Things are tough right now. They aren't "Depression" era tough, but they are very tough for many people. Including artisans.
As an artisan, or at least I consider myself one at this point, my sales are down but not out. I'm noticing that most of the orders I get are for custom pieces or pieces that can be personalized, like my birthstone Cherry Family Tree necklace.
So if sales are down, why did I just spend $180 yesterday on supplies and over $600 today on classes? Ouch.
I am looking forward. To the future. I am an optimist and even though things are dark right now, and honestly don't look that much brighter in the very near future, I see a light at the end of the tunnel. And I want to be prepared with the skills and know how to take advantage of the upswing in optimism and purchasing.
This summer I am going to take FIVE jewelry classes at the Puget Sound Bead Festival. I love this event. The Bead Factory puts it on every year and do such an amazing job. They get incredible vendors and wonderful teachers and I am SOOOOO excited for July to get here so I can learn more about jewelry design and the tools to make my skills better.
I am able to pay for the classes using money I've been saving for several months now from my jewelry sales. I don't need to take money out of my regular savings account or let the charges sit on my credit card. I planned ahead. My supply spending has decreased a LOT in the last six months, which allowed me to save more. Because in all honesty I probably already have WAY too many beads, pearls, and supplies. :)
What are you doing to prepare for the future? Can you afford to take classes to improve your skills? If not, can you go to your local library and maybe rent some videos on your craft to learn more?
There is light at the end of the tunnel. Whether it comes this year, next, or it doesn't appear for several...it is out there. We can't give up our love of creating just because times are tight. Keep preparing and learning.