I did have an idea behind this post earlier today, but I’ve since forgotten what it is…

…it must be the hour.

However, I was able to take some photos before the sun set, today.  I’m not sure how many of them would actually be interesting to anyone but me, but…well.  I just took a shower and am waiting for my hair to dry before going to bed.

Earlier, I did what homework I could…until meaning stopped coming out of my reading.  At that time, I got out the cabochons to see if I could pair any with the lacy pink thing.  What I got was this:

glass cabochon (~1″ tall) plus various trial netting swatches.

…which was kind of interesting. I realized that I might have some Czech seed beads which matched the cabochon exactly.  Because I recently reorganized things, I knew exactly where to look:

This is what a hank of Czech seed beads looks like.  I was talking about how Czech round seed beads are usually sold in hanks, half-hanks, or strands…these are loops of thread with beads threaded onto them, knotted together at one end.

These beads, I got a long, long time ago, at a store which closed down for (likely) good reasons.  I’m not sure of the name of the color, but they have a rainbow coating on them like the above cabochon (called AB, or “Aurora Borealis”), and they’re pretty close in color.  I’m fairly certain they’re size 11º.

I’ve wanted to use my cabochons in bead embroidery before, but haven’t, because I haven’t had the beading foundation you see in the background of both of these images.

Beading foundation is like stiff interfacing, and in some cases can be literal normal interfacing, like the kind used for sewing (usually it’s called “Pellon,” for the brand name, at least where I live); however, what you see above is called “Lacey’s Stiff Stuff” and is supposed to be really good, in terms of holding stitches and not stretching.  It can be hard to find in person and expensive once found, though.  This piece is about 8.5″ x 11″ and bought on top of bulk discount pricing, so it wasn’t …individually, that expensive.  😛

I do have Pellon interfacing as well (at one time I was trying millinery), which has a bit more give to it and is much thicker.  I had heard not to use it, though, in one of my books (Dimensional bead embroidery, by Jamie Cloud Eakin) because Lacey’s is supposed to be better for this specific task (i.e., bead embroidery).  As a consequence, I put the idea aside…for too long.

More Czech seed beads…strung in hanks, and loose in a bead tray.

The photo to the left displays two hanks of Czech size 13º seed beads…I think.  The pink ones may be 15ºs — which will help in bezeling cabochons.  The coppery ones are likely actually glass coated in copper (there is a term called “Galvanized” which might apply to these, but I’m not sure because of the circumstances under which I got them [bead convention]), and are called “Charlottes” because one side of the bead is ground into a flat facet.  (No, I don’t know the origin of the term.)

The triangular thing is a stackable bead tray, here with some of the Czech 11º seed beads you saw in the hank above — only here, they’re loose and ready to use.  Of course I came back into the house today and promptly accidentally overturned the (entire) tray onto the floor…with a jacket cuff or something.  Hunting stray beads happens frequently, here.  And it doesn’t help that they bounce, roll, and scatter on linoleum, and can get totally lost in carpeting.  Though holding a light parallel to the floor helps to find them, at least when they’re shiny.

Fairly certain candidates for the netted necklace.

This, to the right, is a photo of the beads I am fairly sure to use in this project…the exception being the copper beads (unstrung from the above hank) in the lower right vial.

I did some work taking inventory and found that altogether, I have 80 of the “Peaches and Cream” dagger beads (upper right) and 96 Fuschia 4mm Czech firepolished glass beads (far left, center).  Each inch, about, of the pattern I made uses four dagger beads, and maybe 5 firepolished ones.

Given this, I have enough beads for a 20″ necklace…at least, in outer diameter.  The three long center vials are Japanese seed beads (typically sold in vials); the two on the right contain size 11º, while the one on the left contains size 8º.  I’m pretty sure that the far right vial of these center three contains dyed glass, however, meaning those beads are unlikely to stay that color forever.  Everything else, though…I think is relatively stable (though I’m not sure about the size 8ºs…which came from a different supplier that doesn’t give marks for lightfastness).

