Door 44 Jewelry Going Out of Business

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I had one of those crossroads moments yesterday. You know, those moments when you realize the path that you’re on is leading you to a place you just don’t want to be? Being completely at the mercy of an entire department full of incompetent government employees is one of those places that I definitely don’t want to be. Yet, that’s where I find myself today. I’ve been fighting with the Colorado Department of Revenue for months to straighten out a simple clerical error, and today I’m giving up that fight.

I run an Etsy shop. As businesses go, mine is about as small and simple as it gets. It consists of me, a lot of wire, and a few beads. That’s all there is to it, but even that seems too complicated for the geniuses at the DOR to comprehend. What I registered with the Secretary of State as a sole proprietorship, they keep insisting is an LLC; and I just don’t have it in me to argue with them anymore. So, with a lot of regret, but not one more F*** to give, I’m shutting Door 44 Jewelry down for good.

I have a considerable amount of inventory to clear out, and it’s all going on sale for 50% off until it’s gone, or until I have so little left that I can absorb the remaining stock into my personal jewelry collection and get on with my life.

As so many of you have been incredibly loyal friends and customers, you get first dibs on the clearance items. I’ll make this sale known publicly on Wednesday, April 19th. In the meantime go find that one piece you’ve had your eye on, and snatch it up before it’s gone! Use the coupon code DOOR44CLOSING to save 50% on your entire purchase.

 

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Week Two of Six Weeks of Gratitude

Door 44 Jewelry is nearly one year old, and this year has been far more successful than I dared to hope. So, I’d like to say thanks to all of the amazing friends, relatives, customers, and fans responsible for the success of my fledgling little jewelry business. Every like, share, pin, comment and purchase makes a difference. You’ve helped me spread the word about Door 44 in countless different ways, and now I’d like to give back to you!

I’ll be giving away one piece of my handcrafted jewelry every Saturday between today (I just announced the first winner an hour ago) and December 17th! To enter these drawings, just ‘like’ and share each weekly giveaway post, which will be pinned to the top of Door 44 Jewelry’s Facebook page. Be sure to ‘like’ that page as well so you’ll be sure to catch all of the latest drawing updates!

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Balancing Act

This piece was originally published on October 8, 2016 at door44jewelry.com. You can find more of my most recent blog posts, as well as all of the jewelry I currently have for sale there, so please stop by. Also, follow Door 44 Jewelry on Facebook for exclusive holiday deals!

A couple of decades ago, back when I was still young and idealistic, I naively believed that hard work was all it took to get ahead in life. So, I worked. Hard. Pretty much non-stop, as a matter of fact. By the ripe old age of twenty-six, I was a card-carrying member of workaholics anonymous.

I’m joking, of course. I don’t even know if there is a such thing as workaholics anonymous. If there is, I’m not making fun of the organization or its members, so please don’t send me hate mail! I’m just trying to make the point that work was my sole focus at that juncture, and it was so at the expense of all other aspects of my life. Personally, spiritually, and physically, I suffered from a rather extreme and persistent case of imbalance.

That imbalance took a heavy toll for ten long years before I finally reached my breaking point. All it took was for one particularly clueless supervisor to hit a very sensitive nerve in the midst of a difficult and tedious project, and I snapped. I had quite a flair for drama back then, so I didn’t just burn that bridge. I blew it up.

BOOM!

Career suicide is the technical term, I believe, but for me it proved to be the most liberating day of my life to date. I might have killed what I know now was always a dead-end career anyway (hindsight being 20/20 and all), but with that same strike of the match that lit the dynamite that destroyed the career I’d spent ten years building, I also revived a long lost connection to a person I’d neglected for a very long time: Me.

I hardly recognized my own reflection in the mirror the next morning. I looked and felt ten years younger. And as I marveled at the reflection of the young woman looking back at me, I felt something else for the first time in many years. Hope.

The main take away from that experience is that I know now that I can’t let my life get so wildly out of balance before I take time to refocus and rebalance. And that’s the thing about balance, right? It’s elusive. You find it and then you lose it, and then you find it again. Sometimes you hit a sweet spot and it’s like the heavens open up. You can almost hear the angels’ singing while you bask in the magical sensation of perfect balance. And then, poof! It’s gone. Again.

