I had the good fortune to spend the weekend with a fairly large group of midwest lampworkers this weekend. While it was a fantastic learning experience and a ton of fun to boot, the event really started me thinking about what I need to do to step out of what I perceive as “the middle ground” artistically and become more unique and individual in my glasswork and in my business.
I’ve been lampworking for a little over four years and I’ve gone through several different stages in my learning, from total and complete newbie who is unable to to even get the glass on the mandrel to a published glassworker with a fairly decent part-time income. While, I have acheived some of my goals, ie…being published and actually selling my work to happy beaders and jewelry designers. I have also come to realize how little I know and how far I would like to take my glasswork.
After spending this weekend watching other more experienced glassworkers, I believe at this point the key is education to being able to acheive true self expression through my work. As I stood watching Libby from Third Degree Glass Factory explain some different techniques, I realized that what I’m lacking isn’t the imagination or the vision, but the technique and experience that no book or tutorial online can give me, but the definite need for face to face instruction both in an “official class” way and just the give and take of hanging out and trading info with other lampworkers!
Business-wise, I feel like I need to step up also! I have already invested in software to track how I spend my time in the actual making of beads, marketing, photographing and shipping as well as a more streamlined way to handle sales and the ins and outs of running a business. Shalana, (thefunkyfelter) of the KCEtsy Street Team, has written a great article about being in the middle as a seller on Etsy, which was eye opening as to how different sellers handle their businesses!
As a “Jan”, I think it’s time to work a little harder and move up to “Marcia” status during this upcoming spring and summer season with some fresh new ideas and new glass epiphanies!