10 January 2013

Designs for Life

My whole life changed in 2003 when I realized the power of just 37 days.
Since then, I’ve learned to say yes to life–and that’s why I write, why I speak, why I teach:
to open space for others to say yes to their lives in a big, joyous, fantastic way.
I want you to live fully, love well, let go deeply, and know that you matter.
Together, let’s re-discover the extraordinary in everyday life, every day.
No urgent striving, just amazing being. And room to breathe.
Inhale lightness. Exhale heaviness.
~Patti Digh

When I started my journey with the Simple Truths, I really didn't know how it would end up. I just knew that I wanted to have something to call my own. And to be thought of as an art bead designer, well, that is something I am very humbled and proud about at the same time.

So this fall when my friend Erin Siegel sent me a note about an opportunity she heard of that she thought I would be perfect for, you cannot imagine how fast I stampeded to it! Erin wrote me about Patti Digh, an inspirational writer who was launching a website filled with artisan created wares supporting her 37Days mission. Had I ever heard of her?

Had I ever heard of her!

It is so sweet that Miss Erin thought of me after reading that call for artisans. What Erin didn't know was that Patti Digh was the impetus for my entire line of Simple Truths pendants! Back in 2010 I was following through on a challenge with a group called the Working Artist Initiative. I had to have a plan for the 7 months and my goal was to create a line of components that I could use in my own work and that others might want to use as well. At the time I had just picked up a pithy little book by Patti Digh called Four Word Self Help: Simple Wisdom for Complex Lives. As soon as I finished it I knew that words would be prominent in my designs. A few months later, the first Simple Truths were born.

So it is serendipity that Miss Erin sent this to me. I was in the midst of preparing for my once a year show as well as getting ready for the Inspired by Nature retreat so naturally I dropped everything and wrote up my proposal that very day.

Thank you, Miss Erin, for believing in me and seeing the possibilities.

A few weeks later I got a note saying that they were pleased to inform me that I had made it into the next round of consideration and could I please send them some samples of my work.

They told me that I didn't have to send the exact pieces that I proposed, but something to judge the style and quality of my work. But me being me, I knew that I had to create something on the spot that would be in keeping with the messages that Miss Digh shares through her writing, speaking and website.

I discovered another new collection of inspirational writings that Patti compiled called What I Wish For You: Simple Wisdom for a Happy Life and immediately ordered it. This is one of those books that is fun to pick up and read at any time. It is a compilation of short essays from her readers and followers around 6 different chapters inspired by the occasion of her eldest child leaving for college. I think that that it is the perfect gift for anyone embarking on a new path, or really anyone who just seeks to be inspired by the wisdom that is in all of us.

I was struck by the chapter headings:
CHAPTER 1. Remember who you are: be you
CHAPTER 2. Know what matters most: be passionate
CHAPTER 3. Make peace with time: be present
CHAPTER 4. Let go of certainty: be unsure
CHAPTER 5. Learn something every day: be curious
CHAPTER 6. Open up your hand: be free

Aha! A word goldmine!

I created three prototypes to send to them

remember who you are....be you
make peace with time....be present
life is short. live accordingly. 
That last one I found as the P.S. on the home page of Patti's website. A great reminder.

They wanted to know what colors, what options for customization there would be. So I sent them three different metals in three different watercolor washes.

I had to send these the first week in November just as Sandy was hitting the coast. Because of that, deliveries were delayed and I felt that I was going to be out of consideration because of this little glitch, but they were so nice and assured me that it was fine.

A few more weeks go by. Truthfully, I had sort of forgotten all about it in the throes of a little thing I like to call the Challenge of Color, so it was such a surprise to receive notice that I was selected to have my designs sold on the Designs for Life website! Woohoo!

Miss Patti's website is 37Days.com which is in reference to her first book Life is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful and Live Intentionally. The goal for the artisan community is to support her positive messages with handmade goodness. There are books, housewares, mugs, posters, wall art, t-shirts and yes, jewelry. I am one of the founding artisans on the site! How cool is that?

The designs that I created are in my popular Message Stick pendant style in the three messages. If they go well and I am invited to stay on (keeping fingers crossed), I hope to continue with the remaining four messages from Miss Digh's book. Each pendant is finished on an 18" chain matching the metal and is EXCLUSIVE to Patti Digh's Designs for Life. If you are interested, please go and take a look and you can get your very own inspirational pendant necklace. A great gift for someone you love, or yourself! You deserve something beautiful and meaningful, too!

This new venture is in its fledgling stages and I really hope that it has wings strong enough to fly high. As the first time being selected for a retail venue, it is exactly what I would wish for... people who care passionately about handmade, and back that up with messages of positivity all from really nice people. I would dearly love one day to have the good fortune to meet Miss Digh in person to tell her how much her words have influenced me. In the meantime, I like to envision that perhaps she is wearing one of these pendants right now. Wouldn't that be cool?

Words are so very powerful. They have the capacity to hurt or heal, build or destroy. When I started this line, I would go around asking people to tell me their power mantra, that word or phrase that defined them, inspired them, gave them strength. That is what I started with in the Simple Truths before it branched out to being more poetic. So this is like coming full circle.

And it works perfectly with the new goals that I have for my line for 2013. I have three goals with this line:

1:: I want to get back to that power mantra idea. I would like people to have a pendant or charm or component that speaks with their voice. 
2:: I want to do as many of my own images as possible. To that end I have started carving my own texture plates so that I can have my own look. And I am reviving a design that never made it to the site but features my own carved image in a stamp.
3:: I want to focus on limited edition pendants that will be seasonal as well as inspired by all 12 months of the Art Bead Scene challenges.

