As part of my "get organized" resolution, I've been cleaning my studio (a.k.a. "unfinished basement"). One cardboard box in the corner held my first necklaces. Some were badly made, but others were just no longer me. And some, like the necklace with spiky rubber neon green beads, fell into the "What was I thinking?" category.
Before I wrote the "Take 2" article for the spring issue of Stringing, I would have tucked these beading disasters away forever. But now that I've seen the spectacular redesign results of designers Danielle Fox, Andrew Thornton, Molly Schaller, and Denise Yezbak Moore, I firmly believe that almost every piece of unworn jewelry (except perhaps neon necklaces) deserves a second chance.
If you have jewelry that you never wear or pieces that just won't sell, maybe it's time to give them another look. Here are some tips I've uncovered:
7 Tips for Redesigning Jewelry
1: Be open to possibilities. Just because you start with one idea doesn't mean you need to stick with it. I intended just to restring my bracelet (shown below), but as I worked, I realized that I'd prefer a necklace. (Bracelets make such a racket when you're typing at the computer!)
2: Ask for feedback. Get opinions from someone you trust. Sometimes it's easier for others to spot problems than it is to see them ourselves.
3: Seek inspiration. Page through copies of Stringing, study reader galleries on the Beading Daily forums, and paw through your bead stash or local bead shop. What catches your eye?
4: Start small. While a necklace might need a total overhaul, often changing just one element, such as a focal or clasp, will be enough to make it work.
5: Take a photo. If you're nervous about taking a piece apart, take a photo of it first. This will give you a security blanket. You can always reconstruct the original piece if you don't like the new results.
6: Go back to Square One. If you're unhappy with a piece of jewelry, but don't know what to do to improve it, think back to why you were inspired to make the piece in the first place. If it was a color combination that you loved, for instance, make that your springboard for another design.
7: Wear it. Some flaws–a faulty clasp, a too-short necklace–only become apparent with the piece on. Figure out why your piece doesn't fit comfortably, then fix it.
My "Before" Bracelet and "After" Necklace
I enjoyed this redesign process so much that I redid a second piece in addition to the one in Stringing.
I'm sharing it exclusively on Beading Daily.
After: The redesigned necklace has an edgier, more modern look with gunmetal chain and an enamel clasp.
Before: This bracelet was too sweet
for my personal taste.
Be sure to check out all five sets of before and after photos in the spring issue of Stringing, along with nearly 100 new necklace, bracelet, and earring designs (including some with great floral ceramic beads!), tips on how to sell your jewelry at outdoor shows, and where to get the latest woodland creature beads and the cutest little raku house beads I've ever seen.
While we wait for our copies of Stringing to arrive, tell us your tales of redesign. Have you ever redesigned a piece? Why or why not?