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CONQUERING THE CREATIVE MARKETPLACE: What You Need To Know When Preparing A Portfolio

Posted by learntobead on January 19, 2023

Your Portfolio

Your Portfolio will most likely be the first impression a gallery, store, or collection gets of your work. You want to make it a positive and lasting one.

As with the Artist Statement, you do not want to follow anyone’s template when designing your Portfolio. This won’t serve you well. In reality, too many Portfolios look the same.

You will most likely want several versions, say 3 or 4, of your Portfolio in anticipate of different audiences and different ways you might use this. Specifically, you might want versions differentiated by one or more of these characteristics:

· Document without dates for jewelry pieces

· Document with dates for jewelry pieces

· Organized by theme

· Organized by audience

· Only those pieces representative of the brand you are trying to sell to a particular venue

· All your pieces

· Digital, including an online copy, an online copy with some graphical animations, an ebook, or a video online

NOTE: Your digital versions should be responsive. That means they are created in such a way that no matter what browser or what device (computer, tablet, phone, TV) they are viewed on, they will look good.

NOTE: I suggest sharing your digital copy with a URL link to where it would be posted online, say on your website. I suggest not sending a digital copy on a CD, disc or flash drive. I think the potential viewer might get annoyed having to set up their computer to ready it to read the digital copy off these formats.

· Print, including something you print yourself off an office printer, or something available from a bookseller as a print-on-demand.

· Presentation folder: basically a binder with plastic sheet holders, into which you can place sheets of printed images of your work and related text.

· PowerPoint slide show. Can easily be shared on a Tablet or Computer or Notebook Computer.

· With or without prices

Your Portfolio will include images, short text descriptions of each piece, its materials, techniques, and inspirations. You might include your Artist Statement, Testimonials, resume, copy of a significant press article about you. Of course, you would have all you contact information present.

Look Book is a more focused portfolio. It includes a limited number of your best pieces and pieces representative of your brand. The images are the stars. There is limited text, most often in the form of captioning or a short relevant quote. The Look Book should feel cohesive and feel like it targets a very specific audience.

Look Book by Laura McCabe, cover
Look Book by Laura McCabe, inside pages

In Print: These days it is easy and very inexpensive to develop a print-on-demand book for your Portfolio. You have many size options. It can be printed in high quality color. You can have a hard cover and/or a soft cover. You can go with a high quality paper if you want. A printed Portfolio is something that you can give away or sell. This format ups your legitimacy and credibility significantly. You only have to print one copy at a time. It is not difficult to keep the book updated.

Check out kdp.Amazon.com and Ingram Publishing for information about print-on-demand book publishing.

The print version would include,

· Front cover art, back cover art, and side binding art

· Back cover text

· Bar code

· ISBN number

· Library of Congress number

· Your content with images

Designing Your Portfolio

STEP 1: Decide who this is for.

Research and delineate who their audiences are and to which they have to be responsive. For example, a gallery and its collector patrons. Or a store and its core customer base.

Given who it is for, what format and content would they prefer? How do you want them to respond after they view your Portfolio; what action (of course in your interest) do you want them to take?

STEP 2: Select your content.

Ask yourself:

· How consistent and coherent is my content? Have I described each project from inspiration to aspiration to designed outcome to production and distribution? If it is important to present yourself as a brand, how well does your selected content support your brand image?

· Does my content clearly show and demonstrate how I think and problem solve when designing jewelry? Have I identified the design challenges for each project, and how I solved them? Some design challenges might be time constraints, selecting materials, selecting techniques, availability of technologies and tools, consistency with fashion and style expectations.

· Does my text support my images, and vice versa?

· You do not want to settle for a laundry list of projects. You want a set of projects and their related content with which you can create a story.

STEP 3: Organize your content.

Does your organization reaffirm your communication and presentation skills? Have you made clear your style, process and design philosophy? Do the substance, look and feel support an image of you as a professional jewelry designer? Does your organization tell a story, with a beginning, middle, and end, and some takeaways or learnings? Does it have a good narrative flow?

You might organize by theme or color or technique or silhouette. You might organize by price point. You might organize by the context in or types of outfits with which the jewelry might be worn.

NOTE: Cognitively, it is much easier for the reader to digest 3 or 4 pieces of information at a time. So, you might group projects into collections of 3 or 4 pieces. For each piece, you might present 3 or 4 critical pieces of information. And so forth.

STEP 4: Design the cover.

This can be all image, all text, or a mix of image and text. How well does the cover coordinate with your jewelry and brand image?

STEP 5Evaluation.

Does anything seem too vague or incomplete? Are the words you use strong, active, sufficiently descriptive and powerful? Does the narrative flow make sense, or can it be improved?

Ask yourself and some of your designer friends whether your Portfolio, given your audience and how you want them to act in response, prove that you are the right fit.

Given your audience, what questions can you anticipate that you think they might ask you? Example, what was difficult? What might you do differently if doing the piece again? Why would someone want to buy this piece? What kinds of related designs have you considered?

Some Advice

· Layout doesn’t matter nearly as much as the content and how you present your work

· Include some photos which demonstrate the scale of your work and the wearability of your work

· For a gallery, retail venue, or agency, show the retail prices you believe your work should sell for. Don’t include dates. A buyer might wonder, given an earlier date, why the piece hadn’t sold.
For other audiences, you can decide whether or not to include either prices and/or dates. You might want to show your evolution and history as a jewelry designer.

· Keep images separated from text. Don’t interrupt a series of images about a particular piece with text. The viewer will have a visual journey that is a very different experience than a reading journey.

· Keep only 1–2 images per page.

· Make it easy for the viewer to know what you are showing them: detail name of piece, materials, size, technique, price.

· You might include several SOLD pieces, clearly marked as sold.

· Back up all your digital files!

· Unless asked to, I would suggest not sending images on 35mm slides.

· A vertical (portrait), rather than a horizontal (landscape), format will work best. If one of your pieces looks best presented horizontally, take that horizontal image and embed it on a vertical formatted page.

· Include a TITLE PAGE after your COVER. Acts as a visual transition to the images of your pieces. The Title Page should have the artist’s name and some kind of tag line or catchy informative heading.

· 8 ½ x 11” is always a good size, but you do not have to limit yourself to these dimensions.

· A white background will work well, but you do not have to limit yourself to white. Be sure your font colors will easily be seen when printed on a color other than white.

· Where using text, always have a HEADING LINE, which usually is a larger font, than the text you use in paragraphs.

· Start each piece on its own page. Usually, consistency in page/text/image formats from piece to piece will be more pleasing to the reader.

· Ideally, showing 20–30 pieces is a good goal. Depending on how you intend to use the Portfolio and who your audience is, you might present more pieces, but not less than 20.

· Create a BACK PAGE or BACK COVER. This might include a photo of yourself, some biographical information, and contact information.


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:

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

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


CONQUERING THE CREATIVE MARKETPLACE: Between the Fickleness of Business and the Pursuit of Design

This guidebook is a must-have for anyone serious about making money selling jewelry. I share with you the kinds of things it takes to start your own jewelry business, run it, anticipate risks and rewards, and lead it to a level of success you feel is right for you, including
Getting Started, Financial Management, Product Development, Marketing, Selling, Resiliency, Professional Responsibilities.



Merging Your Voice With Form

So You Want To Be A Jewelry Designer reinterprets how to apply techniques and modify art theories from the Jewelry Designer’s perspective. To go beyond craft, the jewelry designer needs to become literate in this discipline called Jewelry Design. Literacy means understanding how to answer the question: Why do some pieces of jewelry draw your attention, and others do not? How to develop the authentic, creative self, someone who is fluent, flexible and original. How to gain the necessary design skills and be able to apply them, whether the situation is familiar or not.

588pp, many images and diagrams Ebook , Kindle or Print formats

The Jewelry Journey Podcast
“Building Jewelry That Works: Why Jewelry Design Is Like Architecture”
Podcast, Part 1
Podcast, Part 2

Easy. Simple. No tools. Anyone Can Do!

I developed a nontraditional technique which does not use tools because I found tools get in the way of tying good and well-positioned knots. I decided to bring two cords through the bead to minimize any negative effects resulting from the pearl rotating around the cord. I only have you glue one knot in the piece. I use a simple overhand knot which is easily centered. I developed a rule for choosing the thickness of your bead cord. I lay out different steps for starting and ending a piece, based on how you want to attach the piece to your clasp assembly.

184pp, many images and diagrams EbookKindle or Print


16 Lessons I Learned Doing Craft Shows

In this book, I discuss 16 lessons I learned, Including How To (1) Find, Evaluate and Select Craft Shows Right for You, (2) Determine a Set of Realistic Goals, (3) Compute a Simple Break-Even Analysis, (4) Develop Your Applications and Apply in the Smartest Ways, (5) Understand How Much Inventory to Bring, (6) Set Up and Present Both Yourself and Your Wares, (7) Best Promote and Operate Your Craft Show Business before, during and after the show.