I have let the participants in the Simple Truths Sampler club know this as well, especially the part about the Art Bead Scene inspiration. To that end, I am just completing the first pendants that I carved from my own design, inspired by the January Art Bead Scene painting, and featuring new-to-me techniques with finishing patinas. The Sampler Club will always have first dibs on these limited edition pendants after which I can choose to release them to others.  I will share more on that on January 19th as that is my day for Studio Saturday with a giveaway of one of these new designs.

I am participating in the Focusing on Life 52 week challenge hosted by Sally of The Studio Sublime. Of course, I signed up late, and I haven't had a chance to catch up, but hopefully by Saturday I will have both posts ready to go. The first is a self-portrait. (Ugh.) And the second is to show what my one word is for 2013. I am still waiting for that word to attach itself to me. But I think I may have found it.

Along with that, I discovered that another friend, Miss Tracy Statler of Make Bracelets is hosting a blog hop challenge for February 2nd called Wellness Words Jewelry Blog Hop. The idea is to take your word - your power mantra - and create a piece of jewelry around it. I have been wanting to do that forever, and also offer pendants with those personal words on them. I just found the perfect setting for them and I have them on rush order to me. So very soon I will be able to offer a Simple Truth Power Mantra pendant just for you! Stay tuned on that!

And of course, a really long time ago I signed up to join Lori Anderson in the Memories & Thanks Blog Hop. Of course, that is happening this Saturday and I have yet to consider what I will make. I still have like two days, right? I have thought a lot about what I will post, and it is a super hard thing to write, but creating something that works for this is eluding me as well. The very difficult, delicate and painful nature of this subject I simply must write about is putting a roadblock on my creativity.

One of my goals this year is to learn new things. Who am I kidding? Actually, that is my goal pretty much all the time. Right now I am considering what I can commit to taking at the Bead & Button show (Are you coming? Let me know!) and I am also considering some other venues, like ArtBliss if the stars can align and the flights will stay low. So to start the year off learning something new that doesn't require hotel reservations and invite jetlag, I joined in Kerry Bogert's Aspire to Wire e-course. I love the attention to detail that this woman puts into everything. I stand in awe of her. She is not only a wonderful wife and mother, an amazing photographer and an author I admire, but a truly gifted artist filled to the brim with creative energy with a love of color and a talent for being on the cutting edge of design. Each day for a month there is a new technique to learn, a new project to try, and I plan to do as many of them as I can. Maybe I can roll that into the Memories & Thanks blog hop?

And if you are looking for a giveaway to cure the winter doldrums, head on over to Earrings Everyday where I posted a colorful array of earrings called Sweet Serendipity (above) inspired by the Pantone colors for Spring 2013 with a chance to win a pair of your very own!

Whew! Are you tired yet? I am! But I am ready to get started.

Time to kick 2013 into high gear!


Courtney said...

What a wonderful post Erin! I don't think I can say CONGRATULATIONS enough!

I look forward to what 2013 brings for you.

Anonymous said...

Cannot wait to see what you create this year! Thanks for this post to inspire us all to live in the present.

Anonymous said...

Cannot wait to see what you create this year! Thanks for this post to inspire us all to live in the present.

Brandi Hussey said...

Oh my gosh, Miss Erin, LOOK AT YOU! The only thing coming to mind right now is "kismet". The stars are definitely aligning for you, my friend, have no doubt.


Cassi Renee said...

Congratulations! What a wonderful example of the way life circles around :) Your work certainly deserves the recognition!

Penny Neville said...

Erin, reading your post made be feel such happiness and joy for you! Congratulations and thanks for the share on Patti, I can't wait to pick up one of her books!

sandi m said...

Erin, So nice to see your treasures in a new venue for the entire world to discover ~ Congratulations!!
Yes, will definitely be making the trip to B&B; need to keep my streak going, 10 years. I want to take a class, but which one or two?!
Look forward to your hops this year – I’m seriously thinking of finally creating a blog so I can participate and join in the fun.

Lori Bowring Michaud said...

Congratulations to you Erin! Such an accomplishment and oh so joyful that it meshes so well with your belief system and creative process!

Anonymous said...

Oh well done Miss Erin, you must be so thrilled! And it certainly sounds like you are going to keep busy this year, I'm exhausted just reading about it! I'm looking forward to reading about it.

TheEccentricLady said...

So glad I stopped by tonight. I just bought 2 of Patti's books. I became unemployed in Oct. and really want to give my handmade life a go. Looking forward to these books. I have already been on a path of a slower more artful life but your story inspired me. Congratulations on your success!

JeannieK said...

Just wanted to say I'm so, so happy for you. It's nice to have friends like that. I wish you the best always.

Kathleen Lange Klik said...

Congratulations on being selected to have your designs sold on the Designs for Life website! What an exciting adventure! Your Simple Truths really are brilliant and wonderful. One of the best creations I have seen.

I look forward to seeing what you create this year!

Kim Stevens said...

Oh gosh, I'm not even sure where to start. First, congratulations X's 100 to you Erin, how very exciting. I'm still trying to find just the right things to put with my simple truth pieces...now that i'm starting back to my metals class I may have to make an enameled piece to go with them.

And...I'm going to check out Patti Digh next, her book, the website, all of it. Her writing sounds right up my alley...(I secretly want to publish a small inspirational book with some of my writings and photos). I love her quote at the top, and I love the headers of the chapters!! As for your word . . . it's on the tip of your tongue, I just feel it!!

quiltingjewel39 said...

What a great post - I really enjoyed it. I love your pendants and am thrilled for you that you hvae so much going. ArtBliss is wonderful venue and I'd love to see you at that one. Good luck this year.


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