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Visiting Jewelry Artisans Studios and Shops in Istanbul, Turkey

Posted by learntobead on July 20, 2022

Before the pandemic, I was trying to arrange some Enrichment Travel tours. One was to Rome. This was part of the itinerary. If any group wants me to lead a Jewelry Discovery Tour to Rome or elsewhere, I would be happy to talk with you about this. — Warren@warrenfeldjewelry.com

Some favorite sites and studios in Instanbul:1. Topkapi Museum, Treasury Section Guided Tour

Once the palace of the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire, Topkapi is a vast treasury of Islamic culture, jewelry, costumes, science and weaponry. This tour is of the Treasury section (7 Halls of Exhibits) of the Topkapi Palace Museum (3rd courtyard) where you will find masterpieces of Turkish art of jewelry from different centuries and exquisite creations from the Far East, India and Europe.(2 hours guided tour of Treasury Section; 1–2 hours free time for guests to wander other parts of museum on their own.)
Open every day except Tues, 9am-4:45pm (til 6:45 in april- october)
2015: most of Treasury Section is under restoration and is closed; check back for when work is finished)

WALKING TOUR OF ARTISAN JEWELRY GALLERIES IN NISANTASI / TESVIKIYE AREA
Nisantasi / Tesvikiye is one of the best shopping districts of Istanbul. It contains designer label stores, very nice restaurants and cafes, a beautiful mall, and a few outstanding hotels. It is home to several galleries showcasing the best of Turkish jewelry artists and artisan jewelry. The store hours in this district are typically 11–7pm Tuesday through Saturday. Need to verify Monday and Sunday hours.

  1. Urart (abdi ipekci Cad. 18/1)

One of Turkey’s most established jewelry companies, Urart makes re-creations, and also chic interpretations, of ancient Anatolian designs and motifs, Hittite symbols of noblesse and glory, the arabesques of Islamic art speaking to the infinity, Seljuk tiles echoing the dreams of the Silk Road or fluid objects of modern life… Design commits to matter, not only the striking form but also the wisdom that abides at the heart of a culture.

2. Fenix (abdi ipekci Cad, Deniz Apt No: 20 D:4)

Fenix aims to bring the beautiful creations of Turkish jewelry brands such as Tohum and Alosh to the enthused consumer.

3. Zeynep Erol Taki Tasarim (Atiye Sok, Yuva Apt No: 8 D:3)

İn her first years, Zeynep Erol was mainly inspired by nature and created forms with her own modern interpretation. İn later years however, her designs have become more geometrical. Zeynep Erol’s Jewelry reflects her spiritual inner world, affections, relations, feelings, desires and change in the philosophy of life. The main materials used by Zeynep Erol in creating her pieces are; green, white and red gold (18k) together with silver (950). The selection of the remaining materials and the precious stones are chosen differently for each particular theme she wants to get across. A wide range of materials such as coconut shells, pearls, brilliants, sapphire, ruby, emeralds, quartz, glass, rose cut and uncut diamonds, sandalwood and feathers are used by her as necessary.

4. Aida Bergsen Jewellery (abdi Ipekci Cad., Atiye Sokak Ak Apt No:7, Daire 8)

Based in Istanbul, jeweller and sculptor Aida Bergsen creates jewellery with different themes that reflect traces of her hometown and its multi-layered cultural fibre. She Draws inspiration mainly from mythological heroes, organic forms and the human anatomy. Each of her wearable sculptures are meticulously crafted in wax then transformed into timeless jewels using traditional techniques.”I try to re-inerprate traditional crafts and skills in jewellery making in order to create a more contemporary approach. I like to have a play on the contrast between light and shadow as I believe it is key in capturing form at a deeper level.”Aida

Bergsen was awarded with the “étoile de mode” at BIJHORCA in Paris and she was named the first runner- up for the very prestigious Couture Show Las Vegas in 2011 and 2014.

5. ECNP Galeri — Elacindoruknazanpak (Ahmet fetgari sokak No: 56)

ECNP Gallery is a contemporary jewelry gallery showing the designs and collections of Ela Cindoruk and Nazan Pak. Partners since 1989, Ela and Nazan’s designs and creative process have reflected their philosophy of ‘less is more’. The duo have participated in numerous fairs in Turkey and abroad; their works can be found in many museum shops and galleries. Ela has received the 2012 Red Rot Design Award. Same year, the creative duo was awarded 2012 Jewelry Designer of the Year Award of Elle Style Awards. On September 2014, the designers opened their new showroom and studio, on the 21st year work anniversary. The showroom also has a gallery under its roof, Ela and Nazan’s a long time dream, a reflection of their commitment to design and aesthetic and their ambition to this gallery hosts design exhibits and aims at becoming a meeting point for the design/art world.

6. Soda, (Tesvikiye Mh, Sakayik Sokak No:1)

SODA, founded in 2010, focuses on contemporary trends in art, particularly of jewelry artists. They are interested in showcasing the use of new materials and design concepts. Some permanent artist representations as well as rotating exhbitis.

7. Alef (Tesvikiye Mh, Haci Emin Efendi Sokak, No:4)

This goldsmith adapts classical goldsmith principles to contemporary techniques and designs. Alef’s founder, jewelry designer Yeşim Yüksek,

8. Boybeyi (abdi ipekci Cad. No: 10)

BoyBeyi is a family-run business that has been around for more than 100 years, their collection features many traditional rose-cut diamonds, as well as modern and colorful pieces, all inspired by the Turkish culture.

WALKING TOUR OF JEWELRY GALLERIES, JEWELRY AND BEAD SHOPS IN AND NEAR THE GRAND BAZAAR

This walking tour takes you in and around the Grand Bazaar, discovering jewelry galleries displaying works by local artists, as well as a myriad of stores in the Grand Bazaar which sell jewelry, beads and beading supplies.

  1. Tiara (yavuz Sinan mah., rakip gumus pala cad. No; 69)

Antique jewelry, award-winning designs, modern designs that reflect trends in the world, some might find at Tiara Jewelry … Byzantine, Roman and Ottoman cultures, inspired by the collections, since the ancient civilizations in history has produced reflections of jewelry. Traditional hand-made items by craftsmen in the production of valuable, native jewelry lovers to win the admiration of the foreign guests

2. Kafkas (kalpakcilarbasi cad.)

Widely considered to be one of Istanbul’s top jewellers, with several locations throughout the city. The cuffs are studded with precious stones, the necklaces are vintage-inspired, and the gold rings are topped with enormous yellow diamonds. The Bazaar outpost is Kafkas’ first store, and you’ll often find the owners presiding behind the glittering displays.

3. Sevan Bicakci (gazi sinan pasa sok No 16)

Sevan Bıçakçı has started his journey as a jeweler when he was only 12 years old as an intern in Hovsep Çatak’s workshop. His first personal collection that he created in 2002 was inspired by the historical Grand Bazaar — Sultanahmet area where he spends a considerable part of his daily life. Since then his unique designs that require intensive craftsmanship have been attracting the attention of collectors as well as some distinguished stores.

4. Walk up Nuruosmaniye Caddessi Past the heart of jewelry and bead stores in the Grand Bazaar

There are piles and piles of antique rings, bracelets, necklaces, and earrings from Central Asia, as well as walls covered in strands of colorful beads made out of precious and semiprecious stones.

OPTIONAL: 3 block side trip to http://www.haciburhan.com) aka Emin Bead Company, Sterling Silver Handcrafted Turkish Beads. Sell different silver jewelry, beads and accessories for silver jewelry. Wholesale. Eminsinan Mah. Yeniceriler Cad. Evkaf Sok. No: 15 (Formerly 9) Cemberlitas, Fatih (verify store hours)

5. Angel Old Jewellery (kiliccilar sok., cuhaci han No: 36)

When you’re visiting this tiny, poorly lit (the blindingly bright interior doesn’t do their products any justice) store, you will be transformed into a museum where you can purchase anything you want from a collection of princess-worthy jewelry. From tiaras to necklaces, brooches to bracelets, these elegant pieces are bedecked with intricate, precious stones like diamonds. This store has both antique pieces, as well as new jewelry that looks vintage due to a special ageing method they use.

6. Bagus (cevahir bedesteni sok, kapali carsi D: 133)

In the Grand Bazaar’s Cevahir Bedestani, Bagus sells the proprietor’s own reasonably priced collection of handmade jewelry made with silver and semiprecious stones as well as intriguing pieces imported from countries including India, Nepal, Thailand, and Indonesia.

warren@warrenfeldjewelry.com
www.warrenfeldjewelry.com

_______________________________

Thank you. I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft Video Tutorials online. Begin with my ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS COURSE.

Follow my articles on Medium.com.

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Check out my Jewelry Making and Beadwork Kits.

Add your name to my email list.

_________________________________

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Resiliency: Do You Have The Most Important Skill Designers Must Have?

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency In Design

Backward Design is Forward Thinking

How Creatives Can Successfully Survive In Business

Part I: The First Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: Is What I do Craft, Art or Design?

Part 2: The Second Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: What Should I Create?

Part 3: The Third Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: What Materials (and Techniques) Work Best?

Part 4: The Fourth Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: How Do I Evoke A Resonant Response To My Work?

Part 5: The Firth Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: How Do I Know My Design Is Finished?

Doubt / Self-Doubt: 8 Pitfalls Designers Fall Into…And What To Do About Them

Part 1: Your Passion For Design: Is It Necessary To Have A Passion?

Part 2: Your Passion For Design: Do You Have To Be Passionate To Be Creative?

Part 3: Your Passion For Design: How Does Being Passionate Make You A Better Designer?

__________________________________

SO YOU WANT TO BE A JEWELRY DESIGNER
Merging Your Voice With Form

588pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

PEARL KNOTTING…Warren’s Way
Easy. Simple. No tools. Anyone Can Do!

184pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

SO YOU WANT TO DO CRAFT SHOWS

16 Lessons I Learned Doing Craft Shows

198pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

___________________________________________

Posted in Art or Craft?, bead weaving, beads, beadwork, craft shows, creativity, cruises, design management, design thinking, enrichment travel, jewelry collecting, jewelry design, jewelry making, Learn To Bead, pearl knotting, Stitch 'n Bitch, Travel Opportunities, wire and metal, Workshops, Classes, Exhibits | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Visit To Jewelry Artisans and Galleries In Rome, Italy

Posted by learntobead on July 20, 2022

Before the pandemic, I was trying to arrange some Enrichment Travel tours.    One was to Rome.     This was part of the itinerary.   If any group wants me to lead a Jewelry Discovery Tour to Rome or elsewhere, I would be happy to talk with you about this.

ROME 1.  JEWELRY GALLERIES WALKING TOUR, ROME.  There are several stores/galleries specializing in artisan jewelry, with both some very famous local jewelry designers, as well as some less known between the Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps) and Piazza del Orologi.     This is a 1.25 mile (2.1km) leisurely jewelry shopping tour along ancient walking streets in the heart of historic Rome, where we discover the works of local jewelry artisans. (5 hour walking tour with dinner break; begin at 3pm (any day except Monday) when these shops are most likely to be open.  Typical hours:  open 10-1:30pm and 3:30-7:30pm).

  1. Damiani, via condotti 84 (All Damiani collection jewels are exclusive and unique creations, combining the allure of Italian jewelry with the unmistakable, always modern and fashionable Damiani taste.)
  2. Nicola Boncompagni, via de Babuino 15 (vintage jewelry)

        3. Oreficeria Franchi, via di Ripetta 156 (works of enrico franchi)

   4. Melis Massimo Maria, via dell’Orso 57 (ancient techniques reproduced in gold)

5. Studio Giorelleria R. Quattrocolo, via della Scrofa 54 (both antique jewelry and jewelry produced in their own workshop studio, including their line of micro-mosaics)

6. Alternatives, via della Chiesa Nuova 10  (Specializes in contemporary. Avant guard jewelry and is dedicated to the promotion of both newcomers and internationally established artists from all over the world)  

7. Del Fina Delettrez, via Governo Vecchio 67 (Delfina Delettrez Fendi is a designer and jeweller based in Rome. Original use of figurative surrealism and natural iconography including hands, eyes, bees, and lips.)

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ROME 2.  SHOPPING TRIP TO ARTISAN MARKET IN ROME.    Visit to Mercato Monti, 30+ artisans selling fashions, jewelry and accessories, first 3 Sundays and last Saturday of the month, 8am-8pm, inside exhibit hall of Palatino Hotel, via Leonina 46.   (4 hours)

warren@warrenfeldjewelry.com

www.warrenfeldjewelry.com

Posted in Art or Craft?, art theory, bead weaving, beads, beadwork, business of craft, craft shows, creativity, design theory, design thinking, enrichment travel, jewelry collecting, jewelry design, jewelry making, Learn To Bead, pearl knotting, Stitch 'n Bitch, Travel Opportunities, wire and metal, Workshops, Classes, Exhibits | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Getting Paid: The Designer’s Challenge and Some Strategies For Overcoming This

Posted by learntobead on July 15, 2022

Getting Paid

Getting paid for your work can range from the straight-forward to the nightmare. People love your work, but often, you will find that people will be slow or resistant to pay for it. You run into this with consignment shops. you run into this with custom work for clients. You run into this with retail shops to whom you’ve offered net 30 terms. You run into this with contract and grant work, particularly with government agencies and non-profits. You run into this with people who pay you by check. (NOTE: I don’t accept checks for payment in my own design work.)

You need to get paid so you can move on to the next project.

No money, no inventory, no once-in-a-blue-moon fancy dinner.

Structuring Payments

If you are doing a lot of custom work, your clients will probably pay you in increments, say 50% up front, and 50% upon completion.

If you are doing a lot of consignment, the shops may pay for anything of yours that sells perhaps quarterly. Beware that often consignment shops are slow to pay their consignees.

If you are selling wholesale to other retailers, you might have extended them terms, say Net 30, where you expect to get paid at the end of the term period. If you extend terms to someone, get them to complete a credit application ahead of time.

For each piece sold, or for several pieces sold at the same time, you will be generating some kind of invoice.

Each month, you might also be following up with your customers with a statement form, showing what has been paid, and what still needs to be paid.

INVOICE or STATEMENT FORMS (2-part forms — one for you and one for your customer). You can get a blank pad at a local stationery store, or have these pre-printed with your business name, address and phone.

More Advice

1. Establish a clear payment policy, put it in writing, post it on your website.

2. Find out in advance when the client or business will pay you.

3. Ask if the client needs a W9 form from you in order to pay you.

4. Be clear on whom in the company is responsible for paying you, and be sure to send your invoice to that particular person. If there are also special procedures for you to follow, in order to get paid, get clarity on these right up front.

5. Don’t be shy about using a collection service — even if this means you’ll only receive a portion (say 50%) of the money originally owed you.

6. Invoice your customers promptly.

7. Stay on top of your receivables. If a customer is late, send a reminder note. If a customer is very late, assess a penalty, say 1.5 or 2% per month. Be sure if you charge penalties that these are clearly specified in your written and posted payment policies.

8. Don’t worry about losing the customer. If you are polite but firm, the customer will probably stay with you. If the customer is a dead-bead, then you do not need to continue to do business with them.

9. For large orders, you might ask for a deposit, say 25–50%.

10.Accept multiple payment options. If someone is having difficulty paying you on time, perhaps they can pay you with a credit card.

11.You might offer early payment discounts.

12.Do not payout any commissions or royalties to sales or design staff until the full invoice is paid by the customer.

_______________________________

Thank you. I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft Video Tutorials online. Begin with my ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS COURSE.

Follow my articles on Medium.com.

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Check out my Jewelry Making and Beadwork Kits.

Add your name to my email list.

My ARTIST STATEMENT

My TEACHING STATEMENT.

My DESIGN PHILOSOPHY.

My PROFESSIONAL PROFILE.

My PORTFOLIO.

_________________________________

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Resiliency: Do You Have The Most Important Skill Designers Must Have?

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency In Design

Backward Design is Forward Thinking

How Creatives Can Successfully Survive In Business

Part I: The First Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: Is What I do Craft, Art or Design?

Part 2: The Second Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: What Should I Create?

Part 3: The Third Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: What Materials (and Techniques) Work Best?

Part 4: The Fourth Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: How Do I Evoke A Resonant Response To My Work?

Part 5: The Firth Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: How Do I Know My Design Is Finished?

Doubt / Self-Doubt: 8 Pitfalls Designers Fall Into…And What To Do About Them

Part 1: Your Passion For Design: Is It Necessary To Have A Passion?

Part 2: Your Passion For Design: Do You Have To Be Passionate To Be Creative?

Part 3: Your Passion For Design: How Does Being Passionate Make You A Better Designer?

__________________________________

SO YOU WANT TO BE A JEWELRY DESIGNER
Merging Your Voice With Form

588pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

PEARL KNOTTING…Warren’s Way
Easy. Simple. No tools. Anyone Can Do!

184pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

SO YOU WANT TO DO CRAFT SHOWS

16 Lessons I Learned Doing Craft Shows

198pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

___________________________________________

Posted in Art or Craft?, bead weaving, beads, beadwork, business of craft, craft shows, jewelry design, jewelry making, pearl knotting, professional development, Stitch 'n Bitch, wire and metal | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

SELF-CARE: Critical Advice For The Jewelry Designer

Posted by learntobead on January 28, 2022

Warren Feld

Warren FeldJust now·11 min read

Abstract
Balancing work and life is a challenge for everyone, but particularly for creatives. Designing pieces of jewelry involves a complicated process of finding inspiration and translating often-fuzzy images and ideas into aspirations and then finished designs. The designer usually creates each piece of jewelry over an extended period of time, often in solitude and isolation. Moreover, the designer, by the very nature of jewelry, must introduce their pieces to the public, opening the designer to feedback and critique. Balancing work and life can be very stressful, both mentally and physically. If in the business of selling jewelry, then there can be additional financial stresses. Suggested are a series of things the jewelry designer can do to manage the balancing act. These things have to do with acting, organizing, thinking, nourishing, and relating.

SELF-CARE

Finding Work-Life Balance

There is always one more thing to do. One more piece to make. One more component to buy. One more social media post. One more supplier to talk to. One more client to get. One more family’ or friend’s demands to deal with. It’s never-ending and can overwhelm you mentally, physically and financially. There is struggle. Slumps. Getting overwhelmed. Burn-out.

So the problems and resolutions depend on your ability to set boundaries. Limits on the use of your time. Allocations on the use your time. The places where you want to use any of your time. The people you want to interact with and share your time. Work-Life balance is never fully achieved; it’s a continual give and take. More a balancing, than a balance.

This requires a high degree of honesty with yourself. Some facing of the realities of limited resources. Some confronting of your fears to get them out of the way. Some feeding of your soul — your creative self.

We call this self-care. Self-care is a management strategy for managing the ever-present tensions between work and life. Everyone needs a plan and program of self-care for themselves. This can be very formal or informal. It means recognizing when the balance has tilted too far in one or the other direction. It requires a self-care tool box of strategies to employ to correct any imbalances. But you need that balance and a plan and program for maintaining it. You want joy from jewelry creation. You want productivity. You want people to want to wear your jewelry, perhaps buying it. Below I discuss some ideas that you might incorporate into your own self-care routines.

Because creatives love what they do, they may be especially vulnerable to putting in too many work hours. They may isolate themselves too freely or for too long. Yes, you might get a lot of projects finished, but you are also shortchanging yourself. It is not a positive thing to be unbalanced. You need enrichment. You need time to reflect and relax. You need to feel connected to others.

Self-Care Can Be Hard

Self-Care might feel like a long list of to-do’s. Eat. Take breaks. Phone calls, meetings and get-togethers. Time at the gym or salon. Adequate sleep. And so forth. This list might never get done to completion or satisfaction. It might feel burdensome. You might find yourself keep adding things to the list. This list, in and of itself, does not really resolved the tensions between work and life.

Knowing everything you need to do and should do is not the same as doing these. A more selective list where you can see the connections between your wellness and the activity will always make more sense.

Self-care takes work. It uses up time. It is one more thing to keep up with. Exerting effort can feel like a tall order — even when you know you will feel better after doing it. Again, a more realistic set of activities will be more manageable and effective.

For some people, taking time out for self-care generates a sense of guilt and shame. They feel they will be seen as avoiding work, instead of using self-care to enhance their work. Self-care should not be confused with an indulgence.

Handling Stress

One of the greatest challenges jewelry designers have is handling stress. There is the stress of finding inspiration. The stress of translating that inspiration into a concrete design. The stress of finding and selecting beads and other components, as well as colors, patterns and textures. The stress of placing mass within a negative space. The stress of construction. The stress of showing your jewelry to others. If you are selling your pieces, the added stresses of promotion, marketing, pricing and selling. You do not want all these stresses to add up to the point you become paralyzed — unable to start your project, finish your project or introduce it into the creative marketplace.

Stress can be both mental and physical. You need self-care for both.

Mental stress is often associated with doubt and self-doubt. Doubt holds you back from seizing your opportunities. It makes getting started or finishing things harder than they need to be. It adds uncertainty. It makes you question yourself. It blocks your excitement, perhaps diminishing it. You begin to question how to measure your progress and success, perhaps unfairly comparing yourself to other jewelry designers. You begin to fear criticism and rejection, whether real or imagined. While sometimes doubt and self-doubt can be useful in forcing you to think about and question your choices, it mostly holds you back.

Mental stress can be associated with pain. It begins to build and amplify when you think that mental and/or physical pain means you no longer will be able to make jewelry, at least the designs you prefer to make. Put a stop to these thoughts. With tools, physical aids and ergonomic solutions, and a good self-care plan of operation, you will be able to continue to design and make any jewelry you want.

The creative process can result in our feeling vulnerable. Not everything is clear at first. More fuzzy. More experimental. The creative process is messy. Nonlinear. A lot of back and forth iteration. Eventually creative ideas coalesce within a completed piece of jewelry. But this creative process may extend for long periods of time. Living with vulnerabilities is part of any jewelry designer’s daily process. It is something to get used to. It makes having that good support system all that more important.

Making jewelry can take a physical toll on your body. Physical stresses begin as occasional pain, but eventually become major flare-ups. You might find yourself using your fingernails as tools, such as opening a split ring, or forcing a closure, or opening and closing a jump ring. After awhile, your fingernails start to split and crack and break. You might be do the same physical operation with your hands over and over again, slowing getting repetitive motion injuries, where your wrists hurt, the joints in your fingers hurt, your elbows hurt, your neck hurts. Your fingers may cramp up. You may be sitting in one position for a very long time, and over time, you begin to develop neck and back problems and knee problems and leg and foot problems. You may hate to wear your eyeglasses when you make jewelry. You forget the maxim: If you need glasses to read, you need glass to make jewelry.

The immediate solution to physical stresses is to stop making jewelry. Give yourself a rest. Take time off. I know you want to be making jewelry, but you need to listen to your body. It is telling you it needs some time for healing.

The long term solution is to rely on tools and ergonomic furnishings. Tools are an extension of your hands (and other parts of your body). They reduce the stress on your hands (and other parts of your body). Ergonomic designs reduce the stresses and strains placed on your body and channel the negative energy elsewhere. There are ergonomic chairs, arm rests, arm rest and pulley systems, and the like. Also be sure seating is comfortable and lighting is good.

When returning to jewelry making, pace yourself. Take breaks. Do finger, arm and leg stretching exercises. Wear braces to support the wrist, thumb and elbow.

Solutions and Resolutions

How You Act

Work-life balance is really a balancing act.

Look for places to pause your work.

Train yourself to be able to put down your work before it is completed without the stress of leaving it unfinished or undone.

Leave the house. Change locations. Take a walk or a drive. Take the day off.

Take time off to relax and disconnect.

How You Organize

Good organization leads to more efficiency and effectiveness and better work-life balance.

Designate one area of your house for your creative work, a different area for business work, and yet another area for thinking, meditating, reflecting and relaxing.

Schedule sufficient times for creativity, times for business, and times for reflection.

Keep your work area neat and generally organized, but not necessarily perfectly organized. Remember: Perfection is the enemy of the Good.

Budget for things to go wrong. Don’t put yourself on such a tight financial rope that any mistake or any supply issue or other business related issue creates panic.

Plan for enough time in your schedule to acquire materials and supplies, learn a new technique if necessary, and communicate and work with clients, if this is part of your practice.

Keep your website (and other promotional venues) up-to-date.

How You Think

Applying your creativity and finding work-life balance are actually sets of thinking routines where you explore choices, narrow them down, and make selections.

Remember that creativity involves more than staying seated in front of beads and other jewelry components in your work space. Creativity also involves looking for inspirations. It involves thinking through all the options for translating those inspirations into aspirations and then into specific design.

Recognize that taking time away from work for self-care is a positive reflection on you. It is not something to hide or be ashamed of.

It is not hard to set yourself up for failure. Set your expectations that are reasonable and realistic for you.

Set attainable goals and objectives. Revisit these often as you work on any project.

Remind yourself periodically why you like to create and make jewelry.

Make sure you have something to get excited about — an activity or event, a book or movie, an exploration about jewelry design, exercising, yoga, whatever.

How You Nourish Mind and Body

A healthy mind and body will keep your creative juices flowing and make that work-life balance easier to maintain.

