This is the final week for my October 2016 Jewelry Challenge! I know a month isn’t too long, but it has gone by even quicker than I thought it would! Tuesday will start November and that means Thanksgiving will be here before you know it followed closely by Christmas…but we won’t talk about that right now to avoid too much stress. 🙂
The theme for this week was “something new”. There were a few “new” things for me this week, the main one being I have been working on an arm cuff. I haven’t made one before and so far it has been an interesting challenge. I say so far because I actually haven’t finished it. The arm cuff I am working on is a custom order and I felt the need to take my time and make sure I capture what my customer wanted. Due to the lack of uncertainty that can come with new things and all of the weaving that needs done up front I decided to just focus on the majority of the weaving this week and then I will be able to focus on ending the arm cuffs which is where designing and lots of critical thinking will come into play. This week I have just had fun focusing on the weaving.
Here is a picture of the different weaves I have been working on and will be incorporating into the arm cuff…
There has been lots of weaving because I am working on having 10 inches of each weave for my starting point in the band section of the cuff. Something else that is new for me is working with half hard base wires. It will help add to the structural integrity of the cuff which is needed, but I am really missing my 22 gauge dead soft wire. I am learning more patience as I do all of this weaving while working with 18 inches of 18 gauge half hard wire.
I didn’t want to end my challenge with an unfinished project, but I know the right decision is to take the needed time and do it right. I am not disappointed about this and that is something else new. In the past, an unfinished project would have been a failure to me, but I am thankful to say I can see past today to the end of the project and it looks so much brighter at the thought of taking the necessary time.
I plan to share the finished piece once I do complete it, but it may be a week or two. It will be a great learning experience for me!
Well, I guess that is it for this challenge. I plan to take November and December off from any challenges so I can enjoy the holiday season. I will continue to make jewelry, but it will be at a different pace. We will see what the new year holds in the way of new challenges.
The theme for this week’s challenge was “simple”. It can mean many things depending upon the person. To some it could mean minimalist and to others it might just mean less. My definition for simple in jewelry making would be less and quick. I love to weave wire and if I am making my own pieces I can find it hard to get a good stopping point without weaving and weaving until I end up with a “statement” necklace. I want to be able to make a variety of pieces from really fancy and intricate to simple and elegant and still make it fit my style. I know it is possible, but it isn’t something I will accomplish overnight. It will take trial and error which means I need to be okay with things that doing turn out the first time…which means I need to give myself patience and grace. It is a good challenge to grow these parts of me to say the least. 🙂
I started my week with an idea in mind and began work on a “simple” pendant. Well as the week went on I found that pendant really wasn’t falling into the challenge theme, so on Friday I decided I needed to actually make a simple piece. I had a quick idea in mind so I quickly went and cut a few pieces of wire that were a whole lot shorter than normal. I picked out some beads and I began my weaving. I didn’t put a whole lot of thought into the pendant, I just kept making it. It took a little longer than anticipated, but it was so much quicker than one of my normal pieces.
Here are picture of the results…
I think my favorite part of the piece is the tiny bail. I love making my bails that way in my other pieces, but it looks so cute in miniature on this pendant. I look forward to playing with new designs in the future that are simple. I guess the key for me to remember when I do want something simple is to not think too much. I need to have a general idea and just go with it…moving forward confidently! It is so funny to me when I realize,”oh yeah, I can do this”. Why is it so hard to remember those things that are encouraging and true? I never seem to have trouble hanging onto the negative things in my mind, but I have to work really hard to hang onto the good and encouraging. I guess that is why we are encouraged to “think on whatever is true, noble, right, lovely pure, and admirable”. It is a thing to do in the present, something constant…not something we do once and then it is always done. It is good to remember this, but it isn’t always easy to put into practice. Especially when the hard things of life hit, but I have found that is when it is needed the most.
Well, we only have one more week in our challenge! I am looking forward to creating my project for next week! Stay tuned to see what it will be. In the mean time, I hope you have a blessed week and will remember those good and encouraging things in your life!
This has been one of those hard weeks where it seems like very little is going right. It wasn’t so much big things that were going wrong, but all the little things that we can take for granted. An example would be that opening my cold coffee would result in an open container of coffee…not coffee all over me, the counter, and under the refrigerator. Or when trying a new recipe for dinner it would actually be edible if not tasty…however when you add baking soda to cut the acidity and it reacts with the vinegar in the dish, dinner looks more like a science experiment rather than something to eat. By the way, I don’t recommend using baking soda to cut the acidity in any dish…unless you enjoy the flavor of baking soda that is. 🙂 So since normal life seemed to be going haywire for no apparent reason other than to widdle away at my sanity, I was a little concerned about working with wire this week. Emotions play a big part in my jewelry making process and if I am upset things generally don’t turn out very neat and tidy…and let’s face it I LOVE neat and tidy work.
There is something about working with wire that is usually calming and sparks great joy. This week was one of those times when I was working with wire and things just seemed right. I love that feeling and I am thankful when the Lord provides those moments when all seems well. I want to grab a hold of them and be able to relive them all the time, but it isn’t possible. I am learning to just be present in those moments and not worry about how long they will last so I don’t miss the gift of that moment. Is there something that helps you feel moments of “all is well”? It is a great thing to have in this world when so much seems to be chaotic and full of pain.
Before I run too far away on a tangent, let’s get back to my jewelry project for the week. The theme for this week was “swirls”. I haven’t included many swirls in my pieces mostly because I have been uncertain with twisting the wire weaves and I can struggle with making neat swirls with bare wire. I wanted to make a pendant with swirls made out of a section of woven wire. I was uncertain how I would go about it, but once I got started it was actually really fun. I decided to do a full strand of the swirls and use it in place of the woven beaded strand that I really like using in my pieces.
Here are some picture of the final results…
I think it turned out really cute. It is a smaller piece than I tend to make which I actually prefer when choosing something to wear. However I find when I am making a piece I really love weaving and sometimes it is hard to stop. 🙂 I am finding balance in this.
I can tell that my confidence has really grown in my jewelry making skills along with my actual abilities. When I did my six month challenge last year I would fret over whether I could make a piece of jewelry a week and I would spend time each day on the piece and eventually finish it up, but it could be a stressful thing. Now I am making pieces without tutorials and I am not concerned about finishing. I have learned that I will most likely be able to finish things up relatively quickly and that is such a great feeling. I am so thankful for the growth in this area and it makes jewelry making a much more enjoyable experience. I have several projects that I am working on at present and it keeps me from making jewelry full time, but I am looking forward to the time when I can.
This is the halfway point of my October challenge. I am enjoying experimenting with different kinds of techniques or categorizes rather than just trying to make a piece a week. It has been a new learning experience and I am thankful for it. Well, I guess this is good bye for now. I hope you have a blessed week that is full of good moments even if life seems to be hitting really hard in general.
I have decided to do a Jewelry Challenge for the month of October. It is a little different than my previous challenges in which the goal was to work on the habit of regularly creating jewelry. This challenge will have a different category each week. If you would like to participate in this jewelry challenge with me, join my Facebook group where I am hosting it… https://www.facebook.com/groups/495846887292459/. I will announce the theme for each week on Monday and then have the whole week to complete the challenge and post a picture to share it.
The theme for the first week was “your nemesis”. It is something that you know how to do in wire work, but struggle with doing or avoid doing. My nemesis is mirroring and by default earrings. It is incredibly frustrating to my brain to try and figure out how to do the reverse of what I have just done. I know that I can do it, but I don’t feel like I can do it very well, and if you have read my blog at all you probably know that is a big problem for me. I like my wire work to be impeccably neat and tidy. Seeing things neat and orderly sparks great joy for me and when I see things in my own work that don’t flow in that way I start to struggle. I think it shows my humanity too much…which may sound strange, but I haven’t been very comfortable with my humanity in general. As a perfectionist in general I don’t like mistakes and I don’t like messy, but the Lord has really been helping me in this and I have grown a lot in becoming okay with being human and it showing in my work.
I chose to make a pair of earrings this week in order to face my nemesis. I thought I would do fine and while it would be hard, I didn’t doubt I could do it. Well that is nice in theory, but when life comes in and dumps a bunch of messy emotions and hard things on you that theory falls through. I know I have grit and I am capable, but sometimes life throws you such a curve ball that you are left reeling from the pain and wonder when you will recover. That has been true for me for the six weeks. I mentioned in my last blog post that my sister passed away on August 26th. Well yesterday would have been her 32nd birthday. It was a hard day, but it has been a hard week emotionally knowing that her birthday was coming. Given all of this I found my resolve really weak…especially since I was working on something I would rather not do. I might have questioned my sanity in picking such a hard category in starting off the challenge, but I have never been one to do things the easy way.
The earrings I chose to make were the Rolling Seas Earrings which is a tutorial created by Nicole Hanna. I like all of the weaving that went into making these earrings, but the mirroring was a challenge. I don’t think it was as big of a deal this time because my heart wasn’t really in making them. I am finding the connection between my emotions and my wire work interesting. I am not quite as worried about getting everything perfect right now. I am more interested in just getting something done rather than obsessing over all the little details. I don’t know if this is a good or a bad thing, for right now it just is. We shall see how it plays out in the long term. I know that I don’t want to produce sloppy work, but neither do I want to be so obsessed with perfection that I can’t enjoy the process of making something.
Anyway, after some serious procrastination I did actually finish the earrings. Something did go wrong in the process though and I had to alter them a little.
Here is a picture where the tutorial ended…
Houston, we have a problem! After thinking about it I know where I went wrong. There is a point in the tutorial that mentioned making a slight U shape. Well I usually over do things so I was trying to emphasize the slight part of the U and as a result I got the above finished product. 🙂 Now I have done enough tutorials to know that the early shaping in a tutorial is usually something that you can’t recover from if you do it wrong, and you usually won’t realize there is something wrong until much later in the tutorial…usually near the end. Having that knowledge has saved me from messing up a lot of pieces, but sadly I fell into that hole with this one. In the past I would have felt like such a failure and not known how to finish the project. The difference this time around is my determination to finish and I have gained the knowledge of how to fix it, so I tried to make the best of the circumstances.
Here are some picture of my finished earrings…
They didn’t turn out too bad, but they are not my favorite thing I have made. I will probably like them more in the future as I distance myself from the making of them. 🙂 Oh mirroring…will there ever be a time when you are not my nemesis?! I am not sure, but I do know that I sure felt great when I finished them! I think when something is a real challenge there is such a genuine satisfaction in the completion of it.
Some of the things I have learned or remembered from this experience are…
~Remember to pay attention in the early parts of shaping in a tutorial because it can greatly effect the shape of your whole piece.
~Trying something again, especially something you dislike is a good growth experience.
~I am gaining really good problem solving abilities in my wire work.
~Even when things seem too hard and life seems too much, I can go on with the Lord’s help.
~My heart doesn’t have to be in something for me to do it and do it well.
~Being vulnerable can be hard, but it is helpful to others…to let them know they are not alone in their struggles and in the end it reminds me I am not alone in my struggles.
I have completed another piece that I am calling my “grief pendant”. I am not sure when I will actually get around to sharing it, but I hope it will be this month. Well, I think that is it for this week. I hope you all have a blessed week!