When I first began making jewelry it was out of necessity as I could never find exactly what I wanted. But as I got more creative and learned new techniques, the designs became more involved and more complex. I take great pains in designing each piece, changing, rearranging, and sometimes taking a piece apart to change it altogether. But it never occurred to me that this was art. I'm a do-it-yourselfer so this was just something I did myself, like wallpapering, tiling the kitchen and bathroom, or making my own clothes.
Then a customer compared my steampunk pendants to the work of a metalsmith whose earrings she was wearing. She was adamant that I needed to "sign" my work in some way and raise my prices to reflect their real value. I was a bit put off. I was making steampunk because it was fun and relaxing. But my daughter and I talked about this all the way home from that show.
As I created new pieces I was suddenly aware of the work involved in my designs. I look for just the right pieces and lay them out. I look for balance and just the right color stone or glass to make the piece pop. The chains and clasps I use have to work with the pendants. And I don't wire it all together until I've lived with it for a couple of days and I'm sure I still like it. I won't sell anything unless I'm proud of it.
It's my creation. It's my art. So when a customer comes along and wants to buy it but asks me to add dangles or move the gemstone, I have to wonder why they would want to buy something they don't already like.
I lengthen, shorten, or change clasps. But I won't recreate one of my little works of art. They should instead visit my shop often and look for new inventory that they like just the way it is.