Wednesday 7 December 2022

Glass Grump

My glass grump is ongoing. This one is lasting a long time and if I'm honest, this is the closest I've come to giving up lampwork in the eighteen-odd years I've been doing it. However, I'm a stubborn cow and I actually do love melting glass so I'm determined to hang on.

What's making me feel this way? I don't quite know. I mean, I sort of know, but it's hard to admit to myself.

Maybe people don't want my work like they used to?

There, I admitted it. 

I don't know the exact reason/s for this. Perhaps people simply no longer like my work? Or me? Oddly, I can deal with the latter better than the former. Or perhaps the current financial climate has meant people can no longer afford handmade jewellery and beads? Maybe it's because I refuse to play the social media game and become a content creator? Perhaps it's a combination of all of these things.

I can see other beadmakers are creating and selling less, though, and recently I've seen others retire from their torches. I don't blame people for doing that; sitting in a shed for hours, making beads and not knowing if anyone will buy them is pretty demoralising and it's the main driver of my bead grump.

If I make a set of very time-consuming, detailed beads, most people do not want to pay what they are worth. If I make spacers or 'simple' beads, which are also time-consuming, even though I can sell them for less, people might not want to buy them because they aren't fancy enough. If I make jewellery, people might buy it or might not, or even buy it to take it apart to get to the beads that they actually do want and let me tell you, that is even more demoralising and annoying than making beads that you're not sure anyone will buy. Trying to guess what people might want is a nightmare.

It could be that the answer is to be more active on social media, but I don't want to make Instagram stories, reels or videos. Do you have any idea how much beadmaking time that eats into? I don't want to be a YouTuber, a Facebooker or a TikTokker (absolutely screw TikTok). I don't want to give away my skills and knowledge for free in exchange for follows and likes because why should I? And I don't want to sell in Facebook groups or auctions because I cannot stand Facebook.

I am a beadmaker, not a content creator. So I'm going to carry on hanging on and just make the beads I feel like making whenever I sit down at the torch.

And besides, I've got so much glass and so many jewellery findings that I have to carry on because the idea of sorting, selling or chucking all of it makes me feel uneasy. And sad. And the sad thing is why I know I'm not ready to throw in the towel just yet.


Headpins. I made more headpins. These are all made on 20 gauge (0.8mm) copper wire.

Handmade lampwork glass headpins by Laura Sparling

Handmade lampwork glass headpins by Laura Sparling

Handmade lampwork glass headpins by Laura Sparling

And beads. Polka dotty ones, because polka dots are my favourite.

Handmade lampwork glass polka dot beads by Laura Sparling

Handmade lampwork glass polka dot beads by Laura Sparling

The headpins and beads pictured are in my shop and if you fancy 15% off anything in there, including jewellery, just enter the code XMAS15 at checkout. The code is valid until midnight (UK time) on Sunday 11th December. I'll be adding a few new bits to the shop between now and then so do have a check back later in the week.