Experiments, prototypes and cast offs

While I'm learning a new technique or working with a new material, I often keep my experimental pieces for myself. Most aren't up to the quality I expect and so don't qualify to go up for sale. Some are just weird and I don't think anyone else will want them.

A bracelet I made a while back is a perfect example.

While it's good enough for me, it isn't good enough for sale. It lacks balance and the pattern is goofed, so it's mine. With an eye to correcting the balance I created a new piece.

It is more harmonious and the pattern is regular. I try not to be wasteful, but fusing requires that I use "the good stuff" to practice with and so I end up with more stuff for me. This one makes the grade though and is looking for a new home.

Here's another one.

I was fooling around with different fusing techniques and this one didn't quite work out as planned (the fusing is rough), so I attached a small ring to the top and wired on an ametrine barrel. It's hung on a length of leather cord I also used to perfect my finishing technique and of course has a mistake on it. No one will see the silly goof because it's in the clasp, but I can't sell it. I like it, but I don't think it's up to snuff.

Probably a lot of handmade folks do this - experiment and keep the results themselves, thus becoming walking scratch and dent sales. Reminds me of those outlet stores where they sell items with tiny flaws circled or pointed at with stickers. Sometimes even then I can't tell what's wrong with the thing. I guess my experimental jewelry is the same thing (at least that's what my mom says).

Problem is, sometimes I just have too much stuff and things I wore regularly fall by the wayside. When I come across an early piece that I was pleased with at the time, I laugh at how rough it is and how far I've come. Then I think how far I have to go in my adventure in handmade jewelry. Some I've taken apart to remake or re-use the beads in something else. Once I made this really nice necklace out of really cheesy wire and used gorgeous Sleeping Beauty turquoise. That one is currently on deck to be, uh, recycled. Doh!