Normally on Mondays we list all of the new pieces we made from the week. This week however was a bit out of the ordinary and instead of making new jewelry on Wednesday, we took a trip to NYC. A few weeks ago, we entered a contest being run by Etsy and Carrera Casting. It was an open call for submissions to be chosen to have a design brought to life and manufactured by Carerra. This was the submission of our current work that we entered along with a form explaining a bit about our business and how we make our jewelry.
We were so excited when a few weeks later Etsy contacted us to let us know we had been chosen for the opportunity!! To be honest we had really forgotten about it and didn't expect to win at all. We immediately began to try and design something to have them create for us. They wanted us to come and meet in New York City and we had a couple of days to figure it out. I wanted the design to be something that fits our aesthetic and style but would be very hard for us to create by hand so we could really take advantage of the newest technology in computer designing and prototyping. I felt so much pressure to figure out the perfect thing! It felt boring to just say hey, this is our best seller, please make it for us. It was also overwhelming because the sky is truly the limit, they could create things for us we don't have the skills to create by hand. This felt like such a huge break and such an exciting thing to do, I wanted to really nail it. I thought a lot about what was important down the road if we were to introduce outside manufacturing to our business. I decided that what I really wanted was for manufacturing to help us to hand make each piece a little faster and I wanted it to elevate our designs. I didn't want to have completed pieces made, but rather components that we could use and still make one of a kind jewelry by hand. I wanted it to be easily incorporated into what we are already making but make it better. Funny I had written the words "elevate our current designs" in my sketch book as I stared at the pages trying to figure out just what to design. And that's when it hit me. I wanted to LITERALLY elevate them, by 5mm.
Those are my first ideas and sketches. I'm terrible at drawing but I am SO excited about this idea. Right now when we set a stone it's on a flat piece of silver sheet. Once it's set, we figure out a bail or drill a hole into it to put a circle that attaches it to a chain. With this shadow box, we would solder our stone and backplate right to it. This would lift the pendant by 5mm and have an opening for a chain to go through giving the pendant a really different look. Kind of like this leaf pendant we make:
Instead of spending so long creating the structure like we do with the leaf pendant, we would have the walls and back already done. Then we could focus on the creative part, we could set stones or emboss patterns onto sheet and then just solder it down to complete the hollow form. After lots of thinking and debating, we took it a step further and decided to make the walls and back of the shadow box have open sections to add interest and allow the component to be more versatile. This is the type of open work we would like:
Basically we are taking a big piece we made, shrinking it way down into a design motif and then having a structural and technical piece created on the computer. Then with the magic of modern technology it will become a sterling silver component we can use in our designs. So on Wednesday we took this idea to meet with Carrera casting in NYC and tour their factory. Here is a pic of Paul on the train finalizing some of our design details:
Wow, is all I can say about their operation. It was beyond impressive, they are clearly amazing at what they do and they were so helpful in answering all of our questions. So much goes into the design and production of a single piece. We are so lucky to have been offered this opportunity to have them essentially hold our hand through our first piece to be brought from sketch to life. This was step one. Here is a post they had on Instagram from our day there:
This is so awesome, I truly feel so good about the design and I cannot wait for the next step. If this idea seems confusing don't worry it seems confusing to most people right now but I have total faith! I really think this is the start of something amazing that will fit right in with our designs and truly elevate our current work.
As if this week wasn't inspiring and exciting enough we also went to a gem show in Marlborough MA. I think my absolute favorite part of what we do has to be stone shopping. I could do it for hours and I do lol. Here's a pic Paul took of me all wrapped up in my bargain hunting :) Love the show specials, you can find amazing stones on sale. I always like to keep our price points as low as we can, I want people to be able to afford our art and getting deals on stones is key to that!
Here is what we brought back! Not all were show specials, the most expensive one was that 30 carat rectangular rutilated quartz. I didn't realize how much we spent on it until we got home, whoops! I love to come home and lay it all out. I can't wait to make new things!!!!!
So no new pieces to list today, but trust that big and exciting things are in store!