Side hustle

I’m giving very heavy thought to restarting my jewelry as a, “side hustle,” regardless of the fact that no one really needs jewelry. Also regardless of the fact that I’ve known people who design with glass beads to be looked down upon by metalsmiths.

EDIT: for those who don’t know, a, “side hustle,” is something one does on the side of one’s primary employment for extra income.

We are considered, “craft jewelers,” or, “handcrafters,” or rarely, “artisans” (as I would be likely to call myself). We’re known for working hard, and being underpaid and underappreciated. Because handworked jewelry takes so long to make, in a capital-based (and not labor-based) economy with a high cost and high standard of living, the sheer cost of labor makes each piece expensive. Competition from labor-based economies outside of the U.S. drives prices for comparable items down. The lack of use of precious metals and gems leaves us without justification for price inflation. There is often no official training for any of this. All of this combines to the point that most U.S. handcrafters work hard and long for what are poverty wages in the U.S.

However, for me it is just a side hustle, for now. If I’m going to do it (or want to do it) anyway, the act of doing it could be reward in itself. I’m also getting much, much closer to having a signature style. This is why I’m going back to beading instead of metalwork or painting. It’s what I want to do. The drawback would be becoming so advanced that I am no longer able to design and make, but end up teaching and running a business rather than playing with colors and beads.

Last night and today, I’ve been working again at beaded micro-macrame. At this point, I’m very likely to get blisters if I continue knotting, so I decided to hold off on working further on my prototype, for now. (This is the project in pink and blue-green that I had mentioned in an earlier post.)

Image of a workspace and macrame pad.
Working version to the right. It’s interesting what you come up with when choosing beads for structure rather than color…like the center “Green Opal” 6/0 beads.

I have found that I prefer C-Lon cord over S-Lon. The brands are kind of hard to tell apart; according to one source, Marion Jewels In Fiber, S-Lon is likely an off-brand of C-Lon. Marion states that they seem to be the same product from different brands.

My present experience with known S-Lon shows slightly different working properties; it seems slightly stretchier (though that could just be me), and the S-Lon I’m using (pink, above) shredded lengthwise as I pulled it from the spool. This isn’t something I’ve seen at all from the C-Lon I’ve used (for example, the yellow cord on the left in the above image).

However, the color is a dustier pink than the C-Lon cord I have now, as it’s from a closer fashion season. (I don’t even remember the year — or season — in which I got most of my stock: I just recall that it was through a local bead convention.) Because of color considerations, if I re-make this in pink, I might use the same cord…though I seriously need to refresh my cord color palette.

Beaded bracelet in ice greens and pinks.
Sorry about that white pin messing up the shot. No, not the one on the left. The other one.

This kind of design is hard to do without actually playing with cords and beads, until something snaps into place like it was meant to be there. I had to mess around with knotting and re-knotting cords until I got something that looked symmetrical and regular, and just generally O.K. Even at this point, there are errors remaining, though I might be the only person to notice them.

The upshot of working with beads is that they can always be cut apart and re-strung or -knotted, though. The loss is mainly time, and whatever thread or cord or wire that was used (though that time loss can be legitimately counted as time spent in design). You can also recycle precious metal scrap, though I haven’t tried it yet (most of my precious metal is sterling silver, and it isn’t really that expensive, compared to gold). In metal shop, we also used to recycle brass and copper scrap, but I honestly don’t know where that stuff was sent.

It’s also weird how changing the stringing material affects the pattern. I tried working something in yellow cord at first, which the fuchsia beads stood out against. When using the dusty pink cord, though, the fuchsia beads fall into the background. I thought it looked kind of tacky with the yellow, but maybe it’s just a fashion risk?

I guess it just means that when I change cord colors, I need to change the bead colors, too…

It’s kind of surprising how much of an effort I had to raise in order to work with my hands today and yesterday, rather than read or work on job search or job applications. (This is a job [albeit self-employment], these are job skills.)

