This handmade jewelry blogs is all about handmade jewelry. I am a wire and bead artist, and metalsmith extraordinaire! Therefore, this blog focuses primarily on handmade wire wrapped jewelry, and jewelry designed and made with sheet metal.
My Captivation With Stones & Metal
Ever since I can remember, I had always been enamored by stainless steel and time pieces. At some point, I also became infatuated with pewter. Ultimately, I became captivated by all different kinds of metal. I also remember seeing loose semi-precious stones in small dishes in stores. I fell in love with brown tiger’s eye stones. It seemed silly to walk around with them in my pocket all day. I did not know what to do with them. So I never purchased them. However, I discovered the world of beading, wire-working, and metalsmithing. So I was able to incorporate all of my favorite materials into beautiful designs of wearable art!
My Fascination With Wire
I love working with wire because I love the look of wire wrapped beads. Because there are no rules, I am also infatuated with wire working! I am passionate about the random and asymmetrical (but balanced) techniques and designs that result from working with wire. Wire is forgiving because it is pliable. So I can continue to work with it until I am satisfied with it. As I work with it, I sometimes make what I like to call “beautiful mistakes.”
My Passion For Hardware & Found Objects
Furthermore, I sometimes incorporate hardware and found objects into my designs. I am enchanted by time pieces and the mythical steampunk era. I enjoy making steampunk style jewelry as well! As a natural progression of my passion for wire and metal, I have also moved into metalsmithing. One metalsmithing technique that I really enjoy is cold connecting (connecting without using heat). I also like folding, fusing, and torching sheet metal.
How It All Began
I began making jewelry as a hobby about twenty years ago, give or take a few years. At the time, I never thought I would establish a business with it. I had beading on my “to do” list for about ten years while I was in graduate school. While I was still in graduate school, I purchased a weekend project book and a few materials. I did not even know what I was buying or how to use some of the materials I bought. However, the materials I bought were not cheap. So I realized that beading was cost prohibitive at any level of education.
A few years after I started teaching full time, I realized that I could afford to revisit my beading interest. Shortly thereafter, I went to a local bead store with some of the materials I had already purchased years ago. I sat at the project table and made a pair of earrings with the help of one of the employees. Then I signed up for a beading “boot camp” class where I learned three techniques in one day.
The First Techniques I Learned
One of the techniques I learned was how to make a wrapped loop. I saw that another class involving wire and loops was on the schedule so I signed up for it. After taking this class, I was hooked on wire wrapping. So I continued to take as many classes as I could on various wire wrapping techniques. As a natural progression of my passion for wire and metal, I have also moved into metalsmithing. My favorite metalsmithing technique is cold connecting (connecting without using any heat). I also enjoy folding, fusing, and torching sheet metal. I continue to broaden my wire, bead, metalsmithing, and jewelry making skills by continuing to learn new techniques.
My Decision To Become A Jewelry Designer
The decision to become a jewelry designer occurred slowly over time. When I first started making jewelry, it occurred to me that I should take pictures of it. This way, I would have a portfolio of my jewelry. If I ever wanted to recreate anything that I had made, I would be able to do so. I was not thinking about a professional portfolio at all. Then, I started getting tons of compliments on my jewelry. I learned that I made truly unique jewelry that people love. I realized that I had become talented enough to sell my work! Even if I never sold another piece for the rest of my life, I would never stop making jewelry. I had become addicted to the stones, wire, and metal that are natural and come from the earth!
My Creative Process
In addition, I love the creative process. When I begin a new project, I love to look through my stash of beads to determine which ones I want to work with in that moment, but the creative process is so much more than just choosing beads for me. It’s also about determining the techniques I want to use to design my next piece. I make decisions about whether I want to combine different techniques like wire wrapping with stringing or wire wrapping with metalsmithing, etc.
Within the world of wire wrapping, I also have to decide on the wire wrapping technique or techniques that I want to use/combine in the piece. The design possibilities are infinite and you are only limited by your imagination! I think one of the reasons why I may sometimes “get stuck” on what to design is because the possibilities are infinite. At the same time, once I make all of these decisions, the possibilities no longer exist because I removed any other possibilities by designing a piece a certain way.
My Production Process
Furthermore, the production process per se helps me to increase my sense of joy, happiness, and contentment because working with one’s hands in general is both therapeutic and spiritual! When I use my hands to create beautiful pieces of wearable art, it significantly enhances my spiritual experience! One aspect of spirituality is living in the moment or being present in the moment. Designing and making beautiful pieces of wearable art increases one’s sense of being in the moment because it entails a focus on one bead at a time, or concentrating on one aspect of a technique or design at a time, which increases one’s ability to live in the now throughout life.
I will go into more depth on these and related topics in my handmade jewelry blogs from Wired, Twisted, & Stoned!