February 11, 2010

A Custom Order Keepsake

 

One of my customers contacted me recently to make her a necklace. Not just any old necklace though. A keepsake necklace with many components and individual meanings.  I wanted to share with you, the final outcome. The results. The cause and effect, of a final design concept. It started with JoAnn's vision that started with a key, and the end result is a piece of jewelry that she can cherish and possibly even pass down through her family in the future. One that holds more meaning than just any old necklace.

This skeleton key, is an original key to a house owned by JoAnn's Grandparents. Sad part is, the house is no longer standing.

"My grandparent’s (my mom’s parents) home was recently torn down in our town to make way for a 2-yr college to expand.  Theirs wasn’t the only house; all the homes in a 1 block area were taken.  My grandparents have been gone for 20 yrs. and my mom sold their home 20 yrs ago to a couple who now had to move because of this expansion.  We were lucky enough to go through my grandparent’s home after they moved out and before it was torn down just last week.   While meandering through the empty rooms, and reminiscing  the many times I spent there, I found 2 skeleton keys in some of the doors.  Of course, I quietly pocketed them.  They are now sitting on my kitchen window sill where I can see them every day."

 

Clearly the key had to be the focal.  JoAnn asked me to include the letter M. Her Grandparents last name is Maek (pronounced Make) A typewriter key, because JoAnn is a typist.  The number on the stamped tag (from Stacy Hartis of Sissy & Jacks) is "612" which was the house number. JoAnn even sent me a photo of that in the email:


The foundation of the house was red and black granite. Finding stones the exact color was a challenge without seeing it but I did find some nice poppy jasper that had specks of cream, red and black. I didn't want it to be too overpowering so I chose really small smooth rondelles and only used a few in the final design.


JoAnn's Grandfather did a lot of carpentry in the past and did Marquetry as a hobby after he had retired as a Barber in the town where they lived. She asked me if I had wood beads. DO I EVER! Of course, I easily found these carved wood elongated bicone beads to be the perfect fit for this component.




"The last thing I’d like to mention about my grandparents is that they were avid growers of flowers; mainly gladiolus.  My grandfather (his name was Walter) specifically grew glads and entered them in the county fair every year.  My grandmother tended to other well known perennials in their backyard.  So if you have any, or can acquire any ceramic medallions with a flower on it, that would mean a lot."

I have a lot of floral type beads and focals in my bead stash, but came across this pretty cool Lisa Peters Art flower connector. Although not a gladiola, the bold image of a flower stands out, and I thought it paired nicely with all of the other elements in the necklace.

I wire wrapped the wood and jasper beads at the forefront of the necklace. The ceramic green nugget at the left, was an addition I added on my own accord. Lucky for me, JoAnn liked it! It's an interesting addition, but an added color that I think adds to the overall design. A ceramic barrel from Keith O'Connor. 

It didn't take long to put together a preliminary design, although it was quite different from the one you see here. The key was horizontal in the first design. The chain was actually more jasper and wood beads up around the back.  JoAnn asked to see another version, one where the key hangs vertically instead. So she could get the idea of how it would wear. As soon as I revamped the design into this finished piece, I knew it was going to be the jackpot. JoAnn loved the final outcome. All of the elements that she asked for were included, but not only that. The vision that she has in her mind, has been played out through my fingers and she was quite pleased with this redesigned piece.

Taking on custom orders can be challenging, and sometimes jewelry designers decide to either be open for this type of request, or not. JoAnn had been such a wonderful and communacative customer in the past, that I knew working with her on this design would be successful in the end. I recommend doing special keepsake pieces like this for your customers, but the only advice I want to give is, make sure you are open to all ideas, be willing to rearrange, and take take time to create a piece that the customer connects with immediately. Communication is key, as with anything, really. And in the end, the success of having someone swoon over something you created with their ideas- there is just nothing more satisfying than that.

Thank you JoAnn for thinking of me and asking me to make this piece for you. It means a lot to me that you would trust me and my creativity for such a heartwarming and special necklace!

 

34 comments:

  1. So glad to see the finished product. It turned out lovely and I was honored to be apart of it!
    You are the best!

    Stacy
    Sissy & Jack's

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  2. Wonderful necklace and a beautiful composition.

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  3. Wow. I am speechless. Thank you for capturing all aspects of my grandparents in your words and your work. I can't wait until this piece of artwork arrives, so I can show it off to everyone. I loved working with you and trusted in you to make my ideas come alive.

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  4. Awww that was really nice like reading a small novel and relaxing too! Thank you for that lorelei and JoAnn! I dont think you could of done a more perfect job!

