What Are Your Favorite Jewelry-making Accomplishments?

Apr 11, 2014

A few weeks ago, I was asked to submit an application to teach beadwork and jewelry-making at one of my local arts associations over the summer. As part of the application, I had to include a copy of my resume. My first thought was, wow, a resume? I haven't looked at that in over three years! What the heck have I been doing for the last three years, anyway? The short answer, of course, is that I've been writing about beads, teaching beadwork and jewelry-making classes, and learning all kinds of great jewelry-making and beading techniques to share with everyone here on Beading Daily.

But then I stopped and thought for a few minutes about everything else that I've done in my career as a semi-professional jewelry artist. I tried to remember what I originally set out to accomplish the day I walked out of my office job and made up my mind to make a living through beading and jewelry-making. And you know, it's a good thing to feel proud of your accomplishments when it comes to jewelry-making and beading, no matter how small you might think they are. I made up a list of the five things I'm most proud of from my career as a bead and jewelry artist -- maybe you have something similar on your list!

  1. Was awarded an honorable mention in two juried art shows. These two awards were part of what motivated me to move forward with my dream to earn a living by making jewelry. I entered my work in two of the juried art shows that were held every year by the regional arts council at a time when jewelry made with beads wasn't considered "art". Not only were my pieces accepted into the show (that traveled all over the Adirondack North Country in upstate New York), but I was awarded honorable mention by the jury! That told me that I was definitely on to something good.
  2. Had my designs published in Beadwork magazine. When I was growing up, my mother started submitting her original knit and crochet designs for publications in magazines like McCall's and Piecework. So when I embarked on my journey from unhappy 9-5er to professional bead and jewelry artist, I knew that having my designs published would be great exposure for my work. Remember, this was also in the day when there were very few places to purchase beading projects and patterns online, so getting my work in front of thousands of beaders was a huge accomplishment!
  3. Taught classes at Bead Fest Philadelphia.
    For someone who had only taught at my local arts organization and at my local bead shop, teaching classes at Bead Fest Philadelphia was huge! I was so nervous, but it was so much fun teaching my signature piece to a group of lovely ladies at Bead Fest. And of that first group of students, there's one amazing lady who I still see every year who has taught me so much about teaching, beadwork, and yoga! I got so much out of teaching
  4. Had my beadwork purchased by a celebrity. This is a great story: at a time when my little family was strapped for cash, I sold a bead embroidered cuff from my Etsy shop. When I looked at the shipping details, I did  a double-take. I wasn't sure that I was actually reading what I was reading. I quick jumped on the phone with my bestie out in L.A. who works at the Getty Villa Museum in Malibu, California and has plenty of celebrity sightings. My friend confirmed that this particular rock star had indeed taken up residence in that part of California, and I was so excited that my hands shook as I brought that little package to the post office! I suppose I shouldn't be too chuffed about this one, though, since I didn't get any repeat orders from the celebrity. Oh, well!
  5. Mastering kumihimo. No, I haven't mastered every kumihimo braid that there is, but I'm sure having fun in the process! Taking my first beaded kumihimo class with Jill Wiseman was probably one of the best things I've ever done during my jewelry-making journey. Just before I started writing this blog, I strung up two more beaded kumihimo projects to take with me in the car on my little mini-vacation this weekend. After several really discouraging attempts at learning beaded kumihimo on my own, I'm happy to say that I can successfully make four beautiful kumi braids using cord, leather, and even wire!

If you're like me, you're always looking for something new to learn in the world of jewelry-making and beading. The Beadwork Magazine Designers of the Year projects are always full of innovation and inspiration for me to learn new techniques, and I love the way they all come together in the Beadwork Designer of the Year Ultimate Collection. It includes three videos on DVD from two very talented Designers of the Year, three digital eBooks full of our favorite beading projects from the DOY, and six additional beading project downloads! There are a limited number of these kits available at a special price, so you'll want to make sure that you get your collection before they run out for good.

While you're at it, take a look at all of the amazing deals in the Beading Daily Shop during the Spring Clearance Event and save up to 75% on your favorite beading and jewelry-making resources!

When was the last time you gave yourself a pat on the back for your jewelry-making accomplishments? You should congratulate yourself for how far you've come since you first started on your own jewelry-making journey! Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and share what you've accomplished through your jewelry-making that makes you proud! We want to cheer you on!

