Yesterday was the first day of summer, and man do I have plans! To start, I’ll be taking a road trip vacation to spend time with old friends. When I return in early July, we’ll be digging in to a major home remodel project that’s expected to take up most of July. Since it’s likely to get a bit hectic around here during that time (and since I’ll have limited access to my studio) I won’t be taking on any new commissions until that’s complete. I’ll also be working behind the scenes on that business name change/new direction that I mentioned in my last blog post … so you’ll hear more on that when I resurface from this remodel.
While I’m traveling, both my website and Etsy shop will be placed in “vacation mode”, which means that no orders will be processed. This will commence on June 26th – and run through (at least) July 10th. Since the shops will be down for a fair bit of time – and since summer has officially begun – I thought it’d be nice to go out with a small celebration! As of right now, all items on my site are eligible for a 15% discount – just use the coupon code “summervacation” when you check out. This offer starts today (Friday 6/22) and ends on Tuesday 6/26.
I hope this season holds exciting plans and relaxing moments for you too. Thanks, and happy summer to all!
Butterfly imagery keeps cropping up in my work lately. Perhaps it’s because I’m an avid gardener and spring is finally here, or maybe there’s a deeper significance: butterflies symbolize transformation, change and growth. These are huge themes for my creative work this year! For some time now, I’ve felt the need for a change; at first it was a subtle whisper, but the feeling has grown progressively stronger. So much so, that I know that I absolutely must listen to my heart, even if the next steps seem scary.
Before I tell you where I’m going, I should probably tell you where I’ve been:
In 1996 I got my first computer and “discovered” the internet. Within a year, I’d created a Hometown AOL website for my business using a WYSIWG editor. Digital cameras were still fairly new (even the really good cameras were only like 4 megapixel!) so my photos were awful. In short, it was a primitive website with lousy photos, and the name was too long for anyone to find or remember. In my defense, most websites were like that back then.
My next site went up in 1998, with a shorter-but-easily-forgettable name. In those days, my handcrafted goods and my inventory of beading supplies were listed together on one site. When I’d meet online friends at bead shows or cons, they’d always say “Oh, you’re that Bead/Mask lady!”. So in 2003, I launched my new website and called it Beadmask. The name served as an umbrella for both product lines (craft supplies + handcrafted goods), and it was memorable and easy to spell.
Over time it became clear that those two different product lines had two very different audiences, who really needed two different sites. So in 2008 I launched a second website, Treefrog Beads, which is dedicated exclusively to bead and jewelry making supplies. This left the Beadmask website for my handmade goods, and the name still sort of fit, since it featured beaded jewelry and leather masks. This set up has worked well for the last many years, but change is in the air again.
My business has evolved and outgrown the name “Beadmask”. It just doesn’t fit anymore – the bead supplies have their own site, and masks aren’t such a primary focus anymore. I certainly intend to continue working in beads and leather, and mythology and nature are sure to remain central themes for my creations, but it’s time to branch out. In order to clear the way for new growth, I’ll also have to let a few things go. Many older designs will be retired this year, in order to clear space in the studio (and in my mind) for new work. I’m excited to explore new media, new product designs, and to really dig in to more elaborate work that challenges me and showcases my skill. I want to focus on creating truly unique pieces that you will love to wear!
Long story short: My business name will be changing soon! Please don’t be surprised when you see a new name in your social media feeds. It’ll still be me, just with a fresh new name, new ideas, and new designs for you to enjoy.
As much as I’d love to tell you that this will be a seamless transition, growth and change are not always graceful. I’ll forewarn you that there may be a few bumps along the way, as I stretch to find my wings. I hope you’ll stick with me – and perhaps even offer your feedback as to what kinds of new designs and products you’d like to see. Some of you have been with me for a very long time, and I really hope you’ll come along for this next phase of creative growth!
Life is moving at high velocity this week; things are going well, it’s just very very busy. School projects, show dates, family visiting — and most importantly, my daughter’s graduation!! I’m so proud of her, and I really want her celebration to be special. To that end, I just might be making myself a little nuts…
Despite the kinetic pace, I’ve been able to get a bit of creative work in. I’m playing with a new style of hair wear — funky beaded and feathered leather hair forks (say that 10 times fast! 😉 as well as a handful of other new hair toys that I hope to unveil soon. My dream goal is to get to the point where I have something for all hair types.
