Saturday, August 4, 2012

Should have been our first post.

In the beginning, making jewelry was simply a way to help overcome a bout of serious depression. I was a married mom of 2. As my creations piled up, I started to run out of places and people for them. Then, one day, my mother suggested we set up at a small craft show. I toyed with the idea for a while, then decided to go for it; I had nothing to lose. That one show changed the whole idea of making jewelry, effectively turning it into a business. After a family incident in 2003, the business came to a grinding halt. For several years, all of the spare time we had was channeled into taking care of loved ones while trying to balance a job and two children. In late 2006, we tried to get back into the creative flow and restarting the business. After losing my job in 2009, I started to devote more of my time to the business, building it up, going more places, spreading the word. In April of 2010, we started the online business, reaching out to more peolpe, not only in the community, but from all over. now we have pieces in England, NYC, Canada, Australia, Georgia, and Pennsylvania, as well as many other places. We're hoping to spread evan further, with your help. We've taken The Gypsy's Trinkets from nothing to something worthwhile.

I started out with plastic beads and leather, creating American Indian inspired designs. From there I tried working with natural elements such as; deer antlers, coconut shells, horn beads and stone.  I also added in some dream catchers & my own creation Monster catchers, along with things for the house and body. These things included; bath salts & room fresheners that I called "Smelly Jelly" (those didn't hold up well in the summer heat, I tried to keep them cold in a cooler and kinda runined the cooler. OOPS). 

After a few years I quit making the bath salts & smelly jellys and stuck with the natural stone jewelry. Many of these were purchased pendants, I did make the cords I put them on. I really enjoyed working with stone chips and other natural stones. It helped some with the depression.

In 2003 I had a close family member become ill and required constant care. The depression returned, worse that before. This time I had to have medication and it didn't seem to help much. I felt lost, alone and as though my jewelry making was at an end.  I threw away all of my beads, stones, finding and stringing materials. Why not, I wouldn't be using them again.  By 2004 I had gotten a part-time job that took up all of my weekend time. No time to go to shows because of work. No time to create because of obligations at home.  Didn't think about all the beads and things I had thrown away. No reminders of my failed attempt at running my own business/hobby.

In 2006 my family member passed away, but I was still working.  I began thinking about beading again.  To my suprise, my wonderful and supportive husband had saved all my beading supplies. He actually went into the dumpster to get them the day I threw them out.  He had them in the garage and in his closet. He saved everything and now because of him I could start beading again.  The depression began to lift and within the year I was off my anti-depressants.  I was still working most weekends so doing craft show were still out of the question but at least I could start building up an inventory.  I was a happy girl.

In August 2009 my family and I took a weeks vacation to Ithica, NY and camped at the state park. We planned a day trip to the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, NY and my love of glass began. My husband, daughter and I blew glass ornaments. My son did a fused glass picture frame. Everyone thought I would do the glass bead making. I knew before we went that someday I would be making my own glass beads at home.  I had no training or knowedge of how this was done, but I knew I would do it. By the way, by this time I was off the anti-depressant medication and have been free of them ever since.

In the beginning of October of 2009 I quit my job.  I had scheduled 2 craft shows by the end of the week. At that time I was using purchaced glass beads and stones in my jewelry.  Lots of pretty things but they were not truely mine. Something was missing. I did not see the art in what I was creating. All I saw were repeating patterns. To me anyone could do what I was doing.  That Christmas my mom bought me a dvd on making lampwork beads.  I put it on the shelf and didn't watch it for months to come.

Around May/June 2010 I finally watched that dvd. The last line in it was "I know you think you can't do this, but you can." My first thought was "Oh, I know I can do this!". I did research on the internet and decided to buy an all in one lampwork kit. At the end of August I placed my first order for glass and tools and the torch head. Ran to the hardware store so I would have MAPP gas when the glass and tools arrived and sat and waited for the UPS man to show up.  In mid October my supplied arrived and I fell in love with lampworking. It is not a fast process and I still have a lot to learn but I am a hands on kind of person and love to learn on the go. Don't get me wrong I do alot of research before I jump in to most things.  Now I could create my own glass beads and show my talent and artistry. Oh, what a wondrful feeling. That Christmas my mom, who got me started on the jewelry making path, recieved some of my first  bracelets and earring. She looked at them with such pride.

In June of 2011 my glass creations were introduced to the public at the Westfield Farmers' Market.  Of course now I am finding the lampwork beads at the local craft and department stores. Did not bode well for my artisan crafted beads. The economy is very sluggish are people going to buy by jewelry just because they want it? Will they be willing to pay the price of hand crafting?  I can't sell 5 beads for five dollars. It's not cost effective.  I have sold enough to pay for my initial investment.  I get so excited and feel so proud everytime someone buys one of these creation.  They don't sell fast or often so I think about adding some more handmade glass items.  I start thinking about doing fused glass but kilns are so expensive.  Well it was a nice thought. But hold on, MOM to the rescue again.  I had talked to her about the idea of fused glass, just as a sounding board, apparently she thought it was a wonderful idea because, unknown to me, she began searching the sale ads and comes across an inexpenive used kiln.  She bought it. She gave it to me. I bought sheet glass. I began making fused glass pendant.  Once again I had researched it on line and I knew I could add this wonderful art to my line of products.  My first fused glass pendants were ready for sale in November 2011.  Wow things really are progressing.  Thanks MOM. You are such an insperation and supportive person.

Now here we are the Summer of 2012.  I am doing less and less of the purchaced glass beads, just trying to make use of the inventory I have. I am debating whether or not to continue with the stone jewelry and wondering what else I can add to my product line.  I am expirimenting with bottle slumping, using pop bottles, (my kiln is to small to use wine bottles) and working on picture frames like the one my son, at the time he was under 10 years old, made when we went to Corning. If my child could do it so could I.

I want to say thank you to so many people who help to make this dream what it is.  My daughter helps with making the strung bead items and helps me at almost every show I attend. My son for putting up with mom showing him everything I make. My husband for his love, support and tolerance.  My mom with out who I would never have started on this journey. She is my sounding board, she listens when I'm down and think I can't do this. She gives me that boost I need to get back on track.  I couldn't ask for a better support network than my family. I thank the heavens everyday that I am blessed with the family I have.

Now we look forward to the new products and new shows. We shall keep you updated.

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