Friday, August 14, 2015

Inside the Studio with Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio

Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or
inspirations.  We ask a related question of our readers and hope you'll leave comments!  As an
added incentive, we offer a prize each week to encourage you to participate.  The following week a winner is chosen at random from all eligible entries.  And here are the results from last week!

Congratulations to Erin S
She was number 21 out of 27 that was chosen by
Erin S has won a special focal bead, custom made by Julie Wong Sontag of Uglibeads, from her "boreal forest" series.  Please contact Julie to claim your prize!

I am a vendor in Artisan Alley at Bead Fest in Philadelphia next week.  So I have been creating ceramic beads, pendants, cabochons, bracelet toppers and earring pairs like a wild woman!  I do give myself lots of time to create and design fun new things for my display.  Because I have been vending there for 5 years now, I often get the "What's new?" question.  Well, I don't want to answer "nothing."  So about 6 weeks out from the show, I take slower selling designs out and introduce new things to my customers.  I enjoy that part.  I pay attention to trends in fashion and on etsy and Pinterest.  Plus, I have to dig it!  But, no matter how much time I think I have given myself, the "I'm running out of time panic" sets in.  That's where I am now.  But, I manage to get things done, even if I am firing my kiln the night before I leave for the show.  

I also sell my beads wholesale, and I have some wonderful businesses that sell my beads for me.  One is Cherry Tree Beads and I received an order for 192 beads three weeks ago.  Yes...I can do it!  This is what the order looked like before I wrapped it up for shipping
What a relief when that box went to the post office!  
 This is a tray of green ware or non fired ceramic cabochons and a few beads.  These go into the kiln for the first firing at 1920 degrees to turn them into bisque.  Then they look like this:

 This is how I produce for a show.  I get out the glaze color and lay whatever beads I want to paint that color by the jar.  It is faster and produces a nice assortment of bead designs and colors in my display.  I use wood skewers to hold the bead while I am glazing and stick the skewer in the wood holder to dry.  It keeps the bead and my fingers neat!

My husband hung these shelves in my studio for my show trays to sit on.  I can see what trays are low or what colors I need to fill in the display with.  The top shelf is too high to easily see, so I put random stuff up there.  Don't we fill up every inch of space in our studio?
This is a fun owl bracelet that will be part of my jewelry sample display at the show.  I made some more owls to put in my bracelet topper tray so people can take them home with them.
 These are still green ware, but I have plenty of time to finish them, right?  Lol  Thank you for reading about my show prep and please visit me in booth 550A if you are going to the show. 

So my question to you is, Do you work well under pressure and deadlines, or do you prefer a more easy going approach?  Leave your comment below and next week someone will win a $20 gift certificate to my etsy shop,


Mokki said...

I like deadlines. I work best under pressure, otherwise it might take me forever to finish something as I always want to start on something new!

Unknown said...

You go girl! Your energy and ambition are amazing! I love your positive spirit and your beads. Those owls aaare so cute!

Kim said...

Well, I do work well under pressure and I have always been a terrible procrastinator. Lately though, I have been working ahead and not leaving everything until the last minute, and I've found that I really enjoy not rushing around like a crazy person. We will see if this continues or the sky falls because I'm not procrastinating anymore.

Gale said...

I don't work well under pressure at all....which is why I'll leave that to you! But I'll see you and your beads at Bead Fest soon. Good luck with the rest of the prep.

HighTideGallery said...

Hi Michelle!
In answer to your question...I am a jewelry artist who ends up producing more under deadline pressure - I can't tell if my former career in newspaper journalism worked WITH my deadline motivation or if it caused my procrastination. LOL. It's definitely more fun & creative to make jewelry when there's a whole day available and the time is planned out.

I love your ceramic bead & jewelry line! I wish I could see all of the new pieces you're rolling out in Philly! Will be watching your Etsy shop for all of the new creations. :-)
Aimee B.

Deb Fortin said...

do i work well under pressure?.
yeah . it's the only way I get anything done.
no looming deadline? no incentive to git'er done. I wish I could say otherwise but I'm too complacent with my procrastination at my age. lol

Kristina said...

Deadlines definitely push me to get things done in a timely fashion. If I have a timetable, or someone waiting on me, the pressure pushes me to move.

I love those owls!

Windbent said...

The difficult part for me is having the design idea to begin the work. I do work better under a deadline to complete a task. I don't like to be flaky or let anyone down after I've committed to something, so a deadline helps me focus.

Windbent said...

The difficult part for me is having the design idea to begin the work. I do work better under a deadline to complete a task. I don't like to be flaky or let anyone down after I've committed to something, so a deadline helps me focus.

thecolorofdreams said...

I love to take my time to create but I also love it when I have a deadline to create beads for a custom order. I hope you have a wonderful and successful show at Bead Fest and sell lots of beads!

Sarajo Wentling said...

I prefer a more easy going approach... in theory anyway. The reality is that I work better under pressure. If I don't have a deadline then things just slide. I'm heading to Philly next week too for my first ever Bead Fest. Hopefully I'll get to meet you!

Lynn said...

Have a great show at Bead Fest, Michelle! I work best when I go at my own speed---sometimes the ideas don't come easy or I will look at something I've made and take it apart feeling I can do better. And, I usually can!

Denise said...

Good Luck next week. Hope it goes well for you. I always work better under pressure and with deadlin es. In fact, I 'd rather have someone lie to me about a deadline rather than get something done early!

Terri said...

Look at all those yummy beads! To answer your question....There are times when I have the luxury of thinking about a project...start it..let it set...see what else I can do to it...but then there are time that life gets in the way...and I'm left to a last minute creation. So my preference is having the time to let my creative juices simmer with a deadline in view.

Unknown said...

Oh my goodness you have a TON of beads!! The shelves are a great idea so you can see everything you have and what you may need. I definitely work better under pressure. I wish I could complete a project before the 11th hour but I have always needed a deadline to MAKE me do it. Good luck at the show.

Carolyn said...


Thanks for the look into your process.

In answer to your question, it depends. I have had bead blog hops back to back where I am scrambling to get things done. I get at least one thing done but would rather have more time.


Unknown said...

I much prefer to work leisurely and not to be jumping from one task to another. I usually fall over if I rush too much!

Mary Harding said...

Great post on bead show prep Michelle!! You have amazing energy and creativity!! Wishing you great success at BeadFest!! I know I am not in the draw to win even though I would like to be!!

dejavu treasures said...


Gloria Allen said...

I like deadlines. A set time to complete a project, usually means a finished project. Otherwise something comes along and distracts me and its ok because I would have forever to finish and never would,lol