How to Become a Jewelry Crafter
Becoming a jewelry crafter is a matter of learning the craft of jewelry making and finding a means to display and sell your jewelry. A good jewelry crafter is part artist, part businessman — the jewelry crafter is a big piece of the art industry, in that they create the artistic objects that jewelry stores put out for exhibition or even general sales. Jewelry crafters are supposed to be creative individuals with a drive for business who know how to develop a new craft or reproduce a wide variety of jewelry and craft art.
What does a jewelry crafter do?
Jewelry crafters are artists who build and display a wide range of craft objects that are almost always built by hand. Jewelry crafters have a desire to create unique pieces of art, and know how to build basic items of clothing, jewelry, pottery, even home items like candles, furniture, stained glass, and mosaics. A good jewelry crafter works in many different mediums of art, from ceramics to wood. In fact, the most successful jewelry crafters are those artists whose training includes metals, glass, even paper and textile art. Because a jewelry crafter can never be sure what a client may request, they should be prepared to create as many different pieces of art as possible.
Jewelry crafters know metal work, to be sure, but they are also experts at needlecraft, weaving skills, and even welding and heavy construction. On top of those more hands on and large form art styles, good jewelry crafters can use a variety of fine art methods (think studio art, painting, typesetting, and printing) to create unique pieces of art for their employer or clients. A big trend in jewelry crafting these days is using recycled or found objects to create art — this gives the jewelry crafter a low overhead and a “green appeal”. Knowing the current trends in art helps a ton, as does the ability to attractively display and sell their art at craft shows, fairs, and galleries as well as to private clients, art studios, and even retail stores.
What kind of training or education does a jewelry crafter need?
A true folk artist jewelry crafter may not have any formal experience at all, while young jewelry crafters just getting started in the business of art may have several advanced degrees. This school work is usually some combination of art training and business administration skills — after all, a jewelry crafter is often their own agent and salesperson.
Jewelry crafters traditionally have at least a high school diploma or equivalent degree, and a boat load of jewelry related artistic skill and experience. A long apprenticeship with an artist can often replace the formal training gained at an art school or university, though most jewelry crafters these days get formal training at the higher level to pack their heads with art and crafts knowledge. An art degree, or even a Master’s degree in studio art of some kind, will expose a person to a variety of art techniques, and give the student a knowledge of art history that can influence their work for years to come.
Most colleges and universities offer art and design classes, and there are even courses at the community college level to help prepare a jewelry crafter for a career making and selling their own art. Some jewelry crafters will combine their classroom instruction with on the job training at a jewelry store or with a jewelry artist or studio artist. it is good for a jewelry crafters to build a detailed and attractive portfolio of their work to show to potential employers and individual clients. This portfolio must be constantly updated, so a good jewelry crafter will constantly update their education and art skills to keep up with new materials and new ideas in art.
What are the prospects for a career as a jewelry crafter?
The current rate of job growth for crafters of jewelry is expected to grow along with the average for all careers. The US Census tells us that there will be 7% more jobs for jewelry crafters in 2018 as there are in 2010. A growing population and increased demand for craft and art jewelry will keep jewelry crafters busy for years to come.
How much do jewelry crafters make?
The average annual salary for jewelry crafters working in corporate settings (creating jewelry for mass distribution to department stores) is $45,000 as of January 2010 — but the annual jewelry crafter salary number varies based on your location, your employer or client base, your education, experience, and various benefits that different employers provide.
Work as a jewelry crafter is the perfect choice for artists who like working with a variety of materials to create beautiful jewelry. If you have the desire to create a variety of hand-made art, be it jewelry or something else a client asks you to build, a career as a jewelry crafter will be ultimately very satisfying. Jewelry crafters must have knowledge of a great variety of jewelry materials, artistic styles, and building methods. Throw in a strong sense of creativity, a ton of self-confidence, determination and business sense, and you have the essentials of a great jewelry crafter.