Well, my “real” job is in the medical field, something I’ve been doing for nearly 20 years now. But I’ve always been a creative person, as far back as I can remember. I was the kid that saved all our popsicle sticks and made stuff out of them. The sticky sweet colors just made them that much better, in my opinion!
My first craft passion was cross stitch. I did that for many years, for friends & family until a neck surgery and the resulting nerve damage put a stop to it, sadly. It’s hard to hold a needle when your hands go numb.
Making jewelry started out innocently enough… I was looking for a pair of blue-green dolphin earrings to match a scrub top. After much searching I found some but didn’t want to pay the price so I thought “well, shoot! I’ll just make them myself!” That lead to a matching bracelet which led to making more personal jewelry which led to making gifts for friends & family. After a while I realized I was spending a lot of money making folks happy so I had to get mean and charge for it.
Getting my jewelry out there in the public eye was a challenge. I started off trying to get local shops and boutiques to take on pieces for commission but I didn’t like their terms. One place wanted me to reinventory everything using their system and the split was something like 70/30. Totally unacceptable! I put it on the back burner for a couple of years until I had an opportunity to be a last minute fill in at a crafts show that had an open booth. I had 24 hours to get it all together (talk about trial by fire!) When I made my booth fee back within an hour, I was instantly hooked! A customer told me I should get a website so I researched several places and ended up with http://www.BeadsByBrenda.com Sales were slow because I didn’t want to spend a huge amount of money on advertising (have you picked up on the fact that I’m thrifty yet? lol) Through a lady who I purchased charms from I learned about my next venture,
This was my first experience with online selling and I really learned a lot about marketing, presentation, pricing, etc. Again, sales weren’t necessarily as steady as I had hoped. Keep in mind that this was before I came up with the philosophy that jewelry is a luxury and I should be grateful for ANY sales that I make!
In 2007 I discovered Etsy from another Wagglepop seller and there I found my “home” I was instantly attracted to the atmosphere of other creative people coming together to spread the gospel of handmade goods. I opened my shop http://www.OklahomaMama.Etsy.com initially to promote my higher end jewelry designs. The response was so great compared to other venues I’ve tried in the past that I began listing more and more things on Etsy. I still keep my Wagglepop shop active and make occasional sales there too.
My passion for crochet started around this time last year. I’m always looking for ideas for birthday gifts for my co-workers and when a friend sent me a crocheted scarf she made for a Christmas present, I remembered a half-hearted attempt at this craft many years ago when my son was a baby. Much to my amazement, I found my crochet hooks, bought Crochet For Dummies and I was off! Every person in my clinic got a birthday scarf in 2008, even if their birthday was in July LOL. The response was so great that I figured I might as well get paid for it, much like the jewelry gig so in August of 2008 I opened my 2nd Etsy shop, http://www.crochetbybrenda.etsy.com For an “amateur” I feel I’m becoming pretty successful with this adventure too! I’ve sold 15 scarves online, 7 at a crafts show and five or so to people here in my town.
My creative process is a little difficult to describe, honestly. When it comes to jewelry I might be inspired by a color, a trend (I’ve created some designs from what I see the female news anchors wearing on national tv) or even a whim. Some of my favorite things have happened when I run across a material while looking for something else. I love those “happy accidents”
Creating my scarves is also mostly by whimsy… I love experimenting with different fibers, thicknesses, colors and learning new stitches. Even the size of my scarves isn’t necessarily predetermined. I’ll make my foundation chain the length of my kitchen table or longer and the width varies by the amount of yarn I have LOL Fortunately, I was smart enough to start making notes and photos so I can recreate them later.
My goal for 2009 is to get beyond the rectangle and make hats and possibly ponchos. I tend to like to get really good at something before moving on to the next skill level. Especially now that I’m putting my crafts out for public consumption… when you give a lumpy scarve to a friend they’re usually too polite to tell you so LOL
When I’m not working, crafting or sleeping, I love to curl up with a good book and one or two of my kitty cats. Not the most glamorous or exciting existence but it’s been a good life so far and I’m looking forward to many more years of creativity and inspiration.