Creative Process

This post by Jennifer Flaten

Earlier this year, on a whim, I sent a picture of an earring design to one of my favorite jewelry magazines. At the time my hope was they would select it for a reader’s gallery. Knowing how long it can take to hear back from a magazine I put it out of my mind.

Several months later, I received an email from the magazine. Before reading the email I took a deep breath and braced myself for the what I thought would be the standard “thanks, but no thanks email.” I practically fell out of my chair when I read that they were interested in my earrings.

Even better, instead of just appearing in the gallery, they wanted me to write a tutorial for the earrings. This was so much more than I could ever have imagined. I nearly screamed in shock, and if truth be told I was pretty much wrecked for the work the rest of the day.

Writing out the tutorial was fun and a bit frustrating as I am a bit of a “pantster” when it comes to designing my jewelry. I don’t plan out what I’m going to make….oh I might have a vague idea or a specific thing I want to use like copper or a neat stone, but I don’t draw it out, nope I just sit down and start putting stuff together.

This usually leads to some great designs and let’s face it some not so great designs that shall never see the light of day (it also can lead to some very colorful language). What it doesn’t lead to is clear written directions like I needed for the magazine.

Now I had to turn that process into a cohesive pattern, which is harder than it looks. After scrapping my first version of the directions which went something like “Bend this wire that away and add a bead”  I managed to get a pattern that clearly explained how to make the earrings and off it went to the editor.Goldstone Hoop Earrings, Omega Hoop, Copper Hoop Earrings, brown goldstone dangle, copper jewelry, spiral earrings, under 20, gifts for her

Just a few days ago, my contributor copy of the magazine came in the mail. Ripping open the envelope I riffled through the magazine to find my piece. Found it. Took pictures of it and sent  the picture in a text to my mom. As soon as my husband and kids got home I was waving the magazine in their face, showing them my tutorial.

Now I am telling you. If you happen to be in the bookstore and would like to find out how to make a pair of lovely goldstone and copper earrings, just look in Wirework Fall 2015…or of course you could visit my etsy shop.

Browse my other jewelry on Etsy


13 thoughts on “Creative Process

  1. Jennifer,
    Congratulations on the article and photos of your jewelry. It’s good to savory those moment. Creatively, I’m similar to you as I usually have a vague idea of what I’m about to create but once I start the projects becomes more defined,
    – Stephen


  2. Good job. Marketing for your earrings. And a chance to do some writing. From 1992 until 2009, I was a technical writer where I had to write operating procedures for folks working on paper machines and converting equipment, so I can appreciate the difficulty of explaining how to make the earrings.


  3. That’s brilliant, Jennifer. Congratulations! -it’s not easy to write instructions and they often needs a lot of ‘out loud ‘ revisions before they make sense.


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