I wrote in an earlier post that I haven’t been a jewelry artist for very long. I have always done creative/artisitic things-but more as a “dabbler” than as a professional. So, growing my business, and more importantly, improving my skills is a time (and energy!) consuming pursuit, but certainly rewarding.
It’s interesting for me to look back at my jewelry journey, and see how I got to where I am today. Hopefully, you’ll find it interesting too! For those of you just starting out, perhaps something I say may help you in your career. For those of you seasoned professionals…well, maybe it will just be a bit of nostalgia!!
I started out just collecting and selling vintage costume jewelry. My dear husband was convinced that I would do so much better making and selling jewelry. Whenever we went to shows and flea markets, he would look at what other vendors had, and he “knew” I could do better than they were!!
I resisted for a long time. I loved vintage jewelry, and I thought making jewelry would be …well, boring. I was getting requests from customers to fix items, and often necklaces that I purchases needed restringing. I decided that it might be a good thing to learn how to do repairs. An opportunity came from one of my husbands co-workers wives. She came to our house with all of her beading supplies, and I hosted a beading party for some of my best vintage customers. We all LOVED it!
This was the first piece I made. I had a two strand plastic vintage necklace that I adored, and as vintage necklaces are often wont to do, the string broke, and now the necklace was usesless, because I had no idea how to fix it. Thank goodness for my beading lesson!
I love this set because it was my first, and I still love those pink beads, so I wear this all of the time.
Hmmm, I thought…there’s a lot of vintage pieces out there that are broken and discarded and could be reworked into something more modern and wearable. My second jewelry set also sprung forth from a broken vintage necklace. Again, I love this set, and I wear it quite often.
As you know, once the bug hits you, there is no stopping it! I ventured out and made my first trip to buy beads in a store! I was terrified, but excited. I had very little idea of what to buy, but I took the list I made in my beading class and off I went to Michaels! I bought some beads on clearance, and some hardware, and came up with this cheesey little number….and yes, you guessed it, I still love it and still wear it all the time!
Pretty soon, I had fairly well mastered the basic stringing technique, so I knew I needed to expand my library of techniques. Making and attaching a pendant came next.
Next, I wanted to try multistrand techniques. What ways could I string them? What ways could I connect them? I also learned to crochet beads at about this time, and this gave me a whole other design option. In the bracelet below, I used spacers for the first time.
For about a year, I learned to perfect the techniques I had been using. I learned to make simple loops, wrapped loops, and use different types of stringing materials. I spent a lot of time perfecting crimps after a couple of disasters in which necklaces that I sold fell apart!!
My next lessons involved bead stitching, and loom weaving. Check back on Sunday for more of my educational pieces-and I’ll talk about where I am now. I will also share what I have learned about growing as an artist.