Oh, and:  the little short vials on the far left and far right, did not come with these beads.  They’re the “tiny” vials I mentioned in earlier post with regard to storage.  I got them from a store which specializes in plastics and fiberglass, for about $0.20 each.  This is kind of crazy inexpensive, when I see that there are smaller clear containers (the AMAC tiny ones) which cost 4.5x as much and are less secure.  If they weren’t $0.90 each, I would buy them to store crystals, but seriously.  That’s kind of a splurge, for storage.  (It wouldn’t be, however, if I were selling gemstones or crystals — as I’ve seen those boxes used before.)


Kind of down…but I have been doing something.

It’s been kind of an off day (though I have been having more of those than usual, recently)…though it got better when I stopped even trying to concentrate.

I lay down around 7 PM last night, fell asleep, then my alarm went off at 9 PM (medication time).  I got up at 10:30 PM, took medication, then couldn’t fall back asleep until at least 1-2 AM.  Then someone woke me in the morning to let me know they were leaving, and I fell back asleep.  I got out of bed exactly 12 hours from the time I lay down the second — no, third time (I got up and ate something at around 1 AM).  So I was out of bed at about 1:30 PM.  Then I tried to read again and found the cataloging textbook to be so incredibly boring (it’s an instruction manual more than a textbook) that I went back to bed…(it doesn’t help that the Cataloging professor still hasn’t let me know if I’m reading the correct chapter).

After people returned home, I got out of bed and started studying someplace which was not my bedroom…still couldn’t concentrate.  Watched one and a half episodes of African history, during which time I decided just to stop trying to concentrate, and started in on beadwork (which is what I actually wanted to be doing).  I have a photo of how far I’ve gotten, tonight (note that the ladder-stitched sections that trail off the right side of the photo are nearly long enough for my wrist, in themselves):

Inspired by Beaded collars by Julia Pretl.

I cannot totally claim credit for this design; it was inspired by projects in a book of M’s:  Beaded collars, by Julia Pretl.  Though I found the collar patterns in that book to be a bit large for my taste, the basic idea of rows of ladder stitch joined with netting, and using picots on the turns, comes from that book.  However, as I’ve mentioned, these rows of ladder stitch aren’t joined by netting, but rather peyote stitch.  (The joining rows are so short that it disallows netting.)

The entire thing is also rather small — something that doesn’t quite show up, here, except in the relative enormity of the weave in the tablecloth.  The entire thing is narrower than the diameter of a quarter, I think.  The copper-colored glass bugle beads are less than ¼” long each (I think they are Size 1), with most of the other beads being Japanese size 15ºs.  The larger beads are Japanese size 11ºs, which are still pretty small.

I still have trouble deciding which beads to use in combination; the matte 11ºs are “raku”, a relatively expensive finish.  On the other hand, the teal fringe beads are colorlined (that is, there is a color lining the holes), and as such are prone to fading on exposure to the elements (particularly, I am guessing, light).  However, the beads don’t tie together as well when I use my teal silverlined 15ºs.  This is a bracelet which is made to go with another one which I haven’t made, yet…same color palette, but different color placement.

I wish I could tell you the thread path I was using to get the little peyote joins lined up and also the edge picots (I’m using double needles, which is as much as I can coherently say)…but the thread path is so complicated and haphazard that I don’t think I could give directions for it, at this time.

And…I’m either really tired or really low-energy, right now; I can’t think really well.  I’m probably just in a depression.

What I can say is that I averted a minor disaster by taking the time to untangle at least two or three large snarls (which required close work with needles and awl)…and have remembered the trick of storing presently unused needles in my clothing (pant leg, shirt), to avoid the lines of thread being tangled.

I don’t know how long this episode is going to last.  I’m not even sure I’m cut out for Master’s work in this field (right; for those of you new to this blog, I’m studying Library and Information Science)…I mean, I’m 35; I should be moving ahead in the job market rather than in grad school, I feel like.  But I only have a limited amount of years in which I’ll have the luxury of being able to do grad school and still have help from parents.

