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Friday, August 5, 2011

Thank you for so many things!

This is too long to put in one blog post, so it will be a several part post.  I think I'll intersperse some photos in the post ... even though they'll be unrelated to the text.  You're going to think you're at Erin's blog when you visit today, but you're not, I assure you.  I don't know why I'm writing this, but I feel compelled.  I hope you find something in this tome that will encourage you to do whatever, go out on a limb.  Sometimes the limb gets cut out from under you, but you can bless your enemies.  I have some enemies I bless nearly daily.  Had it not been for their jealousy ... I would never have left the nest.

First unrelated photo. 

As I write this I am really tired.  I wake up too early because I'm excited for the day to begin ... I mean, how wonderful is that! I hear my son upstairs working on a new song, belting it out and my husband's getting ready to start dinner, which is his favorite thing to do ... cook.  As I write to you, friends, most of whom I have never met in person but feel a kinship to, I am grateful for your encouragement over these past many months. You have contributed so much to who I am today by your encouraging words and kindness. I feel as though I am complete, finally at age 60!  I hope you don't take that long, but I had a rocky start, and I'm a late bloomer. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Second unrelated photo.
If I were to describe my life as a song, it would be "Fumbling towards Ecstasy" by Sarah MacLachlin.  I've thought of that many times since December 24, 2008, when I started blogging.  Back then I was a ceramic artist, making beads because my body had betrayed me.  Two rotator cuff surgeries saw me saying goodbye to my potter's wheel.  I have no idea what made me even think of starting a blog.  I guess it's because my sales at etsy sucked! But then again, I could barely get listings on etsy.  When I think of how long it used to take me ... Geez!


My early days of etsy were discouraging.  By early days, I mean about a year. I read everywhere that you had to give etsy at least 6 months for people to find you.  I guess people found me but didn't like me ... or what I had to offer.  By July 2009 I was ready to quit etsy, stop making jewelry, and start cleaning my house ... because it certainly needed it.  Then a miracle happened. Christen Olivarez, Editor of Belle Armoire Jewelry (BAJ), saw some of my work on flickr and asked me to submit something to BAJ.  I couldn't  believe it. In fact, I was convinced that she would get my things and then have to figure out how she was going to break it to me that she couldn't use them.

Third unrelated photo.

By this time, I had started enameling.  My enthusiasm was palpable.  Mary Jane Dodd was the first one to encourage me to consider writing a book.  I thought, "Who me?"  Then I remembered a blog post written by an incredibly talented artist, June Roman, that went something like this, "Do you remember when I told you I was thinking about doing a book?  Well, the book concept has been accepted!"  I used to visit June's etsy site all the time to drool over her work ... she was terrible about keeping up her blog.  So I wrote to her, introduced myself, and asked for her help.  I explained that several people had suggested I write a book and any advice she could offer would be greatly appreciated.  June was so forthcoming.  We also discovered that we were going to be in the Winter 2010 issue of BAJ ... firsts for both of us.

... to be continued   Hang in there with me. :-)  Barbara

15 comments:

Carol said...

I'm hanging with you and on every word. . .You RocK, sister! And I LOVE YOU

ruth said...

I am a follower, your words make me smile. Can't wait for the book.

SummersStudio said...

Here's to late bloomers, Barbara. I have thouroughly enjoyed hearing about your journey over the years that I've followed your blog. Happiness really is a matter of recognizing where it is, isn't it? I really am so very happy for you. Hugs, LeAnn

Preserve Jewelry Studio said...

Barbara, I think that today is your foreward for your next book. You just don't know it yet. I really enjoyed reading this today with my cup of ocffee. I found inspiration in it as I dash off to my full-time work thinking about my jewelry design I will work on this evening. Hugs to you for being so open. Looking forward more of the inside out.

Sandra

Preserve Jewelry Studio said...

Yikes, many typos, but you get what I said.

Kristi Bowman said...

Amazing thoughts and words Barbara, there are alot of us out here, little buds waiting to bloom. Christen contacted me acouple of years ago about being in BAJ and I turned her down, can you believe it, I can't even remember why. I tried and tried and tried to contact her numerous times after than and never did. Lesson learned. Look forward to the rest of the story!

Laura Twiford said...

I am so enjoying this journey with you Barbara and can't wait to hear more! You are truly blooming and you have such a beautiful spirit, people can't help but be drawn to you. I find it hard to believe that you could hve enemies but if it is based on jealousy than that would explain it. You were the first ( and to this date I think only) person who put my new blog on your sidebar and I was so blown away when i saw it there. You have paid it forward by helping those of us coming along in your wake. I am so glad to have met you, Thank you, Love you!

Alice said...

I'm hanging on and waiting with baited breath for your next post. I'm a late bloomer too, and so insecure and unsure of my talents. I know I'm doing harm to myslef and my dreams for the future. Thanks so much for 'letting it all hang out' for us readers.

mairedodd said...

your knowledge, talent and enthusiasm are a perfect fit for your adventure... i loved those sahara beads (and still hoard them!)... you knew you had it in you - sometimes, we just need to hear it from someone else... and now look at how your life has evolved! congratulations - you did the experimenting, the growing and the work... 'fortune favors the bold'... if you don't put yourself out there, it doesn't happen... you did and the book was born... and regarding being a late bloomer - i truly believe that you had to work through what you did to get where you are... but most importantly, you kept at it until you got there... and that is something to be proud of...

Melissa Meman said...

Barbara, you know I think of you as a mentor! I can't wait to hear what else you have to say. Love from one "late bloomer" to another :)

Courtney said...

I am so happy for you! The book, your business, the new found friendships. All wonderful! Thank you. I keep your story in mind as I trudge along - trying to bloom! :)

Cheryl S. Cohen said...

I'm waiting for the clean my house part, but it never seems to come. :) We're all always re-inventing ourselves, Barbara. I keep wondering when that will stop, but I'm approaching 58 and it doesn't ever seem to quit. I'll be happy if I just get the time to create all the projects I have in mind, and the money to take on my next planned addiction of torch enameling.

TesoriTrovati said...

Here's to blooming when it is your time! I guess I consider myself a late bloomer as well. And I have so much open to me now that I know what I want to do! I can totally relate.

Curious... am I the "Erin" of which you speak? ;-) Maybe I need to take a cue and start making my rambling posts (there is a point! I promise!) into multi stage ones.

Looking toward the next installment.

Enjoy the day!
Erin

Barbara Lewis said...

When I wrote this I kind of felt like I was opening up my underwear drawer and inviting you to rummage through it ... it felt that personal. But this post has been cathartic for me ... Thank you for being so receptive and kind. :-)

Rebecca said...

I am totally hanging Barbara, what a generous spirited pair of posts I can tell these are going to be! I'm where you were a few years back, with one sale on Etsy.....that's ok though, there are so many other awesome artists out there in similar positions, it's hard not to sink without a trace on Etsy! I'm so glad you swam to the top :-)