In Defense of Jewelry Kits
I always feel a tad guilty when I make jewelry from a kit. After making jewelry for so many years and seeing firsthand how much work goes into the planning and design stages of each piece, I feel like I am cheating when I use a kit to skip over those steps. On the other hand, I feel like there is something to be said for giving yourself a break every now and then and breezing through an easy project.
I studied German in college and before big tests I liked to take a break from my flashcards and pick out an easy assignment to do from the chapters I had already learned. While it didn't hurt to brush up on my basics, I think the most useful part of this exercise was that it always gave me a little ego boost–it reminded me how much I had already learned and gave me the motivation to keep working at it. This strategy can be applied to any skill that you are trying to develop–including jewelry making! The next time you find yourself in a designing rut, consider whipping up a copy of a project you have already made and really loved, or working through a simple jewelry kit. It just might be enough to bump you out of your rut and get your creative juices flowing again!
A few days ago we got a shipment of Weave Got Maille's latest kits. I haven't had time to do much designing lately, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to get out my pliers and play with beads for a few minutes. Each kit comes with everything you will need to make up either a bracelet or a pair of earrings except for a few pairs of flat-nose pliers. I went with their Sedona Shaggy Loops Bracelet kit (its blue/brass color palette is one of my favorites!). As I worked through the pattern I stopped to snap a few in-progress shots:
It was a really pleasant way to spend a few minutes on a stressful afternoon! While the technique was familiar and this bracelet went pretty quickly, I was also reminded that there is something to be learned from every project (no matter how simple): I opened up all of my jump rings before I started constructing the bracelet and as I was putting it together I realized I opened them a bit too far. Next time I am going to save myself some work and be a little less zealous with my pliers. I also learned that a chain maille project isn't the best way to break in a new set of pliers with a stiff spring–my hand was cramping up halfway through!
Do you ever pick up beading kits for yourself? Or do you have other tricks for overcoming creative ruts?