Friday, December 17, 2010

Getting from "A" 2 "B"

What follows may seem to be contrary to yesterday's post where I implored people to STOP comparing.

Yes, this follow up may seem a little off the wall.

But its not.

Trust me. ( You do trust me - right? )

I'm not asking you to compare. . . . . .what I am going to do is share.

In keeping with the name of this blog, A Metalsmith's Journey, I'm going to share a bit of my journey (how I have gone from point A to point B or A2B) and I'm going to encourage you to take steps in yours.

Backing up - lets start at the beginning:

I began making jewelry on a whim. NEVER intended to sell it or even necessarily make something wearable. I found a wire jewelry kit under the sofa (it had been given to my daughter) and I pulled it out, blew off the dust, and took a look.

Humble beginnings huh?

Maybe that is where you are right now.



Everything has to have a beginning. :)

So I read the booklet and twiddled and twirled some wire.

And it was ok.

JUST ok.

The kit came with brass wire and some plastic beads. Not really my style. But there was something intriguing about the possibilities. About the creating. (hellooooooo inner voice!!)

You have one of those too.

Listen to it.

Sometimes it is so quiet that it gets drowned out by the noise of your every day life. Believe me, I know. But I encourage you to listen. Carve out some time and listen.

I eventually went online to try to learn more. (hellllooooooooo education!)

Its closer than you think.

You may or may not have classes or workshops near you. Maybe you can't afford them or don't have the time to go or just aren't ready for that yet. That is the great thing about the internet.


There are tutorials and tips and resources and forums

you get the idea.

This is where my learning began.

What tools did I need and what could I do do you do this and where do you get that...and how do I turn it all into a finished piece of jewelry???

And speaking of supplies - there is round wire, square wire, triangle wire, half round, double half round, half hard, dead soft, full hard, sterling, fine, copper, gold....

someone make it stop!!!

Its akin to ordering a drink at Starbucks! Overwhelming!

Could be so overwhelming that you just retreat.


Start small.

I began with wire bangles. Ala Connie Fox.

Connie's website is a great resource for basic wire techniques. (nose around, its good stuff!)

I lurked around on some forums....there is a lot of great information on the internet.


But don't stop there.

JOIN in - ask questions - and get answers.

And remember, everyone started at the same place - the beginning. So don't be afraid or intimidated.

There is NOTHING wrong with the beginning. It is a very fine place to start.

Another thing I did was to join in a weekly jewelry challenge. A Year of Jewelry (look, that's my bangle second down on the left - oh and two of my necklaces are cover shots too! wk 42 and 41 but you can view all the photos by clicking the albums to see where I began!).

So we did one piece a week for a year. I actually participated for several years . I didn't always get a new piece posted each week but it helped me make SOMEthing most weeks. It pushed me to create and it connected me with other artists. I still keep in touch with many of those artists.

Now I am participating in a new challenge. Its the Ring A Week challenge 2011. Or RAW2011. There is a flickr group dedicated to the challenge which is a bit of a spin off from the Ring A Day challenge that has taken place over the course of 2010. I wasn't quite brave enough to commit to a ring a day, (WHOA) but when I saw the RAW I thought it was more my speed.

I challenge you to join it as well. It doesn't matter what your present skills are or what medium you work in, consider joining. I'll be right there with you the whole way.

It'll be fun.

(please someone say it will be fun!!!!)

Then there are books.

Oh be still my heart.

books, books, and MORE books!

metalsmithing books, wire-working books, books about patinas and finishing.......

I had a problem with the books though.

I would buy them, leaf through them, love them to death.

But I never READ them.

don't make that mistake.

Read damn-it!

The pictures are great but they will only get you so far. be continued