Friday, December 28, 2012

Bead Bugs Interview + Giveaway!

In 2011 Amy Kopperude started 365 Spiders, a yearlong daily project in which she committed to create a beaded spider every day. Then suddenly her project stopped, but for the best reason possible... she got a book deal! Now that her book Bead Bugs has come out, Amy agreed to share some insights into the process of making it (and give one away to a lucky reader!)...


How did this book come about?  I love the story of how my book came about because I know that if “X” hadn’t happened, then “Y” would not have. In 2010, I had a fall open house with friends to sell some of our handmade things, including a handful of beaded spider and dragonfly pins that I had just figured out how to make two months earlier. A friend of a friend (who is now a very good friend of mine) saw my spider pins and was ecstatic over one made with a skull bead.

Over the next couple of months, Susan urged me to participate in local art events, and in December she asked if any of her friends would be interested in participating in a daily creativity project. She offered to buy participants Noah’s book 365: A Daily Creativity Journal so we could follow the prompts. I was immediately on board. On January 1, I began following the prompts but decided I wasn’t simplifying my daily project enough and knew I would bail on this creative journey if I kept making things so complex. So I switched gears and decided to just make a spider every day for a year. I started a blog for my 365 spiders and set off with some crazy ideas. In late August of 2011, I received an e-mail from an acquisitions editor at a Minneapolis publisher explaining that she had seen my beaded spiders on my blog and also a couple of dragonfly pins that I had in my Etsy shop and thought they were fantastic. She asked if I would be willing to write a DIY craft book of beaded bug projects. I couldn’t say no.


What was the process of creating the book like?  Creating 25 different bugs and turning them into something useable (like jewelry or a hair accessory) was a lot more complex and detailed than working on my daily project. I had just over 4 months to write my book between the time I mailed the signed contract to my publisher and the final deadline. The process of brainstorming 25 bugs was one of the most difficult things initially because not every bug seemed like it could be made with beads. Surely I had great bug ideas, but I just couldn’t figure out how to construct them. In addition to conceptualizing each bug, I had to make room in a schedule to buy the beads I would need, experiment with making the bug, make the bug while photographing each step, write the instructions, and keep a log of all of the photos for the publisher. The log had to include a chronological number label for each photo, what section the photo belonged in, a brief description of the step appearing in the photo, and a category for the type of image. When all was said and done, I had submitted 455 photos for the book. Writing Bead Bugs was an exhaustingly detailed and organized process. It was nothing like setting aside a half hour or hour of my time each day just to think about and make a themed spider, but it was worth every minute.


What lessons did you learn in the process of making the book? One lesson is this—do something right the first time so you don’t have to do it over. You can’t take shortcuts when you’re dealing with intricate work that requires precision. Because I also took all of the photographs of each step for each project, I was careful to take more than one shot of every step not only so that I would have a choice between which photo best exemplified the step but to ensure that I wouldn’t have to start from the beginning and recreate a project if there appeared to be a gap in the steps.  It also helped to make a bug twice and photograph the steps for the second bug. Most of the time, the first round is experimental and can use some tweaking.

Overall, I learned to cut myself a break. It’s pretty impossible to take on a day job, write a craft book, and finish a daily creativity project all at once, especially when you stir other factors into the mix like family and unpredictable life challenges. As much as I have the ability to work under pressure and juggle several projects at once, it’s just not always healthy to do so. If I lose sight of why I’m doing something, I’m not putting my best foot forward OR having fun.


What advice would you give someone considering taking on his/her own daily project? Simplify! If you don’t simplify, expect to sacrifice more than you bargained for.  Daily creativity projects are meant to be fun. You’re meant to discover something about yourself and your creative process. Why else would you commit to the endeavor? Also, share the joy of creating with others. Support others who are making something every day. Be part of something THAT BIG so that when you finish your project, you are inspired and filled with a deep satisfaction.


What advice would you give someone interested in having his/her creative project become a book? Put yourself out there. If you are consistent about sharing your work and make yourself present through online networks like Facebook, Twitter, and a personal blog or web site, then you will start to gain a following and you just never know who will end up seeing your work. I also think that there has to be something unique and thematic about what you make or do. Focus on that thing you do that no one else is doing, and run with it.



Now What? Another book. I don’t know what yet, but that’s my plan. Whenever I have an idea for something, I add it to the Notes section on my phone so I don’t forget. Later, I categorize my ideas. My plan is to have enough good ideas in one category at some point to pitch another craft book. I have always been passionate about making things and experimenting with materials. Whether there’s another book in my future or I just stay up until midnight in my kitchen working on a project I love, I’m happy either way.



GIVEAWAY!
The contest is over! The winner will be contacted directly. Thanks to everyone who entered.
Amy and her publisher have kindly offered to giveaway a copy of her new book Bead Bugs to one lucky Make Something 365 reader! To be entered to win, just post a comment below with the name of your favorite bug (be sure to include an email address so you can be notified if you win!). You have til midnight January 3, 2013 to enter and then a winner will be selected randomly from all eligible entries.






p.s. Read my original interview with Amy about her 365 Spiders project HERE.



22 comments:

Steph said...

OH I love this! My son is so stoked to start making bugs now - a great project for both of us. Thanks!

Susan Scofield said...

So very very proud of you, Amy! ♥

Chantal Larochelle said...

This is such a neat idea! I love it! I'd have to say, my favorite bug is the Chilean Rose Tarantula. I love the way they move. :) C_Larochelle@Live.com

Ravenzgurl said...

Amy you rock! I know you have to be so proud of yourself! Keep up the good work!

jennifer said...

just love 365spiders! the book looks great and I hope to add it to my collection soon!

Patti said...

What a cool book! Hard to choose a favorite bug, but I think it's the American Burying Beetle - I saw one this year for the first time, and it was spectacular.

Friseal said...

A refreshingly creative idea! And BUGS!! Even a boy could get interested in that! Bombardier Beetle would be my choice.
(friseal @at@ gmail.com)

Keltie said...

Oh, I want a copy of this book! My favourite bug is the scarab beetle.

keltserin@gmail.com

Steph said...

I love the scorpion! steph.barry@gmail.com
:)

Dizzy Chick said...

What a great book and idea. I love the fishing lures bugs.
Tammyhicks01@att.net

Marcy Engleman said...

How to choose a favorite bug... I'll say scorpions - namely my 2 pet scorpions! Would love to learn how to make a beaded one!

Rebecca said...

Congratulations, Amy! What an excellent accomplishment! My favorite is the Dragonfly - and yours is VERY cool! borowski94@hotmail.com

pupton said...

A few years ago i found the assassin bug. That and spiders of any kind. Thanks!

SueS said...

After reading about the book and then checking out all the daily spiders I love the computer geek spider. One bug I would love to see is a praying mantis.

kb3idwsms@enter.net

Char said...

How can I pick? They are all fabulous! But the fishing lures are extra special.

Kim Fisher-Anctil said...

There are so many I love but I think my favourite would have to be the Ladybug. They're cute and I read they represent dreams and wishes coming true. How can it not be my favourite! :)

Kim
fisher-anctil@shaw.ca

Darcy Robb said...

These are incredibly unusual - would love to see more (in the book)

Thanks for the chance,
Darcy from TheWildRoses.etsy.com

darcyrobb216@gmail.com

Darcy Robb said...

I'm sorry - I forgot to say which is my favourite bug ... I think I can safely say that my favourite bug to HATE is the earwig!

Darcy from TheWildRoses.etsy

MJC said...

Great idea for a book...the bug projects look so cool! My favorite bug is a ladybug, followed by the honey bee.

cohenmar@artladies.net

Karen Carley said...

My favorite bug - praying mantis. Even though I live in the suburbs, I often see them perched on the deck, eating a fly. I'd love to have your Bead Bugs book --- karencarley@msn.com

Mary Mac said...

Ladybugs are my favorite bugs. If all spiders looked like the beautiful one you have shown they would be my favorite.

Shiny Objects said...

always a fan of the spider. nice job!