I’ve taken a break from street photography for a while in order to focus on making jewellery again. It’s been about a year and half since I made anything, with my previous efforts involving an as yet unfinished peyote weave, beaded bracelet. In fact I have several incomplete jewellery projects that have been sitting in storage awaiting my attention. I don’t like incomplete projects, and even though it might be years before I get back to them, they are always present somewhere at the back of my mind.
Sometimes I don’t complete things because I’m not sure where to go with them next. I’ll get an initial idea and execute that part. With jewellery that is easy enough to do as it is mostly composed of independent components.
I have a statement necklace that I began around five years ago, but I only got as far as designing the focal pendent, which was quite an intricate piece of silversmithing despite the simple design, and although I had several ideas about how to create the rest of the necklace, nothing inspired me enough at the time to continue with it. So, it’s been quietly percolating away at the back of my mind since.
My renewed enthusiasm has encouraged me to dig out all of these unfinished projects and to begin considering the various processes of completing them in earnest, in addition to designing and creating new pieces – that part I am always doing whether I am actively making or not. I have managed to complete several projects this summer, some of them with great sentimental value, so the personal reward has been great.
Nothing gives me more pleasure than working with beads. I love all the different colours and designs. I mostly use glass and semi-precious stones, and as such I have a large stock amassed over a number of years from all over the world. My intention was of course to build up my jewellery making business, which didn’t quite work out. Despite not selling any commissions at the moment, I do enjoy being well resourced, and to be able to create almost any design that pops into my head. Something I could only have dreamed of as a child; and I’m very much like a kid in a sweetshop when it comes to looking through everything I have!
Each piece of jewellery is a puzzle. Each has to be worked out in detail, as often there will be a specific order of assembly. With silversmithing the process becomes even more complicated and exact, which can increase making time exponentially as you come across new problems to solve, especially when despite your efforts, things just don’t work out as planned. For me however, solving the puzzle is the fun part. Teaching myself new techniques can be daunting, but I’m always up for the challenge. If I can see a finished design in my head, then I know I can make it, even if I don’t yet know how.
Some designs and techniques can be a little more taxing than others. However, it’s my belief that you are only as good as the mistakes you are willing to make. Sometimes mistakes can be blessings and lead you in new and exciting directions, and teach you to think beyond your normal creative bounds. Often though, mistakes teach you to become a master at what you do, by teaching you exactly what not to do!
No matter how steep the learning curve, or however many needles or beads get broken in the process, the results can be most pleasing, and the desire to keep making soon returns.
Click on the gallery below to view some of the projects I’ve been working on recently.