Thursday, September 19, 2013

Trending: Rustic Jewelry and Components

by Staci L. Smith

I sometimes enjoy a good trend.  The last couple years I have noticed a rise in rustic, ancient looking jewelry and components.
Things that look like they have a history have always made me want to look closer, to touch them, to create with them.
I first fell in love years ago with rustic ceramic beads by Lisa Peters Art:
 Rusty Crusty Raku Beads.
Then fossils seemed to start creeping into the bead and jewelry world a bit more.  Ammonites in particular.  They bring that ancient esthetic to a piece right away!
I always love browsing through Kim Rogers shop to see what antiquities and odd pieces she has collected on her travels to share with us.
However, recently, rustic beads and jewelry have taken off, like wild fire.  There are new people on the scene, like Ragged Robyn, who take this earthy worn look to whole new level.  She puts a very tribal spin in everything she does!
Or Grey Bird Studio- the detail on these beads is amazing, something you can only get from layers and layers of color- added and removed and added and removed
Or Nikki Zehler of Love Root- who uses a variety of art beads in her designs, and who has recently begun to make her own as well.  She spins the beads into fabulous pieces that seem to tell a story!
or Kathleen Van Kleeck- whose high end silver jewelry, has a worn organic look to it, that takes work to achieve.
Maire Dodd- her deliberate thoughtful pieces always have the look of things long worn and loved.  She thinks out each strike of the hammer, and soft touch of cloth and fiber. 
Even glass artists have brought some rustic into their work.  Let me tell you this, it takes twice as long for them to get a rustic appearance then the traditional shiny one.
I love Genea Beads rustic coins.  I could use them in every piece I make!
I adore the new beads from Donna Millard as well.
Some ceramic artists have taken a more natural rustic turn in recent times, like Diane Hawkey
And our own Marsha Neal
And of course there is polymer...........
Happy Fish hand sculpts most of her beads- and uses paints and things to give then a rustic appearance.  Her new designs are endless, and always spot on
I too have dove into the world of rustic and ancient looking beads.  Here are some of my newer creations.
I listed a few in the shop as well
I do have some concerns with this trendy new style though.
I have found that many items listed as rustic, that are not rustic at all.  They are messy, or unfinished, or seconds.  This really makes me sad as a jewelry maker and a consumer. 
When you try to make something rustic, or look old, it is not easy.  It doesn't mean to slap on some paint messily and call it rustic.  It takes time to create a look of old worn treasures.  They should be assembled or created in a way that appears rustic, but is sturdy, will last and is comfortable to the wearer. 
So I leave you all with a warning, to be sure that if you partake in this new style, to create with longevity, and comfort in mind.  To treat each piece as you would a more finished style.  It is not easy to create a natural, rustic piece, and make it sturdy and wearable.  It takes practice and work. 
We don't want customers to be turned off by the word rustic, thinking it means, not well made, or unfinished.  We don't want them to associate it with bad craftsmanship. 
So with that thought, I leave you to enjoy exploring this new style! 


AntiquityTravelers said...

what a thoughtful post Staci! and some serious eye candy here! I could get lost for hours just hanging out with these beads :)

Libby Leuchtman said...

So well said! We have the same concerns in glass beadmaking. The term organic can also mean a lack of skills and poorly made beads. I always say if it is executed with purpose it will show in the work.
Great post!

Holly said...

Wise, wise words, Staci! And such a feast for the eyes too ;) Thanks for introducing me to some new component artists and showcasing some of my "old" favorites!

Stacie said...

Staci...excellent post and I am so glad you brought up the issue of rustic vs sloppy takes a lot of thought to make something look old or primitive. I think of it sort of like Picasso's later order to bend the rules, you have to be able to execute them first. Excellent curation of rustic items...

Marsha of Marsha Neal Studio said...

Awesome post Staci!
I am so drawn to these pieces and in nature too - all the lichens and fungi and decaying wood and metal that can be found here and there.

Very good observation about the difference in craftsmanship - not to just call something rustic because it is sloppily made. It takes time and testing to figure out what works, and to give it some follow through testing to see if it will indeed be wearable or just sculptural in a sit on a shelf way.

Love all these and of course - Adore your work!!!

Vintage Crab Jewelry said...

Some really great looking beads there! I just had to share on Facebook!

Nicole Beadwright Campanella said...

Very good post. I enjoyed it very much.

Artisan Beads Plus said...

I am totally into the rustic look! No sparkles on this woman..... lol!

A Polymer Penchant said...

Excellent!! I could not agree more. I would hope the difference is apparent to consumers but I suppose depending on the photo it could be hard to be sure

mairedodd said...

You are absolutely right. It can be easy to get caught up in a trend, but as you say, especially in jewelry where the skin is in contact with the pieces knowledge of your medium and techniques are essential.

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