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How does production style impact your image


#1

I have been in jewelry for about a year now, I have learned a lot so
far, but now i’m questioning how far I can go only making one of a
kind pieces (by hand). The amount of high quality pieces I can make
is limited by my time, and i’m not interested in doing wholesale
handmade for the same reason. I have had trouble building up my
inventory and don’t want to try to save time by pumping out a bunch
of low quality junk. I am now considering having some of my
signature type pieces and bread and butter pieces cast to save on
time and money, I would also be able to offer these pieces for less
and probably sell more of them. It makes sense for business, but I
was wondering if people will see me differently since those items
won’t be (handmade). These items are ones that I already make many
of, but right now I do them by hand. One of my main problems right
now is my limitations on shows due to low inventory and difficulty in
building a larger one.

Also, can anyone tell me a good place to go for casting in small
amounts?

Any advice or input on this subject will be much appreciated!

Jessica


#2

Jessica,

These items are ones that I already make many of, but right now I
do them by hand. One of my main problems right now is my
limitations on shows due to low inventory and difficulty in
building a larger one. Also, can anyone tell me a good place to go
for casting in small amounts? 

You seem to be at the place where many metal workers make the choice
to take a comprehensive casting workshop or series of classes. By
learning the casting process yourself, you will become a better
designer of cast jewelry. Then, after you are knowledgeable about
casting, you can make informed decisions on whether to outsource
your casting needs.

Jamie


#3

Hi Jessica,

Dan Grandi has fantastic skills. He teaches in the Boston area. His
prices are reasonable. He also plays a cool guitar.

racecarjewelry.com

Good luck,
Mary A


#4
I am now considering having some of my signature type pieces and
bread and butter pieces cast to save on time and money, I would
also be able to offer these pieces for less and probably sell more
of them. 

Jessica, we cast daily. We cast only Golds & Sterling. Drop me a
note and we will see if we can help.

Having been at the bench many many years, building inventory by hand
and needing a selection for customers can be a challenge. Bench work
is great and I love every moment…(well, 92% of the moments) :wink:
that I get to spend at the bench. That other 8% is the hair pulling
time!!! I find most times its soothing and comfortable. Better than
any recliner and television!!

Dan.


http://www.dearmondtool.com


#5

Jamie,

Your comment about taking casting classes making a designer a better
designer of cast jewelry prompted a memory. When I was a mechanical
drafter (before CAD) I learned that it wasn’t all that uncommon for
a drafter or designer to produce something on paper that couldn’t be
produced in the shop. I imagine it isn’t all that different in
jewelry either.

Mike DeBurgh, GJG
Alliance, OH


#6

Jessica, I took a look at your etsy site. Based only on what I see
there, I do not believe many of your pieces would translate to
castings all that well. Strictly for mechanical reasons. If you’ve
got other styles not shown, maybe they might.

As far as image/handmade goes, and I may be chased out of the room
after I say this… I don’t believe the public cares very much at
all. Maybe at etsy since that’s their focus. But in the wider world
of professional jewelry what matters is style, quality and price.
Probably usually in that order but not always. Maybe you need to ask
yourself if you will remain an etsy person, or move on.

If you want/need to start using castings, I think you will find that
your styles will necessarily change to more fully utilize the
advantages of castings. You may open new vistas. You may surprise
yourself at what you can do once released from the ‘drudgery’ often
involved in hand fabbing. On the other hand, casting is not the be
all and end all. It has its limitations too. You would choose which
method based on the pros/cons as relate to any particular piece in
question and how its going to be merchandised.


#7
but I was wondering if people will see me differently since those
items won't be (handmade). and Neil: I don't believe the public
cares very much at all. 

Jessica, it’s just plain Art-School prejudice. You (seem) to want to
make a living making jewelry - WHAT people are going to see you
differently, what IS differently, and why should that mean anything
about the price of apples?

There’s a place of artistic integrity and there’s a line where that
turns into a glorious waste of time and resources (making 25 cent SS
earring posts, for instance). Casting, and by extension molding, is
just another method for making jewelry. Thinking that casting is in
any way going to put out inferior product is just that same
prejudice - it’s your product, you make it what it is. We cast the
casting work and fabricate the fabrication work and we mix the two
when appropriate. It’s just jewelry making.

As to your particular line, I could see a few things that you could
cast that would be helpful to your production. As Neil said, much of
it isn’t really castable, but there are some pretty labor intensive
bits and pieces that could be. Be aware that you need to make models

  • “perfect” pieces that are designed for molding. The #1 pitfall
    people fall into is trying to mold jewelry, and it often just
    doesn’t work. Models are different than jewelry - they are designed
    to put out jewelry after molding and casting…

#8

Jessica, I looked over your etsy site, and agree with Neilthejeweler.

What you have there does not really lend themselves to casting.

Most of my work is fabricated from sheet, but I do quite a bit of
lost wax casting for those items that are best cast----mainly rings,
and some pendants. Carving models from hard carving wax, or forming
them with soft wax is very relaxing and a change of pace from the
intensity of fabrication.

Often after the model is cast, I do futher work on it such as adding
bezels or prongs for stones, or incorporating the cast piece into
one that has been fabricated from sheet.

Best of all, I can make use of all my scrap silver (and the amount
of scrap really seems to grow rapidly, and it is economically
feasible to use it for casting). The work produced by using my scrap
silver and having been cast more than offsets the cost of burnout
kiln, and a centrifuge. Besides it is a very rewarding technique to
add to fabrication.

Look over your work and decide which you believe are best cast, then
you can decide what works best for you.

Alma Rands.