Wednesday, June 30, 2010

No, I Didn't Forget...

Truth be told, I have the sleep; too much worrying; Spending too much time looking for something to do that I can get paid for;  Art Bead Scene piece due TODAY and I haven't thought about it since I made the bead the 1st week of June. SIGH....

And since I have nothing positive to share - oh wait, there was one glimmer of good news. A friend of a friend who is a graphic designer got such a big job, she's booked through Christmas! Yay! May we all be so blessed.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Great Big THANK YOU!

Dear Fans & Voters,

Yes, I've been sooooo discombobulated with my computer changeover...I'm still finding files and teaching myself Windows 7... and I haven't been focused on much of anything. Certainly not my Glass Beads website. And certainly not my Free Glass Beads monthly giveaway!

I honestly forgot to have the drawing... not once but TWICE! And you sweet folks kept voting ANYWAY! THANK YOU!

So, I got busy and had two drawings, using all the voters in both. If was the only fair thing to do. The two winners are posted on the voting page. And there will be another drawing this month. Hopefully, I'm getting back into my pre-computer breakdown schedule.

Thank you all for your continued support and THANK YOU FOR VOTING!!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Commitment to Art or Ready for the Looney Bin?

Whenever I'm asked to write on a theme - as I was for this month's Art Bead Scene Blog Carnival - I always like to look up that word and be sure I understand the theme and how that applies to the topic at hand. For the Blog Carnival, the topic is always the use of artisan made beads and the theme is commitment.

While pondering this word, I thought it would be the commitment that is dedication to one's art that I would write about, but that's not the true meaning of the word. A commitment is a pledge to do something in the future; a financial, physical or emotional obligation. That doesn't really seem fitting, does it?

But the first meaning of the word is even more interesting: The act of committing, as to a mental institution! Somehow, this definition seems far more fitting to my relationship with art glass beads!

How better to describe something that you are driven to do despite lack of sales or even positive feedback ? Isn't it somewhat crazy to keep doing something that costs so much time in research, education and promotion? Isn't it insane to keep throwing good money after bad all in name of your art?

So WHY keep doing it??? For me, it's the time at the torch that all the voices in my head just shut up and go... who cares where! (What's that? YOU don't have voices in your head??? You're probably NOT an artist. Every artist I know does. They are loud and critical!)

It's that moment when I accomplish something I was unable to before - a really cool bit of stringer design; a better understanding of some glass; an amazing sculpture. It's the knowledge that I am better for the practice.

So if you see the men in white jackets looking for me, tell them they can find me at the torch!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Shifting Gears

When I get stuck as I have been of late, I often love to take a class to get me out of my own head. While I often take jewelry making classes it's great to take a glass bead class. I find it's good to get out of my own head and just learn something new!

This past weekend while at our local ISGB meeting, I found out that a local artist, Chiharu, was to be teaching her flower focals at The Mandrel the next day.  Still feeling that funk, I decided to take the class and am I ever glad I did. We were supposed to make two beads but learned many more and had ample time to make multiple versions in class.

I also took some purple rods with me and used my spare time to make a couple of hearts for Beads of Courage, which always feels good.

It was a productive day but I won't have the beads to show you for a few weeks because I'm having them mailed with other stuff waiting to arrive.

It's good to shift gears and try new things when you are in a funk. I'm anxious to get on the torch and try my new floral skills.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Oh Dear...

I swear I don't know what is going on with me. I forgot to post... I just have ZERO motivation. Zero sales + Zero responses to resumes + Zero in the bank = 1 unmotivated Holly. Harumph!

And just when I thought the tide may be turning for my little circle... a friend recently got a job she really wanted and there is potential to open up a lot of doors for her. I was so happy and prayed that her good news would rub off on everyone... and then today, a dear friend called and told me she had been laid off. She's a genius at what she does and does everything well. We were a fearsome twosome back in the day when we both wrote bids for some of Hollywood's hottest directorial talent. Landing million dollar jobs left and right; pulling rabbits out of our hats...we were very equipment, union, special effects savvy. Oh, how the tide does turn...

Anyway, I was on the phone with her brainstorming for hours and spent a few more hours trying to learn some new Windows 7 tricks. And whaddayaknow? It's 5 pm.

On the beady front, one good thing... I haven't been as productive thanks to my eyesight and I got new glasses. Lets hope being able to SEE the flame will help!

Hope your Wednesday was awesome!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ten Glassy Things with MOI!

I started the Ten Glassy Things Questionnaire for this blog in hopes to get to ask all the glassy questions I wanted to know about my other glassy friends and acquaintances. It was incorporated into the the Fire Diva's Diva of the Month articles as Part two, but I love to pull those over here. Since I'm the Diva of the Month for June, well, I had to answer my own questions.

If you haven't been reading along over there, here are some links:
Part one
Part three
Part four

And here's Part two:

Welcome back to our four part series on Diva of the Month, Holly Dare of HollysFolly. This week Holly answers all the glassy questions we can throw her way!

What attracted you to glass? When I was working as a producer on HGTV's The Carol Duvall Show, one of my guests would come in dripping in lampwork. Her jewelry, her scissor fob, her pens, everything was glass. I was drawn to the color and feel. Even though I had taught and made jewelry for years, I had no idea what glass beads were. Then when I got to write some of the out of studio segments, I got to see how the beads were made.

Many glass artists have training in other art mediums. Do you? If yes, please explain. Well, I'm a lifelong crafter and started teaching when I was 17. But discovering rubber stamps and thus feeling free to play with better quality art materials really opened me up artistically. I started to get an understanding of color. I spent most of 2003 in a wheel chair and studied oil painting and I find what I learned about layering of color really helps with glass. It also makes me a "glass snob" - I look for glass that utilizes mid-tones, highlights and low-lights. Those are all elements of a good painting and I feel that glass is the same. If an artist doesn't think of those things... well they really aren't an artist to me.

Describe the first bead you made that you were really proud of? Are you still proud of it now?  (Please send a photo if you have one.) I'll let you know when I do! LOL! Seriously, I'm really hard on myself. But I think the one is actually a set and I've never tried to sell it! I keep it in my show stash and rarely put it out. It's a set of purple reduction beads in a variety of shapes. I put so much work into them, they are priceless and can't part with them. 
Artist's Private Collection 

What inspires you? Oh gosh, what doesn't would be an easier question. I hike everyday in our local mountains and take tons of pictures and can get inspire from anything out there. I've made beads based on graffiti to flowers. I'm always analyzing color in nature and trying to match it to color rods in my head. I'm a Pisces and love anything to do with the sea. I adore the challenge of making LARGE hollow seashells. My day job often takes me to pastry shows and I love trying to capture sweets in glass. Lately, my inspiration has come from upholstery fabrics. Sometimes it's a shape and sometimes it's just the challenge of knowing I can pull something off and push my skills further than before. I also love playing with scale....making something as large as I can and then making it as tiny as possible.

Do you have a plan when you sit down to torch? Do you sketch beads or have photos around for reference? I usually have a plan. Sometimes it's as simple as a list, especially if I made the beads before. If it's something new, I will hit Google pics and pull a few images of an object from different angles and print that up and hang it near the torch. If it's a sculptural piece- I tend to like elaborate beads - I will make an ordered list  of what to do when.

Photography seems to be a key element for any glass artist. What type of camera / lightbox set up do you use? I have a little Nikon Cool Pix which I hate more and more every day. I really hate what Nikon does to the color blue but still it takes better pictures than any other camera I've ever used. But I long to upgrade to an SLR. I studied photography for years and the lack of options on an ordinary digital makes me nuts. But Photoshop is a must. I recommend taking a class in that for any bead artist. It can make up for a myriad of mistakes.
I have a little double layered light box but I only use it at night when I'm on a deadline. I've pitched it for a folder full of paper: white, black and neutral gray. I put that on whichever side of my back porch is shady and shoot away. I'm much happier with those pictures than I am with the pricey light box! But if the bead is highly reflective, I end up on the light box anyway.

If the issue of finances (i.e. will it sell?) were of no consequence, what would you spend your time making? Since I can never pick what will sell - I've had beads I hated sell within minutes of listing and ones I love sit and sit - I would just spend more time making beads.

Teeny Weeny Cupcakes

What kind of jewelry do you wear? Everyday vs. out on the town? Well, both of my professions are filthy. Between work in a rubber stamp manufacturing, glass and hiking, I stay dirty! Not exactly the look for fine jewelry. But, one of my favorite beadmakers ALWAYS wears something and she's picked up customers while hiking (always has a card on her too!)!! So I try to wear something I can throw on a chain...just one fabulous bead. But when I'm out and about, I love something "simply complicated" like a four foot long lariat with large focals on each end.

What is the one skill you wish came easier to you? Being able to make the same bead over and over. It kills me! I get bored easily. 

What do you love about marketing your business? What’s the hardest part of marketing it?The best part is the costumers. I love that feeling of knowing someone gets my weird humor and sees what I see in a bead. I also love seeing what they make! I really despise the amount of time I feel I need to be on the computer when I would rather be torching. The hardest part is just finding customers. 

    Holly's Folly ~ Glass Holly's Folly Artfire

    Holly's Folly Fan Page Holly's Folly on Etsy

    Thursday, June 17, 2010

    Happy Thursday - Let's Have a Sale!

    I added a new silvered ivory focal to my glass beads site ... I so love this. I reminds me of something ancient!'s Thursday and I've been working away on the Fire Diva's Blog for a new page and I'm bushed and dying to torch so... this is a shorty but I thought I would have a sale for my Fan Page members. The details will be over there and even though you can read it on the side here... the sale is just for fans...

    Have a good weekend folks and  I will see you back on my glass bead blog on Monday! Hope you do something fun!

    Wednesday, June 16, 2010

    The Desire for Junk

    I was all a flutter yesterday when the most well known importer of Chinese crap lampwork glass beads decided to follow me on twitter. HUH??? WTH? As usual, I over analyze EVERYTHING!

    Why are they following me? I don't sell enough to be considered a well-known beadmaker and I don't make enough to be considered prolific. Hmmm... Maybe they just want to steal ideas!!!!!! How DARE THEY! Well of course they dare...that's how they became the giant monolith of a vendor they are! (For those of you who are wondering, I'm referring to "that Texas sounding place;" First name is the capitol of Texas, last name Hamilton).

    As I went to their twitter site to block them from reading my tweets, my heart sank as I realized they have twice as many followers as I do. It would seem there is an endless supply of people who want to buy cheap crappy beads instead of tasteful, well-made, properly cleaned and annealed art glass beads.  And I wonder why I can't make a living a this!  It's like educating the ocean, one drop at a time.

    It's so odd that we all want lower prices, but we all want to be well paid for our time. I have always supported artists and hope and pray that one day, I find customers who feel the same way about me and my work.

    Tuesday, June 15, 2010

    Hit and Run

    I'm actually excited about torching for the first time in weeks and I'm dying to get out in the shop. So... just a hit and run today!

    I'm steadily adding new goodies to my glass beads website and I thought I would share a few recent additions:

    I love this heart with embedded copper chain... I find it rather mesmerizing.

    This glass heart, called Wisp, came about when I was pulling some blue aventurine cane and making a heart for my sister. She loves her version of this!

    That's all I've got today! Have a happy Tuesday!

    Monday, June 14, 2010

    Fire Divas Summer Bead Challenge | CONTEST

    There's another bead challenge going on over on the Fire Diva Blog and since I've been blogging about getting an eye for your favorite beadmaker's style, I'm having a contest! This month the Divas made glass beads with summer in mind. You can vote on the right side of the Fire Divas blog for the next seven days. Contest rules later. First, let's take a peek at this month's entries:











    OK, now for the contest part. Have you, dear reader, developed your own eye for the Diva's style? If so, prove it! I will enter you into my monthly drawing for Free Beads on my glass bead sales website. hardly anyone is voting so... you have a good chance to win! Here are the rules:

    1) List 1-10 in a comment on this blog. Beside each number, write which Diva you think made the beads.
    2) Divas are exempt from playing!
    3) All winners will get 10 entries into the monthly drawing.
    4) If there are no winners, I will select the two people with the MOST right answers! If one person has nine right and one has seven, they will get nine and seven entries.
    5) Gift Certificates for Free Beads are good ONLY on Holly's Folly and not valid with any other sale.