I’m not entirely sure what’s behind the reticence to work with my hands, kind of like I’m not entirely sure how or why there seem to be no places to learn skills like I’ve learned, outside of books and magazines and bead stores. I would think that this would be interesting to people…if I became a Public Librarian, I would really like to put on Bead Nights and stuff like this.

In comparison to knitting, I would think it would cost less. Is the interest too ethnic to be accessible to a wider audience? Do people just not like getting stabbed with needles? 😉

But really, I’ve been doing this since I was 11, so…

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Two sets of earrings completed…

…Though one of them I love extensively more than the other.

I do have to get on job applications again, but after work on Wednesday, I was more excited that there was still sunlight (I thought I was working from 9-6, but I wasn’t), and started playing with the beads I got on Tuesday, and didn’t tell you about.

I went to a newer bead store in the area for silk thread, and ended up coming away with $45 in colored glass fire-polished beads (retail, not wholesale; their wholesale value is probably about $20, considering I did get the silk thread). These beads have facets ground into them and then are reheated so they melt a little and get this gorgeous flashy (“vitreous”) surface. Some of these beads have surface treatments, though most are transparent (I am not sure about the little 3mm lavender ones I got; they may be a little milky).

Because I went to a bead store (and not Michael’s), I’m confident that the beads are not just coated in dye. There are online sellers for this stuff too (Czech fire-polished glass beads), but it’s an entirely different workflow than designing in the bead store itself.

So I ended up spending a little more than half an hour in there, making critical color and purchasing decisions (in person!) which worked out pretty well, once I got the beads home and matched them with my pearls (the ones I got in Honolulu for $75 retail, meaning I’ve invested about $100 in the piece I’m working on now [not either of the two sets of earrings]…for which I’m still trying to design a decent layout. It’s going to take some playing around to get to a working conclusion, though).

See, this is why I got a Master’s degree, because this stuff is expensive and not affordable unless:

  1. it’s an occasional indulgence,
  2. I’m selling,
  3. I’m already set up with tools and materials, or
  4. I have a discretionary fund gained from having family subsidize my living expenses while I have a stable job.

Numbers 2, 3, and 4 may be something that come to fruition if I get a gainful Library job, stay with family, and have enough free money to purchase supplies in bulk (as versus groceries, utilities, clothing, incidentals, and rent). It’s really not a big thing to get a resale license; it just means submitting taxes quarterly on any income.

If I became an Adult Services Librarian in a Public Library setting, I could also teach this stuff for free and thus share my enthusiasm, build community, and learn from other beaders. I say “Adult Services” because a lot of these materials are not meant for use by people under the age of 14 — developing brains might be harmed.

From working with paints, I understand that a lot of colorants may be specifically unsafe for use with children. If I were planning on ever getting pregnant, it might also give me pause to expose my own body to these materials, but that is likely nowhere in my future.

Anyhow, I was able to use some other pearls I had from before to make a pair of earrings I really, really like. I mean…these are top-drilled pearls, basically rice-shaped and teardrop pearls (though on this strand, it was the odd teardrop) which are drilled in the short direction, across one end. They’re not easy to use because of the chaos factor; it’s never really known what direction they will point.

I had some round gold-filled spacer beads in my stash — two sizes — which I used to fill the gaps between the top-drilled pearls, and bent the thread line so that both ends came out through another bead at the top. I ended up, however, using brass wire (I think it’s 28-gauge, though there’s an off-chance it may be 26) to go through the thread path, then bending that top bead over, looping both open ends of the wire around the first established wire loop, then threading both ends back up through the top bead and finishing with a wrapped loop.

The finished item has some movement to it, but not enough to really detract from the overall design-as-worn. They’re actually super-cute, and a creative way to use a bead that is not meant to be inherently symmetrical.

