How to be a Fabulous Jewelry Making Diva

"In My Dreams" Sterling Silver Collar with Bezeled labradorite and garnet trim.
"In My Dreams" Sterling Silver Collar with Bezeled labradorite and garnet trim.
"A Metal Melange" Copper, layered sterling silver with cut work
"A Metal Melange" Copper, layered sterling silver with cut work

#1 Learn The Rules so You Can Break Them

As a Fabulous Jewelry Making Diva you will follow no ones rules but your own, but before you can break all the rules, you have to learn them first:

To be an ordinary diva is difficult enough. To be a Fabulous Jewelry Making Diva, you must become diva fancy, diva flamboyant and diva divine; and you must be fabulous, which goes without saying. Add to that the dexterity and technical abilities of a skilled artisan and blend in your utmost creative self; and you will be well on your way.

You may very well know yourself to own each and every one of these traits; but unless you release that diva fabulousness to the world, your rebirth as a Fabulous Jewelry Making Diva will remain a dream buried deep inside.

Build Beautiful Bracelets

"Wild Women Dance" Cut work and wire bracelet
"Wild Women Dance" Cut work and wire bracelet

#2 Begin With an Fresh Outlook

Divas through and through

I've taught a lot of jewelry classes, but the most rewarding were the10 years I taught jewelry making skills at Sarah Center, an inner city women's ministry in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Why, you ask? Because most of the women had never given a second thought to making jewelry. They never took classes before, never wanted to; and, furthermore, most of the time, instead of jewelry class, they would rather have been deep into a gab-fest or simply sipping a cup of coffee.

We butted heads quite a bit during the early years because they were who they were and didn't like that I spent hours trying to impart my jewelry making wisdom. To look at those women, no one would have described them as divas, but they were divas through and through. As the years rolled by, that's what made it work.

"Sweet Silver Girl"
"Sweet Silver Girl"

Sarah Center jewelry makers didn't really want to make jewelry

In later years, Sarah Center's jewelry making program drew women from all walks of life. They'd purchased Sarah Center jewelry at suburban arts and craft shows and gift shops and came to the inner city to learn what my 'ladies' (and a few guys) knew. But for the first few years most of my students were low income, disabled, underemployed or unemployed and came to make jewelry because some establishment person "suggested" it.

They came because they were disabled and the ACCESS bus would drop them off and pick them up at the front door. They came to Sarah Center because taking jewelry classes offered a chance to make friends and have a few hours of quiet time unlike anything in the world outside the door.

Each women was a jewelry making blank canvas. No preconceived notions about what jewelry making should be. No ideas they picked up some place else. They began at the beginning.

As jewelry makers, you can't erase what you know already, but you can begin your Jewelry making diva experience with a fresh outlook and an open mind.

"Jaded" Copper and sterling silver with bezel set jade.
"Jaded" Copper and sterling silver with bezel set jade.
"Silver Whimsy" Sterling Silver
"Silver Whimsy" Sterling Silver

#3 Do Projects to Learn Skills and Techniques - Then Let the Projects Go

If you want to be a Fabulous Jewelry Making Diva you simply must move beyond those magazine and bead shop projects. You know what I'm talking about.

Perhaps you remember the "Y" necklace era or the season when every jewelry booth in an arts and craft show had little beaded scorpion pins or butterfly pendants... and except for the bead color, all of them were exactly the same. Of course they were, because everybody took Class #103 at the local bead shop.

I have nothing against projects, I write lots of online project articles myself because I get paid for them; but I also suggest a jewelry maker take what I give and grow from there.

I figured it out early on.... well, I suppose I didn't figure it out as much as people explained it to me. Arts and Craft show customers would lean in and whisper "Your stuff is different from everybody else.." Then they would hand me their money. That's how i learned jewelry projects sell but Different sells even better.

So do those projects. Do lots of them to learn a new skill or technique... then keep what you learned, hone it and make it your own... and never do the project again. (Unless it's a birthday present for your mother in law)

"She Loves 2 Dance" copper pendant
"She Loves 2 Dance" copper pendant

# 4 Talk Yourself Into It

Motivational books say you become what you think about most. But the world is so full of negative influences, it's hard to avoid becoming negative yourself. And if you choose to watch the news every day, you're submitting to scariness voluntarily. The news offers a daily dose of guns and crime and accidents and other negative, non-creative, non-diva thoughts; and you can't help but be a little bit scared. Which will certainly keep you from being your best Fabulous Jewelry Making Diva self.

You need to change something

My first idea is cutting back on your daily ration of news... or cutting it out altogether; but I know that's not likely to happen. So talk yourself out of the scary and the negative and into that positive creativity you need to be a Fabulous Jewelry Making Diva. Try this:

Look in the mirror several times a day and tell yourself something positive. Say it out loud. (Lock yourself in the bathroom and whisper it if you don't want anyone else to hear)

-You are beautiful!

-You are an artist!

-You are a Fabulous Jewelry Making Diva!

-Everyone wants what you have to offer!

Tell yourself whatever you want as long as it's positive and nice and fabulous!

Source

# 5 Find Your Theme and Work it!

Who are you? What do you love? What is your passion? Are you fabulous indeed? Are you a cat loving cutie, a purple princess, a mellifiori maven? As you rework your image into the Fabulous Jewelry Making Diva you know yourself to be, decide exactly who you are or the who you want the world to know. Make that your theme and use it to guide your creative process each time you sit down to make jewelry.

