Since the beginning of this year, I have somewhat put my jewelry creations on hold due to a personal situation. However, I recently realized I really miss creating. So on a recent errand run, I stopped into a local bead shop and picked up a new sheet of copper.

I love working with sheet metal because I can create almost anything I can think of. It’s a blank slate to cut, hammer, patina, file and bend. The copper really adds an interesting color. It’s not something you often see, but it’s becoming more popular. I origninally bought a sheet of copper last summer/fall to practice with before I moved onto silver sheets, but I liked the way the pieces looked so much that I had to start working with it in addition to the silver.

While I was in the shop, I saw two different sizes of copper rings and I commented to my husband that they would make pretty earrings. I decided against getting them though because I figured I could come up with enough projects using the copper sheet. I was still thinking about these rings when I got home, so I decided to try to make some. The holes through the middle aren’t as centered as the ones in the store, but that’s okay by me. I enjoy being different. This is how they turned out:


What do you think? They are 1” diameter with 1/2” diameter holes.

I am not one to throw things away, so the next step was to figure out what to do with the circles which resulted from punching the holes in the center of those earrings. I figured since I had two of them, the easiest thing to do would be to make another pair of earrings. The circles came out pretty smooth so I decided to work with that instead of hammering them. I sanded them lightly for a little texture and I domed them so they reflect the light beautifully. This is the result:


What do you think?

It amazes me how two completely different pairs of earrings can come from the same base material. That’s what I love about what I do. I can create what I’m in the mood for and no two items are identical. I can be in a constant state of creativity.

This project inspired me to really start to think about making the most of things. In some cases, it would be easy to say the small circles are the waste product of the first pair of earrings and dispose of them. However, with a little creativity, trash can become treasure. I have a few pieces of jewelry which no longer really fit the style of the rest of my pieces so I’m thinking I might pull them apart and try to rework them instead of calling them a lost cause. Perhaps that will be a future blog post!

With the challenging economy many of us are facing, do you find yourself trying to find ways of reusing items or saving your scrap materials to use for a different project? It seems as though this concept is really becoming popular, even though it’s probably something we should have always been doing. If you have a creative reuse project, I would love to see it!

For now, thanks for stopping by!




Getting the Most from Photos

Are you familiar with Etsy? If not, it’s an online marketplace for artists, crafters, and vintage sellers. Currently, this is the online venue I sell my jewelry through.

Ever since I started to sell on Etsy, I have struggled with my jewelry photos. They say photos are very important because people can’t physically look over the items being sold. I agree with this. Clear photos also give a more professional look and give the impression that the shop owner really cares about every detail in the business.

I have struggled with photos because I’m trying to make my photos like every other seller, or many of the other sellers, on Etsy. This isn’t working. It is highly recommended for sellers to use white backgrounds and this has been my issue. The background either washes out the jewelry or it’s grayish in color. I have not been able to get white backgrounds I like for my jewelry.

Finally, I consulted my husband and his graphic design background for advice. He reminded me that as important as Etsy might think white backgrounds are, it’s more important for the photos to look good and for them to show the jewelry in all of its beauty. With this, he suggested I try gray or tan. I didn’t have anything gray to use as a background, but I have a large piece of tan fabric.

This worked pretty well, but it was still showing up a little funny. My husband suggested I not lose hope with it and work with the various settings on my camera. After much stress and feelings of not getting anywhere, I’m finally getting photos I like. This is something I should continuously work on, but for now, it is giving me a more uniform background and it looks a lot better than bright white.

As I move toward a redesign of my business, these photos are the first step in creating my new image. What do you think?

IMG_5059 IMG_5181

If you need to compare, some of the old photos can still be found on Etsy: Gretchen Smith Jewelry

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks for stopping by!