Monday, November 16, 2009

Studio News: Learning to be Flexible

As I've mentioned, there are changes coming to Kanna Glass Studios. I've been letting my mind sift through the opportunities, the barriers, and the challenges. I've been bouncing ideas off valued advisors. I'm looking through my stash of glass beads I made, my signature pieces that were beginning to define a style for me in glass, looking through the treasure trove of books and magazines I hauled back from the US and my mind is brimming. Overflowing.

Learning to be flexible has been a hard-earned lesson I've learned in the last few years. My natural inclination has been to be decisive, organized, and planned. Generally, this is a good thing. Except in social situations where flexibility is a better quality to have. In my 20's, I worked on this decisiveness by saying, "I plan to be spontaneous" (for decisive people know exactly what I mean) and mentally prepared to be flexible to the preferences of other people when it came to choices of activities, restaurants, and general "where do we go next?" However, work and life have trained me to integrate flexibility into my life I going on this trip, not going on this trip...moving across the world, not moving across the world...when am I moving...when am I taking this trip...when is this project going to complete. The planning side is still there. But, now I prepare for options.

In running a small business, changes can become glaringly obvious. What I enjoy about the art community that I have been getting to know is the support and encouragement I've received, even when I've been confronted with challenges: moving across the world, rebranding as my studio name, understanding the creative fog during migraines and nerve pain, having a key piece of equipment die (my kiln), moving to a new flat, learning I have to find an external studio to do my industrial art of lampwork. Through it all, I've had wonderfully patient customers who have been supportive and have let me breathe and create happily. I genuinely appreciate the generous encouragement and tolerance.

So, let me give you the latest update...

One of the important ideas is maintaining a sense of continuity as I travel through this adventure of change. When I sift through my portfolio of work, it has a very broad range of design elements. I love experimenting. But the common, swirls, and simple florals. These are the elements I will bring through my work in the following year.

Something new for the shop this week.

Home Studio
I also came to a conclusion that I needed to work with a home studio for now. Health concerns and time/financial constraints are putting boundaries around the studio space. I need to examine what I can do in my home. Jewelry is good as a therapy to deflect my mind's concentration from pain. Also, I'm hoarding the stash of glass beads I've made for inclusion in pieces over the next year, since I won't have access to a lampwork studio for an unknown period of time.

I love the Southwest of the US, western things, country, small town living, and nature. I can also officially say, that I am an un-urban girl. Living in a city in the Far East has changed my usual source of inspiration. I am challenging myself use urban and Asian inspiration that I wouldn't usually think to use in my designs. I had a few hours, a Starbucks Chai Latte, a Moleskine journal, a bus ride, pictures, and a page full of words and designs that I'm trembling to realize in 3-D. Expect some very different designs over the next year. I hope I won't give you creative whiplash as I experiment...

Experimentation Plans
The first three are local classes. The last two are some US artists whose books I've ordered. I have no idea what will remain a staple in my full repertoire, but I have plans to experiment in all of these.

Kanna Glass Studios Blog
The following content will continue to be part of my Kanna Glass Studios blog:
  • Hong Kong Chronicles
  • Hong Kong Art & Craft Finds - I've been stumbling slowly across little art and craft finds in Hong Kong. Since I don't read Chinese well, it's usually by word of mouth or just walking around that I find these little gems.
  • Favorite things - book reviews, random musings, photos, and general miscellaneous items
As I transition some content to the Artfire blog, I will post summary links.

Artfire Shop Blog
My Artfire shop now has an integrated blog. I love this feature because it will allow me to bring information about my work closer to my shop, highlight artists, and give me the opportunity to publish some of the business tips I've been learning as I go to the Handmade News website. This is a fantastic free resource of articles that artists/crafters have generously shared. It's a new repository of information that's only a few months old, but already has a wealth of information. It's easier to read than the forums when you're looking for useful info.
Regular features of my shop blog will be:
  • New work
  • Featured Artisans
  • Featured Items
  • Business Tips
  • Inspiration (Design Challenge)
My newsletter will now be organized to summarize the key articles. There will be two versions:
  • Artisan Jewelry Collector - previews of upcoming collection, highlights of featured artisans, featured items
  • Jewelry Artist - previews of upcoming beads and findings, highlights of Business Tips, Design Challenges

That was a mouthful, wasn't it? My mind is brimming with ideas and I am so excited to experiment. And scared. I bought yarn a few months back to knit myself a sweater and stared at it for six months. Now I'm knitting feverishly (the sweater that I cast on 12 times and finally cast on the 13th time as a scarf) and staring at the metal clay with a fluttering heart. I'm scared....I'm excited. I will try not to give you creative whiplash. It's going to be a fun ride...wanna come?


  1. oh my Jenn!....this sounds like a lovely "plan"! :)

    ox kerin

  2. MoonKatty - bgaaakk! Working up the nerve and realizing the ideas and trying to organize my space for new materials...

    Kerin - thank you! I'm excited about experimenting. This is going to be a fun year. I already have ideas in my head about metal and free-form beading. I can't wait to try it out!

  3. Hi Jenn
    I love following your blog (your life, your travels, your journey into glass beads and jewellery) - it is never the same! You seem to be searching and changing. I love the flower earrings with the little coiled section on the front - very playful.
    Kristin :)

  4. Hi, Kristin - thanks so much! I really am enamored with glass and would love to keep doing glass. But, while my life is changing, I'm trying to adapt my jewelry to the changes I need to make until I can get back to glass. I'm looking forward to the adventure and we'll see where it leads.

    Nancy - thanks so much! It's kind of scary to change, but exhilarating at the same time.

  5. Jenn, are you familiar w/ stephanie sersich ? she is a glass bead artist that does this kind of freeform stringing...I think you 'd really like her work and she has a book....and...I am certified PMC instructor, so dont hesitate to throw any questions my way...

  6. Hi, KerinRose - yes, I bought Stephanie's book a few months back and I LOVE it. I plan to feature her book at some point. She's given me the ideas to be lush with my own lampwork (although I'm going back to stingy until I find my lampwork studio space), along with freeform seed beading and additional materials like linen and hemp. I just haven't found the resources locally yet, but I did find a few in the States.

    Ooh. I might have some questions for you on PMC. I bought copper and bronze to start with so I can learn clay things before working on the expensive stuff.