Designing a New Collection: Sketches

old jewelry sketches circa 2014-2015

old jewelry sketches circa 2014-2015

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.

old jewelry sketches circa 2014-2015

old jewelry sketches circa 2014-2015

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.

my work table

my work table

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.

Sketches from the past week - some of these are going to be real, and I’ll share them really soon. Stay tuned…

Sketches from the past week - some of these are going to be real, and I’ll share them really soon. Stay tuned…

More sketches of the new collection. Stay tuned to see what they look like in metal…

More sketches of the new collection. Stay tuned to see what they look like in metal…