Studio Saturday: Cindy wants to know what you think!

Welcome to Studio Saturday! Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you’ll leave comments! As an incentive we offer a free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard. The following week we choose a random winner.

Last week’s winner is Mikki! Congratulations! You have won one of Heather’s grab bags! Send Heather an email and she will get it right out to you.

Stepping in for Lynn Davis this week, is ABS Editor, Cindy Gimbrone.

Welcome to Studio Saturday! Over the past few years, I challenged myself to come up with interesting designs in beads and findings that could be made for production. I spent the last few years creating a line of beads that I could make a production level for wholesale orders. So I created modern, clean designs such as the Frost Links

…and versatile findings like the double dips….

Although I love these and will keep making them, the wholesale hasn’t taken off, so it’s time to switch gears. I miss making painted beads like Thoughtful.

I know I want to freshen up my line of beads and make something in my style yet I’m not quite sure what. So, I’m asking your opinion. After reviewing the style of beads I make, what do you think is the next logical step in style? Do I pursue the modern, clean lines and create graphic style beads or pursue the painted beads or maybe something completely different from those choices?

I look forward to your suggestions! Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win the Red Art Modern bronze pendant.

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32 Comment

  1. Dawn Doucette
    March 27, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Good Morning Cindy! When I'm shopping for beads, I tend to go for soft, more romantic in style rather than the contemporary with clean lines.

    But that's just me. Everybody does have their own tastes, and I think part of the balance for you as the artist is what do you love, Love, LOVE to create? Because when you just love creating a style, it'll come through in the finished product. People will gravitate toward it automatically because you will be known as THE BEST at that style!

    Thanks for sharing your various styles in this post. I love the soft finish of the glass in the first picture, and would love to see that maybe hand painted in pendant style?!?! 🙂

    Have a terrific weekend!

  2. mairedodd
    March 27, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    i guess i would ask what speaks to you the most… your links are wonderful – could they be made into toggles as well? your painted pieces are very personal and great… perhaps work those into themes that seem to be popular but are true to you… i know that didn't help much, sorry… i would like to know how you feel though!

  3. Karen Beth
    March 27, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    You should go with what warms your heart and makes you WANT to get out there and create!

    Personally, I love clean lines, modern, vintage sort of feel. The frosted links are definitely my style but that's me.

    You should go with what screams you and if that's the painted beads then go with it.

    Hope that helps.

  4. After Hours Art Glass
    March 27, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    I was in the same boat myself and will offer advice on what worked for me. As a beadmaker I don't like the word "wholesale", I think it cheapens our work and makes it less appealing. I've always felt that to obtain wholesale I'd have to mark up my beads so much to break even, that I'd lose the customers that are dearest to me, the ones that appreciate the work and effort that goes into them. I have "Customer Appreciation" sales where I offer discounts to my top customers, the ones that buy 5+ sets at a time. I create bead sets that are fairly easy to duplicate, I like to think I have a "style" that is easily recognizable but I don't limit myself to any certain style as a beadmaker. Some days I like "clean & simple" designs, other days I'm in a "floral" mood. My customers never know what to expect and that's part of the appeal I think. Create a line of beads and focals that are easy to reproduce but also reflect your personal style. Make them available in limited quantities and take orders for them. That's what works for me, without burning myself out on wholesale! I could talk forever on this subject Cindy!
    Good luck!

  5. After Hours Art Glass
    March 27, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    I've been in the same boat and would love to share what worked for me. As a beadmaker, I don't like the word "Wholesale", I think it cheapens our work and makes it less appealing. I've always thought that to obtain wholesale, I'd have to mark my beads up so much to break even that I'd lose the cutomers that are dearest to me, the ones that appreciate the effort and work that goes into designing a set of beads. Wholesale is not all it's cracked up to be. I have "Customer Appreciation" sales and offer discounts to my top customers, those that purchase 5+ sets at a time, this works for me. I make my sets in limited quantities, I like to think that I have a certain style that is easily recognizeable but I don't limit myself to a certain style, I make what speakes to me, sometimes I'm feeling "simple & clean", other times I'm feeling in a "floral" mood but at the end of the day I'm making something that I love and will WANT to go into production mode for. My sets are made to order, so they are aslo custom, I like to think that this is more appealing then "wholesale". Do what you love or what you love will become real work, I shut down when that happens, all of my creativity goes out the door! I could "talk" about this forever Cindy!
    Good luck 🙂

  6. After Hours Art Glass
    March 27, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    opps….forget that last comment! I thought it didn't go through and was trying to remember exactly what i said lol!!! sorry 🙂

  7. Orion Designs
    March 27, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    As a bead collector, I would love to see you pursue the painted beads. They are very unique and it's obvious that you love making them.