Don’t skip meals or avoid satisfying any hungry feelings when they occur.

Hydrate often.

It is difficult to make good jewelry design choices when you are tired. Be aware of times when you are overextended.

Exercise. Take frequent breaks to move around a bit.

Do some focused breathing exercises.

Meditate.

Go somewhere where you can let out your primal scream.

Take a nap.

Do something out of the ordinary for you. Make jewelry using your non-dominant hand. Stick your hands into a bowl of mud.

How You Relate

Most jewelry is created in solitude. Feelings of isolation may build up. If not careful, this can negatively affect your work-life balance.

Surround yourself with people who inspire you. Avoid people who are negative and toxic. Don’t isolate yourself for too long a period.

Spend time with real friends. Build up and maintain a supportive social network.

Don’t compare yourself and compete with others. Keep the focus on yourself.

Talk things out. With others as sounding boards and informers, help each other see what matters and what does not.

Attach yourself to a group, say an online jewelry making group, or a local artist community group. But don’t take up residence there. Moderation, moderation.

Detach yourself from the online world for awhile, if you are spending too much time living there.

Don’t take criticisms personally.

If in business, evaluate your pricing, selling and marketing strategies. Is the price you are getting for your jewelry reflective of your worth as a designer? Are your target markets in line with the styles and prices of your pieces?

If in business, keep your clients aware of your progress.

Turn some of your projects into collaborations.

Attend classes and workshops.

Enter juried exhibitions and competitions.

Take part in group art critiques.

_________________________

FOOTNOTES

Alexis, Renee. 7 Self-Care Tips For Artists and Creatives. Your Art Path, May 2021. As referenced in:
https://yourartpath.com/7-self-care-tips-for-artists-and-creatives

Artwork Archive. 7 Counterintuitive Self Care Habit For Artists. As reference in:
https://www.artworkarchive.com/blog/7-counterintuitive-self-care-habits-for-artists

Branch, Allan and Steven Bristol. Chapter 16, Entrepreneur-Work Life Balance. Business Guide: Run Your Business, Don’t Let Your Business Run You. LessEverything, 2018. As referenced in:
http://lesseverything.com/business-advice/entrepreneur-work-life-balance/

Clark, Alicia H., Psy.D. Why Does Self-Care Sometimes Feel So Hard? These 6 common pitfalls could be holding you back. 2/15/20. As referenced in:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hack-your-anxiety/202002/why-does-self-care-sometimes-feel-so-hard

Feld, Warren. Doubt / Self-Doubt: 8 Major Pitfalls For Designers…And What To Do About Them. 9/5/2020. As referenced in:
https://medium.com/design-warp/doubt-self-doubt-8-major-pitfalls-for-designers-and-what-to-do-about-them-fbbf1bec18de

Hammond, Lee. Artists and Self-Esteem: 4 Tips To Overcome Insecurity. Artists Network, n.d. As referenced in:
https://www.artistsnetwork.com/art-inspiration/art-self-esteem/

Horejs, Jason. Working Alone | Breaking the Isolation that Can Surround the Pursuit of Art. Xanadu Gallery, 9/2/21. As referenced in:
https://reddotblog.com/working-alone-breaking-the-isolation-that-can-surround-the-pursuit-of-art-21/#comments

Mayher, Miguel, Director of Education, Professional Artist Institute. How To Handle Stress.

Mindful Art Studio. Overcoming Creativity Block. What Is Creative Self-Care? June, 2016. As referenced in:
https://mindfulartstudio.com/what-is-creative-self-care/

Tartakovski, Margarita, MS. 10 Ways to Overcome Creativity’s №1 Crusher. Psychcentral.com, 3/3/2013. As referenced in:
https://psychcentral.com/blog/10-ways-to-overcome-creativitys-no-1-crusher#1

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Thank you. I hope you found this chapter useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft Video Tutorials online. Begin with my ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS COURSE.

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Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Resiliency: Do You Have The Most Important Skill Designers Must Have?

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency In Design

Backward Design is Forward Thinking

How Creatives Can Successfully Survive In Business

Part I: The First Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: Is What I do Craft, Art or Design?

Part 2: The Second Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: What Should I Create?

Part 3: The Third Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: What Materials (and Techniques) Work Best?

Part 4: The Fourth Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: How Do I Evoke A Resonant Response To My Work?

Part 5: The Firth Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: How Do I Know My Design Is Finished?

Doubt / Self-Doubt: 8 Pitfalls Designers Fall Into…And What To Do About Them

Part 1: Your Passion For Design: Is It Necessary To Have A Passion?

Part 2: Your Passion For Design: Do You Have To Be Passionate To Be Creative?

Part 3: Your Passion For Design: How Does Being Passionate Make You A Better Designer?

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Designing With The Brain In Mind:Perception, Cognition, Sexuality

Posted by learntobead on October 16, 2021

Warren Feld

Warren FeldJust now·21 min read

Abstract

Jewelry plays a lot of psychological functions for both the wearer and the viewer, so it is important to understand some things about perception and cognition and how the brain processes information. The jewelry designer plays with various design elements, let’s call these parts. The designer arranges these parts into a composition, let’s refer to this as the whole. The brain takes in information about, that is, attends to each part, and information about the whole, and assigns a meaning to these. The designer must anticipate all this, especially understanding Gestalt behavior. So the designer is not only dealing with aesthetic and functional considerations in their designs, but also the psycho-social-emotional triggers and filters these may represent. Some of these emotions may evoke a sense of sex, sexuality and sensuality. Last, jewelry designers must be very aware — metacognitive — of how they think through design, and be able to turn their experiences into thinking routines.

DESIGNING WITH THE BRAIN IN MIND

Jewelry plays a lot of psychological functions for the wearer, the viewer, and the buyer, so it is important to understand some things about perception and cognition and how the brain processes information. Jewelry is used to meet the individual’s needs for self-esteem and self-actualization. A sense of oneness and uniqueness. Or conversely, a sense of being a part of a larger group or community. A sense of survival and protection. A re-affirmation of values and perspectives. A connection to a higher power or spirituality. A sense of fantasy. An orientation to what is up and what is down and what is left and what is right.

The jewelry designer plays with various design elements, let’s call these parts. The designer arranges these parts into a composition, let’s refer to this as the whole. The brain takes in information about, that is, attends to each part, one by one, and then gathers information about the whole, and assigns a meaning to all these. Because of how the brain works, there may be several meanings that rise up to the surface, so the brain has to filter and prioritize these somehow. The resulting assigned meaning(s) results in some type of behavior. At its simplest level, the behavior is either one of placing attention or one of suggesting movement. The behavior, whatever it is, reaffirms for the observer that their goals are getting met or that there is some consistency and coherency with personal values and desires.

The designer must anticipate all this. So the designer is not only dealing with aesthetic and functional considerations in their designs, but also the psycho-social-emotional triggers and filters these may incur. Some of these emotions may evoke a sense of sex, sexuality and sensuality. Jewelry has sensual qualities. It has gender associations. It may symbolically represent what is safe and what is not to view or to touch.

PERCEPTION

Perceptions are ways of regarding, understanding or interpreting something. We perceive using our senses. We touch, we see, we feel, we hear, we smell, we sense positioning. Perceptions are subjective, and each person has their own subtle differences, even when responding to the same design or event. In fact, different people may have very different perceptions about the same design or event. Their assumptions, expectations and values may further color their perceptions.

Each person filters their perceptions with each move, each conversation, and each situation. Such filters may contingently alter perceptions. Perceptions are not fixed. They are very sensitive to the context and the situation. Any type of filter may result in selectively perceiving some things, but not others. In design work, our clients might selectively focus on brighter lights, louder sounds, stronger odors, sharper textures, silhouettes, proportions, placements and distributions, balance, harmony and variety. Selective perception can add some more muddiness to the interaction especially as designer and client try to find and develop the shared understandings necessary for success.

Adequately sharing understandings within a situation and among the people in it depends on the amount of information available to each person and how correctly they interpret it. Perception is one of the critical psychological abilities we have in order to survive in any environment.

The designer needs to be open to understanding how the client perceives the design tasks and proposed outcomes, and to adjust their own perceptions when the management of the relationship calls for this. There is no formula here. Each situation requires its own management strategy. Each designer is left with their own inventiveness, sensitivity, and introspective skills to deal with perceptions. But it comes down to asking the right questions and actively listening.

How does the client begin to understand your product or service?
Can the client describe what they think you will be doing and what the piece or product might look like when finished?
Can the client tell you how the finished piece or product will meet their needs and feelings?
Can the client tell you about different options?
How will they interpret what you want them to know?
What impressions do you want to leave with them?
Do they perceive a connection between you as a designer and your design work as proposed?
What levels of agreement and disagreement exist between your perceptions and theirs?
Can you get at any reasons which might explain their perceptions, and any agreement or difference?
Can you clear up any misperceptions?

The jewelry designer needs to distinguish between how the jewelry is perceived when it is not worn from when it is worn. When not worn, jewelry is an object admired and perceived more in art or sculptural terms. When worn, jewelry is an intent where perceptions about the jewelry as object are intertwined, complicated, distorted, amplified, subjugated — you get the idea — with the needs and desires of the individual as that person presents the self and the jewelry as worn in context. Either set of perceptions may support one another, or they may be contradictory.

COGNITION

Cognition involves how the brain processes our perceptions, particularly when these perceptions are incomplete or contradictory or otherwise messy or unresolvable. Cognition focuses on how the brain takes in existing knowledge and creates new knowledge. Cognition is both conscious or unconscious, concrete or abstract, intuitive or conceptual. Cognition may influence or determine someone’s emotions. Metacognition is your own awareness of your strategies and methods of thinking and problem-solving.

The brain takes in a lot of information all at once. The brain looks for clues. It compares clues to information stored in memory. Typically different parts of the brain will simultaneously process (e.g., parallel processing) either different clues or the same clues in different ways. Some information will have greater relevance or resonance than others. Some information will be rejected. Some information will be recategorized or reinterpreted.

You can think of all these mental processes going on in the brain as a huge, self-organizing undertaking, but happening within minute fractions of a second. What happens is very context- or situation-specific. The goal is the creation of some kind of understanding. This understanding will have some logic to it. It will be compatible with and reaffirm the individual’s memories, assumptions, expectations, values and desires. This understanding will typically result in some kind of behavioral response. The response will most often be related to attention or movement. The understanding and the behavioral response will likely get stored in memory.

Attention

The cognitive process starts with attention. Attention has to do with how we focus on some perceptual information, and not on others. A key function of attention is how to identify irrelevant data and filter it out, enabling other more significant data to be distributed to other parts of the brain for further processing.

Picture a piece of jewelry. This jewelry will present many stimuli — color, placement, proportion, balance, volume, positioning, its relation to the human body, the context within which it is worn, perhaps how comfortable it feels, symmetry, and the list can go on and on. Which perceptual clues are most important to the person who needs to decide whether to wear or buy it? Attention is the first cognitive step in determining how to answer this, though the observer does not always consciously grasp the specifics of what is going on.

There are two types of attention: (1) Orienting, and (2) Directing.

Orienting Attention works more reflexively. For example, we are prewired in our brainstem with a fear or anxiety response. This helps us reflexively avoid snakes and spiders. This anxiety response has major implications for how people initially respond to jewelry as it is worn.

Say a stranger is in a room and wearing a necklace. You approach the entrance to this room. You see the stranger who is wearing the jewelry. Your brain has to instantaneously evaluate the situation and determine if it is safe for you to approach and continue to enter the room, or whether you need to be fearful and turn around and flee. Jewelry can play a key role here.

The jewelry signals the primary information the brain needs to make this judgment. Perceptions are filtered to the very basic and very elemental. First the viewer wants to be able to make a complete circle around the jewelry. Anything which impedes this — an ugly clasp assembly, poor rhythm, colors that don’t work together, uncomfortable negative spaces — makes the brain edgy. If the brain gest edgy, the jewelry will start to get interpreted as boring, monotonous, unsatisfying, ugly, and we can go all the way to will cause death.

After the viewer makes that complete circle, a second perception kicks in and becomes key to whether the brain will signal it’s either OK to approach or, instead, you better flee. This second perception is a search for a natural place for the eye/brain to come to rest. In jewelry we achieve this by such things as placing a pendant in the center or graduating the sizes of the beads or doing something with colors.

In slightly more technical terms, the jewelry draws the observer to a focal point at which they can sense an equilibrium in all directions. The viewer feels physically oriented. The jewelry composition presents a coordinated form which connects spaces and masses within something that feels / looks / seems like a unique harmony. The observer is made to feel, as she or he is attenuating to how mass relates to space within the composition, that not only is each element of the jewelry related to the ones preceding or following it, but that each element is contributing to the concept of the whole — the jewelry form is greater than the sum of its parts. There is continuity. There is coherence. Space and mass are interdependent. The distinction among parts is removed. The brain likes this. It searches for it. It makes it restful.

The full experience of the jewelry only gains its full meaning within its total expression. The significance of the total jewelry composition unfolds as the observer moves about its separate parts. This expression, in turn, as it relates to the attention processes of cognition, gets reduced to the confluence of the two clues of (a) making a complete circle, and (b) finding a place to come to rest. If the two clues are satisfying, the jewelry is viewed as finished and successful, and the immediate environment is seen as safe.

The jewelry designer controls the limits and the possibilities for attention. If jewelry design were merely a matter of organizing a certain number of parts, the process would be very mechanical and not at all creative. All jewelry design would be equally good (or more likely, bad). The purpose of good jewelry design is to express particular meanings and experiences for the wearer, viewer or buyer to attend to. Jewelry design is only successful to the extent these are fully communicated to the observer, and are fully sensitive to how perception and cognition play out in our brains. That is, how the jewelry, through its design, enhances or impedes perception and cognition.

Directing Attention, the other type of attention, signals to the observer the possibilities for or constraints on movement. It is more deliberate rather than reflexive. It can divide one’s attention so that the person can pay attention to more than one thing at the same time. Using our example, there could be several strangers in the room, each wearing a different style and design of necklaces. As our observer walks into the room, attention can be shifted from one person / jewelry to another, or focused on one person / jewelry alone.

Directing Attention determines the potential for movement, so that the observer can anticipate the possibilities, or conceive the limits. With whatever piece of jewelry is worn, how freely or easily can the person shift positions, stand, run, dance, lay down? Will any type of movement change the appeal of the jewelry as worn? Is there anything about the design of the jewelry which anticipates different kinds of movements and positioning? Will the appeal of the jewelry remain should the wearer move to a different type of lighted situation or into a shadow? How much ease should be built into the construction of the piece?

The aesthetics of mass and space, such as the interplay of points, lines, planes and shapes, are rooted in a person’s psychology in order to arouse predictable patterns of experience. There seems to be a constant human need to perceive and attend to spatial relationships which distinguish harmony from cacophony. This psychological response to form most likely is connected to a person’s mechanisms for balance, movement and stature.

On the simplest level, observers use jewelry to assist them in knowing what is up and what is down, and what is left and what is right. Jewelry is used similarly in this directing sense as the floors, walls and ceilings are used towards this end in a room, or the horizon, landscape and trees are used outside. Without any clues about positioning, a human being would fall down and not be able to get up.

Picture, for example, how you might feel when the person standing next to you has one earring stuck in a 90 degree angle, or is only wearing one earring, or has a necklace mispositioned and slightly turned around the neck. You most likely feel a bit uncomfortable, perhaps uncomfortable enough to let the person know the jewelry needs to be adjusted in position, or that they seem to be missing an earring. Or perhaps not so comfortable to raise the issue publicly.

GESTALT: The Whole Vs. The Parts

One mechanism of cognition is called a Gestalt. At its root, Gestalt means that the whole composition is more meaningful than the meanings of its individual parts. There is a chicken and egg type of debate within the field about whether the person attends to the parts first with a stronger emergent whole, or whether the person needs to understand the whole first and use this understanding to interpret the parts. But for jewelry designers, we do not have to get into the debate here. Jewelry designers need to recognize that the resulting whole composition should always be more resonant, more finished-feeling and more successful than any of the individual design elements incorporated into the piece.

At its core, people are motivated to recognize entire patterns or configurations. If there are any gaps or flaws or mis-directions, the brain, cognitively, has a tendency to fill in the gaps or ignore the flaws or mis-directions. Where perceptual information does not exist or is somehow incomplete, the brain will fill in the blanks, so to speak, using perceptions about proximity, similarity, figure-ground, continuity, closure, and connection. This all involves work on the part of the brain. The brain may generate resistance towards this end, unless somehow coerced or tricked by aspects of the design choices themselves.

Jewelry will have a lot of gaps of light throughout. The individual beads and components do not blend into each other. They are distinct points of information. Instead, from the brain’s point of view, there are the equivalent of cliffs between each one. The brain, in effect, is asked to jump each cliff. It may be resistant to do so. The brain wants harmony. The brain wants to connect the dots into a smooth line. Or, if the composition were separate lines, the brain wants to connect the lines into a smooth, coherent plane. Or, if there were several distinct lines and planes, the brain wants to integrate these into a recognizable shape or form. But again, all this is not automatic. The brain will resist to do any more work than necessary. The designer will need to make smart, influencing, persuading choices in the design. The Gestalt mechanism is a set of these kinds of choices.

The brain needs to be sufficiently motivated to make the effort to harmonize the pattern or configuration. Gestalt is one of the cognitive, motivating, innate forces the brain uses. In music, when the brain hears part of a melody, it not only hears the notes, but also something else, let’s, for simplicity, call this a tune. This something else allows the brain to anticipate how the melody will continue. If the melody at this point changes key, the brain anticipates how the melody will play out in the new key as a similar tune but with different notes before it is played. How the brain interacts with a piece of jewelry has parallels.

One obvious example is the use of color simultaneity effects. Here the color of the next bead is affected by the color of the previous bead. Place a grey bead next to an orange bead, and the grey bead will take on some orange tones. Both beads get perceived as blended or bridged, even though, in reality, they are not. The observer generalizes the relationship between the two stimuli rather than the absolute properties of each. Take three beads, one emerald, one olivine and one grey. You would not normally find these two greens within the same composition. Place the grey bead between the two greens and, because of simultaneity effects, the two greens will harmonize as the grey forces a blending or bridging.

Jewelry designers need to learn the basic principles or laws of Gestalt. This allows them to predict the interpretation of sensation and explain the way someone will see their compositions. It allows them to anticipate how their jewelry will arouse predictable patterns of emotions and responses in others.

These laws can be used as guides for improving the design outcomes. They can be used to influence what design elements should be included. In what forms / volumes / placements / other attributes these design elements should take. How design elements should be arranged. How construction and function should best relate to aesthetics. How the jewelry should be worn. How the jewelry might coordinate with other clothes and accessories or contexts.

These principles are based on the following:

Principle of Proximity: In an assortment of elements, some which are closer together are perceived as forming groups. Emphasizes which aspects of elements are associated.

Principle of Similarity: Elements within an assortment are grouped together if similar. This similarity could be by color or shape or other quality. If the assortment is comprised of many elements, some similar and some dissimilar, the brain will sort this out so that the similar ones, no matter where placed within the assortment, will be perceived and grouped together.

Principle of Closure: People tend to perceive objects as complete, even when incomplete, rather than focusing on any gaps or negative spaces. When parts of the whole are missing, people tend to fill in the missing parts. The brain is preset to attempt to increase the regularity of sensation or the equilibrium within an experience or event.

Principle of Symmetry: The mind perceives objects as being symmetrical and forming around a center or focal point. Similar symmetrical elements will be grouped as one. The brain will attempt to make something which is asymmetric be perceived as symmetric as best as it can. The brain equates symmetry to coherency.

Principle of Common Fate: Elements are perceived as lines which move along the smoothest path. We perceive objects as having trends of motion. In jewelry design, think about something like rhythm. The beads are not moving in reality, but we perceive a direction and a quality of movement.

Principle of Continuity: Elements of objects tend to be grouped together, and therefore integrated into perceptual wholes, if they are aligned with an object. If two objects are next to each other or overlap, the brain tends to see each object distinctly as two separate wholes, if the elements within each object are aligned and continuous. Picture a 2-strand necklace. The brain will be primed to see these as 2 separate strands or wholes, rather than one whole necklace. Objects with abrupt and sharp directional changes will less likely be perceived as a whole.

Principle of Past Experience: Under some circumstances, visual stimuli are categorized according to past experience. Especially when faced with unknown or unfamiliar objects, the brain will resort to using past experience as a means for interpretation and whether to group elements within the objects as a whole.

DESIGNS CREATE EMOTIONS

There is a growing body of knowledge of the mechanics of sensory processes in cognition. A good design creates positive emotions for the viewer, wearer and/or buyer. Jewelry designers need a deeper understanding of types of emotions and their psychological underpinnings. People develop emotions with jewelry on three levels: (1) visceral (intrinsic), (2) behavioral (behavior), and reflective (reflection).

(1) Visceral (wants to feel): attractiveness, first impressions, feelings

(2) Behavioral (wants to do): usability, function, performance, effectiveness

(3) Reflective (wants to be): meaning, impact, shared experience, psycho-socio-cultural fit

METACOGNITION

Metacognition is an awareness of your own thought and problem-solving processes. It involves a search for patterns and the meanings behind them. It involves a lot of reflection. It involves a sensitivity to the choices made when confronting any unfamiliar or unknown situation. It concerns an awareness of why some choices worked better than others, or not at all.

For jewelry designers, it is important to take metacognition one step further. It is important to turn your experiences into thinking routines. These routines are fix-it strategies you bring with you when overcoming difficult or unfamiliar situations.

SEX, SEXUALITY, AND SENSUALITY

As a jewelry designer, you have to be very aware of the roles jewelry plays in sex, sexuality and sensuality. The act of sex. Everything leading up to it. Eroticism. Sex, however, differs from sensuality. Sensuality is how the jewelry brings out the sensual — the gratification of the appetite for visuals, sounds, tastes, smells and touch. Sensuality always makes jewelry desirable. But perhaps no two people experience the sensuality of a piece of jewelry in the same way.

These sex-sexuality-sensuality roles include,

(1) The Peacock Role

(2) The Gender Role

(3) The Safe Sex Role

One sexual role of jewelry is the Peacock Role. People wear personal adornment to attract the viewer’s attention. This means that the jewelry not only needs to be flashy enough, but also must contain culturally meaningful elements that the viewer will recognize and be sufficiently meaningful as to motivate the viewer to focus his or her attention on the jewelry and who is wearing it.

These culturally meaningful elements might include the use of color(s), talismans, shapes, forms. They clue the viewer to what is good, appealing, appropriate, and to what is not. But the jewelry must also provide clues to the individuality of the wearer — her (or his) personal style, social or cultural preferences, personal senses of the situation in which they find themselves.

Another of these sexuality roles — The Gender Role — is to define gender and gender-rooted culture. Certain jewelry, jewelry styles, and ways of wearing jewelry are associated with females, and others with males. Some are used to signal androgyny, others polyamory or gender fluidity. You can easily label which jewelry looks more masculine, and which more feminine. Some jewelry is associated with heterosexuality, and others with homosexuality. I remember when men, in a big way, started wearing one earring stud, it was critical to remember whether to wear the stud in the left ear lobe (hetero) or the right one (gay). For engaged and married women, it is important to recognize which style of ring is more appropriate, and which hand and finger to wear these on.

One of the most important sexuality roles, however — The Safe Sex Role — concerns the placement of jewelry on the body. Such placement is suggestive of where it is safe, and where it is unsafe, to look at or to touch the person wearing it. The length of the necklace, relative to the neck, the breast, or below the breast. How long the earring extends below the lobe of the ear. Whether the person wears bracelets. The size of the belt buckle. If a person has body piercings, where these are — the navel, the eyebrow, the nose, the lip.

Jewelry calls attention to areas of the body the wearer feels are safe to view or touch. It’s like taking a sharpie marker and drawing a boundary line across the body. Jewelry gives the viewer permission to look at these areas, say above the line, and not others below the line. Jewelry may give the viewer permission to touch these areas, as well. The wearer may want to call attention to the face, the neck, the hands, the ankle, but also to the breasts, the naval, the genital area.

We know that certain areas of the body are more sexually arousing than others. We know that different people are more or less comfortable with these areas on the body. But how does the wearer communicate that? How does the wearer communicate her (or his) personal views of what is sexually acceptable without having to physically and verbally interact with someone in order for that person to find out?

Jewelry. How jewelry is worn is one of the most critical and strategic ways for achieving this Safe-Sex goal. The linear form of the jewelry imposes a boundary line on the body. Do not cross it. And make no mistake, this boundary line separates the permissible from the impermissible, the non-erotic from the erotic, the safe from the unsafe. In a similar way the centerpiece focuses attention as if it were an arrow pointing the way. Jewelry is not just a style preference thing. It’s a safe-sex preference thing, as well.

When news of the AIDS epidemic first burst on-stage in the 1980s, you witnessed a very dramatic change in jewelry and how it was worn. Right before the AIDS epidemic, large long earrings were style. Remember shoulder dusters. But as awareness of AIDS spread, most women stopped wearing earrings for awhile. Then gradually, they began wearing studs. Then very small hoops. It wasn’t until around 2004 that some women wore the new chandelier earrings, and you saw longer earrings on actresses as they paraded down the red carpets of one award show after another.

