Cool Off with Hot Jewelry-Making Picks: Mixed-Media and Metalwork Inspiration (and a Coupon!)

I'm pretty easily distracted. If I have work or chores–even things I enjoy, like reading or making jewelry–that I should be doing, a blue sky and a country road with the top down or an invitation from a friend can easily lure me away from the task at hand. But now, just a few days into my first August in Louisiana, I've quickly learned the value of indoor pursuits–my favorite of which is jewelry making, of course!

I enjoy silversmithing, metal clay, enamel, resin, cold connections, and stringing–a real hodge-podge of jewelry-making techniques. My love of found objects fits well with those techniques, all falling under the mixed-media jewelry umbrella where nearly anything goes. More often than not, that's the kind of jewelry-making projects I'm drawn to, so I keep a collection of books, DVDs, and other resources on hand that inspire me with mixed-media or collage-style jewelry projects.

If it's melty hot where you are, too, stay inside with me and some sweet lemonade and let's make jewelry. Here are some of my favorite inspiring jewelry-making resources that I think most everyone would enjoy to get the creative juices flowing. Click on the pics or titles to learn more about each one and take a peek inside or watch a video clip.


Handcrafted Jewelry Studio

Every time we release a new eMag, it's like I just saw television for the first time. I'm amazed at all the fun interactive features each one has, like a magazine come to life with moving pictures and videos, hot web links, and inspiring galleries, in addition to the "regular" great mag features of gorgeous how-to jewelry-making projects and handy tips. Handcrafted Jewelry Studio was our first eMag, and I think the mixed-media feel of the projects in it make it my favorite. If you've never experienced our jewelry-making eMags before, you don't know what you're missing! (Cool products, talented designers, and beautiful jewelry, to name a few!)


Metalsmith Essentials: How to Solder Jewelry

It's no secret that I love my friend and metalsmithing teacher, Lexi Erickson, or that I wish everyone could have one-on-one soldering lessons with her like I had, to benefit from her more than twenty years of experience teaching jewelry-making students of all levels. Lexi's DVD How to Solder Jewelry is the next best thing, in which she teaches you all about pickle, flux, solder, tools and torches, the different kinds of soldering, how to make bezels, and more–just like she taught me!


Remixed Media: Transforming Metal Found Objects for Your Jewelry

I love Candie Cooper's whimsical, mixed-media style, and watching her DVDs is always inspiring for me when I sit down to work on metal jewelry projects. She covers the basics–sawing, cold connections, doming, even some soldering–as well as fun personalization techniques like hammering and other texturing, etching, and patinas, but the projects she creates have a feeling of limitless possibilities to me, because they're made out of anything and everything: coins, silverware, bits of old jewelry, and "flea market filigree." You can easily apply her techniques to your own found treasures to create one-of-a-kind mixed-media masterpieces.


Easy Metal Clay 2011

Long before I knew how to make silver jewelry using silversmithing techniques and soldering, I was a fan of metal clay. It's still my first jewelry love, and it still feels like magic to me every time I take a piece out of the kiln or, what I love even more, torch fire it and watch as it transforms in front of my eyes. Regular releases of formulas of metal clay with new features (like less shrinkage or easier firing) along with new metals (such as copper and bronze) keep the magic alive, and designers and projects (twenty-five!) like those featured in Easy Metal Clay keep me supplied with an endless amount of inspiration–plus a really long "to do" list! It's a perfect resource for everyone interested in metal clay, from beginner to pro.


The Encyclopedia of Contemporary Jewelry-Making Techniques

I'm a book fanatic, and I've been collecting jewelry-making books lately like I'm "collecting" mosquito bites this summer. One of my recent favorite discoveries (and one that fuels my mixed-media jewelry passion) is The Encyclopedia of Contemporary Jewelry-Making Techniques. Nearly everything a mixed-media (or single media, for that matter) jewelry maker could want to know is in this book. There are techniques and tips for working with everything you can think of, including paper, rubber, resin, plastic, wood, ceramics, glass, leather and fabric, all kinds of metal, found objects, and just plain old fun junk. I love the examples of artisan-quality jewelry made out of the crazy materials, too. So inspiring!

So what's your favorite jewelry-making product in our store? I'd love to hear all about them in the comments below!

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