One of my all-time favorite books was written by Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go. It is a wonderful expression of the journey of life and its challenges. It so playfully describes my journey from when I left a comfortable and successful 30-year career as a self-employed graphic designer through the ongoing, challenging process of becoming a self-sustaining jewelry designer and artist.
About three years ago, with bright eyes and bushy tail, I set out to express my inner most stirrings of life, wanting to use my hands instead of a computer to create something more sculptural and much more personal. The molten silver, smooth and shiny surfaces, working with the many types of fun and interesting tools — immediately, each and every aspect of jewelry making brought me an interesting mix of great joy and great challenge. Creating jewelry turned out to be exactly what my artistic soul was seeking. And so, the fun began...
Today is my day! I have brains in my head, feet in my shoes and I can steer myself in any direction I choose! I know where to go..... well, except when you don’t. Because, sometimes you won’t.
I realized about six months in — I came to a place where the streets are not marked. Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked — that I needed to seek out a veteran of the jewelry industry who could help me learn the ropes of how to create pieces that would both express my love of nature and appeal to the playful, life-loving, confident women who I envisioned wearing them. And, of course, there was the more practical, bring-me-back-down-to-earth need of doing all the aforementioned in a way that would allow me to make some kind of a living. I found a wonderful mentor, a polymer jewelry artist, Loretta Lam, who helped me see the realities of the business, especially when I couldn’t get beyond my wagging, bushy tail. So, taking Loretta’s hand, I was off and away...
I wouldn’t lag behind, because I’ll have the speed. I’ll pass the whole gang and soon take the lead.... Except when you don’t. Because, sometimes you won’t.
As I’m sure you’ve gleaned by now, despite the fears and challenges I had to face from leaving behind the steady income and familiar work of graphic design, making this career change was love at first sight. Fortunately, now three years out, and the bloom now a bit more off the rose, I am wise enough to know that, to be a profitable jewelry designer, I need more than artistic passion. I need courage, talent in a variety of areas, the willingness to learn and take on the many details of running a business, along with huge amounts of confidence, optimism and energy, both financial and physical, and lots and lots of time — and cheerleaders' help, too. And, while I’ve got tons of competition from very creative jewelry designers who’ve built large followings, this level of competition keeps forcing me to look more deeply at what’s unique about me, my perspective, and sharpening how I execute my designs.
Now with three years behind me, I’ve made great strides! I continue to steadily evolve as a jewelry designer, as an artist and business woman, and have come to really enjoy the wisdom in these verses by Dr. Seuss....
On you will go
though the weather be foul. (rainy outdoor craft shows)
On you will go
though your enemies prowl. (the competition)
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl. (I'm learning to howl back!)
Onward up many
a frightening creek, (not having the steady paycheck can be frightening!)
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.
With banner flip-flapping, I do ride high! Ready for anything under the sky!
While I haven't moved any mountains yet, I do have a lot to share about my ongoing journey to make a living doing what I love, about creativity and design, about inspiration and lots of jewelry related topics, so stay tuned — if only for the special offers and coupons I will be adding here from time to time!
be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
May I offer a few Great Places! to come and see me and my latest 2018 collection?
Please go to my events page here and come visit!
Here’s a fun offer:
Come to a show in April or May and mention Dr. Seuss and/or share your own Hakken-Krak howl, you will get 10% off your purchase! :-)
Thanks for reading and see you on the journey!