Right now, I’m trying to figure out whether I want to buy a decent amount of gold-filled round wire so that I can do more stuff like this, without using something that will tarnish. Fine gauges of wire are actually surprisingly affordable (for anything containing precious metal), as they don’t use a lot of material.

You still want to practice first with the cheap stuff, though. I have brass and copper; and hardware-store material is fine or even preferable, here. Silver-plated wire, I just avoid; even “non-tarnish” wire will tarnish, and badly; or you’re dealing with, “Nickel Silver,” which I take to mean, “white metal with nickel in it,” and I’m allergic to nickel. Then there’s steel, which is an entirely different animal.

I use gold-fill wire and beads instead of gold-plate (when I can, or in projects I especially care about) because I don’t want the gold on the outside to flake off from applied pressure. I’m very familiar with the latter on gold-plated findings (metal bits used in jewelry) and focals, though usually cheap gold-colored wire is just brass (or brass-plate, if we want to get cheaper; I’ve even seen copper-plate wire. I mean, how cheap does it have to be?! I can get pure copper wire at the hardware store, and it’s not expensive!).

The reason to use gold instead of brass is the fact that brass will tarnish, and polishing something like this (with tiny tiny hooks from the wire ends) with a polishing cloth, will likely damage it. Ultrasonic cleaning will likely damage the pearls. Gold-fill wire will not tarnish, eliminating that variable, and making the piece harder-wearing.

As for the cost of gold itself…it’s so expensive that it’s out of the question to use solid gold wire (at least until I get my own atelier and sell in Nordstrom or something; at which point I’d likely be using something more expensive than glass [think Cubic Zirconia or lab emerald], for that center bead).

The economics of this did become clear to me today, though. If I used gold-filled wire, those earrings wouldn’t really cost me that much to make, and all of the gold would be gold-plate or gold-fill. Aside from that, I used three pearls and a firepolished glass bead for each earring. That’s not a lot of money I’m putting out, but I could easily sell them for at least $25-$35/pair, as I’m using real gold (even if it’s not solid) and real pearls. (I should remember, though, the wasted 28-gauge [28g] wire that is just used to hold onto the rest of it. There are places to recycle this, though. With the amount of damage gold mining does to the environment, it’s a little bit of relief.)

The fragility of 28g wire isn’t even an issue here, because earrings don’t get bent up like necklaces, bracelets, and rings, do — especially if the bottom edge has no jagged ends sticking out to get caught in something like a knit sweater.

I did come to the realization when first considering selling, that I’d have to move a lot of earrings to come out ahead, financially. This is because earrings don’t take a long time to make or design, relatively; they also use a relatively small amount of materials. On top of that, the personality of a set of earrings changes greatly depending on their color scheme, meaning I could use the same pattern in different ways, and thus save some time on the design aspect.

At this point, it is 1 AM my time. I will wait until tomorrow to photograph my work and upload images, but being the instant-gratification-yearning person I am, I will post this and then go to bed. Someone on the other side of the globe will like it. 🙂

I also made a pair of earrings using a macrame technique and some titanium-fumed Crystal Quartz…which I didn’t even get around to. Tomorrow.

Tomorrow.

And, right, there was the realization that the seed beads were no match for the fire-polished rounds in sophistication…I just don’t want to forget that I noticed this…

Hygiene highs; a day off. Taking care of myself.

Alright, so I didn’t get much done on the portfolio, today. I did go out on an excursion and brought back a couple of beading magazines. Although I don’t subscribe to any anymore, it’s good to view the ads.

I suppose I never really reported on the specifics of what beads I have recently picked up. I mentioned them close to the time, but no pics or anything. That isn’t great, for the reason that I forget what I have, if I don’t record it.

And then, there was the little macramé trial that I started and then ended…

Yeah, I want to do something with that! (It’s right next to me, now.)

