"Doing Me" - in pursuit of my signature style

I’ll be honest. The start of this year has not been the easiest for me. I’ve been thinking about lots of things, one of which is how to best to go about jewellery making, so I can still enjoy it in the limited time I have.  

The trick is finding the thing that brings you into a feeling of “flow”.

You know that when time just disappears? Suddenly two hours disappears and it only feels like two minutes?! That’s when you know you’ve found it: the thing that really suits you. 

I got this, to an extent, when I was creating my Windblown Collection last summer. However, with the Wedding fast approaching, finishing the pieces for my Diploma, and the pressure of finding a job to pay the bills... the motivation became the deadline, rather than the pure pleasure of creating.

What I really want to do, is find that sweet spot, that glorious place where making doesn’t feel like hard work.

It’s like a little moment of paradise, that feeling, when you get it. A lofty ambition but I’m aiming for it!  

I have to say that the making I’ve been doing behind the scenes for commissions - based around descriptions or images provided by lovely customers - has been very satisfying. I’ve made bespoke gold rings, unusual beaded necklaces and even a rosary: things I never would have imagined making at the start of this year. I’ve added to my tool-supplies (always fun) learnt from a mistake or two (or three), learnt some handy new techniques, sourced new suppliers, and ultimately proved to myself that I really am capable of doing this (even if I am the only person who seems to be surprised by this).  

Yet these pieces, are not ones that I would have birthed independently, from the innermost workings of my imagination, given the luxury of time and space.

Those magical-difficult-to-catch-and-hold-onto-yet-to-be-realised-creations, are the ones that I am now chasing and trying to pin down (or at least, grab the tail of) through my “Doing Me” projects.  

Here’s the plan, and I’m telling it to you, because then I may feel more accountable and motivated to stick with it. 

Every month, I will either create from scratch, or finish off, a piece of jewellery... JUST BECAUSE I FEEL LIKE IT. 

Often, when this is the case, I find it hard to complete (or even start!), because there is an absence of expectation/driving force from someone else, who I would otherwise be letting down. But I need to do better with finishing these passion-projects. I’ve been doing a lot of planning recently and with such limited time.

I need to anchor myself to what really matters.

And to do that, I have to cut out anything I care about less about (difficult when you’re as conscientious as I am!). I keep hitting this brick wall: not knowing what to quit. It would be so much easier to say “N.O.” to something if I had actually identified my “thing”. I am on the search, I guess, for the holy grail of my ‘signature style’. 

Not that I overthink these things or anything, but surely my signature style HAS to be something that I LOVE doing. And, if I’m going to find out what I love doing, I need to work out what feels like no effort. Hence my search for whatever gives me that a sense of ‘flow’. That will be my jewellery raison d’etre. 

How do I find this? I create time to experiment, and essentially play, guilt free! 

(Historically I’ve not been good at playing – I am more motivated when there is a greater reason or motivation, other than just trying something out. But this needs to change. Time to indulge my inner child!)  

First out of the gates: wax carving.  

I was listening to a podcast from the Jewellers Academy recently and Emma René from Narratorium was talking about her collaborative project with Kerrie Kent space to create unique Hearts of Gold as an awareness project to also raise funds for the British Heart Foundation. The thought popped into my head right then: ‘I would like to create a lost wax carved heart necklace”.  

At first, I felt ‘creators guilt’ that maybe this was actually just stealing someone else’s idea, and I guess it kind of is. But when something like this reaches out to you - whether it be through listening to a podcast, reading a book, or seeing a piece of art created by another artist - does it actually matter? All art is inspired by something after all, right? And if you’re just trying something out, just playing with it, then it’s not worth getting yourself too tied in knots about it. Perhaps, when you’re seeking your ‘thing’, the best thing to do is to not question it too much and just roll with the inclination.  

So that is what I did.

I’m pretty pleased with how it’s turned out so far. And the best thing about it is that I have now physically, actually started “Doing Me” in real life!

Onwards the inner child (eeeek, I think she may even be excited!)

Silver fish started at the end of April 2023...2 half-finished sterling silver fish pendants, on a heat-proof tile, with a brass and silver 'firework' necklace pendant in the middle

Finished silver fish necklace with gold scales

Carved with love.. heart and cube

Carved with love pieces: cube at top, heart at bottom, both strung on branches of leaves collected from the riverside

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Find me and my jewellery...

  • Friday 19 July, 6pm-9pm at Ware Priory Artisan Craft Fair with Folk & Bespoke (free entry) as part of a curated showcase of 30 artists, crafters and makers
  • Sunday 10 November, 10am-3pm at Sawbridgeworth Artisan Craft Fair with Folk & Bespoke (free entry) where you can browse stalls from 40 skilled artists and craftspeople, showcasing and selling their handmade arts

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