Sunday, 24 March 2013

Multimedia here I come...?

Two years ago, in April, the price of silver hit £940.67 per kilo. 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. 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 unsnowy where I am...but the rest of the UK seems to be under snow or water. Hope it's okay wherever you are.

6 comments:

  1. I used to work exclusively with silver, beads, wire etc. However a couple of years a go when the price rose dramatically I switched to brass, copper, and my love of repurposing vintage finds came ino play at that time. I still do a few pieces in silver, as i love working with it. but they say, when one door closes, another one opens, and it certainly did for me in this case. Enjoy experimenting with your new techniques...I am sure you will have fun!

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    1. Thank you! I do hope so. After spending so long with silver being my 'main' material, it may well be quite inspiring using something new. You work is such a great example of branching out - it's stunning.
      Thanks for the comment :)

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  2. I actually prefer the look of copper to silver, your curvy copper brooches are gorgeous, and mixing materials makes everything more interesting to my mind. I'm working a lot in glass at the moment and some of the colours can be prohibitively expensive. Fortunately I prefer the look of plain old float/window glass for most things and if I can use other peoples offcuts and scraps then that's even better!

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    1. I love how the financial issues can actually work in your favour - you have to think differently and be more resourceful. Although it does help if you like the 'cheaper' materials, and if you can get hold of offcuts, even better!

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  3. I Trained originally as a furniture designer and only came into jewellery making about 3 years ago when silver was still on the rise so I have only known silver to be that super expensive material.... I have always combined other materials with silver such as resin but mostly wood as it is what I know best it is great thinking outside the box and using something a little unusual it is not going to be everybody's cup of tea but there is still people out there that like it.

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    1. Thanks so much for your comment, your work is very beautiful. I love the fact you started out in an area which just have seemed a million miles from jewellery, and yet it's allowing your work to be unique and exquisite. Very inspiring.

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