Prior to AIDS, the necklace style was for longer necklaces — 24” to 36” long. The necklaces were full — multi-strand, lots of charms and dangles. Again, as awareness of AIDS spread, the necklace profile changed rapidly to no necklace at all, or to thin, short chains and chokers. You would typically find ONE charm, not many, on a necklace. Attention was pulled away from the genital area, the navel and the breasts, all the way back up to the face.

Prior to AIDS, necklaces and earrings were the best-sellers in my store. After AIDS, it became bracelets. Holding hands. Not necking. Not fondling. Not sexual intercourse. Holding hands was now the acceptable norm. This was safe.

Body piercings came into major vogue during the 1980s. And look what typically got pierced. Noses, belly buttons, eyebrows, lips. This of this as a big Body Chart for safe sex.

As society became more understanding of AIDS and how it spread, the jewelry became larger. It extended to more areas of the body. People wore more of it. But in 2009, it was still restrained, when compared to what people wore before the 1980s.

In the sexual hunt between the sexes, jewelry plays an important boundary-defining role. Let’s not forget about this. Jewelry, in some sense, is an embodiment of desire. Jewelry communicates to others how the wearer comes to define what desire might mean for the self. It communicates through placement, content, embellishment and elaboration.

Jewelry does not have to be visibly erotic, or include visual representations of sexual symbols, in order to play a role in sexuality and desire — a role that helps the hunter and the hunted define some acceptable rules for interacting without verbal communication.

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FOOTNOTES

Canel, Melissa. The Role of Perceptions in Conflict. April 9, 2016. As referenced:

https://prezi.com/auvtd6yylkkf/the-role-of-perceptions-in-conflict/

Dunlop, Cole. You Are Not Worried Enough About Perceptions and Assumptions. May 7, 2014. As referenced:
https://www.authoritylabs.com/worried-enough-perceptions-assumptions/

Gangwani, Prachi. “Sexual or Sensual? Here’s The Difference Between The Two,” 9/30/2016. As referenced in:
https://www.idiva.com/relationships-love/sex/sexual-or-sensual-heres-the-difference-between-the-two/16093050

Mausolf, Judy Kay. How To Avoid 4 Communication Pitfalls:
Assumptions, Perceptions, Comparison Expectations and Commitments. Spring, 2014. As referenced:
https://www.practicesolutionsinc.net/assets/docs/communication_pitfalls.pdf
Progressive Dentist Magazine

Nguyen, Hoang. “10 Psychological Rules I Used To Make Users Love At First Sight,” As referenced in:
https://blog.prototypr.io/10-psychological-rules-i-used-to-make-users-love-at-first-sight-55c71f99bfa1

Wellington, Kiki. “Sensual Vs. Sexual: Do you know the difference?”, 11/7/20. As referenced in:
https://medium.com/sex-with-a-side-of-quirk/the-difference-between-sensuality-and-sexuality-3b1c4f4315f2

Wikipedia: Cognition. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognition

Wikipedia: Gestalt Psychology. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gestalt_psychology

Wikipedia: Perception. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perception

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Thank you. I hope you found this article useful.

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Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Resiliency: Do You Have The Most Important Skill Designers Must Have?

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency In Design

Backward Design is Forward Thinking

How Creatives Can Successfully Survive In Business

Part I: The First Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: Is What I do Craft, Art or Design?

Part 2: The Second Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: What Should I Create?

Part 3: The Third Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: What Materials (and Techniques) Work Best?

Part 4: The Fourth Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: How Do I Evoke A Resonant Response To My Work?

Part 5: The Firth Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: How Do I Know My Design Is Finished?

Doubt / Self-Doubt: 8 Pitfalls Designers Fall Into…And What To Do About Them

Part 1: Your Passion For Design: Is It Necessary To Have A Passion?

Part 2: Your Passion For Design: Do You Have To Be Passionate To Be Creative?

Part 3: Your Passion For Design: How Does Being Passionate Make You A Better Designer?

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Saying Good-bye! To Your Jewelry: A Rite Of Passage

Posted by learntobead on July 14, 2021

Canyon Sunrise, Necklace by Warren Feld, 2008

One of the most difficult things I have to do as a designer is say Good-Bye! to my pieces. I make something. I put it out there for sale. Someone buys it. I will probably never see it again. Yes, I can make another one, but that’s not the same thing. That’s not the point.

I submitted the necklace piece pictured above to a Swarovski Create Your Style Contest in 2008. The theme was be naturally inspired. My inspiration was this sunrise image of the Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon at sunrise

I was selected as a Finalist. I was invited to their offices in New York City to attend the awards ceremony. I was so excited.

I had poured my all into this piece. Hours upon hours upon hours perfecting the stitching. Experimenting with using the stitching in a 3-dimensional way. Creating a curvature along the upper sides where normally it would be a sharp edge. Selecting a 5-color scheme and figuring out how to create sharper boundaries between colors when using Swarovski crystal beads. Varying the shape, size and type of beads used within the stitch. Designing a clasp assembly which I hoped looked like a mirror of the rising sun. None of these were easy tasks. Because the fully completed piece took about 100 hours to do and contained over $1500 worth of parts, I did all this experimentation and trial and error using 3″ long samples.

I had to send off my piece to New York prior to the ceremony. And from there, my piece would be flown to Innsbruck, Austria to reside in their Swarovski Museum.

I was proud. Got the big head and paraded it around. Shared my news widely, of course.

But when the day came to pack my piece up, … not a good day.

This day actually dragged on for a week.

First, I started with one jewelry box to place the piece in. Not satisfied. So another box. Not satisfied. And another box. Still not satisfied. I combed my jewelry packaging catalogs, and found 3 more choices I thought would work. I ordered these and had them shipped overnight.

Success. One of the three was perfect.

Next, I had to put this jewelry box into a larger shipping box. Easy to find a box. But my stupid brain could not come to grips with how I wanted to place the jewelry box into the shipping box. How much filler would I need? What type — paper, styrofoam, bubble wrap. Normally, I do not have difficulty making these kinds of choices. But not this time.

I would line the shipping box, sit the jewelry box in one direction, then stop. I would remove the jewelry box, change how I lined the shipping box, replace the jewelry box in another direction, then stop. I would remove the jewelry box, again decide differently how it was to lay in the shipping box, then try to line the box, cover the jewelry box, add some paper work, and seal the shipping box. Plastic tape or paper tape? Another delay while I decided.

I did not want to let go of my beautifully designed piece of jewelry. I let my next choice create a particularly high barrier. Which shipper?

The postal service was less expensive, but less reliable.

UPS was very expensive, more reliable, but what if they weren’t? It was going to New York City. How does any shipper reliability ship to New York City?

FedEx? Maybe, but I was not familiar enough with them.

Insure the package? For how much?

Certified? Signature required?

I struggled considerably over each choice. And I never struggle over these kinds of choices.

Well, at this point, my piece was in its jewelry box. My jewelry box was in its shipping box. My shipping box was sealed. I took my jewelry cum jewelry box cum sealed shipping box to UPS. The clerk had to pull it out of my hand.

And there it went.

Good-bye!

Don’t worry, it arrived safely.

I traveled to New York City for the ceremony. There was champagne and hor d’oeuvres. There were the other finalists mostly from America, but from other parts of the world, as well. There was even the Brazilian consulate general there to represent an artist from Brazil. We were all packed in the very, very bright and sparkly offices of Swarovski.

There was my piece. My Canyon Sunrise. Sitting pretty among the other pieces. Reassuring it was still there. It was in good company. I enjoyed listening to the comments of people as they admired it. I learned a lot from speaking and sharing with the other jewelry designers.

Canyon Sunrise won 4th place.

And, I had a chance to say Good-bye! one more time.

When I returned home, I immediately went to work on recreating my piece, but this time with another challenge. I took the same 5 colors I used in the original piece, and shifted the proportions around. I did not add a pendant drop in the center, nor did I recreate the elaborate clasp assembly in the back. But I had a physical piece — a cousin — to put on display with my other jewelry pieces. I could show people more than a photograph of the original piece. This was very satisfying. I was ready to move on to other projects.

Canyon Twilight, necklace by Warren Feld, 2008

Relinquishing Your Jewelry Design To Others: A Rite of Passage

One of the most emotionally difficult things designers do is saying Good-bye! to their designs as they hand them over to their client or otherwise expose their work publicly. The designer has contributed so much thinking and has spent so much time (and sometimes so much money) to the project that it is like ripping away an integral part of your being.

This is the moment where you want to maintain the conversation and engage with your audience, but look at this from a different perspective. Your relationship with your design is evolving and you need to evolve with it. Its innate intimacy is shifting away from you and getting taken over by someone else.

But you still have needs here. You want that client to ask you to design something else for them. You want the client to share your design with others, expanding your audience, your potential clients, your validation and legitimacy as a designer. And you want to prepare yourself emotionally to take on the next project.

Relinquishing control over your design is a rite of passage. At the heart of this rite of passage are shared understandings and how they must shift in content and perspective. Rites of passage are ceremonies of sorts. Marking the passage from one status to another. There are three stages:

(1) Separation

You pass your design to others. You become an orphan. You have made a sacrifice and want something emotionally powerful and equal to happen to you in return. Things feel incomplete or missing. There is a void wanting to be fulfilled. You realize you are no longer sure about and confident in the shared understandings under which you had been operating .

(2) Transition (a betwixt and between)

There is a separation, a journey, a sacrifice. The designer is somewhat removed from the object or project, but not fully. The shared understandings constructed around the original project become fuzzy. Something to be questioned. Wondering whether to hold on to them or let go. Pondering what to do next. Playing out in your head different variations in or changes to these shared understandings. Attempting to assess the implications and consequences for any change.

These original shared understandings must undergo some type of symbolic ritual death if the designer is to move on. Leverage the experience. Start again. As simple as putting all the project papers in a box to be filed away. Or having a launch party. Or deleting files and images on a computer. Or accepting payment. Or getting a compliment. Or having a closure-meeting with the client to review the process after it has been completed.

(3) Reincorporation

The designer redefines him- or her-self vis-à-vis the designed object or project. The designer acquires new knowledge and new shared understandings. There is some reaffirmation. Triumph. This usually involves a new resolve, confidence and strategy for starting new projects, attracting new clients, and seeking wider acceptance of that designer’s skills and fluency in design.

The designer has passed through the rite of passage. The jewelry or other designed object or project has been relinquished. The designer is ready to start again.

But as a designer, you will always be managing shared understandings. These most likely will have shifted or changed after the design is gone. And new ones will have to be constructed as you take on new assignments.

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Thank you. I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft video tutorials online. Begin with my ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS COURSE.

Check out my Jewelry Making and Beadwork KITS.

Add your name to my email list.

_____________________

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

The Jewelry Design Philosophy: Not Craft, Not Art, But Design

What Is Jewelry, Really?

The Jewelry Design Philosophy

Creativity: How Do You Get It? How Do You Enhance It?

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency In Design

Becoming The Bead Artist and Jewelry Designer

5 Essential Questions Every Jewelry Designer Should Have An Answer For

Getting Started / Channeling Your Excitement

Getting Started / Developing Your Passion

Getting Started / Cultivating Your Practice

Becoming One With What Inspires You

Architectural Basics of Jewelry Design

Doubt / Self Doubt: Major Pitfalls For The Jewelry Designer

Techniques and Technologies: Knowing What To Do

Jewelry, Sex and Sexuality

Jewelry Making Materials: Knowing What To Do

Teaching Discplinary Literacy: Strategic Thinking In Jewelry Design

The Jewelry Designer’s Approach To Color

Point, Line, Plane, Shape, Form, Theme: Creating Something Out Of Nothing

The Jewelry Designer’s Path To Resonance

Jewelry Design Principles: Composing, Constructing, Manipulating

Jewelry Design Composition: Playing With Building Blocks Called Design Elements

Contemporary Jewelry Is Not A “Look” — It’s A Way Of Thinking

Posted in Art or Craft?, art theory, bead weaving, beads, beadwork, business of craft, color, craft shows, creativity, design management, design theory, design thinking, jewelry design, jewelry making, Learn To Bead, professional development, Stitch 'n Bitch, wire and metal | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

COMPONENT DESIGN SYSTEM: Building Both Efficiency As Well As Effectiveness Into Your Jewelry Designs

Posted by learntobead on April 16, 2021

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Abstract

 Jewelry designers do not necessarily think of efficiencies when organizing and arranging their designs. They primarily focus their thinking and energies on how to effectively and successfully go from one end to the other. But the next question becomes: Is this efficient, as well as effective? Could the same piece be done just as well in less time? With less effort? Component Based Design is a process of building a piece of jewelry in pieces, sections or segments. A component is a something well-defined that feels like a whole unto itself. It can be a form. It can be a shape. It can be an object. It can be a set of steps or procedures. It has these kinds of characteristics: modularity, replaceability, portability and re-usability. Component Based Design unifies the design process and reduces variability in the numbers and types of choices we have to make as designers. It helps us tackle Design Debt. Design Debt refers to all the inefficiencies in the design process which add more time and effort to what you are trying to accomplish. This article finishes with discussion about how to create a Component Based Design System for jewelry designers.

 

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Can Jewelry Designs Be Both Effective And Efficient?

Jewelry designers do not necessarily think of efficiency when organizing and arranging their designs. They ponder how to go from one end to the other, focusing their efforts on achieving an effective level of satisfaction and appeal. They think a lot about the use and placement of colors, textures and patterns. They figure out ways to attach a clasp. They jump from selecting design components to arranging them. And in this sense, visually, they tend to see their designs as a Gestalt - that is, they appreciate and evaluate their satisfaction with the piece as a whole. That piece as a whole should evoke a greater satisfaction, sense of finish and success moreso than the individual parts. And in general, that’s the way it should be. Designers want to be effective as designers. This is what effectiveness is about.

But the next question becomes is this efficient, as well as effective? Could the same piece have been done just as well in less time? With less effort? With less thought about design elements and their arrangement? With less investment in all the beads and other pieces which eventually become finished pieces of jewelry? Is this a piece which could be created over and over again for multiple clients and larger productions? Could we be just as creative and just as effective by building in more efficiency into the process of design? Would adding an intervening step - that is, using design components to build components and then using components to build compositions - be smarter?

Re-thinking the design process in terms of components and component design systems provides one intriguing set of answers. Approaching design as a Component Based Design System is an especially good option for designers to incorporate, and for those designers who want to build their designing into a profitable business. Even if you are not headed in a business direction, thinking of design in terms of components and component systems offers a whole new way of creative thinking and design possibilities.


What Is A Component?

A component is a something well-defined that feels like a whole unto itself. It can be a form. It can be a shape. It can be an object. It can be a set of steps or procedures. It has these kinds of characteristics:

· Modularity
· Replaceability
· Portability
· Re-usability
· Functionality encapsulated within the component’s design
· Is minimally dependent on the use or presence of other components
· Anticipates its implementation
· Intended to interface and interact with other components
· Not context specific
· Can be combined with other components to create new possibilities


If we think of a piece of jewelry as an architectural object, then it would be made up of a set of components which in some way conform to one another and interact with one another in a common, predictable way. The designer would create sets of components. Then any finished composition and design would be assembled from these components.
Components will range in complexity. In general, the more complex the component, the more limited its applications. The more re-usable your components are, the easier they are to design with. The more re-usable your components are, the easier it will be to scale your projects larger or smaller, longer or shorter, more volume or less volume. Components allow you to take something apart which isn’t selling or no longer useful, and re-use all the parts.


What Is Component Based Design?

Component Based Design is a process of building a piece of jewelry in pieces, sections or segments.
These pieces are combinations of design elements.

These combinations of design elements become a set of smaller, manageable parts, which themselves are assembled into a piece of jewelry.

Systems of re-usable design components will allow any number of design possibilities. A component based design system provides a commonality within a visual language.

Instead of focusing on designing a particular product, the designer concentrates on creating a design system. The designer’s principal responsibility in the formation of style is to create meaningful forms. These forms are more than shapes. These forms contain the essential elements which contribute to the jewelry’s aesthetic and functional structure and composition. Some forms will be able to stand on their own; others, may be dependent on the presence and organization of others.

Component Based Design Systems enable the designer to build better products faster by making design re-usable. Re-usability allows designs to more easily be adapted to different body types, context-requirements, and/or scales.
Component Based Design Systems require clear documentation for each component, and a set of rules or standards for their use and assembly. Standards govern the purpose, style, and usage of these components. Documentation and standards help the designer avoid situations where you find yourself reinventing the wheel, so to speak. It helps the designer deal with such things as backlog, adapting different versions of a particular design, and concurrently managing both short-term and long-term goals and aspirations. It allows the designer to spend more time and focus on the trickier and more difficult part of coming up with designs specific or unique to each client.


How Is Component Design Helpful For Jewelry Designers?

Component Design allows for the designer to…
– Design consistently
– Prototype faster
– Iterate more quickly
– Improve usability

Design consistently. Standardized components used consistently and repetitively create a more predictable outcome. Standardized components also allow designers to spend less time focused on style, and more time developing a better user-experience and client outcome.

Prototype faster. Working within a coherent design system allows you to more quickly and easily organize your work flows. It allows you to experiment over and over again with the amount of prototypes and variants. Working with and within a design system should also provider greater and faster insights into design dilemmas and solutions.
Iterate more quickly. Design systems reduce the effort in design, from having to try out myriad colors, patterns, textures, scales and other design elements, to only having to try out a few components in the design system.

Improve usability. Should reduce inconsistent, unworkable or illogical combinations of things within any composition. In return, this should increase client satisfaction when wearing any piece of jewelry so created.


Design Systems Do Not Limit Creativity Or Design

Creating a design system does not limit or restrain the designer. In fact, it opens up more possibilities, more easily attainable. Design systems will also allow pieces to be easily customized and adapted to different situations. Design systems take away a lot of the worry about what to do next.

Design systems do not limit creativity. They offer a different way of allowing the designer to assert their creativity. The designer is still free to experiment, evolve, play, adapt. Design systems improve efficiency; they save time. Design systems do not constrain, restrain or otherwise limit the designer to work and think and speak and play as a designer.
Design systems can evolve and adapt to changes in styles and fashions. In fact, these systems trigger insights more easily apparent, as to how things need to change. After all, a change in one component will automatically define what changes need to be made in all other components it will interface and interact with.

Component based design systems are not one-shot, one-time deals. They are never complete. The work to create and maintain and improve them is ongoing. These systems are living. But because a change in one component will trigger changes in others, the effort it takes to maintain and grow these system can be many times less than what happens when the designer does not rely on such a system.




Design Debt: Something Serious Which Needs To Be Managed

In more jargoned, but eye-opening, language, Component Based Design Systems reduce what is called Design Debt.
Design Debt refers to all the inefficiencies in your design process which adds more time and effort to what you are trying to accomplish, as you are designing any piece of jewelry. Design Debt continues to accumulate and increase as a project matures over time. Even after the designer has relinquished the project to the client, Design Debt will continue to accumulate if the designer fails to deal with it head on.

Design Debt includes things like…
– Taking too much time to meet your goals
– Having to do too much research or experimentation when figuring out how to proceed
– Spending too much time thinking how to make a particular piece of jewelry unique or special for a certain client

Design Debt also includes all the good design concepts or solutions you skipped in order to complete your project on time. Design Debt includes all the additional time and effort you will have to make, should you have a backlog of projects which keep accumulating and accumulating as you are trying to finish the particular project you are now working on.

Some designers might approach the ever-accumulating Design Debt by cutting corners or relinquishing the project to the client prematurely. The designer might settle for a lower fee or less profitability. The designer might find that negative word-of-mouth is building too quickly with unsatisfied clients or demanding business stakeholders.

There are many sources of Design Debt, some very tangible, others less so. Examples of these sources of Design Debt include…

· The designer relies on an overabundance of non-reusable materials, or too much variation in inventory, or, inconsistent styles and conventions, all difficult to maintain

· The designer might start a project with assumptions, rather than research

· The designer might not have sufficient time or budget to implement each choice and step with care

· The designer might not have a full understanding of how each design element, form and component should best be arranged and interact within a particular composition

· The designer might be working with a partner or assistant, with incomplete information passing hands, as each works on the project

· The designer might not have a chance to test a design before its implementation or sale

· The designer might not get the opportunity to find out what happens with a particular piece after it has left the studio and the client wears it

· The designer might not have in place any formal or informal time and procedure for reflection and evaluation, in order to understand how various choices led to good or bad designs, or whether there is an improvement or degradation in the designer’s brand due to good or bad performance

· The designer might rely on published patterns without the wherewithal to adapt or customize them, or otherwise approach unfamiliar situations


Ultimately, Design Debt is measured in how satisfied our clients are with the products we design, and how that satisfaction affects what is referred to as contagion - the spread of word of mouth and its positive or negative impacts on our brand and reputation. Over time, Design Debt accumulates and becomes a great burden on any designer and design business.



Component Based Design Systems Help Us Tackle Design Debt

Anything which unifies the design process and reduces variability in the numbers and types of choices we make as designers will help us tackle Design Debt. That is what Component Based Design Systems are all about.
Component Based Design allows the designer to deal with a smaller number of pieces and variables at any one time.
Component Based Design leverages previous thinking and exploring, reducing the number of tasks which have to be done for each subsequent piece of jewelry.

And Component Based Design allows the designer to more easily and directly relate any kind of feedback to specific project design choices.



Creating A Component Based Design System

A Component Based Design System has…
· Visual elements
· Modular elements
· Standards
· A voice and tone
· A relationship to client needs

 

Your Component Based Design System can either be
(a) decoupled from any specific project, which is effective for establishing a brand identity, or
(b) coupled to a specific project, which is more effective for developing a line of jewelry made up of individual pieces.

 

Creating a Component Based Design System involves Six Key Task-Activities, which are…
(1) Conducting Visual Audit of Current Designs / Inventory
(2) Determining Your Voice and Tone / Brand Identity
(3) Designing A Component / Modular Elements
(4) Creating Component Based Design System(s) / Library of Documentation and Standards
(5) Defining Rules of Scale / Size, Volume, Distribution and Placement
(6) Relating To Customer Needs / Shared Understandings

 


(1) Visual Audit of Current Designs / Inventory


You will need to carefully review the visual elements you use in your current jewelry design practice.
You want to create a visual design language of discernable design elements, shapes, forms and components you are using now.

You will in effect be creating two inventories:
· First, a Visual Inventory of design elements which are visual features, and
· Second, a Functional Inventory of those beads, findings, shapes, forms and/or other component parts which are functional and interface with the wearer, such as clasp assemblies or things which allow a piece to move, drape and flow, or things which make a piece of jewelry adjustable, or things which allow a piece of jewelry to maintain a shape or position.


For each discernable set of design elements, (such as, color, pattern, shape, form, movement, dimensionality) or completely formed component, you would generate a description based on auditing the following design elements:
a. color, finish, pattern, texture
 b. point, line, plane, shape, form, theme (typology)
 c. sizing and spacing and scale (2–4 sets of standards of utilization; or by body type)
 d. movement and dimensionality
 e. canvas (stringing materials; foundation)
 f. principles of composition, construction, manipulation; layouts
 g. support systems (allows movement, drape and flow), structural systems (allows maintaining shapes or positions) and other functional elements
 h. plans, guidelines, icons


Your inventories can be a simple check-list, or more narrative descriptions.

By creating a 2-layer Inventory of Design, you will be able to visualize the possible design components and patterns you might have at your disposal, as well as quantify what you are working with. Cataloging these details puts you in a better management/control position. This makes visible many of the consequences of your choices and selections in terms of managing Design Debt.

After you have finished creating your initial Inventory, review it. Identify where inconsistencies are. What things are must-haves? What things are superfluous?

Then look for things which go together or will be used together. Develop a simple system of categories to group things into. Keep the number of categories short. Examples of categories might include Patterns, Templates, Themes, User Interface, Foundations, Center Pieces, Color Palettes, Linkability.



(2) Determine Your Voice and Tone / Brand Identity


You want your parts, components and groupings of components, when used in the design of a piece of jewelry, to give the impression of you as a designer and/or your business’s personality.

Look at your inventory and ask yourself: What are the more emotional, intangible qualities these seem to evoke? Do they evoke things, not only about my design sense today, but about what I aspire to be as a designer? How do I want my clients to respond to my pieces?

There should be a high level of coherence within your groupings of components. They should express a voice and tone, either of your entire brand, or of a particular line of jewelry you have created.

If there is not a high level of coherence, determine why not. What adjustments do you need to make in your inventory to achieve this?

 


(3) Design A Component / Modular Elements


Begin to take your visual inventory and re-imagine it as one or more collections of components.

Types of components to think about:
– Re-usable
– Repeatable
– Build-upon / Connectible / Linkable
– Scale-able
– Evolvable over time
– Has necessary function
– Has necessary shape, form or theme
– Can easily interface with customer as the jewelry is worn

Some components will be modular and self-contained, thus not dependent on the presence of other components. Some components will be compositional in that they fit or coordinate well with others. Some components will be generic, thus usable in many different kinds of situations. And some components will be flexible because they can be tweaked and made to work in a variety of situations.

