Nearing the end of another diploma, I recently zoomed out from the bench to reflect on all I had done, learnt and achieved as a designer | maker of jewellery in the last few years and months. I was astonished, and I imagine you will be too if you reflect back on your recent past. The exercise was accompanied by an immense sense of gratitude towards all those who have willingly shared their time, opinions and expertise with me.
I have benefitted immensely from the community of other jewellers and the mentoring of experienced people from the industry. Karen Young’s no-nonsense coaching on the business side of my Advanced Diploma with Jeweller’s Academy (JA) has been invaluable, and without her, the VON W FINE JEWELLERY website would not exist. The founder of Jewellers Academy herself, Jessica Rose, is an important role model in her drive to succeed while remaining personable, authentic and focused on her own values of helping others build a successful business. Her recent book How to start and grow a profitable Jewellery Business’ made the Amazon best seller list for a reason and has become a regular reference guide. Most importantly, my design mentor Michael Milloy has been my greatest driver and guide: With his decades in the industry, his experience at CSM but also his patience and clarity, he has become the bedrock of my professional development, from which I will launch – with slight trepidation - at the end of the course.
Equally importantly, I am very fortunate not to work in isolation: Jay Raymond aka The Jewellery Concierge has been invaluable in his advice and sharing of contacts from the start and through JASSO near Oxford and the associated shows, I have met a community of jewellers with a vast wealth of experience in designing, making, showing and teaching, who are willing to share their expertise and encouragement and critique honestly. The JA online community has equally provided some professional friendships that I deeply value and that will hopefully endure even when the diploma concludes. I have recently been accepted into the Modern Makers Collective and cannot wait to show with them in November. Extra courses in the showcasing of fine jewellery with Kate Baxter of The Cut London, in jewellery photography with Chocianaite and hours spent online learning how to create and run my website have all added strings to my bow.
Learning is lifelong and there is no question that I as a craftsperson and VON W FINE JEWELLERY will continue to develop, experiment, meet obstacles and hopefully overcome many. So far, I have a feeling of immense gratitude towards my tutors and companions along the journey and I am very much looking forward to the path ahead, which is littered with glittering ideas.
If you feel lost in the woods, you might be surprised when you stop and take stock, reflect on the new skills you have acquired, the problems you have solved and the change you have brought to others recently, no matter your calling. I hope you will experience a similar sense of achievement and gratitude.