Thursday, August 2, 2012

It Comes When It Comes

For months I have been trying to figure out my design direction. A girl cannot live (or profit) by stone setting least, not this girl. Designing EVERYTHING from scratch is too time-consuming for someone who's on the road a lot at festivals, and the labor costs mean that most of the one of a kind stone pieces I'm doing right now are not the cost-effective, price-friendly items that provide the majority of revenue at art shows.

What's the solution? Casting. I already have some pieces cast, but some of my prior castings ended up being too expensive for the simple shapes / items I was making when I first learned to fabricate. And some of my items didn't cast well (there are a few tricks to casting, and I by no means know them all yet. But  sometimes what you think will be greatly cast-able is notsomuch in the end).

I made a few pieces in the spring, but really didn't have the required studio time (it takes longer than you'd think to design and create fabricated jewelry) and nothing looked right. Nothing I had was worthy of paying to get molds made and then trying to sell. The scrap jar was filling up.

I've been working on new designs in my sketchbook for a while, and this week I finally sat down with the sketchbook in the studio and started designing in metal. Now it's Thursday and I have several pieces to ship off to the casters! Also more scraps in the scrap jar, but that's always the way it goes when you're making. Rarely does the first idea turn out exactly right.  :)

But sometimes you get lucky on the second idea, or the fourth, or the tenth. And now I've got a little grouping of new pieces to send to my casting company. How many (if any!) will turn out well? It's hard to say until I get them back and see what the problems are (if there are any) and how involved the cleanup is. But at least it's a start.

Actually the top left ring is a one of a kind, not being cast, but I threw it in anyway. Next to the ring is a bracelet link. When it comes back from casting, I will either add more dots or set a small cabochon on the empty side. Next to that is a pendant and then an earring. Bottom row left is an earring and then two more pendants.

And it's a short week for me this week; I'm heading to Ashville with a friend tomorrow to help her with a festival (tomorrow is all play though). And I told myself that if I got some casting masters done, I could spend part of today playing with my new stones. So off to work I go!  :)


  1. Come, it has. Just lovely. Excited to see where you go, woman. Hugs.

  2. If you don't mind my asking- how did you go about finding some one to car your pieces? I don't make items in precious metals, but plated. I just don't even know where to begin.
    Deb Heimler

  3. Aww, thanks Jess! I'm a little excited too. :)

    Deb - I found my casters through the jewelry supply in Doraville. They're a husband and wife team who work out of their home in Lawrenceville.

    You might try a Google search for jewelry casting or some such - there are a number of companies in the U.S. I don't think the L'ville folks do any plated items.

    Be aware that the cast items (depending on the caster's abilities and your needs) can come back to you in many forms, from totally raw and needing a lot of clean up work to totally finished. The more finishing the casting co. does, the more you pay...but it cuts your own labor. A trade-off, like most things. And not everything will cast "well" (well being a relative term)...just some things to think about. If you want the number to the L'ville folks, email me and I'll send it to you.

  4. Jill thanks for commenting on my blog.. because it led me to yours! I am so enthralled with your describing your creative process in such honesty...I believe it truly adds so much value to you work! I am completely intrigued with your blog...I intend to spend much time perusing it!

  5. Thanks Tamera!! I'm glad you like it. I have been enjoying your blog for quite a while, and plan to keep doing so. :)

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