Finding the time for jewellery making has definitely been a hot topic at London Jewellery School in the past couple of weeks. A number of tutors and students have been commenting about needing to set aside time to make jewellery or in the case of tutors work on new collections, in among fulfilling orders and commissions and teaching. I have been one one of those time-poor types so decided to put some thought into ways to ensure I have time to design and make new designs (as well as build a new website).
Take ten minutes
Anna Campbell mentioned the idea of doing something creative for ten minutes first thing every day in her blog on creative new year’s resolutions. And the idea can be expanded to other 10 minute gaps you may have in your day. Even if that ten minutes is on the bus, you can think of quick jewellery making activities to use the time instead of staring out of the window.
Among those 10 minute tasks on my list are sanding and polishing (every little bit helps), cropping or editing a picture or two, sorting new supplies into the right boxes (can be inspiring in it’s own right) or sketching the idea that’s running around in my head. Some of those are even possible on the bus – sketching for one, but I also know of people who do their final polishing (not sanding!) with a soft cloth on public transport. Plus as someone who works a lot with knitting and crochet I find I can use any downtime to add a few more stitches.
Think about what 10 minute tasks you could do and how this will make life easier when you have a longer making time.
Plan to make
You can think of this in two ways – planning when to make and planning what to make.
The first is about ensuring you have making time. There are plenty of important things in our life that we make time for, that we even arrange in advance and write in our diaries. Yet when it comes to our creative pursuits – things that some of us earn money from, and certainly something that makes us all a lot happier – we can very easily relegate them to the “when I have time” category. It is time to change that. Look at your diary for the next couple of weeks. Identify some time – even a couple of hours here an there – and block out that time for jewellery making. If you use a paper diary get a highlighter pen and circle the entry – or if your diary is on your phone or computer, choose a really bright colour for the entry. Then every time you look at your diary you are reminded that you have some lovely creative time coming up.
If you still don’t believe you’ll keep to the diary plan, think about booking some jewellery workshop time, like the LJS rent-a-bench scheme. If you have booked with someone else and handed over money – then you are very likely to use that time as planned. (As someone who likes exercise but often doesn’t make the time, I’ve tested this by booking gym classes in the past – it does work.)
Planning what to make
If you want to get the best out of your planned making time, it is a good idea to think about how you are going to use it, rather than get every single bead, semi precious stone, wire, cord, metal and finding you have in your jewellery making stash out and spreading it on the table – although this can be fun in itself.
This is where the 10 minute plan above comes into its own. If you have used your bus trips to sketch out some ideas, you can decide in advance which you are going make. Equally if you have used your ten minutes a day to sort your materials stash, it will be easy to lay your hands on the right items. Plus when tidying or sorting you get the opportunity to be reminded about what you actually have, such as that string of irregular amythst chips that got stuck at the back of a drawer, which can inspire you for new designs.
Value your time
For those of us who earn from our making, it is important to value our making and other time as much as we would someone else’s. For example, many of you will recognise the problem of not quite getting round to photographing your work. If you have decided to take your own pictures you need to value yourself as much as a you would a paid photographer. If you were working with a photographer you would put aside time to create a brief, to talk to them and to take piece to the shoot. So if you plan to take your own pictures, set aside the same amount of time as you would have used for those tasks to work on your own pictures.
Once you start finding the time for making it will become a habit and then all you want to find in your life is more time because you will have even more ideas!