Now, actually begin to develop components. Towards this end, start with developing one component.

1st: List the key design elements, such as color, pattern, texture, shape, movement, dimensionality, and the like. These are the particular design elements you want associated with your core brand identity.
2nd: Define the smallest re-usable parts, such as beads, bead clusters, connectable links, stringing material and the like.
3rd: Scale up and define a complete component
4th: Scale up and define a composition consisting of several arranged components
5th: Fully layout the piece of jewelry, which will consist of one or more components and one or more compositions.


As you develop components, you will always need to keep in mind two things:
a) How you want the component to behave within your piece, and
b) How you want the component to interface with the client wearing the jewelry



CHAIN LINK COMPONENTS
 A Simplified Example of Component Design
G-CLEF COMPONENT

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I have a basic component I call a G-Clef Component. It is a simple chain link which is very connectable to other things. I use this as a simple example of a Component Based Design System.

I use this in several ways. I can use these as links in a standard chain. I can easily adapt two of these links to function as a hook and eye clasp. I can add beads between each link. I can use this as the basis for creating a pendant center piece. I can use this for earring dangles.

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The general infinity shape and reference to music (I’m based in Nashville, Tennessee - ”Music City USA”) are easily incorporated into several lines of my jewelry, though there is one particular line of jewelry totally focused on this link component.

My documentation for this component is as follows:

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Two Other Examples Of Jewelry Designed Based On Components

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(4) Component Based Design Systems / Library of Documentation and Standards

Your design system is much more than a pattern library. It is a collection of re-usable components which can be assembled together in any number of ways, and used to clearly signal and cement the identify of your brand as a whole, or of a particular line of jewelry you have developed.

As such, the system has meaning. It has structure. It embodies a system of concepts relevant to and representative of you as a designer and your design business or avocation. It is resilient.

Towards this end, to build in these meanings and intentions and expectations, you will develop a set of standards. Adhering to standards is how we manage and maintain consistency with how these meanings / intensions / expectations are expressed within any piece of jewelry we create. Following the standards is how we influence our clients to consistently come to share these understandings. Standards remove a lot of the arbitrariness in our design decisions. These standards should be put in writing, and be part of your documentation library.
Regardless of what materials, tools and techniques specific to your jewelry design practice, a successful design system will follow a core set of standards developed by you. These standards will inform you how components should be designed and how they should be organized within any composition.

These standards will focus on the following:

Brand touch points. What design elements or their arrangements evoke immediate associations with your jewelry designs?

Consistent client experience. What design elements, components or their arrangements result in a consistent client experience? When your client buys your jewelry and wears it, how does the client feel? How does the client want others to react, and does the client in fact get these reactions? When you client wears your jewelry, what needs, wants and desires does s/he want to be fulfilled, and how successful has your jewelry been towards this end? How do you maintain consistency in construction, functionality and durability of your pieces?

Coherent collection. To what extent do all the pieces in your collection similarly represent your brand and result in a similar, consistent client experience?

Naming conventions. What names should we give to our components, our pieces of jewelry, our lines of jewelry, our business and brand identity as a whole? How will these names resonate with our clients? Which names do you want to be universal, and which iconic?

Emphasis. What aspects of your jewelry do you want the client to focus on? Which aspects of your jewelry are most likely to trigger a conversation between you and the client, and between the client and that person’s various audiences? Is that the conversation about your jewelry you want people to have?

Utility. What is each component, and how should you use it? What rules should you follow for building modular, composable, generic and flexible components? For linking and connecting them? How do you manage modifying any one component?

Potential. What determines if a component is to have a high potential value? Does the component have great commonality in use and/or re-use? Does the component have great business potential, whether or not it can be commonly used? Does the component have great potential in creating patterns or textures or shapes or forms or themes? Is the component technically feasible to create? Can this component be created within a certain timeframe, if there are time constraints? Does this component have the potential to excite others?

 


Codify, thus standardize, how components are described and detailed. Include information about basic design elements, such as color, pattern, texture, finishes. Give your component a name. Describe how you can adjust for scale - making something larger, smaller, with more volume, with less volume. Elaborate on any assembly considerations. Also anticipate in writing any situational or contingency requirements. Provide insights into how this component fits in with other components, or becomes the core component from which additional components might be fashioned. Write some notes about how the component is consistent with the standards for your brand / jewelry lines which you have developed. Last, take a picture of your component and include this image in your database.

 

 


(5) Scale / Size, Volume, Distribution and Placement


Scalability has to do with size and volume, and your strategies for adapting your component to different scales. You might think about a larger version for a necklace and a smaller version for a bracelet. You might think of modifying the component to increase its volume for use as a center piece pendant.

Scalability in jewelry will also refer to the ease of placing or distributing variations in size and/or volume.

Scalability begins with taking a modular approach to your jewelry design work. Additionally, your component must express some characteristics which are both generic as well as flexible. You want your components to be able to grow and shrink with the content of your pieces. I like to develop both a larger and a smaller version of each component, which I get very specific on and document. This usually gives me enough information should I still want to change size or volume.

 


(6) Relate To Customer Needs / Shared Understandings


For any design, it is a long journey from idea to implementation. This journey involves different people at different times along the way. The designer’s ability to solve what is, in effect, a complex problem or puzzle becomes a performance of sorts, where the designer ferrets out in various ways - deliberate or otherwise - what the end users will perceive as making sense, having value and eliciting a desire powerful enough to motivate them to wear a piece of jewelry, buy it, utilize it, exhibit it or collect it. The designer, however, wants one more critical thing to result from this performance - recognition and validation of all the creative and managerial choices he or she made during the design process.

People will not use a design if their agendas and understandings do not converge in some way. They will interact with the designer to answer the question: Do You Know What I Know? If they get a sense, even figure out, that the answer is Yes, they share understandings! - they then become willing to collaborate (or at least become complicit) with the designer and the developing design.

A Component Based Design System forces the designer to incorporate these shared understandings into the development and organization of components. Component choices must be justified according to a set of standards. This set of standards relates design choices to how the client will perceive and respond to your brand identity or the identity you want any line of jewelry to reflect. A Component Design System creates tight guidance and boundaries, increasing not only the efficiency of your operation, but your effectiveness at developing jewelry which is consistent, coherent, user-friendly, user-desirable, and contagious.

Re-orienting your design practice towards a Component Based Design System may seem daunting, at first. But it gets easier and faster as the system grows and evolves. It is well worth the effort.


_________________________________________
FOOTNOTES

Elliott, Gavin. “Design Debt: How to Identify Design Debt, Measure It and Overcome It.” 5/7/20. As referenced in:
 https://medium.com/@gavinelliott/design-debt-f8026795cc1c


Fanguy, Will. “A Comprehensive Guide To Design Systems.” 6/24/19. As referenced in:
 https://www.invisionapp.com/inside-design/guide-to-design-systems/


Feld, Warren. “Jewelry Design Composition: Playing With Building Blocks Called Design Elements,” Medium.com, (2020).
As referenced in:
https://warren-29626.medium.com/jewelry-design-composition-playing-with-building-blocks-called-design-elements-d2df696551d8


Koschei, Jordan. “How To Tackle Design Debt.” 4/19/17. As referenced in:
 https://www.invisionapp.com/inside-design/tackle-design-debt/


Mazur, Michal. “What Is Design Debt and Why You Should Treat It Seriously.” 8/12/18. As referenced in:
https://uxdesign.cc/what-is-design-debt-and-why-you-should-treat-it-seriously-4366d33d3c89#:~:text=In%20simple%20terms%2C%20design%20debt,the%20users%20will%20make%20do
Suarez, Marco, with Jina Anne, Katie Sylor-Miller, Diana Mounter, and Roy Stanfield. Design Systems Handbook. DesignBetter.Co by InVision.


__________________________
Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency In Design
Backward Design is Forward Thinking
How Creatives Can Successfully Survive In Business
Part I: The First Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: Is What I do Craft, Art or Design?
Doubt / Self-Doubt: 8 Pitfalls Designers Fall Into…And What To Do About Them
Part 1: Your Passion For Design: Is It Necessary To Have A Passion?
RESILIENCY: Do You Have The Most Important Skill Every Designer Must Have?
PART 1: SHARED UNDERSTANDINGS: THE CONVERSATION CENTERED WITHIN DESIGN

______________________
I hope you found this article useful.


Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).
Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft video tutorials online.
Add your name to my email list.
Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

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ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS  A Video Tutorial By Warren Feld

Posted by learntobead on March 17, 2021

https://so-you-want-to-be-a-jewelry-designer.teachable.com/courses/orientation-to-beads-jewelry-findings/lectures/16682282

SCHOOL HOME PAGE: https://so-you-want-to-be-a-jewelry-designer.teachable.com

CLASS HOME PAGE: https://so-you-want-to-be-a-jewelry-designer.teachable.com/p/orientation-to-beads-jewelry-findings

FREE PREVIEW PAGE: https://so-you-want-to-be-a-jewelry-designer.teachable.com/courses/orientation-to-beads-jewelry-findings/lectures/16682282

WHY YOU NEED AN ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS

Most people who make jewelry learn the craft in a haphazard way. Taking a course here or there. Watching some video tutorials online. Making a few pieces with some friends.

I have found over the years that, because of this, most jewelry designers are unfamiliar with all the various possible choices of stringing materials, clasps, jewelry findings, beads and the like. And they are unfamiliar with the implications of making one choice over another. They do not have a clear conception of how one part relates to another part or relates to how to execute a particular technique.

Because of this, most jewelry designers do not seem to fully understand quality issues associated with the materials they use. They have a weak understanding of what materials should best be used, and best not be used, and with what projects. They do not know what happens to all these different materials over time as the jewelry is worn. They do not know the required design tricks and strategies for making pieces more durable and more comfortable.

That’s why I developed this very comprehensive ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS.

This course reviews the various materials jewelry designers use. I point out the pros and cons for selecting and using these. I go over how these impede or enhance function, movement, and the mechanics of construction.

Some topics covered:

HISTORY, GLASS BEADS, LAMPWORK BEADS, CRYSTAL BEADS, SEED AND DELICA BEADS, METAL BEAD, CLASPS, FINDINGS, STRINGING MATERIALS, TOOLS, ADHESIVES, TYPES OF BEADING AND JEWELRY MAKING, 3 APPROACHES FOR TEACHING BEADING AND JEWELRY MAKING, SUPPORT SYSTEMS AND OTHER ARCHITECTURAL CONSIDERATIONS,

This Series of 18 modules, most around 20 minutes, and totaling a full 5 1/2 hours of introductory materials about all kinds of beads, metals, clasps and stringing materials for the beader and jewelry maker.

And one more thing. For those who take this Orientation, I also have a 75-page article for you to download about getting started in jewelry making. You have a purpose as a jewelry designer: To merge your voice with form. This covers things you will need to know to find that voice.

  • how to channel your excitement
  • what types of jobs are available for those with jewelry making skills
  • how to develop your passion
  • what you need to learn
  • what tools you will need
  • how to cultivate your practice
  • how to define a level of success right for you
  • what it takes to achieve that level of success

FREE PREVIEW PAGE: https://so-you-want-to-be-a-jewelry-designer.teachable.com/courses/orientation-to-beads-jewelry-findings/lectures/16682282

Warren Feld
 
warren@warrenfeldjewelry.com

Posted in Stitch 'n Bitch | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

PART 1: THE JEWELRY DESIGNER’S ORIENTATION TO OTHER JEWELRY FINDINGS: PART 1: PREPARERS

Posted by learntobead on March 14, 2021

Continue Part 2: Controllers and Adapters

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft video tutorials online. Begin with my ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS COURSE. There are 18 video modules including handouts, which this is one of.

Choosing and Using Other Jewelry Findings: 
Preparers

You have to approach the Jewelry Findings with a large measure of respect. “Jewelry Findings” are all the pieces that you use, including clasps, other than stringing materials and beads. They are called “jewelry findings”, because up until about 15 years ago, many of these pieces didn’t exist. People went to sewing notion stores, antique stores, flea markets, hardware stores, cannibalized old jewelry, wherever, and found things and made them work. Because many of these pieces are new, there is not a consensus on what some of these things should be called, so you have a lot of similarly looking pieces that go by different names. I’m sure over time, the name-game will shake out, and there will be more consistency.

Respect these jewelry findings. They are the pieces that get pulled and strained, torn at and squeezed, maligned and misused. These are the pieces that will make or break your piece of jewelry. Understand and respect them.

Many designers fail to make the full range of these pieces available to them. They either don’t know about them, or are afraid of them or think they might use them incorrectly. They too often limit their own design possibilities by relying on the same limited set of findings for everything they make. But the world of possibilities that these jewelry findings open up for us is endless.

Below is a list of other major jewelry findings used in bead stringing. I’ve tried to group them into three categories to make it a little easier to relate to.

PREPARERS:
 Things Which Prepare the Ends of Cords and Stringing Materials:

These kinds of jewelry findings are mostly used with thicker cords, like leather and waxed cotton, but also with cable wires. These enable you to create a “loop end” on each side of the cord or cable.

From the two loop ends you have created on each end of your cord, you then continue to create the rest of your clasp assembly. If the loop is big enough (to give you jointedness), or looks substantial enough (like it won’t break from movement), you can attach the clasp directly to the loop. If not, you will want to attach your clasp/ring to jump or split rings, and these, in turn, to your loop ends.

You usually try to match the size of the interior opening on the jewelry finding to the thickness of your cord or cable. For some of these pieces, this match is more important than others.

You always put some glue on your cord or cable before you stick them into the piece. You use glue because all these cords are oily, and some will sweat, as well. They will slip out of the findings — even with tight crimping or clamping — because they are slippery. That’s why you use glue.

I recommend using a glue like E6000 or Beacon 527. Don’t use super glue. Super glue (or the jeweler’s version called G-S Hypo Cement) dries like glass, so the bond will shatter like glass, because all jewelry moves. Also, after it shatters, the bond looks like a broken coke bottle. E6000 and Beacon 527 dry like rubber, so they act as a shock absorber, when the jewelry moves.

CRIMP ENDS

These come very fancy or plain. They come with a small opening to use with cable wires, and wider and wider openings to use with leather or waxed cotton, or even braided leather.

These pieces have a loop at the end of a tube. The tube has 3 bands. The first and third are decorative. The center band is meant to be crushed and crimped. You put some glue on the cord or cable — any glue except super glue — stick it into the tube, and take a pliers and crush the center band as flat as you can get it.

When you crush the middle band, visually, it looks like it is part of a pattern of beads. It doesn’t look like an ugly crushed piece of metal.

Some crimp ends come with a hook, so that you attach a loop on one end and the hook on the other, to create a hook and eye clasp.

These and clamps (see below) work best for preparing the ends of cable wires and thicker cords. Crimp ends tend to be on the pricier side; clamps are very inexpensive. Both hold well, relying on both the glue and the crimp.

CHAIN/CORD ENDS

These pieces have a loop at the end of a split tube. For chain, these are soldered on. For cords or cable, you put some glue on (again never super glue), stick it into the split tube, and take a pliers and crush snug, NOT flat. What’s holding these on is the glue. If you crush flat, you lose the bond. Should tightly match cord thickness to interior diameter.

We need to crush snug because we want the glue to adhere to all the interior surfaces. If there are any gaps where the glue has not adhered, the bond will break.

These are terrible pieces, because it is difficult to achieve that perfect bonding with the glue.

END CAPS

These pieces come in just a few sizes, but many designs. Those pictured are very industrial looking, but they come very decorative, as well. Some pieces have a hole at the end instead of a loop and are labeled “end caps,” but technically, these should be called either a cone or a bead cap. Usually, the interior opening size of the end cap will be listed, such as ID=6mm or ID=8mm or ID=12mm. You coordinate this with the width of whatever you are trying to slip into the end cap. But because of the shape of the end cap, there still may be fit issues.

These pieces have a loop at the end of a hard metal tube. The loop is either an eyelet or a fixed loop. You put some glue (not super glue) on cord or cable and stick in. The glue is all that holds. Should tightly match cord thickness to interior diameter.

Because it is important, for the bond to hold, to get the glue to adhere to all the interior surfaces, and you cannot crush the ends snug, you need to put a lot of excess glue on the cord when you stick it in. And you need to be prepared to wipe away the excess glue that bleeds back out.

You never attach your clasp directly to these pieces. You need an additional intervening ring — jump ring or split ring or soldered ring — between the end cap and your clasp component.

CLAMPS
 Ribbon or Bar Clamps:

These clamps are folded metal with a loop in the center edge, come in different lengths, and have teeth. These are for ribbons or fabric. You don’t use glue, because the glue will bleed into the ribbon or fabric.

You fold over the end of the ribbon or fabric, making the end pretty, and stick into the clamp, and use a pliers to crush firm. If your material is wider than the clamp you have, you would make several folds in the end, like you would when gift-wrapping a package.

Foldover or Wing Clamps:

These come in a few different sizes, some with square loops, some with round loops. Some have plain backs; some have patterned backs.

These typically are a loop on top of flat metal with two wings that fold over. You put some glue (not super glue) on the cord or cable, sit in the saddle between the two wings, and use a large pliers, and crush the two wings over each other and over the cord. Crush as flat as you can get it. This is not done in one movement because the wings are stiff and strong. You usually take your pliers and move then to one side, then the other, then back, until you get the two wing position over each other, and you can crush them flat.

One mistake people make with this piece is that they crush snug, not flat. Where the wings overlap each other, this leaves an air passage. Again, we want our glue to adhere to all the interior surfaces. If you crush snug, this air passage will weaken the bond, and your cord will pull out. You have to crush as flat as you can get it, to force the glue up into that air passage.

You can use one clamp for multiple strands, if you wish. You can seat multiple strands of cable wire or leather or whatever into the saddle of one clamp.

These and the crimp ends work the best for preparing the ends of cable wires and thicker cords. Crimp ends are pricier; clamps are cheap. Crimp ends have a design impact; clamps are very utilitarian.

COIL ENDS

Coil ends have an open ended loop at the top of a tightly wound coil. I don’t like the way these look after they are crushed onto the cord, and they don’t hold up well. One advantage is that the coil functions as a spring, and absorbs a lot of the excess force place on the piece, that comes from movement.

With coil ends, you put some glue, (but not super glue), on the cord, shove it into the coil. You take a chain-nose pliers and crush the first two rings of the coil onto the cord. If you crush too hard, you’ll slice the cord. If you don’t crush hard enough, the cord will pull out.

The way the loop was designed to work, was that you take a pliers, move the open ring to the side, slip on your clasp or ring, and, using the pliers, move the open ring to a closed position again. DON’T DO IT THIS WAY. When you move the loop back and forth, it breaks off easily. These loops are rather brittle. SO, the way you would use this, is that you would take a jump ring or split ring, and attach this to the loop and your clasp piece. As long as you don’t move this loop wire, it stays strong.

Coil ends come in two sizes in terms of the width of the interior diameter. If your cord is thicker than the smaller size, see if you can make it work with this smaller size, anyway. The larger size is more awkward to use. Say you had leather cord. You can take a single-edge razor blade and cut the end at an angle, put some glue on the cord, and shove it into the smaller piece.

BEAD CAPS

This is a decorative cup-like or bowl-like piece, with a hole in the center. This piece is originally used as a decorative element, to cover one or both sides of a bead, as you string your beads on. However, you can adapt this piece to be an end. You might have multi-strands, where you tie them all off together, and use the bead cap to hide the mess. You might have a bead crocheted rope, and again, use the bead cap to give your piece a decorative end. You glue the bead cap on. Then you take an independent wire or thread, attaching it to your piece about 2–3” from the end, and running it through your piece, through the cap, then finishing off the rest of your clasp assembly.

What’s nice here are that there are hundreds of styles, whereas the more typical jewelry findings look very utilitarian.

BELL CAPS

A bell cap is a bead cap with a loop on it. This is a decorative cup-like or bowl-like piece, with a loop sticking above the center. This piece is originally used to adapt something, like gluing it to the top of a crystal pendant or bead, to be a drop. But it can be adapted to use as a fancy end-cap. Use glue here. Attach the clasp assembly to an additional jump ring or split ring. Again, there are many, many decorative styles in bell caps, so you won’t have to rely on the typical and very plain specialized jewelry findings.

The arms on the bell cap are somewhat independent, and can be pushed into the shape of whatever piece they are attached to. So, for example, you can take a rough stone, position the bell cap at the top, push on the arms to shape them to the stone, then put glue on each arm and attach the bell cap to the piece.

BEAD TIPS (aka, KNOT-COVERS)

These pieces are used to hide knots. One style has a cup with a tongue attached. Another style ends with a loop, not a tongue. The most widely used style — Clam Shell Bead Tip (or double-cup) — has two half cups that close over the knot, and a tongue extending from one end. While some people use these pieces with cable wire, they are primarily designed for use with needle and thread.

These take some practice in learning how to use them. On the first side of your piece, you string on the bead tip, say the clam shell. You tie a bunch of knots in the tail, so your knot is bigger than the hole in the bead tip, and won’t slip out. Cut off the tail. Put a drop of glue on the knot. Here you would use something like superglue. Superglue will make the knot stiff, so it won’t pull through the hole. E6000 will make the knot rubbery, and it will be able to contort and work its way through the hole. Trim the tail. Press the two halves of the clamp together over the knot, so it looks like a bead. Take the tongue, fold it over and through the ring on your clasp, and back to itself, so it forms a loop.

On the other side of your piece, here’s the tricky part. You need to keep your tension on the thread, so the thread doesn’t show when you’re finished. You need to tie a bunch of knots, and complete the rest of the process. This is a 3-hand operation, but you only have 2 hands.

Here you slide the bead tip onto your thread. Use one hand to hold everything tight. Take an awl or a round nose pliers — something where the width graduates into a point, and put the tip where you want your finished knot to end up. Tie an overhand knot over the awl or pliers up high on the wider part of the jaws. Tighten the loop of this knot. Tighten the tension on your thread. Move the loop down the awl or pliers a bit, moving towards the narrow pointed end. Tighten this loop. Check your overall thread tension. Move the loop down a little bit more. Tighten this loop. Check your overall thread tension. When you loop gets to the tip of your awl or pliers, you need to pull your knot tightly, and push the awl or pliers out of the way, AND, you want to maintain the thread tension in your piece. Tie a bunch more knots. Put glue on the knot. Trim the tail. Close the clamp. Loop the tongue into the other part of your clasp. This takes about 5 tries before your body gets that muscle memory to do the task easily and correctly.

When I started in jewelry making, almost every piece used bead tips. I’m not a big fan of this type of piece today. The tongue when bent over to hook and secure the clasp is not jointed enough. It doesn’t leave a big enough loop, so there is tension and these tongues break off. Today, you can tie your piece to the clasp using knots, then slip a crimp cover over the knot, so it looks finished as if there were a bead there. This is both more secure and easier to do.

Some alternatives to tying a globular knot: (1) with needle and thread work, you can tie off an end to an 11/0 seed bead, and have your clam-shell enclose the seed bead, and (2) with cable wire, you can crimp on a crimp bead on the end of your wire, and have your clam-shell enclose the crushed crimp bead.

CONES

Cones come in many shapes and designs, but basically look like a megaphone. These are used to finish off the ends of jewelry, often to hide a lot of messy knots or unfinished ends inside the cone.

One style of cone is called a 3-to-1 cone (also, 2-to-1 up to 11-to-1). This is a flattened cone, with one hole on one side, and 3 holes on the other. This is supposed to help you finish off a 3-strand piece in a decorative way. You pull each of 3 strands through the 3 holes on one side, and out together through the one hole on the other side. For two of the strands, you tie a large knot or double-knot, cut off the excess tail, and let the knot fall back into the box of the cone. I’ve only known one person in my life who could accomplish this, and maintain sufficient string tension so that none of the cable wire showed on the other side of the cone and as part of the bracelet. For the 3rd string, you would continue creating your clasp assembly. This is a good piece in theory, but not practice. Most people end up tying the three strands into this big, globular knot, and then trying to finish off the clasp assembly, only to have the clasp assembly take up 25–30% of their finished bracelet.

Regular cones are used like lampshades to hide some ugliness. With the typical cone style — that megaphone looking piece, the way you are supposed to use this piece is as follows: You take a soldered ring, something small enough so that it will fit far enough back into the cone, that the cone will hide any of the finishing knots or ends. If we start with a 3-strand necklace, you would tie off each strand to one side of the soldered ring. Then you would take a separate, independent cable wire, hard wire or thread, whatever you are stringing with, and tie it off in a knot to the other side of the soldered ring, pull the whole works into the cone, with the stringing material coming out the narrow end. Then you would finish off your clasp assembly.

The soldered ring, in this case, acts as a “support system”, creating jointedness. Otherwise, without this ring or support system, the cone could not support the resulting stress and strain. Since all the pieces are metal — cable wire, cone, clasp, crimp — , and these would be too stiff and would not move easily, and, as you now know very well, when you bend metal back and forth, it breaks.

