Tuesday, April 25, 2017

All About Custom Made Broken China Jewelry

I took a long break from making custom orders from customers' own china. People have asked me why and it's because I feel that doing that type of work just doesn't allow me the freedom of creativity that I need on a daily basis. Here's why. 

Basically it comes down to this: oftentimes a customer will have a preconceived vision in their mind of exactly what they want created from their plate, and then when I get the plate in my hands and take a look at it, I can pretty much determine what the best design would be for a piece of jewelry that fits the china pattern on their plate. Sometimes what the customer wants is just not do-able due to the plate being too thick or too curved. This is when it's important to listen to suggestions from the artist of what can be made from your plate. 

custom order from a few years ago

Sometimes people want me to create a design from their plate that I know just won't look good, or a design that doesn't use the pattern on the plate to its best advantage. Make sense? But custom work is all about doing what the customer wants... and because of this fact I am sometimes pushed against what I know would look best or make the most beautiful piece of jewelry. 

custom order from a few years ago 

Telling an artist to do something that they know won't produce the best outcome makes the artist cringe inside. But then again, custom work is "custom" work. So there's this kind of discord between what I naturally want to do with someone's plate (what I know will look best), and what the customer wants me to do with it (what I sometimes think won't work well), and I can sometimes have a hard time processing that, because in that kind of work I am following someone else's vision and not able to use my own creativity  - but that is only in the case that the customer won't listen to my input. 

Mostly it's because that sometimes I just know that the design that a customer asks for just won't look good. In this case, I will try to gently steer them into what I think will be best, offering suggestions and my ideas, and explaining it to them. This often leads to many back-and-forth emails with photos and me trying to explain what I think works best for their particular piece of china. That takes a lot of valuable time. Trust me! I know what will look best! :) But I will always make your piece as close to your specifications as possible. That's why we email so much. Working together is the key.

Custom work can be extremely time consuming and therefore it can sometimes be on the expensive side. When an artist does a custom order they are taking time away from their regular work (that allows them all the creative freedom they want) to make something to your personal specifications (that sometimes doesn't allow much creative freedom.) You are paying for years of work and expertise when you ask for a custom order, so by all means, listen to the artist's input! 

custom order from a few years ago

I also won't work with certain types of china, such as super-hard porcelain and thick heavy stoneware. This may seem odd, but it's for good reason. These materials are just too hard on my tools. It's like it using expensive jewelry side cutting pliers that are made for cutting precious metal wire and using them to cut a steel fence. Do that and you can say goodbye to those $50 pliers! Same goes with my cutting and saw blades. They are tough, but they're also expensive to replace. It's easy to ruin a $100 saw blade just by using it to cut material that is too hard or thick. Yes, saw blades are an item that are routinely replaced when they wear out, but they should normally last months and months before needing to be replaced. I've many times used a sawblade for over a year without having to replace it. So some materials are just off-limits and that's why. 

custom order from a few years ago

It's a different situation for someone who is say, painting a portrait. There is creativity involved, but the customer chose you to paint a portrait because they like your style, And from looking at your style they probably can get some kind of idea of what your finished portrait might look like. But it's different when I'm working with a material that varies so differently from person to person, from plate to plate, from manufacturer to manufacturer and material to material. There's a huge difference between pottery and porcelain, glass and stoneware, etc. 

My jewelry featured in Country Living magazine - Editor's Fresh Picks section

After my work was featured in the October 2011 issue of country living magazine, I got tons of requests for custom jewelry made from people's own china. I did as many of these orders as I could! I think the main thing about having custom work done from someone who does what I do, is that you consider this:

Have an idea of what you want made, but be willing to be flexible. Listen to what the artist thinks is best and remember, they are the experts in what they do. Even though you will be wearing the finished product and the artist wants you to be happy – as this is the ultimate goal – this is a situation where you really have to work together so that the artist understands what you want and also that you understand you are paying for their expertise. Use it! 

What do you think?


Have a great week!

My broken china jewelry is always available for purchase at https://www.etsy.com/shop/dishfunctionldesigns

article, images, and designs copyright ©Laura Beth Love 2017 all rights reserved