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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More adventures in silver smithing and soldering…

As I mentioned previously, when I first attempted silver fabrication, it didn’t click. The solder didn’t flow right, I incinerated a few pieces, sawing was way more cumbersome than I wanted to deal with, and the equipment I had for polishing just didn’t do the job.

silver and glass fabricated ringNo matter what I tried to help incorporate other media into jewelry that used my glass beads, I couldn’t achieve the effects I wanted. I knew that what I wanted to do needed the skills of silver smithing.

Like with many things that I want really badly but just can’t seem to grasp, it haunted me. I tried PMC. I tried stained glass soldering (don’t ask). I tried wire work. I tried buying pre-made bezels. I tried using metallic looking glass to frame beads. My inner perfectionist was not satisfied…it knew I was avoiding the truth…

I was going to have to go back and wrestle with fabrication.

I continued to resist as I kicked the idea around. I considered taking a class locally. But somewhere along the way I promised myself that no matter what new media I pick up, I will strive to be ‘self-taught.’ I don’t want to pick up someone else’s style…it’s hard enough to not do that with all the images out there on the internet and in magazines these days.

Sure, being self-taught might mean my work looks more rough and not ‘perfect’ because all of the techniques won’t be executed like they’re ‘supposed’ to be but that is what, I think, gives pieces character and it is what leads to new designs. At least, for me.

glass and silver ring lori greenberg

This was the next piece I came up with. A simple-looking bezel set ring of one of my glass beads. I’m in love with it. Of course, my technique needs refinement. Lots of refinement. But for me, it’s wearable and it the weight feels really good. I’m getting there.

Top Eight Reasons NOT to take an Andrea Guarino class in Port Townsend, WA

8. There are wild animals everywhere. And I don’t mean the students. While there we saw immature bald eagles, deer and racoons, just to name a few. In her front yard. Within feet of us. I’ve heard there have been Orca spottings out her front window too. Be safe and stay home…you wouldn’t want to come into contact with one of those, you know.

salmon egg bead

7. You could develop an addiction. You think you’re immune to tool addiction and envy? Think again and don’t test your luck. You will want one of everything. And Andrea probably has it there for you.

6. Your fragile mind could be forever altered. You may find out what a gooey duck is.

5. You might encounter Canadians. And like them. And that could throw you into a problem-solving tizzy every time one of your sweet new friends mentions how hard or expensive it is to get something to them up there. Or how difficult travel may be for them to get to events that the ‘rest of us’ go to. And you’ll start wondering why there is a border and can’t we all just be one?

4. You’ll never want to eat seafood again. At home, that is. You may find that the breakfast sandwich at the fast food place in the airport has better seafood on it than your own local sushi place.

3. You’ll go home feeling neighborly-challenged. After getting used to at least three people/couples/families stopping by the studio daily, you will feel inadequate in your day to day life where no one drops by to visit you ‘just because.’

2. You could lose your whole customer base. After learning what you’re going to learn you will never look at your work the same again. Your $20 beads will immediately be transformed into $75 beads. You could lose your whole customer base because of that. Stay home and save yourself the trouble that this will cause you.

1.  It may end your bead making career. You could go home having learned how to make the beads that I’m showing here and then…what else is there left in life?  You might as well hang it up.  You have just reached the end of the bead-making universe.