EYEGLASS HOLDER ENDS

A major category of jewelry are eyeglass leashes. You make an eyeglass leash by attaching an eyeglass holder end to the eyeglasses, making a string of beads, attaching the string of beads to a split ring, and attaching the split ring to the eyeglass holder end. You never attach the beadwork directly to the holder ends. Eyeglass leashes take a huge beating, as they are worn, and you need to create as much jointedness as possible, so you don’t ruin someone’s eyeglasses, have the lenses shift position within the frames, or have the leash break. In fact, we want to use a split ring — about 10mm or 12mm in diameter — that is a little larger visually than you might feel comfortable with.

Eyeglass leash holder ends are made from round rubber thong (usually black or clear), flat vinyl (usually black or clear), or elastic cord (comes in many colors). The round rubber thong is the most durable. Elastic cord is not durable at all. There are various style options. Most come with what is called a “coil center”. When the eyeglass leashes are worn, the rubber, vinyl or elastic cord sweats, both from the humidity found in the air, as well as the wearer’s own body sweat. Coil centers tend to slip, so these don’t work well with narrow arms on eyeglasses. Other eyeglass leashes come with a bead center, usually a 6mm glass roller bead. The beads don’t slip.

The ones with bead centers are a little more expensive than the ones with coil centers. One company bought the ones with the coil centers, slipped these off what is basically a rubber band, and slipped on a 6mm glass roller bead. They took a $0.45 cent piece and sold them for $4.00 a piece. People thought they were magic because the beads didn’t slip, so were willing to pay the premium. You can do the same thing. There are about 300 colors of roller beads, so you can personalize your line.

WATCH BAND COMPONENTS

These pieces are used to adapt watch faces so you can make beaded watch bands off them. They consist of a tube designed to slip over the spring bar on each end of a watch face, and some kind of loop or series of holes that come off the tube. Beaded watch bands have become so popular, that now you can purchase watch faces designed specifically to attach these to them.

CRIMP BEADS, CRIMP COVERS, and HORSESHOE WIRE PROTECTORS

Crimp beads come in many styles, sizes and finishes. These are used to secure cable wires to clasps. The crimping process involves crushing the crimp onto the cable wire, first separating the tail wire from the main wire, then creating a lock, and finally re-shaping it so it looks like a bead again.

Crimp Covers

These are U-shaped beads that slip over the crushed crimp. They are used like a lampshade to hide something that is ugly.

You attach the crimp cover in two steps. First, using the tips of your crimping pliers, you push the two sides of the U together, so you have a pretty bead. These are made of a soft metal, so you don’t want to push too hard, or you will crush them. After you get the two sides to meet, you’ll find that the lip on either side doesn’t meet up perfectly.

So, Second, at this point, you return the crimp cover to your crimping pliers, this time resting it between the top notches (thus, furthest from your hand) in each jaw. This will help preserve the roundness of the crimp cover as you manipulate it. Gently push the jaws to force the lips to meet more perfectly. You can slide crimp covers over your crushed crimps. You can also use these to slide over any knots, to hide the knots.

Horseshoe wire protectors

These serve several purposes. (1) It forces you to leave the correct size loop in the cable wire, so that you have the appropriate support system or jointedness. Without the loop, you would be pushing the crimp all the way to the clasp. This is a No-No. You never push the crimp all the way to the clasp — this creates stiffness with metal parts, and general movement would cause these to break.

(2) The horseshoe also makes the loop more finished looking — better than a bare-wire loop. Most people hate a bare, exposed loop. The horseshoe fools the eye/brain here, making it think that the loop is finished and more organically a part of the whole composition.

(3) The horseshoe prevents the cable wire from folding into a V over a period of time and wear. If the wire were to change from an arched loop to a V-loop, the wire then would more easily bend back and forth and break.

There are many choices to make when selecting crimp beads:

Crimp Beads

tube vs. round 
 no difference in “holdability”, but most people prefer the tubes

THE SILVER COLOR ISSUE: sterling silver vs. silver plated vs. silver plated crimp with sterling silver crimp cover vs. argentium silver crimps
 Silver-plated crimps are usually plated over brass. Brass has a very high degree of integrity as a jewelry making metal. The plating wears off relatively quickly, and your crimps will look black — basically tarnished brass. More recently, these plated crimps have been plated over aluminum, which can break from the force of the crimping pliers.

Sterling softens at body temperature. If your crimp is resting on the wrist or the neck, there is some risk of it softening and weakening. This risk is minimal, however. If you’ve crimped correctly, you shouldn’t lose sleep over this. I prefer to use the sterling silver crimps; they are often made better than the other crimps.

You can also use a silver-plated crimp to crimp, and slide a sterling silver crimp cover over it.

Argentium has the same silver content as sterling but does not soften as easily at body temperature. These are a lot more expensive than sterling.

crushing the crimp and re-rounding it vs. crushing, then using crimp cover

Some people don’ t like the look of the re-rounded crimp, or feel uncomfortable trying to re-round them. The crimp covers add about $0.50 — $1.00 more to each piece.

plain tube vs. twisted tube
 The twisted tubes (sometimes called Tornado or Cyclone crimps) are a little more expensive than the plain ones. When you crush the twisted tubes, they look decorative enough that you don’t have to re-round them. You definitely need to re-round the plain ones.

Regular or long tube vs. short or half tube
 Short tubes or half tubes are primarily used in pieces like illusion necklaces, where you have a cluster of beads, and the cord shows, another cluster of beads, the cord shows, etc. Half tubes are used on either side of the clusters to keep the beads in place. When you crush the half tube, the volume of space it takes up is not noticeable. When you crush the regular sized tube, its volume of space is too noticeable and detracts from the general look of the piece. One mistake people make with the short or half tubes, is that, when they use them to finish off the ends of jewelry, their mind tells them to use 2 or 3 of them so that they will “hold better.” A crimp is a crimp, and if you crimped correctly, there is no difference in holdability between the short and longer tubes. Each crushed crimp you add becomes like a little razor blade. All jewelry moves, so you’re increasing the chances, by using more than one crimp on each end, that one of these crimps will cut through the cable wire. One crimp on either end is enough.

variations on quality/grade of crimp beads
 Basically, you get what you pay for!

Here’s how crimp beads are made: You start with a sheet of metal. You roll the metal into a tube. You buff along the seam where the two sides meet, so that it looks like it’s been soldered together. However, there’s really a seam there.

So often, people come into our shop and tell sad tales of failed crimps and broken bracelets and necklaces. They blame themselves. They blame the pliers. But they never blame the crimp beads. In most cases, the crimp is at fault.

Cheap crimps, usually bought in small packages, usually at craft stores, are not made well. When you crush these, they tend to split along the seam. Sometimes you can see the split. Othertimes, you can’t quite see that the two sides of the tube have started to separate. Your cable wires pull out. Or your crimp edges have cut into the cable wire.

An A-grade crimp, usually costing about 3 times what the cheap crimps cost, can hold up to your initial crushing, as well as another 8 or so clamping down on it during the re-rounding process.

There are heavy-duty or A+ grade crimps. These run about 6–8 times what the cheap crimps do. You don’t have to worry about any splitting, no matter how much you work the crimp bead with your pliers.

using 1 crimp on each end vs. using more than 1 crimp on each end
 Using 1 crimp on each end of your piece is sufficient. Using more than 1 crimp on each end is too risky. Sometimes you mind, or your best friend, thinks that is 1 is good, 2 or more would be better. No! When you crush your crimp onto the wire, it becomes like a little razor blade. All jewelry moves, so your crimp is constantly trying to saw through the cable. Using more than one crimp on each end increases the chances that one will saw through. All you are doing is adding razor blades.

size of crimp

Manufacturers are inconsistent in how they label the sizes of crimp beads. In general:

2mm is the average size For .014, .015, .018, .019 cable wires

1.5mm is small For .010 and .012 cable wires

2.5mm is slightly more than averg For .019 and .024 cable wires

3.0mm is large For .024 cable wires, or thicker cords, or bringing

more than 1 strand thru at a time

4.0mm and larger For thicker cords, or bringing 2+ strands thru

Continue Part 2: Controllers and Adapters

______________________________________________

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Cleaning Sterling Silver Jewelry: What Works!

What Glue Should I Use When Making Jewelry?

Why Am I So Addicted To Beads?

A Very Abbreviated, But Not Totally Fractured, History of Beads

The Martha Stewart Beaded Wreath Project

When Choosing Colors Has You Down, Check Out The Magic Of Simultaneity Effects

The Use of Armature In Jewelry: Legitimate or Not?

Pearl Knotting Warren’s Way

Organizing Your Craft Workspace…Some Smart Pointers

You Don’t Choose Clasps, You Choose Clasp Assemblies

Know Your Anatomy Of A Necklace

Mini Lesson: Making Stretchy Bracelets

Mini Lesson: Making Adjustable Slip Knots With Thicker Cords

Mini Lesson: How To Crimp

Mini Lesson: Attaching End Caps, Cones, Crimp Ends

Mini Lesson: Brick Stitch

Mini Lesson: Flat Even Count Peyote

Mini Lesson: Ndebele Stitch

Mini Lesson: Petersburg Chain

Mini Lesson: Right Angle Weave

Jewelry, Sex and Sexuality

Everyone Has A Getting Started StoryThe Nature-Inspired Creations of Kathleen

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Glass Beads

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Lampwork Beads

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Crystal Beads

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Seed and Cylinder Beads

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Choosing and Using Clasps

How To Design An Ugly Necklace: The Ultimate Designer Challenge

______________________________________________

Thank you. I hope you found this article useful.

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft video tutorials online. Begin with my ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS COURSE.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Add your name to my email list.

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Posted in Stitch 'n Bitch | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

PART 2: THE JEWELRY DESIGNER’S ORIENTATION TO OTHER JEWELRY FINDINGS: PART 2: CONTROLLERS AND…

Posted by learntobead on March 14, 2021

Continue Part 1: Preparers

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft video tutorials online. Begin with my ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS COURSE. There are 18 video modules including handouts, which this is one of.

Choosing and Using Other Jewelry Findings: Controllers and Adapters

You have to approach the Jewelry Findings with a large measure of respect. “Jewelry Findings” are all the pieces that you use, including clasps, other than stringing materials and beads. They are called “jewelry findings”, because up until about 15 years ago, many of these pieces didn’t exist. People went to sewing notion stores, antique stores, flea markets, hardware stores, cannibalized old jewelry, wherever, and found things and made them work. Because many of these pieces are new, there is not a consensus on what some of these things should be called, so you have a lot of similarly looking pieces that go by different names. I’m sure over time, the name-game will shake out, and there will be more consistency.

Respect these jewelry findings. They are the pieces that get pulled and strained, torn at and squeezed, maligned and misused. These are the pieces that will make or break your piece of jewelry. Understand and respect them.

Many designers fail to make the full range of these pieces available to them. They either don’t know about them, or are afraid of them or think they might use them incorrectly. They too often limit their own design possibilities by relying on the same limited set of findings for everything they make. But the world of possibilities that these jewelry findings open up for us is endless.

CONTROLLERS:
 Things Which Control the Positioning of Pieces or Sections within Your Piece:

SEPARATOR or SPACER BARS

These are multi-hole pieces that are used to keep multi-strand pieces neat and organized. In a bracelet you might use 3–5, spaced evenly along the length of the piece. In a necklace, you might use 5–7, spaced evenly along the length of the piece.. Some of these pieces are very narrow and meant to be “hidden”. Others have a decorative edge that will be seen as part of the overall design. Separators with a broad surface are referred to as Separator Boxes.

END BARS (can also be used for making earring dangles)

These pieces are basically a bar, with one centered loop off one side, and multiple loops off the other. For a 3-loop end bar (which has 4 loops — 1 centered on one side, and 3 on the other) you would finish off a 3-strand piece on the one side, and then use the single loop on the other side to begin your clasp assembly. The bar can be plain, or very decorative. The bar can be straight, curved, or zig-zagged.

On an earring, with the bar positioned horizontally, you can dangle these one from the other, and create a neat cascading effect with dangles.

These come plain, as well as very decorative.

CONNECTORS and LINKABLES

There is a sub-family of jewelry findings originally called “Connectors”, and more recently referred to as “Linkables”. [The word “connectors” didn’t seem to resonate with customers, so they are trying “linkables”, which also doesn’t particularly resonate, because people are unfamiliar with most of these types of parts. That’s unfortunate, because connectors and linkables open up myriad design possibilities.]

Connectors or linkables are pieces that either have a lot of holes in them, or have multiple loops that come off them. They enable the designer to create segments or sections of beads, which are then connected to each other. They enable the designer to re-direct the flow or pathway of the piece, or to start new pathways/directions off the original piece. They allow you to create support systems within your pieces which are very attractive, appealing, and create a higher level of interest on the part of both viewers and wearers.

The most basic connectors or linkables are rings of various sorts.

Jump rings have a gap or split in them. 
 Split rings are like little key rings, in which the wire of the ring goes around twice. 
 Soldered rings or stamped solid rings have no gaps whatsoever.

In making a choice among these, you would first try to use a soldered or stamped solid ring. If this won’t work, because you have to make some kind of jump, your second choice is a split ring. If this won’t work, either functionally or sometimes from a visual-appeal standpoint they are not appealing, you would use a jump ring.

To open and close a jump ring, you move the wire ends, on either side of the gap, sideways just a bit, so that you have an opening wide enough to slip over whatever you need to slip them over on. You never pull the wires out and in, just back and forth. After you have connected your pieces to your ring, you close the ring by moving the two ends side to side until the two ends meet. If you have difficulty doing this with your fingers, or the aid of a chain nose pliers, you can purchase a jump ring pliers. With the jump ring pliers, you close the jump ring as best as you can with your fingers. Then you put the jump ring between the jaws of these pliers, and squeeze to close perfectly.

Bead Attach Rings

These are two rings soldered together, one small and one larger. These are primarily used in beaded charm bracelets. If you strung your charms on with your beads, they would get locked between the beads, and not flow freely. Instead, you string on your beads, and string on (through the smaller hole) a bead attach ring, everywhere you want to place a charm. Then you attach the charms, usually using a jump ring or split ring, to the larger hole.

Rosary and Y-Necklace Components, and other multi-hole or multi-loop pieces (see above) let you segment your pieces, or take the strings in different directions.

Beads

There are some beads that are considered a part of the Connector or Linkable family.

Double beads are either tubes that are soldered together so that the directions of the tubes are different, or you have a tube with one or more rings soldered along its length.

Say you have two tubes soldered together, and one is curved to the left and the other to the right. You take two strings, one through one, and the other through the other tube, add some beads to both, add another 2-tube-double-bead, to twist the strings in the opposite direction, add more beads to each string, another double bead, and so forth. You end up with a bracelet or necklace that looks somewhat like a DNA-strand (double helix).

Say you have a twist tube with two loops soldered to it, one near the top, and the other near the bottom. You can take two of these, and make a long necklace, with one tube+loops positioned on the left side, and a second one positioned on the right side. The wire of this necklace is strung through the tubes. Next, you take another stringing wire from the top loop on the left side and the top loop of the other tube+loops bead on the right side, and make a strand of beads across the chest. Do this again, attaching the lower loops from left to right. You end up with a necklace that also has two strands going across the chest.

Twister beads are round beads that are soldered together, so that the holes go in different directions. Usually these come as two soldered beads or three soldered beads. You place these in 2-strand or 3-strand necklace or bracelet, at each point you want the strands to cross over each other.

The traditional way to make a twist necklace or bracelet is to take two end bars, and attach the strands in the following way:

Twister beads come in handy because problems arise when these multiple strand pieces are done the traditional way and are worn. First, if you flip one of the end bars over to its other side, you lose the twist as you envision it. Second, when people wear these pieces, they often don’t twist at the points you envisioned, either.

By using two twister beads — in this case, a twister bead comprised of 2 beads soldered together — in the example, the piece will always twist in the way the artist envisions.

Tubes with loops.

These are basically a tube with a loop soldered off the middle. You string these on everyone wherever you to add a drop or pendant to your piece.

ADAPTERS: Things Which Help Adapt Something So It May Be Used Within Your Piece:

BAILS

These are basically pieces that enable you to put a loop somewhere along your strung piece of jewelry. You string these pieces on everywhere you want to add a drop or a pendant. Regular bails look similar to tubes or beads with a soldered loop off the end.

Some loops are set horizontally, and some vertically, and this positioning of the loop may affect how useful it is for your piece. PAY ATTENTION to the positioning of the bail’s loop relative to the positioning of the hole on your pendant piece.

Other types of bails: 
 Pinch bail — basically a fancy V-shaped piece. The legs have pointed pinchers at their ends. You push these pinchers into a horizontally drilled drop. Austrian crystal drops, for example, are horizontally drilled. And you end up with a loop to string through.

Pinch bails come in many sizes, and a few different configurations, today. You need to match the pinch bail and its design to the pendant drop you want to combine it with. When you open and close the pinch bail too many times, it breaks. You are basically taking metal and bending it back and forth. When you try to fit the bail onto the drops, often you break the tops of the drops, particularly if your drops are some type of crystal material. A hazard of using these. So, when planning your projects (and also when pricing these), always assume you will need some extra bails and some extra pendant drops.

While not my favorite thing to do, some people put a drop of super glue where each point or beg of the bail enters the drilled hole.

Snap on bail — basically a fancy lanyard clasp. This is used to make your pendant removable. You can snap on the bail over the stringing wire, and then take it off the stringing wire.

Wire bails — basically a triangular shaped jump ring, where the gap is off to the side, rather than at the bottom. The drop or pendant won’t have a gap to pull through, because the gap is on the side. What I like about these is that people often bring things into the shop to have us convert into some kind of pendant drop, and if I can’t find a regular piece to work, I usually can always make a wire bail work.

Donut bail

The donut bail is used to convert a glass or gemstone donut into a drop. You slip one side of the bail through the donut hole, then push the two loops on the end of the bail together. Then you string through the two loops.

Beaver Tail or Beaver Tail Bail

Beaver tails are flat surfaces with a loop or bail loop attached to one end. You glue the flat surface to your piece, say a piece of fused glass, letting the loop or bail loop to stick out over the top of the piece. If a plain loop, you would add a jump ring or similar piece, to finish off the piece.

Leaf or Foldover Bail

This is a long piece of metal with flat, decorative ends on each side, usually a leaf stamping. You carefully fold this over, creating a loop in the middle. Then you glue either flat surface to the surface of your pendant drop, like a piece of fused glass.

To glue the leaf, foldover, beaver tail or beaver tail bail to a piece, first try either E6000 or Beacon 527. If these don’t work, try a 5-minute epoxy that comes in a dual-syringe. If your piece is smooth glass, you might use some sandpaper or a file to rough up the surface a bit before gluing. If you have still having difficulty with a glass piece, try using glass cement.

SCREW EYES

These pieces are a screw-threaded post, with a loop soldered to the top. You put some glue (any glue except super glue) on the post, push it into a bead — they do not screw into anything — , attach a jump ring to the loop and string the bead on to your piece as a drop.

EXTENDER CHAINS

This is a short length of chain, usually with a spring ring clasp on one side, and a bead-drop on the other. You can buy these pre-made, or make your own. These are used to lengthen necklaces. The spring ring clasps onto the existing ring of the necklace; the hook-clasp can clasp into any link on the chain. The bead drop is primarily decorative.

SAFETY CHAINS

These 2 ½” to 3” lengths of chain, have two tiny jump rings, one on each end. These are used to attach to bracelets, to prevent you from losing your bracelet, should the clasp come undone. You can buy these pre-made, or make your own.

HEAD PINS

Head pins are pieces of wire with a flattened or decorative end or head. You put beads on the head pin, and the head stops them from falling off. You make a loop on the other end, and string these on a necklace, or dangle them from an ear-wire or other loop. You need ½” of exposed wire to make a loop. You can make a single loop, a double loop or a triple loop. Each provides a different level of security, a different visual appearance, and a different impact on the resulting silhouette.

Head pins come in different thicknesses (gauges). 
 Regular thickness: 20 gauge
 Extra Thin: 22 gauge or 21 gauge
 Ultra Thin: 24 gauge or 26 gauge

Too many people try to use the longest head-pins they can get. They end up with bent dangles and drops on funny looking necklaces, bracelets and earrings. If you want something “long”, consider making a series of links using eye pins, instead.

When you make your loops on the head pin, make them large enough so that they have sufficient jointedness and support, and will easily slip over the stringing material or finding. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen women with earring dangles stuck in a 90 degree angle, because the loops were too small.

EYE PINS

Eye pins are pieces of wire with a loop on one end. These are used to make bead-chains, such as in a rosary. You put one or more beads on the eye pin, then make a loop on the other end. You need ½” of exposed wire to make a loop. These come in different thicknesses (gauges).
 Regular thickness: 20 gauge
 Extra Thin: 22 gauge or 21 gauge
 Ultra Thin: 24 gauge or 26 gauge

You can buy head pins and eye pins pre-made. Or you can easily make your own, using simple wire working techniques.

Continue Part 1: Preparers

_______________________________________

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Cleaning Sterling Silver Jewelry: What Works!

What Glue Should I Use When Making Jewelry?

Why Am I So Addicted To Beads?

A Very Abbreviated, But Not Totally Fractured, History of Beads

The Martha Stewart Beaded Wreath Project

When Choosing Colors Has You Down, Check Out The Magic Of Simultaneity Effects

The Use of Armature In Jewelry: Legitimate or Not?

Pearl Knotting Warren’s Way

Organizing Your Craft Workspace…Some Smart Pointers

You Don’t Choose Clasps, You Choose Clasp Assemblies

Know Your Anatomy Of A Necklace

Mini Lesson: Making Stretchy Bracelets

Mini Lesson: Making Adjustable Slip Knots With Thicker Cords

Mini Lesson: How To Crimp

Mini Lesson: Attaching End Caps, Cones, Crimp Ends

Mini Lesson: Brick Stitch

Mini Lesson: Flat Even Count Peyote

Mini Lesson: Ndebele Stitch

Mini Lesson: Petersburg Chain

Mini Lesson: Right Angle Weave

Jewelry, Sex and Sexuality

Everyone Has A Getting Started StoryThe Nature-Inspired Creations of Kathleen

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Glass Beads

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Lampwork Beads

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Crystal Beads

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Seed and Cylinder Beads

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Choosing and Using Clasps

How To Design An Ugly Necklace: The Ultimate Designer Challenge

______________________________________________

Thank you. I hope you found this article useful.

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft video tutorials online. Begin with my ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS COURSE.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Add your name to my email list.

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Posted in Stitch 'n Bitch | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

WHEN RELYING ON OTHER PEOPLE TO SELL YOUR JEWELRY:  6 Things To Be Sure To Do Which Will Improve…

Posted by learntobead on March 11, 2021

The Trunk Show

The women were so excited about the jewelry. Trying it on. Adjusting it to see if they could wear it a different way. Changing up the silhouettes. Pretending they were wearing different outfits to visualize what the pieces would look like. It was a very versatile line of jewelry, and all the women noticed that very quickly. They could wear necklaces as bracelets. Combine bracelets into necklaces. Take one bracelet, add it to a necklace, and create a longer piece. They could purchase different pendant drops, all as add-ons as they wished or none at all. And the drops easily converted into earrings. Imagine that! And the awe and glee and elation and animation — yes, these women were more than happy to have found this jewelry designer and her custom pieces.

I was there that day. In the store. At this one-day trunk show. I saw it all. These women were purchasing almost every last piece. It was the right aesthetic. Contemporary but conservative as well. An individualized look but not outlandish. Easy to wear. Easy to adapt. Easy to visualize what it would look like with different outfits and in different situations.

The jewelry designer was very attentive. She demonstrated the flexibility of each piece in the line. She, at first, asked the women individually a lot about themselves and how they liked to wear jewelry. Then she subtly shifted the conversation a bit so they were talking about themselves and how they would want to wear her jewelry.

At one point, I slowly looked around this upscale clothing, accessories and jewelry store. There were seven store associates standing around. Standing around. A glazed look on their faces. The enthusiasm and energy before them somehow foreign. After the trunk show, when the designer was no longer there, they would be the ones to represent her and her jewelry.

They stood there with blank faces. As if watching a movie they found uninteresting. None of them stepped in. None of them stepped up. Even though the jewelry designer was mobbed with seven or eight women at any one time. They obviously were unable to empathize with the crowd. They had no clue how to sell the pieces because these were pieces of jewelry they didn’t wear themselves. They were somewhat clueless about how to suggest how these store guests could put things together in a stylish, wearable way.

At the end of the day, the jewelry designer was very happy with her sales. But it hit her. Her jewelry would remain at this store for the next several months. But she would not. She would be leaving that day. And she was worried. She thought that over the 10 hours, her purpose was not only to sell to customers, but her purpose was also to model for the sales staff the smart ways for working with these customers and selling her product.

Had the store associates been reliable deputized partners with the jewelry designer that day, all would have made many more customers happy, and made a lot of money and commissions for store, sales staff and designer. Going forward, the designer now had doubts.

Jewelry Designers Often Have To Rely On Others,
 The Designers’ Success Relies On Their Whims

Most jewelry designers do not own their own shops. They rely on other people to sell their stuff. They might put their jewelry in a clothing, accessories or jewelry store on consignment. They might be represented by a gallery or sales representative, with their jewelry spread out in many stores. They might package their jewelry into trunk shows or pick boxes where they send out their jewelry to various stores. These other venues can pick and choose and sell what they want, then return the rest.

