Ten years of anything is worth noting, and I'm both humbled and a little in awe to find that today marks exactly 10 years of jewelry sales as part of my creative freelance business.
The jewelry business came about almost by accident, starting as a hobby that drew interest from an ever-widening circle of friends and family until I realized I had passed from hobby territory into "paying taxes are required" territory. I took it and ran with it and, in the process of developing my Etsy store, I learned just how well my fine art and design background complemented the jewelry design, and how marketing my jewelry and doing concept research for jewelry pieces in turn strengthened my approach to my art and design projects. I learned macro photography for better jewelry photos and then used that for better print/product graphic designs. I pulled from past training in color theory and printmaking to drum up new ways of making jewelry.
It's been a wonderful, chaotic, and magical journey. My tools, metal, and beads have traveled with me as I've lived in three cities and four homes across two states. Despite how scary it is, I've learned to barter at gem faires, sell at craft tables, and host jewelry trunk shows on road trips. I've had the opportunity to have jewelry on The Vampire Diaries and have even done locket designs for Neil Gaiman's short stories via Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab.
Despite all the work that has gone into this business, I still feel like a bit of an imposter at times because art is hard to define and often overlooked as a valid career. I also love what I do so much that even the hardest, longest work days are still rewarding and fun in some way which means it doesn't always feel like work.
The breadth of Elements & Artifacts sunk in when I did a touch of math, though. If I divide ten years by the number of items I've sold on Etsy, it means I've sold 1.25 items every single day for a decade, not counting in-person sales, gifts, or local craft shows. I've sold to customers across the US as well as in Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, Belgium, Norway, New Zealand, Singapore, Germany, Israel, The Netherlands, France, Italy, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Denmark, South Korea, Brazil, Sweden, Greece, Finland, Ireland, Malaysia, and Taiwan.
In the spirit of both nostalgia and gratitude, I will share a few of my behind-the-scenes photos from over the years, starting with my overloaded jewelry design book full of sketches, concepts, and random doodles. Here's to ten years, and hopefully many more regardless of future paths I take.