Why I make jewelry

Many people outside the metalworking world may find it odd that I really don’t wear jewelry, except for rings.  Most of the time it just doesn’t occur to me.  Because I don’t need to “look nice” every day, my wardrobe is more geared toward functional.  In my case, functional is “How fast can I throw something on before DD freaks out because I haven’t responded quickly enough?” and usually equals T-shirt + jeans.  Functional also means not wearing anything that can easily be grabbed at or pulled on, either of which could result in damage to my work or damage to me (!), and I don’t want to risk either.  The times I make exceptions I am frequently sorry.  I still haven’t located the “safe place” I put the baggie full of beads (some of them my handmade sterling ones) after DD grabbed at a necklace I was wearing at a family wedding!

My friend and business partner is a Jewelry Person.  She works in an office and has to look nice, and she loves to wear jewelry.  She is someone who will continue to buy jewelry even though she makes it herself, because she sees things she wants to wear.  I can see jewelry for sale (handmade or otherwise) and appreciate it, and in the case of handmade I can appreciate the effort that went into a fine piece of work.  I will not buy it because I just don’t wear jewelry!

I’m most definitely a “process person.”  I don’t make jewelry because I like to wear it.  I make jewelry because I love to make small things – I find miniaturization fascinating!  I love to work with metal – it stays where you put it, and the likelihood of messing something up just by lifting it (as I found with clay!) is highly unlikely.  Most important, I love to make things that  can be used.  I’m certainly not knocking  purely ornamental work and wall art, but my creative needs are rarely fulfilled by that kind of work.  For me to really get that sense of satisfaction at the end of a project I need to be able to do something with whatever I’ve created.  I love Functional Art.  This is why I grow vegetables instead of flowers.  Flowers are beautiful, and I can stare at them all day, but in the end I find myself saying “Here they are – so NOW what?  What comes next?”

For me, jewelry gives me that sense of satisfaction because when I’m done with a piece, I can do something with it.  It’s the “functional” part of “functional art” that is the important thing.  I may not choose to wear it, but the point is that I am able to!


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