to keep beading.
Q~ What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen sparrow?
A~Is that an African or European Swallow? :)
Find Starseed Jewelry's etsy shop, with some great sale items here.
Find beads and funky bits to make your own items here.
A Thing of Beauty
While my eyes are set on expansion of my business and some yet undisclosed things, I am not off the arts and craft show rounds yet! Lots of new show this year, I hope. I'll keep updating here as I get accepted (fingers crossed!)
Happy New Year and Happy Valetine's Day! ~Jen