Hello Catherine -
I have to agree with Ekrem - that the very piece you are working on
may be for a particular - yet to be known - individual.
When I first started out full time in the public - as an independent
- I had several half baked “cookies” on my bench. I was up against
a deadline for an event and my sister-in-law, who stopped by said,
“Cindy, what is this and what is that - sell them!”. So, I
finished up these things and sure enough, they sold. It’s then,
that I told myself - “Gee, what do I know”?! My pleasure is in
making the jewelry - I’m not one who wears jewelry particularly.
So, I see this work as a big science experiment - to complete
pieces and watch the results - of their finding a “home”.
I am so self critical sometimes that it can be stifling. When I
lighten up on that quality (which actually is a good trait for the
technical difficulty involved in our medium) - and detach from the
work more - it becomes more of a dance. Sometimes pieces sit
partially finished for a while - and when I come back to them with
"fresh" eyes - I’ll be able to have “fun” with them and see them to
completion. That’s the beauty of working for oneself - and not
having to please a customer or supervisor’s deadline. Special
orders are another challenge that need to be solved in spite of
When you are selling at shows again, you will have direct customer
feedback - which is very helpful in proceeding and possibly
continuing (or not continuing) in certain directions. More
importantly, though, listen to yourself and what works for your own
Very often, in my creative process, the work transforms into
something that was not my original intention. The pieces find their
own life. I just try to pay attention and be willing to modify the
work - especially, if the difficulty is beyond my time restraints or
capability. A piece of jewelry cannot sell unless it is finished!
We are all different - and although I do sketch and plan ahead, I
prefer to stay open to the possibility of changing the piece while
working on it. This is a personal preference - and, to me, there is
no right or wrong way to proceed - if it works. Sometimes, forcing a
piece to completion will end up in disaster. But, on the same
breath - fortunately, stretching to that uncomfortable zone more
often ends up with a decent result.
I also recommend the book, “The Artist’s Way” - Julia Cameron. In
the past, there have been strings on Orchid on this subject. Even
now, I will still dip into the book and have continued to write the
three pages most every day. The complexities and challenges of
managing my time with family obligations and still having "fresh"
work in the works - can be overwhelming sometimes.
Your decision was “made” for you - to leap - and, I’m sure you will
rise to the occasion and proceed. Have fun with it - and know that
the unfolding of work is a process. As you go along, you may have
to set limitations. That idea has also helped me in proceeding.
Jewelry/metalwork is such a broad field of possibilities. I do work
on new skills behind the scenes and wait until I’ve mastered them
to a level that I’m comfortable with - before presenting things to
Deadlines, for me, are essential - self imposed or externally
imposed. (This isn’t a problem that you have, but I have had to
learn to work in “snippets” of time - rather than marathon style.
I prefer totally immersing myself with large chunks of bench time,
but, have not been able to do that for some time, now.)
My recommendation would be to take one or two partially completed
pieces and see them to finality. One step at a time is always good
approach - rather than focusing on the big picture or being
concerned with being successful - which can be distracting,
actually. Yes, challenge yourself and stick to your level of
integrity - but, perhaps be willing to modify the work as it
unfolds - especially if the difficulty of the fabrication is more
than you bargained for in the original intention.
One more thought . . . I have found that the public is very
supportive and appreciative of my efforts - even if I am never
satisfied and always expect more from myself.
Wishing you the best and this forum is a perfect place to pose
questions. (I tend to be wordy, but hope these thoughts are of some