Saturday, November 22, 2008

Mom gives it a try, or, Does this blog make my ego look big?

So I've been talked into this blogging thing by my dear daughter, Sarah, The Writer. She has quit her full time soulsucking job in Property Management (you have only to see her house to understand the wisdom in this) for the thrilling and fulfilling life of a Freelance Writer. Turns out, it's thrilling, but not so fulfilling. At least not in a paying the bills kinda way.

So, along comes Mom. Who just happens to be a creative, productive, enthusiastic but easily distractible artist, working in Hot Glass. (I make glass beads, to be exact. Really nice, artistic glass beads. But, it's waaaay too hard to explain to people why this should be considered an artistic pursuit, so I just say I'm a glass artist. They have to settle for that.)

I am pretty good at making glass beads - I should be, I've been at it for almost ten years now. (One of only three things I've done consistently for any length of time. The other two things involve children and a husband.) However, what I'm not so good at is selling my own work. (It's an Artist thing.... ) That just seems like too much..... well.... WORK. And, feels a bit awkward. Embarrassing - asking people for money for something I enjoy doing so much.

So, I ask my daughter with all this free time to help me establish my presence on the internet, hopefully to drive traffic (the kind with more loose change than impulse control) to my etsy store, my website, or any other way they might see my prolific inventory of beautiful art glass beads, waiting to be purchased. She readily agrees, and gives me the discounted "family rate" for her time. Okay, fair enough. If I'm not making any money, why should SHE suffer?

But still, I have this uneasy feeling about having a blog on the internet. What if my fellow beadmakers see it, and think I have an overly inflated opinion of myself? What if I get so into blogging that I have to give up some of my precious Pogo (internet game site) time? What if one of these young evil hackers (very possibly my son-in-law) who understand the internet better than I do finds a way to steal my identity, or my avatar, and I end up with my head attached to some indecent .jpeg of Smeagle the LOTR gollem?

I grew up in a time and family where to put yourself out there meant that you risked that someone would either smack you down (emotionally speaking) or take advantage of you. The uneasiness I feel about having a blog comes directly from my early teachings: The more attention you draw to yourself, the greater the chance you'll wish you hadn't. And forget promoting yourself! You do that, and you're just ASKING for trouble!!

Fortunately for me, the family members who instilled this fear in my fragile little ego are even older than I am, and feel that the internet (and computers in general) are a worthless waste of time. So, it's highly unlikely that I'll be taken down a peg, and put in my place. On the internet, I'm safe from that, at least. Thank goodness - since McAfee apparently doesn't come with an Aunt-blocker.

In the meantime, if you're reading this and want to see my beautiful beads, check them out at, or my etsy store, schermobeads. (OMG I can't believe I just wrote that! Shameless self-promotion! ACK!!! )

(whew. I survived.)

Monday, November 17, 2008

I'm featured in a treasury!

Today, I received notification that one of my beads has been featured in a treasury on Etsy!  For those of you that don't know what that means, a treasury is a collection of items selected to fit a particular theme by a member of Etsy.  There's a limited amount of treasuries that can be active at any time, so getting the chance to put one together can be tricky!  Getting chosen to have an item in someone's treasury is quite an honor, and I'm quite happy to have been chosen for one!
This is my first time being featured in an Etsy treasury.  It was put together by Julie Christie and the theme is roses.  My Petit Fleur Tab Bead is one of her picks:

View my first treasury here!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Lampworking Kismet

I feel uncommonly luck that almost all the people who have found their way to my teaching studio have been really excited, interesting and fun people. I do kinda subscribe to the notion that if it's meant to be.... it will happen. To illustrate that point, let me tell you a little (heartwarming) story about what happened this past week with my newest beginning beadmaking student, Mariana from Brazil.

As it's very difficult and expensive to get lampworking equipment in Brazil, or to ship it there from here, I had asked her before she arrived if she'd like me to order a set up for her to take back with her. She declined, because she didn't want to commit to it until she'd taken the class. However, from day one, she was in love, and knew that this IS what she wanted to do. Near the end of the week, we started brainstorming how to get equipment for her.

Since my personal motto is, "Anything worth doing is worth overdoing", I usually have a fair amount of extra tools, equipment, etc. hanging around - new, used, swapped for, as well as "forgotten I'd bought"........ I started gathering things she might need (it all started when I spied a new hose set that I had bought a couple months ago, meaning to replace my original hoses, just as a precaution - but of course - hadn't gotten around to hooking up yet!) and then we scavenged in my cupboard for tools (always have extras of most of the tools I use to teach with, in case anyone wants some to take home) and of course, I have plenty of glass!

So then, we started talking about the torch and the kiln. The kiln sounded like something she'd have to make-do without for a while, until she could get the money to pay for it, the shipping, the digital controller, etc. But the torch, well...... Now that I could help her with!!

Curiously, I had just sold an almost new torch to Theresa - a local student - which was purchased last year by another student (a guy - go figure!) who decided after two weeks that he wanted to work boro, so he bought a bigger torch, and sold me the almost new one. I gave a call to the local student, hoping she hadn't hooked it up yet, and asked if she would be willing / interested in selling it to Mariana, and I'd order her a new one. (The money would all work out somehow, I was sure....) Teresa said, sure, she wasn't quite ready to set up her workspace, and as it happens, Arrow Springs had the torch on sale for the same amount I sold it to her for, so she'd just go ahead and order a new one!

Then, amazingly, she said, "Does she need a kiln?" It turns out that she had JUST that day received her JenKen chili pepper kiln (small, built from a big red metal toolbox, with a built in digital controller!) in the mail, had got it for a very good price on sale, and she was happy for Mariana to buy it from her. Then she would go ahead and order another one, while it was still on sale. Mind you, this all happened on Thursday night, and Mariana was leaving on a plane back to Brazil early Saturday morning. So, I asked Mariana if she wanted to take a kiln home as well, and her eyes got REAL BIG........ and her mouth dropped open. WOW. OMG. YES!!! The Chili Pepper is one of the few kilns that is a smaller, lighter kiln, using fiberglass insulation instead of firebrick, and extremely lightweight (25 lbs.) and portable.

Of course, figuring how to carry a kiln on an airplane still seemed like it might be a problem, but, being the optimists we are, we made an early morning run to KMart on Friday morning, and found a tough plastic plano foot locker (for $24! What a bargain!) which was "Airline Approved", and the dimensions were about 3 - 5 inches bigger than the kiln in every direction. WOW again. Perfect fit! So, now Mariana has everything she needs to start making beads this week (except the tanks, heck, minor issue!) and is happily in that place known as Beaddreaming Wonderland.

A young woman in Brazil finds my website on the internet, travels to the US for a class..... falls in love with beadmaking, and all the equipment she needs miraculously appears to take home with her!!! If that isn't a story of "If it's meant to be... " I don't know what is!!