I've been slaving away for what feels like forever to get my new range of handmade jewellery ready to launch (hopefully early next week!).
While I'm finishing things off I thought I'd give some insight into the process of launching a new range to explain why it can take so long! This is part one of a two part blog post about my processes.
The first step is to come up with some general design ideas which hopefully have some relationship to each other. Often I will have had ideas for one or more pieces lurking in my head for a while, so I start sketching and figuring out how they might work.
For the new range I felt that the initial ideas related to the types of objects or design elements you'd find in a vintage or antique shop. So that inspired a whole lot of other ideas and the range began to evolve from there.
Generally at that point I do a lot of rough sketching of ideas and then start creating or sourcing patterns and other images which will be used in the designs.
In addition I also start researching and sourcing any materials I plan to use which I don't have on hand already - whether just more silver or specific types of gemstones or other items.
Eventually I feel like the designs are resolved enough that I can start work on making them - provided the required new materials have arrived, of course! Probably unlike some other makers, I usually continue the design process when I start making.
I've rarely got a piece fully worked out in terms of how it will be constructed and finished until I start work and get a feel for how the actual piece will look and what finishes or components will work best with it. This means the making process is often slow!
As I work I often change my mind about things, trial different finishes, decide the design is too large or too small or too simple or too complex, realise that a particular piece simply isn't going to work out or needs to be put on the back-burner, etc. etc..
In addition, usually a particular design needs to be made into different types of jewellery, often at different sizes or using different construction methods. For instance, one design idea may be used to make a pendant, earrings, a brooch and cufflinks.
Once the focus of each piece is completed, I often still have some assembly to do (such as putting a pendant on a chain, adding earwires to earring panels, etc.), which often involves some further decision-making and testing.
As each piece is fully completed it gets put into a little ziplock bag to keep it safe.
Stay tuned for part two of this post where I'll cover pricing, describing, photographing and uploading!