No-Work Weekend Jewelry Making

I'll be making jewelry on the weekends...

...but it won't be for sale.

I can’t believe I just typed that. Being a working artist, everything is always for sale, isn’t it? Well, I learned the hard way that that’s the fastest way to take something that you love and turn it into a j.o.b., which leads to b.o., I mean, burn out.

On top of that, if you’re like me, when you’re not making stuff to sell, you’re always thinking about new ways to sell it.

You may rationalize with yourself and say, “But really, I *do* like doing it all.” And I wouldn’t argue with you. I love being immersed and as passionate just as much as the next guy, and it’s all good…until it isn’t. It creeps up on you and once you get to that point, it’s H-E-double-hockey-sticks getting out of it.

So, this weekend, I proactively said no more. Or in the wise words of Beverly Hills Chihuahua: NO MAS!

I declared a no-work weekend.

I argued with myself over this, and whined a little, “But I looooove making jewelry…I don’t want to stop on the weekends.” So, I came up with a compromise I could live with.

I recently took a class with Cynthia Toops, the master of the polymer clay micromosaic. Y’all know I love me some micromosaics. Did you know I used to do polymer clay? Yep. Back in the day that was my first bead making and selling gig, before I got into glass. I feel like I’ve come full circle.

Anyway…spending time making something that someone else taught me will guarantee that I won’t turn it into a product line. Why? Because that’s just damn tacky. Cynthia is right when she says that the technique isn’t hard, it just takes a lot of time. Just how I like it.

I had this setting laying around from a failed glass stone setting attempt so I used it for my second polymer clay micro mosaic. The one below is the first one I made, in class, with another bezel that had a snafu with the stone I was going to set.

So, Friday came and I thought, I need to get a bezel made for my no-work jewelry making weekend! I’d spent a lot of the week working on designing an upcoming collection and I didn’t have it in me to toil with more. So, if it’s not dots I’m falling back on, it’s eyes, of course.

I liked the setting I’d already worked on so I set out to create one that was similar.

I realized that the method I use for creating the decoration around the edge is also mosaic-like. At this point I’m thinking I can probably relate anything in life to something to do with mosaics. Art mirrors life. Or the other way around?

I like it. I think it’s going to be a good one.

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So much goes into a final design product…

I recently wrote about the “search for inner peace” and incorporating it into my beads over on Watch Me Create.  I wrote about part of where I’m coming from but I’d like to share more with you here.  I’ve been busy, and that’s probably not the best way to search for inner peace, right?  But, like I always say…ANYONE can find peace by meditating on top of a mountain…doing it in everyday life is the true challenge.

You might remember that I’ve dabbled in Venus beads.  Not your traditional Venus de Milo goddess forms but a cross between venus flytraps and another, not-so-subtle, female representation.

I only dabbled in them because, well, I’ve had this mindset that, if they sell, I make more. And these haven’t sold like hotcakes.  I’m on the edge of changing that mindset because I absolutely LOVE these beads and am convinced that people just don’t appreciate the true impact of them yet.  They’re ahead of their time.  Yeah.  That’s it.

I feel silly admitting it but I pondered why they weren’t selling…like that should matter with art.  But it does if you’re trying to make a living at it.  Maybe they are too bulky?  Too bright and bold?  Just too darn funky?  Offensive?  So I tried a smaller rendition and they were ok.  They sold.  Hm.  But I, as the artist, didn’t like them as much.  So that’s a dilemma.

I decided it was time to get serious and I broke out the sketchbook.  Well, not really.  I got my sharpies and some shiny paper.  You  know it’s bad when I start to consider designing on paper.

If you can read my notes you can see that I’m reasoning with myself that I should be making what I like and stop trying to fit into something else.  I guess this is the crazy artist version of talking to yourself and answering back.  It worked, some.  I made some neato beads and a few already sold to a regular customer who sometimes makes studio visits.  These two:

It was interesting to me that these more earthy beads weren’t as appealing to me as the previous, brighter venus beads.  What has happened to me?  So, naturally, I tried to incorporate some brighter colors into this new rendition and yuckity yuck yuck.  Here’s just one that resulted from that little educational detour:

So, I decided to leave the bright colors to the original venus beads.