198pp, many images and diagrams, Ebook, , Kindle or Print


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

What Should Define The Boundaries of Contemporary Jewelry?

Posted by learntobead on May 2, 2009

What should define the boundaries
of Contemporary Jewelry?

Or should there be no boundaries?

What do you think?

Rian De Jong






Arline Fisch





Posted in jewelry design | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

HOT LINKS – From Connie Welch

Posted by learntobead on April 8, 2009


Well we have an interesting winner with the beadstudies – we now have Jean Power giving us her comments along with Diane – So anyone else who would like to chime in – please do so
…Bead StudyII       By the way last time at Bead Studies – Lily was there and barked at Warren until he got up and got her a chair – she then sat at attention  and became a member of the discussion. We need a picture of our own Ewok pup at BEADS
Today is so cold here in Nashville – 42degrees at my house I am going to give you something to do
Paper Puppet Palooza  for Kathleen
That should keep everyone busy for a while.

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Web-Surf to the Primavera Gallery

Posted by learntobead on April 3, 2009

210 11th Avenue at 25th Street, Suite 800, New York, NY 10001


Jewelry is a major part of Primavera Gallery. They offer fine, rare and collectible jewels spanning over 200 years of jewelry design, with pieces dating from the late 17th century up until the present. Their  emphasis, however, is on unusual signed pieces, Art Deco through the 1960’s.

They are not interested in large diamonds or masses of precious stones — this, for them, is geology rather than jewelry. They are interested in great style, exciting design and integrity of workmanship. Their collection includes all of the major individual designers, as well as the great jewelry houses. In their spacious new Chelsea gallery, they are also showing jewelry by both well-known and emerging Studio jewelers.

Dali-Ruby-Lips-With-Teeth-L.jpg (Small)

They also offer the work of individual contemporary jewelry designers of special merit, among them Pol Bury, Bruno Martinazzi and Andrew Grima, and they are adding interesting contemporary and studio jewelry from many talented designers working today.

Some things in the Gallery:


A very unique cocktail ring. The sugar-loaf turquoise set in a domed turquoise and diamond base creates, literally, high drama. The House of Marchak excelled at creating unusual pieces, and especially this kind of jewelry in the 1950’s.
Marchak, Paris


primavera2An elegant and refined bracelet with great Art Deco style in 18k gold set with damonds and calibre-cut rubies. The clasp is also set with rubies, and the central motif cleverly conceals a watch.



primavera3The House of Boivin is well known for beautiful jewelry based on natural forms. This leaf shimmers with the colors of aquamarines, peridots, citrines, and amethysts. It will bring Springtime to any season.
French, ca. 1938







primavera4A wonderful vintage Buccellati, with their famous exquisite gold and silver work, and a 4 carat diamond of unusual and mysterious color.
Buccellati, Italy






primavera5Pale blue chalcedony was one of Suzanne Belperron’s favorite materials. Here, it is finely carved and centers a fine pearl. Belperron’s jewelry is in great demand, and there are few pieces around. This is a beauty.




Lot’s of pretty stuff to admire on their website.

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Worldwide Tour of Jewelry Exhibits

Posted by learntobead on March 31, 2009

Jewelry Exhibits Around The World:
Let’s Web Surf

I don’t have the money nor the time to go visit every museum with ongoing or special exhibits on jewelry.   So thank God for the internet.   I can get my cultural fix.

New York City 92nd st Y


Loren describes himself as “I’m a middle aged guy with a red face and not much hair, at least for now. I was born in the early fifties, observed the hippie generation mostly from the sidelines, and managed to survive the Viet Nam war by dint of becoming a technician instead of a killing machine. The former might not pay as well, but it’s a more marketable skill. That’s what I’ve been doing ever since, anyway, up until the end of 2006, when I retired from the aerospace industry.”

Many of his pieces are based on what he calls the Turk Head Knot.   See the ring above.


Carlsbad, California


The GIA Museum’s current focus is building the Historical Collection, a sophisticated collection of jewelry, objets d’art and gemstones of known provenance from earlier cultures and periods.




Barbara Paganin and Patricia Lemaire

Galerie Orfeo

Luxembourg, Luxembourg



Founded in April 1992 by Susy Ciacchini, the Orfèo Gallery is the meeting point of the Art of contemporary jewellery in Luxembourg.

Link to other jewelry artists which the gallery represents:






Contemporary Jewelry
Toscany, Italy
Group Jewelry Artist Showing





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