I’m a Bead Star!

9 12 2008


After months of keeping the information under wraps, I can finally announce that I’m a BeadStar! My entry in the Hearts category of BeadingDaily.com’s contest received First Place. The BeadStar contest is sponsored by Interweave Press and BeadingDaily.com.

Some of you might remember voting online for my Hill Tribe Hearts “Hearts Galore” necklace and my “Golden Animal Attraction” lampwork glass bracelet several months ago. Your votes helped get me to the Finals with other deserving entries. I am grateful to all of you for voting and passing on my request to your friends and family as well.

I’m very pleased with not only the necklace, but with the honor and can hardly believe I won a prize in the first beading contest I entered. I’m hoping this will be the boost my creative side needs to get going again with new designs. It’s been a bit of a dry spell between the economic woes and some personal struggles. Time to revive my creative spirit and parlay this honor into some good press, both locally and on the internet! Fame is fleeting, fortunes are welcome, and reality is ever present. I hope to enter some other contests, as well as submit projects to bead magazines. I’ve been told that I should do that in the past and I guess this is validation for me. It’s OK to put yourself out there, winning or not.

Here is another picture of my winning entry:


The First Place win in the Hearts category meant I was in the running for the Grand Prize (that honor went to Valerie Aharoni from New York for the lovely seed bead necklace that graces the cover of the inaugural issue of BeadStar magazine). Take a look at the magazine when you find it next week!


So what happens to the winning necklace? I had the opportunity to have it returned or to donate it to an auction to benefit the American Heart Association’s women’s heart-health initiatives. It seemed fitting that a necklace made of all hearts should be donated to a benefit for heart health. “Hearts Galore” will be on display at Bead Fest Santa Fe, March 12-15, 2009. Interweave will host a silent auction for five of the pieces live at the event on March 14 and 15, while the rest of the jewelry will be auctioned on eBay from March 6-16. I’m not sure which venue my piece will be in.

Information and contest rules for next year’s Bead Star 2009 contest will be posted on the magazine’s website, BeadStar.com, on December 16.


The Journey—Lisa Liddy

10 07 2008

Sometimes the creative journey seems a lot like air travel today. Not nearly as easy as it was years ago! Lots of missed connections and extra costs. Delays and a few unexpected surprises on the trip.

I’ve hit those snags and delays of late so I’m going to take this “journey” more in terms of how I ended up creating jewelry and developing a business out of it. I liked how Lori Anderson handled it in her post awhile back.

I’ve always done crafty things. Sewing was my primary love for years and years until my daughter was born. I’ve not sewn creatively since then. The floor was my preferred place to layout and pin patterns…not conducive with an infant/toddler. And somewhere along the lines “they” resized the patterns on me! (OK, it was baby weight that never left, but the thrill of making my own clothes left around that time). 

I dabbled in beading years and years ago when I was single with a beaded Christmas tree…made two of them! And then moved on to other things. Have crocheted a bit, fabric painted, and a few other activities through the years.

When Emma was 6 or 7 she was invited to a birthday party at a bead store…the girls made little strung necklaces from kits that they chose. She ended up at several and had her own party there one year too. Since the moms stayed closer for those parties, I spent some time poking around the store and occasionally found time to go and sit for a couple hours working on projects for me or as gifts. I learned how to crimp endings and add clasps and the general mechanics of finishing off necklaces and bracelets (as well as an understanding that buying retail was going to get really expensive!).

I wasn’t hooked  yet. But it was coming. I had discovered Ebay and developed an interest in vintage jewelry that never really went anyway…I’ve got a box of old earrings that have been turned into holiday wreaths and mini-trees for charity over the years. Somehow though in the course of searching, i stumbled on lampwork beads and the obsession was born. I was fascinated with these glass beauties and the detail in them. I bought and bought and developed relationships and friendships with beadmakers all over the world. It was the bonus in the purchase as I had become a bit of a homebody: husband traveled every week, main business was homebased and computer driven, daughter was fairly high maintenance. I didn’t get out much for several years. So my online beadie friends were a godsend. A couple would suggest that I should learn to make my own beads (a couple others thought that was a bad idea! 🙂 ) and as much as I love the beads, I realize that I have no time in my life to become as skilled as my taste in beads would require. But I digress.

