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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Talk to me

It's been gently suggested to me, by a well-meaning sometime-customer, that I'm "inconsistent" and "unnerving". I guess I have to agree to a certain extent, and because I feel all grumpy and bristly and a bit defensive about it, I know I need to take a look in the mirror on this one. It's possible that my willingness to try new things, and share the inner workings of my business and family with you is unprofessional. But how important is it to be slick and smooth and apparently in control all the time? Maybe it is important. I need to think about it. But it makes me sad to think that people shy away from buying my beads because I don't come across as a well-oiled corporate entity. I'm just a beadmaker, trying to make a living with my own two hands. There doesn't seem to be a lot of value placed on that in this society of ours, but I'm sticking to it anyway. If anyone out there needs an apology for my apparent flakiness, you've got it! But please also consider that my changes, adventures, and experiments are part of the evolution of my work, my life, and my business. I share it all with you, and you can, of course, take it or leave it. What do you think? Would you prefer it if I clam up and act more "professional"? Or do you want to ride along with me and see where we go next? I want to know. I really do. Leave your comments here please. I don't want a bunch of private email over this - I want a community discussion because you all are part of how I make my living. You're a big group. Talk to me. Talk to each other. You're such lovely people, I wish I could throw a big party so you could all meet. But for now... what do you think? Hmmm???

26 comments:

Nance On Fire said...

Don't change a thing. In order to sell your art, people like to learn about the artist. It helps customers to connect with what they are buying, has much more meaning. You rock Kim, don't change a thing!

Nancy Johncox

Anonymous said...

I read your blog and enjoy your beads exactly because you are human being and not a corporate entity. Mass produced beads from china are a cheap substitution for the heart and soul that goes into everyone of your works of art. You can't please everyone all of the time so do what your heart tells you. Reading a blog is an option. No one is forced to read.

Anita said...

Kim: Don't let the minority get you down. I love your blog and the way you tell us about all you do and have done. You make us feel like we are experiencing your life with you, as a friend, and that is a wonderful insight into your personality. Stay as you are. Anita K.

Francoise said...

Kim, don't change a thing indeed... I totally agree with the first three comments.
Nobody forces me to read your blog and I don't feel I have to agree with you on anything, but as it turns out I do. You come across as a warm, fun, and very much human person (I enjoyed your blog even more this summer, as I turned 50 as few days after you, I could recognize my feelings in yours and it was a big help!). Who you are plays a big role in the pleasure I have in buying your beads. It would just be nowhere close to the same if you were not who you are. And somehow the beads would not mean as much to me! You cannot please everybody, that's life. But it is so much nicer to deal with you as you are, we have to deal with enough bland, anonymous entities as it is. Beads are fun and so are you. We love you for this!

Allegra said...

Oh for crying out loud!I guess this world is truly divided between those of us who believe that there is way too much automation, soulless things parading around as art and those who believe that a package is the content.

You are an artist, period. Your life is art and not to share parts of it is to rob your expression of its right to exist. If someone wants your beads, they want the whole of it they represent. We need more bonds between human beings, not less. It is actually left to artists to create them. A little bead can hold within a world of pain or joy, there is a wonderful documentary The History of the Bead that should be obligatory watching before anyone owns, or uses a single bead. We used to trade human lives for beads in Africa in the not too distant past. Beads have a life of their own when singularly created. That uniqueness comes from the artist and I want to know about the artist. We are community, the ones who buy your beads and you who created them. Nobody is forced to belong, but by the very nature of art we are outsiders from the corporate world and while they work exclusively on the left side, we own the right side of the brain.

Do not apologize for a perceived "fault". You are an artist, we create. We don't qualify our creations as anything more than the children of our craft and imagination. Without your sharing of yourself, inviting us into your life your beads could come from China for all I care. And I have enough soulless things imposed on me by those who do not understand what it takes to live a creative life to last me for many life times. Don't you dare to change a thing. I love you just the way you are, and your art is you, and I for one wouldn't want you to change anything.

Allegra
The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
~ Eden Phillpotts

Anonymous said...

Have I missed something here? Yes,you've made some changes, but you've told us about them and explained them when you don't really owe us an explanation. All businesses, big and little, evolve. That's how they stay in business.

And I love hearing about your life and thoughts. Sometimes you express something that I have felt and wondered about, and sometimes your writing just gives me a new perspective. All in all, I think that getting to know you makes me appreciate your beads all the more.

Change as much and as often as you want to!

cddfl said...

NO, no, no, don't change a thing! You are fascinating being a real person... that's why we all come back again and again!!

Anonymous said...

Shit Kim, you are who you are! I have seen you change and grow as an artist for over 6 years. You should know by now that you can't make everyone happy. We all grow and change a bit as we get older...
Jaime H

Night Beader said...

