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Beautiful mistakes, what to do about them?


OK, how many of you have made something really nice, only to find
out it didn’t work, wasn’t practical, wasn’t designed well, etc? What
did you do about it? Make it into something else, or did you just
keep it around to remind yourself not to do THAT again?

I made a lovely clasp out of sterling and an amazonite cab, based on
an article from a jewelry magazine. One critical item was left out of
the description - though I should have deduced it from the photos -
the clasp has to be symmetrical in order to work. Not just
symmetrical, but the forces that act on the clasp must be in
alignment through the center of mass of the clasp.

I let my artistic brain push aside my engineering brain when I did
this one. I just kept thinking, "Wow, it’s going to be so pretty."
Yeah, but totally useless, unless it’s the clasp to a leather belt
or a handbag.

So, what should I do with it until I get into belt or handbag

Thanks for the advice,

So, what should I do with it until I get into belt or handbag

It’s beautiful, sell it to someone who makes belts or handbags!

I know my local chapter of the American Sewing Guild has a yahoo
group, probably most of them do… that might be an avenue to
advertise such an item…


can you use it as the focal piece on a necklace (wear the clasp in
front)? it is beautiful!


It’s beautiful!

I’d find a way to fasten it closed permanently and then use it as
the front focal piece of a necklace instead of a back clasp.



Use it as a side or bottom decoration on a necklace. It will
probably still work as a clasp.

Judy Shaw


It would make a beautiful pin or top to a bracelet.



why don’t you salvage it as a clasp as was intended. Put two balls
on the main body at opposite ends of the D shape, like balls for a
figure 8. You’d insert the plain end of the open piece behind one
ball, then press down the JR end to engage the other ball, works by
interference fit and springiness of the open piece. You might want to
add a few other balls as decoration so it doesn’t LOOK salvaged.

I’ve emailed you a pic of what I mean, really simple.


Hi Kelley,

I don’t keep my mistakes (beautiful or otherwise) around as
reminders. I try to fix them or use what I can for something else
and scrap the rest. If you aren’t messing up and making shiny new
scrap every now and then, you’re not pushing the envelope enough.

Keeping it around as a reminder is not only unnecessary, it’s
wasteful and can only generate negativity. You are unlikely to make
that particular error again, so you don’t need to keep it for that

It might be a really good exercise to try to re-engineer it and make
it work. A very wise goldsmith told me early in my career that one of
the marks of a good goldsmith is not whether they can repair what a
customer brings in, but whether they can repair what they screw up

Just because you are teaching yourself doesn’t mean you are getting
a free education. Repair it or scrap it and consider it tuition.



I have a small box where I put my mistakes. About once a year I get
stuck, bored, blocked, whatever. I go through that box and decide
whether to keep, adapt, or recycle the pieces. I usually get several
new pieces out of it, combining parts or using them to spark ideas.

Janet Kofoed