It’s that time of year when I am working mostly, and mostly working. I have three trade shows coming up within the next month. Outdoor Retailer is the trade show for my work in Nepal, with hand knit sweaters and accessories (next week) in Denver. After that, I fly to New York City for “Metal and Smith” – a wholesale show for my jewelry, and then I go to Baltimore for the American Craft Council Show for wholesale and retail.

I work round the clock to get samples finished, with the aid of my wonderful artisan helpers. It’s exhilarating and nerve-wracking, and I alternate between excitement and self-confidence, and fear + insecurity. These shows usually set the tone for the year in terms of sales and orders. Once I finish the samples and set up for the shows, it’s out of my hands, and I just have to roll with it. There is also a lot of marketing involved, and I try my best to stay on top of that also.

One reason I really do enjoy these shows is the fact that they are very social. It’s meeting people, telling stories, accepting criticism and praise, learning about other regions and perspectives. And of course, I love having the reunion with other artists and designers, often catching up with each other, or sharing a meal. In a world where I work by myself 95% of the time in my workshop, this is a welcome change. But I’m always so happy to be home and back to making things when it’s all over.

February 2020 starts my year with the Trade Show season. I will be participating in both a new show (for me) in New York City called “Metal and Smith” which runs simultaneously with the gigantic show “New York Now” at the Javits Center. I will be at 518 West 38th street on February 3 and 4, Monday and Tuesday. There will be a pop up show, open to the public on Monday from 5-8 pm, and on Tuesday from 1-4 pm

I will also be back at the American Craft Council Show in Baltimore, February 19-20 to the wholesale market, and February 21-23 to retail/public.

Preparing for these shows is a colossal task, but from my background in the garment business and merchandising, I tend to get REALLY into it. I design a whole new collection for museum stores and galleries, as well as OOAK pieces for special customers. It’s full of high-adrenaline and non stop work. But I love it.

I will come up for air at the beginning of March!

Those of you that follow this blog, and my work, know that I am enchanted by watercolors. I love the free-flowing, unexpected nature of the medium and the way the colors interact and behave. My paintings have become a near-daily discipline. And I love painting each day.

While on a run yesterday, I was hit by a “lightbulb moment” and had the idea of combining my beadwork with my watercolors. I love the irregular, and capricious nature of color placement with paint and wanted to try to combine this nature with beads. Like pointillist dots on a canvas, the little seed beads sit tightly embroidered next to each other, but interact with the eye to create colors in the viewers’ mind.

I have never considered beading this way. I have always worked with blocks and shapes of color, and while I have varied the colors within these shapes, I never thought about combining them as loose brush strokes across the canvas.

I made this piece very quickly. I couldn’t stop. I was obsessed and excited to see how it would emerge. I think that the fact that I didn’t really plan it, helped in its spontaneity. That is, if you can ever explain bead embroidery as “spontaneous!”

I wish you all a happy, healthy and creative new year full of color and freedom and risk-taking! These Stargazer Lilies and Sweet Peas say “JOY!”