Bead Happy,


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on Apr 11, 2014 9:44 AM

I only just started making beaded jewelry in January, so my accomplishments are small, but I'm proud of finally trying it after years of wanting to try it. I'm proud of the fact that I've become good at crimping. Even though tension is currently a big issue for me, I'm proud of the two bead weaving projects I've completed.

on Apr 11, 2014 4:16 PM

I'm proud of teaching two beautiful women to bead. Now they are together starting a jewelry business, just rented commercial space. I would have joined them but moved out of state for husband's job. And I taught my two grand daughters how to use the Kumihimo disk for braiding. One is 14, one is 8. They both think grandma is SO COOL.

on Apr 11, 2014 4:17 PM

I'm proud of teaching two beautiful women to bead. Now they are together starting a jewelry business, just rented commercial space. I would have joined them but moved out of state for husband's job. And I taught my two grand daughters how to use the Kumihimo disk for braiding. One is 14, one is 8. They both think grandma is SO COOL.

beadbiddy wrote
on Apr 11, 2014 7:10 PM

I want to thank you, Jennifer, for your kumihimo post that got me excited to learn braiding with beads -- I've completed a project or two of my own, still learning but very pleased to have expanded my skills with this technique. That's my most recent reason to feel pride in my accomplishments as a beader.

I've sold a few bracelets in the past through a craft-oriented shop in a small town near where I live. I was proud to sell a few pieces when my work was first available there, but after a year or so in which sales tapered to zero I realized that my work was competing with hundreds of beadwork bracelets imported at very low cost and far underselling mine, and I stopped showing at that shop.

A few months ago, I wandered into a small co-op art gallery where what was on display -- mostly paintings and prints, with some sculpture, a little pottery and jewelry -- was the work of local artists, and virtually everything I saw was beautiful and beautifully made. On impulse I brought some of my beadwork in to show one of the gallery owner/artists, just to get her feedback. She loved the work and immediately asked if I would like to have a "guest display" on a shelf in the jewelry case -- I was surprised and delighted, and said yes. I have no idea whether my work will sell better in this environment than in the craft shop, but my thinking about myself and my work has changed tremendously since that day. To be seen, by artists whose work I respect and admire, as a fellow artist means the world to me.

For me, beadwork has always been a way to play with color, pattern and finish. I don't wear jewelry much, I'm not much of a fashion person, I'm no good at the marketing or business side of sharing my work -- so trying to promote a self-image as a jewelry-maker just never seemed to fit. When I can say to folks "you can see more of my work at the Graton Gallery" I feel like a person who makes wearable art. That's my proudest accomplishment!

on Apr 11, 2014 10:20 PM

When my husband died 9 years ago, I had to make a huge decision: Would I continue selling my jewelry to Galleries and at craft shows, or would I take the big leap and apply for a studio becoming available in an Arts Center.  Thoughts of failure scared me, and my inexperience in all things public made me wonder how I would go about taking on such a huge project.  But if you believe in the motto:The only failure you will ever have is the failure to TRY; everything else becomes a Learning Experience.  I was adjudicated and won the right to occupy the beautiful studio, where I then went on to welcome the public, educate children's tour groups, gave classes to hundreds of students, wrote my own Manual for all my courses, saw several of my students become professional jewelers, and in 2008 I was nominated and won Designer of the Year at the first Annual Okanagan Arts Festival, with a beautiful bronze trophy.  I took on the studio at the age of 78, and won the Award at the age of 81.  Please don't be afraid to tackle anything!  You can do it!  And at each little success, your self-confidence will grow.  It's worth it. And keep on learning; all your life, keep on learningl.  I'm now 87, and I've just bought my first kiln: am going to start teaching copper and bronze art clay soon.

on Apr 11, 2014 11:37 PM

I am not a super productive beader.....I have many irons in the pot......but I do so love to bring the joy I feel in bead weaveing to a new beader. In our local bead society I have won 1st and 3rd place in our President's challenge, but I feel more accomplishment in the look on a newbies face when they 'get it'. Passing on the 'torch' means a lot to me.

caribe ads wrote
on Apr 12, 2014 10:20 AM

I'm proud that I was able to help support my family this year when my husband was out of work.  I sold my necklaces in shopping center parking lots to help my family out.  That was a very interesting experience for me.  A lot of people respected what I was doing but it could be very difficult with the ugly comments and a couple run ins with the police.  That's how I came up with the nickname the beading bandit.  I'm so  glad Kev finally found a job.  I can now work on legitimizing my jewelry business.  Despite the hardships, this experience got me back beading-I took a break for a couple of years after having my kids.  It's hard to be inspired when you're worrying about little hands trying to grab your bead box.  I even made some contacts selling my jewelry on the street that are interested in my work.  Now I have the confidence to move forward knowing I people like my work.

on Apr 12, 2014 7:24 PM

I love reading about the joys of beading.  I guess a few of my favorite accomplishments:

Being one of the first to participate in the Bead Quilt Project for the 9/11/01 tragedies -- the idea germinated on about.com's beadwork board the day after the attacks and became a huge international project.  Amazing!

My totally encrusted beaded dolls are pretty darn cool.  Depending on the size, of course, they take anywhere from 140-280 hours each to create.  Naturally, all my kids and grandkids want one.  Whew!

Being asked to have my bead studio highlighted, along with a fairly long article, in the premier edition of Bead Me magazine, an e-mag that is fully interactive and the first of its kind I have ever seen (not to say there aren't others... ? ).  They asked me based on two projects of mine that were published in their Reader's Beadwork in their sister magazine from the UK, BEAD.