When I first got into making jewelry, I had a very specific goal in mind. I wanted to use only natural gemstones in my pieces, and use them to make elegant, Victorian style necklaces, rings, and bracelets. For the longest time, I did this – and, although I did make some pretty pieces, my workflow eventually got stagnant, and I stopped making pieces all together. Enter my very long jewelry making hiatus.
During said hiatus, I researched different techniques (and still do). Part of the reason why I stopped creating was because all I had was beading wire and was just…stringing things. I had bought some 20 GA wire, sure, but really I just bought it because I had joined some Facebook groups that said to get some. Get it for what? To practice of course! Practice what? What I thought was wire work at the time – wire wrapping raw gemstones! So I used the wire for that, and exclusively that and also got bored. As I’ve stated in an earlier post, it just wasn’t what I had wanted to do with my jewelry designs, so got tired of it super quickly.
In my mind, I had this really narrow field of what stringing was. I thought that all it was, was using bead wire, putting stones on it, and using crimps to close the piece off. Yawn! It wasn’t until recently that I realized that stringing is a whole set of techniques entirely: bead weaving, pearl knotting, using ribbon, using leather cord…it’s a very diverse set of techniques you can use to make very artistic, elegant pieces and I find, you can really explore with it (with beadweaving especially) because you’re sewing the piece together and you can just go to town with either a really geometric, or really free form design. I also realized, after exploring beadweaving and ribbon etc, that using beads other than natural gemstone beads really flexes your creativity. Recently, I’ve been exploring the world of Check glass beads and Swarovski crystals to eventually buy and use in my work. Check Glass beads in particular really have an awesome range of different shapes, sized, and hole counts in their beads you can have a ton of fun with! And don’t get me started on the color selections – they all sound so sparkly and pretty (well from the descriptions of the colors I read, anyway, have to have someone look at them sometime and tell me how they are haha).
I guess, this is my long winded way of saying, it’s interesting how your tastes evolve over time. After you’ve spent time working with materials, feeling your way through projects, and trying to figure out what you need to make things flow creatively the way you want them to so you don’t get massive headaches along the creation process, it’s easier to open your mind to new things. I know I would have never thought when I started making jewelry that hey, I will use these glass beads instead of gemstone beads, and they will look just as pretty as the gemstones! No, that thought had to come to me after using gemstone beads, and seeing the pros and cons of using that bead in my work. Same with stringing: I thought it was a super basic technique, and the way I was initially doing it was. But now, after seeing the different things you can do with different stringing materials, I see stringing in a new light, and am ready to embrace those techniques and all of the pros and cons they have in store for me.
What about you? You ever find a better alternative to something crafty you were doing? Say so in the comments!