Studio Notes: Do You Wear Your Own Jewelry Designs?
Earlier this year I visited a prestigious art school to hear artistic jewelry graduates talk on stage about their work. Although they showed lots of slides of their artistic explorations, few were wearing their own jewelry designs.
Like it wasn’t fashionable, and I was a tad dismayed. Then I realized I wasn’t wearing my own jewelry designs, either.
Here are a couple you can select from:
- Fear: I was afraid they’d look down on me and think my jewelry was schlock.
- Greed: I make my jewelry to sell at galleries, like the $600 mohawkite and onyx necklace pictured above with emerald beads. I need the money and don’t like to sell used jewelry.
- Loathing: I have a wholesale license and run my silversmithing as a business. So, a strand of beads that costs you $100 plus sales tax costs me $50 and no sales tax. This allows me to make a profit. And I have to report jewelry that I give to myself on my income tax form, in a special little box that always feels like the pointing finger of accusation.
So, after a moment of angst, I made myself some jewelry to wear. It was a good thing, too. I went through my sterling silver scrap, found some heavy-gauge wire, leftover chain, and solder. Then I whipped up a ring and matching cuff. Then I sold the project as a story idea to Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist and now have an August 1 deadline.
Why Jewelry Artists Should Wear Their Jewelry Designs
At a jewelry show earlier this year, I also wore my own jewelry. Since I teach pearl carving, I adorned myself in project samples the students would be making. Saved me hours of digging around for stuff in the bottom of my purse.
And knowing that I had a raft of blog posts due in July, I decided to interview some of the attendees at the show, asking this simple question: Do you wear your own jewelry designs? Here are their answers:
Judy J., Beaumont, CA – “I’m just really shy about wearing it. I wear my jewelry outside of here. I have beautiful bracelets, but I don’t even bring them.”
Anita K., Greenburg, PA – “I wear it to events, but I don’t wear it to work. We print 600 T-shirts an hour, so it’s a safety thing.” Anita was at the evening show event sans jewelry.
Kimberly A., Edwards, CO – Kimberly, who owns a jewelry studio in a mountain resort community, says she doesn’t wear her own jewelry, because she can’t see the earrings and pendants. When she wears her own creations in her studio shop, though, “it sells right off my body.” Another reward, spotting customers in her mountain community wearing the jewelry she makes.
Stephanie C., Chicago – “I wear it because I’m proud of it. It takes almost a month to make.” Stephanie, accompanied by her equally stylish mom, was wearing a handmade beaded tassel necklace.
Deb D., Mequon, WI – The 70-year-old demonstrated to me the stretchiness of the elastic jewelry she was wearing proudly on her arms. “I like keeping my hands busy and making one-of-a-kinds in the bead combinations I want.”
Charles B., Shrub Oak, NY – “I plan on going back to work and showing people what I made on vacation and the experience I had, and maybe inspire them to do shows, too.” Charles took six classes and showed off the jewelry he was wearing. “It builds up my creativity.”
Kim P., Chicago – “I wear my own jewelry because I’m proud of it and I’m asking people, ‘What do you think? What do you like?’”
Audry H., Dallas, GA – “I wear my own jewelry, because I can’t sell it if I don’t wear it.”
Do you wear your own jewelry designs? Let us know in the comments below!
Betsy Lehndorff has been writing for Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist since 2010. You can reach her at email@example.com.