Where do you get your inspiration to design a piece of jewelry?
Often times, I sit and look at the many beads, findings and components in my collection and think… how would this look with this? Most times, I just sit with my head in the clouds daydreaming of how my ancestors would have made these beads work in their jewelry making. On occasion, I have walked out the door, looked around at something, and thought … “Why didn’t I think of that?” A clear picture forms in my mind and I’m off to put the design on paper. I’ve pretty much given the beads time to speak to me. I do believe they do have a spiritual lingo when it comes to putting together a special piece. I’ve some unique beads that have been in a box for several years, just waiting for the right combination and come to life.
I’m not a high fashion designer, I don’t mind professing to that. By that, I mean copying a “Red Carpet” accessory craze, is not my cup of tea. Not everyone wants to be a fashionista with gems and bangles hanging from ear to toe. I like functional, fun jewelry. Those comfortable pieces that any moment, you can throw on a favorite piece or some “girly gems”, dressing up a favorite pair of jeans and a tee. Or take a walk back in time with a Victorian adornment with your little black dress. I also have a love of Southwestern jewelry, but prefer it to be simple.
So where does my inspiration come from?
My Cherokee heritage and history has a lot to do with my heart’s desire to design. I appreciate their simplicity of making very original jewelry. My desire is to bring as much natural elements into designing unique pieces. I also can contribute the other part of my inspiration to my customer’s requesting a certain style that speaks of who they are. I like to get to know my customers need when it comes to designing. Are they a glitzy kind of person, down to earth, party fun type … what makes them feel beautiful when they wear jewelry? From something as simple as pearls to a native Indian style choker, designing is all about inspiration. Most of my customer base is women, although I can design for men, I get more request to design a piece for the lady in their life.
What gets your creative juices flowing? Reading jewelry magazines, watching jewelry tutorials, viewing online small business shops, or watching JTV? What ever gets you going helps to fuel your creativity. Designing jewelry is a competitive business. It’s not always easy to break into the venue and build up your customers. Finding your niche and what customers are buying, that’s your goal for setting a few standard pieces. Be unique in your approach to building a continued relationship with your online business. Standing out from your competition, can be very profitable.
A few suggestions in designing your next project is to keep a drawing book or find a good online program that you can enter your ideas and keep ready to review or revise, it’s also a great way to keep moving forward. Take pictures or can in your drawings so you always have them, as accidents can happen. The dog ate it, the cat threw up on it, oh, dear… I know I had it somewhere?? Little things to help you keep organized is very important in your business, giving you more time to devote to being creative and marketing your finished products.
When making that design, also make a list of the supplies you will need, utilize a cost estimate in your design. Don’t forget that your time is valuable and you should be paid for it. Example, If I go to a renown jeweler and ask for a custom design jewelry piece, he’s not going to give me that piece for material cost, he’s going to add in his time of design, and labor. Be practical, but be worth the work. (Leave yourself some room to add, to your design, in your estimate.)
*NOTE: By the way, just some helpful info… you can make a blog online, keep it private to you only, so all your work is not seen by the world.
This is an example of keeping your design in a work place you can access anytime. Be as detailed to your work in the pre-copy design, as you are in crafting the final product.
NOTE: Native Indian Style Choker & Earrings (C) (From my private collection, please do not copy, this is not a tutorial version)
Materials: Natural bone & quill products/deer hide/leather/real/semi precious gemstones/sterling silver/abalone shells
Circular Leather design earrings (sterling silver clip)with hand sown beads on the edge, focal center and drop down beads of 1in Hairpipe ox bone bead &Turquoise beads (or chips).
Earrings are approx 1.5in x 2.5in
Circular Leather design focal center with hand sown beads on the edge, focal center and drop down turquoise beads, natural porcupine quill and abalone shell.
Choker is made with Turquoise round beads, leather hand cut spacers, Hairpipe ox bone beads, Sterling Silver findings, leather tie closure.
Choker is aprox 14in, not measured with ties.
Estimated cost $68 -$88
4 picture detail sketch: