Welcome Back, THE Kristal Wick! Celebrate with Mixed-Media Jewelry Making and FREE Swarovski Crystals!

If ever a baby girl was given a befitting name, Kristal Wick was. The most sparkly lady I know, Kristal has made an enviable career from mixed-media jewelry making and creating art with crystals. She even named her sweet pups Sparkle and Bling. (Did you know she was a country music singer once? That girl will sparkle, one way or another!)

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You might remember when Kristal first became my Sparkle Sister; she was the Beading Daily editor when I was hired as the Jewelry Making Daily editor. We were friends immediately and had a great time working together for a few years, and we continued being sparkly buddies for a few years after that, including her adventures as a Swarovski Create Your Style Ambassador. I’ve always enjoyed following Kristal’s career and sharing highlights with you, like her mixed-media jewelry making videos featuring epoxy clay and fabric, her metal clay book, and her colorful wire collections created for ArtBeads. It’s clear why I call her THE Kristal Wick!

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Now I’m excited to share that my Sparkle Sister is back with us, as the Content Strategist for Beading and Jewelry. We’re having a great time finding exciting new artists for video, online classes, and other fun stuff that I know you’ll enjoy! Here’s a little about how Kristal inspires millions with her sparkly mixed-media jewelry making, beaded jewelry and other creative pursuits, plus some priceless advice from a creative pro.

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Jewelry Making Daily: You knit with beads, use beads and crystals in metal clay jewelry making, decorate fabric with ink before turning it into beads embellished with other beads and crystals, and enjoy other mixed-media jewelry making with beads, epoxy clay, crystals, and more–among other crafts, I’m sure. What’s the best creative or crafting advice you’ve ever been given?

THE Kristal Wick: Don’t quit your day job!

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JMD: Luckily, crafting is part of our day jobs. So what craft are you itching to learn next?

TKW: Enameling. I’d love to combine my fabric beads, which are a soft and colorful medium, with the hard contrast of enameled metal beads. I love the splash of color enameling brings to a jewelry piece, so it would be fun to experiment with these two mediums.

JMD: What’s your favorite part about working with fabulous people like Tammy Jones? Ha! Just kidding. But I know you feel blessed to be working in a fun, creative industry. What’s your favorite part?

TKW: The major reason I was interested in this position was the opportunity to work with fabulous people like Tammy Jones! Seriously, Interweave has the largest group of rock star talent under one roof in the entire industry! Who wouldn’t want to play with these folks and be part of the team? Being a maker can be uber-rewarding but isolating, so my absolute fave part is collaborating and brainstorming with like-minded creatives such as yourself!

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JMD: Being named Kristal, it’s like you were destined for a career with beads, jewelry, and crystals. Now you’ve written jewelry-making books, starred in how-to beading and mixed-media jewelry making videos, created jewelry-making product lines, taught numerous beading and jewelry classes, even on cruises. When did you know this was the career you wanted? Do you have any advice for those who want to make a living making jewelry or being creative in other ways?

TKW: My first 15-year career was as a Technical Writer, so I was trained to think in bullet points! Spending most of my time in a cube-farm writing boring computer manuals (the kind you never read), I needed a creative outlet to balance this scene! So I started making jewelry and doing trunk shows in the cube farm. My co-workers loved my jewelry, and those were my first days learning how to sell my work. Little did I know how valuable it was in preparing me for my exciting artistic future approaching high end galleries (and even ending up in three galleries concurrently on Canyon Road in Santa Fe). I also branched out and did trade shows like Tucson, BeadFest and the L.A. gift show to move into the wholesale aspect of the business.

During my second Tucson show, Swarovski talent scouts approached me with an invitation to design for them, and that forever changed my career. This would never have happened had I stayed in my studio 24/7. I believe as a designer/creator you still have to get out in the trenches to meet your peeps and customers, and to be open and available for unexpected opportunities to drop into your lap! You also have to be ready for major guerilla marketing; now is the time to put on your bravely courageous hat and market the heck out of yourself! Make appointments with galleries, start selling on Facebook and Pinterest, invite your friends to hold private trunk shows. Selling your jewelry is not for the meek, so dive in!

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JMD: You work with beads, crystals, fibers and fabric, paper, yarn, various types of clay, and all kinds of mixed-media jewelry making supplies and found objects. What’s your best tip for anything-goes jewelry makers who don’t want to be limited by the types of supplies they use? Any favorite glues, tools, or other advice?

TKW: Feel the fear and do it anyway! I don’t come from a trained artistic background, so I didn’t know what you could and couldn’t do–didn’t know what rules I was breaking by simply trying out interesting ideas. The key to this method is to be detached from the outcome. Sometimes your idea works, and others, well, let’s just say I’ve had more than my share of creative epic failures! Keep on going, at least you learned from the experience even if only to say “I won’t do that again.” It’s great to learn a technique then stretch it as far as you can in other mediums or mix techniques to see what happens. Art is all about the risk and going for it!

Great advice! Stretch the techniques you know by learning new ones and celebrate Kristal’s return with the Kristal’s Crystals Kit, which includes both of Kristal’s mixed-media jewelry making videos, her book on creating fabric beads, a bonus project, AND a free bag of Swarovski crystals! Only a few  of the kits are left, so hurry and good luck!

If you aren’t able to get a kit or if you already have some of Kristal’s mixed-media jewelry making resources, they’re all available individually as well. So if you’re looking for affordable, inventive ways to add color and style to your jewelry (perhaps some unique necklaces from which to hang your metal, enamel, or resin pendants or other mixed-media jewelry), learn to make artistic, one-of-a-kind fabric beads with Kristal’s book, Fabulous Fabric Beads: Create Custom Beads and Art Jewelry.

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If you’re already a fan of mixed-media jewelry making and wouldn’t mind adding a little more sparkle to your life, you’ll enjoy Kristal’s DVDs, Mixed Media: Beaded Bracelets with Fiber Beads, Crystals, Resin, and Wire (also available in an instant download) and Mixed Media: Jewelry Making with Handmade Beads, Crystals Resin and More! (with eight jewelry projects, including cool fabric cuffs with nontraditionally set cabochons, and is also available in an instant download).

Bonus: Make Kristal’s paper and resin pendant with this free resin jewelry-making tutorial, or learn more about using resin and making mixed-media jewelry from Kristal.

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