I'm sorry that some people feel you must do things "their" way. Do they sit in your studio and sweat tears as you make a piece or see a piece you've pour your heart and soul into just to see it break? We artists must march to our own drum beat. I love reading your blog and would miss it if you decided to stop.

Please keep up your "indivduality" I am a proud owner of 3 of your pieces and wear them happily. Thank you for making such wonderful pieces of art and also for sharing your life with us!

Beadily yours
Susan Feldkamp
nightbeaderatlarge.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Kim, I think the way you run your business is absolutely fine. We are who we are. I personally enjoy reading about what inspires you as an artist. Customers are free not to read you postings, etc.
Best Wishes! Naomi K.

Anonymous said...

I love your blogs; sometimes funny, sometimes serious, but always worth reading. There are some beader blogs that I no longer read, as most of the blog is related to politics; if I wanted that, I would watch CNN. So, in short, keep doing what you are doing, and people that do not like your blog, etc,don't have to be a party to it!

Anonymous said...

I looked up the definitions of those two words and I am dumbfounded. They do not even begin to describe you. Those words are as far opposite of you as could be. The definition of unnerving is to inspire fear. What!?? You inspire hope, giving, beauty, love, generosity, creativity, joy, the list goes on. Like I said, I am dumbfounded. Don't give any energy to those words. Perhaps your inner strength is being tested. I am actually a bit surprised at you that you feel you need to think it over. Put that tiara back on and claim it. Stand tall my friend. My husband and I make our living as artists too and we love that we dance to a different drum.
Mo from La Conner

Anonymous said...

You're inconsistent and unnerving, that is true. It's part of what makes you unique and interesting and makes me appreciate you and your artistry. Please don't stop sharing your life, it would break my heart.
Carolyn in Chesapeake

Christina said...

I enjoy your blog just as it is and it's fun to see where your inspiration will come from next and how it will change your beads and your business. Keep on being true to yourself.

Anonymous said...

Kim,
I am in a bead class this weekend with Lauri Copeland. Just yesterday in class we were talking about how wonderful you are and what a "bead professional". I have felt these “adjustments” you have been making as a building process. You are in a business and you are making adjustments to make your business grow (as any good business person would do!) When you changed to Esty I was a little afraid I wouldn’t be able to purchase beads because the site is blocked at work, but because you have a variety of times you make the beads available I managed to keep on making my purchases. I confessed that one of my personal enjoyments is looking at your beads and the blog each day. You have been a wonderful inspiration to me. Thank you so much for sharing yourself and your wonderful creations. I am taking some of your beads to class again today to share with Lauri and the other students. My advise is keep on going.and keep on being the unique unrepeatable person you are!

One of your bead friends,
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Kim,
You are one fantastic and real human being. And to quote you, "Carry on".
Pat

Francie said...

Kim,

You give us all inspiration and motivation to be a better artist/person. When people criticize someone else, they are expressing dissatisfaction with themselves/their lives and not accepting responsibility for their own happiness. Do not take it personally. You are revered and admired.

Thank you for being you and sharing.

Francie

Anonymous said...

Kim,
I, for one, thought you were getting more "corporate & professional" when you changed to the Esty Shop (I don't like change! HA!) but I'm used to it now. Bottom line, it's your business and you should run it your way. Don't Change!
Love your beads & your wonderful sense of humor!
Anna from TX.

Anonymous said...

I'm saving up to buy one of your beads. They are beautiful, but have been reading your blog I feel like I know you personally and love reading all about you. Keep up the good work.

Michelle (across the pond) said...

Please, PLEASE, PLEASE Kim, don't change a thing, you are wonderful just as you are. I love the idea of you sitting in your studio making your wonderful creations - it is SO MUCH NICER than thinking of a big corporate company making loads and loads of things the SAME and mainly rubbish, and NOT hand-crafted like your beautiful beads, it is the fact that you are the way you are that I love...stay as sweet as you are !

Anonymous said...

Kim,

Just like the cheese, we can be described many ways at many times and they can all be different. It is what makes us human, unlike the cheese. I came across your beads about a year to two ago and have watched your business change just in that amount of time. I am one of those folks that also makes adjustments when I see an opportunity for growth whether it be personal or business. Life is always changing, so we must change with it. I think it is sweet that you share with us some of your personal life. It is because of this that I bought a wonderful fearless heart bead. It was made by a human being that has flaws and that also has the ability to share something with the rest of us that is beautiful,unique and that comes from your heart. We all have flaws but it's what we do in spite of those flaws that touches others that makes us special. From what I can see you are doing what you need to do. And really that's all that matters!
Monica
deliasdelight.blogspot.com

Gwen said...

Kim,
Anyone who is just commenting now that you are unpredictable hasn't been around long enough! I've been following your work for about 8 years or so, since you were still selling at shows and living in Seattle, and I count myself very fortunate to have been one of your private pupils back when you still taught beadmaking. You, and your business, and your art, have changed A LOT in that time. We all change, but you make yours much more public and out-there by sharing it all with us. It's lovely. And that's part of the Kim Miles Art Experience, and if people don't like it, there are many other "artists" out there who are happy to produce a consistent product year in and year out. Your beads aren't "product", they are art pieces, and you have loads of happy collectors following you. Do your thing, and let it shine.
Gwen

Jean said...

well I just saw this now! I cannot believe anyone would presume to try and "run your business or change your style", whch is upfront and charming. You work hard, you make gorgeous beads which are exquisite and considered nonpareil by all in the lampwork world, and you are reliable and courteous.

Anonymous said...

Kim:
Art is in the eye of the beholder. Creative inspiration comes from many places and is in constant flux. That is what makes it interesting. You are a wonderful, spirited and talented woman working hard at the craft that you love. That makes you one of the lucky ones. Your evolution is natural and necessary. Please don't stop. Love reading your blog and learning more about what inspires you and your thoughts on "this and that." Your insight can inspire and help others more than you might realize. But more than that, I just love your beads -it is truly an expensive addiction - but one that I just love!
Please carry on!
Sandy from New York City!!

tujaded said...

Dear Kim;

...The singular beauty of your artistry is that very thing that makes you reach out to pick up new experiences, be brave enough to cross new streams of imagination and creative desire.
...
I thoroughly enjoy your work *process* and seeing what it is that makes up all the current moods rainbow and the resulting one-of-a-kind creations. What a wonderful gift it is to take us along with you at the ever frail cost of your own vulnerability, only to share in the passionate pieces you give life to.
...
As someone once said- to REALLY experience life, to really live it - you must go TROUGH it - not just in the suffering sense, but to know that you painted each and every painful and ecstatic note. That instead of bringing out your money-making template, you continue to bust open the boundaries of what is expected ad do what your passion and life experiences drive you to do.
...
What a world of grey shades we would dwell in if each new CD an artists delivers is simply an extension of that which they have already done. For that artist in serving the expectations of others has already taken the bypass of being mundane and ordinary, having their work instantly become irrelevant.
...
Personally I think the art and the creative force that compels you to create such amazing and individually unique pieces is a testament to the fact that you are A-LIVE; a living, evolving presence who is themselves painted on daily by the colors of life.
...
What a thrill and a gift it is (for me, at the very least) to witness your beautiful and fierce humanity, all the things that make up your current palette and then to be among those who you share your truly heartfelt ?? creations as they burst forth in the flame, and are hardened into a 'no looking back,' no excuses piece that captures those moments in time, in your life, that you offer up to us - your breathless audience.
...
Do you ever remember a record label called STIFF? An indie label in the 70's and one of their many irreverent mottos was "F*@k Art - Let's Dance." Which I choose to interpret as "Forget about what *THEY* want, how *they* criticize and whine for consistency, sameness (all of which will only smother a fire like a wet blanket) - and DANCE; grab the moment, the colors of your current passion or inspiration and orchestrate them into something Amazing.
...
SOMETHING AMAZING: New, daring, silly, human, literally on fire with the heat of life (sorry the heat and fire references are not intentional) and create what feels true to YOU. Amazing.
...
On a bit of a different note - not only have I (and obviously countless others who are patrons, collectors, appreciators of your work) been so grateful to you for sharing some of the inner-workings, the joy and turmoil and chaos of everyday life. You ARE affected by the world around you, truly inspired and sometimes disappointed in your fellow humans on our little world.
...
But you are so COURAGEOUS; enough so to take the risk of sharing the vulnerability of YOU, the way you participate in and contribute to this world. The way you SEE/VIEW this world and how you and other life moves within it.
...
I am inspired by your art, your beads, your stories and emotions - it is SO RARE that the 'Net is actually used for sincere purposes, that one can make an honest living by it. And by the same toke - you are left WIDE open to all kinds of ignorance, cruelty, badgering and all that negative mess.But thankfully you continue on.
...
You will be sorely missed here in No. New Mexico, but I am sure your vision of possibility will continue to flourish and there is so much *AMAZING* (a noun) in you and generated by contact with you and your work - we shall continue to feel your presence, passion and fearlessness no matter how far your studio travels.
...
So spackle over those bruised parts and maybe even use them in your own special canvasses in glass, pain it all - every emotion, every color and remember to keep being amazing - TO KEEP DANCING!

kate mckinnon said...

Kim, you don't seem in the least threatening or inconsistent to me. I think you come across as a warm, caring, creative person who is very encouraging to others.

I love it that you are always interested in change and growth (or downsizing) and I look forward to your future adventures. Thank you for your kind and thoughtful approach to life.

love,
Kate McKinnon