Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Pain of Designer's Block

For those of you who don't know, I have pseudo-tumor, also called intracranial hypertension. It's a nasty neurological condition that has no real cure, and it means I work with an almost constant lurking headache when I'm not working with a full-blown migraine in my eyes. The treatments are nasty -- I won't talk about that here.

I got diagnosed last summer, and it's really dampened not just my spirit but my creativity. Many times I've sat down at my work bench and stared blankly at beads and not had the slightest idea what the heck to do. "SPEAK TO ME!" I shout silently. Normally, the beads tell me what to do, but more and more, they can't be heard for the pain in my head.

I've been preparing for a huge show that takes place over three days the end of March, and I have to bring a LOT of inventory. Last year, I nearly got wiped out of everything, so this year I know I need twice as much. I want so badly to bring new, innovative things with me -- but my head hurts.

Don't get me wrong -- the jewelry I'm making is pretty and it'll sell. I'm just not FEELING it. The point of this year off was to explore, and I knew that I wouldn't be able to really start doing that until after this big show. But I didn't count on feeling so tired and in pain.

So what to do?

What to do.
Well, let's see. I can focus on the craft show. I love the crowds and the energy, and my customers just rock out loud. I'll be exhausted the week after the show but that's a welcome exhaustion -- I earned it. I'll get to see vendor friends I haven't see for months. I can think about that.

I can buy new beads. As if I really needed them -- but really, maybe a new medium (ceramic? clay?) will have a louder voice and can shout down the headache. Let me try a little retail therapy.

I can allow naps. Naps can help. I've been working HARD and it's ok to nap when I need it.

I can enjoy the loveliness around me -- a quiet moment with a good book, knitting, restful moments of yoga or stretching.

I can breathe, and remember why I'm in this business -- for the beauty and joy of it. If I lose that, there's no point in it. I haven't lost that. I refuse to let a headache take that from me.

So I've got a plan. I'm the sort of person who NEEDS a plan. Just writing this made me feel better. (Deep cleansing breath inserted here).

Curious -- what do you do when the weight of the world is on your shoulders?

(Lori Anderson designs jewelry at Her other blog is

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Interview at ShoozieShoes

ShoozieShoes of Etsy interviewed me last night -- if you're interested, click here!

Friday, February 19, 2010

I Know, I Know....

I said that I was only doing five shows this year, but since my show this month was canceled due to the Great Blizzard of '10, I accepted an invitation to participate in the McLean Holiday Craft Show in McLean, VA. These are the same awesome folks that put on the Jewelry Showcase that unfortunately had to be canceled due to that mega-snow we got.

I figure it's a wash -- it's still five shows, right? And it's a new show for me, even though it's in an area I'm used to. I'm excited because this fall I should be launching some really neat new things (that's the plan ... yes, indeedy do!).

I've been busy preparing for one of my biggest shows of the year that occurs in March, so here are a few simple things for your viewing pleasure:

You can see more of my work at, and read more of my blog at

Monday, February 15, 2010

An Interview

Ever want to know a little more about me? Head over to Sweet, Mysterious Feast to learn a little bit about what makes me tick and what I'm all about.

Friday, February 12, 2010

My First Beads

I wonder -- has anyone seen any of "the greats" show their first beads? I know Corina Tettinger has, and the lovely Z-Beads recently did. But anyone else? I'd love to know and to see?

Want to see mine? I despair of every being anything other than a Spacer Queen, but head to Watch Me Create to see what I've done.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Bead Soup Blog Party!

On my other blog, Pretty Things, I ran a blog party called the Bead Soup Blog Party. Each person got a partner, got a pack of beads, including a focal, a clasp, and some coordinating beads, and was then tasked with making something with them. The only thing we HAD to use were the focal and the clasp, but there were lots of creative packs sent around! You can visit all the 80+ participants by clicking here.

I had three pieces to make as there were two late-comers to the party that I could not would not turn away -- I am NOT that kind of hostess!

First, my piece made with beads by Libby Leuchtman. I've long been a fan of Libby's flowers, so when she asked me what I liked, I secretly longed for one. I told her I really loved all her work (and I do) but I told her I have trouble designing with donut focals.

So she sent me a donut focal to make me push my designing skills. Smart girl.

Her work is stunning, and I loved the challenge I had. I told her that I love pink and purple and blue, but I always have trouble with yellow -- another design challenge (and I love a challenge)! There's nothing quite like working outside your box in things that aren't what you normally would have chosen, with things that are gorgeous.

Here's the result (click the photo for a larger shot).

I've never quite worked with donut beads other than sling them on leather and call it a day. Of course, with this beauty, that just would. not. do. So I dug out some seed beads I had in my stash, created a holder out of them, and then used some of the bead soup for the neckline. The trick was not to go TOO overboard with the beads since there's a fine line between the desired funky-beyond-all-reason effect and the ouch-my-eyes debacle. So I made the top of the necklace less bright than the bottom -- besides, the back of the necklace hides under most people's hair, anyway.

I had some beads left over for earrings -- one pair was in my ears at photo shoot time.

Thank you, Libby! You can visit Libby's blog at LibbyLeu and Glass, Too.

Next, a mix of gemstones from Dee. She sent dyed jade, horn, silver, and moukite. Moukite is one of my favorite earthy stones and I was excited about using it. I knew EXACTLY what I was going to do with that faceted focal as soon as I saw it.

I wanted to stretch my wire skills so decided to make some components that I have never done before. First, a herringbone weave I learned from Eni Oken ....

Next, a J-section I learned from Connie Cox...

Next, a smaller component that I've used and taught often with larger focal beads -- this time with much smaller beads....

And the final result (click for a larger photo) .....

Not only do I love the deep cherry reds in this piece, but I love how this forced me to finally get off the stick and learn some wire techniques I've been wanting to learn for a long time. I also pulled out the liver of sulphur gel I got from and oxidized the entire thing, then brushed the high points for depth. Like?

Thanks, Dee! You can see Dee at Runako Designs by Dee.

Finally, a piece that traveled all the way from Korea. I used to live in South Korea, so I have a fondness for this one. Dale sent me a mix of metal pieces she made and some pretty bead soup. She gave me instructions for how the parts were supposed to go together, but when I couldn't find the screws I needed, I got a brain storm as I dug through my watch bits and bobs.

I've long been interested in the steampunk craze, and have a nice collection of old watch parts, but have never used them. I mean, we're talking TINY gears and such. So I pulled those out and used them to connect the frame to the sandwich of silver and brass. See how she stamped "PRETTY" into the silver? Then, I dug even further into my stash and found a Volcano Swarovski crystal to go with her green and purple seed beads and crystals and filled in the frame.

I can't tell you how tickled I am that I even thought of this. I am NOT this type of jewelry designer at all so this really did stretch my horizons. I love it!

It's going to take up permanent residence in my office, on my dressmaker dummy. I made the length of the necklace out of a huge bowl of bead soup I already had, using bits of Dale's green and purple to make it all come together.

Thanks, Dale! Dale can be found at Flights of Fancy.

So there you have it -- my contributions to the party. I hope you liked them. Now go to and see what the other 80+ participants made!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Shipping Muse

My office, my entire house, really, is full of artsy beauty. My postage scale is no exception. This functional piece of necessary business machinery has its own muse, this lovely mannequin I bought from a neighboring vendor at a craft show. I like to think that every package I send out has first been touched by this sweet headless Victorian Venus de Milo.

Yeah, I'm silly. But silly is good.