Creating an Effective Jewelry-Making Tutorial
Thinking of making your own jewelry tutorial to build branding and improve your home based jewelry business? The best place to start is by finding a few that make you long to try something new, then using them as a model. Here are a few jewelry-making tutorials worth checking out.
Beth Cyr's lost-wax casting tutorial has become a popular guide for fellow metalsmiths. You can find it on her blog, BCyr Jewelry. For Beth's tips on the whys and hows of producing a tutorial, see the March 2011 issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist.
Etsy Metal blog has more than thirty jewelry tutorials, including Ann Hartley's part of a three-part series on how to cast wedding rings how to cast wedding rings. It's based on a ring set she made for a couple who ordered through her Etsy store, hartleystudio.
Maria Whetman, British metalsmith, has several wonderful jewelry-making tutorials posted on her Fluxplay Jewellery blog. A teacher and member of the Etsy Metal Team, Whetman finds tutorials come naturally; she's used to breaking the jewelry-making process down for instructional purposes. Whetman gives away the techniques behind her own unique jewelry, made from printed steel packaging like cookie tins and tea caddies, but you'll find basics like creating a claw setting and improving your sawing techniques
Whetman spices up her tutorials with little drawings and humor, but she's also meticulous. If you want a good model for how to shoot a tutorial, examine her photos: carefully composed and lit, crisply focused, and shot from a variety of angles that give the page visual interest.
You can find sparser but still-effective tutorials on Flickr. Flickr offers an easy way to produce a pictorial guide. Just slot the photos in as you would any "set," add captions, and you've given fellow metalsmiths all they need to know. What they don't get, they will ask in the comments.
A few tutorials worth checking out on Flickr:
- Catherine Chandler of Cuttlefish Casting shows how to create a textured sheet of cast metal that she uses to fabricate jewelry.
- Shannon Conrad of Etsy shop RubyGirl posted this little tutorial on torch-firing enamel.
- Janos Gabor Varga, a Hungarian metalsmith living in Italy who runs the Etsy shop Blind Spot Jewellery, demonstrates how to make a ring from an iron tube and an antique coin in tutorial.
These three demonstrate that you don't need detailed instructions to post an effective jewelry-making tutorial–just a cool project, the right shots, and a few explanatory comments. Is there something about your jewelry that customers and fellow artisans are always asking about? Try showing instead of telling.
CATHLEEN MCCARTHY is a freelance writer whose stories on design, travel and business have appeared in Town & Country, AmericanStyle, Art & Antiques, Washington Post, and her own site, The Jewelry Loupe. She has written for Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist since 1992.