Finding Inspiration From Your Favorite Jewelry Designers

Here’s a typical scenario in the life of a jewelry designer: You’ve been asked to design a piece for a class or publication, but when you finally sit down at your workbench, you find yourself staring at the wall. Oh, you’ll poke around in your stash of beads and findings to see if anything jumps out at you, but that doesn’t always work. It’s during these times that I often a) get up and do some jumping jacks; b) eat something with a high cocoa content; c) get outside of my studio; or d) all of the above.

The cure for me is usually “d,” but the most important thing on that list is to get out of my studio. And when I write “get out,” I don’t necessarily mean that I go outside (although that helps, too). What I mean is that it’s important to pull myself out of the little studio I have in my head and look elsewhere for inspiration.

I was just watching the latest DVD set of Beads, Baubles, and Jewels (Episode 1300) and realized the featured artists have done just that in each episode. They’ve gone outside their “studios,” taken a theme (such as “nature”), and used it as inspiration for their designs. The themes range from vintage to music, literature to symbolism, travel to art. It was wonderful to discover the ways these themes inspired the artists featured in the videos.

Another way to be inspired is to look to other jewelry artists who inspire you. Sometimes when I’m stuck in a rut, I put myself in their creative shoes.  What would (fill in your favorite designer's name here) do? Channeling these other artists’ creative energy and thinking about how they might solve a creative problem (without directly copying them, of course) helps me “get out” of my studio

So today, since I actually HAVE been staring at the wall too long, trying to come up with a new class design, I thought it might be a fun to think about some of the artists who appear on the latest Beads, Baubles, and Jewels DVDs and assign general design words to their aesthetic. Who knows? The exercise might inspire me to think differently about my latest design dilemma.

Katie Hacker: simple, sweet

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Fernando DaSilva: glamour, sparkle

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Jodi Bombardier: super fine, coils, wired


Lisa Kan: romance, dreams

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Mark Nelson: construction, materials


Mary Hettsmansperger: woven, hand-touched



Kristal Wick: quick and easy, bling, glitter


Candie Cooper: materials, innovation, savvy

Susan Lenart Kazmer: free, found, fringe

Lisa Niven Kelly: metal, wire, handcraft, play

Leslie Rogalski: bold, easy does it

Marlene Blessing: refined, sophisticated, earthy

Kerry Bogart: color, line, contemporary

Lisa Kan: romance, filigreed

Kim St. Jean: rough, wired, steampunk



Hey, that was actually a pretty good exercise. I think I’ll channel some of these words that my design vocabulary isn’t used to in order to make my next design.

Want to be inspired visually by these artists and more? Check out the latest season of Beads, Baubles, and Jewels, now on sale!

Happy beading-

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