Sunday 24 March 2013

Multimedia here I come...?

In late April 2011 the price of silver hit £940.67 per kilo, double what it had been six months beforehand. When I started making silver jewellery, a little over ten years ago, bullion cost was around £100 a kilo. At the time of typing this, it's just over £600 a kilo (check out up to date prices here). It's amazing to think back to it being so 'cheap' (relatively, of course). Even then, we were still taught to treat silver as the precious commodity it is, saving offcuts to reuse, and even collecting up sweepings, the tiny shavings created when you saw a piece of silver up. But, now, with the price so high, I'm increasingly nervous of it. And, with that nervousness, the joy of experimenting and creating has decreased a little.

I've been making jewellery with other materials for a while now, just as experiments, and I've been thinking about even more things I could try. I can't imagine turning my back on silver completely; I love it too much and know it too well. But, as the cost of pretty much everything increases dramatically, I think it's fair enough to be more careful with how we use many resources.

selection of non-silver jewellery
Copper, polymer clay, semi-precious stones, wood...

So far, I've experimented with copper (see here and here), and polymer clay (see here, here and here), and have always used beads in my jewellery, combined with silver, both glass and semi-precious.

Next on my list is to use the copper clay that I bought last year, expand my experiments with polymer clay, and also look to fabric and thread, (am fascinated by the idea of Kumihimo braiding already), check out wood and stone, do more with beads, of all types, and try approaching jewellery in a more multimedia-orientated way. I was also pretty inspired by this book about paper jewellery. The idea of combining different materials and techniques with still using silver (just perhaps less of it) really appeals to me.

How about you? Has the cost of materials involved in what you make, whatever it is, altered the way you use it and made you start to consider how you can expand on what you know and do, and perhaps try alternative materials? I'd love to hear, not least to get a little more inspiration!

Hope you're having a good weekend. It's amazingly un-snowy where I am...but the rest of the UK seems to be under snow or water. Hope it's okay wherever you are.

Friday 15 March 2013

Inspiration, and where to find it

Posts about inspiration are common in the blogosphere.

Whether you make jewellery, sew, or paint, or do anything even vaguely creative, then chances are you've hit that point when you lack all inspiration, and spend a morning just staring at your materials and tools.

And equally likely is the chance that you have times when inspiration is all around and you don't even have to think about it.

I've had both experiences and I'm still not entirely sure what causes one over the other.

I do find that sometimes what inspires me most are things that I don't (or can't!) make. I love textile designs especially, with patterns that make me think about how I could translate them into metal, so I purposely hunt them out when inspiration for new ideas is lacking. I also love interviews with other jewellery makers (especially when they talk about inspiration).

And, yes, nature too is always a source on inspiration, even if I'm not quite sure at the moment how to translate the beautiful textures and colours of the feather, pictured above, that I found in a car park last week.

Here I'm sharing a few hints for finding inspiration that I've found on the web lately (and, yes, that does mean I've been lacking in and looking for that illusive inspiration!). They're mainly based around jewellery, but the principles apply to any craft and, most likely, anything.

First up, Poppy Porter, ex-lawyer turned jewellery designer and maker... the chrysanthemum rings are just beautiful...

How to find inspiration when you need to - just look around you - it's everywhere!

Looking for inspiration after a break - how to find your inspiration niche.

Draw up a shortlist of your favourite designers - whether you're in their league or not... Come back to it, refer to it, dream about what you could make... Have a look at this too on a similar theme.

The whole world can be your oyster.

And if none of that is doing the trick then try this post - 101 ways to find inspiration. Worth bookmarking for emergencies!

Also, here's a link to a rather wonderful jewellery giveaway. Let's face it, you can't make every type of jewellery you'd like to wear. And I would love to wear this beautiful wood and aluminium bracelet...

Have a good weekend!