I recently read a post by another jewelry designer who ran a contest on 'vote for your favorite jewelry design workspace'. Since I wanted to write a post on this subject anyway, I thought I'd share the link to her site* so you could read it and either get new ideas for your own work area, or celebrate your existing space that's just perfect for you.
I love the fact that creative women from all over the U.S. (and world) had created something out of nothing -- in garages, basements, closets, covered porches and carports, a little corner carved out of a bedroom or living room, a guest bedroom, and just about any other available space you could think of.
In A Room of One's Own (1929), Virginia Woolf postulates that 'a woman must have money and a room of one's own if she is to write fiction'. I have always loved this little essay, as it seems to be so true, even today. And I would venture to say it's just as true for a woman engaged in any creative endeavor, including jewelry design.
Woolf noted that women have been kept from discovering their full creative potential, and that financial freedom woud bring them the freedom needed to go forward. "In the first place, to have a room of her own... was out of the question, unless her parents were exceptionally rich or very noble". The title of the book also refers to any author's (or creator's, in my opinion) need for artistic license and the personal liberty to create art.
At the time Woolf wrote, many believed women were not capable of producing the same quality of a man's work; further, women frequently had to write under pseudonyms or false names in order to get published at all! While in the realm of contemporary jewelry design, it is good to know that in many venues, women reign supreme. So many are coming to awareness of the role of ancient and primitive women in pioneering techniques used in some of the most prized beads and jewelry today.
Of course women are still marginalized in some sectors -- I'm not an expert on this but I would guess the worlds of Cartier and Tiffany's may be inhabited more by men. And certainly many doors are still closed to women in the high end gem trade, both in the U.S. and worldwide.
Still, women persist, train, teach themselves, learn from each other, and scrimp and save to fulfill their dreams to make beautiful jewelry. And make it they do, as you, many/most of my readers do -- in whatever nook or cranny they can find to make a room of their own.
Here are some selected quotes from the women who entered the contest eon workspaces:
"[My space] is a quiet respite from the rest of the house, overlooking my backyard. My beads surround me as I look out on the top of trees where wonderful birds stop by!"
"I graduated from my dining room table to my "bead room" – a formerly unfinished bonus room above our garage. Shelves hold labeled bead boxes, baskets hold stringing materials, and different boxes hold various paperwork...the kittens sleeping under the table provide inspiration! The desk is a mess...but manageable, with tools close at hand."
"I love my studio spaces because they are filled with love, good energy, and good music. Plus, I have a lot of fun."
We've included just one photo, of the space we loved the most from this contest. What about you? What do you look for in a work space? Do you have a photo you can share with us? We hope so! We'll be looking for your comments, questions & photographs!
Until next time,
p.s. I wrote another post on 'Jewelry and Feminism', and some of the themes in that post should resonate with you if you enjoyed the discussion in this post. Check it out here if you're interested:
*Here's Nina's site & blog post on the work space contest: