Try a Mixed-Media Approach to Jewelry Design

When approaching a new design idea, it’s fun to consider using alternative materials and mixing them in with the usual suspects like beads, thread, needles and wire.

thread, needles, wire and a few beads from my bead board and work bench today

thread, needles, wire and a few beads from my bead board and work bench today

 

I also love the thrill of the hunt then figuring out how to incorporate my found objects into finished designs.

mixed-media grouping including sea glass, coral and buttons

mixed-media grouping includes sea glass, coral and buttons

My favorite place to find “found objects” is the beach! I love to walk along the water’s edge, scanning the sand for anything out of the ordinary. My mother showed us, at a very young age, how to find shells and spy sea glass in the surf. Depending on the color of the glass or the type of shell you found, the prize was often high praise and being revered during dinner when retelling the day’s adventure to my grandmother. All glass and shells were proudly displayed in our home and still are, to this day.

Need ideas for things to look for and how to use them? Check out “Bead Embroidery with found objects: Tips from Kelley Angeley” [http://www.beadingdaily.com/beadwork/bead-embroidery-with-found-objects-tips-from-kelly-angeley] and “4 Free Mixed Media Jewelry Projects & Tutorial” [http://www.beadingdaily.com/mixed-media-jewelry-making].

I recently pilfered a few pieces of our sea glass from my mom, and have a small wall hanging in process using bead embroidery and shibori ribbon. Need tips on working shibori into your next design? See “Bead Embroidery with Shibori Ribbon” for a how-to that covers a great technique. [http://www.beadingdaily.com/blog/beading-daily/bead-embroidery-with-shibori-ribbon]. I also made this sea glass pendant using soft solder, copper foil and a soldering iron.

Sea Glass Pendant made using a soldering iron, lead-free solder, soldering supplies, sterling silver wire

Sea Glass Pendant made using a soldering iron, lead-free solder, soldering supplies, sterling silver wire

 

For insight and other projects using this “stained glass method” of soldering, be sure to check out Laura Beth Love’s Make Vintage and Upcycled Jewelry video as she shares how to prepare a piece of pottery for soldering, all the ins and outs on using a soldering iron, including how to embellish the soldered design with solder dots (love how she did that!), and finishing the soldered piece into a finished piece of jewelry.

Laura Beth Love Upcycled Jewelry - Dishfunctional Plate Necklace

Laura Beth Love, Upcycled Jewelry – Dishfunctional Plate Necklace

If that piques your interest, be sure to also check out her video, Soldered Alchemy where she uses wire to create this beautiful heart pendant – no found object needed!

Laura Beth Love, Soft Solder Alchemy

Laura Beth Love, Soft Solder Alchemy

Needle, thread, beads, soldering iron, solder and copper foil are all great materials to have on hand so you are ready to transform that special piece into a beautiful piece of jewelry.

Have fun exploring your world and working your next find into your next masterpiece.

blue_tammy

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