The success of sales becomes the whim of who sells it. Their understanding of the designs. Whether they like the pieces or not. Their motivations to keep things clean, neat and displayed well. If they can see themselves or their friends or spouses wearing these. Their sense of style, knowing what things might work well together with what fashions. How well they communicate with their customers. Perhaps even IF they communicate with their customers. If they follow-up with their customers.

Designers Must Take The Lead In Preparing Others To Sell Their Jewelry

The designer must play a leadership role here. The designer as leader must effectively influence, persuade, train and convince whoever will be selling their jewelry how to sell it. As best as possible, the designer must build shared understandings about the product with those who will sell it.

Passive assumptions won’t work here. The designer cannot assume that store owners and their sales staff, because they supposedly want to show a profit, will be good at their jobs. More likely, they are not — particularly when it comes to selling someone else’s stuff. The consequences of poor salesmanship are virtually invisible until many months, even years, later. That’s too late to wait.

To add to the difficulties, the opportunities in terms of time, resources, and follow-up are very limited. The designer may get just one shot to build shared understandings and accomplish several goals. Ideally this should happen in person. Often, it is not. Often it is reduced to shared emails, some printed materials, and some phone calls.

Six Key Shared Understandings

There are six key understandings which the designer must influence others to share. These include,

1. The Key Product Details

2. The Primary Product Benefits

3. The Smart Ways To Use The Products To Build Customer Relationships

4. What Rewards The Sales Staff Should Expect For Themselves, Based On Their Performance

5. At All Times, How To Maintain The Optimum Inventory and Product Mix

6. How To Routinize Timely Feedback

1. The Key Product Details

Think of every line of jewelry as its own culture with a group or tribal identity. Which three to six words or simple phrases encapsulate what that identify is all about? What were the key, primary design choices made which give this line of jewelry its character and resonance? How would anyone know that any piece of jewelry was a part of that group or tribe?

These key words or details might relate to materials and techniques. They might reference fashion, style and taste. They might be things about the designer or about jewelry design in general. There will be lots and lots of details which can be conveyed, but the list of details will need to be severely culled.

People have what is called finite rationality. They can only handle and remember between 4 and 10 pieces of information at a time, with 7 pieces of information usually the upper limit for most people.

Don’t confuse the sales staff. Don’t let them confuse the customers. Limit that descriptive words you use when explaining your jewelry, your design choices, and your design goals. Keep these descriptors simple, un-jargoned, devoid of business babble and clichés.

Keep repeating these 3 to 6 things. Repeat them in ways you want the sales staff to learn them, understand them, and be able to repeat these 3 to 6 things to their customers when you are not around.

2. The Primary Product Benefits

It is not the features of your jewelry that result in sales; it is the benefits people perceive the jewelry will provide for them. People do not focus on what the product is. They focus on what the product means to them.

People buy things to solve problems. These problems might relate to needs and wants. They might relate to achieving status and position. They might resolve emotional desires.

What problems for the potential customer does your jewelry solve? Think carefully about this. Make lists.

Then reflect awhile on how you think your jewelry solves these problems for your customers better than any of your competitors. What are your competitive advantages?

Convey to store owners and sales staff the results of your thinking and synthesis. You do not only want to list for them what customer problems your jewelry solves for them. You do not want your explanation divorced from the actual selling situation. You are not presenting an academic assessment; you want to present a marketing assessment. You want to convey how your jewelry resolves customer problems better than anyone else. This is a little more difficult to do and get the words out, and requires some practice.

And, again, remember that people have finite rationality. Don’t talk about everything. Focus on the couple of primary competitive advantages your line of jewelry has.

As best as possible, make your benefits concrete and specific. Think of which benefits would most readily stick in people’s minds.

3. The Smart Ways To Use The Products To Build Customer Relationships

Any sale is an interaction based on communication. The sale is not the only result. The building of a relationship also results. Too often sales staff performance is rated based on number of sales, and too rarely rated on building relationships. But it is in the building of relationships where we get those repeat sales and bigger sales and broader sales and better word of mouth and more new customers and, you get the idea.

Ideally, if you get the chance, like in the trunk show described above, you can model these relationship building behaviors in front of the sales staff. You can demonstrate how you elicit customer needs, wants and problems to be solved, and how you gain their awareness and trust in how your jewelry will meet these in an advantageous way. If there are other types of products in the store, you can demonstrate how to co-market, such as your jewelry with the store’s clothing.

Absent the in-person approach, you can provide ideas in periodic emails. You might do some simple one-sided-page images and short descriptive content. You might create a fun video that you can share.

You can also work with store staff in developing customer lists detailing the who, how to contact them, the what they bought, the dates, the follow-up sales, customer preferences, any descriptive information about the customer to help future sales.

To help guarantee that sales staff keep these lists and fill them out completely, you can ask to see them periodically to review. You can encourage sales staff to communicate with customers pre-, during, and –post sales. Based on your review, you can suggest specific items in the line that each customer might like to see, and possibly buy. Even though you are not physically present, you can still show how building relationships can generate sales and profits.

4. What Rewards The Sales Staff Should Expect For Themselves, 
 Based On Their Performance

It is helpful if you not only generate commissions and sales for the store, but also some kind of reward for the sales staff each time they sell one of your pieces. Show you recognize their efforts and appreciate them. If sales staff get paid no matter what they do, they may not give your line of jewelry the attention and promotion it deserves.

Besides some reward, perhaps a thank you note, or giving either a monetary extra commission or a piece of your jewelry, you most likely also want to reward the sales staff’ customer follow-ups, without actual sales, such as sending thank you notes or calling them when you send new pieces to the store.

5. At All Times, How To Maintain The Optimum Inventory and Product Mix

Do not assume that the store will maintain the optimum inventory and product mix of your jewelry at all times. There will always be other companies, other designers and other product opportunities competing for any store’s attention. So you will need to step in and capture that attention on a regular basis.

Create an easily update-able plan for the store that details the ideal mix of product — types of jewelry, price points, color, finishes and textures.

Reduce this to a simple product inventory sheet to give the store.

Contact the store periodically to update the inventory, compare to your plan, and make inventory suggestions accordingly.

6. How To Routinize Timely Feedback

You need to get feedback routinely, say at least every 3 to 6 months. You need regular feedback on your jewelry, on the sales process, on other things you can do to help sales staff become better at selling your jewelry.

If your jewelry is not turning at least twice a year, the particular store is probably not right for you. It might be the inattentiveness of the sales staff. It might be a lack of fit with the store’s customer base. But, if you are not getting a minimum of 2 turns a year, this location is not working either for you or the store.

You might formalize requests for quarterly results. You might call the store or any of its sales staff periodically to get information feedback. You might send a questionnaire to customers who have previously purchased your jewelry.

It helps the feedback process along when you provide rewards. This might be in the form of refreshments, such us sending an evaluation form with a box of cookies. This might take the form of adding some free pieces of jewelry to be sold, or one-time discount on purchases.

______________________________

FOOTNOTES

James, Geoffrey. 6 Ways to Persuade Customers to Buy. Inc.com, 2020.

As referenced in:

https://www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/6-ways-to-convince-customers-to-buy.html

McLeod, Saul. “Short Term Memory,” Simply Psychology, 2009.

As referenced in:
 https://www.simplypsychology.org/short-term-memory.html#:~:text=The%20Magic%20number%207%20(plus,it%20the%20magic%20number%207

Sales Motivation: 18 Tips To Keep Your Salespeople Happy.
 As referenced in:

https://www.pipedrive.com/en/blog/sales-motivation-tips

_____________________________________

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Should I Set Up My Craft Business On A Marketplace Online?

The Importance of Self-Promotion: Don’t Be Shy

Are You Prepared For When The Reporter Comes A-Calling?

A Fool-Proof Formula For Pricing And Selling Your Jewelry

Designer Connect Profile: Tony Perrin, Jewelry Designer

My Aunt Gert: Illustrating Some Lessons In Business Smarts

Copyrighting Your Pieces: Let’s Not Confuse The Moral With The Legal Issues

Naming Your Business / Naming Your Jewelry

Jewelry Making Materials: Knowing What To Do

To What Extent Should Business Concerns Influence Artistic and Jewelry Design Choices

How Creatives Can Successfully Survive In Business

Getting Started In Business: What You Do First To Make It Official

So You Want To Do Craft Shows: Lesson 4: Set Realistic Goals

The Competition: Underestimate Them At Your Peril!

___________________________________

I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft video tutorials online.

Add your name to my email list.

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Posted in Art or Craft?, bead weaving, beadwork, business of craft, craft shows, jewelry design, jewelry making, professional development, Stitch 'n Bitch | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

THE JEWELRY DESIGNER’S APPROACH TO COLOR:

Posted by learntobead on February 14, 2021

Learn To Adapt Basic Concepts In Art When Making Jewelry

PREVIEW MY ONLINE VIDEO TUTORIAL:

https://so-you-want-to-be-a-jewelry-designer.teachable.com/courses/the-jewelry-designer-s-approach-to-color/lectures/21825453

Jewelry creates a series of dilemmas for the jewelry maker — not always anticipated by what most jewelry makers are taught in a typical art class.

That’s the rub!

Painters can create any color and color effect they want with paints.

Jewelry makers do not have access, nor can they easily create, a full color palette and all the desired coloration effects with the beads and other components used to make jewelry.

Jewelry is not like a painting or sculpture that sits in one place, with controlled lighting, and a more passive interaction with anyone looking at it.

Jewelry moves with the person through different settings, lighting, times of day. Jewelry sits on different body shapes. Jewelry must function in many different contexts. Jewelry serves many different purposes.

People use and understand colors using their senses. These perceptions among wearer, viewer and designer include:

(1) The Sensation Of Color Balance

(2) The Sensation Of Color Proportions

(3) The Sensation Of Simultaneous Color Contrasts

Better designers are able to manage these sensations. They do so, in major part, by relying on a series of color sensation management tools.

We review these in great detail in this course.

In this course, you will learn some critical skills for jewelry designers that you will want to know…

  • How to pick colors for jewelry, and how this differs from picking colors as a painter
  • How to adapt basic color concepts in art when making jewelry
  • How to recognize the differences between universal responses to color from the more typical subjective ones, and what better designers do about this
  • How to manage the sensation of color within your pieces to achieve your designer goals

You will learn to make smart choices about color when designing and making jewelry.

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft video tutorials online.
Of special interest: My video tutorial THE JEWELRY DESIGNER’S APPROACH TO COLOR

8 Lesson Units
1 1/2 hours of video plus practice exercises and downloadable information .pdf files
$45.00

___________________________

I hope you found this article useful. Be sure to click the CLAP HANDS icon at the bottom of this article.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft video tutorials online.
Of special interest: My video tutorial THE JEWELRY DESIGNER’S APPROACH TO COLOR

Add your name to my email list.

_________________________

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

The Jewelry Designer’s Approach To Color: Video Tutorial Preview

Cleaning Sterling Silver Jewelry: What Works!

What Glue Should I Use When Making Jewelry?

Why Am I So Addicted To Beads?

A Very Abbreviated, But Not Totally Fractured, History of Beads

The Martha Stewart Beaded Wreath Project

When Choosing Colors Has You Down, Check Out The Magic Of Simultaneity Effects

The Use of Armature In Jewelry: Legitimate or Not?

Pearl Knotting Warren’s Way

Organizing Your Craft Workspace…Some Smart Pointers

You Don’t Choose Clasps, You Choose Clasp Assemblies

Know Your Anatomy Of A Necklace

Mini Lesson: Making Stretchy Bracelets

Mini Lesson: Making Adjustable Slip Knots With Thicker Cords

Mini Lesson: How To Crimp

Mini Lesson: Attaching End Caps, Cones, Crimp Ends

Mini Lesson: Flat Even Count Peyote

Mini Lesson: Ndebele Stitch

Mini Lesson: Petersburg Chain

Mini Lesson: Right Angle Weave

Jewelry, Sex and Sexuality

Everyone Has A Getting Started StoryThe Nature-Inspired Creations of Kathleen

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Lampwork Beads

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Crystal Beads

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Seed and Cylinder Beads

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Choosing and Using Clasps

How To Design An Ugly Necklace: The Ultimate Designer Challenge

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Stringing Materials

Posted in Art or Craft?, art theory, color, creativity, design theory, design thinking, jewelry design, jewelry making, Stitch 'n Bitch | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

THE COMPETITION: Underestimate Them At Your Peril!

Posted by learntobead on February 3, 2021

The Workshop

The weekend had arrived.

I slowly glanced around the room, at each and every participant, all seventeen of them, sitting quietly around this very large classroom table, eagerly awaiting what was to come before them. Our guest Jewelry Design Instructor standing at the head of the table. Me sitting at the other end.

Two very special days with this super-hero Instructor. She guiding them step-by-step through the processes of design and construction. Demonstrating how to use the tools. Then the technique. Then the discussion about strategy and materials. And finally, beginning this fabulous necklace project design.

The excitement was palpable. No one could contain themselves. They were lapping at the starting gate. Eyes on the prize. Working together with a celebrity designer. Hearing her thoughts. Seeing her in action. Becoming at least a Facebook friend. Hoping to be able to finish by the end of the next day. And show it off the next.

It took two years to get to this point.

I had arranged everything.

My plans methodical.

My organization without question.

My calendar and schedule to the point.

But until that moment we all entered the classroom, finding our seats, laying out our tools and materials, making sure our water or coffee or tea was at hand, snacks carefully positioned along the center of the table, our guest Instructor passing out the instruction kits … until that very moment, I wasn’t sure this was all going to happen.

The Advanced Study Was To Culminate In 
 A Masters Class In Beadweaving and Design

I am a jewelry designer.

I own a bead store.

I have all kinds of clients and customers interested in various aspects of jewelry making and design. There are bead stringers. Also wire workers. Some fiber artists, silversmiths, and lampwork artists. Toss in some hand-knotters and braiders. The occasional biologist and physicist who use beads in their experiments, and we meet the beading needs of quite a large range of people

One group gets my special attention — the bead weavers. These are people who like to use those tiny little seed beads and needle and thread, and make jewelry, tapestries, embellished clothing, and sculptures, and whatever they can think of. Our bead weavers have a special Advanced Jewelry Design Study Group which has existed for many years. One of the earlier projects this group pursued was to study the life of a well-known and well-respected bead artist and designer. At the time we studied her life, she had already become a celebrity designer and teacher in the bead weaving field.

The question before the group: What makes an accomplished bead weaver and jewelry designer?

Was it family upbringing? Special innate talents? Schooling? Happenstance? What influenced her in her development as a bead artist and designer? Were there ups and downs? Was the career path linear? How important was it to have a mentor or special teacher? How about comradery — what kind of social network did she have, and how important a role did that play?

The group picked their target. I phoned her, and explained what the group wanted to accomplish. I asked if she would be willing to be interviewed, probably about once a week, and she agreed. And that began our adventure and exploration which lasted a little more than a year.

The Advanced Jewelry Design Study Group, to say the least, was very excited. To have this kind of access to a master bead weaving artist and designer was extraordinary. And they had many, many questions for her.

So, my routine began with asking the group what questions they had. Then I would phone the instructor and we would talk about 30 minutes. I reported her answers back to the group. There was some group discussion. Then we generated some more questions.

There were questions about how she got started. She was a seamstress. How she got into beading. She was hired to work in a bead store. How beading became a passion for her. She began to teach classes. She saw how she could integrate the techniques she used as a seamstress into techniques for weaving beads. Did she have a mentor. The woman who owned the bead shop had been a basket weaver, and adapted those techniques for bead weaving. This person was very inspirational, and took her under her wing. Was there any happenstance. Someone was wanting to start a major bead weaving magazine. They came to town — San Diego — to interview several bead weaving artists to see whom they might highlight in the first issue of the magazine. Our Instructor was one of the chosen few.

Over the year, we talked about variations in several bead weaving techniques, and how she came to choose the variations she preferred. We asked what it meant to her to have a design sense. We discussed other bead weaving artists, what of their history she was familiar with, and how they came to specialize in certain techniques over others. We were inquisitive about her selection of materials. We asked questions about what it was like to teach, and how her approaches were similar or different, given the varying skill levels of her students.

During the summer, I asked her if I could arrange a 3-day workshop with her in Nashville, Tennessee. We decided on the weekend of June 21st, about 1 year later at that point. We planned to do two projects — a simpler bracelet, and a more advanced 2-day necklace.

I added the dates to my calendar. I created my marketing plan and schedule. And did not give it much more thought, since the workshop was not to happen for about another year.

Competitive Conflict #1:
 The Local Bead Society

I had been an active member and supporter of our local bead society until the year previous to when my Advanced Jewelry Design Study Group began its study of the artist and designer.

As a store owner, I actively promoted the bead society. I garnered them a large membership. I offered steep discounts to their members. I steered many opportunities their way. I let them use our classroom spaces. I provided materials for their activities at no cost to them. I assisted their planning, program and development committees. I worked with them to write their bylaws.

Everything worked smoothly for many years. But then it didn’t.

Bead society officers were elected every two years. In that last election before I discontinued my relationship with the group, three of the four officers elected — the president, the vice president and the secretary — no longer managed the society and functioned in the members’ interests, nor followed the bylaws.

The society had a bylaw that stated that every program had to have a prespecified date, on which, if that program looked like it would lose money, the membership had to vote whether to continue with the program, or cancel it. The officers ignored the rule. They scheduled several workshops of interest primarily to themselves, many which had nothing to do with beading, over their first two years in office. They drove down the $8,000 the society had in the bank to a little under $1,000.

The officers made themselves the chairs of all the organization’s committees. Refused to do the monthly reports to the membership, including information about the society’s bank accounts.

The officers refused to let the treasurer have access to the bank, or any signatory powers as specified in the bylaws.

The three officers spent society money on lavish gifts for themselves.

And on and on.

Which is why I withdrew.

The Society Wanted A Workshop Too

About six months after I had booked our workshop with the Instructor, the bead society officers approached this same Instructor, and cleverly booked a workshop the weekend before ours. They did not pick any particular workshop projects at that time. I had already done a lot of pre-marketing, so the message about our workshop and our dates was very visible and out there way before the time they approached our Instructor.

We’re in the same town — Nashville, TN. Our potential market of possible participants is virtually the same. The market was not large enough to support two workshops. I did not find out about their plans until 3 months before our workshop was to begin. That’s the timeframe when they began their marketing.

The Instructor should have had more control over the situation. But she did not. She thought the bead society was located in another part of Tennessee, where there would not be a major conflict.

So, here we were.

I proposed to the Instructor and the bead society the following, hoping for a compromise:

a. We would keep our June 21 weekend date

b. We would do the two projects that the Instructor and I had agreed upon.

c. We would hold the workshop at my bead store

d. My advanced students would get first priority for available seats, which would still leave room for a large number of additional participants

e. The workshop would be marketed as a joint project between the bead store and the bead society

f. The bead society could have all the proceeds, which would have been several thousand dollars

The bead society said No!

I held our workshop as planned and scheduled.

The Instructor canceled their workshop, and told them she would never do a workshop with them again.

Competitive Conflict #2:
 Another Local Bead Store

My bead store is located less than half a mile from another bead store. I view them as friendly competition. They see me as the enemy. The two stores have different mixes of merchandise. Some customers overlap, but I view my market area as a 5-hour driving radius around Nashville. They view their market as Nashville only. They offer classes, but come from a craft perspective. They teach steps. I offer classes, but come from a design perspective. I teach theories and applications. We do not attract the same customers. We do not attract the same students.

For me, the presence of both stores, plus a Michaels craft store across the street creates a lot of synergy — more things to buy, more things to do, more customers to entice into learning beading and jewelry making. For the other store, they assumed loss of sales, loss of students and loss of customers. The reality was that our businesses presented more of a continuum than any overlap.

But having this Instructor teach here was a coup. It was status. Power, Legitimacy. Credibility. It was an endorsement of who I was, what I was, and my way of thinking. And the other bead store owners — a husband and wife — wanted all of this for themselves. They were not happy.

We may have been seen as some kind of enemy in this instance. Or, perhaps conversely, as a friend providing more opportunities to bead artists and designers for fun and professional development in Nashville. I guess it depends how you think about competition and where you are standing.

The first thing the other store’s owners tried to do was steal the workshop for themselves. Not long after I had booked the Instructor that summer, they called her. They asked her to reschedule the workshop the same weekend, but at their bead store instead. Even before she told them No!, they began a premarketing campaign. Emails, signage, phone calls — all indicating that they were to host the Instructor the weekend of June 21st. And after she told them No!, they continued their premarketing campaign anyway.

This confused lots of people. Many people thought I might be lying about our program. Luckily, I was interviewing the Instructor weekly, and reporting back to our study group. I included summaries in our marketing materials we sent out to all our customers each month. Eventually, the other bead store stopped their marketing.

The wife who owned the bead store found out the Instructor was doing a workshop in Kansas City. This was about 5 months before our scheduled date. She drove all the way to Kansas City from Nashville. She arranged to meet the Instructor at the hotel lobby one morning, on a pretense and supposedly to show her and sell her some specialty Czech glass beads. They had never met in person before.

The Instructor told me that she had come down into the lobby, and the wife began pulling out displays of Czech glass. But the conversation quickly turned to the Nashville workshop. The wife asked the Instructor to change the venue to their bead store. The Instructor again said No!, and sent the wife on her way. “Creepy,” was the word the Instructor used.

There was more to come.

Three weeks before the workshop, the husband this time phoned the Instructor. He asked her when she would arrive, and which airline she was flying on. He told her that he would pick her up at the airport.

She was already suspicious of the couple. She told him she had other arrangements.

And one more thing.

For three days during my workshop — Friday and Saturday and Sunday, the husband parked his car in the parking lot. Directly in front of my store. Headlights on. He was there all day, every day. As if he were taking names of the customers coming into my store.

Creepy.

Underestimate Your Competition At Your Peril

Looking back, it all seems so much fun — great stories to tell. An adventure in competitive competition. But it was very important to take competition seriously then, and seriously now. It is important to know…

1. What competition is

2. Who you competitors are

3. The specific characteristics of your marketplace

4. What your competitive advantage over your competitors is

5. How to get the message across to your clients and customers — current and possible — about your competitive advantage

Many businesses do not take the time to truly understand their marketplace, and all the competitive forces within it. They may spend some time listing some differences between themselves and those they compete with. Lower prices. More accessibility. Better quality. Faster service.

But the differences in and of themselves do not make the difference between capturing your market or not. It’s the visibility of these differences. And the credibility of how these differences are conveyed. And the risk and reward calculus of your customers. Your competitive advantage is not the quality or price of your product or service you are selling, but your ability to make this information known in the market, and believable in that market, and valued in that market.

1. What Competition Is

Competition is a process utilized to influence outcomes.

Competition begins with perceptions of differences in status or position, and the subsequent recognition of contradictions between market reality and personal or organizational expectation. Status or position can relate to things like wealth, power, attention, income, market share, access to scarce resources, prestige and fame.

A person or business makes the decision to compete when those contradictions become personally or organizationally untenable. Survive or die.

The motivation to pursue competition, then, is to enhance or impede positive or negative changes in status or position.

A strategic competitive response, intuitive or formal, is developed. It is an opportunity for action based on an assessment of the relative risks and rewards for acting versus not acting.

This competitive response and pursuit can take two forms: 
 Either,
 
a) cooperation, when a common goal can be shared, and both can gain,
 or,
 b) conflict, when a common goal cannot be shared, and the gain for one is a loss for the other.

Whatever the response, competition can incentivize. It can set in motion positive things which make the person or business more efficient, more effective, more responsive, more actively learning, more adaptive, and more innovative. Or just the opposite can happen.

Competition is never a fixed state of affairs. It is a journey. So the rivalry has a lot of give and take, and ebb and flow, to it. Things can improve for one party, and diminish for the other. Things can improve for both. Just as easily, things can deteriorate for both. These can lead to compromising ethical standards. These can lead to financial ruin.

2. Who Your Competitors Are

Your competitor is anyone operating in your market — whether individual or business or network or organization or even an event or other more abstract thing — which can influence outcomes related to your status or position.

This might relate to the products you sell. This might relate to the services you offer. This might relate to your design sense, ideas and philosophy. So, you want to get a handle on how your competitors CAN INFLUENCE THINGS, and WHAT RESOURCES AND CONNECTIONS they have on hand to exert such influence, and what their MOTIVATIONS are for wanting to influence things.

Understanding Your Competitors

You cannot compete if you do not have a thorough understanding of who your competitors are. Their understandings and assumptions. Their business strategies. Their operations. Their client / customer base and how they market to them. Their perceptions. Their expectations. Their skill sets. Their level of resiliency and ability to adapt to changing market conditions. How they position themselves within their market.

You cannot compete if you do not have a good estimate of how many competitors you have, and whether they are direct or indirect competitors.

Your competitors include any individual or business which might deter a potential client or customer from choosing you. Some of these individuals or businesses will be obvious because they compete directly with you. Another designer. Another design business. Another business, but not specifically a design business, which sells the same types of design products or services you offer.