I launched Door 44 Jewelry just over eight months ago, and as new ventures are wont to do, it’s thrown my life out of balance. Not in a bad way, necessarily, and certainly not to the degree that I’ve experienced in the past. It’s been enough of an imbalance, though, that I’ve had to remind myself to take a breath and refocus.

While examining my transition from jewelry hobbyist to full-time working artist this week, one important area of imbalance that I’ve discovered is that I’m too isolated creatively. I have many friends who are artists and fellow creative minds, but none of them live within a 60-mile radius of my current residence. Although I know the city in which I currently live is brimming with artists, I’ve yet to make a meaningful connection with any of them.

That’s my fault, of course. I consciously made the decision to get my online shop up and running smoothly before tacking on the extra challenges and complications that come with selling locally at craft fairs and seasonal artisan markets. To further complicate matters, I also have family time and my daughter’s extracurricular activities competing with my personal need to expand my own creative social circle.

Something has to give. Competing priorities must be reprioritized, and I need to make time and space in my life for some local artist friends—maybe even a mentor. I’ve had to remind myself this week that balance is active. People tend to believe it’s passive, so they mistakenly think the key to finding balance is to remain still. The truth, though, is that stillness is the surest way to lose your balance.

I realized recently that I’m guilty of this myself. For months I’ve been telling myself to be patient and to wait for the right time or the right person to come along, but the reality is that the time is now and the person I’m ultimately looking to connect with is me.

As counterintuitive as it might seem, the key to finding your balance before the wobble becomes unrecoverable (as was the case with my former career before I wiped that slate clean) is to keep moving—maybe even a little faster than you feel comfortable going. Lean into it and trust that you’ll find that elusive balance once again. You know you will. After all, you’ve been doing it since you first learned to walk.

Life is short, and it’s easily thrown off balance. All you can do is keep moving forward. Make space for the things you need in order to rebalance (some local creative friends, in my case), and pursue what you love with the knowledge that you’ll always catch your balance, sooner or later. And then enjoy that balance for as long as it lasts before you lose it again, because you will lose it again. That’s just the way of it.

Balance isn’t a destination. It’s a process.

Step by Step, Brick by Brick

20160930_111235Can you believe it’s already the first of October? This year has been an absolute whirlwind for me! After far too many years of sitting on the fence when it came to selling my jewelry, I finally opened an Etsy shop on January 28th of this year. The response, thankfully, has been overwhelmingly positive, so I am now in the process of formalizing my business structure and taking a more strategic approach to growing Door 44 Jewelry into my primary source of income.

A major part of my business strategy, of course, is a formal door44jewelry.com website, which I recently launched. As luck would have it, though, my current business cards reference beyonddoor44.com. So I can’t simply pull the plug on this site. Not yet, anyway. For the time being, I’ll be maintaining both sites. I’ll probably still write some occasional blog posts here, but the blog at door44jewelry.com will be the primary location for all jewelry-specific blog posts for now.

Eventually, my goal is to let go of the beyonddoor44.com domain and move door44jewelry.com to a WordPress platform. I’ll get there, but the transition will likely happen gradually over this coming year. Step by step, brick by brick, I’m inching closer every day to achieving my full vision for Door 44 Jewelry. And I’m thoroughly enjoying the process along the way.

Life is short. Do something you love!

 

Good Vibrations

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“Egyptian Sun” pendant in silver featuring a Red Jasper focal stone and Carnelian accent beads.

Do stones have healing properties? I don’t know for certain. It sounds implausible at first blush, yet people (mostly indigenous people) have believed in the healing power of stones for thousands of years.

I’ve always been drawn to stones for some reason, but I always assumed it was simply because I appreciated their natural beauty. I know people who say they can sense the energy of stones and crystals. I’m not one of those people–at least not consciously. I don’t physically feel or sense energy in a way that I can clearly articulate, but I have come to realize through many years of dealing with emotionally incongruous people that I am extremely sensitive to emotional energy. I seem to be something of an empath in that regard. I pick up on the emotions of pretty much everyone around me, which certainly explains why I tend to prefer the company of animals.

Animals are masters of emotion. They move fluidly through a full emotional spectrum, and they’re able to live in the moment. People, on the other hand, have a strong tendency to live in either the past or the future where they cling stubbornly to emotional extremes. This inability to live in the moment and process a healthy range of emotions fluidly results in emotional incongruity. We all have that one friend who smiles and jokes loudly (often inappropriately) to mask “negative” emotions like grief or anger that she simply doesn’t want to acknowledge.

