I have to confess something… I don’t make the most spectacular jewelry in the world. I have an analytical brain that is constantly in problem-solving, logical, perfectionist mode. HOWEVER, when I am finished creating a piece of jewelry, it doesn’t look half bad, and the process of transforming a heap of metal and some stones or a pile of beads into something new and different is pure bliss for me; I could get lost in making jewelry for hours at a time.
Oftentimes, my friends will look at a piece of jewelry I’ve made and say something like, “I could never create something like that; I am not at all creative.” And my immediate response to them is that you do not have to be creative to create jewelry! The reason I know this is that I am probably one of the least creative people I know. You just need to have a little bit of curiosity and the willingness to try, mess up, repeat, until you get it right (or at least, close enough). So, for those of you who feel like you lack the creative skills to take on a new craft, I’d like to share some resources that have helped me and will hopefully help you get your creative juices flowing.
1. Check out magazines, such as Bead and Button, Beadwork, and Jewelry Artist. They contain patterns and step-by-step instructions for several projects in each issue. You may even be able to find these magazines at your local library.
2. Also at the library or your favorite bookstore: books on every jewelry-making technique imaginable. These books contain lists of tools and supplies needed, step-by-step instructions, and often contain pictures of multiple colorways, so you can see different options and color choices. Some of my favorite authors are Jill Wiseman, Sherry Sarafini, and Irina Miech for beading and Tracy Stanley, Joe Silvera, and Kate Ferrant Richbourg.
3. Visit your local bead store. Many offer classes, where you can learn the basics as well as advanced techniques. Many stores also offer free patterns from companies such as Starman, makers of CzechMates beads. Browse the store; they often have samples on display to inspire you. Overwhelmed by all of the colors, sizes, and shapes available? Don’t be afraid to ask for help; I’ve found the store employees are happy to give suggestions. Or ask another customer for their input; you may even meet a new friend!
4. Attend a conference such as the Bead and Button Show or BeadFest, which offer workshops in many different techniques; you can try a few and see which ones you like. They typically also have an exhibitor area, where you can shop for beads, gemstones and jewelry-making supplies, often at discounted prices.
5. Look for a local beading or jewelry-making group on Meetup or see if your local bead store knows of any beading groups you could join. I met some people at my local bead store and we started our own beading group. It’s amazing how much we’ve all learned from each other and we continue to inspire each other. I’ve often brought projects I’m working on and will ask the group for their input on which clasp to use or which color combination they prefer.
6. Youtube: Holy smokes, you can find a video for just about anything craft-related on Youtube. Search by technique or artist, and the next thing you know, you’ll find 10 more that interest you. Some of my personal favorites: Jill Wiseman, Bronzepony, Potomac Beads and Jewel School for beading and Nancy Hamilton (she is an absolute hoot!), Andrew Berry, and Beaducation.
So there you have it! Several sources to help spark creativity. Have fun and explore your creative spirit!
What are some of your favorite places to inspire inspiration? Please share below.