What does "handmade" really mean...Seaside Harmony Jewelry's promise
Fall is coming, which means holiday shopping and hopefully some markets. Do you love to check out the items described as being handmade? This often evokes images in our minds of a sole artisan toiling away at the bench with soldering torch or a tool of their trade in hand. Is this accurate? The answer is, sometimes.
Do you expect to get the same price on an equivalent type product from a maker vs. a big chain store? People often do. The truth is, artisans can not compete on price. If they do, they are likely not making a profit. This isn’t fair, but we do it anyways because we love to create and want to earn our living at it. This is a very tough thing to do successfully.
Sometimes artisans will purchase pre-made components to save time. Some products are completely made with pre-made components. I’m not saying this is bad but that you should understand what you’re paying for. In that case, you are paying for the persons’ design sense and ability to put together beautiful things.
We all have our own ideas about what what we value in products. As an artist, it’s important to me that I make as much of the product as I feasibly can. For me, the main artistic component of the jewelry must be handmade by me.
For example, I started out sawing each of my copper waves. This was extremely time consuming, not to mention really tough on the wrist. Eventually, I found a water jet facility that can cut my metal waves for me. I created the design but it was not feasible to hand saw each piece. However, I enamel each wave in a kiln so that the artistic color effect is created by me.
For my circular designs, I use a disc cutter to increase my accuracy and speed. Other shapes I saw myself. On bezel set items with stones or sea glass, I saw and solder all the pieces together and set the stones. I do not make chain as that would be time prohibitive and it is not the main star of the show in my pieces.
I'm comfortable when I say that my jewelry is handmade. Does that mean that each individual clasp and chain is handmade? No. But I am okay with this distinction. After all, this is a business for me and not a hobby. I need to be able to pay myself a tiny bit and make some kind of profit. No profit is not much of a business. That said, would I be selling anything other than my handmade jewelry? Nope!
The whole jewelry thing has been a long process of self discovery. I started out beading, moved to wire wrapping and finally into metalsmithing and enameling. For me, it has been a quest to create in a satisfying way. It has brought me renewed purpose and a great deal of happiness to see when others love my work enough to buy it.
As a business owner, I also strive to engage in ethical and ecologically friendly practices. For example, I purchase 100% recycled paper boxes and tissue paper for my on-line orders. I also recycle my metal.
We all have choices about where we spend our money. Make your choices count as they say something important about you.
Thank you so much for reading and supporting Seaside Harmony Jewelry and Happy Fall!!