    So... start guessing!!!

    Thursday, June 10, 2010

    That Funk

    I've written here before about the creative funk I can get into and I'm deep into one now. Every day this wee, I've set aside time to torch. And every day...I've found something else to do. I have cleaned out cabinets, cut back my oleanders and planted a vegetable garden... something I've had zero interest in since 2005!

    And since I've learned that my funk is often motivated by lack of sales... I get lost in a circular thought pattern: "Just make something. Why? No one likes my stuff. Well, make it for you. I have enough beads."   And on and on the argument goes...

    So help make my day. 40% off my glass beads and jewelry in my Artfire or HollysFolly webshops. Coupon code: funk. Not valid on sterling findings, tools or rubber stamps.Today Only!

    SAVE 40.00 % On
    Beads & Jewelry
    Use Coupon Code:
    during checkout.

    See you here on the bead blog on Monday...hopefully without the funk!

    Wednesday, June 9, 2010

    So, What's Your Name???

    Naming your studio has to be one of the most difficult decisions an artist has to make because it's also an important decision. The logical choice may be to use your name like some of my friends do. Janel Dudley Beads - That says it all.  So does Lutrick, Lara Lutrick's studio name.

    But you may get hung up on "who knows me??" Or the privacy issue...It can be intimidating to put your name "out there" on the Internet. So the next logical choice may be something that reflects your name like LA Jewelry Designs ( studio name of fellow Fire Divas admin, Lea Avroch) or Tease Beads (Another Divas admin, Theresa Ehlers. This is a play on her first name: "T's Beads"). Yet another idea is to name it after someone. Artist Lori Bergmann named her studio, Ashlyn Designs after her daughter Ashley.

    Another option is to name your studio after a place near and dear to your heart. Dorset Hill Beads and Rivers Edge Glass are two such examples. I thought long and hard about naming my studio after the mountains or town I live in but Verdugo and Sunland really didn't say much. I also thought about the river I hike near daily...but no one outside of this area can even pronounce Tujunga. Why think small and local when your market could be bead lovers anywhere, right?

    But this brings up yet another issue. Many artists like the anonymity of the Internet and having a studio not related to your own name provides some level of that. But after a while, it becomes obvious that customer and fellow glassers want to know who YOU are. I've literally seen posts in the Etsy threads that go like this:

    "Lauren, cute snowman! Lisa - love your new set. XYZ - That's a really pretty focal."

    People don't know who they are talking too and have a hard time putting your name with your studio when it gives no hint of your own name. Of course you can always close posts with your name so people start to associate the person and studio together.

    In the end, am I happy with my studio name? Yes and no! Yes in that it's part of my name and I don't keep people guessing. No in that I should have taken my own advice. When I work as a marketing consultant on a product launch, I insist on Internet name searches and if the company is big enough, we do a legal name search as well. I did neither. I liked the name and the rhyme and went with it. When I first launched my glass bead website, I wondered why I had so many very short visits for folks looking for Holly Folly instead of Holly's Folly. Holly Folly is a popular gay pride holiday festival. I always feel like those folks must be a little disappointed when they find my beads instead!

    Tuesday, June 8, 2010

    Nothing to see here...

    LOL! But there IS over at the Fire Divas blog! Go read part two of my Diva of the Month interview there!

    OK...I'll give you a little eye candy here too. My latest glass button is up in the glass bead shop. This one is called Wild Blue. 
    The outer rim is a rich, transparent Cobalt. The inner is a pale baby blue. In between is a lovely mix of greens and blues from a hand pulled v-rod cane. Shape is rounded triangle.

    Now, go read my interview!!!

    Monday, June 7, 2010

    Busy Bee

    I'm torching today and working on my Art Bead Scene entry. I have an idea for the inspiration painting I need to work out. And, I've got a few color schemes in my head I'm dying to play with.

    But there's some other good things to talk about. I finally listed my May Flowers Necklace from last month's Fire Divas Bead Challenge.

    This was such a time consuming piece that I fear it's a bit pricey. The beads would cost much more if sold stand-alone. So I have a special offer - mention this blog post and get $20 bucks off! 

