Studio Musings

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Choose Your own Adventure Challenge Wrap-up and Additional Thoughts

Freeform peyote jewelry by Betty James, Deborah Humphrey, Cynthia Machata and Debbie Rasmussen (clockwise from top left)
Additional entries to the Choose Your Own Adventure challenge
 If you haven't already done so, I highly recommend you take some time to peruse the list of adventurers in the Freeform Peyote Choose Your Own Adenture Challenge.  It's a true celebration of seed beads, bead weaving and the creative spirit as each piece is completely unique.

I've updated the list to include several people who for one reason or another didn't make it into the initial Saturday reveal.  My apologies for the difficulties on my end!  I'm listing the additions in this post as well.

Additional Adventurers:
Cynthia Machata
Debbie Rasmussen
Betty James
Deborah Humphrey

Allowing yourself the adventure

In my opinion, part of what made the Choose Your Own Adventure challenge such a delight was the sheer diversity of styles and talents.  We had everyone from people playing with freeform peyote for the first time through seasoned masters showcasing their art and craft.  At all levels, I saw an overabundance of creativity, curiosity and play.

But what I saw behind the scenes made me a little sad.  As one of the hosts of this challenge, I fielded quite a few emails from people who weren't sure their work was up to snuff to be included.  Every piece they referred to had something wonderful to recommend it.  But even if it didn't, even if it was a complete and total disaster (which none were), the most important thing would have been that they explored the medium. And maybe, with a little luck, they enjoyed the process.

There's a quote in her wonderful book, The Artist Way, where Julia Cameron reminds us that 'Anything worth doing is worth doing badly'.  What I believe she's saying here is:

1) Don't compare yourself to the masters when your just getting started.  It's not fair to you, it's not fair to your work.  And frankly, it's not fair to the people who've put in the time and effort to become masters. 

2) If it's something you feel passionate about, then Go For It!  Don't worry about whether your first piece is perfect; it doesn't matter.  What matters is that you're doing, trying, learning.  Everything gets easier with practise.  So if the first whatever it is doesn't turn out right, try again.  And keep trying. Because the corallary to 'Anything worth doing is worth doing badly' would obviously be something along the lines of 'Anything worth doing is worth putting in the effort until you can do it well'. 

This is a reminder to myself as well.  What would I be willing to try if I didn't have to do it perfectly?


  1. As a first time ffp person I found it hard to be brave and post my first project (so it is hidden in my blog), the second attempt was a little better, but it is hard to 'bare' your creative soul to everyone..but I will say that this group has been nothing but supportive and the seasoned beaders are very helpful with suggestions. Their awesome pieces are an inspiration and something to strive towards. I am glad I tried ffp and certainly will try again, and is fun. Thanks for starting the FB FFP group and having the challenge. Hopefully more people will feel comfortable enough to join in on the next one...Hint, Hint.....

  2. As Leanne says, it is about baring your creative soul -- putting a physical manifestation of what you think is beautiful/cool/creative out there and saying, "love me". It's both incredibly brave and incredibly terrifying. But one thing I've learned through all of this is that beaders are some of the kindest and most generous people there are, and they welcome everyone into the beady fun. And hey, if we all made the same thing, or thought the same things were beautiful, wouldn't that make for a dull world?!?

  3. 'Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.' Indeed. That's lovely! Thank you, again for hosting. It was so much fun, challenged my skills, and taught me a lot!

  4. I heartily agree with Bobbie! I've had some of the most wonderful feel good moments reading the kind words in blog comments. I really do love the fb group, and hope that it will continue to be an inspiration to all.

  5. I too agree with Bobbie, my beady friends feed my creative soul and just plain make me feel good. This was a totally awesome challenge so much fun, and so many incredibly talented creative wonderful people. Thank you so much Karen!

  6. I think it is the nature of the beast to have self doubt. But to rise above it and put yourself out there is where the real challenge presents itself, more so than in the beadwork we create.
    Julia Cameron's book helped me to be a little less fearful and a little more open to the fact I was going to fail but there would be strength in those failures.

    1. I think it's sad that we all see failure so quickly, (I am very much including myself here) even where failure doesn't actually exist.

      Why does everything have to be success or failure? I'm trying to teach myself to be a process sort of gal - appreciate what works, investigate and evaluate what doesn't and keep going.

  7. Without failure there is no growth. To learn from mistakes is how we become more knowledgeable in our craft. I learned so much through this challenge from all of you and your encouragement to keep going. I finished my piece and it sold as soon as I posted the picture on Facebook, so there it goes to show what I thought was something I would not finish, because I was just not feeling it, became something that someone else just had to have. Thank you Karen for pushing me past the ugly duckling stage to create a beautiful swan. I hope that you are going to do another challenge with freeform, because I am so there.

    1. Therese, you have just made my day! I am so happy for you, and not at all surprised. Congratulations. Now I want to see your finished piece too!

  8. You are all right and I agree with you; it can be really difficult to put our work out there for the world to see. But at the same time, as you noted, putting our work out there can be a wonderful chance for growth and affirmation, too. Even the failures.

    I have been awed and thrilled by the generosity of spirit shown in the bead blog community. I feel so lucky to be a part of such a group. :)

  9. I was just thinking about this very thing this morning. I am part of another beading group on FB as well - and one of the members posted a pic of something she felt just wasn't worthy, and said she felt stupid posting it. I was so sad for her!! My take on it is that even if it's terrifying for you, post it - because not only might you be surprised by how well it is received, but you are also putting that creative part of yourself out there which might inspire someone else. I think that's very important - that something you've poured yourself into can lift and excite someone else. Even if I dislike a piece and think it's awful, I have had people say they think it's wonderful and that it inspired them, even if it was only the color combination. What a reward that is!!!!!

  10. I like to join the ffp group too, is that possible. how often are you supposed to make something?

  11. Karen, I can't believe I missed this post!? I really enjoyed this challenge. It not only pushed me to try something new, but something that was really uncomfortable. And what I thank you for is that it has opened me up to be more flexible in my beading. I followed up with a netting pattern using very irregular beads from a friend who brought them back from Turkey. I might not have every used them because they don't match up perfectly. But I ended up making something that I love. Thank you for that. And now I went back to my first freeform peyote from this challenge and started over. Not because I didn't like it, but because in my minds eye I had something else in mind and just didn't get there on the first try. This second round has more flow like waves and water. That was what I wanted. I'll post on CBC so you can see. I'm not done, and this isn't perfect, but clearly my technique is evolving. And I'm really liking it!

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