How Other Hobbies Enhance Jewelry Making & Happy National Craft Month!
Just like our experiences shape who we are, I believe our experiences and skills all mix and merge to shape our work. My creative history 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 supplies with one and the other.
When I'm organizing my studio, I inevitably find scrapbooking things on my "cold" jewelry table (where stringing, wirework, etc. happens and there's never a flame) and, of course, a few jewelry-making tools or supplies end up on my paper craft table. (Less expensive wire cutters from my early jewelry days are ideal for snipping off button shanks and wonky brad stems.)
Lessons learned about color and mixing colors for various effects in art classes have enhanced my torch enameling and jewelry design abilities in general. Skills learned in layering, sealing materials, building collages, and creating balance in 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. Years of working with fabric, yarn, and ribbon, etc. have given me the background of adding fibers to soften jewelry designs or add color.
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 says, "You got your chocolate in my peanut butter!" and the other person responds, "You got your peanut butter in my chocolate!" The result was 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. In honor of National Craft Month, here are some ideas for getting a little crafting in your jewelry making.
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: Tips and techniques I learned in rubber stamping have helped me with metal stamping placement, spacing and such. Recently I've experimented with using heat embossing (embossing powders and a heat gun) from my card-making days on metal that can't be torch enameled.
I love using VersaMark inks (or flux) with rubber stamps and a torch to create batik-like patinas and designs on copper and brass. 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–which I can sometimes achieve using brads and rivets from my scrapbooking stash.
If you're a crossover crafter like me–or if you just love creating–celebrate National Craft Month with us. Expand your skills–then mix them up and see what fabulous new techniques develop. You can take advantage of the great deals in our Celebrate National Craft Month sale and save 30% on just about everything!