Which, then, calls in the mortality bit, and maybe I should stop thinking about that, right now.  I’d make an appointment with Psych, but I’m fairly certain all they’re going to tell me is to increase my medication and eat well and sleep…and the medication is sedating (and causes weight gain), so it’s like either sleep 14+ hours a day from the depression or sleep 16+ hours a day from the medications.

It wouldn’t be so bad, but I have deadlines to meet…and I hate having to actually use accommodations…

Organizing beads…

Well, I did make it out of the house — both to the plastics store (for styrene vials), and to the dollar store, today.  That is, the Japanese dollar store, where they (still) had the little clear plastic boxes with sliding drawers.  I’ve learned to pick these things up while they’re available, as I’ve gone back there for more of an item before (that is, a box to hold watercolor tubes), to find they’re no longer stocked.

Unfortunately, this and what followed ended up taking up the rest of the evening (although I still am really glad I was able to find bobbins for my embroidery thread — which will take perle cotton, but not in a straightforward manner), so I wasn’t really able to even get another chance to study until at least 8 PM.  I’m at the computer right now, and must have started this session around 10:30 PM.  What have I been doing in the meantime?  Reorganization.  And collocation.

What the latter means in non-library terms is that I was taking a lot of time to pull together similar items and relocate them into the same place so that I don’t have to spend 30 minutes trying to figure out where I put that ½ hank of size 8º seed beads I got three years ago.

(As mentioned in prior posts, given a bead size of Xº, the higher the number of X, the smaller the size of bead.)

And I’ve figured out that the Czech seed beads really needed to be brought together in one place, in order to be seen as available to be used.  Czech seed beads are normally sold in hanks (12 strands) or half-hanks (6 strands) or by the strand, as versus loose in tubes or bags.  Although:  the newer types of Czech shaped multihole beads, I have seen sold loose in bags (and stranded, for the larger types), and the small (8g) tubes have been becoming more popular for specialty beads, like the SuperDuos.  I also used to be able to buy 6º Czech seed beads loose in large tubes (20g?) from a local bead store, though that store no longer has a physical storefront.

(The larger Czech seed beads, as versus larger Japanese seed beads, have a relatively different shape; and as I’ve said before, the sizing between Japanese and Czech beads is definitely not identical, just taken on the whole [though Japanese beads also differ in shape between brands, even when you aren’t dealing with Delica-beads-as-versus-everything-else].  However, it’s been so long since I’ve used Czech 11ºs that I’m not entirely sure which is smaller.  I think it is that Czech 11º rounds tend to be smaller and more donut-shaped than Japanese 11º rounds, though.)

Anyhow, buying beads strung on hanks (as most of the basic, small round Czech beads are sold [or were, at least:  some of my earliest bead acquisitions were bought in this manner, prior to the year 2000 — I still have most of a hank of beautiful light topaz {I’d assume the color is light topaz} silverlined beads which must be a Czech size 10º or something — they’re not a standard size, because I didn’t know what I was doing when I bought them]) means that they’re kind of hard to store, unless you have someplace to hang them.  (Even that isn’t ideal, though, unless you don’t mind the beads getting dusty — or have a cabinet with doors for them — or use them up so fast that they don’t get a film on them [which is unlikely, unless you’re seriously manufacturing].)

With the little drawer things, I can lay the half-hanks out in flat layers and then change which beads I’m looking at by opening and closing (or removing) drawers.  I was kind of surprised that some of these hanks weren’t even stored in bags; they were just lying in a drawer or in a box somewhere, for some reason I have long since ceased to remember.

Anyhow, now I have six little clear drawer sets (I didn’t think it was overkill, but), one of which is nearly full of tiny empty vials — I’m going to need that space.  I also have a couple of craft boxes cleared out because of pulling together the perle cotton with the embroidery floss, and emptying another one of oversized vials (which are now in a translucent plastic container — so that I can see them, so that I can remember I have them, and hopefully, use them).