    And finally, The Fire Divas have a new jewelry challenge! The theme is summer. I would so love it if one of my pieces made it into the contest...hint hint.

    Off to torch! Have a great Monday!

    Thursday, June 3, 2010

    Making the Social Media Nightmare a Little Easier

    I must say that being without a computer for the last few weeks has been rather eye opening. I've been reassessing EVERYTHING I do online and realizing what a time suck it is. I'm 46. I'm over halfway done with life. Do I REALLY want to spend this much time online, especially if is does absolutely nothing for my glass bead sales??

    Hmm... thoughts to ponder for sure!

    And so I've been looking into things that will make my online life a little easier. One thing that I've tried and LOVE is Qwitter. Let's face it... everyone on Twitter has something to promote. I have serious doubts as to whether or not ANY customers use twitter at all. And unless I find someone's website offensive or they are in a business I care NOTHING about (like all the wigmakers that follow me... OY! I have enough hair for me and three other people. I doubt a wig is something I will EVER need!), I will follow anyone that follows me.

    But many people will follow hundreds of people trying to get follow-back suckers like myself and then go around and unfollow us. Qwitter sends you an email within a few days of someone unfollowing you! Why follow those people??? It's a great service; just minutes to sign up and has both free and premium options. I use the free one and love it!!

    And... YES, I NEVER look at my twitter cause it's so full of junk I care nothing about.  It's a jumble of ads...other tweeters just self promoting. It difficult to find the stuff I'm interested in - say my friends, fellow designers or those amazing choreographers from Dancing with the Stars - vs. the stuff I'm not - say, uh, wigs.

    But right before my crash, I found HootSuite. From the dashboard, I can tweet, schedule tweets, read all tweets and direct messages and mentions and... I can create lists. It even picks up the lists I created within twitter and I can add other beadmakers on the spot. I can also follow and unfollow. HootSuite is the interface you WISH Twitter was! It's also fairly easy to search. Wow!

    Click to see larger image.

    I hope these time savers help you reclaim some of your life as well! And THANK YOU for spending part of that time with ME! See you next week here on the bead blog.

    Wednesday, June 2, 2010

    Silvered Ivory Makes My Heart Sing!

    I've chatted about silvered ivory before. It is one of my favorite techniques. Basically a reaction occurs when fine .999 pure silver is added to ivory glass beads. Striations and mini explosions create other-worldly universes in the glass. It's mesmerizing.

    Here are a couple of favorite examples:

    For this Gingko, I kept the silvered ivory effect on the surface of the bead:

    For this next one, I cased the silvered ivory. The extra layer of glass magnify the silvered reactions underneath.

    This XL seashell glass bead is another example of surface decoration. Just look at all those striations!!! All of my beads shown are available in my Etsy.

    But let's look at what some of the Fire Divas are doing with silvered ivory. EmaKaye uses tinted clear to case. I've been lusting over this bead for ages!

    And l@@k at this stunner my friend Janel Dudley made! OMG!!!I can't stop drooling!!!

    I found these examples searching on Etsy for Fire Divas Silvered Ivory. There some amazing beads to see!

    Tuesday, June 1, 2010

    Taking a Break vs. a Breakdown

    Well, I've missed my monthly Art Bead Scene deadline. I sort of hoped when I woke up on Monday that I would pull a rabbit bracelet out of my hat...but I didn't. So for the first time in at least a year and a half, I missed it. SIGH...

    It's hard coming to terms with just being human. My computer issues sidelined me for over two weeks. And while being off line gave me more time in so many ways, it also ate into my time in others.

    The other issue I have is the pressure I feel to compete in the contests... I feel I need to be "out there" showing my work. But really...WHY? My goal (at the moment) is to be a glass bead maker (who actually sells her beads), not a jewelry designer. And really, what good is it to be "out there" when I don't feel inspired by that month's painting??? When I feel I have to struggle to create something? It was a real eye opener to miss this one...

    Being offline has made me realize a number of things. I'm not sure what changes that's going to lead to but, I'm looking to take a leap out of this pressure cooker in some small way.

    Enough serious stuff... Something really fun happened. I've been picked to be the Diva of the Month over on the Fire Divas site. Go read my first interview with Lea!