Amazing Beaded Earrings and a Creative Challenge

A sampling of the earrings I made during my self-imposed creative challenge: create a pair of earrings every day for an entire month!

I don't often wear earrings. Part of that comes from a habit I got into after my son was born – it's just not good to wear long, dangling earrings in front of an eighteen-month-old who likes to grab things. (Ouch.) But the other reason I don't wear earrings too often is because I don't usually think about making them. When I come up with a new beading project, it's usually a necklace or a bracelet. For some reason, my brain doesn't want to come up with beaded earring projects.

So back in January, I challenged myself to correct this situation. I decided that I was going to make one pair of beaded earrings every single day for the entire month of January. In retrospect, I should have chosen a shorter month like February. But I figured if everyone else was making New Year's resolutions, then January would be the perfect month for a creative beading challenge. I sat down with my sketchbook and my beads and started coming up with designs for beaded earrings.

While I was stitching up those thirty-one pairs of earrings (a sampling of which you can see in the photograph), I started thinking about how versatile beaded earrings really are. Making one pair of earrings every day for an entire month really showed me how easy it is to make great earrings. Earrings don't need to use a lot of beads, they don't need to take a lot of time to make, and they can be as intricate or as simple as you want them to be. And because they don't take a lot of time or materials, beaded earrings make fantastic last-minute gifts. I was really inspired when I saw how even the simplest of my earring designs (an easy peyote stitch beaded bead strung with a couple of Swarovski crystals) attracted comments from admirers!

I have to admit, I was worried that I wasn't going to be able to come up with thirty-one earring designs. Like I said, beaded earring designs don't come to me easily, and the ones that I do come up with are usually hit-or-miss. But surprisingly enough, the ideas just flowed for those first few weeks of January, and I had more than enough beaded earring designs to get me through my self-imposed challenge! After I finished the first two or three pairs, the ideas came much easier. I'd find myself inspired by the pair of beaded earrings that I had just completed to make two more pairs using the same beads. Then I found some old sterling silver chain in my bead stash and got the idea to make little peyote-stitch "banners" and suspend them from the chain. I found a pair of 1940s-era Japanese glass beads that made a spectacular pair of vintage-looking earrings. I even found a design that used my precious cobalt blue vintage German glass drops, purchased at a trunk show back in 2004!

To make sure you never come up empty when you need a new beaded jewelry design, check out the new special issue 101 Bracelets, Necklaces, and Earrings from the editors of Beadwork and Stringing magazines. You'll find 148 pages of gorgeous jewelry projects from designers such as Melinda Barta, Jamie Hogsett, Marlene Blessing, Danielle Fox, and Denise Peck. Not only will you find some gorgeous fashion-forward jewelry designs, but you'll also get expert instruction, detailed materials lists and resources and loads of inspiration. Get your copy of 101 Bracelets, Necklaces and Earrings and be inspired!

Have you ever given yourself a creative challenge? What was it? How did you do? Share your story here on the blog with us!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer

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