After collecting beads for a bit, I was making them into jewelry (I actually started with natural stones and crystals and Bali silver but moved on from there to almost exclusively lampwork, freshwater pearls and Hill Tribe silver). In late fall 2001 while we were still reeling from the devastation of 9/11, my husband found out he was losing his job. He stayed on to close down the corporate office (which moved back east) and then tried to find work in the hospitality business for over a year. During that time, I ramped up the book design business and he took over as the “senior editor/delivery boy” enabling me to grow my business enough to keep us afloat on one income for awhile. He started working for one of my clients and eventually ended up working for the large publisher who purchased my client’s business.

But it was a long and stressful side trip…I worked endless hours at times and found comfort and sanity by having a bead tray nearby. I could lay out the beads and push them around into various designs even for just 15 minutes late at night. It calmed me. I usually started several projects that way and a week later might get to the point where I could string them. Finishing them off might be another week later in stolen moments. Friends and family wanted to buy what I was making. Somewhere along the way I was introduced to Nirvana (the gemshows in Tucson, not the band!) and Joolz by Lisa was born.


I still struggle with finding the time for ongoing creation, not to mention the venue for successful selling and I love to be surrounded by my treasured beads. It’s a topic for another day but my office is a co-mingling of my two lives. To the left of the computer are all things book design. To the right, all things bead and jewelry related. Those who have seen it are a little unsure how I get anything done!

Let the journey continue.


Recharging: Lisa Liddy

11 05 2008

Recharge: Refresh, restore, revitalize, renew, renew

I guess you could say I’m “recharging” now. Sales have been stagnant on non-essentials like jewelry for a few months and seeing more money going out on show expenses than coming in, means time to re-evaluate. Summer is coming and people have vacations on their minds more than beautiful necklaces and bracelets. (Not saying I agree with that logic!)

Do I think that the stimulus checks will see their way to boosting my sales? Probably not—in the short term anyway. And since I don’t see my style of jewelry going out of style, I am biding my time. Business from my “day” job (book design) has been up consistently since the first of the year, so that takes the front seat. I wouldn’t have had time to build inventory and create new designs, much less spend the time on marketing, so I’ve not been in panic mode. It seemed a reasonable time to go with the lull.

So now is the time to:

  • Explore and master new techniques.
  • Fine-tune the production process.
  • Tidy up the work area (OK, seriously, I may never get to that point).
  • Catch up on design magazines.
  • Design new Melonhead Joolz for the summer season and upcoming charity events.
  • Sign up for classes to expand my skills.
  • Investigate contests and submissions.
  • Research other sales venues.
  • Make Joolz just for me!

I’m working on plans for a couple of home parties in different states this summer as well as planning some long weekends with bead friends.

I’ll be ready when the market turns around…refreshed and recharged…

Lisa Liddy, Joolz by Lisa

More on Motivation – Lisa Liddy

10 03 2008

I have procrastinated on this topic as it frustrates me as often as it excites me. And hoped that someone else would jump in with another topic! Since no one is going to save me, I’ll lead with another look at Motivation.Designing jewelry is something I kind of fell into. It was a way to hang onto a shred of sanity during an incredibly difficult time a few years ago. It relaxed me. And then people wanted to buy what I made (which meant I could buy more beads and silver and pearls…without feeling too guilty!) and that was satisfying as well as motivating. Sometimes.But real life gets in the way more times than not and things don’t happen at a pace that you would like. I’ve always worked best under pressure…deadline-driven is how my other business has to operate and I’m much more productive when there are hard deadlines. Like many artists, though, the thrill of having someone want your work is often as motivational as the monetary result. It pushes me to step out of my box more and reach for new ideas. However, sales of jewelry aren’t exactly “needs” in the economic scheme of things, so when sales are slow, the motivation to create new things slows for me as well. It should work the opposite and I’m working to change that mindset.Something else I’m trying to jumpstart the motivation is to incorporate some “new” activities into my day and week. Instead of feeling like any free time from the book design business should be spent on the Joolz business, I’ve been looking into crocheting again. And dabbling into felting beads. I love yarns and wools (ironic since it is too darn hot for most of those materials most of the year in Arizona), and I’m looking more at the fun fibers for my play time. We’ll see where that goes.fiberheart1.jpg