My Sketchbook- Documenting a Life

For as long as can remember, I have kept a sketchbook.  I started when I was young.  As a little girl, I remember sitting in front of the TV in my parents bedroom on Friday nights drawing.  By the time I was in high school, I had stacks and stacks of sketchbooks in my closet.  I documented years and years of my life through pages and pages of sketches.

During college, my sketchbook devotion continued.  I made notes about projects, teacher demonstrations, artists to study,  and reactions to peer critiques and faculty reviews.  When I studied abroad, my sketchbooks doubled as my scrapbook as I taped in ticket stubs, postcards, and other paper souvenirs.  

When I started taking jewelry classes, I obsessively wrote down everything I learned in as much detail as possible.  Now, almost ten years later, it continues.  My sketchbook contains the most precious parts of my jewelry business, my designs.  It also serves as a catch-all for any notes about my business and artistic practice.

I draw out any and all design ideas and try to keep my sketches loose and gestural.

When I zero in on an idea or look that I like, I draw more specific pieces that I may want to fabricate.

Then there are some ideas that I though of months before, but still have not made.  Maybe one day...

I consume as much jewelry business related information as I can.  I listen to podcasts and interviews of people who have experience in the industry and take tons of notes.

If I have a new idea about how to apply jewelry fabrication techniques, I write it down.

When a client inquires about a custom piece of jewelry, I always begin drawing in my sketchbook to come up with potential ideas.

I take also notes about what camera settings I use when taking photos of my jewelry.

I even jot down ideas about what to write about on this very blog.  Remember my recent posts of famous artists born in July?  My sketchbook is where that began.

As you can imagine, I tend to keep this little book close to me at all times.  It is like a part of me.  

I have a birthday coming up next week, and that always tends to be a time of reflection for me.  I was thinking that I have never really have kept a diary or a journal, but then again I have.  I have documented most of my life in the pages of my sketchbooks.  They may not be filled with words about my deepest feelings, but they are filled with the best part of me.  My creativity.  

 

Thanks for reading!

~Claire

Frequently Asked Questions

I don't know about you, but there are some questions that I get asked a lot.  They seem to always come up in conversations with people upon first meeting, or even with those who I have known for a while.  Here goes:

1. What do you start with when you make jewelry?

For those of you who have been reading the blog for a while, you know that I am a jeweler.  When I tell people what I do for a living, they are typically intrigued because they don't know much about how jewelry is actually made.  They almost always ask me about the materials I use and how I order them.  

"What does the metal look like?"
"Is it a big bar of sterling silver that you melt down?"

Well, I order sterling silver and gold mill products. I typically buy sheets and wires that look like this:

 

 


There are endless varieties of precious metal mill products you can choose from, so I order what is most appropriate for the project at hand.  Do I know how to melt scrap metal and mill it into a sheet or wire? Yes, and sometimes I do it myself.  However it's typically much faster if I just order the metal already milled in the form I need.

For example, when I made my friend Laura's wedding ring, I ordered 18k gold sheet metal.  With several sessions of cutting, shaping, soldering, filing, sanding, hammering, stone setting, and polishing, I transformed flat sheets of gold into a beautiful ring that Laura will wear forever.

2. You live alone.  Do you cook a lot?

I try to cook once or twice a week.  I prefer making a lot of something and then having leftovers for a day or two, so I don't have to cook every night.  In the winter, I usually make a big pot of soup once a week.  In the summer, it's typically a salad.  My favorite salad of the moment is a kale and cabbage combo:

Kale (make sure to massage so it's nice and tender!)
Chopped cabbage
Chopped green onion
Toasted almonds
Dry Ramen noodles (throw out the seasoning packet and break up the noodles into small pieces)
Salt and pepper
Dress with olive oil and red wine vinegar

(Optional: Add any other veggie goodness you like... I prefer tomatoes and cucumbers)

Simple right?  I will make a big bowl of the kale, cabbage, and onion and keep that in the fridge.  When I am ready to eat I will pull out as much as I need, then add the almonds and Ramen, and dressing.  I usually make enough to last for two large dinner salads and a smaller one for lunch.

3.  You love to run.  How far do you typically go?

Right now, a standard run for me is 3 miles.  I like to add in a longer run about once a week.  Usually that is 5 miles.  However, since Abby and I are running a half marathon in November, those distances are going to start increasing in the future!

I really love to track my runs with an app called Runkeeper.  Runkeeper records your time, milage, and elevation change, so it's a great way to see how you are progressing.  It allows you to rate how you feel during each run and make any notes you feel important, such as weather conditions. There is a paid version that will provide even more detailed statistics, but I have found the free version to be great.  I definitely recommend it to anyone who likes to run!

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading!

~Claire

A Little Art Appreciation on this Friday

Happy Friday all!  It's July and it's hot!  Wouldn't today be the perfect day to spend wondering through an art museum and taking in all the beautiful creations?  Imagine yourself walking through the quiet, cool rooms, enjoying all the paintings, sculptures, and objects.  It sounds peaceful doesn't it?

Okay, back to reality.  We are all going about our lives as usual today, working and taking care of those we love.  Never fear though, today I'm bringing some art to you.  Take a deep breath and some time to appreciate the work of these masters, all of whom happen to have been born in July.

Andrew Wyeth (July 12, 1917 – January 16, 2009)

   Branch in the Snow  , 1980

Branch in the Snow, 1980

   Wet Sand  , 1952

Wet Sand, 1952

   French Twist , 1967

French Twist, 1967

Gustav Klimt (July 14, 1862 – February 6, 1918)

   Judith I ,  1901

Judith I, 1901

   Water Serpents II  , 1904

Water Serpents II, 1904

   Portrait of a Lady,  1917

Portrait of a Lady, 1917

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (July 1, 1606 – October 4, 1669)

    Portrait of Rembrandt ,    1640    

Portrait of Rembrandt1640

 

      Three Studies of a Child, One Study of a Woman  , 1640-1645   

 

Three Studies of a Child, One Study of a Woman, 1640-1645

 

    The Three Trees    , 1650    

The Three Trees, 1650

 

 

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (July 16, 1796 – February 22, 1875)

   Souvenir de Mortefontaine  , 1864

Souvenir de Mortefontaine, 1864

   The Beach, Étretat  , 1872

The Beach, Étretat, 1872

   The Church at Essommes, near the Chateau Thierry  , 1856

The Church at Essommes, near the Chateau Thierry, 1856

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful weekend!

~Claire