As a young greeting card designer my specialty was stitchery- embroidery, cross stitch, needlepoint, crewel- just about any craft media. The artwork was photographed, printed and embossed to give the card dimension and depth. I’ve always loved artisan crafts, and it was fun to be able to create cards that reflected them. As all artists evolve and change, I gradually did less stitchery and more graphic design and animation. My interest in crafting became more of an after hours pastime.
I have a tradition at Christmas time with 2 other artist friends. We design and make Christmas tree ornaments each year and share them with each other. I use this opportunity to say something about what interests I have that year- in subject matter and craft medium. At work, I take advantage of a creative workshop that Hallmark maintains as creative renewal for their artists. I have taken classes in every craft imaginable from beading to glass blowing. I love each craft and vow to continue on after the class is finished, although I rarely do. However, when I took a lampworking class, I was really hooked. I spent lunch hours making beads in the workshop and eventually took a class at a glass store using the hot head torch method, which I set up at home and started making and selling my jewelry.
After about a year of using the hot head torch, and finding that my enthusiasm for lampworking was not waning, but increasing, I purchased the oxygen/propane set up which I use currently. I also set up a business, Domino Designs to sell my work. More satisfying to me than selling my work is seeing other women enjoy wearing my jewelry.
One of the requirements of my day job is to stay current with trends in colors, fashion and decor, so I do research in many fields. Often I’m inspired by something I see while researching and that sparks me in my home crafting. So in this way my day job enhances rather than detracts from my creativity.
As many enthusiasts do, I collect all the materials and paraphernalia that goes along with each craft, so my craft room is full to the brim. Last year I learned to felt, and my Christmas ornament reflected that. This past Christmas, it was time to incorporate my lampworking. I also always keep a crochet project going while watching television- I like trying different patterns for hats, baby booties, baby afghan, and at the end of the year, I donate whatever I’ve made to charity.
As much as I enjoy making beads and jewelry, the business side takes up more time and energy than I would like. I have to spend time updating spreadsheets for inventory and costs and figuring out tax information. Not my favorite thing and I’m certainly not very good at it. I don’t have a high profit margin and going to an accountant really eats into the profits. It’s just one of the down sides to having a side business. If I want to make beads, I have to have an outlet to sell them, or my house would be over run. I haven’t spent time promoting my Etsy shop, and don’t sell much through that venue yet, but it does give me a website to direct people to, so that they can view my work, which is helpful. Most of my sales have been “word of mouth”, but I did participate in a craft sale and have another one coming up at the end of April.
While it’s often hard to have the energy after work to put into my craft business, as well as home and family, it’s extremely fulfilling to me, so it’s worth the effort. My advice to any crafter is to do what you love, what’s satisfying to you personally- and keep evolving to stay creatively fresh.
Written by Rose Marie Dammann of http://www.domino.etsy.com/