When Calley presented the idea to me about The HANDMAID Workshop, I was so excited. We brainstormed all sorts of ideas about things we could make to sell, but the one thing that never crossed my mind initially was jewelry. I was sitting at home on Facebook one day when I saw a picture that one of my friends posted of some stamped metal jewelry she had ordered. That sparked an idea. I began to Google stamped jewelry. I found that a lot of people hand-stamp jewelry, so that led to more searches about supplies, technique, and so on. I read blog post after blog post about people’s endeavors into hand stamping jewelry until I was sold enough on the idea of it that I ordered my first set of letter stamps.
My first attempt at stamping a washer that I had found in Lance’s tool cabinet was a fail. The letters were too big for the washer, the spacing was so inconsistent. I was disappointed. I thought watching all of those videos on YouTube and reading all of those tips would have made me successful on my first attempt. So it was back to the ole Google search. I did more reading on hand-stamping jewelry and the most common piece of advice was “keep trying; practice, practice, practice”. So that’s exactly what I did. Lance brought me a bunch of different size [large] washers and I bought some square metal blanks. In my free time [well, as much free time as you get with a 12 month old and newborn!] I would practice stamping. Finally, I decided to try my hand at making a washer bracelet with my sons’ names on it. I posted a picture of it on Facebook and it was a HIT! I had so many comments from people asking where I got it, and then when I told them I made it, the requests for one’s of their own starting coming. I knew then that I had found what I would be offering to The HANDMAID Workshop.
This isn’t my first time to ever make jewelry though. Strangely, I had actually forgotten my past with making jewelry. When I was a young girl, around 9 or 10, my parents bought me some large costume jewelry beads and I would use fishing line to string them. I had little clasps that I’d put on the ends and there I had it: a bracelet! a necklace! Thinking back, I made some pretty tacky things. I remember this one bracelet I made on some stretchy cord. It had these pretty beads on it and then just out of nowhere I stuck this tacky plastic banana on it. I was very proud and gave this special bracelet to my mom. She wore it that day, and then it got safely hidden in her jewelry box, never to be worn again. HA! I don’t blame her. At least she was a good sport and wore it once. I can honestly say that my jewelry making skills have improved since then!
As I got older, I started working with smaller beads. I had a pretty large collection throughout my teen years and spent a lot of my free time then making jewelry. I loved to make necklace and earring sets. When Hurricane Katrina hit, I lost most of my beads and just decided to do away with it. I’d find a new pass-time. It was a lot of money to invest to buy everything I needed, and I just didn’t have the money to replenish my lost collection.
When I was in college, I was asked to be in a wedding. I ransacked my jewelry boxes and quickly realized I had no jewelry to wear with this strapless black dress. I needed something very quickly so I decided to make my own necklace and earrings. I bought some black and silver seed beads and clasps. When I got back home, I dug out some fishing line from my tackle box [yes, I love to fish!] and went to work. I made a two strand choker style necklace and some loop dangle earrings. It was perfect! Here’s a picture of me wearing them:
A couple of years later, it was time for my own wedding. I thought it would be wonderful to make necklace and earring sets for all of my bridesmaids to wear so I set out to making 6 sets. I modeled their necklaces and earrings off of the style of the ones I made for myself. Here’s a picture of one of my bridesmaids wearing hers:
Now, I’m back in the jewelry business again! I LOVE making stamped jewelry. Custom orders are definitely my favorite. There’s some awesome stories that go behind each and every custom piece that I get to make. I love the stories! In addition to hand-stamped jewelry, I’m also working on some other jewelry that doesn’t include stamped pieces. Be looking out for a post about these pieces as well.
Here’s a few of the custom pieces that I’ve made. I plan to follow up this post with many more posts including pictures of custom orders, but I’ll leave you with these for now.