You don't have to follow your theme every time. Have several themes. Use them or don't use them; but knowing who you are gives you something to fall back on when your well of ideas runs dry. For example:

On the first day of a 10 week jewelry business class, I challenged my jewelry students to give themselves a business name that would tell people who they are. At the end of the sessions, we would print the final name choice on business cards for them.

Mary (A Pseudonym of course) had always been over the top energetic, possibly ADHD; who knows? From her first day as a jewelry student, she spent more hours making jewelry each day than eating and sleeping combined. In business class Mary chose "Crazy Jazzy Jewelry" as her final name choice. That's who she is to this day; and that's exactly the kind of jewelry she's been making ever since.

"Peace Like Sunshine" Copper Pendant. Cut work with cotton cord
"Peace Like Sunshine" Copper Pendant. Cut work with cotton cord
"The Colors of Peace" Earrings - Sterling Silver - cutwork, wirework and glass.
"The Colors of Peace" Earrings - Sterling Silver - cutwork, wirework and glass.

# 6 Don't Let Great Ideas Slip Away!

As you reach the heights of jewelry making Diva Fabulousness, ideas will flow like never before. Unfortunately great ideas don't always come when you want them to. Creative jewelry ideas are illusive and fleeting and arrive at inconvenient times. They come in dreams, while you're talking to your husband or when you're driving down the street. Still you must capture them.

Jewelry Making Diva Fabulousness requires a bit of planning.Try carrying a little notebook at all times, and place it on your bedside table each night before you go to sleep to capture the ideas that will slip into your mind as you dream.

When an idea comes to you, pull out your notebook... if you're in traffic, pull over please. If you're halfway asleep, turn on the light and reach for your notebook. Write down your idea, the colors, beads, shapes and sizes. Make a quick sketch.

You don't have to bring the idea to life right away, just get the details and make it when you make it. And when you do sit down to create, you will have a notebook full of inspiration.

"A Silver Symphony" Earrings - Sterling Silver Wirework
"A Silver Symphony" Earrings - Sterling Silver Wirework
"Inner Child" Pendant - Copper Cut work
"Inner Child" Pendant - Copper Cut work

# 7 Name Your Jewelry Before You Release it to the World

As a Fabulous Jewelry Making Diva, you will spend a great deal of time with the pieces you create. You can't simply toss them on a display table, sell them and look away as the customer carries them off, never to be seen again. You worked hard to give your creation a life of its own, at least give it a name.

Call on your theme again. Name your pieces based on the ideas that came to mind when you were creating them. Or come up with a name then make a piece that fits.

Write a poem and make jewelry that fits your poetic sensibilities.

Put your jewelry on a pretty card and in a sweet little box.

Tuck it into a fabulous bag.

Do something to enhance your jewelry's personality, to make each jewelry piece a little piece of you. Not only will you think of that jewelry fondly, remembering it by name perhaps, your customer will think of you each time she wears it.

# 8 Be The Best You Can Be at Your Own Thing

You don't have to work with a jeweler's saw, or a torch, or learn to enamel in a kiln. There are hundreds of levels of jewelry making expertise in hundreds of specialties. To be a Fabulous Jewelry Making Diva, you need only be you.

Learn the basics. Look at other bodies of work to see what is possible; but don't copy what you see. Do your own thing. Experiment until you find the thing you love to do and do it better than anyone you know. Then watch what happens. You will find yourself walking, talking and acting like an honest to goodness Fabulous Jewelry Making Diva


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A Diva Always has Something to Say! 9 comments

CarolRucker profile image

CarolRucker 4 years ago from Cincinnati Author

Thank you for your interest Tess.

I love Kokopelli, but I cut my own charms and try not to create pieces I know people can easily find elsewhere at a lower price.


Tess 4 years ago

OMG I love your jewelry! I wonder if you have anything with Kokopelli on it?


michelle mathews 4 years ago

I WANT TO LEARN HOW TO MAKE JEWELRY, YOU GAVE ME SOME GOOD IDEAS. THANKS A lot


CarolRucker profile image

CarolRucker 5 years ago from Cincinnati Author

It's fabulous to see my Sarah Center Friends stopping by to view my page. Thank you!


Earth Mother 5 years ago

Hi Ms. Rucker, I so appreciate the short but sweet instruction you gave to me at the Sarah Center a few years ago. I cherish the individuality that you promoted as well as mandated self expression. You are still one of the most creative souls I've ever met. I still refer to the handouts that I received then & will forever do so. Just to let you know your spirit lives on in us all. Peace, Love & continued Blessings, Shelia


The Gem 5 years ago

I really enjoyed reading Carol Rucker's article. I am a member of Sarah Center since August, 2010. I have completed beginner's and immediate classes and done some advance class activity. Good job Carol!!!


CarolRucker profile image

CarolRucker 6 years ago from Cincinnati Author

Thank You.


Spirit Hugger profile image

Spirit Hugger 6 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area, California

Excellent article, Carol! Thank you for reading my "sister" page, and for your warm and supportive comment this morning. I look forward to reading more of your HubPages too!


Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 6 years ago from SE MA

We have a friend who makes antique reproduction jewelry and also sells the real thing. Really beautiful stuff. She also wrote a book about antique jewelry. It is an interesting way to earn a living.

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