Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Finding Your Style....

by MaryAnn Carroll

Like many, I started off making jewelry before I began making handmade beads.  My desire to make beads stemmed from my desire to make my jewelry "different" than what I kept seeing over and over again in terms of common gemstones, strands of similar glass beads, etc.  Once I got start creating ceramic beads, I  primarily did just that due to my work schedule as a teacher.  I only made jewelry for gifts.  I have created beads and sold beads for the past 2 1/2 years, became very busy so I hired my son and daughter-in-law to keep me supplied with beads for me to glaze.  I taught them the basics to fit with the my style and then encourage them to evolve into their own style as well. 


Now, my latest endeavor is to find my style when creating jewelry.  Just like the bead making process, I am trying to find out what my style is.  Just like making beads, I went through many experiments regarding what I think "others" might like.  I finally found that what others liked the most were the beads that came the most natural to me.  That's why you will see all kinds of variety with my beads.  Very little planning goes into them when I sit down to glaze.  I just have it all out in front of me a pick up the brush and start going with it.

I'm now doing the same with jewelry.  I'm trying to just find my style.  I've decided that my style is what feels right for me... not what I "think" others will like.  So..... just like beads..... I'm experimenting with what I would like to wear.  I have always (even at 51) been into dressing stylish, but casual.....  Jeans dressed up by wearing shoes rather than sneakers, a nice shirt and, of course, jewelry.  I must admit that I haven't worn a dress is probably 10 years..... well.... maybe one or two times.... That's me.....  and that's where I'm heading with my jewelry.....  by just being me....

Here are a few very recent designs:






So.... What's you style and how did you find it?

15 comments:

stacilouise said...

Very nice! Love that long necklace with the loop and dangles.

Your story sounds familiar. I started to make my own beads and components because I couldn't find things different enough for my style. I don't think there was any "moment" I found my style. But last year, a dear artist friend said to me at a show, "wow, I can really look around your booth and see your style in all the pieces." It felt really good to know that suddenly, I had something reconizable as "mine". Anyway- I also moved aways from making what people wanted to making what was in ME. That, I guess, is really when I found my style.

VanBeads said...

That's a brilliant post, Mary Ann, full of wisdom for both new and more experienced artists! Finding your own style is so important on many levels. A few years ago when I was just starting on my journey to be a working artist (and a full-time mommy!) I was at craft show where another glass artist stopped by to browse my booth. She just happened to be working in the same medium - fused dichroic glass - and she looked over my work and sighed and said, "There are just so many people who think they can do glass these days." Without even thinking, I piped up, "Yes, and that's why it's so important for each artist to find their own style and their own artistic voice!" I don't think she was expecting that! But it just goes to show you how wonderful it is to be able to make your own jewelry, no matter what your own artistic sensibilities are. You can give ten different people the exact same materials and have ten wildly different pieces of art!

My own personal style seems to evolve as I explore new beadweaving stitches and I find new artists who create focal pieces like beads and cabochons that inspire me. But overall, I'd have to say my own personal style is earthy, with a touch of vintage and steampunk thrown in for good measure!

Patty said...

I love your style, Mary Ann! Especially that last pair of earrings, wow! My style is earthy and natural, and sometimes whimsical, and I think I've arrived at this by making what I like to wear myself. I love to see work from artists who pay no attention to what others are doing, or who take it in an entirely unexpected direction. It's very refreshing.

Kristi Bowman said...

I'm with Patty, I love that last set of earrings, I might have to do something similar with some beads of yours I have in my stash as a matter of fact.

I started with PMC, making my own jewelry with it. When I tried to add more color to it I really got in to stones and beads. I love Silver but I think Copper and Bronze suit my style even better. I didn't know until I really got in to making jewelry how rustic and rough my style is. I'm having so much fun!

CraftyHope said...

This is such a good question. I'm looking forward to hearing everyone else's answers as I'm still trying to find my style. I tend to be very eclectic in my designs and constantly wonder if that is off-putting for others. Can't wait to hear/read how everyone else did it.

MaCarroll Beads said...