These direct competitors may be in the same locale or service area you are in. They may be online. They may have a print catalog. They may be registered as ancillary employees with another service.

With direct competition, you want to be as visible or moreso than they are in order to attract and retain clients and customers. Visibility means that people know who you are, where you are, and the relative risks and rewards for patronizing you rather than one of your other direct competitors.

Indirect competitors are those who do not offer the same products or services that you do; however, the products and services they do offer satisfy your clients’ or customers’ needs in a similar way. They are viable alternatives to what you offer, as understood by a shared or overlapping client / customer base. You must always ask yourself, to understand these indirect competitors, what all the alternatives to your products and services might be.

For example, people buy jewelry for many reasons, one of which is to be adorned in an appealing way. That same person, rather than buy jewelry, might meet their same need by getting a tattoo or buying another accessory like a handbag. Jewelry purchases might be seasonal, timed to special holidays and occasions or the schedule of the partying circuit. At other times, these same people might be attracted to other artistic products and services. In the winter, they might think more about getting a knitted sweater. In the spring, they might think more about planting a garden.

To reach your client / customer base when they are involved with your indirect competitors will still require strategies to increase your visibility. But the specific things you do might be very different, than when competing for the attention of clients and customers who visit your direct competitors. You will need to change your field of vision. You may redefine your client or customer based into different sub-groups. Your marketing messages will probably be very different. Where you place these messages, and when you schedule these messages to go out, may be very different.

3. The Specific Characteristics Of Competition In Your Marketplace

You cannot compete if you do not have a good understanding, not only of who your competitors are, but also, how good they are at competing. What is their position, both in terms of status and location, in your market place –marginal or core? What is their strategy for pricing and how does that relate to clients’ or customers’ perceptions, wants and needs? Do they offer discounts? Payment terms? Do they have anything related to special status, such as awards? What kinds of marketing do they do, and what is the content of their messaging? Are there cultural or social things which impede or enhance their competitiveness? What is their history, how did they get started, how did they keep going? How adaptive and resilient do they appear to be as market conditions change, and what kinds of things make you draw your conclusions?

How Do You Define Your Market Boundaries?

It is very important that you have a clear understanding of how people find you, or find where your products and services are available. This will influence what marketing messages you want to send, where you want to post them, and how often you want to post them.

Some of this information may involve mapping out local shopping behaviors. An example, 25% of your clients or customers visit both the local mall and your business or where your products or services are on the same shopping trip. Another example, 15% of your clients or customers interact with you or your products or services three times each month.

Other information may be specified in terms of how extensive the driving radius is, such as, 50% of your clients or customers are willing to drive 1 hour to get to you, your products or your services.

Within your market boundaries, you may have some sub-markets or market niches. This might break down by age or by income or by gender or by some other variable. You might have clients who want fully customized services, or those who want boiler-plate.

Your physical, geographic market boundaries may have little to no relationship to your online market boundaries. In fact, you may have several different online market boundaries, given where and how you create your online presence.

Concurrently with all your analyses, with a simple review of your various competitors advertising and websites, you can determine how they define their market boundaries. This might trigger new ideas and understandings for you in your own marketing efforts. Or it might create new competitive puzzles to solve. It might give you a better way of calculating whether any one marketing approach is worth the costs.

Also, ask yourself, are there any gaps in the market which you might exploit? Conversely, are any parts of the market oversaturated, and should be avoided?

How Do Your Competitors Position Themselves?

Your same products or services can be presented within your market or market niches in a number of different ways, and through various combinations of circumstances and contingencies.

Based on the packaging and presentation, different existing and potential clients or customers may vary in what resonates with them. That is, even though the products or services may be the same or similar, people won’t always recognize how all of these may equally meet their needs, wants and demands.

The circumstances surrounding the packaging and presentation of products or services is known as positioning. It is important to know how your competitors position themselves. Ask yourself: Am I positioning myself similarly or differently from my competition?

This information about positioning helps you differentiate what you offer from what they offer. It helps your clients or customers compare you to your competitors in a way which influences them to believe that they would trust purchasing from you rather than them.

What Is Their Pricing Strategy?

One of the most visible aspects of your business is how you price your products or services. Your prices provide a concrete measure your clients or customers can use to compare you to your competition. They are perhaps the most singularly important way you recruit and retain your clients or customers.

Obviously, it is critical to get an understanding of how your competitors price things. Do you use a similar or different strategy for pricing your products or services? How appealing are your prices? Are prices in line with what people in your market area are willing to pay? Do your clients or customers trust you in how you value things in order to price them — especially if your prices are higher than your competitors?

Do any of your competitors offer discounts? Are there volume requirements before giving someone a discount? Do they offer different payment options? Terms?

And many designers find they often have to compete with other designers who under-price their products or services, sometimes even below their costs, because they are unaware of the business fundamentals of pricing. There is no good competitive strategy here except to ignore them. Under-pricing is a yellow flag that these designers will not be able to provide a quality service or product, and won’t be able to survive very long as a business.

What Are Your Competitors’ Strengths?

You want to fully understand what clients and customers like about your competition, and like more about your competition than your own business. Then you ask yourself, are these qualities or products or services you need to adopt and include in your own business. Or maybe differences in appeal come down to how you market yourself. Or maybe these are things you need to ignore and not try to offer.

Examine the backgrounds and skill-sets of the owner, and if a larger organization, that of the staff. How much does this lead to their success?

Have they had any particular wins? Can you learn from those?

What Are Your Competitors’ Weaknesses?

It is not only the strengths of your competitors which you need to be aware of, but also their weaknesses. This may further help you identify both your own strengths and weaknesses. This may help you understand how your clients view the strengths and weaknesses of both you and your competitors. It may help you better sharpen your marketing messaging or reveal how to add to your list of products and services.

Often competitor weaknesses in design businesses relate to those businesses trying to impose one design solution on every situation. They have no adaptive skills. They aren’t very resilient. Their knowledge and skill-set in design is shallow and limited. They have difficulty overcoming unknown or unfamiliar situations. They do not know how to engage with their clients in a fully empathetic way.

Has your competitor had any particular failures? What can you learn from those?

Your competitor’s weakness may have less to do with the competitor but rather some deficiency or disorganization in your market. You might learn how that competitor has tried to respond to market imperfections, and take that into account when formulating your own responses.

What Are Your Clients’ or Customers’ Views and Understandings
 of Your Competitors?

Clients and customers make or break your business. It is what they perceive and what they expect and what they value which are critical. Every business, whether a 1-person office or a multiplex, must be able to anticipate the understandings people have who use their services, or who may use their products. And then ditto for that of your competitors.

Additionally, every business needs to have an arsenal of competitive strategies for aligning the understandings of others with those of the business. Do you know what your competitors’ strategies are towards this end?

You may think you offer quality products, but they may not know or may not recognize this. You may think your hours of operation are sufficient, but they may not. You may think your design sense is current and fashionable, but they may not or may be unaware. You may think you have better messaging, connections, and relations with your clients and customers, but they may feel that moreso with your competitors.

One place where all these dynamics converge is online through facebook likes, customer reviews, customer comments and the like. It is important to devote resources towards managing and participating at these types of nexus points.

Always do some reality-checking: How do the understandings and views your customers have of the competition or your own business coordinate with your own understandings and views?

What Are The Primary Ways Information Is Exchanged 
 About The Sale Of The Types Of Products Or Services You Sell?

How do people find out about you? About your competitors? How do they know what your sell? Where you sell it? The value? The opportunity to buy? What happens if they are dissatisfied after the sale?

There are all kinds of options.

– Print advertising in newspapers and magazines

– Ads or classifieds in directories and neighborhood papers

– Marketing materials like brochures, business cards, hand-outs

– Online promotions — banners, search engine ads, search engine listings, classified listings, online calendars

– Indexing of websites

– Links from other websites

– Online reviews

– Articles written about you, in print or online

– Co-marketing with a compatible business

– Relationships with your suppliers or distributors

– Classes you teach

– Trade fairs, exhibits, art and craft shows you attend or participate in

– Attendance at social or business events

– Sponsorships

– Word of mouth

It’s that last one — word of mouth — where you usually get your biggest bang for the buck. So you need to think of ways to drive it.

4. What Your Competitive Advantage Over Your Competitors Is

Part of driving that word of mouth is establishing in clear, visible, legitimate and valuable terms what your competitive advantage or advantages are over those of your competitors.

Your competitive advantage(s) are all the reason someone should contract for your services or buy your products rather than those of any of your competitors. What are those 5–10 things about you and your work that sets you apart from, and perhaps makes you better than, your competition?

There’s always something to differentiate yourself from your competition. Even if your products and services are the same, your pricing is similar, your turn-around time the same, your choices of design elements very similar, there are always other things which come into play and with which you can use to differentiate yourself. You can be a better manager of relationships. You can be clearer and more directional about how to develop your business, and assist others in developing theirs. You can deliver an outstanding customer experience better than anyone else.

5. How To Get Your Message Across To Your Customers 
— Current And Possible — About Your Competitive Advantage

What gives any individual or company a competitive edge are four values:

1. Authenticity

2. Rarity

3. Individuality

4. Legitimacy

You want to position yourself so that you stick out among the competition. This is true geographically. This is true in cyberspace. This is true in the marketplace of ideas, feelings, and values.

Start your strategic planning by focusing on the client or customer, their needs, wants, demands and decisions to buy. Get a solid handle on their thinking, their understandings of the marketplace, their understandings of your business and those of your competitors. Get very detailed about their shopping behaviors.

Last, you want to build relationships and emotional connections with these clients and customers. You want to be known as someone who hears, listens and understands them. You want to be a part, not only of the present, but their history and future, as well.

Design your communications and your interactions to maximize your advantages. You have core convictions — Authenticity. You are a unique source for things — Rarity. You can tailor what you do to the needs of each client of customer — Individuality. You can justify why patronizing you makes more sense than patronizing someone else — Legitimacy.

Ask yourself: What devices do my competitors employ to get their messages across and build customer loyalty in terms of authenticity, rarity, individuality and legitimacy?

Messaging About Your Competitive Advantages Is Not A One Shot Deal

Managing your design business and growing it means you have to be constantly learning about it and making necessary adjustments. Learning about your business in relation to the competition provides a myriad of clues and ideas. Anticipating the shared understandings of your clients and customers allows you to refine your business in a very positive way. And don’t forget to assume that your competitors are assessing you at the same time you are assessing them.

Keep a running list of your ideas, and as they evolve or change.

a. What you do better than your competitors

b. What your competitors do better than you

c. Things your discovered, learned about, and might exploit, and which might be incorporated into your own thinking

d. Things you have learned and insights you have gained which you might leverage into new innovative ideas

Keep on improving. You want to at least match your competition, but better yet surpass them. They are not the standard. Don’t copy them. Innovate, don’t imitate.

Workshop Post Mortem

So how did competition play out after my workshop?

The bead society lost a lot of members, and soon closed down. But many of their members stopped coming into the store. As one former bead society member and former store customer put it: It was more important for her to have a group to come to every Tuesday night, get out of her house at least once a week, and be with others who shared her interest, in spite of any wrong-doing on the part of the bead society officers.

Having a bead society in the area, and maintaining a visible presence in it, was very cost-effective for the store. They were 300 ambassadors spreading good word of mouth about my business. The bead society was also influencing people in the community to take up beading and jewelry making as a hobby and avocation. These were things I didn’t have to utilize store resources for.

My bead store competitor is still in business. To this day I do not think that the owners there recognize that we are different businesses. We have different values and goals. Our customer bases overlap some, but we provide different experiences and attract different market niches.

I try to minimize a sense of Us vs Them. I always refer customers to them and to Michaels. To me, the local customer does this calculus. Is it less risk to find what they want locally, see the real colors and real quality, and get it immediately, or is it less risk to try to find what they want online? With three stores merely blocks apart, it lowers the risk to shop locally. This is incredibly advantageous. I don’t think the other bead store recognizes this.

I was lucky to have approached the design of my classes differently from the traditional craft, step-by-step, learn mechanics approach. The internet, where now you can get all these types of step-by-step classes for free, has driven the value of this type of class to $0.00. My classes focus on the art and design aspects of beading and jewelry making — things not easily conveyed in video tutorials online. So my competitors — the bead store a few blocks away, as well as Michaels — have significantly reduced the number of classes they offer. At the same time, I have tripled mine.

_________________________________

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Should I Set Up My Craft Business On A Marketplace Online?

The Importance of Self-Promotion: Don’t Be Shy

Are You Prepared For When The Reporter Comes A-Calling?

A Fool-Proof Formula For Pricing And Selling Your Jewelry

Designer Connect Profile: Tony Perrin, Jewelry Designer

My Aunt Gert: Illustrating Some Lessons In Business Smarts

Copyrighting Your Pieces: Let’s Not Confuse The Moral With The Legal Issues

Naming Your Business / Naming Your Jewelry

Jewelry Making Materials: Knowing What To Do

To What Extent Should Business Concerns Influence Artistic and Jewelry Design Choices

How Creatives Can Successfully Survive In Business

Getting Started In Business: What You Do First To Make It Official

So You Want To Do Craft Shows: Lesson 4: Set Realistic Goals

______________________

I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft video tutorials online.

Add your name to my email list.

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

___________________________

FOOTNOTES

360 Live Media, Who Is Your Competitor? 8/28/2017.
 As referenced in:
 https://www.360livemedia.com/post/who-is-your-competitor

 Info Entrepreneurs. Understand Your Competitors. Canada Business Network, 2009.
 As referenced in:
 https://www.infoentrepreneurs.org/en/guides/understand-your-competitors/

Grey, Ingar. 6 Advantages To Knowing Your Competition. Bizjournals, 5/3/2016.
 As referenced in:
 https://www.bizjournals.com/bizjournals/how-to/growth-strategies/2016/05/6-advantages-to-knowing-your-competition.html

McCormick, Kristen. 5 Things You Should Know About Your Competitors. 12/22/2016.
 As referenced in:
 https://thrivehive.com/5-things-you-should-know-about-your-competitors/

Misner, Ivan. My Philosophy About Competition, 6/21/2010.
 As referenced in:
 https://ivanmisner.com/my-philosophy-about-competition/

Posted in Stitch 'n Bitch | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

RESILIENCY: DO YOU HAVE THE MOST IMPORTANT SKILL EVERY DESIGNER MUST HAVE?

Posted by learntobead on January 2, 2021

HOW RESILIENT ARE YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL, A PROFESSIONAL, AND A BUSINESS?

Guiding Questions:
 (1) What does it mean and require for you to be resilient as a jewelry designer?
 (2) What does it mean and require for your jewelry design business to be resilient?
 (3) What does it mean and require for you as an individual to be resilient?
 (4) Why is it important to be resilient?
 (5) How do you manage resiliency?

Abstract:

Resiliency is a form of power. It describes our ability to bounce back from overwhelming challenges. It is necessary for survival. Organizationally. Business-wise. Professional-wise. Psychologically. It should be at the top of the To-Do list for every designer and for every design business to be resilient. There are always unexpected disruptions. Sometimes these disruptions are negative; othertimes, positive. All present challenges and opportunities. We want to be able to manage vulnerabilities, absorb stress, recover critical functionality, and continue to survive and thrive when our circumstances change. We want to be able to find, evaluate, negotiate and grab opportunities before they disappear or become unattainable.

Over The Course Of My Business

I have been in the jewelry design business for over four decades. There have been many ups and downs. For most, my business and my skills were resilient enough to keep things afloat until they found their footing again. But not always.

There’s the ever-present business cycle which fluctuates between prosperity and recession. There are changes in fads, fashions and styles, manytimes leaving me with some dead merchandise, a rush to design new styles of jewelry, and the need to change my inventory of parts. A few years, brooches are the hot item; then, all of a sudden, brooches are out and bracelets and rings are in; and, on and on. One color like blue is in, and then it is not. Occasionally, I needed some retraining in new techniques which became popularized. Then there was the slowly increasing shift from brick and mortar businesses to online ones. I had to develop the knowledge and skills to put part of my business online.

At one point, for eleven years, my business was located downtown Nashville in a historic district. It was full of mom-and-pop shops, from rock shops to junk stores to small boutiques and restaurants. It was an exciting place. Too exciting, it turned out. The large corporations decided to move in — Hard Rock Café, Planet Hollywood, Wild Horse Saloon. To accommodate them, the city renovated the district. Part of this renovation included removing over 6,000 parking spaces within an 18-month period. Parking costs skyrocketed from $2–3.00 to $15–20.00. People stopped coming there to shop. Things changed so fast, I had to maneuver out of my lease, and put my business into bankruptcy.

Nashville’s downtown was hit by a tornado. The tornado landed one block from my shop. I could see it from my doorway. It left an unbelievable amount of devastation and debris in the downtown.

The Nashville economy was booming for a while around 2005. Unemployment was below 2%, and I was unable to fill two staff positions.

After the 2008 financial crisis, my business spiraled downwards, at times dramatically, for the next 10 years, before I regained some level of control. When the 2020 COVID pandemic struck, there were 3 months where people had to quarantine themselves, and my business dropped to nothing. For the next year, I had to let all my staff go, and curtail my business hours. I had to maintain a level of inventory and a mix of products which customers wanted with little money coming in.

Then, there are always those moments when you need a good back-up strategy, such as when internet and wi-fi services fail, and you depend on these to process sales and credit cards.

When we think of ourselves as designers, and think about the design businesses we lead or participate in, we need to add resiliency as an important factor — and, I think, the most important factor, — among design sense, creativity, skill-set, marketing and selling, which support our success.

RESILIENCY: What Is It?

Resiliency is a form of power. It describes our ability to bounce back from overwhelming challenges. It is necessary for survival. Organizationally. Business-wise. Professional-wise. Psychologically. It should be at the top of the To-Do list for every designer and for every design business to be resilient.

There are always unexpected disruptions. Sometimes these disruptions are negative; othertimes, positive. All present challenges and opportunities. Changes in fashions, styles, fads and tastes. Changes in technology and equipment. Changes in competition. The world changes whether it is in a direction we want or not. We want to manage these disruptions gracefully. We want to recover nicely. We do not want to fail, but if we do, we want to be able to pull our life, our emotions, our businesses back together again.

Resiliency means doing enough things right. It requires some leadership and self-direction. It requires that we continually reflect on what we do and the positive and negative consequences which follow. We want to be able to manage vulnerabilities, absorb stress, recover critical functionality, and continue to survive and thrive when our circumstances change. We want to be able to find, evaluate, negotiate and grab opportunities before they disappear or become unattainable.

Types of Resiliency

Changes and disruptions affect us on many levels. It affects our businesses and organizations. It affects our professional development. If affects us emotionally and psychologically. As professional designers, we need to come to recognize how resiliency plays out and how it should be managed at each of these levels.

(1) Business and Organization

(2) Professional

(3) Psychological

Whatever level, resiliency should be understood as a process involving all aspects of the organization, the professional self and the individual self.

(1) Business and Organizational Resiliency

The business and organization must be structured in such a way as to anticipate, prepare for, respond to, and adapt to sudden disruptions so as to survive and prosper. They must protect the organization as a whole as well as the people who work within it from the overwhelming influence of risk factors.

This translates into every design business needing to have people and systems set in place so that the business can re-act to a disruption as it occurs, pro-act to prepare for any disruption before they cause a problem and create a solid systems foundation, and post-act to overcome any disruption.

From a business standpoint, re-act resilience (adaptive), pro-act resilience (anticipatory), and post-act resilience (robustness) should be built into the following business prerequisites:

1. Access to designer expertise and skill-sets, particularly if current staff may need to be furloughed or let go

2. Staying competitive by maintaining control over risk and costs, including a functioning accounting system, and efficient/effective management over risk assessment, costs and returns on investment

3. Compliance with client expectations and any government rules and regulations

4. Protecting any intellectual property and data

5. Readiness to respond to changing market conditions, which may involve increased research and development costs, developing new ways in response to new competitors and competitive pressures, and creating new ways of linking up your products with potential buyers

Business Continuity vs. Business Resiliency

When you are scouring the internet for ideas about how to make your business more resilient, you need to differentiate between business continuity and business resiliency. Both involve processes for creating systems of prevention and recovering, dealing with environmental threats to the company. Both deal with preparedness, protection, response and recovery.

Business Continuity focuses on what the organization needs to resist one-time crises. These are things put in place to maintain the capability of the business to continue to deliver products or services at acceptable levels following a disruption. These systems and skill-set foundations are able to continually define the market and market conditions, assess risks and impacts, implement controls, adjust training and awareness, act in accordance, and monitor the evolving situation. Continuity deals with crises one by one as they occur.

Business Resiliency is a more strategic approach for dealing with larger, perhaps more desperate in the moment, crises. Resiliency deals with what the organization needs to continuously anticipate and adjust.

(2) Professional Resiliency

As a professional designer, you also need to have re-act resiliency, pro-act resiliency and post-act resiliency. Your current skill-set may get out of realignment. Your client may have changed their thinking midway through a project. The company you work for may have had to let you go. Some major changes in technology or fashion or style may be occurring. Some of the colors, objects, computer code — you get what I mean — no longer exist, are outdated or sun-set’ed.

You may have hit a wall or some other unknown or unfamiliar situation with a project and are uncertain how to proceed. Your work may have been handed over to another designer, or you may have been required to work with another designer, and you do not share ideas, values and objectives. You need to cope with rejection and dismissal.

Designers depend on the responses and reactions of clients to determine the degree to which their projects are seen as finished and successful. There can be a lot of misunderstanding here. The things they design must be both functional and appealing, and this is not an easy task. Often the design process is one of fits and starts, evaluation and re-evaluation, some tweaking, some adaptation, and some trial-and-error. We design over a period of time, sometimes anticipating that the environment will change and the client may change, but oftentimes hoping these will not.

This is why building in a professional resiliency matters so much for designers. It reduces the uncertainty. It reduces the struggle. It enables us to maintain a positive outlook. It enables us to create, to push boundaries, and to get things done on time, acceptable to the client and the situation.

Buzzanell describes five different processes which professionals use when trying to maintain resiliency –

· Crafting normalcy

· Affirming professional identity and Can-Do attitude

· Securing communication networks

· Putting alternative logics to work

· Downplaying negative feelings and emotions, while reinforcing positive ones

Towards these ends, the resilient designer strives for a high level of literacy in all aspects of design. This involves becoming fluent with all the types of tasks and skills involved. This involves an expectation that learning is a continual, lifelong endeavor. This involves a level of comprehension about what goes together well, and what does not. This involves developing a high level of flexibility — what I call, having a Designers-Toolbox of fix-it strategies handy. And this involves getting very metacognitive — that is, fully aware — of your thinking and motivations.

(3) Psychological Resiliency

As a human being, a major crisis may shake you to the core. It may increase your level of self-doubt and self-esteem. It may make it difficult to cope emotionally or to quickly regain your composure and sense of self-worth. You may lose control or motivation over your design work.

Psychological resilience is when you use your perceptual, cognitive, behavioral and emotional resources to promote your personal worth and assets, and minimize negative emotions and stressors. Psychological resilience allows you to maintain calm, to reflect clearly, and to develop a plan of action, minimizing any future negative consequences. While some individuals can handle greater stress than others, everyone needs to develop within themselves this ability to be resilient.

It is important for any individual to recognize when their psychological resiliency is threatened. People respond to adverse conditions in three ways. Can you recognize these reactions in yourself?

1. Erupting with anger (and it’s important to note that anger follows fear)

2. Imploding with negative emotions, perhaps becoming paralyzed to act

3. Simply becoming upset

Only the third response — simply becoming upset — will allow the individual to become more resilient and promote well-being. They are able to change their current pattern of behavior to better cope with the disruption. Otherwise, coping mechanisms tend to be rejected, ignored, or misunderstood. Psychological resiliency requires that coping mechanisms be intentional, not instinctual.

Resilient designers resort to these psychological resources:

1. Maintaining some emotional detachment from the project, and not taking things personally

2. Seeing critique as a positive resource, rather than a punishing one, and recognizing that you won’t have all the skills or all the answers at all times

3. Reframing things when the initial conceptions of problem or solution no longer serve their purpose, in realistic terms and practical follow-through

4. Recognizing that everything done is a learning experience and a developmental investment in yourself in some way, and never a waste of time and resources

5. Knowing when enough is enough, or, similarly, knowing when to say No!

6. Finding a passion for their work in design which is inspirational and motivational and keeps them engaged

7. Knowing productive things to do during “down-time”

8. Having a sense of self-esteem and self-worth, projecting a confidence in the work, even when that work is questioned or where it is difficult to measure its success

9. Having an ability to communicate and be heard and understood about how problems get defined, skills get applied, and solutions get developed and implemented

RESILIENCY: How Do You Manage It?

One way to visualize how best to manage your resiliency is to group all the activities which need to get done into these four categories:

1. PLAN

2. DO

3. MONITOR

4. ACT

1. PLAN

You create accessible databases, reports, lists and the like about equipment, inventory, supplies and suppliers, costs and revenues, location adaptability or alternative and feasible locations if you have to move things, and backup systems for documents, documentation and inventory supplies.

2. DO

You quantify in dollar terms the risk of loss in inventory, personnel, equipment, and the like. You define and measure

a. impacts
 b. threats
 c. impact scenarios
 d. recovery requirements

3. MONITOR

You put into place ways to monitor risks and responses. You create trigger systems which alert you, preferably with some good lead time, when disruptions are approaching, occurring, cascading out of control, and when responses are stumbling.

You maintain strong networks of communication with colleagues, suppliers, clients, and other related businesses.

4. ACT

Building resilient enterprises and professional lives is not a one-shot, one-time thing. It’s a continual process. It is something you always need to be acting on.

Strategic things to embrace:

Redundancy: some duplication
 Diversity: some variety
 Modularity: some insulation of each thing apart from all others
 Adaptability: some ability to evolve through trial and error
 Prudence: some sense that if anything plausible could happen, it probably will
 Embeddedness: some alignment of business, professional or personal goals with the systems and activities within which these get put into effect

Resiliencies strategies will require leadership and decisiveness in order to be put into place and managed day-to-day.

They may require taking an active, not merely a passive, response in shaping the future environment in order to create and exploit new opportunities to flourish.

They may require greater communication and collaboration with other businesses and professionals, in order to increase a broader, more collective resilience and a greater sharing of risks and rewards.

RESILIENCY: Why Is It Important?

Resiliency is a company’s, a professional’s and/or an individual’s capacity to absorb stress, recover critical functionality, and thrive as circumstances change.

Resiliency is especially important these days because of how rapidly global markets, distributional channels, technology, access to resources, and skill-set foundations change or develop, get disrupted, and redevelop.

Too often, designers and the businesses they work for focus on short term results — the number of designs sold, the number of current and new clients, the returns on investments. And too often, the paramount concern is stability and stasis. There is too much devoted to making things predictable. There is too much of a Have-Design-Will-Travel mentality.

Resilience requires a multi-timeframe outlook — short, medium and long. There most likely will need to be some inefficiencies in the short term so that the long term challenges are not too disruptive. It is highly unlikely that the design which worked today will still be workable tomorrow. Resiliency anticipates that things will be unpredictable, changeable, unknown, even unlikely. Significant consequences will present themselves, but you will not know it until you are faced with them, and you will have to adapt to them and recover, in order to survive.

Managing for resilience will require a mental model of business which embraces complexity and uncertainty and the here-to-fore unidentified. It must interrelate all the functional human and technical systems which come to bear during any design process.

On the personal and professional levels, resiliency can keep you from feeling helpless and paralyzed. It can motivate you to keep going, be decisive, and overcome obstacles. It can provide more clues to you, faster, more readily, more frequently about how to approach the unknown or unfamiliar, be flexible, and fix things.

A more resilient organization or individual can provide a competitive edge over other businesses or individuals unprepared to meet various contingencies. You can become better resistant to withstand any initial shock. You can be more agile in your responses. You can respond and recover smarter and more rapidly.

RESILIENCY: How Do You Become More Resilient?

There is no single strategy for making organizations, professionals or individuals more resilient. However, we can know those things which enhance resilience and to which you can work into your own business, professional or personal life.

To become more resilient, basically, you need to seek advantages in adversity. Towards this end, you will need to continually invest, in an integrated and coordinated manner, with concurrent attention to both management and creativity requirements, in these five things:

(1) Infrastructure (technology, inventory, accounting systems, displays, systems structure and analysis)

(2) Knowledge (technical skills, marketing and other business skills, risk assessment, criticality, reflection, metacognition, prediction, anticipation, leadership)

(3) Relationships (establishing trust, credibility, legitimacy, visibility, ways to communicate and dialog, collaboration, ways to sell)

(4) Assessment (measuring fluency, flexibility, adaptability, diversity, capability, cost/benefits, redundancy, modularity, embeddedness, prudence, and critical responses)

(5) Attitude (always designing with the end user in mind, and developing a change- and developmental-mentality and culture within your organization or professional network)

A continual series of incremental investments, implemented as a framework and as an integrated strategy, will usually be more cost-effective in the long run than any one-shot response to a sudden and overwhelming change or disruption.

____________________________________

FOOTNOTES

Bergman, Megan Mayhew. “Why people in the US south stay put in the face of climate change,” The Guardian, 1/24/2019, 2019.

Bruce, Christina. “What does it mean to be a resilient designer?” 10/12/2019.
 As referenced: 
 https://uxdesign.cc/what-does-it-mean-to-be-a-resilient-designer-90bf81d110cf

Buzzanell, Patrice M. “Resilience: Talking, Resisting, and Imaginging New Normalcies Into Being,” Journal of Communication. 60 (1): 1–14, 2010.

Buzzanell, Patrice M. “Organizing resilience as adaptive-transformational tensions,” Journal of Applied Communication Research. 46(1): 14–18, 1–2–2018.

Fredrickson, B.L.; Branigan, C. “Positive emotions broaden the scope of attention and thought-action repertoires”. Cognition & Emotion. 19 (3): 313–332, 2005.

Cocchiara, Richard. Beyond disaster recovery:

becoming a resilient business. An object-oriented framework and methodology

IBM Global Services, October 2005.

Goodman, Milo. Adaptability as the key to success in design. 1/13/18.
 As referenced:
 https://medium.com/gymnasium/adaptability-as-the-key-to-success-in-design-ea64c1ed4044

Masten, A.S. “Resilience in individual development: Successful adaptation despite risk and adversity” pp. 3–25 in M. Wang & E. Gordon (eds.), Risk and resilience in inner city America: challenges and prospects. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum, 1994.

Padesky, Christine A.; Mooney, Kathleen A. “Strengths-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: A Four-Step Model To Build Resilience,” Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy. 19(4); 283–290, 6/1/2012.

Reeves, Martin; Whitaker, Kevin. “Strategy: A Guide to Building a More Resilient Business,” Harvard Business Review, 7/2/2020.

Reich, John W.; Alex J. Zautra; John Stuart Hall. Handbook of Adult Resilience. Guilford Press, 2012.

Siebert, A.I. The Resiliency Advantage. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, (2005).

Wagner, Mindy. Bounce Back: Become A More Resilient Designer. 1/30/2013.
 
 Zautra, A.J., Hall, J.S. & Murray, K.E. “Resilience: A new definition of health for people and communities”, pp. 3–34 in J.W.Reighc, A.J.Zautra & J.S.Hall (eds.), Handbook of adult resilience. NY: Guilford, 2010.

__________________

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency In Design

Backward Design is Forward Thinking

How Creatives Can Successfully Survive In Business

Part I: The First Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: Is What I do Craft, Art or Design?

Part 2: The Second Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: What Should I Create?

Part 3: The Third Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: What Materials (and Techniques) Work Best?

Part 4: The Fourth Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: How Do I Evoke A Resonant Response To My Work?

Part 5: The Firth Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: How Do I Know My Design Is Finished?

Doubt / Self-Doubt: 8 Pitfalls Designers Fall Into…And What To Do About Them

Part 1: Your Passion For Design: Is It Necessary To Have A Passion?

Part 2: Your Passion For Design: Do You Have To Be Passionate To Be Creative?

Part 3: Your Passion For Design: How Does Being Passionate Make You A Better Designer?

______________________

I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft video tutorials online.

Add your name to my email list.

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Posted in Stitch 'n Bitch | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

YOU INHERITED SOME JEWELRY … NOW WHAT?

Posted by learntobead on December 23, 2020

Bags and Bags of Jewelry

She came to me overwhelmed. She had bags and bags of jewelry, some in perfect condition, some not so much, some broken. Her aunt had died, and left her a lot of jewelry. That was years ago. Her mother had died more recently, and left her a lot of jewelry, and a lot of half-finished pieces and components and parts. Her mother had dabbled in jewelry making. And regrettably, three more family members, including a grandmother she was very close to, had recently succumbed to the corona virus. And each had left her more bags of jewelry.

She tried sorting these herself, but frustration got the best of her. She knew there were pieces she would wear herself. Other pieces she wanted to keep for sentimental reasons. Parts of pieces she thought she could do something with, re-purposing them. And lots and lots of fine and costume jewelry she wanted to sell.

She felt she needed some more help in sorting and evaluating what she had. She needed to know, What she should do, How she should do it, and Where she should go to do it.

Our consultation covered these considerations:

1) Etiquette

2) Organize and Sort

3) Clean, Identify Areas of Wear, Refurbish

4) Establish Value

5) Keep and Wear, or Keep and Store

6) Re-Purpose

7) Recycle

8) Sell

9) Donate

10) Throw Away

1) Etiquette

Her name was Danali. She was named after her grandmother and a great aunt. Danali felt very guilty and a few other awkward feelings as she thought about giving away or selling all this jewelry. She repeatedly asked herself, “Should I keep all of it?”

Did she have to keep it all? It was important to have this conversation up front. I told her she did not necessarily have to keep everything. The various people who gave her their jewelry would want her to be happy. She needed to do the things which made her happy, whether this meant keeping things, reworking things or selling things.

Was it her decision what to do with the jewelry, or should she involve other members of her family? Her brother asked her for some of it so that he could give it to his wife and daughter. Her step-father wanted to give several pieces to his second wife. I advised her to consider herself first. Some families have a tradition of passing down jewelry. What was her family’s tradition? Was giving some of it to her brother something she wanted to do? Since she wasn’t related to her step-father’s second wife, I told her that I found his desire to be a little unusual, maybe even creepy. Bottom line: the jewelry was passed down to her to make her happy. That had to be the guiding principle here.

She wanted to remake or sell some of the jewelry. Would she be violating someone’s legacy here? Again, I pointed out that she should do what makes her happy. That’s the legacy. Her deceased relatives wanted her to be happy and get pleasure from the jewelry which they had worn or created. Getting pleasure meant both financially and/or aesthetically. They left their jewelry to her because they trusted the decisions she would make. But that did not mean that every piece had to be preserved exactly or stored in some warehouse or safety deposit box or not be sold or shared with others.

Danali needed to talk about giving herself permission to make those particular choices which would make her happy. She needed to acknowledge to herself what she wanted to wear, what she wanted to repurpose, what she wanted to give away, and what she wanted to sell. This was important.

2) Organize and Sort

The next thing she and I worked on was to organize and sort all the pieces. There were a lot of pieces, and this took many hours spread out over several weeks, typically a 2-hour session at a time.

We went one bag or one box at a time. Within each bag or box, we went piece by piece by piece at a time.

For each piece, we created a simple written record:
 a) Description of piece to best of her and my ability
 b) What she preferred to do with the piece:

– keep and wear,

– keep and store,

– repurpose,

– cannabalize the parts,

– recycle,

– share with someone else,

– donate,

– sell,

– throw away

These became the sort categories for her jewelry.

c) What I thought the full retail price would be for the piece, if sold in a store. [More about establishing value later.]

In our descriptions, we examined each closely and paid particular attention to these factors:

1. The condition, both top-side and back-side, and whether both top and bottom sides of the piece were finished and detailed, or just one side

2. The type and quality of materials used, such as differentiating fine from costume jewelry, gemstone from glass from plastic, type of metal and if there was an accompanying stamp (like .925 or 14KT or GF), and the like

3. The craftsmanship, especially for hand-made pieces

4. For pieces with better quality gems, then their cuts, their visual qualities, and whether the gems alone were more useful and valuable than the piece as a whole

5. The quality and condition of the clasp and other connector features

6. Looked for evidence of the designer or brand, such as a signature or stamp

7. If there was any paperwork associated with the piece, from designer sketches to valuations to certificates of authenticity to insurance policies to sales receipts

8. For some pieces, we listed a style or decade or era it might be associated with, and wrote down the evidence we used to draw these conclusions

The GOOGLE LENS app will let you take picture of anything, and then search its image database. This was helpful in locating similar pieces, and seeing how they were described and valued. Sometimes we took a picture of the clasp or a particular cut of the stone to see what similar things and information we could find through Google.

With each piece, I had Danali ask herself these questions:

· Did you like it?

· Like it enough to want to keep it?

· Did she have space for it?

· Were other things very similar and duplicative?

· Would a photo of the item be a sufficient keepsake rather than the item itself?

· Could she create or recreate or repurpose something of pleasure and value from any of the parts?

3) Clean, Identify Areas of Wear, Refurbish

A lot of inherited jewelry needs some cleaning, and perhaps some refurbishing and repair. It is important to consider whether you think any particular piece will benefit from this extra effort. This is true whether you want to keep the piece or sell it.

Some jewelry will benefit from a soap and rinse with warm water and mild dish detergent. Other jewelry might need some polishing up, especially if it is made from sterling silver. Of note, plated materials will not polish up and be a shiny color again. Sterling silver will.

Typically, some stones are missing and need to be replaced. A clasp might be missing or might not work well any more. The stringing material may have deteriorated. Some parts of the piece may have chipped or broken off. It may be missing a part, such as the clutch for an earring post. Old rings may need new shanks. Chains may need to be soldered.

Costume jewelry will be particularly difficult to restore. The parts are usually made of materials that cannot be re-soldered. The materials used — beads, stones, findings — may no longer be available, or available in the particular colors available when the jewelry was first made. If the piece was plated, this plating has probably worn away. Re-plating may be difficult or too expensive, given the material value of the piece.

4) Establish Value

It is important to establish value for each piece. It is equally important to use a measure of value that can be standardized for all pieces, and that is understandable.

The value of any one piece of jewelry is not one particular number. It depends on the context. The value could be the price someone would pay for it in a store. It might be the price someone who sells jewelry is willing to pay for it, so that a profit could be made. It might be the value of the materials themselves, irrespective of the design. It might be the value people are willing to pay for pieces made by a particular designer. It might be a value at auction. It might have value only for the person who owns it.

There are several standards for establishing value. Four prominent ones include the following:

1) REPLACEMENT PRICE

2) ESTATE VALUE AT RETAIL

3) ESTATE VALUE AT WHOLESALE

4) INTRINSIC VALUE

Replacement Value. If you bought the same piece new today, what would its price be? This gives you the highest valuation. It is not the value of the piece itself. This value is the least accurate standard. However, it is a number that people can easily relate to. I like to start with the replacement value, because it is so meaningful to the client. And I give the client what are called multipliers — that is, a number to multiply the replacement value by in order to estimate what value they might really be able to get for their pieces, given where they are trying to sell them.

Estate Retail Value. This is the price a piece of jewelry would be sold at to an individual who is looking to purchase the used jewelry for themselves. This value links directly to the jewelry item. These individuals expect to save money compared with buying a similar item new.

There are many sources of estate jewelry. These include people who sell used, older or vintage jewelry through Craigslist, Ebay, various auction houses, garage sales, flea markets, or other online sites. There will be quite a variety here in pricing and pricing strategies. For price comparison purposes, I like to use prices I find on Ebay. I tell my clients to use a multiplier between .40 (representing a 60% reduction in value) and .70 (representing a 30% reduction in value), with .60 or 60% as a reasonable average estimate. So, they would multiply the Replacement Value by .40 to get at the Estate Retail Value.

If the Replacement Value was $100.00, then a reasonable estimate of the Estate Retail Value would be $100.00 times .60, or $60.00. This would be $40.00 less than the Replacement Value. Stated another way: if a similar new piece was selling for $100.00, then someone would expect to pay $60.00 for the used jewelry when purchasing that jewelry for personal use.

Estate Wholesale Value. This is the price a business which sells used jewelry is willing to pay. Businesses have to take into account many more costs — overhead, rent, maintenance, staffing — than individuals buying used jewelry. So these businesses will only be willing to purchase used jewelry at a considerably lower price than the Estate Retail Value. The jewelry these businesses need to purchase have to be resalable at a cost customers are willing to spend, and which also covers their operational costs plus a profit.

Businesses like antique stores, estate jewelers, pawn shops, even some boutiques, may purchase inherited jewelry for resale. You can anticipate that they will want to at least double, and probably triple, their cost to set their own price for their customers.

The Estate Wholesale Value is probably the best value for resalable jewelry which has been inherited. This assumes that most of the inherited jewelry will be sold to a business where that business intends to resell it.

The multipliers I suggest here are between .30 (70% reduction) and .50 (50% reduction), with .35 (65% reduction) as a reasonable estimate.

If the Replacement Value was $100.00, then a reasonable estimate of the Estate Wholesale Value would be $100.00 times .35, or $35.00. This would be $65.00 less than the Replacement Value.

Intrinsic Value. The value here is set by the value of the raw materials, usually less a small processing fee. This value yields the lowest price. This price may be lower than the actual price you might be able to sell your item, so think carefully. Typically the Intrinsic Value is the value of the raw metals and the gems. Style, condition, brand, market demand, among other factors, are not taken into account.

Refineries, Cash-for-Gold businesses, some fine jewelry stores will pay intrinsic value for inherited pieces. Be certain up front, with pieces made up of both precious metals and stones, whether the purchasing business will pay for both, or just one or the other. You may have to remove any stones before taking your pieces into these businesses.

There will be different payment rates for different metals, all based on weight. An average scrap rate for gold or sterling silver will be around 85% of the current market value less a processing fee, say $50.00. They will take the total weight of the metal, calculate the current value, multiply this by .85, and subtract a processing fee. This becomes the Intrinsic Value.

The intrinsic value for any gemstone is based on the wholesale price of the gem less any cost for re-cutting, re-polishing or otherwise refurbishing the stone.

Intrinsic metal prices are well publicized online. Intrinsic stone prices are not, and there will be a wide variation on this, so it is wise to shop around.

Other Value Considerations

There are other factors which may come into play:

– Whether the piece is currently in style or not

– Whether something makes it rare or coveted, such as by a particular designer or brand (look for stamped mark or engraved signature), or is an unusual design or uses particular stones

– Metal and gemstone prices fluctuate quite a bit, and you may be hitting the market at a low (or at a high) point

– The condition of the piece

And just because the piece is costume, not fine jewelry, is not a reason for dismissal. Many costume jewelry pieces are coveted and highly valued today.

OnLine Services

There are many online services which will value your pieces for you. Their fees and reputations will vary widely. Check their online reviews.

There are several national associations for appraisers. These require their members to adhere to a high standard of conduct. You should make sure your appraiser either is a member, or, if not, you know that person to be highly knowledgeable and reputable. This is because anyone can present themselves as an appraiser. There are no federal and state licensures.

An appraisal will

· Clearly state the value and the type of value

· Describe the item in detail

· List the procedures used to determine the value

· Specify the appraiser’s qualifications

· Have the appraiser’s signature

You will also find scrap metal calculators online which will be useful.

5) Keep and Store, or Keep and Wear?

Keep and store. For some pieces, you may want to keep them, even though you do not plan to wear them. They may have some sentimental value. They may have a personal story to tell. You might see yourself wearing them at some time, just not now, and are not ready to part with them.

I suggest keeping at least one piece from each loved one from whom you inherited the jewelry. Pick a piece they may have worn a lot, or worn on a special occasion, or represented their personal style.

You can also display pieces you love, but are not interested in wearing, say in a shadow box you hang on the wall.

Keep and wear. There are most likely many pieces you can see yourself wearing. It’s great to mix old and new pieces together with any outfit. Everything is a matter of styling and your personal taste.

6) Re-Purpose

A brooch becomes a pendant. A pendant becomes an earring. A necklace is remade into two bracelets. A very long necklace or a multiple strand necklace made into two or more necklaces. A shoe-clip becomes a clasp. There are many ways to re-purpose jewelry from one type to another.

You might also repurpose a pin into a curtain pull. Some earring drops into push pins or refrigerator magnets. Use in a mosaic. Embellish a cross stitch canvas. Create a bookmark. Decorate some sandals or sneakers. Use as drawer pulls. Decorate your cell phone. Add some pizazz to a purse or strap.

Lots of ideas. You can also do a search engine search, like on Google or Bing, using the keyword phrase “old jewelry into new” or “grandma’s old jewelry”.

7) Recycle

Sell your scrap. There are places, like refineries, cash-for-gold stores, jewelry stores, and the like, which will buy scrap for its intrinsic value. For metal scrap, they will weigh your pieces and you will get paid, depending on the weight, metal value, less a fee. For stones, places will evaluate their wholesale values, less costs for reconditioning or refurbishing, and less a fee.

Cannabalize the parts. You can break up the pieces of jewelry and reuse the components, beads, clasps and other parts in other jewelry making projects. The parts may have more value as parts than as part of the piece as a whole.

8) Sell

There are many places, both where you live, as well as online, where you can sell your pieces.

Locally, you might contact antique stores, boutiques, jewelry stores, salons or pawn shops. Most likely they will take your items on consignment (that is, you will be paid when the pieces sell). You might try a local flea market or marketplace. You might hold a garage sale.

Online, you might check out Ebay, Craigslist, Rubylane, Etsy, The Real Real (focuses on high-end jewelry), Worthy.com (diamond rings), Tophatter and other jewelry-specific auction sites. Take high resolution photos, at least 500 x 500 pixels in size. Provide good and thorough descriptions. You need to establish, through how you present your items, a high level of trust and credibility.

Ebay especially is a useful source for researching the prices your items might sell at. If you have several items which might only sell for a few dollars each, you can group them together into a “lot,” and sell them as a “lot”.

Be sure to list…

· Description, including anything of particular interest, using words your potential customers will connect with

· Condition, any flaws, any functionality issues

· Color

· Brand

· Size and dimensions

· Estimated value and the basis for that valuation

· List price, as well as minimum acceptable price

· Photos, at least 3 (front, back and side), and use a white background

· Shipping requirements, limitations, instructions

These online sites will take a 10–15% of your sales price as a fee. There may be some other small fees involved. You should anticipate these fees, when setting your prices.

9) Donate

Let’s say you have a lot of jewelry you like, but doubt you would ever wear it. You don’t want to deal with selling the pieces. So you might think about donating them.

First, think about any friends or relatives who might appreciate these pieces. You could even hold a party and let people pick out the things they like for themselves.

Second, think about donating pieces to charity or nonprofit thrift shops like Good Will or Salvation Army. Other sites, I Have Wings Breast Cancer Foundation; Dress For Success; Support Our Troops; Suited For Change; New Eyes.

Make sure you get a donation receipt.

10) Throw Away

Of course, your last option is to throw the jewelry away.

You do this only after you have exhausted all other options.

_______________________________

USEFUL AND INFORMATIVE LINKS

https://tracymatthews.com/what-to-do-with-inherited-jewelry

https://recyclenation.com/2014/07/recycle-jewelry/

https://www.leohamel.com/blog/index.php/2018/02/what-to-do-with-inherited-jewelry/

https://www.callagold.com/antique-or-inherited-jewelry/what-to-do-with-your-inherited-jewelry/

https://ask.metafilter.com/29181/What-is-the-proper-etiquette-for-dealing-with-my-deceased-Moms-jewelry

https://sixtyandme.com/give-yourself-a-legacy-gift-by-repurposing-meaningful-jewelry/

https://www.worthy.com/blog/loss/inheritance/selling-inherited-jewelry/

https://whatsyourgrief.com/sorting-through-belongings/

https://www.foxfinejewelry.com/blog-post/what-do-i-do-with-inherited-jewelry

https://www.samuelsonsdiamonds.com/insights/how-to-determine-estate-jewelry-value/#:~:text=The%20only%20way%20to%20truly,consider%20during%20the%20appraisal%20process.

https://www.mygemologist.com/learn/selling-jewelry/how-to-value-inherited-jewelry/

https://truval.com/blog/steps-determine-value-vintage-jewelry/

https://www.worthy.com/blog/knowledge-center/jewelry/how-much-is-my-jewelry-worth/

https://tdcjewelry.com/what-to-do-with-old-inherited-jewelry/

https://quickjewelryrepairs.com/articles/inherited-jewelry-value-and-refurbishing/

https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/100115/how-value-jewelry-inherited-loved-one.asp

https://susanjane.com/inherited-jewelry/

https://sabrinasorganizing.com/places-to-donate-jewelry/

https://askinglot.com/what-can-i-do-with-unwanted-costume-jewelry

https://premeditatedleftovers.com/naturally-frugal-living/7-ways-to-turn-unwanted-jewelry-into-cash/

____________________________________________

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Oy Ve! The Challenges of Custom Work

The Importance of Self-Promotion: Don’t Be Shy

Are You Prepared For When The Reporter Comes A-Calling?

Don’t Just Wear Your Jewelry…Inhabit It!

Two Insightful Psych Phenomena Every Jewelry Designer Needs To Know

A Dog’s Life by Lily

Copyrighting Your Pieces: Let’s Not Confuse The Moral With The Legal Issues

Jewelry, Sex and Sexuality

Jewelry Design: An Occupation In Search Of A Profession

Teaching Discplinary Literacy: Strategic Thinking In Jewelry Design

Contemporary Jewelry Is Not A “Look” — It’s A Way Of Thinking

Beads and Race

Were The Ways of Women or of Men Better At Fostering How To Make Jewelry

The Bridesmaid Bracelets

How To Design An Ugly Necklace: The Ultimate Designer Challenge

Cleaning Sterling Silver Jewelry: What Works!

What Glue Should I Use When Making Jewelry?

I hope you found this article useful. Be sure to click the CLAP HANDS icon at the bottom of this article.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

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