by Barbara Bechtel
I've had sort of a hard time getting back to jewelry making after 2014's holiday shows. Then for me, procrastination sets in, along with loss of momentum, and it becomes even HARDER to start again. When I work, I tend to get hyper-focused on details, often to the detriment of the big picture. I'll fuss and fuss over little things without looking at the big picture, either in the piece or the whole big picture of jewelry.
In some ways, I enjoy this process. In example, it's led me into the foray of just making components, but I found then I make tons of finished components and NO JEWELRY!
In the last month, I set out to get my jewelry mojo back. For me, this often takes several days sort of sorting things around, playing with elements, and making (and destroying) work....you know, noodling over a piece like I mentioned above only to spend hours on it and find I HATE IT when I'm finished.
This time around, I started out in the same old way, and became disgusted with myself. So my mental dialogue went something like this:
"You're thinking too hard."
"Think outside the box."
"Work SMARTER, not HARDER."
.......wait, that's the problem.......
"You're thinking OUTSIDE the box. You just need to make some jewelry. It's not that hard.....Keep it simple!"
Ahhhhhh, SIMPLE! That was just the kick in the pants I needed to get myself back into gear. The outside-the-box-thing can come later....I just needed to jump the first hurdle.
I started out with going through my stash of vintage findings. I love to peruse estate sales, craigslist, eBay, and flea markets for old components and vintage stampings.
I started out making some bracelet focals from some vintage brass post earrings.
Next, I had these awesome thunderbird stampings that had a bezel tray. They needed cleaning and patina as well as some holes.
Then I filled the bezels with polymer clay and stamped some words. (y'all know I'm a word girl!)
Here you can see the first two finished ones. I wanted to leave a few to fill after I finished a couple to see how the design would work out and maybe get inspired by some different color choices later.
Here's a shot of some of the focals I finished.
And here's a shot of some of the simple finished bracelets. These are just basic simple bracelets. I wanted to have a mixed metal look to the more squarish ones on the top and bottom and so I took bits of leftover matching (but different colored chain) and alternated the links.
You can see that the approach in designing each of the elements is quite simple and used lots of repeating elements, but by changing my mindset and going with simple designs, I was able to cross that first hurdle!