Encourage a Bead Artist Today --

Your Words Can Make a World of Difference

I suspect that I am not the only bead artist to treasure certain comments from people who have said something about my beadwork. I'm not talking about my parents or my friends or even my customers.

I'm talking about other people who make cool stuff with their hands. Here are a few examples.

"You Could Sell These."

I was just learning to work with beads, and had taken the one-evening course at the local bead store to make beaded earrings with wrapped loops. I had practiced the loops. I had made some earrings, but my loops all looked kinda lopsided.

My sister, M'lou Brubaker, was in town. M'lou has been making her living as a silversmith for a long time. I showed her what I was working on and told her I wasn't satisfied with the wrapped loops. M'lou said, "They're fine. You could sell these."

I protested, "The loops aren't good enough yet."

My sister made eye contact with me and repeated more slowly, emphasizing each word, "They're Fine. You Could Sell These."

I got the message. They were plenty good enough. I started offering them for sale.

"You should enter some competitions."

My first craft show was The Art of Beadwork, the Greater Chicagoland Bead Society's annual show of finished works by members. There were exhibitors there who had a national reputation as a bead artist, brand new beaders, and everyone in between. I had some earrings and necklaces, a lot of spiral ropes -- and my first two pieces of artwork in brick stitch.

Betty Kelley was one of the folks with a national reputation. Betty's beaded broad collars were deservedly well known. During a lull in the show's traffic, she stopped by my table and looked at my brick stitch pictures and told me, "You should enter some competitions."

I didn't know her at all (only her reputation), but those few words from her were real encouragement to me. I followed her advice and entered some competitions. Getting some of my entries accepted at big shows like Bead Dreams and Bead International helped me feel more a part of a big community of bead artists.

Encourage a bead artist in your life

If you work with beads yourself, you are in a great position to see when someone had done something wonderful and get them to understand that you have noticed and appreciated the fact. It can also be incredibly useful to beginners to know when their work is Plenty Good Enough. Basic competency is a valuable thing and deserves some mention now and then.

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