A Day Working On My Jewelry

Working on my jewelry Part 1

I realized how little I’ve shared of the process of my jewelry in the blog. The other day I received an email from a reader asking me if I made all the pieces from scratch. The question made me feel a little bad because it is true, she has no reason to think otherwise. I have not shared much about the process and the adventures I go through to create my colorful pieces.
One reason is that most of the time I make new designs and prepare orders at night. My hours of relaxation with music, paint, brushes and small pieces of wood are usually from 8pm to 3am. This month I started with a new schedule, I’m reorganizing my time to fulfill all the things I want to do, improvements in the store, blog posts, go to some business courses and my part time job. Many times I get lost in one and neglect the others. There was a time when I felt I worked hard without seeing results and that motivated me to organize myself better, work smarter. One of my new goals is to create new products during the day. The creative side of my work makes me so happy, but I often put it aside when I spend to much time managing and planning other aspects of my life.
So doing my homework, yesterday I began to make new pieces. Taking advantage of the arrival of spring I worked outside on the patio, it was a bit chilly but I enjoyed it a lot.
Before I begin to paint a piece of wood I like to have an idea of what I want to draw. The inspiration phase is a part of the process I love. I find things I admire, walking in the mountains, seeing old photos of old trips in Latin America and looking at the few crafts that I brought with me when I moved. My photos and knick knacks inspire me every day and that’s why I have them near to me, around the house. Since I spend a lot of time in the house working in the store and the blog, I always feel the need to get away, sometimes i just run errands or drive around town. I have my phone with me all the time, in case I see something pretty and I need a picture of it. Seeing people around and breathing fresh air helps me to open my mind and absorb new ideas.
I love books too. One of my favorites I just found it in an exhibition of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. It is indeed a coloring book for kids full of Mexican art, it’s lovely. The Color Scheme Bible is also an everyday inspiration and I love to have with me the Encyclopedia of Wild Flowers and Flora of the Americas. Although most of my designs are abstract, I like be inspired by reality, the beauty of nature is my biggest inspiration.
Other things I love are magazines, I save clippings in a folder and the best ones, I pin them on my inspiration board that is hanging over my desk. And last but not least, my alebrije of Oaxaca, Mushu, this guy makes me smile. The Oaxaca trip I took a few years ago brings back so many good memories, it was the first time I saw colors and wood together and fell in love with the process.

Elba Valverde Handmade Jewelry

When I have an idea I draw it on paper so I can save it. I also draw colors with markers to find combos I like. Quick scribbles just to help me choose the paint colors that I would like to use later. It has happened several times that I make a piece in which I love the drawing but not the colors. So now I prefer to test combinations before I get started. All this part of the process is not really necessary, but since I enjoy it so much and it makes saves time and avoids errors, it has become important.

a colorful jewelry process2

Ok, here’s the kicker. I buy strips of wood and cut them in small squares, triangles, rectangles and other shapes using an exacto knife. I like buying big wood strips so I can create any shape and size I want to.
Then I make holes for the pendant. I started using a small drill for crafts but it took me forever per piece. Then I bought a normal drill and a thin drill bit. Since I made those copper lamps for the pub, the drill has been my partner and friend on many adventures.

a colorful jewelry process3

Here I am trying to smile and show you how I drill the pieces for the photo. It did not go as expected, if I was smiling at the camera I couldn’t see the drill and if I was looking at the drill, you couldn’t see that I was smiling. You can’t see, but I was smiling 🙂
Comfortable clothes and my favorite Pandora station are always with me while I work.

a colorful jewelry process4

After I drill the wood pieces, I sit in the yard to sand them before painting.

a colorful jewelry process5

Then after these first steps comes the fun part that includes acrylic paint, brushes, sticks and a layer of shine and protection. But to not make it this post too long, I will save that fun for another day.

a colorful jewelry process6

I have to say that yesterday was great. I enjoyed working outside. The days are getting pretty and I feel like I want to work outside all the time, although yesterday was a little chilly. I hope today is warmer and nicer so I can make more pieces and show them to you soon. Xo. Elba

7 Responses

  1. I love seeing the creative process of other fellow artists. I don’t know why but some people think that if they do, people will criticize or judge them for their process. I find it so inspiring to see where other artists find their inspiration. Thank you for this post.


    • Thanks Richelle. I know, sometimes is not just scared to be criticized but scared to share too much and someone else stealing your ideas. But sharing the process is one of the reasons why people will love your work and find a connection with you. I also enjoy reading other designer’s creative processes, it’s inspiring.

  2. Katy Watkins says:

    Wow… I found you through Wonderforest’s community and I absolutely love this post. I’ve always wondered how people make the jewellery like this and I really love your pieces. I’m going to go and have a look at your shop now!


  3. janika R says:

    Love reading this post. All the best to you and thanks for the sneak peak.

  4. Rekita says:

    I love your jewelry! I can see myself wearing them. I also have a friend who loves jewelry like these and I am going to show it to her. Do you sell them?

    Oh and I am pinning this too.

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