Do you know how a top jewellery designer spends their day?
Well, I don’t know either, but here’s what I get up to on my typical jewellery making day (this being a Friday) …
7:30am – woken up by Siamese meowing
7:35 – turn over and try to go back to sleep
7:40 – get up and feed cats
7:50 – back to bed to catch half an hour extra sleep
8:00 – woken up by 4 year old daughter
8:10 – finally up and dressed
8:15 – feed cats
8:20 – check emails and eat breakfast
8:50 – take daughter to Nursery
9:15 – feed cats (where do they put it all?). then to my workbench with a cup of tea or coffee.
I look at my bench – did I really leave all that stuff everywhere? I’m sure it must be the jewellery fairy, who in my house hides my tools, tarnishes the silver and knots up the silver chain when I’m not looking. After making a clean space in which to work, I then look through my box of ‘work in progress’.
My ‘work in progress’ box has all the bits that I am in the process of making, taking apart, or working out what to do with. Some things have been lurking in there for a long time, but one day I might suddenly have a ‘eureka!’ moment and there will be the exact thing I need in the bottom of this box of potential treasures.
I also have a selection of books which I do all my design sketches in. If I haven’t got a commission or something ready to work on, I will flick through my books and then either make new sketches or pick something to adapt and make.
I have drawers to the right of my bench with all my metals (sterling wire in the top drawer, sterling sheet and tube in the next one down and gold in the bottom one), and another set of drawers next to that with my materials for soldering and polishing.
To my left are my shelves of findings (head pins, ear wires etc), gem settings, crystals and gemstones – all in clear boxes because I like to be able to find things easily (and the sparkly colours look beautiful).
My actual workbench (see earlier post) I found to be a little too low and I was in danger of getting a bad back, so I made a wooden plinth to raise it up (which now also means I’ve got somewhere to rest my feet on, which is a real plus in my book). The only problem now is that for some things, I actually find it easier to stand up to work. I’ll get used to the height difference soon, I hope.
My run of benches/storage makes up the divider between my half of the room and my daughter’s playroom, so I don’t have a wall in front of me to hang my hammers and saws up on. It would be useful too to have a pin-board, but I’ll have to work with what I’ve got at the moment. So, all my tools are on my workbench, but I’ve made a note of where my hands think something should be when I reach for a tool whilst looking down (not as hard as it sounds) and have moved everything round accordingly.
Well, I’m here at my bench, design in mind and tools in hand … so this is the perfect time for a cold-calling salesman to make my telephone ring, or at very least, it’s a wrong number. Oh well, time to feed the cats again (before you worry … they only get a small amount each time. I’ve got three skinny cats, honest!).
Back to the bench, removing a sleeping cat from my seat (how did that happen? wasn’t it eating a minute ago?) and then I pick up my favourite things – a piece of sterling silver and my piercing saw. The day stretches in front of me and I feel all creative. Suddenly, time snaps back and it’s 5pm (did someone play with the clocks again?). Hopefully, I’ve got something (or many some-things) made and soldered, ready for the tumbler.
5:15pm – feed cats
5:30pm – go pick up daughter from Nursery
6pm -It being a Friday, I get my other half to cook whilst I polish and put the finishing touches to the jewellery. After my little one’s bed-time, it’s time to take photos and then sit down at the laptop to price up and type up the fruits of the day’s labours. Okay, okay … a bit of Facebook surfing & chatting too 🙂
1am – go to bed (but not till after feeding the cats!)