I’ve also been getting a bit more beading time in, which is something that I’ve really needed. As much as I love mask making (and leatherwork in general), beadwork satisfies me on an entirely different level. Even my most elaborate leather pieces work up quickly compared to beadwork. With my crazy schedule, I don’t get nearly as much studio time as I’d like, and it’s so gratifying to be able to actually complete something. If you’ve ever done beadwork, you know that it just doesn’t give you that kind of instant gratification! It’s a very slooow art form — but also very soothing and very meditative. Maybe that’s why I’m so drawn to it right now? Maybe it’s what my heart needs in order to find a little stillness in the midst of all the movement in my life.
My other big creative project lately has been to finish off the website overhaul. Go check it out! I still have a few more tweaks to make, and plenty of content to add … but I’m pleased to finally have the basic framework up there 🙂
Bead embroidery over hand felted wool by Andrea Adams
I realized this morning that I made this announcement on my Facebook fan page, but I did not cross post the information here: My vintage bead and cameo website is live!! As I mentioned in this post, the vintage cameo site has been in the works for quite some time, and it feels so good to finally have it open to the public (thank you again, Julia!). I still have many more products to add (tons of vintage and antique seed beads, as well as more cabs, Swarovski and old nailheads & sew-on’s) but for the sake of my sanity, those products will be added slowly over time. Even with so much to add, there’s a lot of great stuff there, so go have a look around – you’re sure to find something to tempt your inner magpie! And while you’re there, please check out the customer gallery. I am blessed with some amazingly talented friends and customers, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy their incredible artwork.
Next up? My original site, Beadmask is getting a complete overhaul. Now that the vintage jewelry supplies have their own site, I can turn the Beadmask site into a portfolio of the things that I make. At the moment, it just has a few items and it funnels you to my Etsy shop, but that’s just a stopgap while I work on the new and improved version. Hopefully, I can complete that before the New Year — wish me (good) luck!
Now that my mask making mayhem has quieted down a bit, I’ve been able to turn my attention back to completing the vintage bead & cameo site. Building this site has been a labor of love on so many levels. First and foremost, I really hate coding. I’m not a dumb girl by any stretch of the imagination, but HTML, CSS, java and the like just make my eyes glaze over. Add to that a litany of computer woes that has been almost laughable — at least, if you have a very dark sense of humor. And let’s not forget the sheer minutiae of researching, photographing, editing and describing thousands upon thousands of itsy bitsy beads; plus the agony of having all of that data lost in a computer crash shortly before I was ready to launch. I’ll stop before this rant reaches the point of no return, and simply say that it’s been a long road. A very long, dark road…
The past three weeks have found me alternately re-counting every bead, cabochon and rhinestone that I carry — or holed up at the keyboard, with my eyes glazed over and a litany of expletives frothing from my lips. During this time I have avoided friends and family, not only because I can’t afford to get distracted, but because I’m just not fit for human consumption when I do this type of work. I expected today to be more of the same, but guess what? I had a paradigm shift! As I worked on the site I was reminded (yet again) of how grateful I am to my talented, beautiful and inspiring friend Julia Pretl, who designed my adorable new bead site. Yes, I am gushing and no, it is not over the top. As painful as this process has been, my agony would have been tenfold if it weren’t for her help. So a million thank you’s, Miz Julia. I appreciate you more than I can say.
Also, I was able to complete the preliminary work of loading and coding all of the product, and move on to something surprisingly fun: building the customer gallery! The images scattered throughout this post reflect the work of a few of my fabulous clients and beady friends (simply click on the captions to visit their sites). As I looked through these images, I was reminded of the creative and inspiring people that I’m able to connect with in the course of my work. It may sound silly, but beads have brought many beautiful friendships into my life. Somewhere in the midst of my CSS induced psychopathy, I realized how very grateful I am to do what I love for a living … yes, even if it means that sometimes, I have to write code. There’s a light at the end of this tunnel. The site is (knock on wood!) almost ready, and I’m feeling particularly grateful for my amazing friends, talented customers, and good fortune.
Fall was a flurry of activity. Somewhere between going back to school for the first time in many (many!) years, and mask making, and family stuff … things got SO busy that blogging fell to the wayside.
I’d like to try to pick it back up again, but I predict that it may be slow going. Winter quarter started today (more business classes, marketing & writing) and Mardi Gras is around the corner. And of course, I’m still trying to get all my beads & cabs photo’d so I can premiere the beautiful site that Julia has designed for me.
That said, I’m still hanging in and doing well (just a little frayed around the edges from so many projects ;o). I’ll try to post a bit more frequently when I can, but it may stay quiet around here till spring-ish.