It’s those masked emotions that I seem to absorb like a sponge. I actually don’t have many emotionally incongruent people in my life anymore because I’ve spent the past ten years systematically eliminating them from my inner circle, but there was a time when I was completely surrounded by them; and they literally sucked the life out of me. For years I wondered how I could feel so emotionally drained while I was surrounded by other people yet I immediately felt better the moment I was alone. I blamed it on the fact that I was an introvert, and (naturally) I assumed that it was my fault that I felt so overwhelmingly sad or angry when I was surrounded by people who appeared to be happy, albeit superficially.

You might be wondering right now what any of this has to do with stones, and that is in fact the same question that I’ve been asking myself. For the past three years, I’ve managed to live inside a happy little isolation bubble. For the first time in my adult life, I’m not working outside of my home. I’ve had very little contact with anyone besides my husband and our daughter during that timeframe, so I’ve enjoyed the luxury of steering clear of most of the emotional pollution out there in the world.

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“Desert Moon” pendant in copper featuring a Wood Jasper focal stone and Tiger Eye accent beads.

These three years have been a social sabbatical of sorts, but as my business grows, I’m finding it more and more necessary to interact with the outside world. I’m being invited to teach classes and to be a vendor at local craft shows. I’m getting more requests for custom work and private commissions, which involve a great deal of back and forth communication to hash out the details of the customer’s jewelry design. I’m toying with the idea of writing tutorials or perhaps starting a YouTube channel to share my own jewelry making tips and tricks. Additionally, I’m starting to get involved with my daughter’s school now that she’s attending a unique little charter school. Her school is growing at an alarming rate due to the phenomenal academic achievements of its high school students, so the PSA is desperately in need of parent volunteers to help support the teaching staff.

Basically, I’m having to come to terms with the fact that, whether I fully understand how emotional energy works or not, I am an emotional empath. Avoiding prolonged contact with all but my closest friends and family members certainly made coping with this innate ability easier and more comfortable over the past three years, but it’s become increasingly clear to me since I opened my Etsy shop that social avoidance is no longer practical. I’m going to have to learn how to function in a world of emotionally incongruent people in order to grow my business, so I’m looking to the energetic properties of stones to help me stay balanced in a decidedly imbalanced society.

Not surprisingly, then, my jewelry is starting to move away from the glass beads that I’ve always loved. I’ve recently found myself drawn more to gemstone beads in general and jasper beads in particular. About a month ago, I went on a bit of a shopping spree and splurged on more than a dozen strands of beautiful gemstone beads. It’s the largest single supply purchase I’ve made since opening my Etsy shop in January.

Almost none of the strands I bought were marked with the actual gemstone name, so once I got all those gorgeous beads home, I set about working to identify them by name. I was somewhat surprised to discover that the vast majority of the stones I chose are various types of Jasper. Once I began researching the energetic properties of Jasper, though, I realized that I’d intuitively chosen precisely the kind of stones I need at this particular phase of Door 44 Jewelry’s development.

Jasper, it seems, is widely regarded for its grounding and balancing characteristics. Deeply connected to the earth, and used for thousands of years in various cultures around the world, it’s said to be a warm, nourishing, and protective stone that balances the feminine yin and masculine yang energies. These energies are unquestionably out of balance in our society presently. One only needs to turn on the news to see the latest antics of two of the most wildly inappropriate presidential candidates in our nation’s history to see clear evidence of that fact.

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“Egyptian Moon” pendant in silver featuring a Picture Jasper focal stone.

I don’t know if stones really do have healing properties or not. What I do know is that I’ve been powerfully drawn to various forms of Jasper lately, and I’ve felt almost compelled to create Jasper jewelry over the past couple of months. I’ve also been wearing Jasper jewelry almost exclusively in that same period, and I’ve noticed that I feel generally calmer and more confident and grounded while wearing it.

Maybe my jewelry can help restore a healthier energetic balance in the world. Maybe not. I won’t go so far as to claim that the stones I’m currently using in my jewelry have magical healing powers. They are pretty, though. Perhaps the simple act of wearing or gifting a piece of lovingly handcrafted jewelry made with a beautiful natural stone will do nothing more than make someone happy. And maybe more happiness in the world is ultimately the answer to restoring balance.

