Years ago I would have been mortified to have to stand in front of anybody and have something I had made, examined and criticised. These days I revel in it because I know what I make is good. I prefer to sell my beads and jewellery direct through small fairs because if I can engage people in conversation and actually explain to them what goes into creating these tiny pieces of glass, they appreciate what they are looking at so much more. Hopefully it means that they will appreciate other craftsman’s work in future too, and perhaps ask them how items are made.
Part of it is the art of people watching, are they genuinely interested, do they wear jewellery themselves, will they glance and walk on past? You have to pick the conversations and know when to go into details and when to just smile. There will always be people who surprise you.
My favourite reaction is “You actually make the beads?” It’s the open door that invites me to explain.
Some of the most in depth discussions on techniques result from husbands or partners who get caught up in all the different processes. I once had a husband try to persuade his wife to buy a pendant because he was fascinated, she wasn’t interest. C’est la vie. Recently a gentleman bought a pendant and when I expressed a hope that his partner or wife would enjoying wearing it he replied that it wasn’t for anybody else, he had bought it because he liked it.
My beads travel off to so many different places, and I often wonder about how they are used. When I meet somebody who has bought from me before they often say that they get a lot of admiring comments about the jewellery, so I hope in years to come my beads are still creating conversations.