May 10, 2011

Rust Belt Inspired Jewelry Designs

I made quite a bit of new jewelry for my Rustbelt Market opening weekend.  I learned a lot over the weekend by the way people responded to it. It is not my intention to sell finished jewelry at this event (even though almost all of these pieces sold, as did others that I didn't photograph).  The intention is to show people how to make their own jewelry, or at least customize the designs I have made while I show them how to do it.  I discovered that my original samples, shown here, were a little too advanced for the first time DIY-er.
I adapted by making a series of simpler necklaces (I will photograph them to show you soon!) that could be easily made on site.  Now that I have those simple designs, I think I can make more "complex" pieces like these for an inspiration board.  All of this will be easier when I develop my future Market plans for setting up a beading station.  And perhaps some help so I can be more hands-on while someone else mans my booth.
With these pieces, I wanted to show the potential of all of the beads, charms, findings, and supplies that I am selling at the Market.  That's why I had to make all new stuff... I wanted every part to be something I have available for sale. 
I give customers, many of whom are picking up pliers for the first time, free permission to copy these designs.  And if they alter them by making design changes, even better! That means they are taking the first steps on the path of their own jewelry designing.
I am very pleased to be carrying works by artists other than myself, like these wood-cuts by Pork Chop Show and the always popular Green Girl Studios.  This lessens some of my work load and inspires me to work with other artists' components that compliment my own.
I am still working out these details, as this was only my first of many weekends at Rust Belt.  I signed up for the next two weekends and then I will be returning mid June for at least a four week run.  I set up a new page and mailing list (for locals) on my website if you are interested in visiting or learning more.
I am feeling very energized and optimistic about this new venue.  It has awakened in me dreams I forgot I had, like teaching and having a bead store, and has suddenly made them a reality in one whirlwhind weekend!

Melanie is an artist, blogger, writer, and ceramic beadmaker at Earthenwood Studio. Her beads and components can be found at her Etsy shop and her jewelry can be found in her Etsy Galleria. To comment on this post, visit the original post at the Earthenwood Studio Chronicles Blog.


  1. This is great information! Sometimes I forget where I started from and what people may want to learn first when they start making jewelry. It's so cool that you were able to see this from observing how people interacted with your work at your booth. Love your ideas for inspiring others to create :)

  2. I think you are on your way to tailoring your dreams to your reality and it is exciting to see you so energized! I think that you would be wonderful in a store setting. You are so personable and open and sweet. It would be fun to create in a space that you inhabit with your touches and eye for detail. Thank you for taking us along on this ride!
    Enjoy the day!

  3. You're a very amazing, admirable person. This beading booth idea sounds wonderful! I love your designs and I love your approach---get people to learn by following your design examples while gently encouraging them to make that leap and add something of their own. Wonderful!