Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Custom-Made Creative Vision

I occasionally get asked to create a custom piece of jewelry, which is equally exhilarating and terrifying. Exhilarating  because it's a challenge to combine my creative vision with that of my customer's, and terrifying because...what if they don't like it?

Luckily, I've always been able to breathe a sigh of relief upon delivery - so far, happy customers all around!

Here are a few special pieces I've done recently...

Wedding Lace Necklace...
Wedding Lace
Amanda asked me to create a necklace using lace from her mother's wedding dress on a background of mint green / sea green. She never came right out and said so, but I could tell that this was being made for a special day, either her own wedding or as a thoughtful gift for her mom. She sent me a swatch of ivory lace in a flower and leaf design to work with. Since the background color was to be in a sea green and the whole necklace set in antiqued brass, I felt that the leaves in the lace would work better than the flowers. To me, the flowers would be the obvious choice, and might seem overly sweet and trite. The leaves were a little more earthy. Again, this all comes back to combining my creative vision with the customers - would Amanda like this direction?

My nail-biting came to an end when I received her email - she loved it!

Family Photo Necklace...
Family Photo Birthday Present
I met with Sharon recently to discuss a special gift for her niece's upcoming birthday. She brought in a photograph of her older sister, the mother of the recipient, as a young girl holding a puppy. Sharon was thinking about either having a ring or a necklace made, but there were some additional considerations. Her niece is actually older than Sharon, so we had to think about what would be easiest for her to manage. We settled on a necklace with a slightly larger pendant on a longer chain that she can slip over her head. I also added a large lobster claw clasp, just in case. Sharon's niece favors pink, so I clustered two shades of pink crystals and one champagne faux pearl together to offset the pendant. It was important to Sharon to include the dog in the pendant, so I re-sized the image a few different ways to see what would look best. There was also a tear in the original photograph, easily repairable in Photoshop. The end result is completely custom-made with some slight modifications to accomodate the birthday girl.

Frodo the Dog Ring...
Frodo Ring
Mark has many women in his life (his mother, his wife, 3 daughters, 1 daughter-in-law and  granddaughter), and they are all the lucky recipients of some amazing jewelry finds. I always enjoy seeing his choices, and when he asked me to make him a ring for one of his lovely ladies, I was thrilled. They have a beloved family dog named Frodo, and he sent me an image from his phone* to use. Frodo was a little challenging, because his fur is so dark that he just looks like a mass with eyes and a tongue. The oval shape of the ring was perfect, however, because it echoed the shape of the dog. I reeeeally wanted to put a tiny heart in the ring as well, but knowing how Mark cringes at anything too "cute", I figured this was one time I had to put my personal vision on the back burner.

Family Tree Charms...
Family Tree Charms
This last project was something really special. Lisa contacted me in the hopes that I could help her with a meaningful anniversary gift for her parents. She wanted to present then with an entire family tree, complete with a charm for every family member. This project involved help from everyone in Lisa's large family - 13 in total! (To me, that's large, but then again, my local family is pretty small.)

The whole family
Lisa and her family very generously sent me copies of their family photos, with each one labeled with who the family members were and which face they wanted me to use from which photograph. I used a slightly larger charm for her parents' wedding picture (they look so glamorous, don't they?), which was to remain in black and white, and the smaller charms for individual people (remaining in color). Once scanned, I focused on the individual faces, printed my test sheets and final sheets, and began work. Finally, I wrapped each charm, double and triple checked that I wasn't forgetting any of them and that I had all of the Lisa's photos packed, and sent the package off.

The finished tree
And here is the finished family tree - doesn't it look great? Lisa found the wire tree on Etsy, and there are plenty of empty branches for future grandchildren! I felt so honored to be asked to help create such a meaningful, unique gift for this family

*I usually prefer to scan hard copies of photographs instead of using a digital image, especially one from a phone, although I can use those as well. I've found that your image is MUCH clearer with a scan, because I can use a very high resolution - not so with phone images!

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