Showing posts from August, 2014

Step Away From the News!: Let Go of Your News Junkie Behavior to Keep the Creative Juices Flowing

If you realized how reading the newspaper front page to back and watching the news every day can crush your creative spirit one sound bite at a time, maybe you would step away from it and do something more make jewelry.

Gloom, despair, and agony on me
When I taught jewelry-making classes in the inner city, I once had a student--I'll call her Millie--who had difficulty learning even the simplest jewelry making techniques. She was a little nervous, all the time, I realized. She worried about her kids, her grandkids, her stomach her knees. Even her voice had a weary quality to it, you know, 'Gloom, despair and agony on me...."

One day I was sitting with Millie before class started, the first time outside of class where we'd had a chance to talk one-on-one. She started telling me about the murder two blocks away the night before and the one across town two days ago.

Millie knew the daily death toll in the Gulf war And it wasn't just about the inner city. …

Turn Unused Plastic Credit and Gift Cards into Jewelry

Put Your Plastic Trash to Good Use

If a tight budget has turned your credit cards into useless pieces of plastic, don't cut them up and pitch them into a nearby garbage can. They'll be sitting in a landfill for the next thousand years, and that wouldn't be very green of you. Why not get creative and crafty and turn those credit cards into earrings. It's a cool upcycling solution that will save money come gift-giving time. What about gift cards? Gift cards are becoming a plastic problem as well. According to, "The estimated 2.6 billion holiday cards sold each year in the U.S. could fill a football field 10 stories high." You and your gift recipients may only be responsible for a few of those 2.6 billion gift cards, but you don't have to be a part of the problem if you collect the used cards and turn them into jewelry.  Making credit/gift card earrings It's easy to get started making upcycled earrings from plastic cards. If you make jewelry…

5 Things You Can Do to Make the Most of Your Art & Craft Show Efforts

Traveling, Loading, Unpacking, Setting Up... And That's Just the Beginning Selling handcrafted jewelry at arts and craft shows is exhausting work. Why not make the most of it? You'll spend days making your creations. On show days, you will load your car, travel to the venue, unload, unpack and set up; and that's just the beginning.  You'll spend hours talking to people, and selling... hopefully. At the end of the day, whether or not you've made a single dollar, you must tear down, pack up and make the long drive home. 1- Kick Your Jewelry Making Creativity up a Notch Your craft show success will be limited until you shift your jewelry making into a higher creative zone. Go beyond simple starter projects. Take a class to learn a new technique. Read information on developing your style. Practice what you already know and push yourself to try new things. If you're already good, challenge yourself to do even better. Don't rush your creativity. If you usually make …

Simplified Metalsmithing Techniques for Fabulous Jewelry

Simple Metal Work Ideas to Add "Wow" to Your Handcrafted JewelryDoes your handcrafted jewelry shout out, "Wow! Look at me, I'm fabulous!"? If it doesn't, you can change that by changing the way you do things: Stop borrowing designs dreamed up by someone else. Make your own bold clasps, earwires and beads instead of relying on manufactured findings. Try a few simplified metalsmithing techniques.
Metalsmithing can be complicated, but it's the best way I know of adding a "wow" factor to your jewelry. I've made it a little easier by simplifying a few metalsmithing techniques, so you can master them easily. The tools, cost and time you need depend on the projects you choose.
Suggested Tools
Jeweler's saw and bench pin Blades: brands labeled "gold" cost more, but they're easier to work with. Metal files Padded emery files for smoothing Manual punch or drill Metal shears (optional) Hammer Anvil or metal bench block Fine line black …

Now Cut That Out! Creating Jewlery with a Jeweler's Saw

If you feel intimidated by the idea of jewelry creation using metalwork, you should understand that it doesn't have to be complicated. You don't have to do lost wax casting, bezel setting or even soldering to create beautiful one of a kind pieces. 
You can do that with simple metal fabrication, cutting metal, then smoothing and forming it to add beauty and a bit of your very own style. You can do it with a few very simple techniques.

You can learn without an instructor Most beginners need an experienced teacher to get them started; but if you don't have one in your area, you shouldn't let that stop you. It would be easier if you had at least a basic understanding of how to put the saw blade into the frame; but that's the thing about being a beginner, you don't know the basics. Still you can accomplish anything with instructions, dedication, creative inspiration, and lots of practice. Why Metalwork? I have taught many jewelry students basic sawing techniques and enc…