Thursday, 14 May 2009

My Creations

When designing and making jewellery, I have always considered the valued opinions of both stockists and private customers. Unfortunately, we have become fast consumers opting for quick and cheap fashion fixes rather than considering quality, originality and purity of materials.

Have we forgotten about quality and what it stands for? The question is, can we really put a price on limited precious materials, integral design and quality workmanship? Does a piece of plastic provide the same feel good factor as a real precious stone? I do know that those who appreciate “luxury” products can tell the difference, and it's not just snobbery!

Perhaps it’s down to education before things will change. Of course knowledge is power, which is why I right these notes. Without compromising my genuine beliefs, I have set out the creative processes of crafting my little treasures…

And, imagine if you will that, without designers like myself, who would the mass-producing companies copy from?

Perhaps one might consider these notes before buying throw-away jewellery in future…

Concepts – Since tuning into my creative talent, designs have constantly flooded my mind, often causing sleepless nights and a handbag filled with scribbles on whatever writing material I could find, often napkins or the back of sales receipts. I am now far more organised and carry a note book!

The source of all my ideas remain locked in my mind until I find the right key (material), which I then turn into a piece of jewellery. I never make a piece I would not wear myself; the jewellery must be feminine, tasteful, stylish, colourful, original and wearable so that each creation enhances the wearer.

Time – The thought process focused on each concept is priceless as it’s the most important part and will define a great design. Unfortunately it’s also the least appreciated of any of the processes. Whilst I only buy materials that inspire me, a design may not come easily, often taking days, weeks and sometimes I will sit on materials for months until I get the idea completed in my mind before even starting to play with production. I very rarely have to draw it out, as this often suggests the piece is too complicated, whereas I prefer simplicity.

Materials – Choosing Gemstones, Pearls, Shells etc is a personal experience and one that requires an eye for quality and detail, ears to the ground for the latest market releases, and actually not constantly following the norm, but is always based on intuition. Even if I’ve exceeded my budget, there is usually something I just can’t say no to and I’m always thankful for those last minute decisions.

Some believe gemstones have magical powers and others believe when worn they capture your life-force. I believe they evoke memories and certainly have a mesmerising quality, when you view them carefully to see what’s inside, as there is more to them than meets the eye. Perhaps it’s just because they are natural, yet strangely so perfect, even if they have flaws or inclusions that I choose to incorporate them in practically all my designs.

The Pearls I use are all cultured, meaning they are cultivated in fresh water with a helping hand from the experts and every year we see something new like petal shapes this year. Ultimately I look for good lustre, size and shape, but bright new colours play are part too. Pairing pearls for earrings is extremely laborious and can sometimes take up to ½ an hour for one set, any longer and I tend to put them away for another day.

Production – Through pain, sweat, stress and sometimes tears, I handwire each piece into memoirs of my experiences, emotions and travels, hence I name them. Once a design concept is firmly thought through, I intimately set out the materials, checking sizes, colours, shades, quality of materials, carefully cherry picking each gemstone or pearl as if it were a diamond for a solitaire ring. I see such depths in each material and finally frame them into Sterling Silver to display each piece to my exact specification, sometimes dancing with various other precious metals like yellow gold when necessary.

Tools – My weapons of choice are my hands, for without them, I am unable to achieve such intricate details especially when wiring 0.3mm wires! Along with a simple combination of pliers, precision cutters, a good imagination and willingness to produce quality, not to mention years practicing each technique, is all that is required.

Courage, Spirit, Passion, Hard work and Sheer Determination –It has taken many years of dedication to the art of jewellery making to earn a prestigious title such as an Artist. As a Designers/Maker I pour my heart and soul into my work, contemplating and scrutinising each twist of wire and I never compromise.

Yet it’s not just about the work I produce, changing from a hobbyist into a commercial business has taken virtually all my energy, and it’s certainly not without sacrifice. I am now constantly evolving and steering the business, like a chameleon searching for the multitude of skills inside myself, so that I can improve each day.

Finally, it’s the delightful thank you’s from satisfied customers that keeps my dedication on track. Little notes that ping through emails, or hand penned notes pinned around my studio walls; I refer to from time to time. Not that I need enthusiasm, as I have plenty of that, it’s just a little reminder that I’m heading in the right direction, for one needs to consider what they have already achieved in order to move forward. After all, I am only as good as my last design.

I am, to this day, in search of that illusive perfect design.

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