I was once asked "what is your favourite way to work ?" I thought of my some 33 years of making jewellery and I answered.
I love to play. I think about things sculpturally.
So in order to have many possibilities and succeed in making what I have in my head, I make lots of different elements or parts in sterling silver, copper, brass or gold I have on hand. This is where I kick off the piece.
Often I will set a stone almost to the finishing stage and add that to the play arena as well. I am an avid mudlarker and I'm always looking at the ground, I always seem to have some great cherished pieces to add to the play mix.
When there are sufficient types of elements present I think about the theme or style I have in mind and start to juxtapose colour shape form texture and type and shift them around until something works for me. I then decide how the parts will come together and bring out my (Gold, silver, copper, stainless steel or brass) wire and Marry some elements together.
There are times when I can only get so far because there is a more suitable stone for a piece that I have not yet bezelled or a part that has not got the correct attachment to it, or I haven't polished one of the elements properly yet.
In those cases I will often put the parts aside in a project box to continue another day when the parts are ready. At those times I will start something else that I accidentally saw when working on the first piece. I can have 5 or 6 pieces going at once at any one time. Sometimes I don't know where I am going because the right element has not presented itself.
My travels have taken me to some great places and I am always looking out for vintage, antique and unusual pieces to bring home for my play sessions.There will always be a large amount of the elements I have made myself in the piece, but I do also alter parts I have found.
Playing is the most relaxing way for me to make, but I do also at times have to work to a brief for a client or an exhibition theme, but that is another story.