Last night, I wanted to post about hygiene. Particularly, how good it felt to take a shower and wash my hair and dry the roots, getting everything done (including rubbing my face down with witch hazel, treating it, and brushing and flossing my teeth). I had to floss because I’d eaten raw fish for dinner (it will cause awful morning-after breath, otherwise — and don’t even think about going to bed with your teeth unbrushed — it’s horrific the next day), and I really had to wash my hair.

I put some sort of oil in it to protect the ends…but I’m not convinced that two drops (as the bottle said to use) was enough. I had to use the Clarifying shampoo because my hair was so gross, and that will eat through any oil or grease it touches at full strength. Because of that, I had some areas which were just fine (if not oily), and some areas which were squeaky-dry. I’ve found that it’s healthier to have it oily but clean, as versus dry and brittle.

I’m thinking of using a sulfate-free, very gentle shampoo, and just washing much more often. (I’ve heard that a vinegar rinse is good for getting rid of sulfate deposits in the hair [someone did one on me once], so I might use one just to soften it. I’m just not sure how exactly, to do it.)

I used the diffuser attachment for my hair dryer for the first time, last night. IT IS WONDERFUL. If I set it on “Cool” and High speed, it will get my roots dry, which is important to avoid mold and mildew. Avoiding that is important to avoiding dandruff and scalp itching, in turn.

As well, the “Cool” setting, doesn’t burn me.

I’m wanting to wash my hair and wear it the way it is when it’s wet and in what would be called, “ringlets,” if my hair was fully curly — it’s just in short waves, and I don’t know what the term is for that. But it’s nice that my hair texture has matured…it’s never been this consistent in texture, before. Rather, the texture varied depending on which area of my scalp the hair was growing from. (When I was very small, it was much straighter.)

It’s also never been as long as this at this texture, before. Right now, I can put it on top of my head, and it almost all stays (depending on what area of my crown it’s on)!

So…I’m thinking of continuing to grow it out, so I can get to the point where I can pile it all on top of my head. If I dry it with the diffuser, it should also be good to wear it down, while the rest of it dries. The diffuser actually adds lift to the root area, which helps it look alright.

I started out this post talking about beads and beadwork…

I suppose it’s OK if I don’t get work on my portfolio done, every day. I’ll only have one more class on top of this, for the foreseeable future. And even if I do get a better job, I shouldn’t have to work much more than 20 hours.

Also, so long as the portfolio project isn’t done, I’m thinking that it’s probably normal or good to keep it in the back of my mind, all the time. I should probably just not worry or stress over it too much — at least, not yet. After all, no matter what, it’s not going to be done for a while.

With the beadwork, I’ve based a color scheme around a number of ceramic beads, but have come to realize that the ceramic beads are likely too coarse for the design. I think the color scheme still works, though: warm aqua luster, violet vitrail, bronze.

And…I keep finding more beads, stashed away in plain sight. I need to get them all together. I remember looking for some for that scarab necklace (bright fuschia size 6° silverlined rounds), that I found a couple of days ago in a forgotten project drawer.

Anyhow. I haven’t been working on that today, either.

Seems like a lot of the stuff I have to do, has to do with organization. I think that’s accurate.

The thing I’m kind of irritated about is my lack of noting prices per quantity on the descriptions of my bead vials. Prices normally vary based on what’s in the glass, and what treatments have been applied to the glass. For example, pinks and deep reds (which aren’t just coated), generally have gold in the glass formulation, so they cost more. But something like a teal will generally be much less (I don’t know what makes it teal).

I remember that a while back, the “Apollo” finish (a bright bronze-gold coating over clear glass) was new and stupid-expensive. It’s gone down in price, now.

But if I’m making anything to sell, the final price is based on the cost of production, ideally. Otherwise, I risk underselling myself, and not being able to hold the price of a certain item, steady. Unless, that is, I risk overcharging (which I probably should, as versus putting something out using a baseline price formula).

I think I feel a bit better now, making jewelry with the intention to sell (though I haven’t been doing it much, recently). It helps to know people into art (who value artistic labor), and it helps to have done it, before.

