Editor’s Favorite Handmade Jewelry Picks for 2016
It’s our goal each day to bring you the best we can deliver. It’s our hope we offer you information and products that help you reach your goals of learning a new technique, incorporating a new element into your business, or simply bringing the latest materials and tools we can find that help elevate your handmade jewelry. We are so fortunate to have these jobs where we get to work closely with the artists who offer you the products you use for reaching new heights.
To follow are our top picks for this year along with a bit about what we love so much about our choices. If we had an award ceremony, this listing would be presented with a trophy, applause, and maybe even a few tears. (Yes, I’m channeling the upcoming awards season!).
– Tammy Honaman
Lapidarist and Handmade Jewelry Artist
It’s such a pleasure to work with so many good people, and I do that every day. When I look at the past year and think of the one about to start, I think a lot about how my life is shaped by the editors, designers, marketers, and more that are part of the jewelry group here, and how dedicated and hardworking and smart and funny and crazy about jewelry they are. I also think about the writers, photographers, jewelers, gem cutters, wire workers, and all the other jewelry-making artists who show everyone else how to turn all kinds of materials into finished pieces, how to evaluate and improve a design, how to use a tool or material the way it’s intended to be used and many other ways it isn’t but happen to work very well. Most of all, I think of all of you who are learning and increasing your skills and developing your talent into making jewelry, and find inspiration wherever you look.
One of the most inspiring handmade jewelry artists I know and one of the nicest people I’ve ever met in this field is Michael Boyd. An innovative lapidary and jewelry artist who has an amazing eye for the right part of a piece of rock to use and an engineering instinct for how to feature that stone in metal. These are the “why” behind his video, Metalsmith Essentials: Special Stone Settings: Saddle and Strap with Michael Boyd, being a favorite. These are simple-looking settings that accomplish a special thing: leaving both sides of the stone visible, which I love because so often a good rock is good on more than one side.
Wire Weaving and Then Some!
We were asked to pick our top choice for the year. My list is long so this isn’t an easy request! Having just taken a workshop with Mary Hettmansperger at BeadFest Tacoma, it was a little easier to narrow the list as Mary in person is similar to Mary in video – and either way, you get a lot!
In Weaving Wire Jewelry, Mary covers how to weave wire and metal strips to create unique, artistic elements and then how to incorporate these elements into finished designs using cold connections. Mary is thorough, gives you all that’s in her brain on that particular technique, and then some!
Along the way, Mary also shares her tricks for getting things to behave and work like you want them to, and includes lots of extras, like creating ball-tip headpins, how to use pliers to add texture to metal, and how to create findings to match your new designs.
Bring Color to Your Handmade Jewelry
My friends and family have a joke about me. They say I always wear black – and only black. Well, that’s not quite true. But it’s close! I do wear a lot of black. But what I really like about black is pairing it with very colorful jewelry – and making that jewelry pop!
So one of my favorite things to do when creating my jewelry is to add amazing patinas. And the best resource I’ve found for adding patina to metal is Patina: 300+ Coloration Effects for Jewelers & Metalsmiths by Matthew Runfola. In the book, he gives you a very thorough look at the kinds of patina you can add, the techniques (from very simple to very advanced) you can use, and the materials and tools you’ll need.
My favorite part of the book is the section in which Runfola teaches you the best patination methods for each different metal, how the metal reacts, and what colors you can get with each technique. And he also shows (with amazing photography) what top jewelry designers have created with different metals and patina.
From Forks to Silk Ribbon–Making Metal Jewelry has You Covered
They asked me to pick one favorite. One! Seriously? There are so many great videos, books, magazines, projects in the Interweave Jewelry Shop, I could never pick just one. But I’m a huge fan of books, so I’ll tell you one of my favorites: Making Metal Jewelry, a five-star-rated book by my sweet and oh-so-talented friend, Jen Cushman.
I love Jen’s creative style, mixing metal and accessible metalsmithing techniques with mixed-media materials like resin, paper, fibers, crystals, and vintage finds–all things I love! I can’t think of any other book that has so many projects in it I want to make. In one project she’s using metal and in the next, silk ribbon–then crystals and paper, wire and vintage finds . . . Turn the page and she’s making a pretty flower bracelet out of an upcycled fork, and I have to have it! Nearly all of my crafty passions are in this one gorgeous jewelry-making book. It’s a must-have for jewelry artists and artists who love jewelry!
Find your next favorite in our shop!