The choices we make


The first choice I made for the 2016 Build a Line Challenge was my theme-Cowgirl Chic.  On an occasional day when I gotta, I clean up good, but do you see anything cowboy here?  Not so much.  Chic, absolutely, but I am inclined towards flowers and pearls and pretty things.


I do love horses, like this young stallion which we recently “discovered” on a hiking day at the Big Horn Canyon National Recreation Area.  He is a true descendant of the wild horses (American Mustangs) of the Pryor Mountains, which is adjacent to the Recreation Area  I have spent plenty of time around horses-we used to have 3 of them when we lived in the city, but I was never a “cowgirl” and I didn’t ride western, so this theme has been a challenge for me, and then some!


In the series of classes (modules) between our first blog hop and now, we covered several different topics.  One of those was design influence and another was “artistic generosity” which in my case go hand in hand.  My designs for this line are directly influenced by a new facet of handcrafted artisan goods I want to provide for my customers-artistic generosity suggests that I make more western designs instead of just the pretty things I prefer; that I take into account my customer demographics and allow them to experience my creations in a whole new way.  As you can see from the collection of components against a 1930’s era cowboy themed fabric, above, I had a LOT of options.


My first idea was an epic “FAIL”.  It looks like a hot mess to me and will NOT be a part of my line.  Our class discussed different types of jewelry folk-hobbyists who make things because they enjoy the challenge but typically don’t sell their goods or have no need to sell them.  We examined makers who create jewelry for the purpose of supplementing their income or hoping to earn their whole living with their creations, and production designers who create extensive lines, either to wholesale directly to other companies as finished goods, or for other companies to reproduce in a manufacturing setting.  I tend to be a production-oriented jewelry maker, but I prefer to incorporate vintage items into my designs, just as I do with my other types of handcrafted work.  As a result, I anticipate that I will have various limited edition lines-just a few items that match and some that may coordinate, but never dozens and dozens of identical projects.


Here is a foundation piece for my current line of Cowgirl Chic theme.  I couldn’t possibly add all those pieces shown in the previous picture without going crazy, so I narrowed my components down to just a few.  Though this piece features new components, it will join some upcycled pieces, and you will see the finished line at our next blog hop.  All those other pieces will become different but related limited edition lines throughout the summer.

I do hope you have enjoyed my blog today, and I encourage yo to visit and comment on the blogs of my classmates.  Each of us has a different theme, and the blogs are fun, diverse. and very interesting.


Brenda Sue Lansdowne, Jewelry Making Outside the Box
Diana Buynak, Butterfly Emporium Ceramic Studio
Irene Hoffman, Heart’s Dezire by Irene
Claire Wells Nemeth, Creative Magick
Mary Reckmeyer, Afrayed Not
Marcia Tuzzolino, Aurora Designs
Elizabeth Wilks, Wearable Art by Lizzie
Jeanette Rose Belmont, One Canvas At A Time
Lyn Joy Reeve, A Journey From Jewels To Jubilation
Belinda Reed-Ingle, Vogue Rocks
Beth Trubman, The Journey of Jewelry
Carole Carlson, Bead Sophisticate
Jann Tague, Clever Designs by Jann
Shari Gardner, SLG Jewelry Designs
Susan Bolton, Fern’s Place
Chris Kemp, Noodle Pie Bracelets
Barbara Kelley, Angels’ Keep
Susan Bowerman, Woodside Wireworks
Pamela Anger, Novegatti Designs
Joan Donovan, Hailey’s Cottage
Alison Huie, Ally’s Baubles
Sharon Palac, Sharon’s Jewelry Garden
Erica Olmos, Beeb’s Closet
Erin Whitacre, Shattered Time Jewelry
Fran Sitton, Sitton Up Front
Ginger Hammond, Lynn Leigh Designs
Paula Gaskill, Lovely LaylaBug Jewels
Mary Deis, The Rose Sword
Renee Webb Allen, Small Stuff Design
Valerie Tilghman, ArtJewelsandGifts
Chris Cravens, Vintage Cravens
Leslie Carver, Adorn Divine Designs
Donna Parry, JewelryDonna
Gina-Marie Hammer, Tangles, Twists and Treasures
Kelly Wymer, Winged Wisdom Enchantments




