Wednesday, January 23, 2013

So How Has It Changed?

My friend, Amanda, asked me that the other day in reference to my business and my ten years. I will begin my answer by saying it's the same and completely different. My ultimate goal has always been to be able to make work every day and this remains true, for the most part. I'm not able to make work every day now because my business is no longer just about making jewelry. It's also about teaching, lecturing, and lots of marketing. A better way of describing my ultimate goal now is to keep making jewelry, which I definitely have done and continue to do. 

When I started my business in 2002 I just wanted to make great jewelry. I started selling it in a few places and the number grew over time. Then I wanted to sell it in as many places as I could and support myself. I also wanted to be in shows, get published, and make a career for myself. I worked a day-job and made jewelry in the evenings and on the weekends. I applied to everything and got rejected from a lot. I took classes when I could and went to symposiums, guild meetings, and gallery openings. I read Metalsmith magazine and bought books. And, I made work every day. 

I still do (or try to do) all of those things today along with additional related work as I mentioned above. I also communicate with my audience as much as I can in the form of near daily blogging and Facebook posts, I volunteer for SNAG on the Exhibitions Committee, I mentor, and I write for books on occasion. My new goals are to travel for my work every year, do more residencies, and to curate more exhibitions.

My business is also different because my work is different and my work has changed because I know myself better as an artist. I recognize and understand my inspirations and my process, while my skills are more refined. This all means my ideas are stronger and I can execute them more easily. I make one-of-a-kind pieces more often and I am dedicated to maintaining this when years ago I had to sacrifice it. (At that time I was so busy building my business there simply wasn't time to make anything else besides my collections.) Now I realize and embrace that fact that my production work serves to support my one-of-a-kind pieces and I know there is a way to do both. Today my work is more personal, focusing on memory, and is more than just formal.

The images you see here are examples of some of the one-of-a-kind jewelry I've made since 2002. I think it's obvious to me how the work is different from pieces I made more recently, but there are subtle similarities as well.

So now ten years later I make the best jewelry I can as much as I can while complementing my studio practice with other worthwhile, related pursuits. They feed each other and they balance each other. I feel pretty fortunate to have my business the way it is now and look forward to seeing how it changes in the future.

Thanks for reading


Nicolette said...

"I worked a day-job and made jewelry in the evenings and on the weekends. I applied to everything and got rejected from a lot."
This is such a reassuring statement for me, and for all starters in the field... to see someone persevere and become successful. Thanks!

Amy Tavern said...

Thanks for saying so. It's so true! Hard-work and being tenacious are the keys. All the best to you!

studioloor said...

you always inspire me! thanks for sharing.

Amy Tavern said...

Wow, thank you! That is really, really great to know.

Molly said...

Hi Amy! You came to talk to my senior studio class at VCU... just found your blog and found this post extremely inspiring!
Hope you are well,

Amy Tavern said...

Hi Molly! Glad you found me! Thanks for's exciting to me that you found that post inspiring. Thank you!