Monday, July 30, 2012


I have started getting ready for the Holiday Crafts Fair at my job, which is November 10.  (Judy kind of put it together around me and my jewelry, and I'm co-chair of the committee). It's a fundraiser, so I'll split my intake with the school. I figured I'd start early so I'd have a good number of excellent new pieces.

I have been looking at the jewelry on the female faculty and board members very closely. So I know my audience. "Earthy" is fine, but not too crazy and fairly elegant. As it's a fundraiser, and as materials prices have gone sky-high, and as this particular audience has money, I'll be charging as much as I can get away with, so everything has to look just right. For instance, I'm going to have to restring a necklace I made after me because I can't stop thinking about two sets of beads that should have gone on in the opposite order.

I'm reusing some of my old designs, coming up with others, and taking inspiration from jewelry I see. I'm also kicking out all the stops with my materials, and breaking out some of the higher-end stuff I've been hoarding for years: some big faceted apatite, peach pearls, gold-thread quartz, shaded faceted hessionite (garnet that runs from maize to root-beer brown), some big faceted Oregon sunstone, some handmade Venetian beads, and so on.

When I talk about "my old designs,' they're pretty much in my head. I have names for some of them. Some of the ones that didn't work aren't active in my mind, though I'm sure I have a few examples around. I didn't invent the Y-necklace but I've made quite a few (in fact, that's what the round - not sure if they're 8- or 10 mm - gold-thread quartz is becoming, on gold-filled wire with a vermeil clasp; I have a big piece of irregularly faceted gold-thread quartz for the first drop).

I've "invented" designs and later seen similar techniques in beading magazine. On the other hand, I sometimes see a design in a beading magazine and give it a try, though never with the same beads and often altered. I would say I learn technique from those magazines, rather than cribbing their designs.

I have acres of beads; the materials that get used up are headpins, wire, chain, and clasps (what you'd call, collectively, "findings"). They are getting outrageous in sterling, which is mostly what I use. I've been compromising by using silver-filled headpins. Headpins don't really show, and I use dozens of them in some of my designs. One earring I make uses around 28 or 30 headpins for the pair, and silver headpins now cost around a buck apiece. ("Silver-filled," like "gold-filled," is a much finer product than plated. About 10% of the item- the entire exterior, of course - is gold or silver.)

It's kind of exciting to be immersed in it again, and I actually have about six projects lined up. (I actually wrote them down.) I dearly wish I had some money just to buy a few new beads...even one good string of tourmaline.

If I make enough money at this shindig, maybe I can put of it back into materials.

But it's very energizing and consumes me in a way that nothing else does. I never look at the clock before I start, because I'm too busy getting myself to the table and getting my materials in order. So I'm never sure how long I work at a time. I think it's usually about two hours at a time but sometimes three, and sometimes I'll do two sittings in a day. Most other things pretty much go away.

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