Post No. 2 for The Jewelry Project

Hi All! Wendy is here today with her second post for The Jewelry Project!

Several years ago, I took a jewelry design class in San Diego.  The instructor asked us to bring our “design journals” to the class and that we would be supplementing them as the class continued.  

I had no idea what she was talking about! I had not gone to school to learn my trade and was self-taught.  I had always created my jewelry on the fly, developing simple designs as they came to me as I worked.  I never wrote anything down or so much as took a photo of anything.  If I sold out of a design, I usually forgot about it and created another. It never occurred to me that there was another way of doing business.

workbench WS open window
I watched as all the other students pulled out full sized binders filled with notes, illustrations and recipes for making their jewelry.  It was explained to me that most art schools teach how to make these binders so that the students have a written record of what they’ve done in the past and would be able to more easily recreate work via their notes for the future.  I immediately realized the value of having a design journal and I promptly went out after class and bought a three ring binder, colored pencils to draw with and other art tools so that I could begin a design journal of my own.

That event was several years ago.  The original binder is now filled with notes, seminar handouts and other odds and ends that I’ve collected related to jewelry.  It has no tabs, or any means to organize it.  I find it difficult to find information inside it.  I also have PDFs of tutorials, recipes for my own designs and other jewelry related information scattered throughout my computer.  Never the twain shall meet!  When I learned about the binder project at This Bug’s Life, I thought that this would be an excellent opportunity to reorganize all the different sources of my jewelry business and put them into one place.

I debated about using a binder vs online storage and realized that I want to do a combination of both.  As a jeweler, I find reading recipes for my designs to be difficult on a computer or a tablet.  I worry about the machines becoming damaged on my workbench as metals fly, hammer blows fall and fine dust accumulates.  I need to have my recipes on hand in paper format when I work.  I also would like a smaller binder than the full sized one I’ve been using.  A5 will fit on my bench far more easily.  On the flip side, I would like to keep my information in the cloud so that I can access jewelry recipes on the road when I’m at a venue, or can sort through them via search functions.

I’ve decided to create a dual storage system for my information.  The Burde A5 binder will mainly hold my jewelry recipes, each in a subsection related to their type: Earrings, Bracelets, Necklaces, Findings, and Tools.  I will keep a paper notebook in the back pocket for ideas on the fly since I like to handwrite my ideas first before I commit them to the computer.  Afterward, I will photograph the various pages and store them online so that I have online storage in case the unthinkable happens and my binder is either destroyed or lost.

Why is it that I want to create something more artistic for my design journal?  The answer is simply vanity.  I will be taking this leather binder to future jewelry workshops to use as I work.  For once, I’d like to have something as nice as the other students in the class to pull out of my rolling tool cart.

Next time, I will show what I used to create the organizational tabs for my new binder and more details about what will go into the new design journal.

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