Friday 16 September 2016

Making jewellery

As a sideline I've been making costume jewellery since art college. Sometimes it's bead with cord and sometimes it's wire with glass or semi-precious stones. I've even done a short course in silversmithing. Then there was the time I ran a 'Junk to Jewellery' night class in the early days of the Crescent Arts Centre (before upcycling was popular). I've always loved jewellery, feel naked if I go out without earrings and like a magpie am attracted to shiny sparkly things.

I'd been building up my jewellery making stash when I started a workbook, filled with cutout images from jewellery magazines I needed to get rid of but couldn't bear to entirely scrap. Beside the images I doodled ideas to make. A simple code helped see at a glance what designs/designers I wanted to research and which ideas I didn't want to forget to try. 

It's a scrapbook of imagery and colour over which I doodled and wrote, much like an artist uses an art journal - same approach.

There were jewellery designers I loved. Jillian Lukiwski began an etsy shop selling her enamelled pieces and sold out as soon as she posted her designs. She's still making jewellery although it's evolved to reflect her lifestyle. Lilian Chen's work made wirework seem effortless as she encapsulates Swarovski crystals and semi precious gems. Links to both designers below.

Other images are included because I like their humour or because they're inspiring.

At the back of the workbook is a section on techniques, again salvaged from old jewellery publications. In the US wire is sized differently than in the UK - it's handy to have a ready reckoner.

And then it gets arty. A friend had sent me an image of Japanese cloth on fb which I copied, designed some wirework components and created a necklace from. 

Sometimes I saw a photograph of jewellery which I'd sketch in a pocket notebook and then make a copy when I got home. These earrings were made from silver plated and red enamelled wire with added vintage and modern glass beads. The originals were in blues and greens, based upon the sea.

Just like the old journal I found from art college days this workbook takes me back in time, about three years ago, when I was making jewellery. Ideas books are great things to pick up, reread and be re-inspired by.

Jillian's website
Jillian's Etsy shop
Lilian Chen on Pinterest
Lilian Chen feature 

Copyright © 2016 by Roisin O'Hagan/bloowabbit
All rights reserved. The artworks/illustrations or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the artist except for specific permission granted with a free downloadable.

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