I should get to bed, though.  My second-to-last thought here, is whether it will ultimately be worth it to unstring bits of the hanks of Czech beads, just to make them more (psychologically) available for use.  I do have the vials to hold small amounts, after all…I’ll just need to mark the lids, “C,” or something, as versus “J.”

My last thought here is that I had to realize why it was that I was doing the beading.  I’ve got to decide whether I am doing this for myself (which I ultimately am), or doing this as a business.  If I just want to bead for myself, there’s no harm in using others’ patterns and instructions and being inspired by what’s already out there (because my ultimate goal is something other than making money, and I largely don’t have to worry about copyright infringement if I’m a hobbyist).

If I want to do this as a business, though, I’d need more experience in construction and design.  Working on other people’s patterns and altering them will likely lead to an understanding of fundamentals, but at some point it will become apparent that I actually am creating new patterns, and with those I can gain some compensation.  However, compensation is not the bottom line:  being able to sustain a beading hobby, is.

Which reminds me that I should get to bed so that I can earn some money, tomorrow…

Notes from the field:

Weird pattern, this.  Today I’ve been working nearly all day on homework.  Yesterday, I was sleeping nearly all day.  The night before, I was up until 3 AM doing chores — not because anyone told me to, but because they needed to be done.

Accordingly, taking a break to work on the blog is kind of “me” time, now.  Speaking of which…I’m fairly certain I’m going to give up one of my two midweek schedulings at work.  Now that this is definite, I need to notify my boss ASAP.  Even though I did have two (homework) workdays with basically nothing getting done (for various reasons which are not apt to occur weekly), it shows that I don’t have time to take a break at all, if I work 18 hours at my job, and am still working 30 hours per week on my classes.

I actually did work through one of the lecture exercises, as well…which is kind of amazing me.  Coming up, I have three exercises to go through, two chapters to read (which I didn’t realize until tonight), one Discussion topic to reply to, and a couple of hours of lecture to listen to — before Tuesday!  (>_<;;)

But that should be it, until the next cycle of due dates.  What I’ve realized is that I’m in two classes with heavy work loads, and it’s actually worth missing a bit of what I’m earning from my job in order to learn this.  That is:  it would be a waste to go to work and not learn from my classes because I was so concerned about getting a full paycheck.

beaded macrame?
Just design notes…

As regards the drawing I was messing around with which I mentioned in the last post (it’s on the left):  it’s nothing much, but leaving a record up here will at least get me to remember that I started in on drawing practice.

Not to mention that the process of photographing something, then running it through Photoshop to remove artifacts, requires a skillset in itself.  (I find it likely that I will end up taking a digital photography class or workshop, although I can still find my way around Photoshop somewhat decently…)

I also find it…really amazing, how different a photographed image, imported into Photoshop and made with physical art supplies, differs in character from born-digital art — I’ve done both.  Maybe it’s something about the way I work, but I much prefer dealing with the actual ground and tools…that is, in the photo to the left, I doubt I’d be able to get something with that kind of grittiness and texture out of software.

(And that wasn’t even with good paper!)

There’s just something really sleek and polished about CGI that I find isn’t to my liking.  Discoveries can come from mistakes, liveliness from that ever-constant chain of errors that probably plagues most beginning drawing students.  🙂  I’m talking a bit tongue-in-cheek now, but randomness and chaos does have a place, and it’s not always bad.

Of course, this is coming from the person who made a box ring in Silversmithing classes which they were told looked “machined.”  I suppose precision and randomness are both valuable; it’s just knowing when to let either step forward or back which may be the actual skill…

Evidence of work ;)

Yes, it actually does help me stay balanced, to work with my hands.

I have a bunch of photos from tonight.  I’m thinking that if I keep taking close-up photos of tiny things, maybe I should take a Digital Photography class…or at least try and figure out how to use this camera off of the “Auto” setting.  It would benefit me to be able to take quality photos myself; and the skills would also be salable (say, to people in my current position).

