Designing and Creating Jewelry

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Designing and creating jewelry is a personal journey and form of expression for me. My favorite medium is jewelry, but I’ve always liked experimenting with making things and trying different crafts.

People tell me all of the time they aren’t creative at all. Well, I need to let you in on a little secret. I’m a mostly left brain semi-creative that thinks very linearly. In the beginning, I would use patterns or find inspiration from photos and magazines. With more practice, I adapted and learned to be more artistic and imaginative. So trust me, if I can learn to create so can you.

There are many designers that are a lot more creative and talented than me, and I struggle with comparison analysis, but I’m learning to be more comfortable and easier on myself with what I can do rather than what I can’t. With more experience and skills under my jewelry tool belt, the easier that is for me. Still a process, but I’m learning.

One aspect I like most is coming up with a design and seeing it take shape as I make it. Like life, not all designs turn out. Some are failures and then it’s back to the drawing board to fix it or put in the scrap heap and start something new. In my experience, I find we tend to learn more when things don’t go right and we have to dig deep to find a solution or learn another technique to take our skill levels up a notch. Remember, making progress is the goal, not being a perfectionist.

I believe everyone is creative in some form or fashion and has the capacity to make or build things. Think back to when you were a child. As kids, we’re always using our imagination like inventing stories, making things, playing dress up, or building forts.

Over time, your imagination may have been replaced by other interests or subjects as school took precedence. It may be dormant, but your imagination is still there. Experiment and try different things to find it. Allow yourself to play, draw, paint, doodle, write, build, create. If you give it time you may find something you can sink your teeth into that you’re passionate about, or it may lead to something else entirely.

Be willing to try, mess up, and try again. Nobody is good on their first go round so don’t compare yourself to someone that’s been at their game for years and years.

Most importantly, have fun!


Elaine Kortkamp is the owner and designer of Stone and Metal Jewelry (, a partner with The Kortkamp Group (, and a motivational blogger ( She started these endeavors after a lengthy corporate career. Her goal is to encourage and motivate other people through her experiences, and show them that it’s not too late to chase your dreams and start something new. 

Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now. -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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