Not for sale – ALICIA HANNAH NAOMI Phèdre Brooch and Pendant
It seems I haven’t posted as many pieces of jewellery I’ve made during the first year of my course as I thought. Truthfully, much of the work I am less than satisfied with for various reasons. What I can say with conviction is, however – I am bloody glad I am getting a lot of these learning errors out of the way in the privacy of my studies. It’s given me a much more discerning eye and has raised my standards far more than if I’d have gone into my label self-taught. I take no issues with self-taught designer/makers but I know I am a better jeweller for having taken this hard road; and that only benefits my customers.
One of my last assignments this semester was for my casting class. I love casting because it allows me to get metal into the most organic state possible; which is exactly what I wanted to communicate with these pieces. Not content to rest on my laurels, I also decided to fabricate elements within the compulsory brooch (the biggest silver ring is riveted for movement and actually swings when worn) and hand set black gemstones into both the brooch and the pendant (neither were requirements of the task, I just like giving myself more work than necessary and generally driving myself crazy).
There’s a lot of things I did wrong with these pieces that I’d fix if I made them again – I didn’t like the way I’d crafted the matching chain for the pendant so when I received it back I promptly cut it off. The minimalist in me prefers it presented far more simply; lately I’ve been wearing it on the Axis Choker (coming soon to ALICIA HANNAH NAOMI) or on a string of black onyx beads for a little more drama. I also rushed the gem setting on the brooch; and thusly, the claws are too long. Finally, the black ring on the brooch is actually made of copper and I learnt that copper can be very fickle to oxidise in the wrong arrangement; the ring was a bloody bugger to get black and has left an unsightly mess behind it.
They say we are all our own worst critics and I am sure that to outsiders, the issues I have with my work is not something easily picked up upon. It’s true that in the end I was far happier than I thought I’d be with the results of this assignment than I’d have guessed half-way through. But I also feel that in this world where access to handcrafted products like jewellery by professionals and hobbyists alike has exploded thanks to the likes of Etsy, outsiders to the process of creation also may not have a discerning enough eye for quality of their own because they are offered so many seriously imperfectly crafted products that it’s become normal. I’m not comfortable with that.
Yes, there flaws that are charming and imperfections that are endearing – but these should always be of design and never of engineering or manufacturing. I would never list a product for sale on my store that I didn’t feel met my quality standards, and so this particular Phèdre Brooch and Pendant set will remain my exclusive property as a memento of my education. But I have big plans using all the skills I’ve learnt and eventually you’ll see something similar pop up for sale which embodies the design I love dear with production quality that satisfactorily meets my standards.