As an aside, classes did start today, and I have some work I can start in on.  Unfortunately, most of it is introductions, and despite seeing the new semester coming, I did not adequately emotionally prepare myself for telling other people who I am.  I also need one more piece of information before I can submit a request for accommodations for my last class…but it shouldn’t be too much of a pain.

The top spiral is 18g red brass wire, dead-soft.

Anyhow…the other night I was playing with that red brass wire, right?  Red brass is also called “Jeweler’s Bronze,” even though it isn’t actually bronze.  It’s a copper/zinc/lead alloy, as versus a copper/tin alloy.  True bronze is actually copper/tin, and from what I’ve heard, it’s rather brittle, making it suitable for nice castings, but not so much for wire.

I was really pleased with finally getting this stuff, because on the catalog page, the photograph of this wire is fairly terrible where it comes to color.  The photo on the left shows how it compares to the brass color of Artistic Wire (which is a brand name, just to make sure you know).

The wire here which has the Pip beads on it (those three copper-finished glass seed-shaped beads at the bottom) is a finer wire, 22g, and is natural brass tone with an anti-tarnish coating.  That coating means that I can’t forge with this wire beyond a certain point, because I can’t assume it’s safe to heat it with a torch.  Weirdly enough, on the product description pages where I found Artistic Wire actually being sold online, there seems to be a color difference between the raw brass and anti-tarnish coated brass.  However…I no longer have easy access to a place where I know I can color-check this.

The thicker wire on top, with the little bubble coming out of the spiral, is the new 18g wire I picked up from online.  This is raw brass.  This means that it will tarnish (and/or patina); however, it can be polished…and polished, and polished.  The brass color won’t come off of it, because it’s solid to the core, not coated copper wire.  In recent years it has also become popular to wear antiqued metals, as well.  The ring which this piece is hanging out of is antiqued brass — sold that color.

I’m thinking that the metal bead caps here are Vintaj nickel-free brass, or someone imitating them.

It’s interesting…at least two to three years ago, there was an upswing in the usage of nickel-free brass alloy.  This was mainly due to the Vintaj brand selling a lot of filigree-style components which could be bent and formed around other components.  An example can be seen to the right:

I used copper earwires because that’s what I could find, though find now that they set off the green of the large glass beads here nicely.

I didn’t take any photos of the insides of those new plier jaws…though I’m not certain it’s that important.  The things only cost $7, which could be why brass rubs off on them.  The insight I came to when I did push myself to work with this wire and the new set of flatnose pliers the other night, though, is that it’s very much a different process to use the materials than to pick out and buy materials.

This is a more complete view of the first subject.  I need to figure out some way to put these on a stand so they don’t wobble when I photograph them.  D has suggested an eraser and some paperclips.  🙂

The piece on the left, above — the spiral with two loops — seems like it has a lot of possibilities, but I’m not entirely sure what they are, yet.  I’ll have to play with them some more, before I’ll be certain.  By the way — the spiral component on the far right, above, is the same design as the link in the center, but done in a finer gauge of Artistic Wire, not the 18g wire.  Here is a closeup of that one, seen face-on:

this was just for fun:  that’s not 18g wire.

I’m wondering what I can do if I turn the “bubble” portion around so that it is perpendicular to the spiral, and then have a hidden link so that I could drop beads down, which would then appear to emerge from the spiral?  I’d have to do something about closing up that opening at top, but it’s an interesting possibility.

I should also note that I’m thinking about playing around with something I’ve seen called “Egyptian Spiral Chain.”  I’ve messed with it before, and it’s a very…kind of addictive pattern, just because the components form up very quickly, and the chain itself feels very solid and heavy once one starts to assemble it.  The major problem, I’ve seen through one of my classmates’ experiences, is the clasp:  The version she made was prone to loss.  I do, however, see an appropriate fix for this on the first page of Google Images.

