On designing jewelry…

page0-1022-fullPeople ask me if making jewelry is hard to do. On a purely mechanical level, I’d say no, provided you have nimble fingers for detail work. You also need to be meticulous about finishing off your pieces properly so that they don’t unravel, poke you, or cause some other problem. But on an artistic level, it’s like any other art. You have to love it to be good at it, because otherwise it doesn’t make any sense. It’s like staring at an abstract art painting when all you know is classical art.

Designing jewelry is about form, color, composition and the texture of the media. In spite of it’s inherent beauty, a gem can look boring if the composition of the piece was uninspired. No one will want to wear it, much less buy it. I’ve heard about sculptors saying that a particular statue was already inside the stone and they simply let the sculpture out. Sometimes I feel like this happens to me with the beads and metal in my hands. I often don’t know what a piece is going to look like before I design it. I think about my mood and check myself to see if I feel inspired, because without inspiration, the piece will be uninteresting and I might as well spend my time watching a movie or reading a book. Seriously, if you don’t feel inspired, walk away, you can always come back later.

From a practical standpoint, making jewelry can be quite expensive. You’ll need to invest in tools, materials, and at least a few good books. It also takes up space in your home or office that you’d otherwise use for something else. When I was just out of college, one of my friends said jokingly about my hobbies, “You should take up cocaine. It would be cheaper!” And though I laughed at the time, there’s definitely much truth in the idea that even good habits can add up. So if you don’t have the patience and the passion, it’s best to find something you like and just purchase it. But if you love creating new things, I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors.