My jewelry journey

etched and beaded braceletI think it appropriate to post some images and talk about my own jewelry. Often I have posted about jewelry, cleaning, where to find and in general the way I see the jewelry world and what to look for etc… I realized that I have not been posting my own work…. I think it is important to show what I do in order to show my viewers that I am writing about what I know. I want to use my knowledge of what I do to help others in their search to either purchase or create their own jewelry. Knowledge is nothing if we are not willing to share it. Besides, I love mixed metal jewelry so it is especially fun for me to write about! I started with stainless steel jewelry and took off from there…..

How did I get started?beaded necklace

My oldest child is 10. When he was about 2 I thought it might be a good idea to generate income with something smaller and what people tend to view as a justifiable expense. Jewelry is less expensive than paintings are which I thought would make sales happen more often than a large painting…. giving me a little more steady income while allowing me to continue to stay at home with my son.

My first pieces were not great. I made stainless steel jewelry using polished stainless steel, drilled holes for chain and sandblasted patterns in them. They were OK, not great… but OK for a start. It was not success overnight for sure. It actually got so frustrating that a took a break from it for a few years! I did sell some but it was not at all what I was after. I spent that time away from creating and just looked online. I found out supplies I needed such as headpins, jump rings, pliers, etc. Things that I did not know what etched copper and bead necklacethey were called so it was hard to buy them…. Once I got the tools and supplies down and knew what I needed I began to build up a small collection of those things so I could begin again.

Restarted the jewelry engine….. (LOL)etched copper bracelet

during the time I was gathering supplies I went through a divorce. I spent much of my time painting. It is what I know so it was comforting through that time period. When the bulk of that stress had passed I was in a place where I was ready to re-open my frame shop. I set up my shop so that when there was down time I could work on jewelry. It also happens that next door to my shop was a jeweler…. and further happens that I knew him and he was really excited about the jewelry I was creating and would come over now and then to give me a few pointers and tips to make my jewelry better…. like how to close a jump ring well and other technical tips to make the quality of the jewelry more professional. By the time I was remarried, had my daughter and decided to close down the shop I was friends with him and his wife and also was blessed with a lot of new knowledge of jewelry making.

jewelry partsNew ideas….

My new husband also liked the jewelry I was making and was very willing to help me build my skills even more. He found some great techniques for etching which could be done on brass, copper and stainless steel – giving me the ability to work in different metals and add a whole new dimension to my work

Then, one day I was with my kids at the local clay shop and having known the owner of that store for several years I asked her about making clay beads. She did not do firing for beads but because I had worked in clay before and she knew I was not in a hurry she offered to fire beads for me – (YAY!!!)handmade beads

the latest thing I learned is laser cutting on wood! I am so excited about all the new techniques and this one was quite by accident. My boys found this great little place in town that was a science lab of sorts which was open to the public once a week. The kids can go in and get help from the guys there and learn things like making battery cars or whatever they wanted to learn about. The last time we were there it was egg drop day…. anyway, while there I saw they had a laser cutter and it could cut wood… and….. that they were willing to help me learn the programming so I could laser cut jewelry.FUN!!!!

what I’m doin’ now….

repurposed crystal necklacesSo, now I am doing etching on metal, metal letter stamping, making beads, doing laser jewelry, laser cut wood earringsand adding some adorable charms to my work – I hand shape stainless steel wires to make one-of-a-kind earrings, hammer brass and copper to make fun shapes or dome shapes to place beautiful gemstone beads as well as some work I am doing with re purposing old chandelier crystals into really great necklaces! I am slowly building my etsy site to sell more jewelry pieces. (check back often so you can see the growing inventory)

summing it all up…

I have been actively doing jewelry for almost 5 years and had some amazing tips along the way from some really knowledgeable people and I have grown my skills from sandblasting to etching, handmade beads, stamping and laser cutting wood for earrings and pendants. I have knowledge given to me by experts in their field and I etched brass bracelet with stone beadwould like to take the knowledge I have to either help you find the right piece of laser cut and painted wood necklacejewelry or possibly make some of your own! Please leave your comments I would love to know if you love my work and even if you don’t love it (just be nice please) it’s OK to tell me… I welcome comments, suggestions, ideas and questions!

laser cut wood earrings

 

 

crystal and bead necklace

 

 

crystal and bead necklace

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