Laptops & Tablets & Smartphones, Oh My!

I spent nine years of my former life as a corporate drone working for a telecom company in Alaska. During that period, the company went on to become one of the first fully integrated telecom service providers in the country. Professionally, those were some of the best years of my career. Personally? Not so much.

I was wired to the hilt. Even back then when wireless technology was relatively new and still extremely limited in rural Alaska, I was virtually accessible to my employer around the clock. I worked from home. I worked from the office. I traveled to some of the most remote regions of the state, and I was always tethered to my job by technology.

To say my personal life suffered would be to imply that I actually had a personal life. I didn’t. I was married to my job, and not necessarily unhappily so. Not for the first seven or eight years, anyway; but as unbalanced marriages inevitably do, mine eventually crumbled. I was struck with the harsh realization on a redeye flight home to Alaska after visiting family in Colorado that, for someone so thoroughly connected through technology, I was woefully disconnected from the things that actually matter in life: friends, family, nature–the kinds of relationships that actually feed a spirit rather than isolate the spirit with the illusion of connectedness while slowly starving it to death.

That startling realization marked the beginning of the end of my marriage to my employer. I quit my job a few months later, and I spent most of the following year getting reacquainted with myself. I disconnected all but the most essential communication services, and I refocused all of my attention on things that actually mattered, like my hopes, dreams, and creative impulses. I also moved back to Colorado that year, and thank goodness I did because I’d have never met and married my husband had I not cut those cords.

Today marks the tenth anniversary of my return to Colorado. Ten years of being mostly unplugged from technology, and now I find myself being steadily reeled back into that tangled web. I suppose that’s a hazard of starting an online business–or any business, for that matter. This time, though, I’m determined to maintain a much healthier work/life balance because this time I do have a personal life. And a pretty wonderful one at that.

 

 

Starfish Design Challenge

One of the things I’m enjoying most about making the transition to full-time jewelry maker is that I no longer feel guilty about the amount of time I spend following other artists to see what they are up to creatively. That used to be something of a guilty pleasure that I sneaked in whenever I took a break from my “real” job, but now that I’m focusing on jewelry full time, it’s really more like market research. Another thing I never got to do very often was join in on the creative design challenges proposed by fellow artists because it seemed I never had the time (or the energy) to create a submission before the deadline.

Fortunately, things have changed. Not only do I get to follow the work of other artists without feeling guilty, I also get to join in the fun of a good design challenge; which brings me to the point of this blog post. If you’ve been following my work lately, you already know that I’ve been dabbling with jewelry cord and various cord techniques in addition to the wire wrapping and chain weaving I’ve been doing for years. One of the artists I discovered along my recent foray into cord jewelry is Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macramé. If you’re not familiar with Sherri’s work, I highly recommend perusing her Etsy shop. You’ll be astounded by what this woman does with jewelry cord and beads. I’m in awe of her stunning creations!

Anyway, Sherri recently proposed a design challenge based on the pretty palette of colors she’s been using recently in her starfish jewelry collection. Having been in a bit of a creative slump lately, I decided to accept the challenge. My first thought was to create something with the beautiful beach glass my sister-in-law gave me a while back; but as I toyed with that glass, the inspiration failed to flow. Until I stumbled upon a sand-colored agate focal bead that’s been languishing in my supply stash for years, that is. It’s a large stone–the perfect size, as a matter of fact, to showcase a wire-wrapped starfish.

The following are a few photos of my submission as it’s progressed from start to finish. I started with the wire-wrapped focal piece first, and then I pulled a few beads from my supplies that are similar to Sherri’s starfish color palette.

This is what the focal stone looked like after the wire wrapping was complete, but before I antiqued and polished the raw copper wire:

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Since Sherri’s primary medium is cord and I’ve been dabbling with cord quite a bit myself, I decided to hang my starfish pendant on a multi-strand hand knotted cord necklace. I love using an abundance of beads in my knotted cord jewelry, so I went with five beaded and knotted strands for this piece.

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Then I added a fun and frilly beaded tassel for a bit of movement and color to finish off the wire-wrapped pendant.

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At this point, I faced a bit of a design conundrum. I want the length on this piece to be adjustable, so I planned all along to use a macramé slide knot clasp to finish off the necklace. The challenge was finding the right components to securely link the sliding clasp to the knotted cords.

