Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tamara Jumps Right Back on the Horse

Lately, I've been having a run of bad luck with craft shows. I've really only found one where I can turn a profit. Living in Wichita Falls limits me to choose shows that are within a reasonable driving distance or where I can bunk at a friend's home. I'm okay with that, it's just that I've always heard that GOOD shows west of the Mississippi are few and far between. I believe this, especially since western states are also a lot bigger in size than those in the East.

I have rotten luck at actually choosing shows. I had two duds this month, but nobody shops outside in 100 degree heat. I've come to the conclusion that I'm probably better off doing a local flop of a show than applying for anything on Zapp again. After this last weekend, I've turned into a skeptic. From now on, word of mouth only for me as well as improving my images for the places that repeatedly kick me out. If I can't make it after hiring a professional photographer, then I give up.

Concerning my artwork, I've come to the conclusion that my styles are way too varied. I need to focus on three to five lines of jewelry that will appeal to a wide range of customers and challenge myself to creatively work within those. The rest will be used as giveaways. Anybody have a favorite color? What follows is the first line of jewelry I will be focusing on:

If you've been reading this blog any time in the last week, you will know that I've been promoting my beaded washers like crazy! Today, Pearl from The Beading Gem's Journal featured my free tutorial on her blog! Her blog has been a constant source of inspiration for me. She hosts free giveaways, has multitudes of of free tutorials and tips from other jewelry makers, guest blog posts, and possesses the best name for a jewelry designer ever! I am honored to be part of her repertoire. If you've never visited, hop over and explore a world of information. :-)

Just so I don't wear anyone out with strictly beaded washers and rubber rings, I'd like to share another potential idea to use the technique. I'll start with a few photographs:

This is my Jasmine Fancy Headband, also the very first headband I've ever made. I intended it to double as a necklace, but the flower elements are too heavy and don't allow the piece to drape correctly. *shrug* Instead of washers, I used mother of pearl rings to achieve a slightly different effect. The thread used was green Spiderwire Stealth 6lb.

Here is my friend Hanna modeling the piece for me. She is also terribly afraid of wasps, which congregate around my apartment. This explains her nervous expression.

In the future I plan to use stone donuts, wooden rings, plastic rings, wavy washers, and anything else I can get my hands on. The sky is the limit! (Oh boy, the cliches are starting. *stop that*) Now it's your turn to get your creative gears turning and pick up those beads!

If anything you see here inspires you, I'd like to see your photos. Send them with a description to

Tune in next time for:

Tamara Spills Her Show Secrets


Found Object Frenzy!


  1. I love the headband. It's lovely!!

  2. Thanks Julie! I pulled an all nighter so I could meet the last FMG deadline. I about six episodes of Being Erica and both Lion King movies during the making of this piece.

  3. What is FMG? Oh, geez, I wish cross stitch moved as fast as beading. My projects are all large, and they take years to complete!!!

  4. I love the headband it is beautiful and different.

  5. Thanks Therese. :-)

    Oh, Julie, FMG stands for Fire Mountain Gems. It's a beading supply company out of Grants Pass Oregon. They hold contests all the time and sponsor ads on the backs of beading magazines. I bet your pieces look wonderful when they're finished! I used to have to carpool to my old job and I had several hours before or after my shift started to bead. One of my co workers said because of that, she finally finished one of her cross stitched santas!

  6. Of course, I could have figured that out. I'm not a beader, but I have a friend who is. I often shop for beads so she can make me things. It's a fair trade. She gets to take a new class, I get something pretty made there. Works for both of us!!!

  7. First I love love your beaded washers! I have worked with grommets and they are fun too! As far as shows go I am concerned that the cost of the beadwork we do is higher because of the time invested in it and therefore most (if they aren't aware of that) don't see the value in it.

  8. Kristen, you are absolutely right. Unfortunately, the few people who understand this concept can make their own beadwork and are less likely to purchase. However, I think location is the key. Go to the shows where people are looking to buy.

    I also think that jurors are harder to please than the customers. It seems that they rarely have any comprehension of time and are only looking at the materials. I recently got turned down on a "yes", "no", "maybe" system of five no's. I really hope the woman was lying when she told me the results.

    I'll manage somehow. One day, we shall be established as fine artisans. We should invite a prospective buyer over to the house and have them to watch us complete a piece from start to finish. Wouldn't that be a new awakening!