It seems the most absorbing projects

…are the ones I design, myself. (To me, at least.)

I wasn’t going to go public with another little earring design I’d made until I had finalized it (it’s not totally worked out yet), but right now I can see the potential benefit of going live within a short period of time, even just to show my work. And even just to record this so that I can see it, in the future.

Eight trials for a Fan earring model.
Eight earring design trials.

I recall writing at one time, on a blog which hasn’t been on the ‘net for a while now, that, “there are only so many ways beads can fit together.” What I meant is that it’s very possible for two (or more) different designers to spontaneously design things that are similar in concept, through no fault to anyone involved.

Just quickly, I have seen that there are two examples of jewelry on Pinterest and one example on Instagram, that use similar or almost identical concepts to what I came up with. These three are from different sources, however. They don’t all use the same method of construction, and none of them exactly mirror what I’ve been doing.

The earrings with the triangular transition between the fan portion of the drop and the connector are the ones I made and then did not in any way record how I made them…then went back to them some months later and could not recall how I made them. I mentioned these a while back; drawing out instructions to myself is not my favorite thing to do, but some form of recording is necessary.

Going back now and puzzling out how I did them, may not be as difficult a task as I’ve feared, however. As I’ve mentioned here, there are only a few moves that are possible and rational to make at each juncture, and my preferences are somewhat predictable. The thing is, the earrings have a strong tendency to warp, as I first made them; they come out three-dimensional, not flat. I’m thinking that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it was unexpected.

Pinterest and Instagram, however, are showing me that this commonality between designs — which to some extent is to be expected, given similar skill sets and similar materials — looks like it’s true more often, the simpler the design is. The base of this earring is Daisy Chain, which is often one of the first stitches anyone learns when starting off with beadwork; or, at least it was, in my case. Concomitantly…when starting out designing, it’s easier to start with something you know relatively well; something you figured out, early on.

Anyway, before anyone else posts something online that looks like my stuff, I might as well do it, myself. 🙂

There has been a lot of stuff going on for me within the last week…though I very much doubt I would remember it all, without help. I’ve altered my Bullet Journal to reflect both what I intended to do, and what I actually did: in addition to, or instead of, those things. I’m pretty sure that this will keep me feeling better about my productivity. Most of what I’ve been doing relates to domestic stuff: learning to cook, and maintaining spaces, and hygiene and exercise. All of that is necessary. I’ve also started to get back into reading…for information, yeah, but it’s something.

The latter part of today was taken up with technology issues which I in no way wanted to deal with, though on the bright side, it makes the photography prettier.

I’ve also been trying to get back into making face coverings, in addition to my beading, though I think I’ve been away from actually working with the beads for so long, that I’ve lost momentum. Not all of it — but a sizable amount. This actually coincides with some self-doubt (although I’ve been working, I haven’t made a great many salable items. I’ve been focusing on design and learning — and I’m coming off of a sensitive time [I know what I’m talking about, here, but it is not of use to disclose]), and realizing that when I do go back to work as a day job, if I want a salary or even a contract, I’m going to want to pivot to a different field.

I’m thinking, Writing — and writing about beadwork, at that. There’s also the possibility of writing about social issues, particularly where it comes to minority perspective/insight; it’s just that, for one thing, having a business and disclosing opinions on social realities kind of seem not to go together (?) but I have the skills for both. If I wanted a less-controversial and possibly more stable and well-paying job, I could try Cataloging Librarianship.

Of course, all of this requires cobbling together different income streams. I’ve realized recently that I don’t necessarily need advanced math skills like Calculus, or to get into Computer Science…I need to be exercising just basic, fundamental math skills with an end goal in sight.

Essentially — with the beadwork — I have an idea of what kind of expenditures are going out on a monthly basis, thanks to my spreadsheets. So I have an idea of what I’d need to take in, even though I expect to operate at a loss, for a while. (The thing is, when you’re using 12 tiny seed beads of one color for every earring, the cost-per-bead is kind of hard to calculate…though measuring by weight is my friend, here.) I need to work backwards from my expenditures to find how many pieces of jewelry I’d need to sell at what price over what time period to break even (again, over what time period); and then, how much time to allot daily to making those pieces of jewelry I’d need to sell, to do so. That should give me a minimum timeframe of how much I’d need to be working specifically on pieces to sell, assuming I sell them all (without profit or self-payment worked in, or time spent in design).

I feel like I’m missing something, but the previous paragraph was a big enough jump. This should give me the bare-bones, absolute minimum amount of work I need to be doing to break even — not to make a profit, not to pay for living expenses (yet). Just to pay for itself in the short-term.

After I do that, I can compare what I’m doing to that pricing formula: (materials + time) x 2.2 = wholesale price. (That price) x 2.2 = retail price. This should give me the variable for the value of the jewelry, which in turn should show me how many pieces I’ll need to sell at bare minimum, which (along with timing myself) will show me the minimum time I need to be working (subject to how much I’m paying myself). That should allow me to build in structure to my days, with time at which I can say I’m on the clock. That should help me get to bed at a time which works, and wake knowing I need to do things. I can ease myself into selling with that — even if it’s just a dry run — and see if I can keep up with it.

So I’m working on stuff like this, right now. I’m sure M would be angry that I didn’t just keep my head down and keep blindly making stuff and stop overthinking and reading the Small Business books. But I think ahead. I plan. I see issues. It’s what I do.

And that stuff just above is (mostly) me trying to figure this stuff out for myself. With the exception of the pricing formula, which I’ve seen elsewhere, but with a 2x multiplier instead of 2.2x.

Aside from that…the government here is hoping to open up the economy in about two months (we’ll see), and people are still going to need facial coverings…moreso than jewelry. I’ve been working on the sewing, just to do anything and try and unfreeze myself: face coverings are pretty straightforward. And they’re needed. They require precision and focus, but they’re quick and easy to turn out, once you know what you’re doing.

At the same time, I don’t want to stall my work with the beads, because then I forget what I’m learning. It becomes harder to build off of daily small gains in experience, and easier to get intimidated at the thought of going back to the work. I find that I’m spending a lot of time in front of screens…which is not what I want to be doing, but it is what all those years of schooling conditioned me to do.

Published by Haruna

Haruna is a Librarian by training, currently pivoting from Public Services into Technical Services. Their undergraduate major was English -- Creative Writing, and they hold an additional small degree in Art (i.e. Visual Arts). They are now pondering whether a career in Academia is viable or desirable, given the current situation.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: