Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sooooo, what have I been up to.....?



The eagle eyed amongst you may have spotted in the pictures of my previous post, that I appeared to be doing a "show and tell" of some jewelry pieces. The show is by no means about jewelry making but for this particular episode part of my challenge was to turn a tangled mass of beaded necklaces and bracelets into items that were a bit, well, nicer. I'm not a jewelry maker. Let's be clear. Although I have dabbled a bit in the past (as a teenager I used to make simple little earrings and sell them in a friends shop) this particular challenge pushed me out of my stitchy comfort zone and really had me thinking on my feet and learning new skills as I went along. And while this blog is not a jewelry blog; it is a blog about what I get up to in my daily "making" life. And, well, this is what I've been up to for the past couple of weeks! The jewelry in the picture was OK. But the idea was for me to resell this jewelry for a profit. As it was, there was little or no profit to be had. I'd be able to sell the jewelry as it was at a bootsale sure. But I had bigger ideas! In order to eek as much profit as possible out of the jewelry that I had, I decided to break it down into raw materials and use them to create handmade pieces that were one of a kind. Essentially adding value to basic materials by investing time, a bit of skill and in some cases the addition of new materials.......

One trend that seems to be emerging here online and in the spring/summer preview shows is the addition of yarn or ribbon woven or crocheted into chunky chain. While I didn't have funky chunky chain, I adapted the trend to suit the chain that I did have. I used embroidery floss crocheted into chain to add a pop of colour and then created drops from the beads I had harvested. The overall effect is more delicate and has an almost Egyptian feel to it. I really love this effect and have a "how to" planned for next week. So stay tuned for that. The necklaces on the left and right have been sold (yay!) I'm planning on getting some chunkier chain and making a couple of these for myself. The drops aren't really my style so I plan on making some that are simple chain and yarn combos. Less fussy if you like. It's a quick and easy way to make a fun accessory that you can customise to suit any colour palette. Simply choose an embroidery floss that complements the colour of the outfit you're accessorizing and you're good to go...

These birds nest pendants are so simple to make too. I cut up a little stretchy pearl bracelet and used the beads to create half a dozen of these. The chain and wire etc can be bought cheaply on line and they take about 20 mins to make. (I still have some of these left if anyone's interested! £12 each). I would love to claim this idea as my own, but sadly no! These are all OVER the internet right now. Just google "birds nest pendants" and there're a proliferation of tutorials to choose from. They look great with real turquoise or jasper beads that mimic the speckled effect of real birds eggs too....

These pendants were a bit more in depth. The pendants clasps and jump rings are all made from real silver. I coiled and manipulated 1.2mm sterling wire into various shapes and hammered them flat for a more artisan/handmade look. I added glass bead drops using beads from a necklace I cut up and hung them on buff natural leather thong. The ends of which I secured using sterling silver wire. In addittion to these I made a whole batch of hammered silver tiny drop earrings. The plan for these was always to try and sell them into a local gallery/gift shop on our High Street that specialises in handmade gifts and homewares. They're not actually to my taste, but they fit really nicely with aesthetic of the shop, which was my aim. I'm happy to say that the gallery owner bought the lot!! Double yay!

Handmade hammered silver clasps and natural leather cord....

More natural leather cord here. This time I made multi strand necklaces threaded with tibetan silver noodle beads and round beads. I sold all but one of these. I could have sold more if I'd have made more in the buff leather., darn it! I actually really like these. They've got quite a tribal feel to them don't you think? I'm not one to wear much jewelry ironically. But I might make an exception with these....

Again, this isn't really my taste, but the challenge was to work with what I had. I do really like the result, just not on me, lol. Don't those pastel beads remind you of the candy necklaces you used to get in the pick and mix section of your local sweet shop? I think the pastel shades contrast well will the silver drops. I have a "how to" lined up for this one too. I keep thinking that this design would work really well with vintage buttons in place of the pastel beads, don't you think....?


