Too many future visions.

Recently…I’ve been getting back into beadwork and the background stuff of, “what if I was running my own business”/”what if I was charging for this”/”what is the value of what I’m making”/”how much did I spend.” Right now I have so many projects in-progress that it isn’t even funny, it’s intimidating — though I’m including the two I began a very long time ago and then stashed away.

I’ve done the math (last night, when I slept for so long [likely social anxiety and depression] that I began to get nightmares, and so didn’t go back to bed until 2:45 AM), and the single-strand pearl necklace I’m working on now costs about $23.50 in materials (without the clasp). That’s about a third of the cost I could have minimally invested to buy all the strands of beads that went into making it; though I did buy more that I didn’t end up using, and as such, have some additional materials going forward.

Because of this, I’m thinking of taking that materials price and multiplying it by 3 in order to recoup my labor and design time, plus allowing me to buy what I’ll need for the next projects. I don’t even know how much design time I’ve put into this, but I know it’s a lot — and also that it isn’t over. I need to remove these from the strand and then restring them back onto it (I’m using asymmetrical beads that need to be reversed).

Anyhow, last night I was writing an Excel file — which I realistically need to do, for every bit of beaded jewelry I make. Unfortunately, some of my materials I purchased such a long time ago, that their price (along with the number of beads originally on the strand) has been permanently lost.

I still do not know how to grade pearls, so some of these costs are things that I can’t even gauge for myself. The cost of pearls depends on their size, grade, shape, luster, color, iridescence, freshwater or saltwater origin, any damage, etc. I have not taken the GIA’s pearl grading course and lab…so I have no idea of the value of what I have.

I do have a ballpark idea of what I probably paid for it — between $18 and $33 per strand. Each strand was probably 14″-18″ long, though the place I got these from is no longer in business. The only way for me to really tell is to restring them (and hope they are all in one place, which I know for a fact is not true for some strands: I make trial designs and usually don’t cut them apart, unless I need to recover the beads).

I also found that the multiple strands of pearls cost much more per-bead than the multiple strands of glass beads. You would think I would know that, but it’s really easy to go overboard with glass beads and get too many, narrowing the design choices toward the end of production (instead of while brainstorming in the bead store — which still does require a good degree of discipline and vision).

It’s just a little bit of a shock to find out that each 6mm pearl you’re using cost $0.50 (but then, you only used 10 of them), while each of the 10 5mm AB firepolish beads you used cost $0.15 each. That means that even though you used the same quantities of both, the pearls ran you $5.00, while the glass ran you $1.50, or 30% as much (or alternately, the pearls cost over 3x as much). Multiples matter.

I also have been looking back at another project — the lacy peach-and-pink-toned Chevron-Stitch necklace for which I wanted to use a glass cabochon as a centerpiece, and the green-and-bronze necklace with the stone donut centerpiece which may fall apart (the donut is fractured along the line of the [extraneous] drill hole; its wrapping [by which I secured a brass flower to its center] may be the only reason it’s still in one piece).

I must have taken an hour and a half in finding my beading foundation (Lacey’s Stiff Stuff interfacing: it’s special because it doesn’t deform, at least according to word on the street). It was with my sewing notes, in a binder, in a set of drawers I rarely ever go into. Like with scrapbooking stuff. I didn’t actually get around to using it because I took so long finding it.

Then, I had also taken a macrame kit out of my bedroom to prevent it from getting dusty…and ended up matching its colors (pinks and blue-leaning greens) with other colors (more blue-leaning greens and some warm yellows). Now I am not entirely clear on what I’m making, only that I originally wanted it to be macrame, and it may end up being macrame that’s embellished with beadweaving.

I didn’t want to start out this post talking about the job search again…I’m kind of getting fatigued in contemplating the “what if’s,” like: “what if I happen to get this job. Do I really want this job? Am I really prepared for this job? Is this job my best option?” Particularly, the tenure-track positions are kind of scaring me (what if I don’t get tenure?), and I’m torn between Public Service on one hand and rigorous back-end academic work, on the other.

Tenure…means at least six more years of stress, on top of a second Master’s, which is at least two more years of stress.

Particularly, I’m feeling that my draw towards arts and crafts could be put to use if I taught sessions and skills in a Public Library setting, whereas it would just be a diversion in an Academic Library setting, unless I majored in Art or Art History, and became a subject specialist there (still an option, though there is no Metal Arts or Jewelry program at UH Manoa). Above entry-level positions, I would need a second Master’s, which would most likely be in Japanese language…I just feel like I’ve lost so much of it, though.

But isn’t this what I wanted? To work behind the scenes and learn Japanese language and become a Subject Specialist in it and move to Oahu and be with my siblings?

I just hadn’t anticipated the pressure, I think.

I should still apply to the job, though. If I get the job, at least then I’ll know if I want to even try to work in an Academic Library setting…


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