A Jewelry Crafter’s Life….
As you can tell, my last few posts have been about the holidays, how to shop, and December Birthdays. Like most crafters this past December, I have been burning the candle at both ends. From September to the end of the year, I have virtually used every waking minute to craft jewelry. I have a day job as a music therapist in a school, so the minute I get home, I would greet my pups, and head right down to my studio. If you are a crafter or a maker in business, you know what I am talking about. You give up your evenings, weekends and you say “no” to many events. And while you love the crafting, too much of any good thing can make you tired and sometimes even resentful.
Yes, I did say resentful!
Much of the reason for resentment during this season is that you don’t get creative time–a death knoll for artists. You are mostly relegated to doing “production” work. You know that this is the time you will likely have your best sales, so you must create items at price-points for gift giving (or for the folks who want to treat themselves during this stressful season).
Very few of our customers will have “extra” cash during this time of year to invest in the more expensive, more creative art pieces. And if you want to keep creating, you must be able to make what people are buying. After all, you have to keep the business going, right?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I still make a high quality piece of jewelry during production. And I use the prettiest higher-end materials I can find. And I do not scrimp on the silver, either. My pieces are reasonable, but they are not “cheap”. Clearly, this has worked for me. I definitely do sell more at this time of year than at any other, and it keeps my art business going.
What isn’t a big seller during the holiday season is that special “new” design that is created from a sheet of metal, and a drawing or image inside an artist’s mind, that is often referred to as “Art Jewelry.”
Jewelry Artists will say that these pieces are wearable forms of mini-art made from both conventional and non-conventional materials. And I am also talking about the custom “One of a Kind” pieces, not those designs that are sent to be mass produced. I am talking about new design ideas and unconventional techniques.
To illustrate what kind of jewelry falls into the Art Jewelry category I want to describe something I came across on Pinterest. It was a pendant made of copper with a beautiful tree of life scene, created by Roxan O’Brien of “Designs By Roxan“.
The gorgeous jewelry was colored with colored pencils—YES colored pencils! It is spectacular! And it was with a technique I had never seen or heard of in metal crafting. I looked at it as being able to wear a beautiful painting around my neck. But really? WHO THINKS OF THAT? An artist! That’s who! And the result, after much experimentation, is a beautiful new idea. Take a look at this beautiful piece!
Of course, the artist had to overcome problems such as how to best create the metal surface to hold the color, and the best way to seal it so the color does not come off in daily wear. This is the part of working as an artist that is exciting. To have a design in your head, and to solve all the problems to make the design work in a piece of jewelry. This can be anything from how to manipulate the metal, to how you can use unconventional materials to enhance your design. It would be so much fun to come up with something no one else has thought of, and that is beautiful and wearable. My aspiration….
January is here, and I have set a date to recharge and start again. One thing that gets me excited is purchasing new equipment to try new techniques. So I went shopping for me! Now, prepare to be excited……(drumroll)………I got an air compressor,
a set of gravers, and a graver tool.
I also purchased a graver sharpening machine. Exciting? Maybe not for you, but for an artist, getting new tools can be like a child getting that latest toy! I am going to try to learn the art of engraving! Now I am not naive, I know that this is going to take a long time to learn and perfect. And I will have to practice on cheaper metals until I gain the confidence to use it on silver and gold. But think of the design possibilities this will add to my designs! I want to be able to make scrolls, draw scenes and add lettering to metal designs. Add these to the beautiful stones that I collect, and I could really go to the moon! But I do know there is a learning curve, and this will take time—time where the jewelry making will slow a bit—but that is okay. The holiday crunch time is over, and it is now time to explore.
Another new goal is to work more with gold. I have already begun to make some rings. I absolutely LOVE gold! So watch out! I am getting new ideas!!! I feel the energy is start ing to come back. And knowing I can take my time to learn new techniques and create new design ideas makes me love being a crafter. And more importantly, an ART JEWELER.
Lynne Patnode is a Jewelry Artist from Connecticut, USA. She creates designs that feature nature’s most beautiful stones as Art Jewelry. To see some of her available pieces you can visit her Shop. You can also request individual custom designs by sending an email.