Monday, March 5, 2012

The Temptation of Making Jewelry

Oh, dear, jewelry is SO tempting to make...  Depending on what you're making and out of what, jewelry can be an intensely satisfying crafting experience.  For most people, it doesn't take up too much room, and because of it's popularity there is a plethora of supplies available in a variety of stores and websites.  It's fun, you have a feeling of accomplishment, and in comparison to a lot of other skills there isn't a huge learning curve to follow.

At least, depending on the materials you're using to make your jewelry.  Some jewelry is made out of incredibly delicate stuff, and other jewelry requires hammers and pressurized vacuum containers to make...  The vast array of different kinds of jewelry means there's just as many different items to use when assembling it.  And there's a huge width and breadth of skill level depending on the materials you choose to use.  Metal-smithing, glass blowing, resin pouring, knot work, wire work, needle felting...  The world's your oyster when it comes to jewelry.

The upshot is that because there are so many in-roads to make something beautiful, there's a huge temptation to apply one's own skills to jewelry-making.  It's almost too easy to take a skill that might be seemingly unrelated to "crafting" and somehow correlate it back to the jewelry making craze...  Let's say you're a Sanitation Engineer---a trash picker-upper-person.  All you need is some super strong adhesive and a mechanism to hold something on one's body and you could make some killer assemblage jewelry pieces out of other people's throwaway junk.  Or let's say you're an Office Assistant, or a Secretary.  Got dead documents that are shredded?  Woven paper chain jewelry here you come.  Or dead office supplies?  Sometimes those springs inside pens can be manipulated into some interesting looks...

Of course, it's a whole different skill to recognize what might be possible and creatively explore it. That kind of person isn't so common...

But almost anything can be jewelry.  And sometimes, part of the magic is making something out of completely unexpected materials.

So that's what I tried...  I took some pages from some old rotting encyclopedias that were given to me, some old maps that no longer served their purposes, and some spare lace hanging around my work space.  And I dipped it all in resin.

Resin is interesting stuff.  I don't know that much about it, but it's effects can be really cool if you play around a little.  For example, when it's painted on certain kinds of paper, the paper becomes somewhat translucent.  When painted on craft paper, the paper takes on an "oilpaper" kind of quality and allows the transmission of a bit of light through it's surface.  When mixed with a bit of color and painted onto old maps, that particular paper become stiff and sturdy, almost like cellophane filmstrips.

With a couple layers of thickness, the resin coated paper is sturdy enough to use for all kinds of things, including jewelry.

And when lace is dipped in resin, and then dries flat on a teflon mat, it becomes hard.  No droopy lace jewelry from me!  These earrings ended up quite sturdy.  I was surprised--it darkened and gave the lace a bit of maturity that made it seem less flashy and cheap.

Anyway, I thought I might share my new little experiments in jewelry making...  Not that I am going to go down that road--as tempting as it is!!  While it's fun to make, I'm going to leave jewelry to those with more experience making and selling it and limit myself to just "dipping my feet" in it once in a while...  I'll be concentrating my efforts on trying to whittle down my ever growing fabric stash...

These pieces will be up in my Etsy store in over the next couple of days.  Check 'em out if your interested!

Until next time!  Live Life with Relish!

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