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"I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul." by William E. Henley

Friday, October 15, 2010

how did I get to where I am now with my skills?


So this months topic for the Handmade division team is: How did you get where you are now with your skills..
I missed last month cause I was crazy busy but this one I really wanted to do. It's always good to pause for a minute and reflect on the journey you're on.

I started making jewelry when I was 12 years old. Polymer clay. Fun stuff. I made necklaces that I would sell at my mothers art shows. As I grew into a cool teenager (read: nerd with glasses) I put the jewelry making aside to focus on more fun stuff (read: homework and reading books. yeah I was super cool LOL).

It wasn't until a couple of years ago that I was growing incredible antsy with my day job. Although graphic design is a creative profession it can get rather boring when you work for the same company for 10 years and have to stay within that brand identity of that company.. So I needed a different outlet. Something that I was in charge of. Where there was no boundaries. Something where I was free to explore and let my imagination run wild.

I got a bunch of beads and pliers and started making jewelry again. I made my own beads in polymer clay and made little guardian angel bracelets (I still have a bunch them, I have to take some photos and show you).
I have a very high learning curve so my appetite to grow and develop is very strong. I quickly realized that polymer clay and beads wasn't going to cut it. I wanted a bigger challenge. Metalwork seemed to be the natural path to take.

I ordered some silver sheet, wire and a little torch. I had no idea what I was doing. I got online and read everything I could find about soldering. I learned to do basic things.
Later I stumbled upon Etsy where I created the first nova shop. Nova Designs . I created a modern but fun line of jewelry including my famous pinwheels. Suddenly things took off. I was actually selling. It was amazing. I loved every minute I spent in the studio making little pinwheels and flowers. But I wanted to grow. To get better. To expand my skills. I started playing with torch enameling. Loved it. So much fun. But very hot in the little studio...

I started bezel setting. Once again I searched the internet for tutorials and I taught myself how to do more intricate metalwork. I fell in love with stones. Jaspers, agates.. you name it.. I love it. Bought a gaziljon of stones. They all spoke to me.. I just had to take them all home :o). Started experimenting with larger bezel set pieces. Bringing in the nature elements that I love so much. Flowers, vines, leafs and whimsical details. I love details. I started using a lot of commercial components as embellishments but as I continue to develop I am more and more drawn to making everything from scratch. I love working with filigree and in my own and not very traditional way I can see myself continue to explore the possibilities of filigree wire.

So I guess to sum it up.. I got where I am with a lot of blood sweat and tears (and laughs of course). Trial and error for sure but every little victory makes it worth it. But I am no where done learning. Just as I think I've finally mastered something I'll melt a bezel or mess up something else. You're never done learning. But that's the beauty of making things. There's always something to look forward to. I see challenges everywhere. I think my weakest side is also my strongest. Since I am self taught I really don't see any limitations. I approach my metalwork and designs with a fearless and sometimes naive enthusiasm. Sometimes with great results. Sometimes with a pile of melted dreams... But I never give up. I just keep trying until I get there. And I am having so much fun along the way!


thanks for stopping by!
~tess

check out my friends blog posts on the topic

14 comments:

  1. Oh I love your post, Tess!!! Being self-taught as well, I really identified with what you wrote about. It sounds as if your excitement really can't fade - and I feel the same way about my media. Limits? What are those, lol?!
    Nancy

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  2. I love your work and I enjoyed your post about how did you get here, doing all these marvellous jewels. Congratulations, you're extraordinary!

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  3. Very inspiring Tess! Your story intrigues me to want to search online for new skills in other areas of art.

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  4. Thank you! It's fun to look back at where you have been and imagine where you might be going.

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  5. What a great post, Tess! Your artistic journey is inspiring, thanks for sharing :-) B. -xo-

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  6. wow Tess, self taught, that's awesome!!!!

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  7. fantastic post, tess! I love your pinwheel:)

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  8. "Since I am self taught I really don't see any limitations. I approach my metalwork and designs with a fearless and sometimes naive enthusiasm. Sometimes with great results." So well said!

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  9. Definitely any great artisan can never stop learning, its in their blood to keep progressing...great points!

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  10. Great post! Self taught is tuff but rewarding, and I think much more free. I still have a little voice that goes off in my head once in a while thats says "your not suppoooosed to doooo it like that". It sucks, but I am over it now I think :)

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I treasure your words and the fact that you are
taking the time to share them with me.
Please forgive me if I don't respond personally to you.
I always try but sometimes time just flies away!
love ~tess