It’s an odd thing really, to group together with your competitors to engage in promotion – but one of the things I find so lovely about the beading world is how incredibly friendly and helpful other beaders are. Maybe it’s because like many crafters and artists we tend to work alone, or maybe it’s because most people don’t really understand what we do so we are just really happy to find other people who do, but as a lone beader I have really benefitted from mentions by others, and have really enjoyed interacting albeit virtually with beaders from around the world. The image above of my version of Jean Power’s ‘Geometric Stars’ got me noticed by Folksy and and led to me being featured shop there last year – and the support and beady friendship Jean’s given me since then has transferred into real sales as well as being a great boost to my confidence, and other beaders big and small have bought and shared and just generally been really nice. In the so-called ‘real world’ – by which I guess I mean the world of big businesses (which I work in 3 days a week!), this degree of collaboration is almost unheard of – perhaps MDs are members of the same business association, or attend the same awards ceremonies, but they would never, ever recommend or highlight the work of a direct competitor, much less go out of their way to help & encourage them. I should stress here that I don’t think of myself as in direct competition with Jean, she is a beading megastar and I a tiny size 15 charlotte minnow………
So it’s with a degree of joy in the way that my fellow beaders work together to promote the craft they love, regardless of commercial considerations, that I’ve applied to and been accepted by the Etsy Beadweavers Team. They are a lovely group of beaders who quietly promote each other’s work through their blog, facebook and on Etsy itself. They have strict criteria for joining, which I will have to keep on my toes to fulfill, but this enables them to be confident that members will contribute and enhance the group. And they even have monthly challenges, where members make and list for sale items inspired by a theme, which are then promoted and voted on by the team and public, which will be a useful push to create some exciting, original work and is always very diverse and interesting. I’ve missed the boat time wise for the next challenge which is a real blow as it is ‘inspired by Chihully’ – an all time favourite artist ever since he exhibited at Kew Gardens when I was living round the corner, but I can’t wait to see what my new ‘colleagues’ will come up with……..
So, if you’d like to see what they all get up to pop over to their blog, or search ‘EBW team‘ (for finished beadwork) or ‘EBW team tutorial‘ (for kits and tutorials) on Etsy. Or even better ‘like’ the team’s Facebook page and you’ll be gently fed beautiful, unusual and downright fab pieces to wash away the annoyance of endless cat videos and adverts.
One thought on “Finding friends”
That is exactly how I feel about the beading community. I’m an isolated beader and without the support of people like Kate McKinnon and Deb Schwartz, I would have become frustrated with the lack of interest in my work long ago.