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Jewelry making and aging

Hi everyone,
I would love your input and your thoughts.
I started making jewelry about 7 years ago. Everything was ok until I hit 60. I am now 62. I just stopped. I find that, being over 60 I am now too old to learn or be creative. Ihave been completely unmotivated. Although I used to sell some of my work, I don’t have children so I find that there is no point in making anything if I can’t give it away when the time comes.
I know it is a very depressing post but I would love to know what your thoughts are and if you have any tips to bring back my motivation.
Thank you very much!

I just turned 73, have played at lapidary and jewelry for 45 years. I am now just starting to ramp up on my “ hobby’s”. I find that when I discovered filigree, I get excited about being able to take raw silver and craft it into something I could bring joy to someone. I learned some time ago that what I need to motivate me is finding an aspect that I enjoy and use that as my focus. If making is not your passion then maybe helping someone learn from your experience. Join a club, find an organization or just talk with people about your experiences. Use social media if that’s easy for you. Find a new passion, if you are passionate enough the time just flys away. When that looses appeal find a new passion.

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I am finding that the joints in my hands become very painful when making jewellery, so I’m not enjoying it as much as I used to. I took I pottery as the clay is so much more forgiving than metal.

Helen

UK

You might be just going through a take a break period until the next creative idea kicks in. Give it a little time. I go through it also.

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66 here, began 9 years ago, am totally completely focused. want to develope my skills to see what will become of my aesthetic path, couldn’t be happier. that said-i prefer to go deep rather than wide, i study books and history. I even like filing.!

I’m now 76 and have been a jeweller for over 35 years and I also teach traditional techniques. I cant imagine not making jewellery to me it would be the end of the world. I find that being able to do what I want, when I want with no stress no targets to hit is great. I learn something new each day. I know a lot of jewellers who are well over 80 and still going strong and enjoying making.

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Hi Yuri,
I’m 72. I’m really orthopedically challenged, post surgery one week on my 7th L spine surgery, and am excited as ever about the things that still lie before me. I’ve learned that age is just a number, whatever challenges we may face. I was retired from my job at 47 due to orthopedic injuries. I’ve been a custom knifemaker for 30 years and have been dabbling, with increasing intensity, with jewelry and lapidary.
We all go through phases of lower creativity and maybe even loss of motivation. Don’t let it get you down. If your interests are changing, go with and see where it leads. And don’t fear learning new things. Embrace it, enjoy it. Enjoy the challenges that we all have before us.
Finally, don’t blame things on age.Don’t believe that aging prevents learning. That is something we were taught when young and just isn’t true.
Hang in there and find your niche. I’m headed towards steampunk, personally, but we all see different things.
Best of luck.
Gene

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At 68 I have been making and repairing jewelry for 45+ years. I need a full right shoulder replacement, rotator cuff repair on my left and this last Winter my carpal tunnel was so bad that I had to have both surgeries @3 weeks apart.
At this point 3 fingers are badly numb on mh right hand, and somewhat numb on my left.
I have had to adapt, and of course the shut down the last 3 months or so has slowed everything down.
Still, I adapt, find a way to persevere. I use my Bench Mate system even more than usual.
I truly love the problem solving aspect of doing jewelry repairs, and enjoy creating.
I really cannot see not working at the bench, no matter how much pain I am in.

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To join in the aging discussion…I turned 87 this year, and as a painter and jeweler find it absolutely necessary to continue working. I have more paintings than I know what to do with but take a class to keep motivated and to meet with fellow artists.
I have more stones than I can possibly set in my lifetime - try not to go to local gem shows if at all possible. Again, I rely on classes to keep my energy up. So what if I no longer have the strength to set up a tent to sell at craft shows - assuming that we’ll be able to get through the Covid quarantine mess. I need to create, need to be around people who share that drive.

Look in your heart, create if you feel that need. Let the chips (or pins or necklaces,) fall where they may. Good Luck

Noralie Katsu

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WOW!!! you are such an inspiration!!!
I wish you the best for the future!!!
Thank you very much!!!

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It is soo good to meet such a motivated crowd!!!
Thank you very much for your post!!!

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Thank you everyone for your thoughts, good vibes and words!
I feelvery honored to get to know all of you and wish you all the best for the future!!!

Best wishes
Y

71 and making jewelry for 47 years. I retired when I was 60 and high on my bucket list was to learn how to do the things that I couldn’t do when I was working. Much of my list was the typical: travel more, read more, spend time with grandkids, garden, volunteer etc, but it also included learning the things about making jewelry that hadn’t had time for. It didn’t include prostate and kidney cancer but that’s another story. I have had my creative slumps and I am in one right now, but they are predictable. When the weather finally turns nice in Central NY, we are drawn to outside activities knowing that in a couple months we will be once again stuck inside just in time for the Christmas market. The virus has also put a real crimp on my sales as both stores have been closed and there has been very little activity on my website. I have a glut of jewelry and little reason to make more. When this happens, I challenge myself to learn something new, buy a new tool and learn how to use it, learn to draw and paint, learn more about lapidary, look for a new market or anything that will expand my jewelry experience. Right now I am exploring jeweler’s brass. There is a market for pieces made of brass in one of my stores and I want to explore it. Brass is also a lot of fun to work with and inexpensive enough to take risks with. You can’t ignore your creative self, you just have to go with where it takes you. Luckily I have never had to rely on making jewelry to make a living and I can take whatever turn it may present to me. Don’t let age slow you down. You may have to make some compromises, but keep on making jewelry. Good luck…Rob

