You may have seen a couple of weeks ago I posted my Do's and Don'ts for those thinking about getting a piece of jewellery commissioned. I wanted to share with you my process when it comes to designing bespoke pieces as I am aware this is a really personal and varying process from person to person and it is something I love finding out about with other designer-makers.
My process tends to start with quite a lot of procrastination in the form of perusing Instagram and Pinterest topped off with several cups of tea, i'll then probably take a photo of that tea, edit it to within an inch of its life and then post it on Instagram.... more procrastination.... I work much better with time constraints! Anyway, all the time i'm procrastinating there are design related things going on in my brain - I like to start to build up some ideas before putting pencil to paper (or so I keep telling myself).
Eventually when I am all tea'd out I will set myself up at my desk (aka the kitchen table) with my essentials - ruler, pencil, sharpener, rubber, sketchbook, computer or pricing catalogue and the client's brief and a to do list or my bullet journal as I am forever adding to lists of things to do!
I start by noting the clients name at the top of the page and their brief i.e. what key elements they want incorporated in their piece and their budget. Then I start sketching, this is where the rubber comes in because I am a terrible artist! I have always found it strange how I can make something beautiful with a sawblade and metal but not with lead on paper. I'm sure a lot of you are probably thinking 'what century is this woman in? why doesn't she do this on xxx program or xxx fancy computer'... My answer - I like this medium and its easy!
Once I have some initial ideas on paper I will start to cost them out using a Jewellery Makers supplier, this way I know my prices are current as precious metal prices fluctuate all the time. I'll neaten up my designs giving usually 5-7 options with a range of prices for the client. I will then provide the client with the designs in person or via a photo over email depending on where they are in the world.
Sometimes this can be where myself and the client discover their vision may be brought into reality better by someone else or the client may love the designs and they go ahead and place an order. Either way is fine, of course I would love to make something for everyone who comes to me for a custom piece of jewellery but the reality is sometimes my expertise aren't going to do a clients vision justice and there may be another designer maker out there who would knock it out the park. This process can go back and forth for a bit, adjusting designs until both myself and the client are happy. Then comes the fun bit - turning the sketches into a physical piece of jewellery!
So that is basically my design process when someone requests a custom piece of jewellery. If you are thinking about commissioning a bespoke piece yourself please feel free to get in touch via the contact page! Also help me procrastinate - come and find me on Instagram and say hello!