Design Dilemma

January 28, 2015 , In: General, Inspiration
How do you design?  Do you look to others for approval when you design?  Do you follow trends in design to hopefully make sales?  Are you afraid to just go with your gut?

These questions have been on my mind lately.  To be honest as a beadweaver it is very hard to break the glass ceiling if you are looking to sell what you create.  When creating tutorials they have to be not only easy to follow but they have to also be something the market is looking for.

For example this was a great selling tutorial when the spike beads first came out. Now not so much since the market has been inundated with so many other new beads.

Then there is this tutorial that was a for lack of a better term a total bust. I used a unique technique to create the links but either the picture has not sparked any interest or it is just not what the market wants.  I am going to retake the cover photo with other color options and see if it helps.

It can really change your outlook as a designer.  This made me question each and every new idea I have had in design.  Making me look to others for advise and approval of even the simplest of ideas. As if out of the blue it hit me.  Why?  I love creating.  I love playing with seed beads and artbeads and these questions are making it no fun.  And frankly as I look back I realized some of my favorite and best designs happened when I was just following my instincts.

Taking Jennifer’s Nightmare Insomnia bead and incorporating fun components.

Taking a new to me stitch and utilizing Sue’s cab with my love of twins.

Tri beads are a new obsession and just let them create their own path to show off Diana’s Snowflake.
Blu Mudd Design challenge that just inspired me to play.

 So you know this weekend is our reveal of January Component Stash challenge and I am over the top excited!  I really took this new revelation to the extreme and just went with my gut good and bad (you will not be seeing the bad though) and I am so happy with my designs.  Want a sneak peek?  I thought you would.

Have you changed the way you design?  Tell me how.

Kristen Stevens

Kristen Stevens has always been a crafter of sorts.  Cross stitch, quilting, quilling, knitting, and since 2009 totally addicted to seed beads.  Then the discovery of art beads added to the addiction.  She has been complimented on her unique approach to blend colors, shapes and inspiration from the art beads and nature. She has also been writing her own tutorials. 
  1. Kristen, these designs a gorgeous. I agree that you need a different photo for your second design. It gets lost with the prop hand. I usually go with my gut on designs. I do love it when customers request something a little different because it causes me to think outside the box. Thank you for sharing!

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    Great post! Fascinating examples.

    For me the answer to 'either/or" questions is always. BOTH/AND. Or in this case ALL THREE/AND.

    The approval of others is PART of the answer, otherwise there would be no sales.

    TRENDS are important, they are a sign of the "now" of our culture, but we must not be enslaved to them. Why?

    Because our GUT might be leading us, even leading the rest of us, into wonderful new areas to explore, areas where no woman has gone before.

    So, for me it is always ALL OF THE ABOVE, in balance.

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    I thoroughly enjoyed this post. It is so important for us to pay attention to our instincts, however there is nothing wrong with an occasional call out for another opinion. But I have to agree that going with your gut is #1.

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    Yes, to answer your question, I have changed the way I design.

    I have learned that if I design something with the idea that "this is going to be to sell" it's just "meh." Every time.

    My best designs have been when I'm making something that I really want to, that I'm excited about the idea and want to keep it for me. Those are the things that many others will love as well, I've found.


    Sandy from

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    Kirsten, I loved your post. I have been asking myself these same questions. I agree that we need to follow our gut when we design. I am going to silence the self doubts and listen to my gut.
    Thanks for the inspiring post. I can't wait to see ALL of your necklace!

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    Can't wait to see what is on the ends of those beaded ropes! Beautiful!

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    Hi Kristen, I can hardly wait to see the rest of your lovely designs. I design to suit myself. I will be honest and say I don't sell very much. Mostly because I don't put it out there. I find that if I please myself other people seem to like my designs. When I try doing it to please others it lacks something.

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    Wow!!! Each pieces are so unique and beautiful…. That Blu Mudd Design looks so cute…
    Jaslynn, Bizbilla

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    Super article, Kristen. In the end, I believe that making and designing pieces that reflect your enjoyment of them is the surest way to get to designs that work. Forge your own path and don't worry so much about what others are doing or thinking. That's how originality is born!

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    Your work is amazing and innovative. Follow your heart…it's the sure path.

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