I wanted to talk about jewelry that you don't feel a strong connection with in making. I could make earrings all day long. I like making bracelets too...and rings.
But necklaces? And what about pre-made chains..especially coming from an artist that writes about Handmade? I feel a bit like a cheat using a pre-made chain for some of my work, but I want to address this issue here, and air out my dirty laundry!
As a metalsmith, I have a thing about necklaces. When I first started making jewelry, I was a beader. I didn't have any issues with necklaces when I could dive into a stash of beads, and string up one, two or three strands of beads and quickly put a clasp on them, and I was done! It was instant gratification and I had something to wear the next day when I was working outside of my home doing the 9 to 5.
But when I started working with metal in the form of wire working, the necklaces that I made started getting bulky and big. I don't personally like big, bulky wire-worked necklaces. They were very slow to sell in the gallery I was in at that time--although they were an attention getter, drawing people to my case. However, once there, they usually just bought a pair of my earrings.
My observation was that they liked looking at the big, bulky cake, but only wanted to take home a small slice.
For a long time, I just avoided making any necklaces. I had a hard time reconciling the fact that I hated making chains, so I shelved the issue while I marinated on what to do. I do that, you see...when I don't know what to do, I do nothing until the answer reveals itself.
Last week, in getting together some inventory for a new gallery in Seattle, I knew I needed to add some necklaces into the mix. As I was making some simple earrings, I thought, "I can just add a bail to the these earrings and have a simple, sweet necklace using all that 1mm ball chain I bought in a moment of spontaneity a few months ago!"
For a long time, I was insistent that every element in my jewelry be handmade. But then I got to thinking about painters. Painters don't often fabricate their own frames, do they? I sort of view the pre-made chain as the frame for my metalwork necklaces.
There is no way that it would be economically sane for me to try and make my own chain. The time it takes is so long and I just don't have the desire to make tiny metal chain of my own. I am running a business, and with the exception of a commission piece, an expensive commission piece, mind you; I use either pre-made chain, or bulk chain with a handmade clasp.
Do you have any jewelry hang-ups? If so, what have you done to overcome them?