In the midst of cheaply made, trendy, disposable accessories there is a growing demand for hand-crafted, high quality, unique jewelry. Instead of more, more, more, we’re craving fewer pieces that only give us joy. With that in mind, I’d love you to meet Patsy Kolesar and Simone Richmond, two Vancouver-based fine art jewelry artists who recently hosted a collaborative art gallery show called It’s All in the Details.
In addition to Patsy and Simone’s work, the show featured solo and collaborative work by multidisciplinary artists Nell Burns, Christina Norberg, Claire Madill, Louise Perrone, and Susan Remnant. (Disclosure: I had some of my photography in the show as well). Think ceramics, wood, metals, embroidery, textiles, pen & ink, photography – all were represented in unique, one-of-kind pieces.
I had coffee with Patsy & Simone at Nelson the Seagull to chat about their experience as freelance jewelry artists and business owners. Who better to learn from than these two who successfully combine the art-making with the business? And the fact that they are fun and full of energy and just lovely is pretty inspiring too.
Here are some of the highlights from our conversation.
Simone found jewelry making as a business much harder than she had expected. It is so much more than just making your jewelry, having a website and then waiting for people to find you. She identified how critical it is to be able to put yourself out there so people will know your work.
You also need to be comfortable with uncertainty. As she notes, “if you like to know the outcome before you start, don’t do this!”
And pricing, that challenge of any artist! There’s no simple formula of X materials + Y time = Z price. Simone creates different work for different price points and customers.
Patsy pointed to perseverance as one of the most important skills for a freelance artist. That ability to hang in there is key. And being able to deal with whatever happens. For example, a few jewelry displays at the gallery show fell off the wall during the opening reception. She and Simone calmly repaired the displays and carried on without anyone noticing.
They both noted that you’ll never be able to plan enough to avoid mistakes along the way. so you might as well just start.
Patsy and Simone have that rare mix of creative talent, business acumen plus a vision for the field of fine art jewelry. And their work is beautiful.
Sandra Harris | Vancouver, Canada