Left: A necklace I made using bits and pieces left over from other projects; things waiting to be put away. (A) is a hook and eye clasp with an amethyst round bead made for another project. (B) is one of three loops of wire used in this necklace that were an experiment in wrapping finer guage wire around loops of wire to make necklace "components." (C) is a leftover ceramic bead that actually is more green than it looks in this image so it matches the green facetted beads elsewhere in the necklace. The necklace, like so much that I make, is made to be asymetrical. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
For some reason I have it in my mind that readers of my blog will be spending their weekend cleaning, and culling, and moving out old supplies. It's probably just me. But in that vein I happened last Saturday (a week ago) night to walk by a bead tray that was sitting on one of my work tables. There were several beads that really needed to be sorted out and put "back" so that they could have a life in another project.
Then my eye caught another such tray under something else. Hey, some of those items actually complimented the items in the first tray. In about 5 minutes I had fished out all of the items that had caught my eye and lined them up ready to make this asymetrical necklace. (I pulled the pearls out of a drawer because I wanted the contrast and I love pearls.) The next night I went out to pick up some brass crimp bead covers. Later that evening, between sorting other things and waiting for the computer to do certain things on its own (e.g. back up my work), I put this necklace together with wirewrapping and bead stringing.
Now I have that much less stuff to sort and put away. And on Wednesday I wore this out to dinner with friends. It looks great with my brown cardigan.
I think of this type of necklace as a "collage" necklace. My process is very much the same as my paper collage process—driven in part by my desire to use up supplies I have sitting out in the studio, rather than resorting them and putting them away. I figure I'd rather use the time to make something new instead of just tidy up. (Though being tidy is a good thing too, just not as good as making more stuff, from my perspective.)
When you approach "clean up" in this way a couple interesting things happen. Things get tidied up more quickly because making stuff is more fun than cleaning up. And the things that you make over the course of 2 days or a week, or longer (depending on your tolerance for letting things sit around), by virtue of using the same materials but in different ways, become a series. In the process of executing that series you learn something about your preferences for putting things together, your sense of color and texture, and your inventive re-use of objects.
Below are a three "cousins." These necklaces started because I wanted to work with specific green and purple beads and play with some wire wrapping and coiling. Over the course of two days I ended up with these variations on a "theme." Now, I have another related necklace.
If you find yourself looking at materials that you need to put away, take a moment from your day and see if you can't think of ways to use them up instead.
Left: Second necklace made using the same purple and green components, some additional components, and coiled wire and wire wrapping. I came up with this design the next night because there were leftover coils of wire and some pearls from yet another necklace I had been working on. I also wanted to find ways to use up some old chain I'd purchased at an antiques market—working in series is a great way to burn through several ideas at once and see what really appeals to you.
Left: That second night I had just a little bit of thick wire left so I wrapped it in a loop (pendant portion) and attached dangles, as well as created a chain with jumprings and wire wrapped beads. Playing with the same components will lead you to new discoveries and that means even more exploration—it's endless.
Have fun this weekend looking at your supplies and deciding what you can make with them instead of putting them away!
This works for painting too folks! Take those colors you put on your palette yesterday and instead of using that triad in the same way pick another color to be dominant, or pick two colors out on your palette to use in a complementary way. Mix it up!