It also helps to know that I’m not undermining my integrity by doing something generally classified as feminine. I am female, but as regular readers here will know, I don’t see myself as a woman — or a man (feminine, is something different: I have found that just because I don’t see myself as a woman, that doesn’t mean I have to divorce myself from everything associated with women).

In my first round of making jewelry to sell, I didn’t know myself as well, and didn’t know why I liked to do it. At this point, I know it’s okay to sell something for personal decoration, even if no one absolutely needs it. I didn’t feel great taking money for something someone may want, but have no absolute life-or-death need for. Especially when they may have needs that they’re sacrificing for “wants”.

But other people’s money-management, really isn’t my business. And that’s a ground-rule I really need to keep up.

I’ve also found that I myself feel better when I know I look good. The attention I get for that isn’t the reason I do it — or even something I really desire — but I try to take compliments in stride.

After all, nothing says I can’t be a gender minority and gorgeous at the same time…

Finished Object: Scarab necklace.

So, a couple things have happened. I passed my written test for Driver’s Training (yay!), I did not fail Programming (yay!), I got a giant frikkin’ toolbox for my metals…which I’m wondering if I need, now (yay?), and I found some SuperDuos (? sadly, beads make me feel rich).

If you’re wondering why I didn’t post earlier, it’s because I spent 7 straight hours at the DMV, reapplying for an original license.

SEVEN. HOURS.

We got there at 7:30 AM and weren’t done until 2:30 PM.

But. I can practice driving, again.

About that necklace I mentioned, last time: I was able to finish it, and it wasn’t a lot of work at all. One thing I need to keep in mind, though, is that when I’m closing the crimp endings, it’s to my advantage to close one half at a time, instead of immediately squashing the thing flat from one side. If I do the latter, I may end up with a slippery connection, as happened this time. I was able to mitigate it somewhat by tying an overhand knot directly after the crimp, so it will have a harder time moving…but crushing it halfway across, results in an inward-biting fold in the center of the crimp which may be more secure.

As it was, I tried using G-S Hypo Fabric Cement on this, and…I think the tube is mostly dried out. Like, there’s air in there and some vapor, but not much else. Normally, I’d use clear nail polish, but I kind of feel tacky using that, at this point. 😉

I should replace my cements, though. Not fun trying to coax anything (anything at all!) out of a needle applicator when you know the tube could bust at any second.

I took a number of photos earlier. Bathroom time! (I was using the viewfinder through the mirror, not taking a picture of the mirror itself…)

Photo of green beaded macrame choker with scarab

In the process, I saw where my design could be improved. In particular, I’m looking at the fine pinkish stripe. Because it’s on the bottom and borders the green size 6º beads, the pink is sandwiched between two bright greens…and because of my skin tone (which is closer to pink than to green, thankfully), it begins to get lost. I am wondering what would happen if I either made it broader and/or put it on the upper edge of the choker. I could broaden it by interlacing another one or two rows of lark’s head hitch (the knotting pattern I used), which I’m fairly curious about, now.

I was concerned that the second choker would be too short, as I made the length of the knotted area the same length as the cord on the original version, which can be seen below.

Initial trial choker

However, it’s plenty long enough. I don’t know why, except maybe the drape could be messing with me. I’m strongly considering getting rid of the extension chain I put in the back of the green one for safekeeping, as the chain tends to tangle with the hook-and-eye clasp I’m using. The only reason I’m using that, in turn, is that I can’t find my narrow-gauge silver wires or jump rings (wire rings). I thought I had found some, but no — that was (more) extension chain!

I didn’t want to cut apart a soldered chain just to get a jump ring. (Chains are pretty expensive.)

All of the silver clasps I have that are right now unused (except for the sterling filigree box clasp, which I would prefer not to use, as box clasps aren’t known for being secure), have piercings that are too small for the rings I’d be inserting into them. (The rings are at least 20 gauge, if not thicker.)

I do have sterling wire in some finer gauges, but that’s going kind of expensive for a connector. I’m unsure where all my silvertone brass wire, went. While it is possible that I was wholly using sterling, before, that seems kind of wasteful. And I know I had some “non-tarnish” craft wire that tarnished (surprise), and I must have gotten rid of that. I’d had it since high school, so what do I expect, right? 🙂

But when that stuff goes bad, it’s pretty terrible. I mean, it turns crusty.

If you’re wondering about Lark’s Head Hitch, I’ve got a close-up for you below. It’s not too hard. If you look in basically any beginner book on macrame, it will probably be in there (just not this version).

Close-up of Lark's Head Hitch chain

One thing that I did find out about my working process: I was unsure nearly the whole time I was making this thing, if I’d have enough cord to finish it cleanly. I used a bit more than two arm-spans each, of the green and pink cord. One of the reasons I added the beads is to space out the knots, which then extends the reach of the tying cord.

I really toward the end, wished I had left more cord at the beginning of the necklace, in case I wanted to extend the other side of it. It would have been easy. But I left myself only about 3″ of working space — just enough to insert into the crimp ending and secure it. It would have given me options, if I had more.

As stated before, I’m thinking of where I can take this, next. In addition to a wider band, I’m thinking about fringe. Short fringe, at this point, but enough to give an impression of feathers.

I really don’t know what that will do; and if I’ve learned anything over the past 48 hours, it’s that I won’t know, until I try it.

WIP: Scarab necklace

Apologies for not having any photos, tonight. I have a work-in-progress (WIP) which will very much be worth sharing when it’s done, but unfortunately I threw my back out today, and haven’t gotten to finish the last 2″ of knotting on the WIP.

Luckily, I’m pretty sure the back thing is just a muscle spasm (don’t twist while carrying heavy loads and descending stairs at the same time), but it’s meant I haven’t been able to do much. On top of that, this and taking medication around 1:30 AM this morning (from staying up late knotting and not noticing the time), kind of wrecked my motivation for today.

So the project itself is a knotted micromacrame choker-length necklace with a central crystal drop and seed bead embellishments. After 1 AM, I was reminded of the need for sleep, and my pinkies were about to blister, so I called it a night. (They’re still a tiny bit sore, today.) Given what was on TV, I think I was working at least 3-4 hours — though this was on two projects.

I made a first project that led directly into the second, as it looked more like a prototype than finished work (although it’s wearable) — but I wasn’t about to cut it apart, right after making it. I had used a set of silver-plated crimp endings; crimps don’t come undone. I would have had to just throw them away, and they still look fine. It’s the cord and the lack of embellishment, that I don’t like.

The craft table looks like a disaster area…but maybe it’s supposed to? I really did want to finish that necklace last night, but I’m already viewing it as a prototype for something more. For instance, working off of the cord loops with thread, to attach finer beads: the center drop bead is a Swarovski scarab, and I’m thinking of placing falcon wings on either side with fringe. The major issue is how to secure the thread ends, but if I worked the thread in from the beginning, it would be well-anchored at both ends of the necklace like everything else (and hidden).

But yeah…it feels really good to be working on (and with) this stuff, again. There’s something about looking at beads that lets me know that something awesome can be made out of them with the right amount of applied skill and creativity.

Hopefully, I’ll be up to finishing it, tomorrow.

Getting back to beading.

Today was interesting. I’ve begun to get back into (and recover) my beading stock. The major problem — which I have gone a long way toward ameliorating, today, is the fact that at various points in time, I’ve separated out tubes of beads as an attempt to notate color schemes for potential projects.

Because of that, what I have isn’t all in one place.

In particular, my size 11/0 (also alternately notated 11º and pronounced “eleven-ought”) seed beads are so scattered that my main storage areas look somewhat…well, pink and purple. But a lot of materials are still stashed away for one single project. That project includes a lot of greens and bronzes, which balance out the mix. And I haven’t yet decided what to do with what I have separated out.