The piece I was working on prior — the one with the macrame which I was scared of putting online?  I did take some pictures of it, seen below.  I also realized, though, that what I actually needed to do to photograph this was not to photograph myself wearing the neckpiece in the mirror, but to hold the camera up to face myself, and look at the viewfinder in the mirror.

close up of focal

The main reason I even got the 18g wire is that I didn’t have any wire heavier than 20g in a yellow color (and yellow is significant to this design).  This meant that those rings which are holding onto the bells (which in turn hang off of the mother-of-pearl ring), are subject to deformity because they’re so thin.

If you’re wondering how I made the rings so large, it’s because I was using what are called bail-forming pliers, online?  They’re really invaluable for making large rings, though.  Before I remembered I had these at my disposal (their protective coating in machine oil [ugh] had caused me to put them away and not touch them for years), I ordered a $9 set of dapping punches in order to use the handles as mandrels.  However…with the inexpensive dapping punches I got, the manufacturer didn’t really pay all that much attention to the diameter of the handle…so they aren’t as useful as I had hoped they would be.

In my Silversmithing class, that is, it was apparent that the dapping punches were high-quality, and also that they had different-sized handles available for “swaging” (or forming a sheet of metal so that it is curled along one axis only [as versus two for “dapping” or doming], possibly lengthwise).

And, of course, the dapping punches came heavily coated in machine oil, as well.  Gross.  I guess they didn’t want them to rust, in storage.  Which is why they put them inside three boxes and three plastic bags and drowned them in petroleum…

Luckily, though, the bells hanging off of the pendant at present are in very little danger of falling off.  The brass rings had to be drastically opened to get them around the relatively thick mother-of-pearl component, and the loops which are physically part of the bells are wide enough that the bells are probably not going to slip off.  I just would like the connections to be more durable.

I don’t have any photos of this piece in-process, though.  I probably should have photographed how I got the inner disc to float inside of the mother-of-pearl ring…I tied it in with thread while I wrapped and knotted the connection at center top.  After it was securely in and I had the bottom of it secured in wire, as well, I cut off all the threads…and still had to rotate the piece to center it (as the mother-of-pearl ring is not consistent in thickness and width, the disc rests differently inside the ring [as regards being centered or not] depending on the location of the connections).

I think the only piece I haven’t showed you yet is this one:

scarab pendant

This is almost entirely, at this point, getting its identity from the center bead.  I’m fairly certain this is a Swarovski scarab, which is new for this season.  I got the flat-nose pliers because I hoped to be able to make closer and cleaner bends in wire when doing wirework, if I had pliers without a lot of thickness at the tip.  As things are — I really under- over-estimated the overall size of the pliers, so as a consequence, what I thought were really fine tips, turned out to be somewhat fine tips.

All of the metal in this piece (minus the wire it’s hanging off of, just for this picture) is sterling silver.  That means I had to buy sterling beads and a sterling bail…though, luckily, I was already buying sterling beads, because in the long run it seems cheaper to make earwires than to buy them ready-made.  Some skill and knowledge is required, though:  for example, the ends of cut wire need to be rounded or filed or sanded so that they don’t rip piercings when the earwire is inserted.  Also, the loop at the bottom of the earwire, in best design, needs to be centered under the center portion of the top bend of the earwire.

That bail, by the way — I’m talking about the tube portion of it, topmost — has a lengthwise opening of about 2mm.  This means that I can pass up to four lengths of C-Lon (I believe I’m talking about the standard size, not the heavy size; though I’m not certain) through the opening.  C-Lon is an industrial upholstery thread which comes in tons of colors (or did, last time I checked).  S-Lon, from the best of my knowledge, is parallel, but came about after C-Lon…though that conversation is a little weird, given what we’ve been talking about recently on the blog.

I basically had to put spacer beads on this scarab bead, too, because the drill hole is so freakin’ big that the headpin (that is, the vertical wire with the stopper that the scarab is hanging off of) might have passed through it, or broken through it, on a bad day.  I do have two of these in different colors, but still…too beautiful to destroy.

