How about these pearls…Aren’t they yummy? Welcome to my happy place, where I, Susan Bowerman, the gal behind Woodside WireWorks, produces hand-crafted artisan jewelry; a journey which began almost a decade ago. While I am for the most part self taught, I have found YouTube has truly been my friend. And, drumroll please…it was on YouTube where I first encountered my friend, Brenda Sue Landsdowne and B’Sue Boutiques! Talk about a kick in the creative pants!
This is the second year I have participated in the Build a Line Challenge and I can assure you, I will learn more in the next three months than I ever would just sitting here on my own. The event is sponsored by B’Sue Boutiques (http://www.bsueboutiques.com), where one can find the best of the the best American made stampings in raw brass and in several high quality finishes. B’Sue Boutiques is the mecca for many jewelry artists. If you want quality, see Brenda!
There is something pretty magic about sitting down to a table full of beads and findings. The possibilities are endless. Often, when I’m in the zone, I will look out the window only to realize darkness has fallen, day became dusk..Where did those hours go?
Being part of the Build a Line Challenge affords participants an opportunity to spread their creative wings, and approach making wearable art with a focused intention. I love it. Our format this year is different: more structure, more reading, and more on-topic discussions. I cannot even imagine trying to fill Brenda’s shoes, because creating art is a passionate endeavor. These are our babies, for crying out loud and we all know how most mamas like to protect their young! That makes mentoring an event like this quite a fete…I wouldn’t want to do it! But, Brenda is guiding us through an odyssey of self discovery; teaching us to be work smarter, to define our style, and to recognize our customer.
The purpose of the challenge is to build a body of COHESIVE work! Yikes, throw that word “cohesive” in the mix and therein lies the CHALLENGE within the CHALLENGE! My line last year was called “Deck out that Denim.” Here is a collage of the pieces I made during those three months. I was so happy with how they turned out, especially since I knew very little about what to expect and what I was doing.
One of the things I love about our approach this year is that we are required to reveal our intended “line” with our first blog post…as in now! For me, this change in strategy was a great idea, for it forced me to focus from the onset. The pieces above are cohesive because they use components which collectively have the same finishes, so building that body of work was a happy accident. The theme I have chosen this time requires more thought…much more! But, what is the value in doing something if you don’t strive for adding a few new tricks to your trade?
I will be using metals in this line too, but most of them will be altered. My line will feature hand painted stampings, flowers, and pearls…all of which I adore. Since not everyone is a fan of flowers, some pieces will be made of alternate components in an effort to give the collection depth.
But, but, but…now that I’m altering the metals, it means building COHESION throughout the line requires vast amounts of thought and planning. My camera is doubling as my editor, helping me to identify pieces which need to be altered and hopefully weed out those things that simply don’t fit.
Now how did I come up with the title, Cashmere and Pearls? Well I’ll tell you! My late father and I were talking way back in the day and I think he was trying to convince his “tomboy” daughter to be more ladylike. That was a TALL ORDER! Finally, he said to me, “Susie honey, I like my women in Cashmere and Pearls!” I’ve never forgotten that. So the line I’m creating is dedicated to my dear father, who was always on point, extremely wise, and the best father a girl could ask for.
Cashmere and Pearls will combine beautiful stampings–modified with a dewey soft finish–and pearls, and with a few flowers tossed in. Most of the line will be romantic and soft.
I am optimistic that I will be able to make pieces of varied shapes to add interest and create pieces, which can be layered within the collection. With a little luck, I will be able to master some simpler pieces so that the next time I setup at a craft show, I will have offerings at many price points. Here is a sneak peak of one of the pieces I’ve created, thus far. I must say, I love, love, love to make jewelry.
And this is me, the crazy girl who would much rather buy pliers and beads than shoes! Thank you so much for visiting. Please leave me a little comment if you’d be so kind. And please, please, please visit the many other talented artists with whom I have the pleasure of sharing this journey.
Introducing our “2016 Build a Line Challenge” Artists: