Ever since Ron took a glass-making workshop at the Corning Museum of Glass a couple seasons ago, he got quite taken with the process of making lampwork beads. There wasn't too much he needed to fire up (pun intended) his own set up.
But it was more a matter of logistics. And... well... yeah... money.
But in true Ron style, he pulled it off. By knowing a guy who knows a guy, he got a torch with tanks (oxygen and propane) for a wicked good deal, and in the process found a buddy to go to a Dead Milkmen concert with, 4 hrs away. By chatting with some glass dudes down on Market Street, they set him up with glass rods, mandrels (the metal 'stick') and some bead release (the stuff you put on the mandrel) to begin!
After making several beads, getting progressively more beautiful (practice really does make perfect, boys and girls), he realized that he really did need to anneal them to prevent cracking ('cooking' them further, in a kiln, at a temp of ~1200°). We did not have a kiln. We priced kilns, even used ones, online, and kept coming up with $500 MINIMUM. We were just about to bite the bullet when I casually chatted with our ceramics artist buddy Colleen at Fellowship about Ron needing a kiln. Her eyes sparkled as she nonchalantly said, "I have a kiln the perfect size you guys can just have. I've had it for YEARS and don't use it anymore." Later her husband joked that the kiln has moved 7 times with them, from house to house. We actually talked her UP on her offer of $50. I mean, WHOA man. What. A. Deal. I definitely take note of stuff like this and constantly strive to Pay it Forward in Life, when i can. The people in our lives have helped us in this kinda way MANY MANY times.
So there you have it. A fully equipped bead-making setup. Ron is rocking it like a pro, and we decided to try and sell some of these puppies. For the heck of it.
I've had that mentality for a while now, especially when setting up our etsy shop. I took the pressure off SELLING and put the emphasis on CREATING. The point is to get off our butts more and MAKE stuff with the power of our crazy, fun brains.
For years, I've been playing with Sculpey clay and making beads myself. And for a decent amount of web-surfing, even on etsy, i have been unable to find someone else making beads quite like me, which is NICE. It's hard not to copy-cat once you've seen something. I had some beads sitting around, that i had already baked. I had a stash of beads i had made almost FIVE years ago (at night in the hotel when i worked my first Wegmans Grand Opening down in Harrisburg), not baked yet. And of course i have a TON of clay, just waiting to be played with.
So i started baking. And playing. And baking some more. Got a decent little stash together of my own beads. Started daydreaming of selling them in a local SHOP, not just etsy...
... and herein enters Ann, at Soulshine Studio, a bead shop on Market Street. Months ago, upon discovering her shop (i'm a total sucker for bead places!), i got to casually chatting with her. About opening her shop, how's biz, etc. Super friendly and laid back. That was that. Then Ron started making his beads and i mentioned Ann's shop, and he went down and chatted with her about consignment. He came back saying she was totally up for it, bring whatever he had down and she'd set him up. Local artists HELP local biz.
Soon i started thinking "Husband and Wife Artisans" and could see that totally flying in a local shop and went down and talked with her some MORE, this time for 40 min, just hanging out really. I promised her we'd be back within 30 days with a display, and she was as excited as I was!
Yesterday, we walked into her shop with a sweet little display - two "him and her" boards with a little blurb about the each of us at the top. Ann's eye lit up - i think she was psyched!
And so it begins...
This weekend is Holidazzle. Wish us luck!