Right now, I’m working out how to make the cord that is going to be the other major component of this piece.  I’m actually not sure how I will do it, yet, though I am looking at doing something delicate and lacy like a Lark’s Head sinnet…just not sure how that will integrate, and it will definitely not necessarily take up all of that 2mm!

Finance classes more useful in my situation than Art?

This post minorly goes over what I got out of comparing and contrasting the courses I wanted to take as versus the courses I thought I should take.  It also references the fact that some of the classes which might help me most on a day to day basis, are classes I’d rather not do.

The latter are majorly from within the Business department, and largely have to do with finance and accounting — which I’d need if I were self-employed, say as a freelance writer or graphic artist.  I think I’ve reached the point where I’m okay with not being a Jewelry Designer.  I still have not yet reached the point where I’m okay with giving up the Graphic Novel aspirations.

Nor have I reached the point where I’m okay with not writing fiction, though this…is somewhat looser, given that I’m practicing writing so often that I don’t really have to worry about losing my skill.  Neither have I actually written fiction in a very long time, though, so this…is potential I see, but not a fruiting one at this moment.

I did just return a slew of library books which I will be requesting again, having to do with finding a job after having majored in English.  I basically wasn’t looking at them and didn’t even know when they were due.  I do think it would be a good idea to look at those books now, though.  I should probably just get 2 or 3 at first so that I don’t overwhelm myself.

I’ve reviewed some of the tasks listed under “Technical Writing,” in the classes I might be taking, and I think that it’s probably too “technical” for me.  I also purchased about $30 in metalwork magazines which make it clear that I don’t really care to make jewelry enough to invest in being a silversmith — or so it seems from here, as I view other peoples’ designs.  The biggest issue I face on that front is how to avoid having things look “machined,” which I really don’t like (even though I can relatively easily obtain it).  Nor am I advanced enough yet to know how to avoid what I see as an “industrial” look.

Outside of metal clay and casting, in my country we’re working with metal sheet, wire, and tubing.  It is an unusual artist who can get the sheet, wire, and tubing, not to look like sheet, wire, and tubing.  🙂  And I’m not particularly in love with metalwork, even though I like to dream up things which can be created in metal.

My first and major love where it comes to jewelry is beadweaving, but …that is a very time- and labor-intensive craft which creates pieces with normally low value where it comes to parts; but high value in craft and design.  I suppose that maybe it’s like Ceramics — one takes something very low in value and through skill and artistry and process makes it into something beautiful and valuable.

I don’t think, though, that I could charge what the pieces even cost to make, without being challenged by buyers for the cost being “too high,” especially given that there is such a market for beadwork patterns now, and many newbies don’t know what skill in beadwork looks like.  There’s also the possibility that they wouldn’t even be able to recognize it, because they don’t know that it exists (given the myriad variants of “my 5-year-old could do that”).  What I could do is make patterns and write/draw them out, and sell them.  This gets around the issue of the high per-hour labor cost and makes things attractive in terms of the low barrier to entry (that is, the relatively low cost of glass beads).

I’m not sure of the viability of that though, either, given illegal file-sharing.

But anyhow, that’s not what I meant to write about.  I have listed here five classes which will clear me for four certificates.  There are five more which would be very helpful if I wanted to go into business as an artist, but this is not including Accounting or Financial Management.  I don’t really want to take the Accounting series, though it is only two or three classes (depending on which path I take).

I just see things as managing the entire cash flow (excluding marketing, or acquiring clients) from fees (knowing what to charge), through budgeting (planning/bills) and bookkeeping (records), to knowing how much I have left to spend, and when.  Then there is what to pay for with cash and what to pay for with credit, and how to keep credit from spiraling out of control.

That set of skills is eminently useful.  It is even possible that I could become better with money than my parents, who now manage my money.

