Jewelry-Making Inspiration to Revive Your Stash
Every time I try to clear out my stash of jewelry-making supplies, it's the same story. I'm too attached, even to ones that I've had for a long time and still not used. I can't give them away just because I don't know what I want to do with them. So instead of de-stashing, I look for inspiration to finally put those beloved beads, components, and other supplies to good use.
Here are my most inspiring go-to jewelry-making books and DVDs for my favorite jewelry techniques and styles: metal clay and mixed-media . . . which just happen to be the techniques that allow me the most creative use of the supplies in my stash!
Metal Clay Jewelry-Making Inspiration
If I'm talking about metal clay, you can bet I'm talking about Kate McKinnon and her sculptural mixed-media metal clay jewelry designs. Kate's metal-clay jewelry designs in The Jewelry Architect have a magical, whimsical feel that I love, and every page of her book inspires me. The book's 16 "claysmithing" projects are like playtime for a jewelry maker, allowing us to combine jewelry-making techniques we enjoy, such as wirework, metal clay, beading, torch fusing, and metalsmithing.
I'm especially drawn to the rings. I love making rings, and Kate shares two silver metal clay ring options, a rivet post ring and a wrap band ring, both of which allow you to make your own customized ring shank to highlight a lampwork glass, gemstone, fabric, or other bead of your choice. I love that versatility! Kate says the rings can "accommodate almost any ornament with a hole." Now all of those single gorgeous and unique lampwork beads I've collected through the years can star in unlimited interchangeable cocktail rings!
Plus, if you've ever tried to make rings in metal clay, you know how difficult it is to get the right size. The Jewelry Architect's tips for making metal-clay ring bands are alone worth the cost of the book. Kate's instructions for customizing my own clasps, head pins, and other findings out of metal clay are an added bonus.
When Easy Metal Clay was released earlier this summer, I knew it was the perfect accompaniment to Kate's book. It features more than two dozen metal clay how-to projects, loads of tips and inspiring designs to make with silver, bronze, copper, and even steel metal clays. Easy Metal Clay pushes metal clay in new directions with the use of crystals, gemstones (including how to set them), wire, glass, chain, and even ink. It's a complete resource for beginners through experienced metal clay artisans. Easy Metal Clay is available in a traditional version as well as an instant download!
Anything Goes Mixed-Media Jewelry Making
Vannetta Seecharran's Encyclopedia of Contemporary Jewelry-Making Techniques was much more fun and unique than I could have imagined–and literally full of surprises, in both jewelry-making materials and techniques. I was inspired by page after page of art jewelry created with recycled or repurposed materials: ribbon and fabric scraps, wood, buckles and all kinds of metals, plastic anything, paper and paper pulp, even Formica, concrete, old rubber bands and fingertips from rubber gloves.
Other surprises are the techniques themselves. In addition to standard jewelry-making techniques, Seecharran shares step-by-step instructions and tips for working with those unusual found and repurposed materials. I can't think of a thing you could use in jewelry making that you can't learn how to use wisely through the techniques illustrated in this book: stitching, weaving, laminating, papermaking, screen printing, vacuum and heat forming, plastic dyeing, flocking, skiving, overlay and inlay, mold making, casting, and more.
Plus, for each category of unique materials, Seecharran shares a list of other jewelry artists who work with it to check out for more inspiration. Fans of mixed-media jewelry will love this book.
Along with using repurposed materials and found objects, I love incorporating personal treasures in my jewelry. It allows literally any memento to become a component in a beloved piece of jewelry–as long as you know how to attach it.
Jean Campbell's Mixed Media: Personalized Jewelry – Capturing Memories in Handmade Details is absolutely packed full of tips and ideas for incorporating memories into your jewelry. You'll learn how to incorporate creative techniques and media (like metal and rubber stamping, resin, and fibers) into your jewelry assemblages, as well as ways to give fragile materials like fabric and paper a metal support, making them more suitable for jewelry. Fans of charm bracelets or Steampunk jewelry will adore it. Get it as a DVD or an instant download.
So clear out some space in your studio because you can save up to 60% on some of these and more than 3,000 other products during our StashBuster Sale in the Jewelry Making Daily Shop. Now's the time to stock up on all the great jewelry-making books and eBooks, DVDs, eMags, and more that you've had your eye on!
What are your favorite and must-have jewelry-making resources? I'd love to hear all about them in the comments below!