Saturday, February 7, 2015

Whats on my Bench

The JET team is really excited to introduce What’s on my Bench?, a brand new regular feature giving our readers a “behind the scenes“ look at what many of us consider to be “sacred ground” - that is our work spaces - whether this be a bench, kitchen table or beading table. Some of us may have an office, a room in our home or even a whole building designated specifically for us to go to and “make our magic”.

For many of us, our workspace is where we love to be most when we have free time. I call it my “happy place” or my “Zen zone”, and it’s all about self-expression and creativity - and it’s therapeutic as well. Now don’t be fooled by the physical place I've described, because as many of us can attest - it can look as if a bomb went off and scattered beads, metal and tools everywhere! If you have never peeked into “the inner sanctum” (as our family members may have) be warned - it can look deceptively messy. Not always, admittedly, but it can scare anyone away in a hurry when it is! Like the scene of mayhem below, for example, of a fellow artist's workbench...


Needless to say when we do open our places up, consider it a privilege! I for one love to have the mystique remain so. But on this occasion, we will grant access... proceed with care!!!

My first featured Jet member is Jennifer of WearableByDesign. Jennifer is soon to be fresh off a sabbatical where she has studied under Master Jewelers, learning techniques such as micro chasing and engraving. Look for her shop to open in the next couple of months, with new work incorporating fine craftsmanship, luxurious gems and precious metals into wearable treasures. Here's a sneak preview from her private studio . . .

The gemstones in this gorgeous silver work are 3mm sapphires
"Above is a pair of earrings I just completed; they are micro-chased and engraved leaves. I finished the earrings about three weeks ago but just felt like there was something missing. So, I decided they needed a third leaf, that could swing freely and was not attached to the first two. This project allowed me to use the chasing skills I learned about 2-3 years ago, along with my newly acquired engraving skills that I am starting to get the hang of. I had the amazing good fortune to have studied with the master engraver Hratch Nargizian in San Francisco this past summer."


"And above is another pair of earrings that I'm reconstructing, from a poorly constructed set that belonged to my daughter. They were originally made in a third world country, and the attention to detail was not very good, but the stones were so pretty I thought they deserved a proper setting..."


"In keeping with a Moghul theme, I cut out a sterling back plate. I was not sure whether to pierce out additional motifs on the back plate, or add embellishments such as tear shaped wire work. So, I decided to let the earrings speak to me as I went along!"

Thanks for showing us what's on your bench, Jennifer! Now for something from my “chaotic room of disgrace” - only a disgrace if my Mom ever saw it!!! For me, it’s organized mess, because I can still find things (thanks to my label maker)!

Recently the JET Team had a contest with the theme “A JET Flower lasts forever”. I had been gradually working on the beaded cuff below for at least 8 months - it sat for the longest time after I stitched the black cover and beaded chain, waiting for further inspiration. I had learned the technique, waited on the super duo beads, spent a while figuring placement, color blends etc.


It was just a day away from the submission cut-off and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to add more or leave as is. Sometimes these things are a process and we have to step back, take a look and make a decision. I have at least half a dozen “projects” in various stages of completion, so I put this one aside and whipped up something completely different instead!

I’d also like to give you a look at one set that waited more than a YEAR before I decided to offer it.


I was feeling like a serious procrastinator until I heard of a fellow artist, who still has things from 7 or 8 years ago neatly tucked away awaiting a turn in the limelight! Be sure to check back often to see which JET artist will open their studio door for our next “What’s on my Bench?" session!

Until next time!
Donna

18 comments :

Erika Price said...

Awesome - there's nothing as sophisticated as that on my bench right now - just a pile of, ahem, mess! Thanks Jenn & Donna!

Urban Pearl Studio said...

My bench is FILLED with 'wanna-be' designs. Everything is sorted and ready but then something shiny catches your eye and *poof*, a new inspiration strikes. Alas, yet another added to the pile.

Thanks for sharing!

Jean Sandell said...

So fun to see "the benches" of others!!!

Carolyn Jankovskis said...

I love being able to peek into the workspace of jewellery designers and get a behind the scenes peek at work in progress!
Thank you for sharing with us.

capitalcitycrafts said...

It's nice to know I'm not the only one who has projects on my bench for weeks and months.... Thanks for sharing!

Keystring said...

Chaos seems to rule looking at my bench and work area, but I do know where everything is! Creativity is messy! And fun!
Great blog post! Thank you for sharing it!

mjsee said...

I think many "creative types" are visual organizers...and if we don't see it, we forget about it. Hence the "messy bench syndrome." Well, that's *my* story,and I'm sticking to it! :P

Tracy said...

I love the glimpse into another artists world!

Rough Magic Mollie said...

Oh, I love this new feature! And what fun taking a peek behind the scenes with Jennifer! Love seeing her artisan process!

And Donna, the lovelies that you create in your *chaotic room of disgrace* give me courage to get to work in my own disgraceful space! :)

Donna Arena said...

LOL Mollie, IKR and Mel you are so right about that!!! I do that exact thing and have piles all grouped together, sometimes I have to gather them, put them in a bag or box until... as Blinger say's...something else shiny catches my eye!!!

Judith Lott said...

I loved reading this and felt like I was actually right there! Thanks for sharing your private space.

SendingLoveGallery said...

wonderful post! I enjoyed seeing how the process flows for a couple of my fave jewelry artists. My "bench" is full of a chaos of stones from the Tucson shows waiting for their designs :)

Beadsme said...

Wow looks so neat and tidy. I end up with the dining table.

Great designs.

Lori Taggart said...

SO fun to see projects in process! And the chaos!

Gloria Flynn - EarthEnergyGemstones said...

I love articles like this where we get to go behind the scenes and look in on work in progress. It feels reassuring to know that my workbench looks "normal." I guess we creative types have great difficulty staying focused on one project at a time! Lol!

LoveStoneArts said...

Wonderful new feature- I'll be eagerly awaiting the next installment!! Thanks.

MadeByTammy said...

I love this new feature!

Jenn, thanks for sharing. I can't wait for your shop to reopen!

Donna, stunning flower cuff!

Gemstones on My Mind said...

I love this feature! Can't wait to see more of this. I feel like we've stepped into Jenn's studio! Thanks!