Jewelry Making: How to Create and Draw Inspiration from the Seasons
While there’s certainly so much to love about the changing of the seasons, as jewelry artists we love to think up new ways to accessorize our outfits accordingly. While I was Editor of Jewelry Stringing magazine, my staff and I would have fun looking through images from Fashion Week in New York, London, Milan, and Paris to see what was trending in the current and upcoming seasons. We’d then determine how to work those elements into our jewelry making. Would leather still be hot? What about spikes or fringe? Geometric or organic patterns? Understated jewelry or over-the-top?
Now that I’m working on Beadwork magazine, I’ve slowly been making my way through our library of project and technique DVDs. This weekend I watched Kelly Wiese’s videos included in the DVD set Jewelry For All Seasons, and although autumn is nearly upon us, I can’t wait to try Kelly’s spring and summer designs, the Delicate Details bracelet and the Wildflower necklace. Read on to see how easy it is to get inspiration from the four seasons — the colors and motifs are evident in Kelly’s designs and just may provide ideas for your own seasonal jewelry-making projects.
It’s easy to see how Mother Nature plays a part in Kelly’s Delicate Details bracelet, with its green and purple elements and subtle floral pattern. Kelly created easy beaded bezels for the small purple chatons, and then connected them to make a delicate bracelet, perfect for any spring outfit!
When you’re looking for your muse to strike, get outdoors. Take a stroll in a park or wooded area and observe patterns and textures found in nature. Pay attention to the way sunlight streams through the trees, and notice the way shadows appear. Draw inspiration from leaves and petals, or from pebbles and tree bark. Get creative!
Add in a Few Fun Motifs
Look to nature to find a favorite motif to add to your jewelry designs. Whether literal or abstract, flowers, leaves, birds, insects, and even snowflakes or raindrops can make a fun fashion statement when used as a larger focal or a smaller accent. In the Wildflowers necklace, Kelly used herringbone to stitch fun flower shapes, added corkscrew fringe for a whimsical touch, then attached a trio of flowers to a twisted herringbone rope.
As a bonus, Kelly also demonstrated how to create fun earrings by omitting the fringe and attaching crystal briolettes!
Get Creative with Color Palettes
Sometimes the best ideas are the least traditional. Browse through photos online or in catalogs and make note of color combinations that spark your interest. For instance, what pops into your mind when you think of fall foliage? For me, it’s bright yellow aspen leaves against a crisp blue sky (being a Colorado native, I’m drawn to mountainsides filled with changing aspen leaves like a moth to a flame!). But look at this beautiful photo of a red-violet maple leaf against a backdrop of golds and yellows. What a stunning color combination it provides to the Modern Visions bracelet.
Though it’s easy to fall back on preconceived notions, try to think outside the box when looking to nature for color inspiration. I still recall a lesson that one of my drawing professors in college tried to get across to a classroom full of young art students: draw what you see, not what you think you see.
Accessories for Events and Occasions
While the cool tones of Kelly’s Victoriana necklace evoke winter, the sparkly components and overall design definitely spell out “party attire.” Imagine pairing this vintage-inspired necklace with a little black dress for a grand New Year’s Eve party.
You could definitely whip this up in preparation for your own New Year’s Eve or other holiday celebration. Kelly used netting plus peyote and brick stitch to create a beaded bezel for a rectangular crystal, then simply attached the resulting focal to a coordinating chain.
I’m anxious to make each of the four projects in Kelly’s video, starting with my favorite, the Delicate Details bracelet. I love that she uses larger beads to demonstrate each project so it’s easy to follow along. You’ll want to start with any one of Kelly’s projects on the DVD, or dig in to any number of projects for fall or as an early start to your holiday gift list. Seasonal patterns abound!
Editor, Beadwork magazine
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