Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Bead or Blog....Blog or Bead?

I'm sure every blogging beader has the same conundrum.

I'm happier while beading than I am while blogging. Particularly since prepping for a blog post means taking and editing my photos, and preparing them for uploading. And it just doesn't seem like a blog anymore without a few photos! Why is that, I wonder?  I used to be able to just yammer on about feelings or hopes and fears or, well, crap, without the need for photos rearing it's ugly head.

Time is the commodity we all have the least of. Except for teenagers, who are immortal, and thus don't feel that spending their youth courting carpal tunnel of the thumbs while texting is a waste.  I feel like I'd rather spend my valuable time where it makes me happiest.

So my blog-productivity (blogitivity? productbloggity?) is down somewhat. But on the other hand, I really like sharing my work. I like the support I get from other beaders and readers. I like the suggestions that come along when I pose a question or have a knotty problem. And beaders always have knotty problems. If ya' know what I mean.  

So there are benefits to blogging that I don't want to forego, and I know that if I want to keep readers coming back, I can't just let this blog lapse for months at a time like so many do. I can't tell you how many blogs I've stumbled across at random where the last post was in July (2009), and that one says, "Oh, I haven't posted for months but now I'm going to be posting every day..."  Yeah. Right.  

Fresh and interesting content keeps people coming around. People who will show me their stuff if I show them mine. So, we're back to photos, aren't we?

I've been struggling endlessly with my camera. I couldn't get reproducible results from one photo to another. I got the darn thing repaired (thank you, Canon USA). I couldn't believe that it wasn't easier to take a simple photo.  Online I found a recommendation that for a camera to take good jewelry photos it needs to have a Macro setting, and a white balance adjustment. My camera has those.  Why doesn't it work for me?

So I returned to state zero on my camera. I wiped out all the custom settings I'd been trying, and read the darn manual. One more time. Whattaya know?  There it is on the Macro page, when I click the little flower button, it will take pictures as close as 2 inches, or 9 inches when zoomed. Though it seems like their measurement isn't to the lens, it's the back of the camera, really.  It will focus itself. Stop struggling, Lynn. Just let the zen of the camera take over....be the picture. 

And it worked. Finally. Closeups that are beautiful, and look like the object being photographed. I had to do minimal correction of the photos in editing software. Cropping, adjusting high/lowlights, and saving in the right format. I think I only used sharpening on one photo in the whole batch!

These pictures are of my most recent piece. It's a bracelet done with a peyote strap, in size 15, yes, 15 beads. I love the "fabric" of beads this creates, so supple and with a surface of glowing depth. Then I used a ruffled netting along each edge, with 3mm Magatamas in purple to highlight the edge. 

I used a slide bar clasp in sterling, and the large beads in the fringy embellishment are flourite rounds, 12mm. I love those. This bracelet came out exactly as I wanted it to. Can you see the subtle variation in the beads on the strap? There are patterns there which, when you hold the bracelet under the light and move it, are more obvious than in the pictures. I accomplished this by using two color codes of 15s, right next to each other, Artbeads Toho 506 and 507, one of which is more blue/green/purple, and the other more green/yellow. Lovely.  I hope you can see that pattern in the pictures.

I auditioned several different methods of embellishing around the clasp, most of which didn't work. This clump of Magatamas with the flourite coming out of it is great. The larger beads flop about and clack together, so you get sound as well as sight and tactile enjoyment of the bracelet.

This piece is a variation of the last bracelet I finished, using some metallic finish size 8 delicas in what the seller called a "rain" mix. Didn't look like rain to me, but it looked nice. I made my own hook and loop closures for this one...it's only marginally successful. But as an inspiration to move into a variation that was so successful, I forgive it for not being perfect.  Sort of. Maybe I'll give it to someone I don't really like. Or convince someone to adopt it because it's so pitiful. 

In any case, with some adjustments in lighting and staging, I think I can move along in my quest for better photos now. I know it's not the camera. I probably shouldn't be taking all my pictures on a ratty beading matt with thread clippings on it, either. I have a lovely set up in the other room. 

Now I can move on to agonizing over why I don't have any Etsy sales.


  1. OH JEEZ. Now I have camera envy. I think reading that manual was a really good idea, and the resulting closeup sublime. Way to go girl. Plus, I love the bracelet. Happy beading, blogging, whatever brings you joy!

  2. Hi - I'm a new member of EBT and pretty new to Etsy itself. This blog post really made me smile - it's the first one I have read since joining the team and I can totally relate to the writer's struggle. I have often wished for a technology fairy godmother who would take this computer/digital travail from my plate so I could just bead!
    Thanks for the smile!

  3. @Marsha, don't envy the camera, it's only a Canon Powershot A95. It was good quality when we bought it 10 years ago, but now it's pretty old tech. Only 5 megapixels. I've seen 15 megapixel cameras sold for $99 at Christmas time.

    @Sharri - Welcome. Glad you like the blog. :) Read back over some of the older posts, and come back often.