So here I go. My first blog. Ever.
Apparently I need to be doing this to gain traction to my website. And it shows that I'm an expert in my field. I never really feel like an expert tbh. When it comes to creative business. To being an entrepreneur. A designer. A metalsmith. A mother. I don't know it all. That's for sure. But I know a hell of a lot about these things. And, moreover, a hell of a lot more than other so called experts in the field. So if they can get away with total BS. Well then I've nothing be afraid of. Right? Well, sure let's give it a lash.
So here we go folks, or folk. Or maybe just my Mum.
Today's topic. What makes an expert? In jewellery?
I'm in the field for the last thirty years. Yes 30 years! Because I started to wear my first piece of precious metal when I was 13. It was given to me by my Mum who recognised that I was becoming a teenager and needed some way to distinguish myself as no longer being a child. I needed a form of self expression. And she gave me an heirloom. A ring she herself wore when she was younger. It was was a simple silver band flush to my skin. I wore it on the middle finger of my right hand. And I loved it.
And thus commenced my love affair with jewellery. But it also acts as a perfect example of the values I hold today with regard to jewellery - the significance of a jewellery as a gift, the value of meaningful jewellery, jewellery as a medium for self expression and the beauty of simplistic design.
And these are the values central to my brand Vanessa Ree Jewellery.
I've always gravitate toward unique, conceptual and contemporary jewellery. And moreover I always find myself wearing pieces that act as conversations starters. Fun, statement jewellery that reflects my personality or how I'm feeling. Are we spotting a theme? Oh yes I think so. And then I came to a point where I just started to make these pieces.
Fast forward twenty years and I decided to learn how to work with precious metal and make jewellery. I've learned to craft metal using largely traditional methods, something that Ireland is renowned for apparently (who knew?!) into beautiful, sculptural shapes and forms.
In the meantime, I worked for almost twenty years in the creative advertising industry. The main things I've pulled from this career into being a jewellery designer are how to conceptualise and translate that into a 3D medium of wearable art, commercial savvy, the value of good design and how to spot a bullshitter.
I also confronted my imposter syndrome. I took myself off to Inhorghenta to see what the global competition is like. And being, as we are, from the provincial backwater that is Ireland, this annual trade fair is MASSIVE. I've never seen anything so big. But I whittled down the areas relevant to me. I'm not a previous stone enthusiast or watchmaker. I'm not about to be dealing over diamonds and champagne. And yes there was plenty of that. I'm on a mission to discover new designers, new techniques and innovation in the industry. I am out definitely in the "Contemporary Design and Vision" category. This section was fantastic. But while doing the rounds investigating the competition and chatting with makers, I knew I belonged. I knew my design, my craftsmanship was as good if not better than what was on display. And I felt confident that in time I would pull up my Irish chair and take a seat at the table.
And not be an asshole while doing it!
And all that is why I a can call myself an expert.