Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Origins of a Jewellery Maker

I was asked yesterday why I started making jewellery.  I can't actually remember if I've covered this before (although you're welcome to trawl through all my previous blog posts and check!) so here is an answer of sorts.  You may have seen me write elsewhere that I 'fell into jewellery-making' by accident.  It's true.

I've always had a creative bent - my favourite subjects at school were art and English language - but like a lot of people, when I left school, I just needed a job to pay my bills.  It was during the recession in the early 1990's, so it's not as if I had a lot of choice.  Non-creative job eventually secured, I did what I had to do - got on with it.  Was it fulfilling?  Not particularly, although there is something very satisfying about earning your own money and paying your own bills.  (The novelty of that wears off quickly, but it's an ethos I still live by!)  And that's what I continued to do for the next 20 years - get on with it.  My only creative outlets for many of those years were writing fiction, which I've mentioned before, and making food and other items for my dollshouse (yes, the love of all things miniature lives on in my pendants!).

Then in 2006, while I was doing some work for a haberdashery company, I found some boxes of beads on a shelf in their warehouse - you know the type, a few different beads in pretty colours, with some basic findings.  On a whim, I bought one and had a play with it.  Did I instantly discover I had a talent for it and produce perfectly finished items?  Of course not!  My first earrings were very basic, made with plastic beads and base metal findings and as for the technique - let's just say calling the loops 'round' would be far too kind (as you can see, and I hope my photos have improved, too!).

But ... less than impressive experiments aside, I was nonetheless hooked.  I started to look around for more beads, then more - in fact, I'm surprised eBay didn't crack under the strain.  I can't actually remember when the love affair with wire first began - I do remember that I bought some basic tools with some birthday money from my uncle, and I was nervous that I might be rubbish at wireworking and have wasted the precious money!

It turns out that, with practice (lots!) I wasn't entirely rubbish after all, and the bending, twisting and hammering began in earnest.  I love being able to make all the components of a piece of jewellery myself - that's not to say I don't use beautiful findings made by other people, because as you know, I do.  There are many things I don't and can't make, but there's always some skilled craftsperson out there who does.  And you know I'm absolutely addicted to beads - the glamour hasn't worn off after all these years.  I've progressed from plastic and mass-produced glass beads to handmade lampwork and polymer clay, but I'm equally as fond of the humble seed bead, along with a nice sparkly bit of Czech glass.

And of course wire is my favourite material - relatively inexpensive, unless you're working with precious metal, and so versatile.  I can't translate everything that's in my head into wire - wish I could - but I'm not going to give up trying! ;)

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