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Thursday, 18 November 2010

From Start to Finish

When I first started making jewelry I used to pick up the materials I liked the look of and start stringing them together with absolutely no planning whatsoever. Of course back then I had a very limited set of skills with which to work so any attempt at planning, beyond choosing which beads should go together, would have been a waste of time anyway.

As I started to try out new techniques and bring new materials into play I initially continued along the same lines. Since I didn't know what I was capable of it worked well for me to simply play around and see what came out. Some pieces turned out looking like an electrically-challenged person's attempt at wiring a house, fit not even for recycling as the wire had been bent too many times, but some pieces turned out well and I learned from those and carried those elements forward into my future designs.

Nowadays I have settled much more on a fixed style, I have played around with the materials I now stick to and I know what works and what doesn't. This, in turn, has allowed me to conceptualise on paper and has given me an actual process for creating new pieces. It's this process I thought you might be interested in today.

The first step always involves my notebook but it depends what mood I am in as to exactly how it goes. Sometimes I see things when I am out, other jewelry, aspects of nature or even completely random things that give me inspiration for a design. As soon as I reach my notebook I put the designs down before I forget.
Other times, if I'm feeling in a creative mood, I will deliberately sit down with my notebook and attempt to draw designs. Often I will draw several designs and then scribble out the ones I don't think will work but sometimes I will draw the basic shapes that work for my current pieces and experiment with how different ones look next to each other.
Either way, the end result is a book full of little pictures.

You may have seen some of these ideas already!
At some point I review the little pictures and cross out any that won't work and mark any I particularly like. I may also write on if I think the design would work best for earrings or a pendant or how it could be changed slightly to work for another item.
These ticks and crosses only have some bearing on which ideas end up getting made. When I feel like making something new I flick through my notebook and pick out whatever takes my fancy at the time. Some ideas, even if marked as ones to be made, never actually get made because they just don't inspire me when I have the wire in my hand.

This is the fun part :) Usually I will make the designs exactly as I drew them but occasionally I will make changes as I go, through error or because I realise something isn't going to work or is going to be too difficult to make it look neat. My notebook is only in black and white so I still need to choose the colours of wire I'm going to use and the colours of any beads to incorporate.

Some designs still don't make it past this stage. Any designs which I make but which don't inspire me when done tend to sit around and never get listed. Even though I know that someone will probably like it even if I'm not so keen on it it somehow never makes it onto the photography pile and eventually ends up in the recycling box. The rest of my shiny new pieces will all get photographed and edited ready to be listed.
One of the pieces that got left out, even after making, photographing and editing.

Believe it or not there are a few pieces that still don't get through here. Usually pieces which are difficult to photograph  rather than through any fault of their own but some items, even after having their pictures taken, just never end up getting on the internet. I have a spreadsheet in which I track the materials used in each piece and the time taken to make it, to allow me to calculate a good price to sell it for. The final step is to list the items in my Etsy shop :)

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