Friday, January 11, 2013

Custom work challenges

a "vibrant" crayon cuff approx 5-3/8th inches
I love doing customer requests!  Some of the best pieces of jewelry I've ever made is because a customer has an idea and needs me to translate it for them.  It's both a challenge and a privilege to help someone Else's  vision to fruition.  Most of my customer jobs though, are much simpler -- they want THIS! but can I do it in blue?, or they need the size adjusted.   That last one is usually the easiest.. when Jerry and I  travel to do shows, I always bring tools and extra stuff just so I can do sizing changes on the spot.

I always make my jewelry in a range of sizes, but I do tend to make things longer or bigger than average, just because in most cases it's much easier to make adjustments downward, instead of adding to something.  (though I do both tasks with a smile on my face!)

I'm fond of telling folks while I adjust stuff that if we were all the same, this would be the most boring job ever, instead of one of the best!

The vast majority of my jewelry is easy to adjust... there are exceptions to the rule of course.  One of those exceptions is my popular "crayon cuff" design.  I have a few easy options if someone wants them slightly  bigger than I've made them.. but if they need it smaller? that requires that I make a brand new bracelet sized just for them.   I never ever mind doing this.. any excuse to make jewelry is a good one!  When it's at shows, I can measure the wrist and mail it later.  But what if the customer is ordering through Etsy?

After much trial and error over the years, I've finally come up with a method that works most of the time.

I took the measurements the customer gave me and make a template in my sketchpad, allowing room for the clasp

My cuffs tend to be pretty thick... so I ask the customer to cut a piece of paper approx 1/4 to 1/2th inch wider than the bracelet I'm making. (the adjustment is for how thick the bracelet actually is.. the thicker it is, the more you need to adjust the width of the paper for the customer.)  They wrap it around their wrist so it sits comfortably, mark it, lay it flat and measure that.  I take that measurement to make the bracelet.  It's not fool proof..but it gives a pretty good picture of the size most of the time. 

I usually weave in the crystals while the bracelet is still flat, then gently bend into shape as the last step.
I had the pleasure last week to make a customer a bracelet that is much smaller than normal... she did a great job of measuring her wrist, because she's reported that it fit perfectly and she loves it! (something every jewelry artist loves to hear!)  She also wanted it "vibrant" so I used more crystals, including some of my vintage stash.  So, if anyone out there wants something made just for them, I"m just an email away! 
To the left is the commission, to the right is the bracelet the customer originally saw on Etsy

To give a good idea of the size difference, here is the new cuff inside the old one!

No comments: