Monday, March 23, 2009

The nature of success...

So with no cold sales under my belt yet -- that being people who do not know me but are buying the piece cold -- I have gotten to thinking about sales and success in the jewellery field.

Apprenticeship #1: Fairly mainstream mall jeweller. Didn't take a lot of creative risks, mostly did repairs, watch battery changes and bridal set sizing. Can live off her profits well. Creativity 4/10, financial success 8/10.

Apprenticeship #2: Haute-couture art jeweller, very creative but mostly stuck to what was trendy/popular (a very idiosyncratic ring texture with a bezel-set stone in contrasting metals). Could live off her profits alone but ended up expanding her gallery to include other artists to fatten margins. Creativity 6/10, financial success 6/10.

Apprenticeship #3: Eccentric, award-winning art jeweller, extremely creative, took risks. I'm the most like him :) Did the occasional repair, etc., but mostly was called upon for "weird" custom work. Probably could not live off his work alone, unfortunately. Creativity 8/10, financial success 4/10.

There is a pattern here. Food for thought... perhaps I need to revamp the criteria for when I will feel successful as a metalsmith.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Tarte Deco necklace... didn't even make it to Etsy!

The buyer who purchased my Tarte Deco earrings seemed interested in the matching necklace I was in the process of making, and as soon as I showed her the pics she snapped it up. I'm very pleased! When I do matching work I kind of view them as littermates and I like to see them go to the same home. :D I added the monogram charm free of charge as a thank you.

Sterling, fine silver, Baltic amber.

Also: Yes, you can successfully solder an amber piece with the amber in... just barely :D

Have some more knotwork on the bench at the moment, and I'm working on some castle and angel themed pieces, a bit of a departure from my usual style to be sure!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Monday bloggin'

So Monday mornings have been officially set aside as my blog time, barring illness and/or "nothing good to say today grump grump" days.

The shibuichi poured perfectly, one pour radiating outward like coral... so I have decided I am going to use it for my first ambitious, Rio-Grande-catalogue-esque PMC piece. Shibuichi, sterling, PMC with moonstones fired in place. It will either be amazing or it will be a hot fractured mess. No risk, no reward, eh? Besides, there's always Jack to fall back on if it goes horribly wrong (Mr. Daniels to you, please.).

My favorite apprenticing jeweller was absolutely fearless. He would size large and irreplaceable stone-set rings without qualm (stone-in! GAH!), put thousand dollar silver spoons in my hands to polish on the wheel (which could, at any time, catch hold of the enormous piece of silver and send it spinning off into oblivion)... I mean, this man had the proverbial balls of solid granite. He was amazing, and the closest to me in terms of creative style and attack.

The creation process for me is always blood and fire and Nero fiddling and Sturm und Drang and Valkyries flying overhead and O Fortuna playing in the background and hammer hitting steel (and occasionally, me). I am the exact antithesis of those amazing artists who create precise, pristine geometric pieces. I look at their work with admiration and respect, because it is so far from my element, but it is not a style that comes naturally to me.

I take risks. All of my work involves some element that is, at the beginning, just a greycat whisker beyond my ability. By the end of the piece, I've either learned how to do something new or I go back to the beginning and try again with a different approach.

My jewellery is... dangerous. Mostly to me. :) And I like it that way.