I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I just started making jewelry in October, from then until now my work has changed a great deal, I think for the better. The more time I spend making jewelry it seems the more the creative side of my mind opens up. I've been selling things on Ebay for years, nothing I make, just items from yard sales and thrift shops mostly, it's a good way to make some extra money. I also work in sales and marketing and have a Bachelor's degree in marketing so I have a sales kind of mindset. Naturally when I started making jewelry my mind turned to making a profit. Money isn't all a care about but I am interested in working for myself, I've been helping millionaires and large corporations make a lot of money for years and really don't have anything to show for it financially.
This leads me to selling my jewelry. I probably started too soon. Some of the things I've listed I'm kind of embarrassed about now and I intend to re-do them. On the other hand I need money now. So what to do? I think if you really care about your work you have to bite the bullet and hold off on selling it. You can't wait forever because, honestly, your work will probably always be changing and improving your whole life; but wait until what you put out there is a good representation of quality work. I think that way people will buy your items because most people buying handmade can tell the difference between good, quality, handmade items and mass produced junk. The people who can't tell the difference will never be your customers either way.
I don't agree with the idea that if you're an artist you're selling out by trying to make a living. You should be able to do both, and if you can make a living doing what you love then I say good for you! I love some of the things I made, I enjoy wearing them, I want to share that with other people, there is nothing wrong with that.
I'm currently working on several items that I think show a huge leap in the quality of my work. Once I'm done with them I'm going to write a post showing the differences. I'm also going to be taking a class at the local Community College to learn some more about jewelry making. Stay tuned, there are some exciting things coming up and hopefully the people who are reading this blog are learning along with me.