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  5. I love what you did, I am a sentimental fool, how wonderful to be able to make something so meaningful for someone.

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  6. Amazing...and with such sentiment behind it. I love it, Lorelei! You are such a talent!

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  7. it's always so rewarding when you can get a custom piece 'just right'... this one really is...beautiful job!

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  8. I love everything about this necklace, from the understated chain in the back and the clasp on the side of the neck to the focus being on the key front and center with the flower connector, M typewriter key and the 612 tag. FaBuLoUs job!

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  9. Wow! That is very cool, love the story... I am enjoying your blog :)

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  10. Lorelei,
    What a wonderful piece of keepsake jewelry and to have a matching commentary...maybe I'm just being sentimental today, but it brought tears to my eyes. :-) I'm sure that JoAnn will cherish this fantastic piece of art!
    Bead Happy!
    Michelle

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  11. Really beautiful and special!

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  12. What an awsome keepsake! Super creative and pulls all the elements together!
    Michelle-

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  13. This is absolutely gorgeous...what a lovely keepsake. I have some old keys that I am going to have to come up with some cool designs for.

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  14. What a lovely and fascinating project. I think art is at its most beautiful when there's a story behind it.

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  15. Lorelei that is one wonderful necklace! She will just love it! You incorporated everything so nicely.

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  16. Lorelei, I have tears of joy in my eyes after reading your words. JoAnn picked the perfect designer to work with...each piece is so very thoughtful. Custom work like this is the cornerstone of my jewelry business and what I love to do, because there is such a satisfaction in seeing that look of amazement on my client's face. I agree that if you do custom work you need to be very open to honoring the spirit of the client. I always ask my clients if they trust me, and I would say that JoAnn really trusted you. What a great feeling!
    Thank you for sharing this bit of loveliness today!
    Enjoy the day!
    Erin

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  17. i love the idea of keepsake jewelry...it a lovely thing to have something you can use regularly that reminds you of loved ones and places..also like that you have incorporated my favorite wooden beads. i know JoAnn will treasure this necklace.

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  18. Omgosh.. what to say.. Lorelei what a special project was left in your hands and what perfect hands to be left in! You really captured every aspect of Joanne's wishes about her grandparents and what all the different pieces meant.. I am so honored that you chose my flower bead to be part of this special piece. If it means anything, my grandparents are my best friends and always have been. My grandfather passed a few years ago but for anyone who knows me well I spend most days in my grandmothers company trying to keep up with her and not the other way around. For my bead to be part of something so special means alot to me. I am positive JoAnn picked the right person for the project! Its wonderful!
    (thank you Jennifer Cameron for pointing this wonderful blog post out to me - it made my day!)

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  19. What a good write up of a design collaboration! I try to get across to my design students the importance of collaboration with their clients. Bravo!

    Ann

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  20. Lorelei...this has to be one of the most incredible pieces that I have seen you create. The family history here is amazing...I am so glad JoAnn found those keys, was able to keep them, and now they will be forever cherished in this necklace. This was such a touching story.

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  21. Thank you everyone for all of your wonderful comments today about my necklace design. I am amazed that I was able to make this type of an impact. very.cool.

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  22. What a wonderful way to hold on to memories through generations. That is a great gift idea for younger family members and one I intend to remember!

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  23. the necklace is wonderful and such a special memory - you did a great job - all the pieces fit together perfectly

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  24. What a wonderful collaboration and such a great way for her to keep her memories alive! You did a fantabulous job!

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  25. Lorelei! The necklace looks fantastic! I love all the elements you used and how you put them together.

    Are you going to be at Beadfest Philly this year? I'll be there Thursday through Saturday. Want to meet up? I'll even bring you some of my ceramic goodies!

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  26. Absolutely incredible! That will be passed down for generations!

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  27. What a wonderfully thoughtful creation, Lorelei. It's lovely. I loved reading about Joann's memories of her grandparents & how each memory is so wonderfully represented in this piece. Well done.

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  28. Hey Diana!
    Yes I will be coming down for bead fest friday and staying til sunday. We should definitely get together! I can't wait!

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  29. Wow! What a wonderful piece! I also like the story of her grandparents and that just made the necklace that much more special.

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  30. A swee, yet bittersweet story. I know this necklace will be cherished for many years to come!

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  31. A beautiful memory captured in this meaningful design. You rock Lorelei!

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  32. I can't even begin to come up with words...what a beautiful necklace made even moreso by the sentiment behind it. As Jeannie said, you rock! :-)

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I'm sorry to have to turn on the word verification here, but I got fed up with spammers comments!

Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.
Buddha