Sunday, February 3, 2008

Finding your Jewelry or Art Niche'

{The following is from a letter I wrote to a lovely young woman who was inquiring any info from me, as she was writing her final for jewelry class on me & my business. I was flattered, though tired at the time that I wrote this... but thought it might be nice to share with others.}


First of all, you should do what you love! Too much time is wasted being stressed out in life & not following your dreams or ambitions. Most of this might be due to necessity. But if nothing is holding you back....

If you want to excel in Jewelry creation or any art form as a career and earn a living from your art, & if it is the type of art that you feel is a bit different than the norm (or not), then Find your niche' and Do it Well! Without a good niche (something that you feel might be a bit different in the market place) then you are just creating what everyone else is, hence you may not be filling a void that may well be needed somewhere (in whatever niche' or genre you choose).

(added: though it is nice to just be creating & fueling your art & following your dreams, if you wish to have your dream earn you enough money to not have to work for another, than you definately need to find your niche')

Though in the beginning, you may need to work for others or take on jobs, customs, or repairs & sometimes it may not be what you want to be doing. Look at every project or job as a new lesson to learn. Take everything in, you never know when you might need to apply it to a future project or experience.

For myself I find that although I create in many mediums from what I call Embellishment piecework, to torch work/soldering, or carving in ACS or PMC, Resin, photography etc... I always attempt to try something new. I strive to learn a new technique when I can. I pick up books for inspiration & tutorials, and even if I do not set out to follow a tutorial, I am still inspired by the process of individual techniques to produce something. The books can be anything from jewelry techniques, benchwork, Art Nouveau & art deco or wrought iron designwork books, arts & crafts zines, painting & photography, my sketching journals and so on. (and for my geekier side, I love it when they have some heirloom piece of jewelry on the antique roadshow, or going to some museum exhibit to see some old viking or egyptian jewels). Whatever inspires you!

When I feel I am becoming somewhat stagnant or repetitive (having created jewels for over 20 years in various forms, & having multiple orders over & over for some similar jewelry styles), I search out something new to tempt my eyes and hands. Without a steady flow of the new I don't know where I would be. It can be hard to challenge yourself if you do not sometimes place an interesting obstacle in your path.

So basically, be yourself! Find your Niche'! Do it well! Try something new! Inspire yourself & hopefully you can inspire others!!!

I wish you much luck in all your artistic endeavors!


As a side note: There are always negatives (sorry not all roses)....
I wouldn't trade my work hours for anything. I am happy just to continue to create what I love & earn a living from my art. (being my own boss, way flexible hours, although It can be negative at times running your own business, especially dealing with the 'business' end of things versus the art, or dealing with unscrupulous people who wish to copy above & beyond flattering, and it is a LOT of work, but I still wouldn't want my life any differently).
As soon as you put your work out there & on the internet... there will always be others who copy you. It is a fact that some others can't seperate, inspiration & learning techniques... with exact duplication.
Karma has a way of coming back around. So be good to others as well as yourself!

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