Monday, March 26, 2012

Making Jewelry is the Easy Part

We were in a quick stop while on the road the other day and the girl in front of me in the line for paying, handed the cashier and her friend some business cards and said they were having a sale that weekend.  When my time to be first in line came -  I handed them my business card and said that I made jewelry, and if they needed anything to give me a call.  The "friend" behind the counter, said " I make jewelry too" and showed off a pair of glass earrings.  She then turned to me and said - "I never realized how easy it is to make jewelry"

I've thought long and hard on her statement and have decided that it is definitely worthy of a blog...mostly because it's true and at the same time, it isn't.

I can't disagree with the premise - it doesn't take a mental giant to make ( or buy ) a couple of eye     pins...throw something on them and dangle something from them, and voila - one pair of earrings.  Or buy some memory wire and necklaces and bracelets are right around the corner. Purchase a piece of leather or cord, buy a bail  or make one for the stone that you have, and you have a pendant necklace.  Yes, all of the above is easy and doesn't take any skills and any idiot could do it.

Is this how I make jewelry - NO! ! !  I spend hours on line looking for the new, the different, the appealing to incorporate into my jewelry.  I spend 4 to 5 days at the Tucson Gem and Bead show and other shows, doing the same thing.  I rarely have a complete idea of what I want to make.  I buy things that appeal to me and then combine them into something that appeals to me even more.  I wish what I did WAS easy...but it isn't.  It's a combination of magic, a good color sense, and intelligent shopping.  Is it quick?  Never! Is it easy - sometimes, if I've made wise purchases - but sometimes, I rip things apart umpteen times to achieve the look that I want.  That elusive "look" that I know when I see it, but don't always know what it is I'm looking for until I get there.

I work with wire allot too.  Mistakes or wrong turns here are even more demanding - sometimes it must all be discarded and you have to start over.  Sometimes the wire just won't go where you want it to. Sometimes the wire and beads don't fit each other.  Depending on the type of wire you are using - you have to decide early on how you plan to finish it because many stones cannot be oxidized - or tumbled - and forging can easily ruin a stone unless you possess perfect aim....I don't.

I came to this obsession too late in life, and there are many things that I wish that I could explore, but I haven't for one reason or another.  Soldering - make a mistake there and the house is gone.  Precious and other metal clays...which I so badly want to do, but that $600.00 kiln can buy allot of other goodies.  Enameling - blowing glass - making beads like Rona Sarvas.  Real metal work with presses and all those cool machines.  All of  these different avenues to jewelry require an expense for new equipment, some sort of training and learning curves, and at least through the intro parts, they cannot be easy, because learning something totally new is never easy.

So I guess the answer here is - that depending on what you want - making jewelry can be very easy.....or very difficult.  I am no longer satisfied with a couple of beads hanging on a premade earring of some type.  I do like easy especially for what I sell, because then I can keep the prices down and they are more apt to sell fast.  But the most soul satisfying pieces are those that I agonize over, until they are perfect...and that is never easy.  Please come visit my shop and take a look at what I've been agonizing over lately....til next time


  1. Interesting read. I fully understand where you are coming from. I think it was a little insulting of the girl to mention her jewellery making when you were out touting for business still, it happens. Your Artfire Studio looks lovely, full of great pieces which I can see you will have thought about long and hard.

  2. I love your comments. Yes, I have also noticed that many people seem to have "tried" jewelry at some point in time, yet only a few really make a go of it. I still love this answer to how-long-did-that-take-you-to-make? The answer? 40 years. You have such beautiful work.

  3. Your comments are so true. My art is quilling, which is narrow strips of paper rolled and shaped....quilling my way is using these pieces to create wonderful wildlife pictures, like Blue Herons. The usual comment is that is it easy, just rolls of paper. And that is when I hand them a piece of quilling paper and a small tool and ask if they would like to try. I do it kindly, but......
    I love your work. You have a great eye for detail. Your details show that you have taken much care and time. Happy Spring. Love your blog.

  4. I have to say your blog chimes with me - I work very hard to get an absolutely exact execution of an idea, which changes as I am making it - and when people who string 6 beads together and add a clasp say they make jewellery I get peed right off. Please come have a look at my site - and tell me what you think. I love your stuff, absolutely lovely