Happy new year! During the dark and rainy winter days in Seattle, I find myself squirreled away at my bench in the corner of my quiet, cozy studio. It’s easy to lose track of time here, focused and buried in some project or another, but as I raise my head to look around, I realize another year has come and gone.
And another jewelry challenge has come and gone as I wrap up my last contribution to the 2014 “3xR” challenge. 3xR was started by my lovely friend and EtsyMetal teammate Ann Hartley a year ago, in January 2014. In her words, it was a chance to:
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle all the crap we have laying around on our benches and in our studios! Finish all those projects, use those stones we’ve been hoarding, take a look at that old sketchbook. Nothing is off limits here. Make as much work or as little as you choose but you need to Use What You Have.
Fun! The old notion that jewelers are hoarders is true for most of us – we love to collect stones, we save bits of old, broken projects, cut offs from scrapped jewelry, and lots and lots of “what ifs” and “ooh, shiny things!” Many of us end up with drawers and boxes full of things we’ve been collecting for years. Wouldn’t it be great to use that stuff up? So that’s what I and a small group of jewelers set out to do this year. You can see the results of our efforts here in our 3xR Flickr group.
My goal was to finish one project per week, and though I occasionally lagged behind, I did, really, truly finish 52 projects – totaling more than 80 individual pieces of jewelry – by the end of the year. I cleared out my “To Do” pile, sifted through my “Maybe?” pile, and ruthlessly culled my “WTF” pile.
It was decluttering at its finest, cleansing, renewing and continually motivating. On days when I felt tired and uninspired and had to drag myself into the studio, I could just poke through the small piles of projects awaiting my attention on my layout table and see what spoke to me. Most of my projects were simple, and a few were more involved, but the goal was not necessarily to challenge myself with technique, it was to literally clear my bench.
I posted all 52 of my projects in the 3xR Flickr group as I went along. I started with a bang by completing five gold and sapphire rings that I had had sitting half-finished on my bench for about a year (photo below). And moved on from there. You can see listings for many of the pieces here in my Etsy shop. Check out photos of all of my 52 weeks below.
Week 17: Sterling circle and pearl earrings, necklace
Week 18: Botanical charm necklaces – lilac and citrine; lily, lilac and turquoise; anemone and garnet; hyacinth, lilac and aquamarine
Week 19: Aquamarine, sterling and gold fill necklace
Week 38: Seaweed brooch
Week 39: Seaweed necklace
Week 40: Tourmalinated quartz and sterling silver twig ring
Week 47: 14k white gold studs with moissanite
Week 48: 14k white gold studs with reverse-set Orissa garnets
Week 49: Beaded sterling earrings with pearl and turquoise
Week 50: Brass hex earrings with tourmalinated quartz and chalcedony
Week 51: 14k yellow gold and 14k rose gold twig hoop earrings
Week 52!!!: Sterling bangle set with amber, carnelian, peach moonstone
WHEW!!!! That was a lot of photos! And a lot of work. Looking back on all the pieces, I can remember the satisfaction I felt at getting each and every one of them finished, photographed and listed online. The best part? My layout tables and benches looked clean for a bit – at least, until I covered them again with To Do projects yet to come.
I think I’ll keep up the challenge in 2015. Stay tuned for updates along the way.
I wish all of you the best in this year’s challenges of your own, both planned and unexpected. May we all be able to clean our own spaces, both physical and mental, from time to time to make way for new work, new inspiration and the clarity that can only come from a thorough and clean sweep.