Stash Busters: Be Inspired to Use What You Have by Great Jewelry-Making Books
Nothing inspires me to look at the jewelry-making supplies I have in a whole new way more than a project I want to make. Here’s how it works for me: I see a project I like that someone else has made (using wire, or enamel, or rivets, etc.), I think about how I would make it to suit my style, and voila! The products I have that would be perfect for the project spring into my mind and off I go.
Looking back over the past couple of years, these are the jewelry-making books that have inspired me the most–to make projects, to try new techniques, to start a whole new jewelry-making adventure (torch enameling!). I hope they do the same for you! I’ve listed them by products you might have in your stash to help use what you have (so you can buy more, amiright?). And don’t just take my word for it–all of these books have five-star ratings from customers who already love them.
If you have bezels, resin, found objects, or loads of creativity yearning to be free . . .
Susan Lenart Kazmer’s work inspires me to no end. Her playful, artistic spirit is so evident in every piece she makes–and she teaches us how to do the same in our own style. The mix of art and found objects (and don’t forget the glitter!) she encases in resin makes me want to make art all the time. Plus her book shares surface and beyond-bezel techniques to make this versatile medium even more artistic. Get Susan’s Resin Alchemy: Innovative Techniques fore Mixed-Media and Jewelry Artists book and prepare to let your inner artist soar! (Plus it has a five-star rating!)
If you have copper sheet or a micro torch . . .
See dozens of ways to make great soldered jewelry using a micro torch with the funny and fabulous Kate Richbourg in her book, Simple Soldering: A Beginner’s Guide to Jewelry Making. Each lesson in it builds on the one before, and when you’re done, you have an artistic sampler of metal designs on your bench and more than one new skill under your belt. Kate’s whimsical style and attitude comes through in the book; it has so much personality! It comes with an instructional DVD for even more information, and Kate she presents what can be intimidating information in such an accessible way, anyone–no matter how new to metalworking or how torch-fearful they might be–can do it. And it is customer rated at five stars!
If you have copper sheet, copper or brass blanks . . .
Though I use soldering more often and it’s more crucial to my jewelry making, enameling has become the jewelry-making technique that I just can’t live without. I enjoy it so much, I have a big bag of filigree balls that I just enamel and enamel sometimes, just for fun! I do it using Barbara Lewis’s immersion method, which is the beginning of the journey to torch-fired enameling. I learned all of this from Barbara’s book, Torch-Fired Enamel Jewelry: A Workshop in Painting With Fire. Sure, I’m a firebug–but I also love color, glass (which the enamel becomes), and the artistic feeling I have when I’m playing around with enamel powders. There are so many ways to use it, from fun and colorful to artistic and museum-worthy designs. You can turn even a simple little shape you cut from copper sheet (or even certain pennies!) into a colorful jewelry component or focal piece. If you haven’t yet, get started enameling with the book that started it all for me. You won’t regret it! And yeah, it is five-star rated, too!
If you have lots of wire and/or beads and/or lots of gifts to make . . .
Earrings always fit! Handmade earrings are a wonderful gift and a wonderful seller at shows, just in time for the holidays. They’re quick to make, don’t require a lot of supplies, and yes, one size fits all! Get Denise Peck’s info-packed, five-star-rated book, 101 Wire Earrings: Step-by-Step Projects and Techniques, and you’ll have 101 earring projects to make for gifts or shop inventory. I wonder how quickly you could make all 101 projects in the book?
If you have gemstones and cabs . . .
It’s time to learn to set your gemstones in jewelry! And I know just the way to do it–get Gemstone Settings: The Jewelry Maker’s Guide to Styles and Techniques by Anastasia Young. It’s a comprehensive, encyclopedic guide to setting all kinds of stones (cabochons and faceted gems in standard and freeform shapes) in all kinds of settings (tube, bezel, channel, prong settings like basket and crown, grain, tension and other fancy settings–dozens of kinds!). This recent review by happy customer Judy says it better than I could: “The instructions were so clear and there were so many techniques that I felt I could start many of the projects even with my beginner-level metalworking skills.” Meanwhile, Kristin said this: “This is a book I shall need as long as I keep working with metal and stones. . . . If you handle stones and/or pearls at all, you simply need this book.” Both Judy and Kristin, as well as the other customer reviewers, rated this book at five stars!
If you have a little bit of everything–wire, metal, resin, found objects, and more–and “artist’s block” for jewelry makers…
Get Jen Cushman’s Making Metal Jewelry: How to Stamp, Forge, Form, and Fold Metal Jewelry Designs. With 17 metalsmithing technique lessons, 21 covet-worthy jewelry designs to make, and several QR codes that will lead you to how-to videos and extra projects, you’ll have more ideas than you know what to do with! It has some of the only projects that I’ve ever found that I want to make exactly as shown. That never happens for me–I’m always modifying jewelry projects to suit me, but the projects in Jen’s book suit me just fine! Super fine, actually; it’s in my top 10 craft books of all time, for sure.
What’s lingering in your jewelry supply stash that you’ve been wanting to use? Or maybe you have some new supplies just waiting to be tried out. What do you need to use up and clear out, to make way to buy more fun jewelry-making supplies? Either way, it’s the perfect time to take advantage of our big Back-to-School sale in the Jewelry Making Daily Shop. Now that the kiddos are back in school, it’s time for us grownup kids to have some time making jewelry. So nearly everything in the shop is half off–but today is the last day! All of these five-star, must-have resources are half price until midnight!