  8. Pearl and Pebble
    March 27, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    Absolutely make what you enjoy and are passionate about! Everybody is different, I tend to gravitate toward earthy, textural pieces. If you are going to "be stuck" with a stash, make sure it's all yummy stuff that makes YOU happy! Be true to you and everything else will fall into place!

  9. Gardanne
    March 27, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    I did a Christmas show once and nearly drove myself crazy trying to anticipate what people would like, it took the fun out of it for me.
    Its fine to listen to customers needs, I find that more customers prefer sets to focals. So I make more sets, but in a style that I like.

  10. Susanm
    March 27, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    I agree with others that you should do what you like and what primes your creativity. Perhaps you could combine the 2 and paint beads that have geometric designs and perhaps be combined with the links. Vintage is a big these days so perhaps look to older jewelry and fashion for inspiration.

    Good luck, Susan

  11. maneki
    March 27, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    Yes, nothing beats making what you yourself love. It shows through in the final result too! But that is easy to say: sometimes it's harder to do because one might be in a position where one is looking for something new to spark that creative joy — and that is not always easy to find… But sooner or later one does find something, that's my experience.

    I fully understand why you love painting on glass. Painting, regardless of what medium is used, is such a personal creative outlet in a way, compared to "moulding" a material. Painting on glass — what little I have read of it — sounds fun. (Anime Daniel is so sweet BTW)

    Personally I love the douple dips and lovely irregular links because it's my style. And because they're so versatile, giving much room for creativity in making jewellery with them.

    I think it'd be interesting to see painted double dips and links too. I don't know much about the process, how easy/hard it'd be compared to making painted beads. It's a smaller canvas so it probably wouldn't allow faces and bigger objects like that, though. More like simple shapes or small motifs. But sometimes combining ideas/styles/media/materials that I've used or am using can inspire me to find new paths. To develop something new that is still my style and connected to what I've done before.

  12. TesoriTrovati
    March 27, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    I totally agree with those that say do what you are most passionate about (remember our ABS Carnival Bloggers theme for March?). When you do what you are passionate about it will show through. I think your rings are great, and those painted beads are very unique. I think that getting diluted in what you do makes it hard for people to find what they like from you. (Listen to me…spouting off like I know what I am talking about!). Basically, if you do what you love, you will find followers. That is what I believe. And I love your work Cindy!
    Great question. Makes me really think about this for myself as well.
    Enjoy the day!

  13. Malin de Koning
    March 27, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    Hi Cindy, when I read your question and then looked at the images you had attached I immediately knew what I think. I have not yet read any of the other peoples comments as I didn't want to color my own opinions. I also have to say that I am very new in the bead community, so I have never come across your work before apart from here on ABS. Anyway, when I looked at your photos I actually involuntarely made a noice of liking for one of the them. The one you call "thoughtful". That one stands out to me as very special and expressive in a personal way. I think you should pick up that style/technique of personally painted beads again, but making totally new designs that fits today. I think you should make things that make yourself pleased and satisfied when you are actually making them. Have fun in the process. Have the attitude of like when you where a child. Do not think so much about sell-ability in the first instance. I am sure anyway that, with all your experience, your beads will become so very beautiful, personal and special. And you will also have a great time during the making of them. I am sure that I will look out in the future to buy some. I think you will sell a lot, without even thinking about doing things that should sell a lot. That is what I think.

    And now … now I will read what the other commenters have said. Wonder if it is the same as me.

    Wow! How similar comments we have all made so far. Interesting indeed, isn't it!

