Monday, May 24, 2010

Updates and Questions...

Probably the biggest piece of news is that I'm participating in the Bead Star competition. I've got six pieces up in the finalist round in the plastics, pearls, metals, designs with heart, under $25, and crystals categories. If you get a chance please swing by and vote! There are lots of really beautiful designs to choose from. So I know that voting will be difficult. I will say that I'm particularly proud of all of my pieces and hope you like them too! Voting ends June 9th, so be sure to vote before then to make your vote count!

In other news, plans for some super secret ventures are firming up and I should be able to talk about it all in a few months. I'm really excited about it. Getting the funds together to make things happen (on the scale that I'm envisioning) is problematic, but I'm confident that things will come together. So, cross your fingers!

For the past few months I've been in serious conversation about creating a craft book. After working on my sister's book, I've decided that it has to be a topic that I'm really passionate about and is something that people are interested in. If you were to see a craft book by me, what would you like to see? What topics are out there that you're dying to see more of? I don't want to create a forgettable book that's redundant.

The other day I got the nicest email from one of the customers at a show I did several months ago. The encounter was memorable. The show wasn't that busy and we spent a lot of time talking about different techniques that she could incorporate into her work and the following day she brought a project that she was having trouble with and we worked out the kinks. The customer asked if I was considering ever teaching a "real" class. I've been reluctant to teach in the past, even though I love working with people and creative problem-solving. There are so many really great teachers out there already also. So... would you take a class from me? What kind of class would you be interested in taking? Do you like classes that are more technique based, project oriented, or idea workshops? Do you like classes that are short and sweet? Or longer ones? Perhaps a retreat? A couple of the bead personalities have been talking about having a bead retreat, leaf-looking and wine-tasting extravaganza in the autumn in upstate New York... is this something you'd be interested in attending? If you went, would you want to take classes? Have work time? Or just have fun?

The last thing that I've been working on and planning is a finished line of jewelry. I don't really sell my finished work and when I do, it's usually custom pieces that can get pretty pricey. The line I'm working on would be simpler in design and much more affordable. Would this be something that you'd be interested in buying or seeing?

I know it's a lot to ponder. I've been wracking my brain a lot and working over-time to really flesh out some of these ideas. As you can imagine, it's been a busy time around here.


Davinia said...

I'd love to buy your jewelry and when someone commented on it I would proudly say "It's by Andrew Thornton you know" As for classes and retreats, unless I win the lottery and can jump on plane (my own private jet perhaps?) and fly over from down under.......but a book would be the next best thing.

Andrew Thornton said...

Thanks for your response! You know, a bead retreat and/or classes in Australia aren't out of the question. I've been dying to go for years and years! Also, we were asked if we wanted to do a show there. The logistics were a bit hard to figure out, but it's not totally out of the question. Also, I know some folks like Stephanie Lee and Susan Lenart Kazmer who have gone to Australia for classes and retreats... so... who knows?

Nicki said...

So for me: I have one necklace made by you (Nick offered it to me for Christmas) and I wear it to very special occasions only, and love love love it. While I think that your jewelry is absolutely worth it, I need to say that I usually buy lower prices pieces, but more of them. I believe a lot of people are like that, my limit is somehow 100 Euros ;-) (at least I try). For the classes, I would really love an idea workshop, and best would be a full day. For the book, I think it would be great if you could get a lot of yourself into the book. Your jewelry is wonderful, but I think what will make the book memorable besides the pieces is if you put a lot of your personality in there and create the feeling that people want to go back to the book and read it even if they know all the projects.

kate mckinnon said...

Andrew, I think that you would be a wonderful teacher. It's true that there are a lot of teachers out there, but that doesn't mean that there are a lot of *great* teachers out there.

I know that you would be tremendous. I hope that you do it!

As far as classes go, I think that while there are a lot of people who just want to take half day project classes, there are plenty of people who can teach those. What I'd personally love to see you do are longer concept classes and workshops. The retreat sounds heavenly.

