Beading Goals and Dreams for 2008
Try a new technique or new materials this year. (Pictured: Montee Magic Earrings by Katherine Schwartzenberger)
I hate resolutions. They seem so stuffy and unrealistic, often stemming from negative feelings about ourselves, or worse, negative feelings that others project onto us. We look into the mirror, worried that we don't look the way we should and declare, "I hereby resolve to eat only orange and green vegetables and exercise for two hours every day before work even though that means no more chocolate cake and getting up at 5 a.m." Yeah, right! Goals, on the other hand, seem to just sparkle with possibility. I love goals, especially ones related to my passions.
This year one of my beading goals includes learning how to do loomwork--something which I haven't found the courage to try yet. Over vacation, I made more small square-stitched pieces and I'm ready to try something larger and more complicated. I'm not going to let lack of a loom (or the funds to buy one) hold me back--I'll borrow one or maybe even make a simple loom myself just to see if I like the process. I will let you know how it goes!
Ten Ideas for Beading Goals
If you don't have any beading goals yet, here are a few ideas.
1. Learn a New Technique
However you learn best--a class, book, magazine, or friend--a new technique is just as valuable as the tools in your bead box. Imagine learning how to create your own clasps using wire or finally becoming comfortable with square stitch. Can't you see how that would impact your designs for years to come?
2. Challenge Yourself
This could include learning new techniques, combining technqiues in new ways, using new materials, or thinking about design or color in a new way. What makes a great challenge? Anything that makes you say, "I could never do that!"
3. Complete an Old Project, or Let It Go
Just like clothes that no longer fit, old projects can hold you back. It's OK to admit that your interests have changed and you've moved on. If you still love an abandoned project, why not make the commitment to finish it this year?
4. Seek Inspiration in New Places
Been there, done that? If you've been beading awhile, maybe you feel like there is nothing that interests you. Seek out inspiration in new places. Maybe your next project will be inspired by a trip to a hardware store, a great book, or a bowl of pasta. (Don't laugh--I actually sketched out a necklace design inspired by the decor of a local Italian restaurant.)
Finish up an old project. (The weaving and felting is finished for my bag--now to add some beads!)
5. Share Your Gift
Sell or give away your finished work. Teach someone how to bead. Submit your designs to magazines. Blog about the wonders of beading. Make something beautiful for yourself and wear it around town. Donate beads or supplies to organizations that need them. Whatever your goal, just make sure that it is completely under your control and not subject to someone else's whims. My goal to "Go on an all-expense-paid trip to Italy to research lampworking methods for Beading Daily readers" is unlikely to happen unless my manager has the same goal.
6. Find a Mentor . . . or a Group of Mentors
Find a guild or a beader who can help you grow and take your beading to the next level. More often than not, beaders love to share and want to see others succeed. Believe it or not, the more "famous" the beader, the more likely this is true. Amazing, isn't it?
Your beading environment may work for your cat, but is it working for you?
7. Improve Your Environment
Is there anything you can do to make your beading more enjoyable? A more comfortable chair? A new lamp? How about a better organizational system? This may seem like a dull goal, but it's one that could have a huge impact. If you create a wonderful place to bead, doesn't it make sense that you'll do more beading?
8. Make a Commitment
Committing to a certain amount of time for beading goes a long way in accomplishing your goals. Be specific. "Bead more" is not going to get you as far as "bead for 30 minutes every Tuesday and Thursday."
9. Research Your Next Move
Maybe you have a huge goal like selling your jewelry. Break your goal down into smaller, more manageable steps like choosing a business name, pricing your jewelry, and finding local craft shows. Or better yet, do some research first--talk to other designers, read articles, blogs, and books, and learn as much as you can. Maybe you'll find that you're better off with a website than at a craft show--or vice versa.
10. Set a Theme
Some people like to establish a theme for a year or work on a single large project. The Bead Journal Project is an excellent example of a year-long project with monthly goals.
If you have beading goals you'd like to share, feel free to mention them in the comments. Writing goals down actually does seem to help make them happen. Plus, I'd love to cheer you on! (It's one of my goals for this year!)
Coming Friday: How to polish plated metal.
Current Poll: Do you listen to music while you bead?
Michelle Mach is the editor of Beading Daily. She is determined to finish her felted/beaded bag this year, learn the basics of loomwork, and organize her beads!