Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Shoe Candy

A couple of years ago, I started beading and making jewelry. My first class - taken at a weaving conference - was one in which we used Nymo Nylon Cord to make tassels and bracelets. I'd always loved fiber arts, but lamented that I was a competant spinner, nothing more. Where many of my friends excelled at it and won all sorts of awards, I was recognized for innovative design and color sense, but my technique? Adequate. Definitely not prize winning.

At conferences, I always took several classes on topic, but made a point of taking one class each time on a "weird" subject... about anything that might sound interesting or different. It was providence the day that I took beading. I felt like I was coming home.

I made a lot of jewelry using the technique that I had learned; sold my first pieces and discovered that rather than feeling awful when I let something I created go for simple dollars, I felt elated. Not so much for the money although I admit that it was nice too, but for the validation as an artist. I was finally making something worth paying for.

As my skills built, I started having a lot of leftover materials. When fingerweaving Nymo thread, you generally end up with several waste ends a yard or more. Not enough to make more jewelry with, but too much to throw out. As my stockpile built, I felt like I needed to make something. But what?

And then it occured to me. I knew how to make tassels. What if I was to make small tassels to adorn my exercise shoes? Would they be cute? Would they be durable enough? Or would they fall apart after a wearing or two?

And so Shoe Candy was born. The picture above is my first set; rather than falling apart on impact, they have outlasted many pairs of sneakers. When it's time for new shoes, I take them off of the old pair and put them on the new. They attach via a small loop at the top through which you weave the cross of your laces.

I've had a lot of compliments about them over time, but it was only about a week ago that it occured to me: I had a product here that was cute and different; something that did not require sizing and would not grow out of style. I should make a bunch up and sell them!

And so the process has begun. I've made three sets so far. I'm going to make up a dozen or so of them, then list them for sale in my Jewelry Store. At $25 per pair, they are made to last for years and cost no more than an inexpensive pair of earrings. I hope that they go over well.

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