Every month members of the Starving Artist etsy street team join together for a blog carnival, usually with a jewelry-related theme. This month we were asked to blog about why we started making jewelry.
I have a long history of making crafts. I’ve tried all the usual stuff: crochet, knitting, collage, drawing, sewing, etc., as well as some less mainstream stuff (like china doll painting). In my early twenties, I got interested in doll-collecting and started going to shows. One show had a small area where dollhouse miniatures displayed. I loved the dolls but the truth was their size made them difficult to collect, not to mention the expense. The miniatures drew me like a magnet. Being the type to make things rather than buy them, I began learning all kinds of new things to further my new passion. I’ve made miniature furniture, learned basketweaving, built rooms and even tried my hand at miniature pottery. And of course, I dressed and wigged my own dolls.
Okay, so how does this relate to making jewelry? Well, one day I was looking for something to complete a miniature project. I can’t remember what I was making, but it occurred to me that maybe a bead store would carry what I needed. One look, and I was hooked. I think that I am hard-wired to create things, and each time I come across some new medium, I jump right in.
As with dollhouse miniatures, there is a whole community of people who make jewelry, and I love the social aspect of it as well as the creative side. I’ve made new friends at every convention I’ve been to, and people are very generous with sharing sources, ideas, tips and tricks. I learn almost as much from my classmates as I do from the teachers. And I’ve been able to pass it on, teaching at my local bead store. I work a couple of days a month at the store, just to chat with other beaders and see what they are working on, and help them with their projects. I love to do this. I’m proud to say that there are at least two people out there in the world making their own jewelry solely because I reeled them in.
I continued to make miniature scenes for a few years, along with jewelry, but once I had children I needed projects that could be set aside, sometimes for months, and be something I could pick up again later without loss of rhythm. Making jewelry fit that bill, and I eventually found myself doing that exclusively. I’ve never gotten tired of it, because there are so many different aspects to it. Not to mention the endless array of beads, with new ones being introduced regularly. I started out with stringing (which I still really enjoy), but have learned off-loom weaving stitches, worked with precious metal clay and taken a beginning metal-working class at our community college, despite my fear of fire. I have not begun to master all of the techniques I’ve dabbled in, so that every time I enter my studio, I know I’m going to have some fun while honing my skills.
I got into selling jewelry because I started making pieces that interested me, but that weren’t necessarily something that I wanted to wear. The very first piece I sold was a gorgeous assemblage of beads based on a luscious lampworked bead by Lisa St. Martin, but it was orange. So not my color. The lady who bought it, loved it though. Although I sell most of my work through a store, I occasionally will be around when someone picks a piece, and I enjoy seeing how excited they get about it. Often they will describe the outfit they plan to wear it with, or tell me about where they plan to wear it.
Here are the links to the other posts in the blog carnival: