Project Accessory: Bead Fearlessly!

Dangles from an old crystal chandelier make the perfect accent for a braided necklace and belt!
You might not believe this, but she's using match sticks to create a necklace!

Some of us around here at Interweave were so excited by the new Project Accessory on Lifetime that we decided to do a Bead Along Challenge here on Beading Daily, and a Make Along Challenge over on Jewelry Making Daily! Are you up for the challenge?

If you missed the first episode of Project Accessory, you can watch it for free on Lifetime's website. I won't tell you who the winner was, but I will tell you what the challenge is for this week!

This week, we're using found objects in our beadwork! Anything goes – rummage through your utility drawers, your garage workshops, your attics, your scary basements… Fill a box with "junk" and then go through it and find what inspires you. Tear, cut, drill, paint and then – of course – BEAD! Use anything you want to create a piece of beaded jewelry with the items you find. And don't be afraid to go over-the-top and make this really runway-worthy!

When you're done, post a photo of your found object beaded jewelry in the Reader Photo Gallery using the tag PABAL. (Note: you MUST use the tag PABAL in order for your piece to show up in the Project Accessory Bead Along Gallery!) You can also talk about Project Accessory and the challenge over in the Forums and get inspiration and advice from other beaders.

Get creative with this challenge: what can you find in your "junk" that would make awesome runway-worthy beaded jewelry?

I know that some beaders might be put off by the idea of using hand tools to alter their found objects. I, too, used to be tool-challenged, until I started learning how to make lampwork glass beads. There was something about using that torch while it was hooked up to tanks of potentially explosive gasses that removed all of my fears about hand tools. When I started fusing glass, my hands used the glass cutters and pliers as if I had been doing it my entire life. Maybe this challenge will be the perfect way for someone to overcome their fears of hand tools?

If you're not comfortable with power tools, start with a small Dremel tool to drill holes. Use your heavy-duty wire cutters to clip and trim metal and mesh and transform it into useful jewelry-making components. In this week's challenge, the designers used things like old metal rat traps (ew!), mattress springs and industrial wire to make jump rings and jewelry findings. The takeaway here is that ANYTHING can be turned into jewelry in the right hands.

After you've made your components, turn those jewelry-making components into a piece of beaded jewelry! (Does that make it a double challenge for some of us? I think it just might be!)

After you've made your jewelry components from your junk, bead it up! There are so many ways to incorporate found objects into your beadwork – you can stitch a peyote bezel around a round object, or hang a bunch of drilled charms from a right-angle weave necklace. It makes you realize just how versatile beadweaving is, both as an art form and as a craft.

Don't know where to start? Take a look at some of the steampunk projects in the Beading Daily and Jewelry Making Daily online shops! Interweave author and artist Susan Lenart Kazmer also has some wonderfully inspiring pieces on her website that are made with found objects. Take a look at the new Beading Daily Bead Along page to get some more great inspiration from blogs, beading and jewelry-making projects and our free projects, too!

Need some more inspiration? There's a special offer for Project Accessory fans this weekend!

Steampunk, “Mad Max,” industrial-chic  – whatever you want to call it, using hardware and other unconventional items in your jewelry has always been hot. Maybe you don’t want to go as crazy as Brian Burkhardt did with the teddy bear and sofa belt (or maybe you do!), but you can learn how to express your vision in new ways and with fun materials with Jean Campbell’s Mixed-Media: Making Steampunk-Style Jewelry. It’s on sale for Project Accessory fans now through 10/30/11! Just enter coupon code PABD1 when you’re ready to check out. Start steaming up your jewelry now!  

So let's turn our junk into jewelry, and bead fearlessly! Bead Happy!


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