I searched my local bead and hobby shops for some tasteful findings that would blend with my color palette, but I had no luck. I ultimately decided to make my own connectors, so I wrapped these pretty little infinity links using the same wire wrap pattern I used on the starfish.

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Note the mirrored image of the two connectors. This is the beauty of making your own findings. It’s difficult to achieve this level of detail with store bought components, which is why I like to make my own metal findings whenever I can.

And here’s the finished piece:
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Fabulous, isn’t it? I’m so pleased with the way this necklace turned out, and I can’t wait to see all the other wonderful submissions for Sherri’s starfish design challenge! I’ll share a link to that gallery here in this post as soon as it’s published.

Edited (6/17/2016): The starfish design challenge gallery is fabulous! Well worth the wait, so go check it out!

Door 44 Jewelry is Two Months Old!

Today marks two months since I launched Door 44 Jewelry, and the biggest lesson I’ve learned in those two months is that I never had anything to fear. I hemmed and hawed for years about selling my jewelry. Seriously, years!

What if people don’t buy it, my inner critic asked.

What if I price it too high? Or (heaven forbid!) too low?

What if someone buys it based on the photos in the online listing, and the finished product doesn’t measure up to their expectations?

What I’ve realized over these past few weeks, which have been far more successful than I ever dared to hope, is that the short answer to all of those questions is a resounding, “So what!”

Some people won’t buy my jewelry, but a lot of people will. Some people will think it’s priced too high. Others will almost feel guilty at checkout because they feel my prices are too low. And since photography isn’t really one of my strengths, my jewelry tends to be far more impressive in hand than it is in photographs. The chances of someone being truly dissatisfied with a purchase are slim, but even in that worst case scenario, I’ll simply ask them to return the jewelry and issue a full refund or exchange. No harm. No foul.

And then there were the other fears–the ones about running my own business… My inner critic had a field day with them. What about bookkeeping and taxes? What about inventory and the ins and outs of eCommerce regulations? What about licensing and copyrights and trademarks? OMG, the sky is falling!

These fears are completely absurd, of course. I minored in accounting, for goodness sake. At various points in my former life as a corporate drone, I was a walking, talking encyclopedia of telecommunications industry regulations, manufacturing industry regulations, and healthcare finance regulations. I managed six and seven-figure budgets. I closed out the accounts receivable for several large healthcare facilities, and I managed to balance hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash receipts to the penny month after month after month. Pfft! Surely, I can handle the much smaller numbers I’ll be dealing with in my own business.

These past two months have been all about talking my inner Chicken Little off the ledge. The truth of the matter is that I brought tremendous value to every organization I ever served in my corporate days. There’s not one company that I ever worked for that didn’t benefit from my contributions. All of them could have benefited even more had they trusted me enough to loosen my leash because I am nothing if not an organized, productive, self-starting, highly competent manager.

The time has come for me to be the primary beneficiary of my management skills, for a change. No more working for “The Man”. These past two months have shown me the tantalizing possibilities of working for myself, and I am absolutely ready to do precisely that.

It’s occurred to me many times over the past several years that what truly frightens my inner Chicken Little–what’s at the very root of all of those absurd questions that have haunted me for years–is the possibility of success. After all, as good as I am at managing other people’s businesses, I never truly succeeded in the corporate world. Several friends and colleagues my age are high-level executives today. I have quite a few CEOs, CFOs and VPs in my personal network. So, who am I to think I will succeed at running my own business when I never made it past middle management during the corporate phase of my life?

Actually, who am I not to succeed? So much of my ability to advance in a corporate environment was completely out of my hands. There were political and social forces in each of those organizations that were way outside of my little sphere of control. There were people in positions above me whose personal agendas directly conflicted with my career goals. I was constantly trying to swim upstream against a very strong current.

As just one of several members of a “team” in the corporate environment, the question I faced each and every day of my former management career was, “Who is going to let me?” Today the only question I’m facing is, “Who is going to stop me?”

It’s going to be my business, my way from this point forward, and I’m excited to see what I can actually accomplish when, for the first time in my life, I’m not straining at the end of a corporate leash.

Gosh, it feels good to be free!

 

 

The Newest “Family Member”

I suspect my husband is looking forward to moving into a house big enough for me to have a dedicated jewelry studio. If for no other reason than he’ll be able to sleep without ‘Ella’ standing over him…

Simplify...

