Let me go ahead and confess something.
I've been struggling for weeks to find some inspiration for jewelry-making. Usually, I have a Bead Box stocked and ready for those moments. However, I used Bead Box 12 as a crutch during my 100 Day Project and flew through it. Ever since I finished it (both the box and the project), I've been grasping at straws to get back on the jewelry-making horse and bust out a few things. And, I'm finally getting there.
I suppose I should explain the Bead Box. It's a basic 17-compartment plastic organizer. For several years, I've been packing it with designs to take with me when I travel or when my muse isn't speaking to me. Each compartment holds most of the components for a single design. Because of my creative block, it took me a bit of time to get this 13th version of the box packed up, but I knew that I had to before my trip out of town last week. And, though it took some time, I did it!
I really only got to work on one of these designs while I was away, but it was a relief to have the box in my bag with me, just in case. Here's what I packed in it.
While searching for materials that inspired me, I found the large, clear bead and thought it would be perfect to create a loop from. Then, the soldered bubble with the word "French" in it was unearthed. From there, the other elements just fell together. I added a handmade grungy resin opal charm (learned from Fanciful Devices' tutorial
on Etsy) and black, clear, labradorite, and smoky gray beads to create a charms and a necklace chain.
The next several compartments were stocked with a variety of tin pairs that I altered in some way in order to make earrings. This one has tin ovals riveted to another larger piece. Holes were added at the bottom so I can add small bead dangles.
I have to say how proud I am that I sketched out several of these designs so that I wouldn't forget what I had intended for them. These, for example, would baffle me otherwise. I like the contrast of the pretty pinks with the grunge and hardness of the dark wires and patina on the tin. They're going to make a neat pair of earrings.
This fourth design is a bit of a shot in the dark of whether I'm going to like it. Many of my designs lately have been lacking buttons (and I LOVE me some buttons). So, I've included a pair here along with some altered tin bits, a wire form, and tiger's eye beads. We'll see how these earrings turn out.
A bit more work was put into these as preparation for the bead box than usual. Really, I just need to add some bead dangles, and they'll be done.
Again, I did more prep to get these into the bead box than I'll have to do to finish them. But, the intention of the box is to keep my hands busy, and this will do that for a few minutes. I just have to wrap a few beads onto the tin to finish these earrings.
I felt like I had enough of the earrings for the time being, so I turned to some of my soldered pottery shards that are perfect for a necklace. This one just needs a simple design with a few beads and chain added. I went for jade to match the color on the pendant. The wire is packed in another bag for when it's needed.
While I was in my bowl of soldered pieces, this bubble jumped out at me. And, the soldered amethyst pebble seemed perfect for it. I threw in a few amethyst beads, some gunmetal-colored seed beads, and a short length of chain to help complete this design. I began to feel like I was finding my groove again at this point of stocking the box.
One more soldered pottery shard for good measure! The subtle textured pattern needed a bold statement to go with it, so I cut, embossed, and colored in red a snippet of tin. Crystal clear beads, glass pearls, and faceted red beads will help make up the chain of this proposed necklace.
Bracelets aren't always my thing, but I like to make sure that I include at least one bracelet design in each bead box. (This one has several!) I love using these word tags from Tim Holtz for bracelet bars. The word was altered with some Vintaj Patina, and since the word is "Collections," I dipped into one of my own collections and gathered some buttons to make up its chain.
Here's another earring design that makes me glad that I sketched it out. I'm pretty sure I saw something online that inspired this one. The pretty blue and white tin is paired with salvaged white seed beads and darkened steel wire. To tell you the truth, I'm looking forward to seeing what I'm supposed to do with these elements as I've plum forgotten!
Here's another of the bracelet designs. I'm usually inspired by the materials I have on hand. In this case, I saw a tutorial somewhere (I had to go back a-ways, but I found this Beadalon Pearl and Stone Bracelet tutorial
), that struck a chord. I dipped into my personal bead soup to come up with these materials to create a bracelet that should have a few similar design elements.
While I had my big jar of bead soup out, a few beads called out to me. I put them aside on my desk but before I knew it, they had paired themselves up with that soldered bubble. I'll string a few more beads onto the waxed linen before adding a chain that I'll select later.
Lookie, another bracelet! I guess the waxed linen in the previous design had me reaching for more. This will be a simple knotted bead bracelet with a button closure. The Tim Holtz charm will hang from it somehow.
I had a Pinterest page of beautiful tassel necklaces open for just a wee bit too long. As such, I decided to throw a few things together to create my own. There's some coral-colored sari silk and beads, a large bead cap, pale amber beads, and silvery beads that will all go into this necklace design.
I decided to dig through my bowl of leftovers from the Bead Soup swap
and unearthed this pretty keyhole pendant. I believe it's from the Industrial Chic line. Once I had the keyhole, I needed a key. While Robin had sent me several, I was drawn to this crown one that was a gift from a friend. To keep it simple, I've paired them with freshwater pearls (also from Robin) and some clear round glass beads. I'll turn these elements into a pretty necklace.
This final design took a bit of time (tin designs always do!) I created a bracelet bar with two different tin patterns, rivets, eyelets, washers, and leather. I'm so tickled with it!! I'll be adding a simple chain of green beads to compliment the focal.
I'm looking forward to working on each and every one of these designs. However, I'm trying to let them sit in there so that the original intent of the box remains intact and the box is only used sparingly. In the meantime, I've been looking for inspiration in my stack of old beading magazines. And, thankfully, I'm finding quite a bit! I've got a list of techniques to try and designs to make that should keep me busy for a while. Even though I'm revealing this box now, it might just be a bit before you get to see the finished designs - we'll see. For now, you're welcome to take a look at some of the other stocked bead boxes and their reveals.
So, has anybody else been suffering with a dip in their inspiration and motivation lately? How are you working to overcome it?