by Nickesha Richardson.
Here is my story…for a long time I have had a love for jewelry making. I have never bought a book or a taken a class, I just have a knack for it. I am from Jamaica but then I moved to Trinidad and am seeing materials that are so much different than what I am used to, however I love it though.
What is stopping me is that although I have money to buy materials, I really don’t know where to start. I am so overwhelmed right now that I think I am jumping in head first. My work is average as you will see in the pictures. I am very passionate about this though. Any advice?
Deciding what to do first
I’ve never taken a jewelry class either, and am also self-taught – mostly from messing around with jewelry supplies on my own, but also through some videos, books, and tutorials.
From what I see in your photo above, I wouldn’t say your work is average. I see a nice sense of design, balance, and proportion – along with neatly made loops and nicely closed earring wires and jump rings. Those elements are truly some of the keys to well-made, successful handmade jewelry.
As far as not knowing where to start with getting your materials – there are so many options that I can understand your overwhelm. Let’s see if we can help you narrow down your options and define what you really want / need.
First, from the earrings you’ve made in the photo above, it looks like you already have some good basic tools and supplies.
So now let’s look at what you want to add to that. When you think about making jewelry, what kinds of techniques really make your heart leap at the thought? For example – wirework, metal clay, polymer clay, beading, seed beads, chain maille, mixed-media, metalwork, Steampunk, etc. What really calls to you?
You may want to look at other artists’ handmade jewelry online to find what makes your heart sing when you see it. If you haven’t been to our Handmade Jewelry Gallery, head over there and wander through the beautiful creations our friends here have shared. When something really sparks for you, note what kinds of components or techniques are involved.
Once you find a direction that really speaks to you, I would start by focusing on that techinque / genre first. Learn more about it online or through books and magazines. Then get the basic supplies and tools, and start making your own path and style within that particular medium.
One thing that sells well for me is when I mix different jewelry techniques or components within one piece of jewelry. You might want to experiment with that.
Once you’ve explored and gotten a good feel for the technique you’ve decided to try first, choose another technique to learn and add to your skill set (and to your supply / tool collection!).
I’m excited for you – this is such a fun exploration and creative journey that never ends!
I hope this helps, Nickesha – and I hope you’ll post some of your new creations for us to see!
How to invest in materials for your business
by: Handmade Jewelry by Peggy Li
Hi! I would start by creating a list, break it up into materials, tools, and other business needs (do you need packaging or business cards or a website for your business?) And prioritize on what you’d like to tackle first.
If you’re concerned about jewelry materials to purchase, I would go to your design book and think about creating a “collection” for a season (right now you’d be planning for Spring 2012). A collection is a series of designs that relate to each other by a single concept, design element, color. At the end, you’ll have designs that can mix and match together and create a strong sense of your theme/inspiration. It will help narrow your focus on what materials you’d like to buy.
So Many Options
I was in the same boat when I decided to transform jewelry making from a hobby to a business. I was buying everything from big box craft stores (i.e. A.C. Moore) but it was pricey, not everything was the quality I wanted, and the selection did not often change.
So, I started subscribing to a few jewelry making magazines. I found plenty of new places to get beads, findings, tools, etc. plus I learned new techniques and got inspiration for projects of my own. I will warn that not every magazine is perfect for everyone. I would definitely suggest visiting the magazine section at your local bookstore so you can peruse the different titles and find the one(s) that fit your needs.
You have a passion for making, but you don’t yet have a passion for the style of making. Look, research, try things out and eventually one style or method will “click” with you. Don’t jump in and spend a fortune on supplies until you know which direction you want to go.
I felt alone until i read your story…pretty earrings by the way!! I am just kicking off as well as have been going through alot of finacnial turmoil so I am excited to generate some income. I have ahd two people ask for necklace and earrings that im working on. But I dont know what name to put on it or how to advertise so that she, and others will know how to contact me further. I am trying to get enough pieces to make a page on fb. All of this is new to me but im having fun doing it. I got alopecia last year and its expensive to see a good dermatologist so I was also thinking of having a fundraiser sale. I could use any direction and help! Keep in touch! Im on facebook Amanda Kay oneal and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org,mabe we can help one another!
thank you all sooo much
thanks everyone for the advice,its been really helpful.i have a page for my jewelry on faceboo its Nai’s Jewelry Box Collection.
and amanda send me a request on facebook
im also having trouble getting earring cards…i would really like to find a program that i can use to creat my own…anyone know of any?