It’s just when I read back over my past note saying that over half of multimedia artists in the U.S. were self-employed in 2012, it makes me think that this is something I need, even if it’s something I don’t want to have to do.

Maybe I should just keep the plan in mind and not worry about the Certificates too much?  I could well become employed in a field which utilizes my Writing skills, and not Technical Writing skills.  I just need to know what those fields are.  Business classes should help me no matter what my eventual field becomes.  There is even the possibility that Art skills won’t factor into my job at all.  And I’m only four classes away from four certificates, not even counting Figure Drawing (which is irrelevant unless I go into Animation or Graphic Novels, the latter of which is unnecessary if I write a literary or sci-fi/fantasy novel, which is more in line with what I was actually trained to do).

Maybe I should be working on a concept and script for a Graphic Novel.  That way, I can figure out whether I’ll actually even want to do the thing, and if not, I won’t have to worry about certain classes (like Drawing and Watercolor, which I at least think I want to do now), and can reorient myself in a Multimedia Art + Design direction.

Aggh.  It’s kind of hard, working on this.

Maybe I’ll take Watercolor I this Spring.  I really want to do it, and I don’t know how long I’ll be able to stay in school.  Then I can take General Accounting, since I’m giving myself the gift of Watercolor, and I can delay in Figure Drawing and take it later.  Instead, maybe I can take a Digital Media class — I have two lined up.

Of course, this all depends on when these classes are given, but the above is…just a hypothetical example.

I think I’ve written myself out…


All right,

So I was up last night listing the classes I’d need if I wanted to become a professional Jewelry Designer.  What I found is 1) I don’t need an Art Certificate (which majorly covers breadth of exposure, not mastering any skills in any one medium); 2) I will find Digital Photography and Contemporary Color necessary, and may have to retake classes in the Photoshop series if allowed (or hey, just subscribe to Photoshop CC, buy a book or three on it, and mess around with it); 3) unless I go into business as an entrepreneur, I probably won’t need the Accounting series.

This actually clarified things for me a good bit, as now I can take the list of classes as needed for the set of certificates I was originally out for, and cross-reference it with the classes I actually want to take.  I’ll still be able to gain at least two or three Certificates, mostly within Multimedia Arts.  I’d just be short the Business and Fine Arts Certifications, but I’d have strong skills in Drawing, Watercolor, Writing, and Multimedia.

There are some classes within the Art Department that I know I want to take and which I know will help more than others (particularly finishing the Drawing series and working on Watercolor Painting, plus Art History courses), but which aren’t required for the Certificate.  I can also get out of taking an entire slew of Business classes if I’m not going after a Certification — and also, there is at least one of these classes which I think I may well need (Integrated Marketing Communications), which does not count for any Certificate.

Then there is the issue of going to different districts for different classes.  For instance, there is a Drawing for Design course, which would be highly applicable to Jewelry Design (which my dad says I can have as an avocation — what, drawing and jewelry design and fabrication as avocations?! maybe I should just draw jewelry, right), but it’s given at a different location in a different county system.

I’d think that skipping around between districts would cause me not to be able to have classes from one district transfer over to the next.  Obviously, that would handicap me if my goal was to get a Certification.  If, however, I don’t need the Certificate but am instead after job skills, that is an entirely different animal.

I did ask, and was told that the only way to use Art skills to make a living, as things stand, is to work in Marketing and/or Advertising.  This is not a great situation for me to be in; it’s not a secret that I dislike having to participate in capitalism to have a good quality of life, but it’s extra ironic that this has pushed me to want to be an entrepreneur in the past.  What I can do is offer to work for companies who I can stand behind, as versus those I see as corrupt.  Of course, if the economy tanks again, I may not have that option.

But actually, now that I look at this, I would have around 4 or 5 certificates given that I follow my initial path.  And is selling Art skill to gain money unethical at its root?  I’m not sure.  (on that note, is selling food to gain money unethical? this could go into a whole debate.)  In any case, I’m in a position now to clarify and cross-reference what I came up with before, which I hope I can try and do now.