Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Follow your nose...

I have always followed mine as much as possible and I am happy. Autodidact and proud. Enfin... autodidact... hem hem. Let's say that I follow my nose and synchronicity (or the Universe) makes me encounter important people, books, proverbs, beliefs, beading, meditation, Qi-Gong, etc... along my path. So I must say that other's noses sometimes really matter... Let me explain.

A wonderful beader asked me - and I am very flattered - what I think about classes and how to expand beading knowledge... I thought that I could share my thoughts with you.

Atoll - Jewelry Set
Living in Switzerland, I have never followed a class (nobody teaches here and I couldn't go anyway - it would be too expensive and my  photophobia would be a problem). So, I learned beading by myself, because I wanted to make 'something like that' too (the something like that meant something as beautiful as what I had seen amongst the Bead Dreams entries of 2003... LOL! Nobody has browsed the web more for instructions than me. At the time there were not as many tutorials and free instructions as now and I had not even a one-dollar-budget-for-books, so no choice but find it out by myself. I learned peyote and bezeling cabochons just by looking at photos of jewelry. I learned freeform peyote thanks to Beki Haley's free tutorial, and many other valuable instructions from generous beaders helped me make -when I finally felt confident enough- my own dream necklace, Atoll. A necklace I had designed before having a single bead in my hands. I actually invented my very own bezelling method.

If I could have changed anything, I would have

1) subscribed to a mag immedately, and bought good books to have tips, hints and techniques. Those given by Kate about thread, needles, workspace etc. are priceless - things I would really have loved to know earlier.

Most hints are known and taught by designers after years of practice and struggling before they have that wonderful "Eureka-moment". Some are generous with tips on blogs, etc... However, valuable info is mostly available only from the designers directly, in their books, or classes, or in magazines.

2) Meetings with other beaders!!! That is so nice and boosting! I miss that a lot - and I frankly would feel totally isolated without the Internet. No. In fact, I would not even be a beader without it... Hurray for the world wide web (and Skype)!

So what else than classes could be of help...

Samurai Pod Amulet Bag
IMHO Collaborations are the greatest teachers and highly motivating. I've learned a lot from a round robin organized by my dear friend Darcy Rosner from Sweet Bananaberry: Groups of 4 - each one made an amulet bag, then sent it to the next (for embellishment), who sent it to the 3rd (for fringing), who sent it to the 4th (for a strap), who sent the finised embellished jewelry back to the first in the round, a happy owner of an 8-hands unique piece. It was the greatest experience I've ever had so far and I cherish that amulet bag more than any other beaded jewelry. All the 'in progress' pictures were shared on facebook once the bag was returned to its owner. Lesson at all levels. I loved that.

Talk with others; advice, input and comments from fellow beaders help me grow - I still need to grow a lot. Meet with as many as you wish or can.
Buy patterns - many wonderful beaders sell good patterns, with instructions and tips. These are inexpensive and they will bring you full support if you need it. Again, long live the Internet.

But what about taking a class? It depends on your own wishes.
Question yourself: what does expanding your knowledge really mean? Are there techniques, stitches, materials you wish to discover or are you searching for a new way of approaching your art? Is the only answer a class and you can afford it, then don't hesitate and go for it.

Follow your heart and take risks.  Fearlessly. To get to the "I can"- stage, you need to have the "I want" stage first. If you know what you want, you'll know how to get there.

Follow your own nose!

- Cath

PS: I have a 'new' passion: aromatherapy. When I was young, I wanted to become a nose. A real nose. I have received a book written by a good other 'nose' in aromatherapy and now I am playing with those heavenly scents... Happy dance!


  1. Love reading your blog Cath. Going to post it to my beading site for others to enjoy. Love you and Happy New Year hun. B

    1. Thank you sweet lady. Your words of encouragement are so appreciated, you have no idea! Hugs, and happy New Year to you too!


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