That, in turn, probably isn’t going to be figured out until I just sit down and play with what I have.

Until I finish that project — or alternately, give up on it and put things back where they’re supposed to be — it’s going to be hard to figure out the sum total of what I’ve actually got. I was, however, able to recover some of the stuff I loaned M, which…is a very good thing.

She went on a discarding spree and threw out a bunch of stuff that she assumed was hers. (A lot of it appeared to be inexpensive stock gotten at flea markets by friends. Having started out with cheap Darice beads, I know not to use these for anything to wear or sell — to practice with, is another thing.) Luckily, my stuff (that she thought was hers [I was trying to be polite and not mention the error]) was nice enough not to be tossed. What I’m talking about are the materials for a certain bracelet project.

(While I’m logging unfinished projects, I should leave a link here to this one…I finally got the appropriate interfacing for embroidering a bezel for the cabochon [the big shiny thing], but the materials were sitting uncovered so long that I may have to wash the beads.)

Anyhow, I also was able to make it out to a beading supply place, today, so I have no lack of 3mm or 4mm fire-polished rounds, anymore. (5mm rounds…are comparatively rare. I’ve found them at one bead store relatively distant from me. 6mms, however, are common.) What’s weird is that I have a collection going back decades, and so they aren’t all the same size, even if I have a bunch which look like they were all supposed to be the same diameter. I also have samples of early versions of the Preciosa Twin bead…which aren’t the same as the current ones (which are closer in shape to SuperDuos).

I’ve realized that beadwork is relatively niche (much moreso than watercolor — it’s also possible that beaders just largely either aren’t on WordPress or don’t talk on WordPress, as they’re too busy beading and designing), and so readers here may not immediately know what I mean by words like, “fire-polished round,” or, “rondelle,” or, “druk,” or, “vitrail,” or, “Twin,” or, “SuperDuo.” While this is easily researched, I’ve found people (including myself) aren’t apt to do extra work in order to understand something — especially if they’re not invested in it, aren’t that interested, or it’s just way too much information that they don’t know at the same time.

Because of that (it’s a communication barrier), I’m thinking of setting up a Page or series of Pages that I can direct people to, as a kind of Glossary. I wouldn’t be surprised if a project like that brings in a lot of traffic, either. Though I’m not really all that social, I do see certain of my posts showing up over and over again in searches. If I wanted to monetize the beading, as well, higher traffic would be OK.

As for other labors of love — I’m told to produce my jewelry as art objects and then if they sell, that’s just a happy consequence. One of the drawbacks of beadwork is that it can get expensive, for a hobby. The reason I started to sell is that I was getting prolific, and had a bunch of backstocked, finished items that I wasn’t wearing. (I was also putting a lot into materials — though ironically, most of the cost of those pieces tended to be metals.) That’s no longer the case — a lot has been either sold, donated, or given away to family and friends.

Oh — but! I did restart macramé practice today. I have a pattern using 6 cords, which I’m thinking of expanding into a wider form. I came across a version of a knotting pattern I can’t altogether remember seeing before; it’s kind of lacy, and I’m hoping I can use it as a diagonal lace. It seems like a possible beginning of a zigzag pattern as well, but I’ve got to play with it more, to confirm.

Sorry no new pictures, today; though I do have to start cataloging these things…

Things that aren’t equivalent

I started to write this last night, but adjourned to my bed and my blog notebook. It’s probably a good thing, because I was really tired. (It’s not good to be that tired and exposed to the blue light of a computer screen; it can make me stay up longer than I should.)

The notes I took are all about things that I at once thought were related, but which turned out to be more dissimilar than expected. I also started drawing on the side of my notes…which was surprisingly satisfying. Yes, even though it was on lined paper.

