Thursday, February 10, 2011

Creative Juices

Over the last eight years I've made a lot of beaded jewelry. From the early and entirely embarrassing Hobby Lobby creations that a moderately talented five year old could have made to the most recent sterling silver and semiprecious gemstone baubles that I'm proud to wear and sell, needless to say I've learned a lot in those eight years, thank god. (Otherwise my very kind friends and family might have suggested I take up another hobby, say stamp collecting or something they wouldn't be invited to purchase or wear in public.)

I've never taken a formal class, just got inspired from looking at other jewelers' work, looking at fashion trends, art and current color trends, buying beads I loved with zero idea of what they would become. But then I burned myself right out. I lost my spark. I stopped making jewelry for myself which is the worst sign. Because that's the whole selfish reason I started making it in the first place, my own accessory obsession. I stopped signing up for arts and crafts shows last year. But I loved the break.

Vintage rework
 Three vintage necklaces reworked and restrung into one triple strand. 
The glass turquoise beads are bright, glossy and luscious.

I'm excited to say that that's changed in the last month. I got my spark back! Due in part, I'm sure, to the break and the reduction in the pressure and stress of having to make a lot of pieces to sell through out my busy season in the fall. But two things, inspirational influences, have really helped me renew that elusive artistic flow again.  Now I'm not putting making jewelry on the same level as painting or sculpture, at least not the jewelry I make, but it does take a certain level of creativity and skill. And that creativity needs to be fed.

 Freshwater pearls and crackled agate connected together with a vintage hat pin brooch. 
The brooch is detachable so the pin can still be worn, but I'm still working on 
best method to temporarily fasten the brooch to the necklace. The necklace ties with an organza ribbon 
so it can be worn short like here or longer.

In late January, a good friend of my mother's passed on this beautiful catalog from the Stella and Dot jewelery company. Like Silpada or Lea Sophia, it's one of those jewelry private home party businesses. Stella and Dot makes such beautiful, modern pieces that I just kept flipping through it and thinking about what I could create  inspired by their style and materials. I don't want to imitate or create any kind of knock offs, just be inspired. Their latest collection includes a lot of vintage look classic pieces. And lately I've been seeing lots of vintage jewelry mixed in with more modern jewelry, beads and brooches mixed with ribbons and other beautiful lady like creations, so Stella and Dot is right along with jewelry trends. And suddenly I started pulling out my beads and supplies and browsing, plotting and dreaming again. I have a nice but limited collection of vintage beads but with a sudden new found interest in making jewelry again, it was time to seek out some new old pieces. And there's that second bit of inspiration, found digging through old piles pulled out of your Aunt Marge's jewelry box.

Leaves and Glass
A mix of silver wire worked coin pearls, vintage glass amber beads and agate discs, connected 
to a 1960's leaf and amber glass strand (Thanks, Neha.) I added dangling pearls to the leaf strand and then linked it 
to the wired beads. I like it asymmetrical, ooh, crazy.

So last Saturday when we went antiquing I bought a great mix of brooches, earrings and a few older chains and connectors.  I even broke out a package of vintage beads from my friend Neha, and started putting together some new, slightly funkier slightly different pieces. They are all certainly works in progress. Some of the old pieces will need to be modified, trimmed, filed down and reworked, but that's the fun part for me. The challenge of taking something old and out of date and making it new, without losing it's charm. I'm having fun, I feel thrilled when a piece turns out well and I can't wait to see what piece appears next in my hands. But it's awkward too, challenging and just out of the reach of my current skill level.  The trial and error learning curve is the best part. Well, maybe having a bunch of new jewelry to wear is the best part, but you know what I'm saying.

So what have you been making lately? Art, knitting, dinner? What inspires you and feeds your creative fire?

Photos by Joe Sands. He told me I had to wear them for the photos, because they look better on a real person rather than just laying on a table. I look pale, like vampire pale, wow.


bethany actually said...

I don't really wear many necklaces or bracelets, but I covet all three pairs of those earrings.

Lately I've been making up some really yummy dinners. And a whole mess of Valentines with Annalie, in which I only assisted. The vision for them was all Annalie's.

kassie lou said...

Oh thanks, B! I'll send you a pair, which one would you like?

Snowfairy said...

I love the way you see and put together jewelry. Amazing compositions.
As for creations, I haven't made much or drawn recently, my brain feels like it has been rewired. Instead I have been video editing, making audio/visual scrapbooks, which has found a corner of creativity that is still working.

Katrina said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE all three jewelry pieces!! Are you willing to sell/part with any of them? Or inspired enough to make something else that I could purchase?

I haven't created much lately- unless preschool valentine creations count. :)

kassie lou said...

Thanks, ladies. Katrina, I'll bring some pieces up when we come to Omaha next time, and I can always make you something new too.

Nae said...

First of all, woman you are MAD talented! I can see the inspiration exuding through these photos - love the turquoise pairing with the coral sweater, the brooch modification...and the assymmetry is genius. And SO very you. Really. That fringey necklace used to be one of Chris' mom's ultimate favorites back in the day. So glad you could find some unexpected use, sometimes when I send you old 'junk' I fear that's what it is -- just junk. You have proved me wrong for sure. Loving your color selection. And well, I hope one day soon to be the proud owner of more Sands creations, so lucky to know such a talented jewelry maker!