It's long been an ambition of mine to create a jewellery collection or two. All the advise you read online about running a successful jewellery business suggests that this is a really important aspect of a jewellery business. It makes things more co-hesive, and if you want to approach shops and potential stockists, it gives a clearer message. The problem for me, and many others I am sure, is that working with handmade beads and components, often the items we work with are one of a kind. Not so easy to create a collection based around this!
I have grown into this job/career/business - whatever you want to call it - in a slightly non-traditional manner. I didn't go to art college; I have had no formal training in jewellery making or design of any sort. And whilst this isn't necessarily (I hope!) a drawback, I am aware that I don't always have a clear strategy in mind when I sit down to work. I'll be honest - my brain doesn't often have a clear strategy for doing anything; it tends to leap and jump around all over the place, no matter what I'm doing! And when you create purely for yourself - well, who then would set out to make themselves a co-hesive and artistically co-ordinated collection? No one that I know! You make what you feel like and what feels right....
And as for no formal training - well, I spent most of my 20s being an almost-full-time teacher, and I've had no formal training in teaching either, and that has never held me back! I am somehow confident that I am a bloody good teacher, if I do say so myself; certainly for the kids that I have taught over the past 8 years. (Couldn't handle classroom teaching though - NO idea how some of my colleagues manage, it'd drive me absolutely crazy!)
But jewellery-making, I realise, is a completely different kettle of fish. I don't feel that I'm sinking in this business, but I'm sort of paddling about and splashing my arms about enthusiastically, and not quite out in the depths, swimming confidently, as yet. I want to take that plunge; to lift my feet from the seabed and swim, but I'm not quite sure of how to do that quite yet.....I am hoping that the creation of my first ever jewellery collection will help with this.
So over the past week, I've been working on the beginnings of my Gardenia Collection. I have plans to launch this very soon, and have decided that it's main home shall be in my (long-neglected) Folksy Shop. Yes, I have linked but you'll see - there's no one at home in this poor wee corner of the internet! This collections is springing from one of my most popular pieces - one that I offer in my etsy shop as a 'made to order' piece - my Gardenia bracelet.
I felt that here was potential for growth - I could develop this very simple idea to incorporate different shapes, different jewellery pieces - different colour schemes as well, although I'm very fond of this one. I have many different ideas rattling around in this old 32-year-old head of mine....
This weekend I worked on a Gardenia necklace, and today, some earrings. STATEMENT earrings! I will be creating some daintier ones too as I know not everyone likes such long and dramatic earrings as I.....here's a sneak peek of today's contribution to the Gardenia Collection.....to be launched hopefully very soon. What do you think of them? Just a quick snap; I'll be taking better photos for the launch, but I wanted to share them here first.
I am very excited about this side of my jewellery - I won't be giving up my custom, bespoke and one-of-a-kind items. After all, what could be more lovely than wearing a unique piece of handmade art? But I am also excited to go down this avenue as well. Collections of jewellery that I can present to the world, with the real stamp of 'me' upon them.