One of the questions I tend to get as soon as I post a picture of a new project is " when will this be a kit?"
This is a fine question. There is nothing wrong with this question, it is entirely valid, reasonable and logical too, since eventually if all goes well class projects will become kits.To answer this, I decided to tell you all about the process. Get a cup of hot chocolate, tea or coffee and settle into a comfy chair. I promise you this will be a faster read than the process itself, but not by much...
Let's use the project on the pictures for an example. I went to Tucson in 2017, and purchased about fifty of the laser cut mother of pearl focals there. That is all I got. By the time I got home I realized that is not going to be enough for a serious class project I can keep on teaching all year long, because of lucky me, having so many of you lovely beaders supporting me by taking my classes, on an average this would be enough for maybe a little over two classes. To make matters more complicated, my fifty focals were not even the same size. Same design: the one with the sort of oriental motif, but two slightly different sizes....
Here you might ask: Kinga,why did you not order more? I can tell you why: The company I buy these from comes to the US twice a year, one of those times is when they are Tucson, the other one I do not recall. They don't have a website, they are overseas, and if I wished to import from them, I would need to have a fish and wildlife importing license. Yes. Don't ask me what that is, and where one gets it, let it be enough to suffice that since mother of pearl carvings are animal derived bittsies, one must be in possession of that magical license.
Needless to say, I did not apply for such a license.
Now what? I thought I would release it as a kit. But as time went on and I traveled so much, taught all over the place, and worked long long hours to get ready for the next teaching trip and write up instructions, take pictures, make other samples, and make kits what seemed like day and night, this just never happened.
Then, in mere two years of my initial purchase, I was able to scurry back to Tucson, bringing my sample of the carving approaching the nice vendor with great hopes of acquiring more of this magical thing. The success was partial: I was able to get some more of the carvings, about the same size as half of my previous stash, but this time they are a tree of life motif. Not as many as I hoped to get, but now I do have enough for a while.
So I hurried home, made up samples. So far I have made three samples. Two in the original teal and pink colorway, one in orange.
The next thing I will do is to make at least one more sample. This time around I will have to carefully photograph it step by step for the instructions.
Then I will have to write the instructions.
By the time the I am done with the instructions, I would have made this piece at least four times. Sometimes it is more.
With some projects I ask beady friends to help me make samples. This is helpful finding out what part of the process gives potential students a hard time.
These days though, most samples are made by me. It helps me figure out how to best explain it by the time I have to explain it. I get to know the beastie intimately:
The first time the process is exploratory. The second time I am trying to recreate the first success, oftentimes scratching my noggin trying to figure out what I did.
The third time we are making friends. The fourth time is the charm. Anything after that is gravy. Is it boring to make the same thing that many times? I take that over making kits for 14 hour days any day. Both things are part of my job and happen, but I would prefer to be beading. And listening to audio books while I do so. So I don't mind making that many samples.
As you can imagine this all takes time.
It gets worse.
After the first time but before the fourth time I made the sample, I post pictures of it on Facebook and here on my blog to gauge interest. What good is a class project if people aren't into it, right?
So pictures go up, questions come in: When is this available as a kit? And this is how things come full circle.
After the class project is announced, bead stores I will be teaching at may book the project. My class offerings are like a menu, but the final pick is theirs.
This means that I have no idea when I post the pictures exactly when and where I will be teaching that project. This might become clear in a short time,or it might take longer depending on the venue. It might also vary based on what exact project we are talking about, but usually that is the case.
So you see, what happens is:
1.I hunt for components in advance in hopefully large quantities.
2. I make up samples.
3. Bead stores pick up the project.
4. I make more samples and write instructions.
5. I teach the project. This begins months after the first pictures surface, and goes on for about at least a year.
6. If I am lucky enough to have access to more materials required for making more kits, I will and I will sell it AFTER I am done teaching the project. Sometimes this is feasible, but if I don't have access to the materials, then I simply can not oblige popular demand.
That's a lot of information without pictures. Let's have some pictures now.
There, both laser cut mother of pearl focals on the same color bracelet. I am sure both will be loved. And even the small ones will be loved too. In fact I am entirely hopeful about this project being loved altogether. Which is a good thing for me, because I went to Tucson twice in two years to make this happen and in the absence of the unicorn license, I foresee buying another airline ticket and renting another hotel and making another pilgrimage to get more.
I sure hope this posts helps understanding about the process. May it also help those who are in the process of establishing themselves as beady teachers. It took me years to figure this out, I hope it helps someone with their planning.
Now, mind you, not everything I do is a class project. I do also release kits for sale as I have time. Take Bone Daddy for example.
So you see, I do try to make sure there are kits for those of you, nice beady friends too, who can't come and take classes. Sure, not everything is available for everyone at all times. That's just the way the cookie crumbles.I wish I could please everyone, but that is a futile wish and it leads to failure, so instead of wishing for that, I am back to doing other parts of my job, to keep this ship afloat. Cheers!
UPDATE, YAAY ME!
I was able to fly to Las Vegas, just to go to a bead show, just to see the vendor of the mother of pearl components and purchase more. That means more classes of this project all over the place! Lucky me, lucky people who get to take this class too.