Thursday, May 31, 2007

Thankful Thursday #6

The Mentor: Ed Levin, production jewelry company, Cambridge, NY.

The Lesson Learned: Knowing what you don't want to do with your life is as valuable as knowing what you do want.

Along with the thrill of my anticipated graduation from college in June of 2001 also came the anxiety of stepping out into "the real world" (blahblahblah) …having to get a job, make money, and prove myself to myself. I knew I wanted to pursue jewelry but still wasn't sure quite how I was going to make a career out of it. Moving home to Lake George, NY was the most realistic option at the time given my post-college financial state and so I moved back in with my parents and applied for a job at Ed Levin Jewelry whom I learned had a production company located an hour from LG in Cambridge, NY.

I remember after my interview (which I had convinced myself had gone HORRIBLY) someone said to me that even if I had nothing else to offer them (which of course wasn't true) I possessed something very valuable to them as an established company: my youthful enthusiasm. I was willing to work and work hard, learn and succeed. Perhaps that is ultimately what got me hired.

I began work immediately as a part of the design department team, by far the friendliest, coolest department with the best taste in music/radio! Ann Kearney was the head designer at the time (who has since left Ed Levin to pursue her own gorgeous jewelry line) and she was such an inspiration to me. I also worked one on one with Ed Levin himself, who at the time still had a hand in the F+ Series that I was in charge of - vintage Ed Levin line. It was quite an honor.

After about 6 months with the company I decided it was time to move on. I learned a lot working at Ed Levin, particularly the ins and outs of the production jewelry manufacturing world. The most important thing I learned in my brief time there however, was that I didn't want to be just a pair of hands and work for someone else for the rest of my life. I didn't want to make the same design over and over and over again. I didn't want to design based on target markets and seasonal trends. I decided I wanted to make ART jewelry, not just fashion jewelry. In learning what I did not like about production, I was able to narrow down the field of jewelry further and focus my energy on my own art jewelry designs.

Someday I may end up just like Ed. I may change my mind and decide production is the way to go and desire to employ a team of 50 artisans or so to help produce my line of "wearable, everyday designs" but for now, I like my little art jewelry nook. It's comfortable here, and helps me remember I'm not just trying to make money, but also trying to make Art.

the Ed Levin signature bracelet

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