I was using a Yasutomo Liquid Stylist pen, which is a fiber-tipped pen with a nice juicy flow. The drawing just came out of wondering what would happen if I made shapes in some way other than letters…

…I’ve also started drawing images of my houseplants, because they’re kind of the reverse of the memento mori that happens with cut flowers. In this case, because they’re still growing, they’ll never be this tiny again!

For a while now, I’ve been discouraged from drawing because of the fact that nearly everything I see has a human touch to it. Botanical gardens aren’t even immune, because they’re planted and maintained by people. Outdoor areas are often landscaped and built upon. Someone designed those buildings. Someone designed everything within those buildings.

An extreme example would be driving out to the middle of nowhere in Las Vegas and copying down a display of some statue surrounded by plants which don’t naturally grow there (like much, does). It’s obvious on that point that the display was made to be seen and to have the impact it has. It’s worse when the plants are poorly taken-care of and obviously being used.

It’s why I didn’t take too many photos of Las Vegas.

While there are some relatively wild areas nearby, they also seem somewhat forbidding. Like I can go into the Sierra, and it’s beautiful; at the same time I know I can easily die there, just from making one mistake. So it’s gorgeous and at the same time…I don’t know if, “sobering,” is the right word, but there is an element of heightened awareness and caution, there.

I haven’t yet been able to reconcile recording human-built and -designed landscapes within urban and suburban areas, and the feeling of being out-of-place in relatively untouched areas.

Anyhow, to get back to my list. (I’ve expanded upon it, below.) These are things I have drawn parallels between in the past, though now…I recognize their differences. In the below, I’ll be using the “!=” shorthand to mean, “not (exactly) equal to.” It would get unnecessarily wordy, otherwise.

  • drawing != painting
    • even though both result in the creation of images
    • Drawing uses lines; painting has an absence of line.
    • Drawing may make much less use of color than painting.
  • beading != painting
    • even though both can be dependent upon color use and combinations
    • Painting requires some thought as to subject matter, which is not necessarily the case with beading.
  • beading != “Jeweling” (Silversmithing) even though both can result in the production of jewelry
    • Beading requires weaving (in its simplest form, stringing) and design, incorporating skilled usage of pre-made components.
    • Jeweling requires metalwork (and in advanced forms, skilled use of fire) to assemble metal (usually sheet, wire, and [if casting,] grain) into a new, coherent form.
    • Jeweling may make much less use of color than beading.
  • sewing != beading
    • even though both use fine needles
    • Sewing requires the use of fabrics (or two-dimensional soft surfaces), which feel entirely different than assembling pierced glass, stone, metal, etc., components through the usage of fiber.
  • “making things” != programming
    • even though both “create”
    • “Programming” is listing instructions to a computer which have to be 100% correct (or near), and logically consistent, or they won’t work at all.
    • Logic and semantic precision don’t factor into, “making things,” nearly as much (as I’ve experienced them); there is room for imperfection in, “making things.”
  • literature writing != comics
    • even though both tell stories
    • Comics have a strong graphic component requiring a different skill set than writing.
    • Comics may utilize a different form of communication than writing.
  • “Communications” class != social skills class
    • I took a class in “Communications” hoping it would make me a better communicator. Lo and behold, they meant, “public speaking,” not “interpersonal skills.”
  • Sociology != “the study of people”
    • Sociology is the study of people through the lens of how power dynamics constrain people, not the study of people and societies in general.

I’m not sure if this is some sort of cognitive or experiential deficit with me which has caused me to think that the things I’ve listed above have been related because they had a common factor (such as beadwork and painting having a common thread of color dynamics; thus I thought I’d enjoy painting [more than I have] because I’m enthused about color, and had enjoyed beadwork).

I’m hoping to get back to beadwork, very soon. I would have done it earlier today, but it’s been nice just to not have to do anything, for the first time in weeks. It felt like as much as I could do, to write this entry!

But I do have some pearls I want to do something with, and at least one project in stasis; I can start there.