Designing a New Collection: Sketches
Most years begin the same. Early January tends to be quiet. I try to take it slow. I always try to design a new jewelry collection in January, so I try to carve out a lot of time for sketching, making, finishing and photography. It’s also when I need to do my year end accounting, inventory, paying estimated taxes and all the other endless paperwork that builds up when you are self-employed. So I try to break up the days between the boring bits like taking inventory and the fun part of making new things and experimenting. And in between the paper work, I usually try to clean the studio so that I have a fresh start.
Last week, as I was going through old papers to see what I needed to keep, I found a bunch of old sketches from past years (pictured above and below). It was really fun to see them, and I tore them out of the old notebook they were in so I could keep them around a bit longer. Some of the sketches turned into things and some just stayed drawings.
I put together 2-3 collections of new jewelry a year. Generally, I get them ready to release in February and August, with some extras in the middle to keep it interesting. Once the newest collection is together, I start thinking about the new one. Pretty much immediately. Sometimes there are thoughts that don’t quite get finished that linger around and wait till next time. I keep a box filled with odds and ends that I’ve found in random places on my bookshelf, and every now and again I sort through it and think about shapes and textures.
Often, when I’m working throughout the year, I’ll keep a sketchbook nearby and draw shapes as I’m thinking about them. After the holiday rush, and a little break, I pull the sketches out in January and try to add to to them, and piece together a collection. Once I have a few sketches that I want to make real, I’ll switch over into metal and see if I still like them. Unless I’m sure of a style, I always make it in silver first, as fabricating in gold can get insanely expensive, and putting together a new collection is already a huge investment.
Once I have a few pieces made, and I like them, I head back to the drawing board. I try to add shapes that makes sense with the others. I also spend some time looking through the pieces that are already in the collection. I look to see what’s already there, what’s missing, and what needs to go. I’ve been watching (along with lots of others I know) the Marie Kondo show on Netflix, so this time around I actually applied her method to the pieces in the collection. Pieces that I don’t love, or I don’t enjoy making, or don’t need to be in the collection are all going away. But unlike, in the show, where everyone’s unwanted belongings are often piled into trashbags and dumped, I am recycling and repurposing all of the old pieces. I can save chains and use them for new samples, and melt down rings to turn into the new larger Orb studs. More on how I recycle in the studio and work with reclaimed metals later…
For now, back to the drawing board and the jewelry bench.