Monday, March 14, 2011

Getting Rid of the Elephant in Your Studio

I feel like I have spent the last several weeks killing my children! No, I am not a child killer, but I really needed to weed and feed all the jewelry that I have made since the get go and it was really, really hard.  I now have several containers of sterling silver to be recycled and lots of odd beads to think about all over again. With the price of metals today - I may just have made a sizable amount of money, one more bonus involved in this task.

This has been hard, because I really like what I make - if I don't, I rip it apart when I make it and start over, so any finished product has a small place in my heart.  I had pieces from when I  started doing this seriously, but didn't have the slightest idea of what I was doing.  I have some interesting coils, some hellacious wrapped loops, that take allot of imagination to be called either wrapped or looped, lots of clasps made out of way too fine wire - they look okay, but as clasps that don't quite cut it.  My wire ends never seemed to get tucked, because I could never figure out where to tuck it. There are lots of strung things that have bare wire on the closed jumpring and no crimp covers - I was so excited about these pieces when I made them, and now they look bare and unfinished to me.  I thought the other day that I couldn't believe that I sold things like this and that people bought them...I was proud of them and the people were happy. I'm not even going to mention the eye glass leashes that I truly started is honestly a miracle that they have lasted this long and that is all that I am going to say about them, except, they deserve an honorable death.  Ah well  - guess this is where the old "live and learn" adage comes in.

I have about four piles while I am working.  The first one is for pieces that I can still use for donations, either a couple of schools that have auctions or the local woman's shelter. The second pile is things that need to die a fast and easy death - they must be demolished - completely, and hopefully the parts can be reused.  The greenies can finally be proud of me. I do the dirty deed as quickly as possible, so I don't have second thoughts. I have a third pile for things that are functional but need some sort of rehabbing - a new clasp, crimp covers, whatever it takes to make the piece sellable again. Unfortunately, I have a fourth pile and this is for things that I can't deal with just yet - they don't really fit into one of the first three piles, but they definately need something - if only for me to make up my mind.

Until you face this elephant that is growing in your studio, you have no idea how hard this can be.  I think that we all have storage problems and I really couldn't fit much more in my studio, and I needed to dejewelrize (new word) my living room/ dining room. If I take any more space, my husband is going to have to move out, and since we are now down to one car, that could present a whole new set of problems - maybe he could sleep in the car???? In any case, this is hard - we created these pieces - we labored over the designs - we cleaned - oxidized - whatever it took to make them, we did it - and now we have to undo it and it is a difficult task.  We have the ultimate emotional involvement in our jewelry - almost like our kids - and to destroy them really goes against my grain. However, it is a task that will give you a sense of accomplishment when you are done, it'll free up lots of storage space, and last, but by no means least, it needs to be done. 

The quide line that I use is - would I be willing to show this piece of jewelry to one of the boutique owners that carries my jewelry now in their shop??? This really cuts the mustard for me - I am merciless in applying this criteria to my stockpile.  You might have a totally different line of thought - depending on what you do with your jewelry after it is finished, but there should be some devining rod that you can use. Figure out that base criteria that you are going to use, adhere to it, and start cleaning up.

Now I have to admit something to all of you who might read this post - I came into my studio this afternoon with the intention of finishing up my jewelry cleanup - and somehow I found myself sitting at my computer, writing about the task rather than completing the task - I have been at this for about four weeks, in little dibs and dabs, and I probably only have one good afternoon left to finish it up, but what's left are the hardest decisions, and I keep wanting to delay them...Now I have spent enough time that I can put this off for a couple more days, because it's almost dark out and the lighting where I have this set up is just too poor to work in after the sun goes down.  Great excuse, what????


  1. Great post Linda! Earlier today I took care of one of my Elephants.... the scrap pile. That massive growing pile of scraps on my cutting table that I kept thinking... that could be used for XYZ!... but never gets used. The pile has been growing since we moved in July and It is all completely gone now. I went through it and bagged up the useful bits and tossed the rest. The 2 grocery bags of useful scraps are being donated to a local girl scout troop for craft supplies. It is quite a liberating feeling to be rid of such a mess!


  2. Great post, thanks for sharing! I have recently been considering 'recycling' some of my earlier pieces of jewellery, for reasons you've already mentioned. I know what I will do with most of them - the beads will be used for new items. Like you I have a couple of pieces I know I want to 'break up for parts', but no clear idea what to use the bits for.

    Maybe it's the Spring weather that's causing me to think about doing this? :-)

  3. I recently spent time re organising my craft room and I now it's so neat and tidy in there I hardly like to disturb anything.
    I do find it easier to think clearly when a place is clean and tidy though and so I'm doing a lot more thinking (if nothing else) of late.

  4. Oh I so need to to declutter...well just about every room. I have my ligthbox setup in the living room-the lights great in there, my drill press is in the basement, I have our family roomed staged with my craft show display-I'm taking pictures for future shows, my office is dining room table...don't ask. Oh yeah I forgot-I had to park my car outside all winter because I've taken up half the garage!

  5. Don't we all have the same issues,LOL!!Great post!