Let's be honest about this question...
Exhibiting in many shows, I get many opportunities to meet different skilled level beaders. Then there are those who never ever want to imagine sewing with tiny seeds and immediately tell me that they are "stringers" or "that is WAY too much work for me." The comment I have the most trouble with is "I CAN'T do that!"
Why do I have a problem with the last comment the most? It's the word "CAN'T". I tend to want to believe that anyone can do just about anything if they put their mind and energy into it. "Never say never" and I try my darnest to never say "CAN'T" either. At least make an attempt... please? So this brings me to write about Gabriel Miller. (I had the okay from Gabriel to write about him... just so you know I'm not writing about someone behind their back! haha)
Gabriel had the most interesting introduction when he visited my booth on Sunday. He walked up and said (paraphrasing) "I think I am your biggest heterosexual male fan". Wow... I have never heard that introduction even though I have had male beaders buy my book. When I heard how my book inspired Gabriel to start beading and why he even bought my book, I thought to myself "This is what writing the book was all about".
So what was it all about? Inspiring folks to bead of ANY skill level. Sometimes beaders think they are more advanced than they really are. Sometimes beaders don't give themselves credit that they are capable of making anything if they put in the time and effort. Beadweaving is a challenge but a good challenge reaps rewards and results in an heirloom. I was totally amazed when Gabriel mentioned to me that he had never beaded before attempting the Triple Spiral Garden Lariat as his FIRST project. That is the graduation project for most and that is why it is the last project in the book. It is NOT a difficult project. It is a project that takes a lot of time and effort.
I usually recommend beginners to start with the easier projects in the front of the book and with earrings if they have never beadwoven before. Bead Romantique is not entirely advanced, the projects are gradually more difficult as you progress through the pages but begin with beginners projects like stringing/crimping if you are hesitant with the beadwoven projects. Then there are also a mix of wire projects consisting of making wrapped loops. Beginners tend to gravitate towards the more elaborate projects and think "I can't do that". Please change that mindset to think "I may be able to do that". And when you follow the instructions and complete a project, you may then say "I DID THAT"! Try not to give up before even making an attempt. How do you expect to grow as a beader? Fast and easy may be just fine for most but if you are like me or Gabriel, then a good challenge will keep you thinking and growing.
Gabriel shared some photos of his beading from Bead Romantique projects which were all amazing. He has also started designing his own creations. Perhaps because he is an engineer too he found the instructions straightforward and easy to understand. Gabriel was a beginner but yet he was able to complete (wonderfully, I might add) the most complicated design in the book. He put in the time and effort which took him a total of 100 hours. So it can be done and Gabriel did it (as well as 4-5 other projects from the book.) I hope sharing this story, you will have a different perspective when it comes to beadweaving. Thank you very much Gabriel for taking the time to visit my booth and share your beading journey. I hope you continue the journey and create fabulous designs of your own. You and others like you who share your beading stories, answer for me every time "This is what writing the book was all about".
I may not post much here and my friend Andrew Thornton reminded me in Philly that I should write more here. He manages to write consistently on his amazing blog nearly every day. Andrew is very disciplined. Me? I get myself in so many projects that I sometimes work 12+ hours daily getting prepped for a major show. I have lots to write about... LOTS. Finding the time and energy to get all the words and upload my gazillion photos from trips takes a lot of time. I will try my best. At times I can be a very private person and just want to keep my thoughts to myself. Then there are those times where words just flow out of me, these fingers, and you can't shut me up.
Philly Bead Fest was a challenging show last year as many of you know I had a major theft about 1 hour into the opening of the show. This year, I pleaded with the show folks to change my booth to be rid of the "bad vibes". So I was in a new fantastic location next to my new friends Saki Silver. On many levels Philly was an excellent show. A few weeks prior I had discovered that Bead Romantique went into it's second printing (first printing was 10,000+ copies!!). YAY! We also sold out of all the copies in the building. So things were just hopping this year and I want to thank everyone who came to the show to visit our booth. I had a few relaxing days prior to the show to enjoy with Nick, who is now able to exhibit with me.
I will share some Philly photos, meals and stories next time. We had lots of fun in Amish country, in Old City Philly, at Longwood Gardens, at the Valley Forge Historical Park... etc.
Until next time, never say "CAN'T" okay? If you are a newbie beadweaver, just start beading and you'll surprise yourself.
Keep on creating and believing,