One of a kind versus repeating a design

April is almost over and it's time for the monthly blog carnival over at the Jewelry Artisans Community.
This month it's about one of a kind items versus repeating a design.

In the old days of JAC (actually when it still had a different name) there was a time when newbies got a mentor if they wanted to, someone who had been around in the biz for a while, someone who helped out with tips, who could answer questions and offer encouragement.
I remember two things that my mentor told me.
1. You can't milk a dying dinosaur. That one was about my camera that was on the way out when it started to tint my pictures in a lovely soft purple. It had been my first digital camera and it was hard to say goodbye to it, but the purple didn't go away. This dino was dying indeed.
2. If you have sold something, make it again right away. Ah. That one I wasn't so sure about. Even back then I had a hard time making earrings because that meant making the same thing twice.

Time showed that #2 really wasn't for me.
Of course some pieces look similar. A wire knit bezel is a wire knit bezel, no matter if it has a jasper or an agate sitting in the middle. I still like to experiment with that, though. Adding a bit here, manipulating the stitches there. A wire crochet rope is a wire crochet rope, but you can add beads in different ways. You get the idea.

True, sometimes I like to make a series. There are the Rainbow Fairies, a series of wire crochet ropes in different colors with matching bead mixes. To be honest, I don't think these days I would still have the patience to make ten ropes in a few days, not mentioning that my wrists would be very unforgiving about that. There are the single pearls in wire crochet settings. There are wire knit bracelets with lampwork beads for buttons.
That doesn't happen very often, though. How many times have I said that I need to make this or that in a different color or with different beads and how many times have I found something else I wanted to try before getting around to it?

Another thing is that I almost never use patterns and I don't write patterns except of course for my bead loomed items.
Many times I simply don't know how I made something. It's that adding a bit here and manipulating there again. I often say I let the hook and wire take over, and that means that afterwards I have no idea how those two have been taking me to where we ended up. Often it's impossible to tell from the finished piece what exactly I have done, and I definitely never count stitches because that would break my concentration during the process. Well, unless I make earrings. Don't even ask how often an earring got made into a pendant because I suddenly noticed that I stopped counting.

Mind you, I'm not saying at all that it is wrong to repeat a design, and I'm also not saying that it is better or more artistic to make one of a kind pieces.
I think everyone has to find their own way, and my way is mostly not to repeat the exact same design.
No rule without exception, though .................... ;-)

You'd like to know what other JAC members have to say about this?

Violetmoon's Corner
Echoes of Ela
Jewelry Art by Dawn 


  1. I know what you mean when you say that the wire and crochet hooks take over, I have the same thing happen to me when I work with wire. That's why I have very little wire wrapped earrings because it's hard for me to get them exactly the same. :)

    1. Maybe we should make that a challenge then, make a few pairs of earrings! ;-)

    2. Only when I can use a jig! :P

    3. Where's the challenge in that? :-D

    4. :D depends on how many different pairs you want.

    5. I guess that would be for Dawn to decide ;-)

  2. It can get a little tedious to make the same design over and over. Last year for Christmas, I made the exact same earring design for a friend 6 times, because she loved them so much she wanted to give them to her other friends as gifts. I have actually had several customers who bought something as a gift, loved it so much and wanted the exact same thing for themselves.
    I adore your little yarn baskets! They are so cute!

    1. Thank you, Karin! I do have to say I love the design myself and I am proud of the idea, too.

      Before Christmas I sold several yarn basket pendants and earrings because people asked me if I could bring them back in my sales group. I seriously needed a timeout of a few months after that.
      A pendant is okay, but a pair of earrings, oh my! The baskets themselves are fine, I like making them and thinking of new ways to fill them, but the "yarn balls" are very fiddly to do and even more difficult in the smaller earrings baskets.

      I never have more than one item in stock if at all! ;-)

  3. Cat, your free spirited self just wasn't meant to spend time repeating designs over and over. You're a one of a kind type of gal through and through who makes the occasional exception just to keep us on our toes!

    1. I know people who would easily found different words for "free spirited self" :-D
      Thank you, Dawn, as I said, everyone has to decide what's the best way for them, no matter if it's one, the other or a mix of both.