For almost a year now I’ve been thinking about what creative medium I’d like to pursue more, to focus on a bit, with the hope to eventually produce decent quality stock and start selling. It’s a thought that at times has been stressful and urgent, while at other times has just been digesting in my subconscious while I go about normal crafty cripple life.
I love the craft that I do and I have quite the stash for several different mediums; yarn, fabric, recycling/upcycling, beading, etc. I enjoy sewing, crochet and knitting but the sewing I can only do in bursts, depending on my body, and my crochet and knitting are usually quite slow projects that are done while I’m resting/recovering. I know that whatever I produce to sell will need to be something I’m happy to be working with for most of my time and be producing plenty of pieces quickly enough to validate selling them.
Time and time again I’m finding myself leaning towards jewellery. I’ve always been a big fan of jewellery and often got picked on as a kid for wearing too much. I remember growing up admiring “Phoebe” from “Friends” as she was always abundantly adorned with an eclectic mixture of jewellery and general decoration. So, okay, jewellery, I’ll try focusing on that a bit for now (outside of Baturday medium exploration). But then within that medium I’m finding myself feeling quite torn, pulled every which way, struggling to find secure footing and a direction to follow.
I’m currently really enjoying diving into polymer. Not the “kawaii” charms and such that will overwhelm any basic search for “polymer clay” in google or youtube, but the jewellery side of polymer. Faux stones, mica shift pendants, millefiori beads, mica-dusted earrings, sanding and buffing to a buttery soft texture, or topping with resin for a glassy finish. I’m genuinely excited about this awesome medium.
But then there’s wire-work, beading, metal stamping, silver-smithing, macramé, the list goes on and on. I want to get back into learning chainmaille and I’ve been admiring wire-wrapping and “jewellery fabrication” for quite a while, as well. While I really admire it, I don’t think I’d ever go into silver-smithing, it just feels beyond me, and anything involving a blow torch seems like a bad idea for such a clumsy person. Although I do love toying with the idea of having some hammers and a bench block, trying my hand at hammering and stamping metal, and making some findings.
I feel like there’s so much to jewellery in general it can be a bit overwhelming and hard to know where to start. I like the idea of going back to Tafe and learning that way, but I don’t know if my body can handle it. I’ve become quite attached to learning in my own way, at my own pace, and I tend to pride myself on learning everything I know by self-teaching through free online resources. But lately I’ve been feeling more and more limited and am starting to look at paid online classes, tutorials, etc. I’ve already signed-up with “Cindy Leitz”, the “Polymer Tutor”. I came across her on youtube and couldn’t help admiring the videos; they’re professional, concise and well-scripted, not irritating fluffing about, no blurry shots or lack of detail in image and information. I also know that she tests every product and technique thoroughly, her information feels aimed at people who want to learn and create with the intention to sell. So once I’d explored everything for free I signed-up and started a subscription service with her, as well as purchasing past lessons. It’s been good, I’ve been enjoying it.
I’m coming across other paid subscription/tutorial services but I’m wary as I really don’t have that much money and I’d prefer to be investing in craft materials. I feel like the next step is to start playing with wire-wrapping and start eyeing prices for bench blocks and hammers, but I think for now I’m feeling okay about what I’m learning and producing.
I think the most important thing for me recently was that I’ve accepted that it’s okay, in fact it’s good, to be creating to my own taste and style, rather than trying to produce what’s popular or “mainstream”. So I tend to create things that I really like and then need to remember that I can’t keep everything; I can’t just create for me or I’ll sell nothing, obviously.. unfortunately I’d be my best customer! Although I’ve seen some forum advice that claims once you’ve been working for a while you’ll reach a point where you’re happy to let go of the work and sell it and enjoy the joy that it brings others. I really hope that’s true. For now I’m telling myself that while I’m learning and making mistakes I can keep most of it, but I want to get into the habit of making batches of duplicates so I can keep and sell, and also in case anything gets damaged or re-ordered.