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Thursday, January 15, 2015


For 2015, we decided to take one jewelry-making topic per week (click here to see the list) and discuss it (in our Facebook Group) then share some of the highlights of the conversation here.

Week #1 was “New Year’s Resolutions and/or Goals for 2015”.

I (Laura Bracken of Bracken Designs Jewelry Studio) started the discussion by mentioning that I made a schedule, not unlike our SRAJD calendar of events, that will try to keep me "on task" so to speak. One of my goals for 2015 is to perfect my technical skills more, so rather than flitting from one jewelry making technique to another each day (and sometimes several times in a day), I will go in to "focus mode" for one week at a time.  I'm finding it immensely helpful to keep me streamlined and on target that I have begun to put all my scribbles, ideas, sketches, ramblings in one place, as opposed to the 40 different places they currently reside. It'll be epic.

Cyreathia VanPelt Reyer of ReyerWare Jewelry Designs stated: "My resolution for this year is to not rely solely on my shows for sales, but to do much better and spend an evening a week on uploading items to my online store. Also, to spend one day a week on the dreaded book keeping. I have been horrible this past year about keeping up with both of those.

Betony Lee Schniering Maiden of A Fair Maiden Jewelry added: “I don't do resolutions as I find I never follow thru. However I have decided to dive in and try new things this year. So far I'm playing with some wire and hammering. I also want to learn wire weaving.”

Nohline Sharp L'Ecuyer: “This year's resolution - note -only one - ORANIZATION! It covers so many areas of my life that are in disaray; my studios are a mess, I just keep dumping stuff in there and I want to set up invidiual work stations for each technique. Like a dedicated solder station, lampworking etc; inventory of parts and bits and bobs; what a mess, things are in bags with their receipts and nothing is logged into my computer system. It is going to take a while. Accounting - running 6 months behind - think I need to catch up cause tax season is here! Unfinished projects are everywhere. I need to corral the parts needed to finish them and get there! Marketing - thanks to SRAJD I am getting there very quickly and have built a new easy to update web page - needs a new logo/photos/tweaking, but it's basically done and includes a blog.”

Kelly Hosford Patterson of Pyxee Styx: I don't do resolutions. I do a word of the year to set the tone. 2013 was Glow (Let my torch glow, my kiln my talent glow). 2014 my word was Possibilities (I went full time artist). For 2015 my word is Direction. I've kind of been all over the place with the things I'm doing. My intention is to figure out what really works for me and my business and hone it. Someone else suggested to me that it sounds like travel is involved as well. I'm totally embracing that idea. I just bought this adorable little vintage compass at the flea market yesterday to wear around my neck as a reminder.

Laura… We talked about being overwhelmed by our tasks so I mentioned a technique I use to help prioritize when I’ve got too much on my plate.  This is not new nor is it my invention… lots of people use this… I’m just sharing it with my SRAJD buddies so they can see.

Katherine Gingrich of Gingrich’s Fiber and Metal Arts mentioned she follows a similar idea.  “I do the same thing. I label tasks A, B, C, or D depending on importance. It's amazing just how well that works.”

Amy Munn Parker of Rich Knob Sales: “Over the years I found that my 'to-do" list was timeless. It had the same unfinished projects every time. The only one that really got accomplished was that I finally quit smoking 5 years ago and agree it was the best thing I ever did for myself!  I have a pile of supplies that need to be used before I buy more, and I have a pile of unfinished projects that need to get off my workbench. I also have an abundance of food in my freezer that should be eaten. , and these are good problems.”

Amy brought up a good point as several of us mentioned we’ve often had the same “to do lists” year and year.  We didn’t analyze that, but I think it’s worth consideration for sure. 

We got on the subject of “lists” and specifically “list makers”.   I shared a link for “27 Signs You’re an Obsessive List Maker”.  While there’s humor there, I believe there’s it’s outweighed by the truth.  

I also shared NPR’s less humorous but just as helpful article on “10 Reasons Why We Love Making Lists”. 