I hope others share..... I can tell you this.... I really have given up trying to design with colors that are just not me.... I can't make it be me, it never will be and if I force it, I fail. Take pink for example. My D-i-L loves pink.... I have made her jewelry that is pink, but even whem I'm done.... it really does nothing for me... just not natural... so.. no pinks for me unless I'm forced or BEGGED!!...or if they are shino glazes which add the rustic side to the pink ;o)

TesoriTrovati said...

great post mary ann!
i think that i don't have a style, that my style is all over the map. a great compliment to me is when someone says that the piece i created feels so much like them. i don't want it to be me that they are wearing but something that is uniquely imprinted from their personality. i suppose that is why most of my jewelry doesn't look (at least to me) that it comes from the same hand. but that being said, there are touches that are uniquely me in each piece. i try to think of ways to use simple techniques to create stunning results. often it is like a puzzle to me. i love that challenge. and i also have to remind myself that just as i have changed from when i started years ago, i shouldn't be afraid to always evolve in my style so that it is new and fresh for me! i love what you have done here, the enamel is my very favorite part.
enjoy the day
erin

Alice said...

I couldn't stop drooling over your beads long enough to finish reading the rest of the post, but I'm glad I did. Your creations are lovely!

I don't really have a style. I just sit down with beads and let things happen. I never want to be tied down to one style, but rather enjoy letting things just happen.

Thanks for a wonderful post.

maneki said...

Oh, how I tried to find my own style as a newbie! It's just last year or so (have been beading since 2005) that I felt I could say I'd found -- or at least was on my way of finding -- my style. In hindsight it might sound silly, but I was a bit stressed about not finding it for so long. I think to things caused this. First, as a newbie I liked to hang out at a forum where most people used silver and thought anything else was below par. I couldn't afford silver, nor did I feel anything in particular about it, but kept saying I'd switch to silver once I got proficient enough and started selling. In the meantime I always felt that something wasn't ok about using plated etc. Second, I spent times on forums and saw new beaders finding their style and their favourite technique fast while I kept finding new techniques and materials to try all the time and hence never becoming an expert on any one technique or mastering one style. I worried I'd never be any good at anything if I kept up jumping around like that...

Then what happened? Well, I kept doing what I do best: finding new things. Step by step, I became more confident in my choice not to use precious metals and expensive gemstones and didn't feel I had to feel inferior because of it. And I started to accept this "rambling" as part of my path, of my way of finding my style and having a great journey into the world of jewelry-making. I stopped worrying about what others thought and about desperately finding my style. And the more different techniques I tried and the more beads in disparate materials I bought, the more I found myself gravitating towards certain materials and techniques.

I still keep trying new things and finding new stuff to use (when I can afford it), but I think I've found a "core" of things I keep returning to and that's my style. Of cause, using new things and finding new paths is part of evolving your own style so it's an important part of it all, but I feel like finding my style is to have a starting point and a general idea of the direction I want to head in. Then, when I reach a crossroad I choice a new direction from there. But to reach those crossroads, I needed a bearing to begin with.

Of cause, long before I felt I had a style, others could see it. Like with many things, you are really the last person to discover in yourself what other's have seen for a long time. Because what's you is -- or perhaps should be -- so natural to you that you don't see anything special in it. But to others there is a special personal mark that they recognize in your work.


(I could say so much more about this, but I'm afraid it's already an essay... Anyway, to any newbie I'd have two things to say: don't feel stressed out because you don't feel you have your own style yet. It'll come. Just keep exploring and be creative. And besides, even if you don't see your style there might be others around you that can see your special mark in the things you do. Why don't ask them if you have something that might be the seed to your own style?)

maneki said...

I could've added: just do what feels right to you -- without limiting yourself to your comfort zone! -- and there somewhere you'll find your style. It can be something narrow or it can be something wide, with what you might feel is different styles but with something that's uniquely you in it all.

(I told you I could write forever about this! And anything else for that matter...)

MaCarroll Beads said...

Great comments and I like the idea that it happens so naturally that maybe you just won't see anything special in it..... Sometimes I think we get so caught up in making something work that it just doesn't work.... I know that I've been guilty of that.....

Sally Anderson said...

Love your style, Mary Ann! Your beads are beautiful. Now your jewelry, too! Keep on doing what you're doing!

Izzy said...

I'm loving that bracelet!!! I think I've just recently found my "style" or really I should say, it found me...

Grubbi said...

I love that last pair of earrings, very me!

It look me ages to find my style. I went everywhere before settling with art beads and base metals. Wire wrapping, sterling and gemstones were my initial foray into jewellery making but didn't inspire me so I carried on practising techniques and trying new things. Great thing about combining jewellery with art, the endless possibilities!

Kelli said...

YUM!!!!!!!!!!! Miss Mary Ann, you and I are truly kindred spirits when it comes to making jewelry. I LOVE all of this, and would gladly wear any of it. GREAT job on the enameling by the way!!!!!!!!! SO COOL!!!!!!!!!!

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