Lastly I made a whole batch of fishook earrings like these with glass bead drops. These sold like hotcakes! So simple, so quick to make; and f I can work out what I've done with the photos, there'll be a "how to" next week on these too!
The last couple of weeks have challenged me to think creatively in terms of working with what I have and bringing the best out in materials that at first glance seem pretty unspectacular. I'm realising that challenging myself in this way is something I get a real kick out of. It's why I enjoy refashioning so much; and why I love taking unloved bit's of furniture destined for the dump, and looking for the potential in them rather than the faults. I'm starting to realise that it's a big part of who I am creatively. Taking something and reinventing it, giving it a new lease of life, is immensely satisfying.
But by far the most gratifying element of this whole process has been something different. The fact that other people will look at something you've made and think it's good enough to hand over their hard earned cash for. If I'm honest, I've always lacked in confidence in one way or another. I'm very self critical, and this applies to everything I make too. It's never occurred to me to sell the things I make before because they never seem good enough to me. But apparently they are; who knew?! It's weird, because if it hadn't been for the filming of this pilot, I doubt I would have put myself out there, to have my "work" scrutinised and ask someone to buy it. But I did, and they liked it, and they bought from me. I cannot overstate what a landmark moment that is for me. The gallery have even suggested we can have an ongoing relationship if I want to come up with a collection where I'm not working within the constraints of a cheap bag of costume jewellery! There's this weird sensation creeping over me as a result. Could it actually be confidence in my own abilities?! At the ripe old age of 38, perhaps it's about time, lol! ;)


17 comments :

  1. You may consider yourself a jewellery maker Portia, but all of these are truly beautiful! Such great news that you've sold to a gallery - surely that means you've made it?! Looking forward to the how-tos x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sonia! I do feel the gallery sale is a bit of a "moment" yes.
      I was doing a little victory jig inside when I was walking down the street afterwards ;)
      Px

      Delete
  2. I think that's fabulous! And my eyes spotted jewelry in the photos so I knew something was up. lol You've made some really great pieces. And the gallery ate them up, yay!

    When creating for others I don't think it's necessarily always about making things *you* like and would wear/use... I used to do a lot of beading way back in the day (we're talking like in my teens), and sold some of it. Sometimes I just enjoyed the item or the process, even if I'd never have worn it. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're so right Tasha! I've enjoyed making all of those pieces, even if most of them are not "me" :)
      Cripes, I only really wear one ring on a daily basis. I struggle to put an outfit together some days, let alone accessorize it too,lol!
      Px

      Delete
  3. Wow, Portia they're fabulous! You really do have a good eye and a wonderful flair for design. New career number...what are we at now... 3? 4? lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw Sarah, you're such a sweetheart, thankyou :)
      Let's hope SOMETHING develops into a career. Now THAT would be cool :)
      Px

      Delete
  4. OhMygoodness... love everything and clearly see why the gallery grab them up. I dabble in jewelry making, but have yet acquired a good eye for what works well together.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow - so creative Portia! And lovely results!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Portia, these are incredible! You've done an amazing job. I'm particularly impressed that you are open minded enough to make things that are not your personal taste. I think that I would always struggle with that if I was ever talented enough to do anything similar! Well done for selling them too. I'm not a huge jewellery person but I do love the birds nest necklaces!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Love the birds nest and the sweetie bracelet! You are one talented lady. I'd be interested in buying said birds nest - any left? You know my email!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love what you've done - it's so inspirational! I have to say, you've tugged at my heartstrings with this whole thing. I'm not a jewellery maker either, but I absolutely LOVE the challenge of making things from nothing.
    My favourites are the "tribal" necklaces, but I can see some lovely earrings coming out of this too :) You lucky thing :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Great job. I can't believe you have only 'dabbled' before - you obviously have a talent for it, even when working with resticted materials.

    ReplyDelete
  10. LOVING the eggs in the nest - I am going to try that myself; thanks for the ideas!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Love the tribal necklaces! You're really good at it! I am hopeless with jewelry

    ReplyDelete
  12. they are wonderful, even if you do not feel like a jewelry maker! particularly love the ones with crocheted embroidery floss. i've seen the chunky chains with thicker yarn/ribbon woven in, but your version is so delicate and lovely! :) lisa

    ReplyDelete
  13. You may not be a jewelry maker, but I wouldn't know if you hadn't said something - everything is beautiful & I especially love the pastel bead creations!

    ReplyDelete
  14. These are all beautiful, Portia!

    ReplyDelete

Drop me a line...