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I’m 73 and have been making jewelry in some way or another for over 20 years. I have arthritis in my hands and some days I have problems with bending my fingers. However, I still find myself at my bench doing something. I am also an engraver and have had to find ways to use my air engraver with my stiff fingers. I have a friend who is a jeweler and also teaches classes at our local Community collage and I am his class assistant. It gives me an opportunity to help students and I continue to learn from him as well. Sometimes I go to his shop and he mentors me with new techniques. My husband makes cowboy spurs and I engrave them. We still manage to make a few pair a year even as we age. He has started making knives recently. So, long story short, don’t give up doing something you enjoy just because you’re getting a little age on you. Keeping active and involved in the art I believe keeps you young at heart!

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I totally agree! Got you beat… I’m 76​:+1:t3::heart::sunglasses:

I started collecting rocks when i was 4 or 5 years old, stumbled over a
pretty pebble and never got over it, started cutting when I was 8
(probably with a tumbler). So now I have been doing it 53 years or so. 53
years! I have children, and one day they will inherit a massive pile of
cutting rough, equipment, and a studio full of enough tools to keep 10
people working. Which may be more of a curse than a blessing, children
have their own interests and hobbies.

Some people our age go buy expensive sportscars, or 2nd homes. Me, I am
worried about building another shed to set up yet another slab saw. I
enjoy it; the interest comes and goes over the years, but largely has
stuck with me as a lifelong interest.

An essential part to keep creativity going: keeping a sketchbook(s). Some
days or weeks i wake up, and have absolutely no creative ideas at all,
walk into the studio and can’t think of a singe idea to make. Then I get
out the sketchbook, and review some of my previous ideas, and pretty
soon, I have an idea and a project, and back off to the studio i go.
Other times, when the creative ‘juices’ are flowing, I can’t write down
and sketch the new ideas fast enough, they come to me that quickly.
When the ideas come, I can visualize them, in my mind’s eye, fully in 3
dimensions and color, and manipulate them, in the same way that you could
imagine a designer using a computer to modify and present a design.

So, keep a sketchbook, and when you go to your studio, don;t be afraid to
experiment, and even if you screw something up, it is part of the
creative process.

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I’m 73, and I’ve been making jewelry for 40 years. My husband has been asking me for years if I was thinking about retiring, and I always told him I wasn’t out of ideas yet. But this year, I’ve been giving it serious consideration. I find outdoor shows increasingly difficult. When the virus hit, I had been preparing for a specialty show with lots of inventory. Suddenly that, and everything else through the summer, was cancelled. And my caster’s business had been shut down. So for four months I was essentially retired. I had no projects going and no motivation. I was also recovering from cancer treatment, so I had no energy either. But lately I’ve been feeling better, my caster is open part time, and I have wedding ring commissions. And feeling some creative zings in my hindbrain. I’m thinking that I could do a reduced show schedule, assuming that the shows and the customers actually come back in whatever form. What I’ve learned is that I could conceivably be retired, maybe do commissions, and be happy. But there’s life in the old girl yet.

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66 here, and like many fight through numerous injuries and lots of pain. A few years back I had an unscheduled flying lesson out the back door of a house. It shattered my right hand wrist and lower arm. Lost about 25 % usage. 4 months ago had what was supposed to be simple rotator cuff surgery. The surgeon messed up. After two failed attempts to screw my shoulder together, they opened mr up old school and it two doctors to get it screwed in. It compromised the radial nerve, and is so tight I cant raise my arm up to my shoulder. Now I’m waiting for ankle surgery to repair a ripped up tendon and ligament over the top. Then on to my second knee replacement. All this due to fluoroquinolones.

Yes I’m a physical mess. What keeps me going is adapting so I can make more jewelry. I have to keep it up so the next doctor who messes me up I can forge a dull silver spoon to take to his dangles, candy them, then feed him back his just desserts.

Its creative thinking and problem solving that works for me. 25 years making, 55 years out selling everyone else at what ever I was told to sell.

Yuriko never give up. Study pictures of what you like. Draw pictures of what you think would be nice. The more pictures, the more ideas grow. You’ll find yourself dreaming design ideas. Most of all have fun. Who cares if you pass it on. Think someday your jewelry will be collector’s pieces.

Aggie, under an ice pack

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79 here, macular degeneration, aches pains. Can’t make a straight line anymore - but the wiggly ones are just fine with me. Gave up the art show circuit after 23 years - husband is disabled - and I’ve never been happier (not because he is disabled - it leaves me with a lot of responsibility) - now I get to make whatever I want and to hell with if it would sell. Just started getting into enamels - and have no idea what I’ll do with all my stones, slabs and stuff. Just keep keeping on. So long as I have a studio, a torch, a kiln and stuff to work on - I’m a happy camper.

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Thank you for sharing and being an amazing inspiration to all of us oldsters! :heart:

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