    All my best. This was fun! Malin

  14. GailW.
    March 27, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    Cindy,I have bought alot of your different styles,some not mentioned here from years back.But I love the links.Mine are not frosted,one is a deep red that I love,also a metallic ring.Those I made into my own jewelry.When I think of you,and the beads you've made,the rings come to mind.Maybe toggles,as was suggested.Or,somehow make them connecting links-now I know glass don't bend,but connectors of some kind.Pretzel shapes?I guess you can tell that I know 0 about glasswork.But you're good.I know I'll love whatever you decide to make,or not to make.Best of luck,though you don't need luck!

  15. Cindy
    March 28, 2010 at 3:54 am

    I can see how you might be at a turning point…maybe torn between some past favorite designs that you love and are familiar with, and also looking ahead to find a new passion…. I happen to love your lampwork, including the lampwork rings. I'm looking forward to your future pieces, whether they are "old" favorites or something brand new!

  16. Rebecca
    March 28, 2010 at 4:51 am

    Hi Cindy! Wow these are all so different and I can see how they would appeal to different audiences. But I'm one of those people who love different styles. My take on the links is: how big are they? Would the frosting on the glass be easily marred by using wire to link a piece together? I love the look of them and I can imagine some fun ideas with seed beads and ribbon.
    I really love the double dips. They have so many possibilities! You could easily incorporate them into pieces. It would seem as if these would be easier to sell as wholesale because they could be used for earrings, necklaces, or bracelets.
    The painted beads are reflecting your personality and each one would be very unique or OOAK. People love having a piece in their work that is OOAK to make that piece extra special.
    I'm placing my poker chips on the double dips. They reflect the style of now and always. I also think you could get some fun contemporary styles mixed in with them and possibly have the best of both worlds. Wow, too many words from me. I hope I made sense. I'm only speaking from a bead buyer frame of mind.

  17. Jean
    March 28, 2010 at 5:12 am

    I know I am late in commenting but I have to say that that first set of links are absolutely stunning to my mind and have incredible potential. They are perfectly beautiful. You could do ANYTHING with them, and they remind me of LaLique.Those sorts of things never go out of style.
    I love your other beads as well, so I can't really suggest anything to you other than when it stays fun, you are doing it rIGHT! xox jean

  18. Linda Landig
    March 28, 2010 at 5:22 am

    I think you should create what nourishes your artistic soul! That said, I am very attracted to the loops. I love that they are asymmetrical and have a matte surface. I would love to design with them!

  19. Connie
    March 28, 2010 at 7:25 am

    how about a bit of both? perhaps painted steampunk or painted bold and sassy? or graphic painted birds?

  20. Cindy Gimbrone
    March 28, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Wow! As usual, the comments blow me away! So thoughtful and full of good advice!

    Normally, I like to respond to each one of the comments. But this week finds me in the middle of a family crisis and another round of migraines – so I'm a bit scattered. Please forgive me for not responding to each of you as I normally do. I cherish each and every comment!

    Doing what I love is melting glass and bending wire. My artistic voice is very eclectic – you can see that in the styles of beads I make – it's all over the place! LOL! But that's very reflective of my personality – in high school I was voted most versatile – it probably should have been "most all over the place!" LOL!

    Rather than fighting it, I'm going with it and see where it takes me. I like the idea of combining the painting with the styles I have. I'll have to play around with it and see where it takes me.

    Thank you for your comments! I love the ability to have lots of eyes on where to go next!

    Virtual hugs to you all!

  21. Nicki
    March 28, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Hi Cindy, I think in the beading world you will have customers for both styles. I personally prefer the clean modern lines over the more playful flowery beads, but that is just my taste. Enjoy what you are making that's the most important.

  22. Susan Z
    March 28, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    I agree with the others that posted-do what you like to do. I like all of your bead types. The links are so clean and cool feeling. The painted bead is very special–but would you make more than one. The flower bead is neat to and could lend yourself to "mass" producing it. I guess maybe it will depend on where you plan to sell them and how many of each bead you want to make. Anyway, keep up the lovely creating.

  23. Michelle Mach
    March 28, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    I agree that you can't go wrong making what you like. For me, there's not only a difference in style, but also in how I would buy/use the beads. The links are the type of bead that I would be most likely to buy and use in quantity. (I can easily envision a fun chain/link necklace with some of those links adding a modern pop of color.) The painted bead is the kind of bead I'd buy one of and really highlight as a necklace focal. I'd probably want more choices with the painted bead so I could find the perfect one for me, but with the links, I feel satisfied with just a few color options. Hope that is helpful!

  24. Paula Lee M.
    March 29, 2010 at 12:52 am

    Hi Cindy,

    I have to agree with everyone on doing what you love best. That being said why not do a painted wire and steampunk series as Connie said. Or you could do colorful flower painted beads.I also love your birds and could see you doing a theme with the two.

    Sorry but I really can't say I like the links.( I can hear the boo's and hiss's already)

    I do like the double dips but would like to see something in a similar vein maybe a spiraled wire link with glass. Or a flower form with the wire and glass.

    The most important thing is to follow what your heart says, the rest will follow. when you do what you love it shows in your work and that makes the product shine.

    Good Luck!

    Paula Lee M.

  25. Auroras Treasure
    March 29, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Hello Cindy,
    I am sure we have al started making something and added a twist so it comes out nothing like what we first intended.

    My personal favorites are the Spirals especially the ring although this could be made into a pendant style, my second love is your Surreal Rythms, I think if you could use the 2 styles together, it would give Fluidity, a softness and sharpness, it would have a Modern edge to it as well. The mixture of colours and shape would be fascinating in any item you made,a real eyecatcher, especially when the sunshines on it.

  26. Anonymous
    March 30, 2010 at 3:27 am

    hi cindy,

    i must say i am a fan of your beads.i have bought several for myself.looking at all of the ones,you have shown,i must say i like them all. but, if you are wanting ideas for a new direction,but, at the same time keeping within your own style,i think my next move would be to incorporate all three styles in different ways,for example the frosted rings would be fabulous painted.or take the thoughtful series and possibly make them frosted, and start a new series such as life's themes,romance,or tenderness,i think,there would be alot of possibilities..i know you will find your path you are a great designer.
    [email protected]

  27. LLYYNN - Lynn Davis
    March 30, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    Thanks for subbing in for me, Cindy, while I was at Artfest – I really appreciate it. Since I'm a color hound and love lots of bright color, I think the graphic with the paint is genius, loving that look. And there's your Day of the Dead beads, I can see some shapes and colors there too.

    Way FUN!

  28. Eve
    March 30, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    Hi Cindy, I'm new to your blog but I'm loving what I'm seeing so far. You are so very talented.

    The bead style that really grabs at my heart is the painted bead, because although you've done a "thoughtful" piece, you can expand that into so many directions with other themes, such as inspired, cheeky, happy, naughty, in love beads.

    I look forward to being a regular visitor. All the best! eveshouse.blogspot.com

  29. maneki
    April 2, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    Adding to my comment last week: you say in your reply to our thoughts that what you love is "melting glass and bending wire". Since I love glass and wire (and melting seed beads on wire), I wonder in what different ways wire can be combined with glass. How can a combination of wire and molten and shaped glass be made into unusual and versatile jewellery parts, the way I already feel about the double dips? Can wire add something to the glass creations, making fun and creative pieces for a jewellery maker? Or just add to the aesthetics of a bead. I don't have the know-how or supplies to explore those (rhetorical) questions myself, but would find it intriguing to see a few answers to it.

  30. fanciful devices
    April 12, 2010 at 1:54 am

    Every single person commenting here is a very smart, very authentic artist. If we try to make something in anticipation of others, it burns out all of our creativity and in the end we can't sustain it. This was such an unexpectedly thought-provoking question! and honestly, y'all are quite wise.

  31. cjvierow
    April 12, 2010 at 4:28 am

    Hi Cindy–I agree with those who say "do what you love" and it will work out fine. I love the frosted rings. What I'd really like to talk about is your migraines. I also suffered from them until I found a chiropractor who uses something called an "activator" but does not do the usual twisting and crunching. If you type in the word "activator" in google, it should bring up the names of doctors in your area who use this device. It's helped me. Hope you give it a try, too. CJ

  32. beth gales
    April 13, 2010 at 11:47 am

    I say pursue what makes you happy and it will be good! No need to have one particular style…depends what mood I am to see what comes out of my studio! I would love to see some jewelry designs with those frosted links…very cool!

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