I’m a big fan of wish lists; gift-buying can be stressful, and I always appreciate it when friends and family throw me a few clues about items they’d love to receive! And as the winter holidays approach, I’ve been adding a few key things to my own wishlist. Nothing beats crayon portraits from my friends’ kids or the crusty holiday loaves my husband’s been baking … but, as you’ll see, most of my purchase-able wishlist skews toward jewelry design. What can I say? I love my work, and am always daydreaming about tools and skills that will make it even more enjoyable!
So without further ado, I give you the 2017 wishlist of a self-proclaimed jewelry design geek:
Buy this first: Micro TIG welder
My #1 dream tool...the micro TIG welder!
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I’m a little obsessed with adding an Orion micro TIG welder to my workshop. I saw one in action at the Las Vegas trade shows, and know for a fact that it would make my construction processes simpler and slicker.
What is it? A micro TIG welder is a pen-sized welding device equipped with a microscope that gives you a detailed view of the piece in process. They’re used in the medical device, automotive, and electronics industries, too, but have some exciting applications in jewelry design. (TIG stands for “tungsten inert gas,” by the way. This welder is 100% driven by science.)
Why I want one: Because it would allow me to do lots of things I can’t currently do, and make my ongoing tasks easier! Every week I spend hours soldering together oddly shaped pieces of origami-like metal, and end up improvising with various clamps and tweezers to hold the components in place while I work. The tig welder would make joining them much easier, and also allow for smaller and finer work.
Raw material daydream: Fairmined ecological gold
I’ve written about my dedication to fair trade gems, and am constantly seeking ways to make my designs as sustainable as possible. Although Fairmined ecological gold isn’t in my current lineup of materials—I don’t currently purchase enough gold to meet the minimum order—it’s high on my wish list of dream materials.
What is it? Gold that is mined from the earth, but at an enforced standard that includes responsible artisanal and small-scale mining techniques, formal and legal mining operations oversight, consideration for environmental protection and labor conditions, and other eco-friendly guidelines.
Why I want it: Fairmined gold has one big advantage over recycled gold (which I currently use in my designs), and that is the positive impact on communities where it’s mined. Recycled gold doesn’t require any mining at all, so it's low impact. But while Fairmined gold is newly mined, it’s removed from the earth under strict environmental standards AND using business mechanisms that support artisanal and small-scale mining, which in turn support community development. Although small-scale and artisanal mining represents only 10% of global gold production, it employs 90% of the gold mining workforce, so buying Fairmined ecological gold can have a big impact!.
Light reading: Women Jewellery Designers
I'm hoping to spend my Xmas break perusing this gorgeous book!
What is it? Juliet de la Rochefoucauld’s book Women Jewellery Designers was just released in September of 2017, and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.
Why I want it: It’s a big, beautiful coffee table book featuring gorgeous photographs of dazzling jewelry, all by women designers. Need I say more?
Professional development: 3D design classes
Although I love studying and experimenting with new techniques in the studio, it’s been a while since I’ve taken a formal class or learned an entirely new skill. But I’m absolutely itching to sign up for classes in 3D design and modelling.
What are they? Instruction in the use of 3D design software, including the techniques needed to create models that can be 3D printed.
Why I want to attend: People often ask if my work is made with a 3D printer. It’s not—it’s all made by hand—but learning how to design using 3D modelling software would allow me to experiment with new ideas more easily. I could model the design before fabricating the entire piece by hand. And I’d also be able to stretch myself a little, formulating designs that would be impossible to execute with the techniques I currently use.
Business and Pleasure: A trip to the Goldsmith’s Fair
I mean, it is a *wish* list, right? I’ve wanted to attend the Goldsmith’s Fair since I first saw their lineup of designers, and it would be a dream come true to travel to London for it!
What is it? A multi-day conference featuring established and emerging British goldsmithing and silversmithing talent. Each year, collectors, design lovers, and luxury shoppers pack the magnificent Goldsmiths’ Hall to browse the latest collections.
Why I want to attend: The Goldsmith’s Fair features some of the most exciting and innovative jewelry designers working today, from emerging artists to master craftspeople. Plus I’ve never been to London!
Beautiful baubles: Caviar Earrings by Rachel Atherley
Look at these beauties - 14K gold and aquamarines!
What are they? Take a peek. Spectacular, no?
Why I want them: Although I generally stick to wearing my own designs, once in a while, I want to sport someone else’s work. And I LOVE Rachel’s ethereal designs. Not only are the pieces fabulous, but she’s a friend and all-around lovely person!
What’s on YOUR holiday wish list? Let me know in the comments! (And if you need ideas, I’m popping new designs into my online shop weekly. Just saying …)