24 thoughts on “The choices we make

  1. Here’s my two cents worth. I think you are well on your way to nailing the “artistic generosity” you are exploring. And, the components you’ve chosen are lovely. Love the purple boot. I also truly adore the layout of your blog. It makes me feel magically tranquil. Thank you for an inspired visit into your lovely world. I enjoyed being here!


  2. I enjoyed reading your blog, your pictures in your blog are so beautiful. I love your theme for your line, I think it will really work for you. I have always love the mountains, but somehow ended up in the land of cotton!LOL! You have so much opened to you with a western theme, I know you will have some beautiful pieces,can’t wait to see your finished line in April. 😀


  3. Clare

    Great blog! I had to step out of my comfort zone and designed a horse inspired set for a friend. I’m glad I did though because she absolutely loves it. Can’t wait to see your line!


  4. That’s a lovely photo, Barbara, and your post is very well-written. You are digging in with both heels and with your existing business you are ahead of the game as you have a ready venue. You will do well with this. Keep up the good work!


  5. Val Tilghman

    I would say that you are well on your way. I love the purple boot….I also know the feeling of having to minimize the options. I felt overwhelmed for a while. Take a deep breath and keep on swimming 🙂


  6. I really like how your concho is coming along – the verdigris patina looks perfect on it! I also like your idea of shooting the supplies on Western town theme fabric – terrific 🙂 I love horses, the Wild West and chic, so I’m really looking forward to seeing your new line!


  7. I really enjoyed reading your blog, thanks for sharing your story with us. You live in a B&B that used to be a church?? How awesome is that?? I love the idea for your line, mixing the rustic with the romantic. Looking forward to seeing your complete line!


  8. I enjoyed reading your blog Barb. I love feminine and pretty too, so I applaud you for taking on the western theme, in a beautiful attempt at artistic generosity.
    That’s both kind and brave! Look forward to seeing your creations.


  9. Too many choices can be overwhelming, so it’s great to spot it before you get too far out in the (tumble)weeds. 🙂
    You know, I really like that fuchsia boot, and I know a few others who would, too! Don’t be afraid to sit that out somewhere and see what happens. 🙂


  10. Barbara, I LOVE your pink/purple boot! I don’t think it’s a “hot mess” at all. I think you should attach a pin to the back, and leave it alone. Or, if you hate it so much, shorten the knot of chain and beads at the bottom, by removing the gold pipe and some of the chain; or remove them entirely and end it with just the little dangling beads. I think it’s so charming. I’d hate to see you lose it!

    I love the picture of you, and your personal style – I wish I could pull a look together that well. I can understand what you mean about needing to carry things that your market will support. I never thought of that as being a form of artistic generosity – that’s perfect, thank you.

    Can’t wait to see what else you’ve got! Lemme know if you’re ever gonna give that boot the boot, lol! Good luck!


  11. Shari Lynn Gardner

    Barbara, I absolutely can’t wait to see your finished pieces. From the huge pile of components its easy to see that you have lots of choices. I love horses, always have, even as a kid. I love to ride, but with my health issues am not allowed to now, so I look forward to seeing what you do with them, and you may already have a buyer.


  12. Elisabeth Wilks

    I really like how you wrote your blog post. I enjoyed the journey of discovery through your pictures and words. Can’t wait to see your finished pieces.


  13. Your blog was a joy to read! And what beautiful pictures. The foundation pieces you chose for your line are such good quality. They feel good in your hand. I am confident that your designs will be beautiful!


  14. What a great post, Barbara, and I admire that you’re stepping out of your comfort zone for the theme for your line. Cowgirl Chic sounds like a fun one, and I’m really looking forward to the reveal of all of your pieces!


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