Tuesday, September 21, 2010
One of the things I love about being an author is getting to shout from the roof tops about artists that I think are incredibly talented and all around awesome people. In my Spotlight Series, I am thrilled to be telling you more about the artists that have beads featured in Totally Twisted!! I am especially excited today because not only is the artist in spotlight talented and awesome, I consider her a true beady friend and I am a better beader for knowing her. I am sure you have heard me gush about the lovely Cassie Donlen of The Glass Beadle before, but when in a spotlight interview, you get to see for yourself, through her own words, what she is really like. I don't know how you could disagree with me on this, she just ROCKS!!
Stay tuned all the way to the end of this interview because there is a pretty freakin' sweet give away and discount code for you all!!
And now, I bring you a recent chat between Cassie and me...
All the images in the post have been provded by Cassie! THANKS Cassie!!
Hey Girly!! EEEEkkkk, I am so excited to be talking with you for a Twisted Tuesday Spotlight!! Thank you for taking time out of your day for me, I know how busy your days can be. Hang on a sec while I stick my fancy professional interviewer hat on. There. Alright, first things first. Can you share with us a little about yourself and how you got started making beads and jewelry?
Well, lets see. I'm a busy mother of 3 boys ages 6, 10, and 12. There is never a dull moment in my house and the day that I can say that I'm bored and have nothing to do would be a moment of celebration. I always comment that my favorite part of the day is when it is finally time to go to bed. To be honest though, I love my crazy life and my family rocks. I have an incredibly supportive husband that is a dream and never complains about beads being everywhere or that once again I've neglected house work in favor of playing with beads.
My start into the jewelry making world is an amusing one. After our first child was born, I retired from being a pharmaceutical sales rep to becoming a stay at home mom. The decision was grand but it meant that we were on a very tight budget. One beautiful summer evening about 9 years ago I was having a girls night out with about 10 of us gathered around an outdoor table drinking margaritas. There was a gal in the group that I did not know. But she had on this KILLER bead ring. Oh how I was adoring that ring. I finally asked her about it and she proceeded to say that her friend makes them and that she is selling them at a local store for $75. She raved about how her friend actually makes the beads for the rings and how the beads on the ring were interchangeable. My immediate reply was that my husband would never let me spend $75 for a ring.
The following day I still had that ring embedded in my mind. Yes, I admit it. I was coveting that ring! I remember thinking that I can just make that myself. Then I wouldn't have to go spend the money on the ring. And that... was my introduction into lampwork beads. After a search in the yellow pages and a few phone calls, I found someone who was teaching lampworking classes out of her garage. She was in the middle of opening up a bead shop called The Glasshopper here in St.Louis. So after a few introductory classes I bought a hot head torch and set up shop in our garage. Once it finally started getting very cold outside, hubby took pity on me and built me a ventilated workshop. I purchased myself a minor torch that I still use to this day. I used to tease my husband saying he should have just let me buy the ring as it would have been way less expensive but look what I would have missed out on if I had.
I love that story! You and I have similar introductions to beads. Only, replace your friend's ring with YOUR beads and you have how I became addicted to wanting to learn!! For me though, jewelry came first, then learning to make beads. Which came first for you, beading or jewelry?
I guess from my introduction you can gather that the beads came first. Oh, I did get myself that bead ring within a few weeks of learning how to make beads! But making beads is my first love. At first, I viewed the jewelry as a means to the end. I loved making the beads but what good where the beads if they just sat there? I starting making lots and lots of bracelets and did my first local craft show within 4 months of learning how to make beads. It was all very exciting and without me even realizing it, the entire process became a true passion. Plus, the fact that I could earn some extra fun money on the side was a wonderful bonus. It is still so rewarding to see that after 9 years, I'm just as passionate about making beads and jewelry as I was when I first started.
Okay, so walk me through a typical beading day in your house!
My life is not very glamorous. I often joke that the highlight of my week is when I get to go shopping at Target. But I love my ordinary life and my daily routine. A normal day is spent with the daunting process of getting the kids ready for school, prodding them every step of the way to stay on schedule and getting out the door seems like a a feat in itself. With that accomplished, I sigh a big relief and then take an hour for myself doing a run or going to the local YMCA. I meet my BFF almost everyday when the weather pushes me inside and I get some great girl time in. Then by the time I get home, it is time to clean up, get organized, and start doing beady things. I swear the computer sucks me in though and by the time the school bus arrives at 4 p.m. I shake my head wondering where the day went and why did I not get Mount Everest climbed as I know there were plenty of hours in the day to do it.
Kid responsibilities and computer time sinks are another way our lives seem to run parallel! HA, maybe we should get our Parallel Crossings blog back up and running, eh? If only there were more hours in the day!! While we are talking about being a Mom though, how do you balance the titles of both artist and Mom?
I get asked this question often. Balancing both hats is quite a challenge. (As I'm sitting here, my 6 year old keeps complaining to me that he is bored and expects me to get off the computer and put the patches on his new Cub Scout shirt and is getting very upset that I keep saying soon.) Now that the kids are older and in school, it is much easier to be an "artist" during the day. Even with my school days free though, there is never enough time. My youngest complains that school is sooooo long and I always think that school goes by way too fast. Funny how we have different perspectives. I keep reminding myself that I get distracted by laundry, toys on the ground, clothes that the boys feel compelled to drop on the floor in random locations, and lets not forget taking care of all the crazy pets the kids convinced us they needed. Somehow in the end, it all gets done but when push comes to shove, my housework is the one that loses out every time. I used to pride myself on having a spic and span house. That just doesn't seem to be the case anymore and when I do 3 loads of laundry in one morning, I always act shocked when I realize that I don't get a week off from doing it again even though I just did 3 loads! As the saying goes "time flies when you are having fun" and that is so true. Playing with beads is still my passion and anytime I'm in the beading world, I feel like I blink my eyes and my free time has flown by. To make myself feel like I've accomplished something for the day, I do try to make a list of 2-3 things that I for sure want to get done. Anything else is just icing on the cake. It gives me something to focus on so that I don't get distracted with working on 20 different things that never seem to get completed.
What a great attitude to have about things! Have any funny kid stories from this summer you would like to share?
I always seem to be writing about my kids and family on my news page (which is really my blog) but I must admit that I feel like I've entered into a whole new world with having my first child reach middle school. Holy cow, it seems like from the moment my oldest turned 12, he turned into a tween. I'm sure you can relate Kerry with also having a 12 year old. But all of a sudden it is all about fashion, and being social, and text messaging, and having to use "Axe" brand deodorant. I remember how excited Keegan was when I bought him Axe shampoo a few months ago and he wanted to wash his hair right away. I wonder how disappointed the Axe manufacturers would be if they realized that their target audience has turned into a bunch of 12 year olds! Yes, and now the boys like girls and all of us mom's just sit back and shake our heads. It's really quite entertaining and fun to soak it all in. Keegan has a great group of core friends and we know most of the parents pretty well so it is easy to keep track of what is really going on with all the boys. I love being a mother and am so blessed with 4 special boys if you can't my darling hubby too.
I am just loving the photos you have been sharing on your news page!! And the new jewelry, just gorgeous!! Any future plans you have coming up that you would like to share?
I just started the big endeavor of updating my poorly neglected website. I'm updating the photos in the jewelry galleries that are used for custom orders, will be adding a new section in the bead gallery for custom orders of short strands of beads that only have 5-8 beads, and even going in and reducing prices of my jewelry and bead sets to help make it slightly more affordable in this crummy economy. It is a slow process though and will take me a few months to do it all. I keep saying that I'm going to make more lampworking how to videos and I really need to move that to the top of my priority list. Last week on impulse I made 2 simple videos on how I photograph my beads and jewelry. The video is extremely basic but photography can be a challenge and I thought it would be fun to share how I take my photos. You can watch it on my Facebook Page under "glassbeadle".
Cassie, you ROCK! I just love ya, girl!! I hold close those late night chats at Bead Fest Wire and seriously, anytime anyone asks me why I started making beads your name is the first thing out of my mouth. Thank you so so much for being a part my book and such a great friend!
NOW, as promised, for making it all the way to the end of this interview, Cassie has TWO awesome goodies for you!! Drumroll please.....
First, THE GIVE AWAY!!
Leave a comment here of my blog for your chance to win this necklace! How beautiful is that?!? It is one of Cassie's favorite designs and she wears one all the time. It always garners loads of attention. You know you want it, so leave a comment by Midnight on Sunday Sept 26! I will draw a name at random next Monday!! And YES, internationally comments are welcome!!
Second, Cassie is also offering a 10% discount on new orders placed on her website too! Just mention this interview in the comments section when checking out and you will be sent a 10% refund on the order! Hope over to Cassie's Jewelry Boutique or Bead Galleries to start browse all the beady beauties and start loading up your cart. Let's keep her busy straight through til Christmas with all our orders! YOO HOOO!
Thanks again Cassie. And stay tuned to Twisted Tuesdays everyone for more artist interviews coming soon!!