If It Wasn’t For Those Pesky Trends….

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I loathe the word “trend.” I hate the idea that something has to be “in” or “trendy” or “on trend” to be loved. I hate how they can confuse and misdirect customers into buying stuff just because it’s “sooooo hot right now!” Ugh. Yuck. Choose your own paths, my lovelies!

I read an article the other night from a monthly jewellery magazine that talks a lot about trends and fashion and whatnot. I read it to keep up with the industry and what’s happening, but certainly not for “what’s hot”. One particular thing struck me. Gary Ingram, the CEO of TheDiamondStore.co.uk, said,

“Fine jewellery transcends age and fashion.”

Now, while I understand that his business IS of course fine jewellery, meaning real gold, real silver, diamonds, and other things all sparkly and expensive, I think I’m kind of offended. No, not offended. Affronted, maybe? Why can’t MY designs transcend age and fashion? I think they can.

Also, why put jewellery that transcends age and fashion into an article about trends, which will have been replaced by something else next season?

Anyway, he went on to say,

Apart from looking luxurious and reflecting personal style, they make you feel loved and treasured. That’s the real beauty of timeless jewellery.

Umm….hellooooo?!?!? Why can’t my designs make the wearer feel loved and treasured? Do we really live in a society that has that mind set of “if it’s expensive, they love me.” I don’t know about you, but knowing that someone sat there for hours and hours weaving that wire in and out and in and out and crying over mistakes, rejoicing in the triumphs and literally pouring blood, sweat and tears into every absolutely handcrafted, unique piece means so much more to me than it’s pricetag. Actually, I’ve decided that I’m reframing this whole thing so that what he really means is “handcrafted wire jewellery is beautiful, timeless, and reflects personal style just as much as a diamond does.” There. That sits better with me.

Now, I admit, I have no idea how the Diamond Store UK makes their items. I certainly don’t want to take anything away from them because jewellers are, of course, amazing craftspeople. It honestly wouldn’t surprise me if their stuff is handmade, but I can say that I’m positive there’s not a little person sitting there weaving wire for 10 hours a day. There are designers there designing and creating….and making the trends. But then, are they simply following trends that other designers have come up with?

Who makes these damn trends in the first place?!?!? Aaargh! And will wire woven art pieces ever really be “trendy?” Do I even want them to be? I kind of like the idea of going against the grain and creating pieces that are out there, doing their own thing.

One thing that Mr Ingram said that I really do agree with though was this,

The biggest thing in jewellery now is about making it your own by combining pieces. It’s not so much about specific design, because we offer a huge variety in terms of that, but more about wearability, collectability, and above all, being able to mix and match various items at once.

I’m using this point as a springboard into a range of very simple, stackable copper wire rings which will be coming very soon. Keep an eye on this blog for the release of those, and also on the website itself. They’ll still be “me” but in keeping with the collectability idea and the ability to mix and match. I love that idea…and I can do it without being overly trendy.

 

 

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Why I Wore Purple to a Funeral

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I wore purple to my grandmother’s funeral. Not because I’m a disrespectful brat, but because she didn’t want us all wearing black. Her reason for that was very simple.

“It’s so bloody depressing” is what she’d say about it. I actually don’t remember her ever wearing black. Not even in England when it was cold and miserable and it was the “in” thing to wear. She always wore something colourful. I remember she looked particularly enthralling in blue.

Unlike my Nan, I LOVE black. It’s one of my favourite clothing colour choices because well, a) it goes with everything, and b) it slims me down, and let’s face it there’s a LOT to be slimmed down. Had you asked me a few years ago, black would have been my only answer to “what’s your favourite colour?” I’m now 38 and have only just really started adding more colour to my wardrobe. My teenage black everything stage seems to have gone on for a little longer than most….

On the other hand, I love colour. Hot pink, deep purples, vivid blues and intense greens are on the top of my list (and if we’re talking clothes, it’s usually paired with something black. I’m not quite there, yet!)

When it comes to jewellery design though, I steer clear of black altogether and go for colour, colour, colour!! I do this for a few reasons; the biggest and probably most obvious being that with jewellery, we can be a little outlandish. We can have fun. If you have to wear an all black pant suit for work because bright coloured clothes are a no-no, add a little bright pink, or turquoise, or a splash of green. In jewellery we can allow our personalities to shine, even if we’re restricted by dress codes or uniforms (which is a whole ‘nother blog altogether!). Now, can you wear a giant statement necklace at a black tie formal event? Of course you can. You may not get away with it at work. So try something colourful, but subtle, and maybe a tad on the discreet side if you are wearing black at a funeral. When I was working in counselling (at a Catholic organisation), my dress code was quite explicit, but I’d work around it by wearing pieces of jewellery that caught the eye and attention of my teenage clients, and they were always a fabulous ice breaker.

Anyway, while I’m on the topic of colour, I mentioned in a previous blog about all these gorgeous gemstones that I had ordered off Ebay. Three of the 26 that I splurged on have now arrived and the colours are AMAZING.

Here are the three that I have in my little hands as we speak:

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Bumblebee jasper – this stunning, unusual blend of yellows, dark browns, and cream is just awesome! I’ve never used it before in my work, so I’m looking forward to it. To be honest, I’ve never used yellow in a design before. Not once. Not even when I was beading! I just couldn’t find a yellow I liked until I found this.

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This is a super unusual blend of natural copper, malachite and turquoise, and the colours are just lovely!! When I chose this one, I kept thinking how totally LUSH it’ll look with copper wire. It’s not a huge stone, so it won’t make a massive statement if it’s used as a pendant, so I was thinking if putting it into a bracelet instead. Gotta get that POP!

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This last one I chose simply because it reminds my of my mum. She loves tigereye and this is a gorgeous stone that has gone into a rather lovely pendant (so far, unlisted). It’s a little darker than I would have chosen before, but the colour and movement of the stone is amazing.

I could choose obsidian. Or jet. Or onyx. Or spinel. They’re all amazing stones, and they’re all beautiful. They’re all incredible shades of black.

But like my Nanna said, “Black is just so bloody depressing.”

Choose purple. I’m glad I did. 

 

There’s first love, then there’s wire woven love….

 

I fell in love recently.

Not with a boy. I’ve been there, done that and I’m sure my husband would object rather strongly.

No. I fell in love with wire. I was bored with what I was doing with my jewellery and honestly, I think if I had to battle one more crimp bead I’d have strangled someone. I’d played with wire before, never successfully, and didn’t have a clue what I was doing when I ordered more.

My little package arrived, and I started….pottering. Cleaning up my work space. Tidying the bookshelves. Dusting. Anything to avoid the evil wire stuff that was staring at me as if to say, “Well, you ordered me. Now what?” I did this when I got my first boyfriend, too. I was young and the idea of even so much as holding hands gave me heart palpitations, so all of a sudden, I had too many books to carry, or had just painted my nails…or something. Always an excuse.

I knew I was just putting off the inevitable. Still, I pottered some more, until there was just nothing left to potter with.  With mounting anxiety, I picked it up and started to play with it. Suddenly it was like a lightning bolt had gone off under my ass and I was hooked. I loved the feel of the wire, how it moved, it’s shine, and the way it was slightly stubborn and I had to use my brain (and a little brute force) to get it to comply.

I started small: WireCoilRings_2

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Consider it a first kiss.

Then, I went on to watching tutorials on YouTube to learn different weaves. When my little simple, craft wire rings started selling, I ordered raw copper wire and experimented with that. It felt even better between my fingers and needed even less cajoling…and I fell even harder in love with it. From there, I started purchasing tutorials from amazing artists like Nicole Hanna and Julie Hulick (I still say I want to be them when I grow up!). I took a bracelet course by the amazing Sarah Thompson and a cabochon wrapping course from Dawn Horner. I became obsessed. All I could think about was wire, and what it could do, and how I could work with it next.

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By the time I  clumsily treated my first pieces with liver of sulfur, this had gone way past infatuation. It wasn’t even just lust. It was a full-blown love affair that now I cannot live without.

Change. It all came down to change and taking a little step backwards to realise that to make something work, you have to be completely, totally, irreparably  in love with it.

Welcome to my world of wire. I hope you fall in love with it, too.