Crossover Crafting: How Other Creative Pursuits Can Enhance Jewelry Making
Just like our experiences shape who we are, I believe our experiences and skills all mix and merge to shape our work. For example, my glittery past is riddled with every kind of craft you can imagine–paper crafts of all kinds, knitting, sewing, mixed-media art, and more, in addition to jewelry–and I regularly find myself mixing techniques and using supplies from one side of my studio (in the craft area) on the other side (in the jewelry area).
Techniques I learned in rubber stamping have helped me with stamping ink and flux designs on metal to create unique patina effects as well as in actual metal stamping, with placement and spacing and such. Lessons learned about color and mixing colors for various effects as well as balance and symmetry in art classes have enhanced my torch enameling and jewelry design abilities in general.
Skills learned about layering, sealing materials, building collages, and creating balanced, eye-catching art have improved my resin jewelry creations, and many of the skills I learned from knitting, crocheting, sewing, and quilting can be transferred to working with wire and making effective cold connections using wire and metal as well as the occasional addition of fibers. Each one helps the other and techniques learned in one area inevitably arise in another.
Whenever I talk about this crossover crafting, I think of that old commercial in which someone said, "You got your chocolate in my peanut butter!" and the other person responds, "You got your peanut butter in my chocolate!" Either way, the result is a pretty tasty and very popular candy–and an equally happy result can come from getting a little knitting, mixed-media, or sewing in your jewelry making. Here's how.
Knitting and Crochet: Have you ever knitted with wire? Or knitted a tube that you can fill with beads, gems, or other cord to make a necklace or chain for a pendant? How about knitting or crocheting a cage to hold a rock or other found object?
Weaving: Mary Hettmansperger's work weaving decorative papers with metal foil to create gorgeous woven works of art really opened my eyes to how well some other creative pursuits can be adapted for jewelry making. The woven pieces can be secured in bezels, embedded in resin, or protected under glass as pendants. Mary is a weaving artist who then found success in the jewelry world–making her one of many great crossover artists.
Mixed Media: This one is the most obvious; there are so many techniques that fall under the mixed-media umbrella that cross over into jewelry making, including coloring on metal, making collage designs to seal under resin, using fibers to soften just about any design, and many more.
Sewing and Quilting: I'd never considered piercing and then literally sewing two pieces of metal together with very flexible, fine-gauge wire until I saw Mary's work as well. She uses wire to stitch and weave together various metal components in the easiest of all cold connections.
Paper Crafts: My creative history includes many years in paper crafts like card making, collage, and even some scrapbooking. In addition to some of the techniques mentioned above, recently I've experimented with using heat embossing (embossing powders and a heat gun) on metal, VersaMark inks and rubber stamps to create "batik" designs on copper with a torch. I also occasionally use some of the aluminum, pewter, brass, and copper scrapbooking components I still have in my stash after all these years in jewelry creations, I just have to remember that some of those alternative metals (like aluminum and pewter) can't take the heat from a torch like silver, copper, brass, or gold might, making them ideal candidates for cold connections (see numbers 3 and 4, above).
If you're a crossover crafter like me–or if you just love creating and welcome learning new techniques of all kinds that you can use in your jewelry creations or enjoy on their own–check out Craft Daily, our fun new site for creative types. You'll find videos there on most of these topics by experts in their respective fields. You can subscribe to watch over 100 hours (and growing each week!) of videos on all kinds of creative pursuits, or you can subscribe to just the niche areas that appeal to you most, such as jewelry and beading. Then you can watch technique videos by the industry's finest experts in a variety of fields, over and over, anytime you like–and enjoy all the new ones as they're added, too!
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