Last week I began the daring adventure of wrapping a beautiful ocean lampwork bead made by Molly Cooley and this week I finished it up. It has been a rewarding process overall and I am glad I took on the challenge. I realize it may not seem like a big deal in the scope of life to wrap a bead, but it is more of what is going on inside me that is the big deal. Being brave enough to take on fear of any kind is a big deal whether you are running into a burning building to save people or asking a friend for help. It is easy to compare your seemingly minuscule feats to others larger than life heroics, but comparison is never a good idea. We are all different with different sets of life experiences that turn us into the person we are. We each have a different set of struggles that won’t look anything like the person next to us. For me is it so easy to beat myself up over my struggles because I know of others that have harder things to deal with, but that is a wrong and hurtful attitude for me to have. I constantly need to remind myself that my value isn’t dependent upon my successes or failures, but something outside myself entirely…the value God placed in me when He created me. When I am able to remember this and operate out of that frame of mind I find myself much more willing to be brave and try new things.
In making jewelry I find many opportunities to be brave and try new things, but there is also the temptation to compare. If I start looking at others work in comparison to mine I fall into a critical place either of other’s work or my own and that judgement has never led me to a good place. Instead I have found that I excel when I focus on my own journey and progress without thinking abut how I measure up or fall short. Now this doesn’t mean I don’t challenge myself to grow…if anything I fall on the side of trying to grow too much and not being content with the progress I make. We all must challenge ourselves but comparisons don’t usually lead us to a place of growth…just hurt or pride depending upon where you fall in comparison. Because of this I try to focus on my journey, run my race, and be brave where I can.
Last week when I decided I was ready to be brave and wrap my first ocean lampwork bead I had an idea in my mind, but I was unsure of how to bring it about. I wanted to use woven wire to mimic the rolling flow of ocean waves to match the bead. I am not good at drawing out ideas so I just make things and see how they turn out. I wove a length of wire and swirled it to match what I thought I wanted, but the idea morphed until I had a frame for the bead.
Here is a picture of the frame I created to mimic the waves…
This piece stretched my skills in constructing a pendant because the frame wasn’t attached anywhere and I wanted it to look like a natural part of the piece instead of an afterthought. I did run into a couple of problems including some wires that snapped while I was trying to anchor the piece, but I was able to recover and create a beautiful piece.
Here are some picture of my finished piece…
When I finished the piece I was worried that I might have covered the beautiful bead too much, but then I realized that it was exactly how I wanted it to be. The overall effect is like a portal looking our into the ocean at night which I really like. It reminds me of standing on the balcony at night looking out into the ocean through moonlight in Destin, Florida. Remembering that creates such joy and rest in my mind and I am glad I was able to capture a piece of that in this necklace. I don’t normally name my pieces but this one seemed to supply its own…Portal Into the Night.
It’s a bit of an odd thing for me when my creativity takes me places I wasn’t trying to go. I like to plan and know where I am heading in general, but being creative with wire gives me a safe place to explore the unknown and delight in the journey as well as the destination. I am grateful that I get to do something that I really enjoy and grow along the way.
It is about time to wrap up this post, but before I do I wanted to share some pictures of a couple of the necklaces that I oxidized and my husband photographed this week.
Here are the pictures…
I still have two more oxidized pendants from Week #4 to share and I plan to do that next week along with my final project for this challenge. I hope that you have a great week and will be able to find some way to be brave in your journey this week!
A month has passed and with it one third of the Summer Jewelry Challenge. Time certainly does go by quickly theses days and it is only getting faster. That realization is part of what makes me determined to live each moment to the full and be present in the moment…even the hard ones I would normally rather escape from. Time is a precious thing and so often in the past I would have a bad day and just think to myself that tomorrow will be better so it was okay to write the day off as a bad one. Well, there are some genuinely bad days, but I want to learn from them and see if shifting my perspective might redeem the day or some part of it. I read an article by Rachel Stafford not too long ago that had the idea of “looking for the flowers among the weeds”. The “flowers” represent the good things or moments in each day. So when I have a bad day full of “weeds” I try my best to look closer and gather a bouquet of “flowers” out of them. It isn’t something that comes naturally to me, but I am retraining my mind and with the Lord’s help I am seeing improvement in my ability to find the good things (flowers).
Well onto what I created this week! I have been talking about wanting to make another piece of my own without following a tutorial. Confession time…I can talk about something that I want to do for a while sometimes and if I feel like I won’t succeed then I will continue to talk about it and never do anything about it. Ideas are a safe thing in general…it is the action that is scary. 🙂
I am pleased to share that I did actually follow through on making my own piece without a tutorial. It was a good experience for me. I never know how things will turn out, but I picked a bead, cut the wire, and started weaving. The bead I chose is a lampwork ocean bead made by Molly Cooley. She makes the most beautiful beads and her night time ocean beads are my favorite. I picked up several of them shortly after Christmas, but I have been afraid to wrap them because they are so lovely and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to do them justice. I have gained a lot of confidence in my wire wrapping so I took a chance and tried it. I was not disappointed in the results either.
Here are pictures of the completed pendant…
Didn’t it turn out lovely! I am so surprised at how well it turned out without following a plan. I was wondering if I ended up adding too much wire work and overshadowed the bead, but my husband said the effect of my wire weaving is like you are looking through a window and I liked that idea. 🙂
Some of the differences that I noticed in the process of making my own creations versus following a tutorial were interesting.
Following a tutorial…
~things stay neat and orderly
~materials and amounts of them are already figured out
~there is a clear plan and steps to follow
~not much thinking is require
~time it takes to finish a piece is considerably less
Creating my own…
~things are a mess and wire is everywhere, sometimes with several kumihimo bobbins with weaving wire sticking off multiple half finished wraps
~not sure of materials so I cut my base wires extra long and usually put about 30+feet of weaving wire on my kumihimo bobbin
~no plan and usually no idea where a project is heading
~lots of thinking is required and sometimes trial and error also
~lots of time involved because I like making pieces with lots of wire weaving
I am enjoying learning how to take all the things I have learned to create my own designs. I have a long way to go and one day I might come up with something that is really unique, but for now I will just enjoy the journey I am on without feeling like I should be somewhere else.
Last week I didn’t have time to oxidize my necklace, but I did this week. Here are some pictures of it oxidized…
That is all for this week. I hope that you have a blessed week, but if it turns out to be a hard week I hope you can locate the flowers among the weeds!
If you have been reading my blog you will notice that this year I have been doing a tidying up event using the Konmari method found in the book “The Magic Art of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo. Because of this there have been a lot less posts on the jewelry I made and since I am almost finished with the discarding part of my event I want to be more intentional about my jewelry making. I find that I work best when I have a goal or a challenge to work towards, something that is concrete rather than the vague idea of something. My case in point would be how I thrived the last half of the year in my jewelry making challenge that I set up for myself to grow in jewelry making and help it to become a habit. I was successful in that challenge and then when I began my tidying even jewelry making became a vague goal…I want to continue making jewelry and share it on my blog. While I have continued to make jewelry and share it, the frequency of this has been a frustration to me. It isn’t that I could not have made more jewelry during this time. It is that procrastination and fear have crept back into that part of my life in my mind. I have started many projects over the past couple of months, but they are still in that half finished stage because they got “hard”. It reminds me of a box of chocolates where everything looks good and you want them all, but after you take that first bite most of them lose their appeal and can become unpleasant…so you end up with a box of chocolates that is half eaten and useless. I can finish all of these projects I have started so they aren’t useless, but they can lead to feelings of guilt, frustration, and failure if I let them.
Because of all these things, I have decided to do a Summer Jewelry Making Challenge. It will look a lot like my original Jewelry Making Challenge from last year, but there will be a few differences. Here is the basic layout…
~The challenge will start on Monday, May 30th and end on Sunday, September 4th. (Memorial Day to Labor Day almost)
~I will choose a tutorial to work on on Monday and complete it throughout the week and then on Sunday I will post a blog article about my experience in making the piece to share.
~One of the differences about this challenge is that I hope to include a few pieces where I don’t use a tutorial but just pick a bead, cut some wire and see where it leads. That is one thing that I have been doing this year and I have been pleased with the results so far. Here are the examples of what I have made so far without tutorials…
~This is probably the biggest difference with this challenge. I want to invite others who make jewelry to join me in this challenge. If you are interested I have created a Facebook group as a place where you can participate in the challenge and share your piece each week (or your favorite piece from each week for you amazing people that have super speedy jewelry skills). Here is a link to the group… https://www.facebook.com/groups/495846887292459/
Well, I will say bye for now, but remember the challenge starts Monday. I hope you all have a blessed week!
This week I have been going through my large amount of stamping/scrapbooking stuff. Really, I should say gargantuan amount of stuff because once I gathered all of it into one area that is what I ended up with. I asked my husband how all of that fit into my craft room and he said I am just good at making a lot of stuff look neat in small spaces and you can’t see how much is there. At this point I am not sure whether that is a gift or a curse, however it is being remedied by this tidying event so no worries there. 😏 Anyway there has been much to process this week…stuff and emotions attached to the stuff. It has been eyeopening in many good ways as well as a few challenges, but with the Lord’s help I am conquering the piles of stuff and emotions.
Once I finish this category I will be half way through my Komono main category which is really exciting! I look forward to being finished with the discarding process and then moving onto the organizing phase which is where my house will begin to take shape once again and that is a happy thought indeed!
Well, now that I have updated you on the tidying even, now it is time for the real fun…recent jewelry projects! I have five pieces of jewelry to share that I have made over the last several weeks and there are several firsts that have taken place for me in the process of creating theses pieces.
The first one I have to share is a necklace that I made following the Hearts in Asymmetry Pendant tutorial by Nicole Hanna. This piece was pretty straight forward and fun to make. I really like the way the hammered larger gauge wire looks with the weaves and it inspires me to try my own version of that in the future. I am really pleased with how this piece turned out, but I didn’t have any new experiences in creating this piece like I did with the other pieces, so I thought I would share it first.
Here is a picture of it…
The second piece I have to share is a bracelet that I made following a tutorial by Margie Mugavero (MaxxBelle Creations) called Twisted Braid Copper Bracelet. This was the first tutorial I did by this artist. I found the tutorial to be pretty straight forward and it was broken down into helpful sections. This was my first experience in working with eleven base wires at one time. I found it to be quite a challenge to manage at first, but eventually I got the hang of it. I did find that working with so many base wires at one time really slowed down how quickly I could weave, and the process got a little boring after a while. I actually stopped working on this for a while and created the heart necklace that I have already shared and another necklace that I will be sharing next. I found it to be helpful to break up this project and work on something else for a while. I think that is something that is common in the creative process with most people, but it isn’t something that I like to do in general because in the past I haven’t finished projects that I did that with. I don’t think that will be the case with jewelry in general, but if it is, then I probably really didn’t want to do the unfinished piece in the first place. I am coming to the conclusion that my creative time is too valuable to be working on things I don’t enjoy…unless someone is paying me a bunch of money for a custom piece, and even then it won’t be too often. In the future if I make this bracelet again, I will use some techniques and tips that I learned from my Wire Weaving Bracelets: Basics and Beyond class by Sarah Thompson at craftsy.com and I think the bracelet will go a lot quicker and smoother.
Here are some pictures of the bracelet…
The third piece I have to share is a necklace made following the Faery’s Tear Pendant tutorial by Nicole Hanna. I have to say this is my favorite tutorial that I have done. I have made three of these so far and I wear the first one most every day. The first two I made using copper wire, but this one I made using fine silver wire. It was my first time working with fine silver or any precious metal, so I wanted to use a tutorial that I was comfortable with. It wasn’t as intimidating to work with the silver as I thought it would be…probably because I had a tutorial to follow. I am sure when I try to make a piece on my own I will need more courage to conquer the fear of messing it up. 🙂 In working with the fine silver wire, I found it to be quite soft which made it interesting with weaving. I tend to pull things pretty snug when working with my copper wire and I jerked too hard a few times with the silver until I found a good tension to work with. I picked dark colored beads to work with because of the brightness of the silver wire, and I was very happy with the results. I had planned all along to oxidize this piece and I was unprepared for how the fine silver would oxidize. First it took so much longer than my copper wire pieces to oxidize, then when it did fully oxidize it looked like this…
Isn’t that crazy! The colors look so pretty. I have seen other people post pictures of things similar to this, but I thought they might be editing in the color effects. This shows me they were not adding color effect…that is just what fine silver does. It may be the same with argentium silver and sterling silver too, but I haven’t worked with those yet. I want to make a piece with the intention of not polishing away the darkness and colors of the wire, but I will need to choose lighter beads to do that.
Here are some pictures after it has been polished to bring out the highlights…
I am glad that polishing helped my darker beads show up better. I was a little concerned for a while, but it turned out just fine and I have more experience now that will help me chose beads to match the wire better in the future. I really like the way the colors still show through after I polished it in certain areas. It gives the piece a more rich feel and the blue in the wire brings out the blue crystal bead in the center.
Something I found interesting in making another Faery’s Tear Pendant is how different it turned out from my first piece.
Here is a picture of both pieces together…
I think they are both lovely pieces, but the bails are different and that changes the shape of the whole piece. My copper pendant is more flared out and the silver one is more narrow. I just think it is neat how following the same set of instructions can turn out differently. It just proves that each piece is a one of a kind creation because it is a made by a person and not a machine.
The fourth piece I have to share is a necklace I made following the Delicate Hearts Pendant tutorial by Nicole Hanna. I was looking forward to using this tutorial with some other heart shaped lampwork beads I bought last year, but I couldn’t use them because the hole ended up being horizontal instead of vertical. So the heart shaped lampwork bead I used was made by Jacqueline Parks and it had the needed vertical hole in it. I actually started on this piece the day I received the bead because it was so pretty and I just couldn’t wait. I thought the tutorial would be a quick one for me, but those turned out to be famous last words. It ended up taking me three evenings to work through it and get it to the point to where I was pleased with my wire work. I did stress out over how long it was taking me, but I told myself to relax and enjoy the process…not an easy thing when I had the expectation that I could make it pretty fast.
Here are pictures of the completed necklace…
This is the first piece that I have made that I am not really happy with as a finished product. I really like the bead and I think the wire work looks pretty, they just don’t go well together in my opinion. I think at some point I will redo this piece (unless someone really likes it as is and purchases it), but for now I am leaving it because there are many more projects in my mind to create in the near future.
The fifth and final project I have to share is by far my favorite. It is a piece that I created without following any tutorials and just waited to see where the wire would take me. When I cut my wire and began weaving I was actually working with an entirely different bead. I became frustrated that is wasn’t working out and then I realized that it would work perfectly with one of my lampwork beads made by Molly Cooley. I switched gears and over a three week period the piece was born.
I won’t make you wait to see it because I am too excited to share it, so here are some pictures of my finished necklace which I am calling “Flourishing in Spring”…
Didn’t it turn out lovely! I honestly didn’t know I had it in me to do that, especially without a tutorial to follow.
There are a few firsts that I experienced in creating this piece. The biggest first would probably be the bead I was working with. It is the most expensive thing I have wrapped and I was nervous about that fact because I wanted my wire work to do the exquisite bead justice, but at the same time not overwhelm it.
The most complicated first I experienced with this pendant was running out of base wires and needing to add more to it to create the results I wanted. I wasn’t sure how to do it at first, but then I realized the bead itself was the answer because the lampwork bead is very sturdy and had a pretty good size hole through the middle which proved to be very accommodating for adding in two extra base wires.
The final first I experienced in creating this piece would be the need to brace the lampwork bead so it didn’t spin. I was trying to figure out how to do it, and I finally ended up adding a thick weave along the back and anchoring it to the front. It was a bit challenging to weave in tight spaces during this process, but it was a good challenge.
Here is a picture of the back of the bead to show you what I mean…
I am very pleased with how this piece turned out and even more thrilled that I am starting to develop my own style in wire wrapping. One thing about this pendant that I found interesting is how the wire weaving ended up matching the bead. The left side is simple and the right side is full and bursting with weaves and texture. The lampwork bead has the tree trunk on the left and the right side is bursting with leaves. I can honestly say I didn’t plan it that way, but I was so excited that it matched the flow in that way.
I look forward to creating more pieces without tutorials in order to see where my creativity will flow and creating some more pieces with tutorials so I continue to learn.
Whew, this is a long post! I think I may need to share a little more often and not let it build up, but we shall see how time allows. For now though I must get back to tidying up, wire wrapping, and everyday life. I hope you have a blessed week and thanks for reading!