Studio Blues: Lisa Liddy

10 09 2008

I would love to have the perfect studio…currently I share space with my other business (book design) and my 15-year-old daughter’s study area (hmmm…it is not heavily used so I may appropriate it back). In any event, it’s crowded. I forgot to mention two other “coworkers”: the Greyhound sprawled under my desk most mornings and the Maltese who gets into the most unlikely nooks and crannies.

Let’s back up. My office/studio is what would have been the third garage stall when we built our house 18 years ago. It’s long and has one big window at the front. Both sides are lined with either bookcases or computer equipment. And it’s a mess. Seriously. I work best with all my book design projects spread out (otherwise I forget about one or the other since I juggle a dozen or so any given week). Similarly, I work best on jewelry when I have many projects underway and supplies spread out.

A couple of years ago I did carve out space for my photo area and I have to say it is pretty cool. I can practically stage and shoot pics of jewelry and then edit them on the computer without leaving my chair. OK, so I have to leave my chair but it beats the heck out of running back and forth from the dining room to the office in less than ideal light.  So that’s a good thing. (In the interests of full disclosure…it looks nothing like picture that I grabbed from the archives…I missed it the first time I looked! Too uncluttered!)

And a  year or so ago, I inherited a very cool printer’s type file cabinet…8 drawers, each 6″ tall. (see below) Perfect for storing beading supplies! There’s the silver drawer, the lampwork drawer, the pearls drawer, mailing/packaging drawer…you get the picture. And one other worktop/drawer combo that has fallen prey to clutter and “stackage”.

So if you are keeping up visually, you are probably wondering how the heck I can do any jewelry work in a space like I described. The reality is I don’t anymore. I have a lovely bead rack to be able to view my favorite collectables and I have an area that I can fondle and gaze at newly acquired beads and supplies, but I actually leave this area now and move to the kitchen table to create. The light is better, the TV is out there, my daughter is usually out there, and I have room to spread out. Picture a  windowseat and a round table for 4, both half-covered with supplies. Three or four beading trays with various projects, findings, beads, tools, inspiration.

Where do we eat if I have taken over the kitchen table? At this stage of life, my husband is gone 5 or 6 days a week traveling on business, so meals are non-traditional at best. There’s room for my daughter and I to sit at the table and I can stack a bit to fit a third person. It used to bother my husband after a few weeks, but the reality is more jewelry gets made there than family meals so he’s gotten past it. We use the dining room if we have more people and on the occasions where we are entertaining, I stack everything carefully and use one of the cabinet drawers to do a mass “hide”. I have to see what I’m working with, or even what I’m not working with, because I might want to work with it. It works for now and lets me stay more central to my family.

Back to the perfect studio…if I could design that it would include:

1. Lots of natural light
2. Lots of space to spread out
3. Lots of storage opportunities
4. Lots of display area
5. Room for playmates
6. Someone to pick up after me and
    know exactly where I put the perfect bead or finding
7. Lots of time! (A girl can dream!)

Lisa Liddy


Color Me All Over the Place — Lisa Liddy

10 06 2008

When it comes to choosing colors for jewelry, I admit it—I am all over the place. I buy beads and pearls and other supplies in the colors that I like first. Then I look around at what is HOT for the season (might seem a backward approach but I get where I need to be eventually). Usually there is some overlap (always a good thing!). And I’m always looking at the classics and neutrals.

If I’m wearing it this summer, it’s likely to be fuschia, orange, hot pink and black. Somehow my summer casual wardrobe (6 months of wear in AZ!) ended up in those color combos. I call it “accidental coordination”. My sub-conscious knew more than I did when I was out looking for clothes! This bracelet is actually my daughter’s but if she doesn’t start wearing it soon, I’ll reclaim it!

I’m a sucker for black and white in jewelry, too. It always sells and no one seems to think you can have too many pieces in that color scheme! And I’ve also gotten hooked on pale pink and brown like in this ring. I call these “Sex and the City” colors!

As I’ve gotten more years behind me in the business, I’ve tended to avoid most holiday, seasonal colors (with the exception of a very few red, green, and white pieces) in favor of more marketable year-round colors. And in the “rules are made to be broken” category, I’m working on a red, white, blue bracelet—but that is really more for another blogging project than to sell. I have some great ideas in holiday color schemes, but I find my style of jewelry doesn’t sell easily when wearing time is limited.

All shades of purple appeal to me and to my buyers. It’s such a comforting color palette for me too. When I am having a creative drought, I pull out my purple stash and start to relax and let things flow.

Another combination that always makes me feel good are “watermelon” shades: pinks, greens, reds… Especially for summer but I make Melonhead Joolz year-round thanks to generous beadmaker friends.

Eventually, I’m going to get my office repainted in soothing shades of teal and mauvey plum. I have had the paint chips picked out for a year but if you’ve been in my office, you’d know what an ordeal it will be to paint.

I told you I’m all over the place with colors! I’ve thought about sorting all my handmade glass beads by color, but I’m half afraid where I saw “gaps” in the color wheel, I’d feel the need to fill in and that would be a bad thing!

I really can’t imagine life without all the colors of the rainbow in beads!