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As my wife wrote recently (here and here), she’s started a new jewelry business on Etsy: Door 44 Jewelry.

Meet the newest resident at the House of Reamy. My wife’s dubbed her dress form mannequin Ella, for some reason; and because my wife’s studio sits next to my side of the bed, so sits Ella next to my nightstand. There’s my lamp, the camera battery recharger, my clock, the book I’m currently (re-)reading… and Ella. I know she doesn’t have a head, but I can’t help but think if she did, it would be glaring down at me while I’m sleeping.

Of course, Wendi insists she’s harmless, just a harmless mannequin. But that’s the typical scene in any horror movie: the protagonists are always told that the evil they’re confronting is all in their heads. And like in those movies, Wendi would be wrong, and I…

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Happy Medium

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My first attempt at making a braided cord necklace (waxed nylon jewelry cord with Czech glass and metal beads) . The leather monogram pendant was made by my good friend, Laura Hansen.

Every artist has a preferred medium—the go-to material that provides the foundation of their work. My favorite material is metal, and I’m not very particular about the type or alloy. I’ve worked with lead, copper, silver, bronze, gold, aluminum, titanium, stainless steel, iron and brass. Each one has unique characteristics and even a personality of its own, but something all metals have in common is that they are predictable.

Being a bit (okay, maybe a lot) of a control freak, I like the precision I can achieve with metal. I’ve dabbled with other media—wood, for instance—but I inevitably migrate back to metal when I can’t achieve the level of precision and the clean lines that sooth my inner perfectionist.

Early in 2013 when I started dating my husband, I was happily making chain mail and wire-wrapped jewelry, and I was starting to explore increasingly more intricate styles of wire wrapping. I discovered amazing artists like Nicole Hanna, Ivona Posavi Pšak, Sarah Thompson, Kornelia Kubinowska, and Iza Malczyk. I dove into learning new techniques through Nicole’s and Kornelia’s tutorials, and I was immediately hooked.

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This is my first attempt at the macrame bracelet technique taught by Sandra Younger, creator of the Knotty Do-It-All. See theknottydoitall.com for more info.

I spent every spare minute working with wire, and then life got in the way. I started spending more of my spare time with my husband and less learning new wire-wrapping techniques. Pretty soon, I stopped making jewelry altogether because it wasn’t long after we started dating that we decided to get married. The next several months were a whirlwind of packing, moving, getting married, unpacking, merging two households, purging excess belongings, and adjusting to being a full-time stepmom.

Now that life is finally settling down into what has become my new normal, I’ve tried to pick up where I left off on wire-wrapping, and I’ve been horrified to discover that I apparently lost my edge. The precision that once came so easily seems unattainable now. I’ve started countless projects only to toss them into my scrap bin in disgust when it became painfully clear that the finished piece wouldn’t meet my expectations.

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This is a simple copper wire monogram I created out of scrap wire so I could experiment more with this macrame technique. I kinda like the way it turned out!

At some point amid all that frustration it finally occurred to me to try redirecting my creative energy down a new path. I wrote about that insight here, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see forward progress with something as simple as a change in medium.

Unlike metal, cord is not a material with which I can achieve perfection. In fact it’s infuriatingly prone to imperfection in certain ways, but that imperfection has proved to be surprisingly liberating for this (formerly?) Type-A personality.

The past two years have softened me in ways I never would have imagined possible. I’m more flexible and less attached to perfection. I’m more open to allowing a piece to evolve organically and less determined to adhere to my original vision of the finished piece. I’m less attached to outcomes and more curious about the creative process.

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Another quick and dirty wire focal piece that I made so I could master this cord technique. I’m a Leo, and I’ve always wanted to create an astrology collection. This concept has potential, I think.

This is uncharted territory for me. Historically, I’ve been a pretty driven and results-oriented individual, and those qualities are clearly reflected in my work. As I’ve explored various cord and macramé techniques, however, I’ve been surprised to discover that imperfection can be beautiful, too. I’ve included a few photos of my most recent experiments with cord techniques. Cord is still new to me, so these pieces aren’t quite as refined as I’d like them to be. I’m very pleased with my early attempts, though. Perhaps I’ve finally found a happy medium.

Life is short. Don’t waste time and energy pursuing perfection if it keeps you from loving what you do.