Kathy Perras Beads
March 20, 2017
It has been quite awhile since I posted here. It seems that there are so many things to distract me, such as making more beads! Politics this year have managed to distract me more than I like to admit and I am certainly dealing with anxiety about what is happening in this country and the world in general. Here is a photo of the Women's march in PDX. It was very empowering to be among my friends in protest.
I am no longer connected to a distributor in China so I hope to see more Chinese customers in my shop this year buying directly from me. I still have trouble shipping to China so I hope to address those problems as I talk to my Chinese customers.
It has been a good time to spend lots of hours in the studio trying to create something rather than dwell on things that I am unable to change or affect by choice. I hope to make lots of new styles and designs with this time in the studio. Here are some of the newer designs this month:
November 22, 2016,
It has been a turbulent year! I will be happy to see 2017. I really can't complain though since I get to make beautiful beads everyday and talk to wonderful people who love art and glass. I am a very lucky person and am reminded of that fact on a daily basis. I will be busy making more new styles of beads and getting them into my Etsy store in the months ahead. I no longer have a distributor in China it seems so I hope my Chinese customers will be able to order my beads through Etsy. I am worried about that because I have lost many packages to China and am unable to insure them. So, any orders must be made with the understanding that I am not responsible for the loss of a package. I wish I could understand why this problem happens so much in certain countries. I feel terrible about it! I know some of my foreign customers use an American address for their packages and that seems to resolve the delivery issues but I am not sure how it works. For those of you who would like to see my current work, be sure to visit my Etsy shop: PerrasBeads. Here is a sample of some new beads.
February 13, 2016,
It has been a busy few months with the holidays and so much to do with family and friends. I was unable to even work in my garage studio for weeks at a time due to the cold weather here in Portland. That is rather unusual here since we live in such a temperate climate. So, I just took a much needed break from the studio and tried to think about some creative ideas for new work and new styles for 2016.
I have been seeing so many large focal beads online for Troll bracelets but I just never had the time or the inclination to try making the larger beads. I really didn't think customers would be that interested in them! After putting a few photos on Facebook, I was stunned to see the orders come in for the "Barrel" beads that I had made. I am really enjoying making them because they offer a wider space to create patterns and visual styles that I was unable to explore on the smaller, more traditional Troll beads that I have been making for years. So, expect to see more of these beads in the days and weeks to come. Also, thanks again for your messages and purchases of m beads from my Etsy Shop. It is such a joy to have my job!
November 24, 2015
It is the holiday season and amid the shopping frenzy for Christmas and all the family plans, I wanted to take time to tell all my customers and friends how grateful I am for their continued support. I encourage all of you to consider buying your holiday purchases from artisans and craftspersons whenever possible. It is a tough economy and so many artists are trying to sustain themselves in difficult times. These artisans work hard to provide unique and handmade items that are created with years of experience and much love. I know there is a lot of competition for you hard-earned dollars. Just a reminder to look towards handmade gifts rather than those created by corporations and machines. Many Thanks!!
October 11, 2015,
I can't believe that it has been a year since I updated this Blog. And yet...... I can believe it when I think of how my days and weeks have been spent over the last year. There have been so many changes and so much new work completed this last year. I have been one of those fortunate beadmakers who has been able to create and sell at a fairly consistent level - I have been truly blessed. Having a website (that I have rarely have enough time to update), a constant presence on my 2 Facebook pages (PerrasBeads and Kathy Perras), a store on Etsy (PerrasBeads), auctions on FB groups, and other marketing projects - I have had to make serious choices as to where to spend my time each day. Sometimes, I wish all I had to do each day was make beads (which is a joyous and creative process) but life as an self-representing artist is much more complicated than that these days. If you are wondering why my website is neglected - below is my explanation of what it takes to get a bead ready for you and my shop. If you are not wondering - skip the next 3 paragraphs - BORING details! Stop here just and let me thank all of you for making me feel fulfilled as an artist! LOL
This is my schedule as a professional beadmaker: Each work day, (at least 5-6 per week) I start by creating beads over an Oxygen/Propane fueled torch in my home studio. These beads include waiting orders from customers worldwide and hopefully new and different styles in addition to my routine production work of favorites. This requires about 4-6 hours a day. The completed beads are placed in a kiln when they must cool down slowly. I retrieve beads from the kiln the next day (since they must be annealed overnight for strength, sort them by size and inspect them for quality and remove the ones that do not quite make the grade to sell (yes, it happens), then I ream (clean) out the bead holes, measure and carefully cut silver tubing to fit each individual bead, press the tubing (with special tools) into each bead until it fits perfectly (a two step process). At least 5 percent of the beads can be cracked or ruined in the lining process. Then, I place the newly-lined beads in a tumbler to polish the silver. After they have spent hours in the tumbler, they are cleaned and sorted again. Then each bead is photographed at least 3 times in preparation for it's sale on Etsy. The photos are processed (by me) with a computer photo-editing application so you can accurately see each bead online. Then, each bead is numbered and measured for it's sale template in my shop. Finally I have a listing ready for Etsy! Hopefully I am able to add a unique description for each bead before it is listed as a sale. Then the listed beads are labeled, bagged and sorted by numbers and dates. The sale is ready. On to the next step once it has been sold.
Once the beads is sold, it is ribboned, wrapped, bagged and packed for shipment. The paperwork and shipping process begins with time spent online for creating labels and filling out forms and paperwork. Then the boxes are taken to the post office. In between all these activities, I try to keep in contact with my customers and maintain an efficient time-line of orders that are waiting to be filled and shipped. This includes creating posts on FB, the creation of photo albums and lots of emails and messages.
That is the work process for making and selling the beads. It doesn't include the time required for all the other things that involve paperwork, studio maintenance, ordering studio supplies, and other numerous activities required to maintain a business. When all is said and done, being an artist requires long hours and attention to details. I think back to the times when I did 6-8 shows around the country each year and I can't imagine how I was ever able to keep up with all that in addition to what I do now. Maybe it is because I am getting older but I don't know how other bead artists do what I do and travel to do shows as well. Many of my artist friends sell on eBay, Etsy, bead shows, trunk shows and FB on a level that boggles the mind. Where do they find the energy and the time?
I remember when I was at my last show and a customer said to me... "Wow, what great beads! You must have fun all day doing this!" My mind quickly catalogued all the things I mentioned above and then I realized that my answer was truthfully..."Yes, I do. I really do!" Remembering that each day has been helpful to me when I am tired and uninspired, when I remember that i need to update my website, when I start to complain to my family that I am tired and need a day off ..... I remember my day fondly and realize that I am fortunate to be able to do all that I do each and every day. Each day I make something that has the potential to make someone smile and bring a little bit of joy into their life. Every single day! Honestly, it just doesn't get any better than that. So.... please accept my heartfelt thanks to all of you for supporting me and other artists with your patronage and your kind words for what we do. You have given us a wonderful gift.
October 7th, 2014
New Journal starting today! I am happy to announce that I have been working with a new friend, Zhang Yi, in China. She will be representing my work in China.