Crafting beautiful unique jewelry from raw materials is an intimate form of art that requires focus, patience, and continuous practice. In this blog, Velia talks - crafting process, skills and design challenges.
It began 10 years ago. I was looking for something to do as a hobby and I knew I wanted to learn a skill - my family is really good at making things by hand – I found myself really drawn to how people could take raw materials, bond them together and shape something beautiful. So, it started off as hobby and spiraled from there. I love it! Its a form of therapy for my brain, I can sit down for hours and feel like only minutes went by.
Favorite part of the jewelry making process?
I love finishing a project not so much because of the final product, but because I’m already thinking of other possibilities for it. Nothing is ever finished! Honestly, I will look at an idea or design and say ‘oh, I wonder how it would look like if I changed this feature, or we add this, or we took something away’ there is always something you can tweak to give it a different angle.
What skills are you currently working on?
I’m always working on different techniques, it’s a continuous learning process… but if I had to pick my favorite skill to work on, I would pick soldering. I think it’s always fun to elevate your soldering game to the next level. I get to play with fire!
What was the toughest skill to master?
Learning how to work with 14k gold filled is very difficult when your soldering it because its very easy to ruin the metal and it was very tricky for me to understand the different steps involved: the steps in the process, the different chemicals, the amount of temperature required to bond, the process of cleaning the material. Basically, every single step from when your first cut wire to the final buffing and polishing, I’m constantly challenging myself to improve. There’s always opportunity to improve.
Do you ever get creative block?
Yes - all the time! My approach is to walk away. Create some distance for 30 minutes, an hour or even a few days until I get inspired again. That eureka moment is waiting to present itself and sometimes you just have to sort of let it happen – you can’t force it, just give yourself some space and it will usually show up when you least expect it.
Sub-consciously your mind still tries to figure it out.
Do you ever change the design from the original concept?
Typically we have a great idea for a design in mind. We discuss it, sketch it and even do a ‘dry run’ with left over scrap materials. But often, while I’m putting the prototype together, soldering or bending them – we realize a different vision and we modify our original plans. I love these moments, you never know when a spark will hit, you never expect it to happen because your so focused on crafting this specific thing. When I look back, these ‘spark’ moments typically come up when we run into an issue we have to solve when making the initial prototype. It’s the typical ‘one thing leads to another’ scenario.
Do you ever abandon a design or scrap it?
Yes! We have scrapped projects even when it gets to the final stage of the process. We have to be really careful that all the jewelry we create not only fit within the collection but fits with the brand. We typically put that project on hold until we are happy with it. If its not something I would be proud to wear, then its definitely not ready yet.
A good example is the Idre hoop earrings. Our concept was to change the traditional hoop earrings by adding a geometric dimension. Our first models were didn't feel right. We put that design on hold and came back to it a couple of times until it was perfect. It’s now our most popular earring.