Saturday, 3 November 2007


I suppose I'd better do a proper introduction post. I almost feel like I'm starting over with this journal - realistically, opal work is not something I have the time or the equipment to do at present, so for the time being it's being shelved.

I’m Steph Hall, 30-something years old and I made my first piece of real jewellery when I was 17. I so wish someone had introduced me earlier! The short bout of metal work we did in school would have been so much more interesting if it had been jewellery focused and 3 years of secondary school art classes would have been far less excruciating if someone had explained you don’t need to be able to draw to be an artist. Because I can’t draw for toffee. I totally suck. I still enjoy it on occasion but my 12 year old son is significantly more talented than I!

!Artist.... Am I pretentious? Of course I am. I call my work 'art', my workshop a 'studio' and see 'inspiration' everywhere :p I'll get around to putting up a 'gallery' soon to 'showcase' my 'portfolio' as well. I've even got my very own fashionable mental illness to explain away my 'eccenticities'*. Just be thankful I'm not churning out crap poetry anymore!

*As an aside I did try getting my husband and best friend to refer my wierdness as 'endearingly quirky'. Their responses were 'Nucking Futs is more like it' and 'No, you're completely insane' respectively. I love them :o)

Jewellery making first came about because my parents decided their latest get-rich-quick scheme (or at least earn some extra cash scheme!) was to be making jewellery. So armed with plated wire, a pair of round nose pliers and semi-precious beads I set about making jewellery which went into local shops, libraries and such for sale. It stayed interesting for a while but I was significantly ‘handicapped’ by my parents’ cost awareness. If I used a bead too many or tried something a little too ornate it was too expensive to make. Eventually, my mum left and the jewellery making died and it was a good 13 years before I picked up a pair of pliers again.

Can't Paint...

Can't Draw...

Can Sew a Little...

In the interim I’ve flirted with a lot of crafts. I became reasonably good at my style of digital art & modelling, painted (badly!) and wrote a lot of poor short stories and poetry. I’ve also done a reasonable amount of sewing. For a while I had a stepdaughter for whom I enjoyed making pretty-girly dresses (I had two sons then – I’ve since had two more so there’s a lack of girlyness in our home!). I’ve also done a reasonable amount of costume making for amateur dramatics (I always particularly enjoyed panto and have performed in a number of shows – always with my hands firmly dug into the costume and makeup design as well). I also spent three years designing and selling ballgowns before selling off the business due to a lack of space.

Finding my Mediums
Digital Art

Ballgown Design

Wire Jewellery

So through a very roundabout route, I ended up selling jewellery, beads and jewellery findings for a living. It started when I thought it might be nice to try making jewellery again and I discovered I enjoyed it. I do seem to have ‘caught’ the cost awareness aspect from the parents however instead of limiting myself, I made a business from selling the components needed to make jewellery and have established a lot of wholesale and manufacturing contacts around the world. So I use whatever I feel like using for a piece – I just buy at very low prices in bulk! Its not unusual for me to buy 1000+ identical beads because they gave me an idea for a necklace. I just sell off the excess – which fortunately I’m quite good at - my ebay shop pays the mortgage and the bills so its reasonably important!

Colour is my main motivator. I find inspiration in all manner of things – from art to nature to people but what I see will always be related to the colours I can use in a piece. I’ve zero interest in the very intricate and beautiful art of chain maille – I can appreciate it as an art form but it doesn’t hold the allure of working with colour for me. I frequently look at other artists’ jewellery and sites – not to copy, I’ve never replicated anything in my life – but because their beauty stimulates my creativity – sometimes I look at the same styles as I make, sometimes I’ll browse through sites showcasing the wonderful art of glass beadmaking or polymer clay, or silver & goldsmithing none of which I’ve ever tried and all of which I’d love to be able to do and I do of coursed have my own favourite artists whose work I will never tire of looking at. Alas, I’ve had to put measures into place to severely restrict myself – I’m quite bad for getting worked up about something new, spending way too much money on it and finding myself without the time to work at it.

Jewellery is exciting. There are so many methods and techniques that I’ll never get through them all, and if I start to even consider it my mind takes off on wild flights through my imagination so I do try and keep myself grounded to one or two things at a time simply because I’d never get anything done otherwise!

And the point of this... *shrugs* do blogs need a point? Its a visual and literal diary & scrapbook of my play-time :p

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