Looking Back on 10 Years of Making Jewelry

2018 was a big year for Sleepless Storyteller. My shop underwent more change in the last 10 months than the previous 10 years combined. I started Sleepless Storyteller at the tail end of 2008 - the same year I got married and published my first novel.

For some insane reason, I thought that working a full-time job, maintaining a magazine column, and promoting fiction wasn't enough; I needed just one more side hustle (although I don't think the term existed then), so I named an Etsy shop after my old blogging handle and posted a handful of my first assemblage art. It was just a hobby. I didn't know how long I would stay open and I didn't put more than a month's worth of planning into the whole thing.

I still remember making my first few sales in January 2009. I also cringe looking back at those early pendants, earrings, and rings. It's one thing to make your own accessories. It's another entirely to publish photos online and offer them for sale. After a few months of pleasant surprises, I started mentioning my jewelry around town. And my business grew.

Through the first couple of years in Victoria, and then in Vancouver, I did quite a lot of consignment and several awesome markets. You might have found my work at Sideshow Boutique, Aces n' Spades, Flaming Angels, or Deadly Couture. Or you might have met me in person at the Victoria Steampunk Festival, the Rock n Roll Market, the Loudspeaker Festival, or the Vancouver Science Fiction Convention. My work also popped up on Haute Macabre and the ReFabDiaries.

During the past 10 years I've evolved as an artist and overall as a person. I've been through several corporate day jobs. I've had two children. I've published seven novels and freelanced on and off as a copywriter. I even opened a second Etsy shop, Beyond Junk, to try to find homes for the bits and baubles I hoarded but couldn't find a way to use in my own work.

I've always had a side gig of some sort ever since studying journalism at university and writing for campus publications. But once I took on the balancing act of small children and ... pretty much anything else, be it a day job, creative pursuits, or any combination, I learned just how emotionally and physically challenging even the smallest business could be for a mother. Still, I kept at it.

Over this past decade, I've watched trends and tastes in handmade jewelry enter scenes, evolve, and fade. I noticed the steampunk and upcycled accessory trends I followed decline - much to my dismay. After a few stagnant years, I finally dove in to overhaul my maker side.

I took an introductory silversmithing workshop, making stacking rings specifically. I also took an electroforming class. I've learned a lot, not just about crafting jewelry in different ways, but about the kind of designs that have a future with Sleepless Storyteller. 2018 saw many, many variations in style, size, and technique.

As I streamline my look, workflow, and workspace, you will start to notice a bit less variety. Not everything I made this past year will make an appearance again. (But please feel free to drop a comment below or email me if you feel strongly about a piece I should bring back or modify.)

I expect to continue drawing inspiration from all thing speculative and imagery ranging from mythology to punk rock. Now, more than ever, I need to stay connected to art that inspires and energizes me, regardless of whatever else life demands from me.

If you're reading this post, I want you to know that however long you've been following the twists and turns of Sleepless Storyteller, I value every minute of having your eyeballs on my words and my work. Thank you and I hope you'll stay with me in 2019 and beyond.