Lately I have been reminiscing about when I was working on my very first jewelry collection. It seems like so long ago now! Like most business owners and artists, I had my fair share of struggles to work through. As you know, I am a weaver. One of my biggest struggles with this medium is creating artwork with high quality yarns that are still at an accessible price point. Cost of materials is part of this problem, but TIME is the biggest investment in my art. A tapestry can take anywhere from 3 hours to many days to create.

Photo by Ivana Matijevac on Unsplash

The question was: How do I make something accessible to all, that still puts my customers first, serving them the high quality yarns and tactile joy that makes my world such a vibrant place? The answer: jewelry.

I decided to start with pendants, art to hang near your heart, that you can touch. The tactile nature of them is soothing and acts as a wonderful fidget for some. Of course, I also made some earrings. Pretty and tactile, but up and out of the way. I chose gorgeous cotton that evoked the feeling of being surrounded by Autumn leaves, while wrapped in a cozy sweater with a great big mug of hot chai tea. Each pendant takes about an hour to weave, and then the jewelry must be assembled. Each piece is subsequently washed to ensure any further shrinkage is dealt with, fringe is combed, pieces are dried and stored, until an order hits my website, Etsy, or they’re hung at the next market.

Autumn Leaves collection on display

Okay, I had the jewelry made…now what? It was time for things like product photos, which are NOT my strong suit. Thankfully, I have great artist friends like Thao (who has a killer eye for detail) to help me capture some great photos of these Autumnal pieces. We hopped over to a Whidbey Island AirBnB where we hung out for a day or two, drove around the island, and captured some photos of the collection.

Thao Trang wearing Autumn Leaves Pendant Earrings and Pendant Necklace

That first collection morphed into more jewelry options like cuff bracelets with antique button closures for custom orders, cuff bracelets with toggle clasps for markets, and chokers for us wild, nostalgic 90s kids.

Today, “Autumn Leaves” is now a mainstay in my wardrobe (and at my booth) because of how versatile the colors are, the material’s structure and delicacy, and the accessible price point.

What struggles did you have when creating your first collection? I would love to hear about what was hard, and how you overcame it!

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