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Handmade Jewelry Artist Studio

Updated on March 21, 2013

The Gift of Jewelry

In order to be a successful jewelry designer from your home you have to devote, space, time, and money to reach your goal. Not just a little money, time and space, but a great deal.

The rooms that once contained beds, will now contain studios loaded with tools and supplies. The basement where once you entertained is now another place for more equipment. The time you once spent reading is a time to create and so this lens takes you through what is required to create metal jewelry.

Metalsmithing Studio
Metalsmithing Studio

Metalsmithing Studio

Saw, Hammer, Sand and Drill

It is not for the faint of heart to be a metalsmith. There are a great many tools and pieces of equipment that you have to purchase. Some can be dangerous if not used correctly.

My metalsmithing studio contains a desk with all the tools needed for most pieces created from metal; pliers, saw, drill, dapping block, disk cutters, sander and hydraulic press. Not only do each of these require space, they also require eye protection and sometimes dust masks. A design starts on paper,is transferred to metal, then cut out with a saw, sanded to smooth the edges, hammered to create a texture and drilled for design purposes or to make an opening to put a bail or accessory.

That is the short version, but there is much more to creating jewelry depending on whether you are making a ring, earrings, necklace, pendant, etc. Each process requires a different piece of equipment, tool, or supply. A well-equipped studio will ensure that most jewelry can be created from start to finish.

Precious Metal Clay Studio
Precious Metal Clay Studio

Precious Metal Clay Studio

Roll, Press, Mold, Heat

Setting up a studio for precious metal clay requires different tools and equipment. First a mat is needed to roll the clay on, then an oil so the clay won't stick, a roller to roll the clay, textures, cutouts, and cubic zirconia.

The clay comes in lined envelopes and is wrapped in plastic. Once it is opened the clay can quickly dry out, so only the amount needed is removed and the rest is placed in an airtight container. The clay is rolled by hand and placed on the mat and then rolled to desired shape with a roller. A hotplate is required to dry the clay.

Sanding tools are needed after the clay is dry to shape it and take off rough edges. A hand drill to make holes in the clay for jump rings or designs.

A kiln or torch is needed to fire the clay which turns it into fine silver. After the clay is fired and cleaned with a brass brush, a tumbler is used to shine the silver.

These are the minimum amount of materials needed to work with precious metal clay. There are many other tools and equipment to add color and texture to the clay and to set stones. It is best to keep all this equipment in bins or drawers so that it can be easily identified and used. There are a number of tools and molds especially designed for use with this material that make working with it very rewarding and satisfying.

Finishing Studio
Finishing Studio

Finishing Studio

Solder, Scinter,Clean, Polish

To finish a piece of metal often requires soldering and a special studio in which to solder. A large open area for proper ventilation and the right equipment to carry out the procedure. This includes a soldering torch, a charcoal block or solderite board on which to place the metal, tweezers to hold the metal, solder and a tool to cut the solder, flux to place on the metal before soldering and a turntable to make soldering all around the piece easier.

All this should be placed on a fireproof table. This is the room where the tumbler is kept and the area to clean the metal, which contains two crockpots one for cleaning silver and the other for copper. My soldering room also contains a kiln for sintering precious metal clay. For this area there is also heat proof gloves and a long handled tweezers to take out the metal from the kiln. There is a fire extinguisher and a mask to use when working in the space.

Photography Studio
Photography Studio

Photography Studio

Lights, Camera, Action

The final phase in making jewelry is photographing it. In my photography studio I have a desk, a lightbox, with three lights, several props to hold my jewelry, a tripod and my camera. Each photograph is set up within the light box, the light is adjusted to compliment the piece of jewelry and the tripod is set in the proper position and the camera is attached. I take numerous photographs of each piece of jewelry in a variety of positions, including the back.

I use my computer and several different programs to edit the photographs and to catalog them. Photography is one of the most critical parts of crafting any item, especially if you are selling on the internet. If the photograph is not good, then your chances of selling it are greatly reduced. A lightbox is almost essential for taking indoor photographs and, of course, you need the lights to surround the box. I prefer three, one on each side of the box and one on the top. I don't always use all three, but they are necessary to get the proper lighting on different pieces.

I keep the room dark except for the lights around the box and photograph the jewelry using the macro setting on my camera. In the photo I have used here the third light is not there, because at the time I did not have a third light. I soon realized that two light will not work for every situation. When I use the third light, I attach it to a backboard and rest the shade on the top of the light box. It is not ideal, but it works quite well.

Fine Silver Leaf Pendant
Fine Silver Leaf Pendant

What Happens to my Jewelry

Admire it, Wear it, Sell it

All this investment has to be for some reason. Mainly I create jewelry because I love designing and making it. I also love wearing my own jewelry. If I have someplace to go and I need a piece of jewelry to wear, I make it. Sometimes I even make it to match my outfit. What fun not to have to go searching for just the right piece for a special occasion. That is a real benefit of handcrafting your own jewelry.

I give jewelry as gifts for every occasion, not only because I like doing it, but because I am giving a part of myself to someone I care about. It is a great thrill to see their eyes light up when they open the box. Another reward for my chosen profession. I enjoy seeing people wearing my jewelry.

But I also have to sell some of my jewelry so I can continue to buy supplies and enhance my studios. It is not my most favorite pastime, since I am uncomfortable promoting myself. I wear my jewelry, which helps promote. That I love to do, but the marketing part is just not me. Still, I have to do it, so this is what I do to sell my jewelry.

I sell at shows, shops, house sales and I have a website www.HGWartisanjewelry.com

I also have an Etsy shop www.HGWjewelrydesigns.etsy.com

Don't get me wrong, it is a thrill whenever I sell. It makes me feel wonderful to know that my jewelry will be worn by someone who will enjoy it. This to me is so much more important than the fact that I have sold a piece of jewelry.

Ladies Club
Ladies Club

Final Thoughts

Study, Create, Enjoy

I hope this lens has been helpful for anyone who is interested in creating jewelry. Remember, this is a metalsmithing lens. If you want to work with beads, that involves a whole different set of tools and materials. But you will always require the photography studio no matter what type of jewelry you create.

Don't forget to include in the money you spend, the required classes needed to acquire the expertise to be the best you can be in the craft of your choice. I have taken many classes at our local art center, and I am fully certified in the use of precious metal clay. This involved three 2 day classes for each of three metal clay certifications.

I think it is important to reach high and expect a great deal of yourself when you make your jewelry, but always keep in mind that your jewelry will never turn out the way you want unless you have a passion for what you are doing.

How to Set Up a Jewelry Studio - What do You need in your Studio

There are books that discuss supplies needed for your studio, how to set up your business and where to find an affordable lightbox, but the best way to know exactly what you need is to get started on the creative process. As you develop your talents, you will discover what you need for your studio.

What Do You Think - Do You Have a Craft Studio

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    • Tricia Deed profile image

      Tricia Deed 3 years ago from Orlando, Florida

      Regardless of the type of jewelry one makes I think your lens illustrates the amount of dedication and motivation needed to operate a jewelry business.

    • Wedding Mom profile image

      Wedding Mom 4 years ago

      You got a nice studio. Nice lens :) Thank you for sharing this.

    • Wedding Mom profile image

      Wedding Mom 4 years ago

      You got a nice studio. Nice lens :) Thank you for sharing this.

    • squid-pinkchic18 profile image

      squid-pinkchic18 4 years ago

      Very neat! I'd love to try making jewelry, never have before!

    • Teapixie LM profile image

      Tea Pixie 5 years ago

      I live in a pixie-sized apartment and I have established the pixie-atelier. This is where I design semi-precious metal jewelry, paint, write, photograph, and operate as a social-media marketer. Yikes - it's a lot in one spot. It requires that I am extremely organized and that everything has a place. My sewing machine is also my computer desk. Everything has more than one use. But, I love where I live and I love what I do. I dream of having a studio but I don't want to be away from home.

      Thank you so much for writing this article. It is useful information. It is expensive but I have been amassing supplies and tools since before the turn of the century. ;)

      PS - I use the bowl of a salad spinner for photography because it creates a great, diffused light.

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 5 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      I have an area downstairs that is used for my studio. It helps to have everything I need in one place.

    • profile image

      Sadheeskumar 5 years ago

      My sister-in-law live making jewels. i shared this lens to her. she is very much impressed.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I like making jewelry, but I am not set up with a studio to work. Great ideas here for me. Thank you for sharing this creative part of your life.

    • Linda Pogue profile image

      Linda Pogue 5 years ago from Missouri

      No studio, but lots of supplies to make things. I haven't gotten into metal jewelry, yet. Maybe someday. Blessings.

    • Aquavel profile image

      Aquavel 5 years ago

      Very beautiful lens! Particularly apt for me since I turned 2 rooms in our old house into rooms for creating art. We just moved and I'm trying to keep studio use limited to one room, a table space in the garage, and a small computer desk off the kitchen. My husband is after me to keep everything neat and to allow the bedrooms to be bedrooms. LOL

    • Gayle Dowell profile image

      Gayle Dowell 5 years ago from Kansas

      Love seeing your work spaces. Wish I had more room to spread out my work. It's amazing how much equipment it takes to do our craft. Lovely lens.

    • cajkovska lm profile image

      cajkovska lm 5 years ago

      Nice lens... I don't have craft studio...yet... I plan to have one.

    • profile image

      jinggaberseri 5 years ago

      nice lens

    • IDo2 profile image

      IDo2 5 years ago

      Lovely lens! Great photos.

