22 Oct 2010

Lovely customers make it all worthwhile

I’ve had one of those tiresome weeks where far too much time has been wasted . . . er, spent on things you’d just prefer not to – like trying to get an elderly and cranky computer to work efficiently. I bought the part that I thought it needed and we spent a chunk of time fitting it, to find that the one I’d bought wasn’t up to spec and will need to be returned and re-ordered. So until that arrives, I’m nursing it along, being kind and making encouraging noises, to coax it along.

Then my favourite magnifier lamp for working on small details (which doubles up for my jewellery photo taking) failed – I just switched it on and it was dead. I finally sourced a replacement tube and made a special trip to pick one up, but that didn’t cure it, so I’ve had to buy another lamp. So that’s wasted time and prevented me working on things too.

But over the last few days I have received lovely feedback on Etsy and by e-mail for other items sold. And as soon as you read kind words about your work, from people who are going to enjoy wearing it, it reminds you of exactly why you do what you do and lifts your spirits immeasurably.

“Everything is top quality, from the exquisite packaging to the gorgeous beads and incredible metalwork”

“Another little treasure.”

“Fabulous item and service.”

“. . . my friend absolutely LOVED the jewellery”

” . . . how beautiful your jewellery is!!! I love it and the quality.
Great stuff!!!”

Most of my work is spontaneous. I have an idea, grab some materials and set to work. The fact that someone subsequently likes it too and will enjoy wearing it, is a joy that I’ve just never tired of. It’s still rather odd and wonderful to me that something that starts out as a scratch in my sketchbook or an idea that pops into my head in the shower, ends up being worn to a party, or wedding, or going on holiday to wear in exotic places. This week I’ve sent pieces to Australia, Sweden and various points in the US, as well as the UK. I feel very cosmopolitan. It’s within my own lifetime that this idea would almost have been incomprehensible.

This piece will be for me as I’m not happy with the standard of the finish (the photograph flatters it) and I learnt a great deal whilst working on it. It’s brushed satin copper with Sterling silver nuggets and hanging from a tube bail soldered on the back. I haven’t decided yet what colour finish to give it, I might oxidise it and tumble it extensively to give the copper a gunmetal finish and polish the silver back to bright.

But sometimes, like the piece above that I’m working on just now (which will now be for myself), through either the wrong tools or not having the right ones, or just plain lack of skill or experience, they don’t come out how you plan or envisage. Or you encounter problems you hadn’t anticipated – sometimes something that feels like it should be easy, just isn’t and simply doesn’t work how you want.

I’ve been experimenting with putting my own textures into copper sheet. I’ll antique this one to highlight the pattern and match the chain. I have smaller pieces prepared for matching earrings too. I’m also getting set up to do some etching too – I want to combine my photography with jewellery and put some images, in somewhat stylised form, onto copper pendants and brooches.

Thankfully, those pieces are pretty rare, but they do still have considerable value as a learning process – and without them I’d never stretch myself and progress. Whilst my results aren’t yet quite what I hoped (they will be, but will have taken more time than I’d expected), I’ve learnt so much along the way, that it will serve as a permanent reminder of that journey to me.

Long teardrop shaped hoops wrapped with rosy copper buds. I’ll oxidise them and leave the teardrop frame shape dark and polish the wrapping only, to highlight those areas.

This week I have started working with several ideas I’d sketched some time ago, for working with sheet materials and tube – my sketchbook is full of ideas and apart from the one troublesome piece, I have been excited with the new direction and the mass of things I’ve learnt this week.

My triple hammered Sterling silver leaf shaped spiral earrings have sold well recently, so I’ve made some smaller earrings with one spiral for those, like myself, that prefer shorter earrings.

2 thoughts on “Lovely customers make it all worthwhile

  1. I know how you feel, my camera gave up the ghost about 2 weeks ago, it is in getting repaired and i got the bill yesterday and it is costing £200 to fix, it’s just a nightmare.

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