Marica Zammit of Bead Lovelies: I don't call them resolutions I call them goals  Resolutions are the same ones I make *ahem* each and every year, so I call them goals to stand a better chance to see them through.  My goals for 2015 are to cut back on trying to learn each and every jewelry making technique on the planet. YouTube you know it's YOUR fault, not mine haha   In 2015, I'm going to focus. Focus is going to be my new mantra lol.  I plan on growing my artisan beads website and writing many articles on how to market your jewelry. And of course actually make more artisan beads. I also plan to open two other Etsy shops for my finished jewelry.  (This in addition to revamping my two other non-jewelry related online businesses - I've neglected them last year.) I think that should be more than enough to keep me busy lol”

Nohline brought up the topic of “time management”.  I think this is crucial to success.  Nohline mentioned that computer/social media can easily eat up a lot of our creativitiy/production time.  This is something I think so many of us struggle with.  We want to make jewelry, but it almost seems like we have to spend 90% of our work time marketing and managing or we end up invisible.

Meri Roo Blaty Garrett-Perez of Fire and Sand Studio: “This thread is really a fun read. I'm laughing, nodding my head in agreement, clicking links to articles, etc. And I now will be adding "limit time on FB" to my ever-growing list. As informative as this group is, I could spend all day reading and digesting all the information. So I need to set up a specific time and maybe only a specific day to be online and interact. Now that Facebook is on my phone, I instantly am alerted when people are posting, for me, that's distracting. It's a pleasant distraction but a distraction nonetheless.”

Amy Munn Parker solves this by having “the FB app so I can share pics to a couple of local pages I manage, but I turned off the notifications, especially the sounds, so that it does not interrupt me.”

Barbara Sadler Swinton of Touch of Silver: “What a chuckle I've had reading this!!! You gals are so funny and we sure have alot of similarities when it comes to our stash of stuff and how we treat it. As for New Year's resolutions, a common thread has woven itself through the last 7 years of jewelry making for me and it starts with become "proficient".... not expert, not even great...just get good at something for pity sakes, and then use the technique to create pieces you're proud of. So for me this year, it's metal work - soldering, texturing, filing, sanding, fold-forming, drilling, piercing - yup, that should do it for 2015...and don't buy any more beads until I use up the 1000's I have!!!”

Kelly Hosford Patterson also mentioned that she likes the online jewelry making challenges (in SRAJD and other groups) because they push her to try new things.

I think a lot of this would agree.

Linda Blatchford of LinorStore Jewerly: “Mine are also goals and this year I'm going to focus on Judaica and recreating jewelry and women's headcoverings that sell. I'm not going to buy supplies for any thing else, no new designs to try - I already have leather supplies for wrap bracelets I can't make - and I may destash gemstones and supplies I'm not using.
- Going to list more designs on my own website than Etsy and decide about changing over my blog to my website rather than blogspot.
- Figure out how to engage with clients on social media, newsletter and blog. The big challenge.”

Laura Harrison Bosch of MutliBeadia: “You all are great! I don't do resolutions, I think they set you up for failure. Goals, accomplishments yes to those. I make lists because they keep me focused & I'll forget otherwise. This year for me is about balance & being open to possibilities. (I sure did sound like the old hippy I am!) I want to have more balance betw work & everything else. It's so easy to work too much when working from home & all the beads are right here & they keep calling to me! oops better stop now!”

Since the subject was mentioned more than once, I asked what the difference was between resolutions and goals.

Here are some of the responses:
--  “Goals are a suggestion - resolutions are a mandate.”
-- “I've always thought of resolutions as a joke -like people says what their resolutions are with a wink & a nudge, like a Monty Python skit. nudge nudge wink wink”
-- “Reslolutions are things like, I'm gonna lose 50 lbs this year, and I'm gonna work out everyday, and give up smoking, caffeine, or sugar. They're always big ideas, but they're unrealistic and usually set up for failure. By choosing a word of the year it sets a much more subtle tone. A word like "Health" could encompass all those things, without the overwhelming pressure. Baby steps. Small changes have a better chance of becoming long term habits anyway.

So whether we have resolutions OR goals, it was fun sharing with other jewelry makers and I look forward to seeing how “on track” I stay with mine.

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