    • KireinaJeweller1 profile image

      KireinaJeweller1 5 years ago

      cool lens. It is always interesting to see how jewellery designers from different disciplines get to work!

    • flicker lm profile image

      flicker lm 5 years ago

      Excellent article! Love the way you describe each studio and how you use it.

    • tyrosine profile image

      tyrosine 5 years ago

      Great look in that studio. :)

    • bjslapidary profile image

      bjslapidary 5 years ago

      Great lens. Love to see your work areas. Thanks for sharing.

    • dahlia369 profile image

      dahlia369 5 years ago

      I love to wear hand made, inspired jewelry and it seems to me that's the kind you make... :)

    • siobhanryan profile image

      siobhanryan 5 years ago

      This is a lovely lens

    • profile image

      miaponzo 5 years ago

      I do but not jewelry... I would absolutely LOVE to do jewelry! Blessed!

    • KarenTBTEN profile image

      KarenTBTEN 5 years ago

      I do have a craft studio, but it's very different. I live in a 188 square foot studio apartment, and the studio is inside that, so no soldering iron or fireproof table. And no jewelry-making! I think this is the type of equipment and set up that a jewelry artist would like to have, though. There are things a person would not be able to do without the space and the investment.

    • profile image

      fancymelody 5 years ago

      No, but it would be great to have one!

    • GaelicForge profile image

      GaelicForge 5 years ago

      It's always a pleasure to see someone so well organized in their work spaces! My work areas are always so cluttered!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Beautiful necklace.

    • SheilaSchnauzies profile image

      Sheila 5 years ago from Omaha, NE

      I'm like you â I have several!! Luckily we recently bought an older home with a huge attic just like Martha Stewart's famous one! Eventually I'll have separate areas for crochet, needlework, jewelry making, painting, faux stained glass, ad. infinitum..... LOL!! You have beautiful work and I applaud your organized approach!

    • profile image

      musicluv4life 5 years ago

      i agree you have an amazing studio and wonderful jewelry!

    • MelonyVaughan profile image

      MelonyVaughan 5 years ago

      You have a wonderful studio and your jewelry is beautiful!

    • pinkrenegade lm profile image

      pinkrenegade lm 5 years ago

      Your studio looks great and I love the leaf shaped necklace! Thanks for sharing!

    • jlshernandez profile image

      jlshernandez 5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing such great ideas about a crafting stufio. That is my dream to someday have a studio where I can do all my hobbies in one place.

    • KevCooper profile image

      KevCooper 5 years ago

      You're so well organised! I'd hate to share a photo of my workshop.

    • profile image

      jiroo 5 years ago

      great photos

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks for the information! Great lens!

    • profile image

      xphiltre 5 years ago

      Very informative! Thanks for the great share =)

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Great advice on setting on different work areas. I've worked a little of all of these areas of jewelry making and you're right that different equipment and set up is essential.

    • profile image

      aquarian_insight 5 years ago

      Absolutely beautiful! A very creative lens.

    • MissionBoundCre profile image

      MissionBoundCre 5 years ago

      Great lens!

    • MarcoG profile image

      Marc 5 years ago from Edinburgh

      Great read there - fascinating stuff!

    • Close2Art LM profile image

      Close2Art LM 5 years ago

      Great set up and beautiful pieces, loved the page, ***Blessed***

    • profile image

      grannysage 5 years ago

      Because my parents owned a rock shop, the front part of the house was also a workshop. My parents were always home and I could find them in the shop cutting and polishing stones and working on jewelry. My mother wore a lot of her jewelry but most of the pieces were for sale. You provide some informative tips here.

    • designsbyharriet profile image
      Author

      Harriet 5 years ago from Indiana

      @JoshK47: Thanks Josh appreciate the comment and blessing.

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Awesome information for the aspiring jeweler! Blessed by a SquidAngel!

    • cdevries profile image

      cdevries 5 years ago

      Wonderfully informative! I'm doing some collage jewelry - so totally different equipment - but still ya gotta photograph it. And it all takes so much rooooooom.

    • cdevries profile image

      cdevries 5 years ago

      Wonderfully informative! I'm doing some collage jewelry - so totally different equipment - but still ya gotta photograph it. And it all takes so much rooooooom.

    • ClassyGals profile image

      Cynthia Davis 5 years ago from Pittsburgh

      Thanks for sharing your knowledge in jewelry making. Angel Blessings*

    • MadeByTammy profile image

      MadeByTammy 5 years ago

      Fantastic Studio! Great Lens!

    • Herman IV profile image

      Herman IV 5 years ago

      Neat lens! I work with stones and do polishing and cutting for them. My son absolutely loves craft ideas and art. This will encourage him more!

    • HealthCoachJackie profile image

      HealthCoachJackie 5 years ago

      what a cool setup, thanks for sharing!