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Wednesday, 4 August 2010

New challenges!

Being new to the whole jewelry making thing and also being the kind of person who loves to try new things rather than repeating old ones I am still constantly thinking of new ideas and trying out new techniques. I'd like to share a few of my most recent adventures into the unknown here :)

1. Photography
Particularly since my previous post on photography I have been thinking of new ways to make my pictures better and more eye-catching. This has mostly involved me coming up with new backgrounds to use and objects upon which to hang or lay my items.

My new wedding jewelry website (under construction) uses a light teal as the main colour so when I spotted this beautiful dish selling cheap in Chinatown I had to buy it. I wasn't entirely sure what I was going to use it for at the time but it has turned out to be a surprisingly good photo background and it's slight curve means I can hang small earrings from the side and have the hang down the ramp. Almost all of my wedding jewelry is white and/or silver so the coloured background won't be a problem and now I can be rid of the horrible grey backgrounds that look so boring without a coloured piece of jewelry.

I also went hunting on the beach and found several beautiful pieces of driftwood. I haven't really experimented with them yet but I'm sure they will look great in photos too! I'm hoping they will also double as display stands when I feel ready to start doing craft fairs.

2. Hair Accessories
Whilst creating my new wedding website I came to realise how few pieces I had for hair (and how few pieces I had in general but that's another story!). I avoid making tiaras and combs because they are very time and material consuming, always in the back of my mind thinking that I would make them as custom orders only. Of course this is stupid because no one will order one from me if they can't see samples to judge the quality of my work. I resolved to make a few more complicated hair pieces in the near future but in the meantime I came across this fantastic tutorial from Sew Sweet Stitches. It sounded so simple and looked so pretty - I had to try it!

Amazingly, it was just as simple as described! I bought polyester organza and it curled super quick over the candle so I may try with silk next time.
I stitched 3 tiny AB swarovski crystals into the centre and sewed the flower onto a kirby grip. This is definitely going to be a new addition to my wedding line and I'm going to experiment with clusters of flowers and alice bands too.

I follow Bead Flora and Jewels on facebook and twitter and see so many beautiful pictures of amazing beaded flowers! I used to just gaze at them in awe, always assuming that they were way too difficult to make myself. It took a request and a sketched design from a friend for me to actually have a go. I should have looked for a tutorial but I enjoy the challenge of seeing how things are made so I just went for it. The intial result was ok but left rather a lot of visible wire in the middle. After scrutinising the flowers some more I tried again and was very pleased and proud of the result! The hardest part was attaching it the the hair clip - something I still need to practise!

3. Cabochons
I keep seeing these intricate wire wrapped designs such as this one from Chileandreamer on Etsy. The central stone is a cabochon (bead without any holes in) so can't be attached to a chain in the usual way.
Another type of item which I was sure was far too complicated and intricate for me to make myself. Not to mention that it looks fiddly and I lack patience with fiddly things!

However, whilst strolling along the beach I came across 2 pieces of sea glass. I've seen sea glass on Etsy too so, of course, I picked them up and carried them home, again with no idea what I was going to do with them. I don't have the facilities to drill a hole through them so I decided to investigate this technique. Conveniently one of the blogs I follow posted a link to this tutorial just a few days ago! It turns out all these style items have the same basic idea and they aren't as fiddly as I imagined because you wrap the wire bundles together before you wrap them around the pendant. It is still quite tricky though and requires measuring and forward-planning, not something I usually bother with! But the tutorial was really good and I managed to wrap this piece of pale green sea glass with copper wire :)

The bumpy edges of the sea glass don't really lend themselves to this style of wire wrapping so I may try something different with my other piece. Nonetheless I'm happy with my first attempt and will be putting this pendant on my Etsy shop in the next few days.

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