Libby said...

A lot to ponder indeed! Yay Andrew!

Sharilyn Miller wrote an excellent article entitled "The Art of Teaching Workshops," published in the 2006 inaugural issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry, offering a very realistic view of teaching and sharing one's passion. Much food for thought.

Tagging along on your journey to the next level is exciting and inspiring. :)

Rachel said...

My 3 bead buddies and I are planning a weekend retreat just for us in the late summer/early fall at the Shawnee State Forest in southern Ohio. Since you're not that far away, you're more than welcome to join us for beautiful scenery, wonderful lodging and great food and of course loving fellowship!


Jeannie said...

Well Andrew all good questions. I think a book(s) or class(s) done by you would be very well received regardless of the topic.

A class or retreat is a no-can-do for me unless it's in my area. I don't travel well.

I know from experience that you have to teach classes on topics you're passionate about and have a lot of expertise in.

In the meantime I hope all your works-in-progress and dreams come to fruition and all goes smoothly.

You work hard and I admire and respect that.

The integrity you bring to this business is beyond reproach and when someone dis-credits you or your work, they have no idea what they're talking about.
Unfortunately, I think you will always be a target for the mis-informed.

Keep Your Head Up and Keep On Keep'in On

TesoriTrovati said...

First off, congratulations on the Bead Star pieces. 6 is a great accomplishment! I have three, and although I voted for myself in those three I am sure that I voted for some of yours in the other categories.
As for the jewelry line, I think a simpler style would be nice. It would be wonderful to own a piece by Andrew Thornton.
And the book? Well, your sister's book is so unusual and lovely. I imagine that you would do something like that. You have a deep way of looking at things and I know that you could say so much more in a book. And I am a book junkie so you know that I would have to have it in my library.

And for classes. A retreat sounds neat. But I wouldn't be able to come to one that far away, alas. I see you doing something more on the idea exploration route. Maybe a field trip of sorts to find the little things that are overlooked on a walk, the way you take pictures and have a sketchbook or journal.

Whatever you do, it will be fun to see where your journey takes you.
Enjoy the day!

Jan said...

I don't take a lot of classes, as money is often tight, but I do take them where I would learn something that I would find more difficult to pick up from a book, or website, which is why I have been taking metals classes.

As a teacher, short classes work if you are teaching basic beadwork, and are teaching locally, as the class can then be a little cheaper. I teach a lot of beginners classes that last 2 to 3 hours, but I also have other classes that are more in depth. Designing a beginners class that is interesting and stimulating, but still uses simple techniques is harder than you think.

If you have farther to travel it may be better to teach in a store for a day or two in each place, or to do a series of shorter classes over the course of a few days, so that you can keep your travelling and materials costs to a minimum. If you have friends in areas where you are teaching, they may put you up for a couple of days, which could save money.

I have always liked the mixed media aspect to your work and the way you compose your designs, some students have difficulty with asymmetry and balancing different elements, or perhaps a class in using found objects and journalling/ sketchbooks, to enhance your beading experiences.

Whatever you decide to do, I'm sure you will do well, and you will often learn as much from your students as they will from you.

Diana P. said...

Andrew I would buy a book or take a class by you any day! And if you do decide to move forward with a NY bead retreat I'm so there!

Regarding length/time of classes, I like anything from a 3 hour class to a half day class. It just depends on what is being taught.

Susan Marling said...

I would love to own a piece of your jewelry but with the economy like it is - I have to shop wisely so some less expensive pieces would be a good idea. I definitely would take a class from you - I like techniques and idea sharing. Retreats would be great but there again is the nasty issue of money if they are far away. You are not too far from VA so I would hope if you do teach it would be fairly close. Good luck with the new ventures.

Andrew Thornton said...

Hey Rachel!

The retreat in Ohio sounds fun. Let me know the details and we'll see what we can do.